Wednesday Inauguration Reads: Finally!

Yes! The day is finally here…

See you at 12 noon…

Until then:

This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: Whitelash

This attempted coup is disgusting…here are a few thoughts on the violence this past week.

I think it all stems from the fact that a black man was elected President some years ago….tRump supporters have something in common. They are white supremacist, bigoted assholes.

This thread:

Just waiting for…

This is an open thread.


Friday Reads: After the “Storm”

Good Day Sky Dancers!

There have been good and bad days in the history of this country. I’ve seen and remember quite a few now that I’m old and because I grew up in the TV age.  I remember when both Kennedys and Martin Luther King were assassinated. I remember the moonwalk.  I remember 9/11 and watching the live bombing of Baghdad.

You remember where you were on those days even if you were as young as my nursery school age sister who remembers when mother and our cleaning lady Mildred were watching the black and white TV showing the unfolding news in Dallas.  I’ll never forget watching the water rise after Hurricane Katrina and the faces of people trapped there. The last time Mildred and my mom were watching the TV with those same faces were those final days of Nixon. That was the year before I moved out to a dorm with my own TV.

I have the same kind of feelings today that I have about those no good, horrible, very bad days.  This is not a “I remember the moonwalk” kind’ve day which is what I had expected to experience the night of the 2016 election.  This is one of those days when you realize that we’ve lost something or someone precious and wonderful.  It’s a day that feels like some unknown innocence in you has made a hole in you letting you know that it was there and now it’s gone.

I’ve always rather laughed at the folks wrapped up in that Confederate Flag stuff.  I had a lot of thoughts about them over the years.  While none were postivie, none ever came close to thinking they’d storm Capitol Hill for a rich, orange, fat trust fund baby selling lies and false promises who as President, would tell them to do so.    Most of us knew some “thing”  was likely to happen.  It just  “the thing” that actually happened was worse than I imagined.

So, now we’re in the fallout and the aftermath has begun.  The how, the who, and the what-of-it–along with the blame game–is afoot.

This is from The Washington Post: “Pentagon placed limits on D.C. Guard ahead of pro-Trump protests due to narrow mission”.

The Pentagon placed tight limits on the D.C. National Guard ahead of pro-Trump protests this week, trying to ensure the use of military force remained constrained, as the Guard carried out a narrow, unarmed mission requested by the city’s mayor to help handle traffic ahead of planned protests.

In memos issued Monday and Tuesday in response to a request from the D.C. mayor, the Pentagon prohibited the District’s guardsmen from receiving ammunition or riot gear, interacting with protesters unless necessary for self-defense, sharing equipment with local law enforcement, or using Guard surveillance and air assets without the defense secretary’s explicit sign-off, according to officials familiar with the orders. The limits were established because the Guard hadn’t been asked to assist with crowd or riot control.

The D.C. Guard was also told it would be allowed to deploy a quick-reaction force only as a measure of last resort, the officials said.

Then the mission abruptly changed — and the Pentagon is now facing criticism from governors and local officials who say it moved too slowly to send National Guard troops to respond, a charge that its leaders denied Thursday.

The Capitol Police, the law enforcement force that reports to Congress and protects the House and Senate, hadn’t requested help from the Guard ahead of Wednesday’s events. But early Wednesday afternoon, its chief made an urgent plea for backup from 200 troops during a call with top Pentagon and city officials, according to officials familiar with the call.

On the call, Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund was asked whether he wanted help from the National Guard. “There was a pause,” one of the D.C. officials said. And Sund said yes. “Then there was another pause, and an official from the secretary of the Army said that wasn’t going to be possible.”

Also from WAPO and David Ignatius is this headline: “What went wrong with the protection of the U.S. Capitol.”

Some mistakes are obvious: The FBI underestimated the number of protesters, predicting a maximum of 20,000, which turned out to be less than half the number who showed up. The Capitol Police didn’t stand their ground at the perimeter or at the Capitol itself. The mayor was slow to request additional troops from the D.C. National Guard. The acting attorney general was similarly tardy in ordering elite FBI units into the Capitol. And the Pentagon brass worried more about avoiding politicization of the military than about stopping an insurrection.

In a seeming acknowledgment of the inadequate response, Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund announced Thursday night that he was resigning. The Associated Press reported that the Capitol Police had turned down offers of additional support from the National Guard and the FBI before the disastrous invasion of the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.

But as we look for who to blame in this catastrophe, let’s focus on the real culprits: President Trump, who incited the rioters and urged them toward the Capitol; the 13 Republican senators and 138 House members who challenged President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and egged on the insurgents; and the smug, self-appointed patriots who trashed the people’s house. Trump should face legal action for fomenting this riot. The members who risked the lives of their colleagues by encouraging the fanatics should be censured. The insurgents who ransacked the Capitol should be arrested and prosecuted.

There seems to be some movement towards arresting the Trump Rioters/Looters/Murderers/Mob/Insurrectionists but it’s going at a slower snail’s pace than would ever happen at a peaceful protest gathering something related to either recognizing the unequal treatment of Black Americans by the Justice System or some other march for justice.  The beatings and the arrests would have happened before folks were moving anywhere.

This is from CNN’s Nicole Chavez: ‘Rioters breached US Capitol security on Wednesday. This was the police response when it was Black protesters on DC streets last year”.

As hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol, breaking windows and wreaking havocpoliticians and activists were among the many who drew comparisons between the police response on Wednesday to that of last year’s Black Lives Matter protests.

The death of George Floyd — a Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck — in May of 2020 prompted hundreds of protests nationwide over the summer. In many cities, including the nation’s capital, police met protesters with tear gas, violence and arrests.

However, Wednesday’s protests, many pointed out, were different. The Black Lives Matter Global Network, one of the most well-known organizations fighting for the well-being of Black people, described Wednesday’s riots as a “coup.”

The group said it was “one more example of the hypocrisy in our country’s law enforcement response to protest.”

“When Black people protest for our lives, we are all too often met by National Guard troops or police equipped with assault rifles, shields, tear gas and battle helmets,” the group said in a statement. “Make no mistake, if the protesters were Black, we would have been tear gassed, battered, and perhaps shot.”

White privilege was in full display as the kinds of folks the FBI and Right Wing Watch groups have been telling us for years.  The usual suspects that shoot up mosques, terrorize women at Planned Parenthood, and attack Black Lives Matter Protestors showed up to stage an insurrection. Remember when the FBI told us and the Republicans were incensed by their report?

This is from the NYT.  “These Are the Rioters Who Stormed the Nation’s Capitol.  The mob that rampaged the halls of Congress included infamous white supremacists and conspiracy theorists.” It’s reported by  Sabrina Tavernise and Matthew Rosenberg.  As I carefully place the the three pictures of those horrible assassination scenes in this post I can only wonder at the work of the secret service and others to get today’s national leaders to safety.  We could’ve lost any number of them this week.

There were infamous white nationalists and noted conspiracy theorists who have spread dark visions of pedophile Satanists running the country. Others were more anonymous, people who had journeyed from Indiana and South Carolina to heed President Trump’s call to show their support. One person, a West Virginia lawmaker, had only been elected to office in November.

All of them converged on Wednesday on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, where hundreds of rioters crashed through barricades, climbed through windows and walked through doors, wandering around the hallways with a sense of gleeful desecration, because, for a few breathtaking hours, they believed that they had displaced the very elites they said they hated.

“We wanted to show these politicians that it’s us who’s in charge, not them,” said a construction worker from Indianapolis, who is 40 and identified himself only as Aaron. He declined to give his last name, saying, “I’m not that dumb.”

But a good deal of them were dumb enough to post their faces to their social media and friends.  They should be hunted down, charged with every possible infraction, and dumped in a prison to spend eternity cleaning the johns.  One Capitol Police officer lost his life.  The one woman shot by Capitol Police was deep into the hate and lies of QAnon.

And now, we have the intrigue …

Something else indeed.

So, once again in the annals of our history we delve in to “untoward here”.  It is also very clear that it’s the usual suspects.  Our history is full of a lot of white people that follow down the path of strictly white, nationalistic populism and wrap it up with a flag on a cross.  We should be prepared to act.  This may indeed be our time to get the laws into place to undo these long standing national sins of racism, indigenous genocide, kleptocracy, misogyny, and basic hatred of any ‘other’.

We’ve got a new decade and an old struggle with new purpose.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads: We can do it!

https://twitter.com/reverendwarnock/status/1346690996839464961?s=21

Meanwhile:

I don’t know what today holds:

Please take care and avoid the tRump assholes in the streets…

This is an open thread.


Monday Reads: 16 Days and Counting

Detail from Folger Shakespeare Library, V.b.311, f. 129r

Good Day Sky Dancers!

It’s back to work for me!   So, I know that the cat pix are usually BB’s thing but these 16th century rocket cats completely intrigued me.  They also reminded me that I would like to just streak through the next 16 days like a speeding bullet.

I knew when the Washington Post got that tape of Trump demanding the Secretary of State of Georgia find him some 11 thousand odd votes with not so vague threats attached that my writing fate this morning was sealed. There are equally outrageous things going on with the Mad King like giving Presidential medals of honor to the rogue’s gallery of the most dishonorable Republican members of Congress whose names make me queasy.  Then, there’s also some rumors that we’re sending him to Turnberry in Scotland some time around the last of those 16 days.   It seems like his remaining flunkies are doing what they can to enforce his worst policies too while we’re watching him meltdown.  I offer up this example from Louisiana.

Djibril Coulibaly arrived in Louisiana 19 years ago, recruited from his native Mali by the state’s prize-winning program to promote the French language in schools. He and his wife settled in Opelousas, where their three sons were born. In 2012, they moved to Thibodaux, where he taught second and third graders and sometimes volunteered as a soccer coach.

In the halls of W.S. Lafargue Elementary School, Coulibaly was known as a punctual, soft-spoken instructor who rarely missed a day of class. So when he didn’t show up for work on Dec. 15 — and his 2001 blue Toyota Sierra van was found empty on a street near the school — those who know him were alarmed enough to call the hospital emergency room and the Thibodaux Police Department.

Police investigators soon learned that federal agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement had driven over from Mississippi to arrest Coulibaly, 50, who now sits in a detention center 160 miles from his family, awaiting deportation in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration.

That prospect has spawned prayer groups for Coulibaly along with gift cards, presents and donations to his family and a flurry of letters written by his employer, colleagues and friends, all with hopes of stopping ICE from sending him back to Mali.

“I don’t know what went wrong, but I want things to be right,” said Sandy Holloway, president of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and a former Lafourche Parish educator who knows Coulibaly personally. “He’s a very good gentleman, and I love his children.”

An ICE spokeswoman would not discuss Coulibaly’s case, citing privacy concerns. But in recent years, immigration judges have ruled that Coulibaly must leave because he does not have a continuous visa allowing him to stay in the United States. His lawyers are still appealing those decisions, and his friends still question his abrupt apprehension.

“Why are they rushing to deport him?” said Ana Elashry, a special education teacher whose children are close with Coulibaly’s sons? “He’s a good man, a family man, on top of being a teacher.”

Yes, on top of a pandemic that’s rampant and other ongoing shitshows we see that the Trumpist regime is still on its basic mission which is to rid the country of all people of color.  Mr. Coulibaly is also Muslim.  Devin Nunes gets a Presidential medal of honor and this fine teacher and his family get the death penalty.

One of the key worries among his supporters is that Coulibaly’s middle son is non-verbal and severely autistic. Because the family is Westernized and his children have attended Roman Catholic schools in Louisiana, they say, his son’s condition is likely to be viewed in Mali as punishment for people who are not good Muslims.

Also, in recent years, Islamist fundamentalists have gained more power in his native country, which could put his family in danger, wrote Charlotte Walker-Said, an associate professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and specialist on French-speaking parts of West Africa.

Speaking of Pandemics before Fauci trolled Trump over the weekend on Trump’s accusation that the CDC “exagerates” covid deaths.   Fauci told Trump “These are real deaths.”

This is from the Slate link in the above twitter.

President Donald Trump criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Sunday morning, accusing it of propagating “fake news” by exaggerating the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States. In a Sunday morning tweet, Trump said the numbers are inflated because of the CDC’s “ridiculous method of determination compared to other countries.” Trump sent the tweet as the the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States passed the 20-million mark and the death toll surpassed 350,000, by far the highest in the world, followed by Brazil, which has reported more than 195,000 deaths.

So, most of the outrage today surrounds a call from Trump to Georgia SOS basically begging him to overturn his state’s election results.  Trump just may have violated Federal and State law.  This is from the NYT and written by Eric Lipton.

The call by President Trump on Saturday to Georgia’s secretary of state raised the prospect that Mr. Trump may have violated laws that prohibit interference in federal or state elections, but lawyers said on Sunday that it would be difficult to pursue such a charge.

The recording of the conversation between Mr. Trump and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger of Georgia, first reported by The Washington Post, led a number of election and criminal defense lawyers to conclude that by pressuring Mr. Raffensperger to “find” the votes he would need to reverse the election outcome in the state, Mr. Trump either broke the law or came close to it.

“It seems to me like what he did clearly violates Georgia statutes,” said Leigh Ann Webster, an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer, citing a state law that makes it illegal for anyone who “solicits, requests, commands, importunes or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage” in election fraud.

At the federal level, anyone who “knowingly and willfully deprives, defrauds or attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a state of a fair and impartially conducted election process” is breaking the law.

The call and Trump’s absurd charges of election fraud have caused the 117th Congress to be in total chaos.  This is from Olivia Beavers writing for Politico: “117th Congress kicks off with GOP civil war, calls for impeachment and plexiglass”.

It’s less than 24 hours into the 117th Congress and we’ve already seen Republicans break out into a civil war, Democrats renew calls to impeach President Donald Trump and quarantined members being forced to vote from the confines of a plexiglass case in the House chamber. Welcome to 2021.

THE GOP TURNS ON ITSELF: An intra-party battle is heating up within the Republican Party as two bitterly divided sides clash over the decision of at least 12 GOP senators, and dozens more House Republicans, to challenge the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election win.

The effort is snowballing as more Republicans join the Trump-guard led by Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Josh Hawley (Mo.) in the Senate and Rep. Mo Brooks (Ala.) in the House, while the old guard like Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is warning that this effort is jeopardizing the nation’s democratic values.

With nearly a quarter of Senate Republicans taking part in the effort, against the urging of top GOP Senate leaders, it is also becoming clear just how much of a force Trump will be in the Republican Party even once he’s out of the White House. As one top House Republican told Huddle: “[Trump’s] the 800 pound gorilla.” They don’t want to cross him.

The tensions have jumped so high that individual GOP senators are now directly headbutting one another, with Toomey accusing Cruz, Hawley and other Republicans of undermining the right to participate in direct elections and Hawley decrying Toomey’s arguments and “shameless personal attacks.”

“I’m concerned about the division in America, that’s the biggest issue, but obviously this is not healthy for the Republican Party,” lamented Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). “This is bad for the country and bad for the party.” Burgess and Marianne with the story. http://politi.co/3odDYcZ

The Washington Post has published the full audio and a transcript if you haven’t ventured there yet.  It’s pretty difficult to miss how unhinged Trump has become since losing the election.  Raffensperger keeps calmly explaining that nothing he says is true.

Trump: It doesn’t pass the smell test because we hear they’re shredding thousands and thousands of ballots, and now what they’re saying, “Oh, we’re just cleaning up the office.” You know.

Raffensperger: Mr. President, the problem you have with social media, they — people can say anything.

Trump: Oh this isn’t social media. This is Trump media. It’s not social media. It’s really not; it’s not social media. I don’t care about social media. I couldn’t care less. Social media is Big Tech. Big Tech is on your side, you know. I don’t even know why you have a side because you should want to have an accurate election. And you’re a Republican.

Raffensperger: We believe that we do have an accurate election.

Trump: No, no you don’t. No, no you don’t. You don’t have. Not even close. You’re off by hundreds of thousands of votes. And just on the small numbers, you’re off on these numbers, and these numbers can’t be just — well, why wont? — Okay. So you sent us into Cobb County for signature verification, right? You sent us into Cobb County, which we didn’t want to go into. And you said it would be open to the public. So we had our experts there, they weren’t allowed into the room. But we didn’t want Cobb County. We wanted Fulton County. And you wouldn’t give it to us. Now, why aren’t we doing signature — and why can’t it be open to the public?

And why can’t we have professionals do it instead of rank amateurs who will never find anything and don’t want to find anything? They don’t want to find, you know they don’t want to find anything. Someday you’ll tell me the reason why, because I don’t understand your reasoning, but someday you’ll tell me the reason why. But why don’t you want to find?

Meanwhile, NewsMax says Trump really made the case.  This weird ass right wing media outlets are getting more surreal every day.  The make Fox News look like MSNBC practically.  Blooomberg‘s Timothy L O’Brien writes this “Trump’s Phone Call Is What Coup Fever Looks Like”.

Like the little boy haunted by ghosts in the horror movie “The Sixth Sense,” President Donald Trump sees dead people everywhere. He thinks at least 5,000 of them voted in Georgia during the presidential election and were part of a broader conspiracy that deprived him of a victory in the state.

In an unhinged, extraordinary phone call Saturday with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, and Ryan Germany, Raffensperger’s general counsel, Trump tried to strong-arm them into conceding that President-elect Joe Biden hadn’t really secured 11,799 more votes than he did. And he encouraged them to find ways to invalidate those votes, according to a recording of the conversation obtained by the Washington Post (which broke the story) and Bloomberg News.

“So what are we going to do here folks?” Trump asked during the one-hour call. “I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes.” Trump, who oversees the Justice Department for 16 more days, also threatened both men, warning that they could be charged with a crime if they failed to support his voting fraud fairytales.

Trump has been at this for decades, so there’s nothing surprising here. He spent years trying to bully, buy off or corrupt regulators, politicians, law enforcement officials and others he encountered as a developer, casino operator, media fixture and politician. He was impeached for trying to convince Ukraine’s president during a phone call to find dirt on Biden that would undermine his presidential candidacy.

But it is surprising how easily Trump continues to corrupt so many around him. Too few in his party are willing to tell the president, as Germany did, that reality doesn’t comport with his lies. Cowed by Trump’s political traction or eager to jump on his gravy train, too few are willing to abandon him publicly so voters’ faith in the electoral process, democracy and the rule of law isn’t permanently undercut.

The phone call memorialized what corruption and a desire to orchestrate a political coup sound like and, happily, Raffensperger and Germany were unswayed. “The challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong,” Raffensperger told Trump, who continued trying to steamroll him anyway. “What we’re seeing is not at all what you’re describing,” said Germany.

So, I’m exhausted by all of that Trumpy stuff and inclulding this crazy pandemic and all the selfish people that refuse to do right by our public health laws.  I’m also exhausted by the thought that 40 percent of the American public does not appear to be able to recognize insanity and evil when they see it. This is why I am thankful every time I get to read your comments.  We may be a far flung community in terms of space but we need to hold tight to the folks who know that none of this is normal for anything but a dysfunctional banana republic.

I can’t wait for the Biden/Harris Administration to come turn some of this around.  I hope it’s in time for people like Djibril Coulibaly  and his family and for all the families who have or will have some one living through or dying from Covid 19.  It didn’t have to be like this.  I doubt I’ll ever not see some one who voted for that monster without thinking of the same folks that marched the country to hell trying to hold on to slavery.

Take care!  Be safe!  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?