Mostly Monday Reads

Cossack Mamay is tempted to drink by the Polish-looking Satan, Ukrainian folk art,

Good Day Sky Dancers!

There’s actually a lot of good news today!  Above all,  there is excellent news from the Ukrainian front that Russia is being driven back.  There are even calls now for Putin to step down! I’ll get to that in a moment, but I couldn’t resist putting this headline from The Times of London first. I love the “snub for Trump” in the lede.  So much for Trump’s lie about a secret knighthood.  They weren’t expecting President Biden, so now there’s a scramble to prepare for his visit..

I’m going to post Ukrainian art today from the various museums.  We know that the Russians targeted all types of cultural locations and that many folk art items were lost in the bombings.  It will likely be a while before we discover which great works remain.

Meanwhile,

Слава Україні!  (Romanized: Sláva Ukrayíni!)

ILYA KABAKOV, THE FLYING KOMAROV.1994

 

I hope this is embarrassing for Trump, who was the ultimate clod during his visit with the late Queen Elizabeth.

Westminster Abbey is expected to be so full that only one representative from each country can attend, although they can be joined by a partner.

Questions have been asked in the US over whether Donald Trump will be invited but British sources have scotched the idea that he could accompany the US delegation and said there would not be space for Biden’s predecessors. Dwight Eisenhower, then the former president, attended Churchill’s funeral a private capacity.

A reception for overseas leaders will take place at Buckingham Place on the eve of the service, but no meetings will be allowed because of the strain on security teams, according to the Foreign Office

One more thing about Trump, and I’ll celebrate the victories of Ukraine.  This is from CNN, which I’m probably going to quit quoting because the news channel is becoming an unreliable source soon due to changes in Top Management.  “Exclusive: ‘I’m just not going to leave’: New book reveals Trump vowed to stay in White House.”   This is about Maggie Haberman’s new tell-all, as reported by Jeremy Herb.

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly told aides in the days following his 2020 election loss that he would remain in the White House rather than let incoming President Joe Biden take over, according to reporting provided to CNN from a forthcoming book by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.

“I’m just not going to leave,” Trump told one aide, according to Haberman.

“We’re never leaving,” Trump told another. “How can you leave when you won an election?”

Trump’s insistence that he would not be leaving the White House, which has not been previously reported, adds new detail to the chaotic post-election period in which Trump’s refusal to accept his defeat and numerous efforts to overturn the election result led to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by pro-Trump rioters.

Ilya Kabakov, “10 characters”, album no. 6 “The Flying Mosquito” (1994)

The man is so narcissistic he’s delusional.  Let’s switch topics now!

Today’s New York Times has this headline: “Russia’s Retreat in Ukraine Pokes Holes in Putin’s Projection of Force. Russia’s military setbacks may be weakening President Vladimir V. Putin’s reputation at home as a savvy geopolitical strategist.”  Ah, tales of yet another delusional narcissist.

Ukraine’s rout of Russian forces this weekend is creating a new kind of political challenge for President Vladimir V. Putin: It undercuts the image of competence and might that he has worked for two decades to build.

On Sunday, the Russian military continued to retreat from positions in northeastern Ukraine that it had occupied for months. State television news reports referred to the retreat as a carefully planned “regrouping operation,” praising the heroism and professionalism of Russian troops.

But the upbeat message did little to dampen the anger among supporters of the war over the retreat and the Kremlin’s handling of it. And it hardly obscured the bind that Mr. Putin now finds himself in, presiding over a six-month war against an increasingly energized enemy and a Russian populace that does not appear to be prepared for the sacrifices that could come with an escalating conflict.

“Strength is the only source of Putin’s legitimacy,” Abbas Gallyamov, a former speechwriter for Mr. Putin who is now a political consultant living in Israel, said in a phone interview. “And in a situation in which it turns out that he has no strength, his legitimacy will start dropping toward zero.”

Putin is now facing internal dissent.  This is something that would be unimaginable before the Invasion of Ukraine.  From The Hill link above: “Russian municipal deputies call for Putin’s resignation.” 

More than 30 Russian municipal deputies have signed a petition calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s resignation.

The petition, posted by Xenia Torstrem, a deputy in St. Petersburg’s Semyonovsky District, was originally signed by 19 officials.

“We, the municipal deputies of Russia, believe that the actions of President Vladimir Putin harm the future of Russia and its citizens,” a translation of the petition reads. “We demand the resignation of Vladimir Putin from the post of President of the Russian Federation!”

The petition comes as the Ukrainian military pursues a counteroffensive, quickly reclaiming territory and pushing Russian troops back to the northeastern border in some places.

The push’s initial gains have provoked some criticisms of Putin inside the country, a rare rebuke of Russia’s longtime leader who over the years has sought to stifle opposition.

This reporting from The Washington Post is breathtaking.

In the end, the Russians fled any way they could on Friday, on stolen bicycles, disguised as locals. Hours after Ukrainian soldiers poured into the area, hundreds of Russian soldiers encamped in this village were gone, many after their units abandoned them, leaving behind stunned residents to face the ruins of 28 weeks of occupation.

“They just dropped rifles on the ground,” Olena Matvienko said Sunday as she stood, still disoriented, in a village littered with ammo crates and torched vehicles, including a Russian tank loaded on a flatbed. The first investigators from Kharkiv had just pulled in to collect the bodies of civilians shot by Russians, some that have been lying exposed for months.

“I can’t believe that we went through something like this in the 21st century,” Matvienko said, tears welling.

The Threat of War (1986).” Art by Maria Prymachenko, This painting was destroyed in a Russian bombing.

While the Ukrainians struggle to hold on to their democracy, we appear to have about 1/3 of the population that are “democracy deniers.”  This is according to a poll by Axios.  The results are stomach-churning.   Axios refers to this poll as the Two Americas Index.

About one in three Americans prefers strong unelected leaders to weak elected leaders and says presidents should be able to remove judges over their decisions, according to the latest findings from our Axios-Ipsos Two Americas Index.

Why it matters: The findings from this poll shatter the myth that Americans overwhelmingly agree on a common set of democratic values around checks and balances on elected leaders, protection of minority rights and freedom of speech.

  • They’re also a reality check against President Biden’s speech that portrayed threats to democracy as solely driven by Republican supporters of former President Trump who refuse to accept that he lost the 2020 election.

What we’re watching: In this poll, significant minorities of Republicans and Democrats supported non-democratic norms in about equal percentages — and Democrats were more likely than Republicans to say presidents should be able to remove judges when their decisions go against the national interest.

  • Many Americans also believe the government should follow the will of the majority even at the expense of ethnic and religious minority groups’ civil rights.
  • And roughly a third said the federal government should be able to prosecute members of the news media who make offensive or unpatriotic statements.
  • Respondents younger than 35 or with household incomes below $75,000 a year were more likely to favor strong unelected leaders and to support prosecuting the media or empowering presidents to remove judges.

The big picture: If you’re looking for good news in this poll, it is primarily that the people who embrace the anti-democratic views are still in the minority.

  • But the findings are a reminder that for all of the attention and congressional hearings around the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, anti-democratic views take many forms.

What they’re saying: “There’s a lot of anti-democratic sentiment, a lot more than we might have expected,” said Justin Gest, an associate professor at George Mason University who studies the politics of demographic change and advises the project.

  • The survey’s questions pose “hard tests” for society, Gest said — tradeoffs between “what’s expedient and best for the individual, and what actually sustains the integrity of our political institutions.”

  • Values like minority rights, separation of church and state and freedom of the press are “key foundations” of democracy but “they’re far from being fully supported by Americans,” Gest said. “These are things you’d think would be universal.”

You may read more analysis at the link.

One last bit of Trump weirdness.  Yesterday, Trump was seen deplaning from a private plane in Washington, D.C.”  The guessing game as to why he was there is on.

Conspiracy Update?

 

 

Have a great week! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: MALcontents

Good morning. Just going to dive into the cartoons, via Cagle:

Read this thread all the way through:

Fuck Herschel Walker.

This is all for now, it’s an open thread.


Monday Reads: More June Justice

Eastern Daylight time

Good Day Sky Dancers!

It’s going to be an interesting week as we start the January 6 committee’s public hearings on the insurrection on Thursday evening.  The times are listed in EDT to the left of the headline.  NBC asks the big questions: “The Jan. 6 committee begins hearings with a big challenge: Capture public attention. Whether the public hearings will be considered a success for Democrats largely depends on what comes after and whether legislation or prosecutions follow.”

Seldom has a set of congressional hearings opened amid so much anticipation and, at the same time, so little guarantee of success.

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitolwill hold the first of at least a half-dozen public hearings this week, having already promised stunning revelations that would lay bare just how dangerously close the U.S. came to losing its democracy.

“It’s all about democratic resiliency. Can we fortify our institutions and our people against insurrection, coups and violence?” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a committee member, told NBC News. “I hope we will be able to spur the country to make the necessary reforms to solidify democracy.”

Thursday is when the suspense lifts and the nine-member committee gets to tell all.

But what will success look like? The question has weighed on committee members and congressional Democrats who have invited the panel to present both a definitive accounting of the riot and tangible solutions to prevent another.

What comes later is likely to determine whether the committee’s work is judged a success or a failure, according to interviews with more than 20 committee members, other lawmakers, witnesses, congressional aides and political strategists.

As the panel sees it, the hearings can’t just come and go. Members are looking for accountability. The committee isn’t a law enforcement body, so it can’t prosecute anyone. Yet if members lay out a compelling story about the far-flung effort to deny Joe Biden his rightful victory, it could pressure the Justice Department to ramp up its own inquiry.

“I am really very hopeful that what [the committee] will produce will be a road map — not just for Congress, but for the Department of Justice and for the American people who want to preserve our democracy,” Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, who was trapped in the gallery of the House chamber during the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, said in an interview.

This is Kristal. She was three weeks old and riddled with fleas when we cleaned her up and started bottle feeding her. Temple adores her. She’s healthy and active now!

If you’ve been on Twitter at all this morning, you’ll notice that the cult that controlled Amy Coney Barrett is in the news.  This is from The Guardian. Why do almost all of these religious cult stories come with sordid tales of child abuse and perversion?  “Legal claims shed light on founder of faith group tied to Amy Coney Barrett.  Examination of People of Praise comes as supreme court seems poised to reverse Roe v Wade.”  Little Miss Amy’s job was to control the women.

The founder of the People of Praise, a secretive charismatic Christian group that counts supreme court justice Amy Coney Barrett as a member, was described in a sworn affidavit filed in the 1990s as exerting almost total control over one of the group’s female members, including making all decisions about her finances and dating relationships.

The court documents also described alleged instances of a sexualized atmosphere in the home of the founder, Kevin Ranaghan, and his wife, Dorothy Ranaghan.

The description of the Ranaghans and accusations involving their intimate behavior were contained in a 1993 proceeding in which a woman, Cynthia Carnick, said that she did not want her five minor children to have visitations with their father, John Roger Carnick, who was then a member of the People of Praise, in the Ranaghan household or in their presence, because she believed it was not in her children’s “best interest”. Cynthia Carnick also described inappropriate incidents involving the couple and the Ranaghan children. The matter was eventually settled between the parties.

Barrett, 50, lived with Dorothy and Kevin Ranaghan in their nine-bedroom South Bend, Indiana, home while she attended law school, according to public records. The justice – who was then known as Amy Coney – graduated from Notre Dame Law School in 1997 and two years later married her husband, Jesse Barrett, who also appears to have lived in the Ranaghan household. There is no indication that Amy Coney Barrett lived in the house at the time when the Carnick children were visiting or witnessed any of the alleged behavior described in the court documents.

The examination of the People of Praise’s history and attitude towards women comes as a majority of the supreme court – including Barrett – appear poised to reverse Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal across the US.

Cynthia Carnick stated in the documents that she had witnessed Dorothy Ranaghan tie the arms and legs of two of the Ranaghans’ daughters – who were three and five at the time the incidents were allegedly witnessed – to their crib with a necktie. She also said that the Ranaghans allegedly practiced “sexual displays” in front of their children and other adults, such as Dorothy Ranaghan lying with her clothes on and “rocking” on top of Kevin Ranaghan in their TV room.

Cynthia Carnick – who no longer uses Carnick as her last name – declined to comment but said that she stood by the statement she made at the time.

Kristal was teeny tiny and this shows it best. She was about 3-4 weeks old a month ago.This is horrifying.  We have too many sick, sick individuals on the Supreme Court right now appointed by Republicans appeasing these types of cults.  One piece of good news on the SCOTUS front did come out today. This is from USA Today.  “Supreme Court declines appeal over law licenses from St. Louis couple who waved guns at protest. Mark and Patricia McCloskey drew national attention for walking onto their front yard with guns during a 2020 protest of the police killing of George Floyd.”

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from a St. Louis couple potentially facing indefinite suspension of their law licenses after they waved guns at a racial justice protest outside their home in 2020.

Mark McCloskey, a personal injury attorney and Republican candidate for Senate in Missouri, and his wife Patricia McCloskey drew national attention for walking onto their front yard with guns during a protest of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The protesters were walking to the home of the St. Louis mayor at the time.

Mark McCloskey pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge and Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment. Missouri Gov. Michael Parson pardoned the McCloskeys in 2021 but the state office responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct by lawyers sought to suspend their law licenses.

Kristal by the same remote this week.

Rebecca Traister has a long piece up at The Cut on Senator DiFi.  “The Institutionalist Dianne Feinstein fought for gun control, civil rights, and abortion access for half a century. Where did it all go wrong?”

Feinstein is now both the definition of the American political Establishment and the personification of the inroads women have made over the past 50 years. Her career, launched in a moment of optimism about what women leaders could do for this country, offers a study in what the Democratic Party’s has not been able to do. As Feinstein consolidated her power at the top of the Senate, the party’s losses steadily mounted. It has lost control of the Supreme Court; it is likely about to lose control of Congress. Children are being gunned down by the assault weapons Feinstein has fought to ban, while the Senate — a legislative body she reveres — can only stand by idly, ultimately complicit. States around the nation are banning books about racism as Black people are being shot and killed in supermarkets. Having gutted the Voting Rights Act, conservatives are leveraging every form of voter suppression they can, while the Senate cannot pass a bill to protect the franchise. The expected overturning of Roe v. Wade this summer will mark a profound step backward, a signal that other rights won during Feinstein’s adulthood, including marriage equality and full access to contraception, are just as vulnerable.

As the storied career of one of the nation’s longest-serving Democrats approaches its end, it’s easy to wonder how the generation whose entry into politics was enabled by progressive reforms has allowed those victories to be taken away. And how a woman who began her career with the support of conservationist communities in San Francisco, and who staked her political identity on advancing women’s rights, is now best known to young people as the senator who scolded environmental-activist kids in her office in 2019 and embraced Lindsey Graham after the 2020 confirmation hearings of Amy Coney Barrett, a Supreme Court justice who appears to be the fifth and final vote to end the constitutional right to an abortion. As Feinstein told Graham, “This is one of the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in.”

For many from a younger and more pugilistic left bucking with angry exasperation at the unwillingness of Feinstein’s generation to make room for new tactics and leadership before everything is lost, the senator is more than simply representative of a failed political generation — she is herself the problem. After she expressed her unwillingness to consider filibuster reform last year, noting that “if democracy were in jeopardy, I would want to protect it, but I don’t see it being in jeopardy right now,” The Nation ran a piece headlined “Dianne Feinstein Is an Embarrassment.”

Feinstein, who turns 89 in June, is older than any other sitting member of Congress. Her declining cognitive health has been the subject of recent reporting in both her hometown San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times. It seems clear that Feinstein is mentally compromised, even if she’s not all gone. “It’s definitely happening,” said one person who works in California politics. “And it’s definitely not happening all the time.”

Reached by phone two days after 19 children were murdered in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in late May, Feinstein spoke in halting tones, sometimes trailing off mid-sentence or offering a non sequitur before suddenly alighting upon the right string of words. She would forget a recently posed question, or the date of a certain piece of legislation, but recall with perfect lucidity events from San Francisco in the 1960s. Nothing she said suggested a deterioration beyond what would be normal for a person her age, but neither did it demonstrate any urgent engagement with the various crises facing the nation.

“Oh, we’ll get it done, trust me,” she assured me in reference to meaningful gun reform. Every question I asked — about the radicalization of the GOP, the end of Roe, the failures of Congress — was met with a similar sunny imperviousness, evincing an undiminished belief in institutional power that may in fact explain a lot about where Feinstein and other Democratic leaders have gone wrong. “Some things take longer than others, and you can only do what you can do at a given time,” she said. “That doesn’t mean you can’t do it at another time. And so one of the things that you develop is a certain kind of memory for progress: when you can do something in terms of legislation and have a chance of getting it through, and when the odds are against it, meaning the votes and that kind of thing. So I’m very optimistic about the future of our country.”

Krystal bonded with Temple pretty quickly while the other cats are still getting adjusted to her.

It’s a long read but well worth it if you remember the year of the woman that brought a few more women senators to the District.  There are also two features on some of the worst of the worst Republicans if you want to check them out.  Steve Bannon is the Focus of “American Rasputin” at The Atlantic.  Blind justice is still chasing that one. Hot Air follows the latest Elon Musk Drama with the headline “BREAKING: Musk threatens to dump deal in letter to Twitter, SEC.”  The last one doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s from The Bulwark. “The Long History of Glenn Greenwald’s Kissing Up to the Kremlin. In his world, it seems America can do nothing right and Vladimir Putin can do nothing wrong.”  I really don’t want to quote them but you may want to skim them and see if anything interests you. I’ll give you a taste of Cathy Young’s piece on Greenwald.

But Greenwald has been baffling and disappointing legions of his progressive admirers for years with his cozy relationship with the MAGA right. And a look at his career shows that his pro-Kremlin affinity goes way back—as part of a more general tendency to sympathize with foes of the U.S.-led “neoliberal” (or “neoconservative”) international order.

A CBS poll shows how out of step a lot of Republicans are with the rest of the county. “In a new @CBSNewsPoll , 72% of the nation believes mass shootings are preventable, however, there is a partisan split with 44% of Republicans saying mass shootings are something we have to accept.”  That’s like basically saying we can’t cure all cancers so just give up on it.  Or maybe, what you have is cancer, so we’ll just inject more cancer in there.

I just really have trouble understanding this viewpoint.  It seems so irrational.

Calendar Girl Kristal

This weekend saw 7 mass shootings.  This is from Axios. “At least 54 injured, 11 killed in 7 separate mass shootings this weekend.”  These shootings show the disturbing trend of increasingly younger shooters. Most of these were due to young men solving their personal issues with guns,

The big picture: Most of the deadliest shootings in the U.S. since 2018 were committed by men who were 21 or younger.

  • Between the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, committed by a 20-year-old, and late 2017, killers were between the ages of 26 and 64. All of them were men.
  • When looking at school shootings specifically, killers tend to be younger, PolitiFact reports.
  • Nearly half of homicides in 2020 were committed by people 29 and under, according to the most recent FBI data on the matter.
  • Wednesday’s shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was committed by a man in his 40s who was targeting a doctor he blamed for his back pain.

The problem seems to be getting worse. Per the New York Times, only two of the deadliest mass shootings from 1949 to 2017 were committed by gunmen under 21. The two were the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.

“We see two clusters when it comes to mass shooters, people in their 40s who commit workplace type shootings, and a very big cluster of young people — 18, 19, 20, 21 — who seem to get caught up in the social contagion of killing,” Jillian Peterson, a criminal justice professor who helped found the Violence Project, told the New York Times.

State of play: Under federal law, a person has to be 18 or older to buy a shotgun or a rifle, though some states have a higher limit of 21. Additionally, there is no law preventing teens or even kids from being given a rifle as a gift.

Something could be done to lessen the ability of the under 21 crowd to access guns.

Oh to be able to sleep like a kitten!

So I hope my sweet fluffy kitten brightens your day even if the situation in our country is dire.  Even local Republicans are bracing for the impact of Trump on their next round of primaries. This is from Natasha Korecki at NBC News. “Republicans brace for next round of Trump primary chaos. State party officials and other members of the GOP in Nevada, Wisconsin and Missouri say they’re concerned about coming contests and the effects of Trump’s 2020 fixation.”

“I wish Trump would sit down and keep quiet. I think the country’s had enough of him,” said Perry DiLoreto, a prominent Nevada businessman and longtime GOP donor who backed Trump in 2016 and 2020.

In the state’s upcoming GOP primary for Senate, he ignored Trump’s endorsement of former Nevada attorney general Adam Laxalt and instead supported retired Army Capt. Sam Brown.

“Donald Trump was a great example of somebody that had some good ideas and had good common sense. But to move any of those ideas forward, you have to know how to have civil dialogue with people,” DiLoreto said.

Republicans in states like Nevada, Missouri and Wisconsin are airing their frustrations as they brace for primaries that could play a heavy hand in the fate of governor races or ultimately Senate control in November. Republicans in these states say they are increasingly turned off by Trump’s fixation on the unfounded contention that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, particularly since changes in voting laws have already played out in many states.

Their grumbling comes on the heels of a blowout loss of Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate David Perdue in Georgia — he lost by 50 points – only for Trump to push voter fraud conspiracy claims afterward. And it comes after the messy results in the Pennsylvania Senate primary, where Mehmet Oz and David McCormick went into overtime amid the narrowest of Oz leads. This again had Trump, who endorsed Oz, crying foul over ballot counting. (McCormick conceded on Friday.) Trump also backed far-right state Sen. Doug Mastriano in the governor’s contest, who went on to win, prompting an eruption within the state’s GOP that now fears it could lose a once competitive governor’s mansion in the fall.

The seesaw of emotions Republicans are expressing comes as more of the party rank and file members — who still adoringly back Trump and his politics  — show signs that they’re open to new faces in the party to run for president in 2024.

I think expecting Orange Caligula to sit down and be quiet is a tall order.  Hope springs eternal they say!

Anyway, enough for me today!  What’s on your reading and blogging list?

And the sourdough boule is done!!!

 


Memorial Day Reads: To those who died in Service to our country and democracy

“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.” – Harry S. Truman

Good Day Sky Dancers!

Today was the day my family picnicked through Kansas and Missouri Cemeteries to decorate the graves of those relatives who died fighting for the Union and also my dad’s Uncle Johnny–his namesake–who died of mustard gas in World War I.  The older I get, the more I miss these old little family rituals.  War may not make much sense but at least we can understand it and have tried to find alternatives to it.  Well, everyone but Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger and Putin and a few other fascists.

Today’s memorial rituals include remembering children slaughtered in schools and grandmothers grocery shopping.  Fighting for democracy here or abroad seems so different from this.  I want to share this fact-checker from The Washington post last week. It debunks all Republican talking points about mental illness, the infamous good guy with a gun, and every other piece of shit lie they take along with their NRA blood money. Presidents should absolutely pay tribute to our war dead.  It’s a damned shame when their other duty is to mourn the loss of someone’s Gramma buying groceries in a store, or an innocent child just going to elementary school, or a group of people at prayer in a church basement or celebrating Shabbat in their synagogue, or people in a movie theatre …

Let me pick some facts for you from the article written by Glenn Kessler.

An upcoming paper for the Justice Department, written by a team led by James Alan Fox of Northeastern UniversityGrant Duwe of the Minnesota Department of Corrections and Michael Rocque of Bates College, attempts to craft a common definition: A mass public shooting is any event in which four or more individuals, not including the assailant(s), were killed by gunfire in a public setting within a 24-hour period. Mass shootings associated with criminal activity are excluded.

Under this definition, there were three or four mass shootings a year through most of the 2010s, but then the number spiked to seven in 2017, 10 in 2018 and eight in 2019, according to the database, provided to the Fact Checker by Duwe.

The team, drawing on the existing databases and supplemental research, found that “the number of mass public shootings has indeed increased over the past four and one-half years, particularly over the past decade. However, even at its peak in 2018, the number of such incidents has not surpassed ten in any year, and often has been much lower.” Moreover, some of the increase can be linked to growth in population. The incident count tripled since the mid-1970s but the rate per 100 million of population increased by a factor of two.

Joe Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, pay their respects to the victims of Saturday’s shooting at a memorial across the street from the Tops Market in Buffalo. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

This is undoubtedly due to the number of men who now have easy access to weapons of war. My state is number one this year for mass shootings and the Republican whackos serving there are also serving up less and less gun control ala Texas.  This is from my university’s national public radio station. “Louisiana leads nation in rate of mass shootings in 2022”.

In the first six months of 2022, Louisiana’s per capita rate of mass shootings has far outpaced any other state and is nearly six times the national average, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

So far this year, Louisiana — which ranks 27th in population size — has experienced 16 mass shootings, trailing only California, 20, and Texas, 21. Louisiana’s mass shooting incidents have left nearly 80 people injured and nine people dead.

The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as an incident “with a minimum of four victims shot, either injured or killed, not including any shooter who may also have been killed or injured.” There’s no uniform or official definition of a mass shooting, though many groups use similar parameters as the Gun Violence Archive.

Louisiana’s mass shootings have taken place across the state. In Lafayette, twelve people were injured after a shooting involving multiple suspects and officers. In New Orleans, gunfire directed at a bar on Magazine Street left six injured this past April. Ten people were shot in Bogalusa after a Mardi Gras parade in March. Nearly half of the mass shooting incidents this year have taken place in the state’s major metro areas: Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Both cities have seen a surge in gun violence and homicides this year, following a nationwide trend in spikes of violent crime.

1 dead, 7 injured in a Taft, Oklahoma festival shooting over the Memorial Day Weekend  Creator: Ian Maule | Credit: AP

As you may be aware, I was caught on the edge of two shootings last month by simply crossing the street from my neighbor’s house and walking my dog.  A young woman died in the first one.  She got caught in the crossfire.  This is also from WAPO: “U.S. marks Memorial Day weekend with at least 11 mass shootings. Since the Uvalde, Tex., elementary school tragedy, there have been at least 14 other shootings that had at least four victims”.

At least seven people have been killed and 49 injured in the mass shootings over the holiday weekend, according to GVA and local news sources. Since the Uvalde shooting last Tuesday, at least10 people have been killed and 61 injured in mass shootings.

Brian Stelter, chief media correspondent and news anchor at CNN, interrupted a broadcast Sunday about the response to the mass shooting in Uvalde to tell viewers about another — in Tennessee.

“Mass killings like Buffalo and Uvalde become national news, but many mass shootings do not. They just end up being local stories,” Stelter said, in a clip that has been viewed over 334,000 times on Twitter.

Saturday evening, six teenagers were injured by gunfire in Chattanooga, Tenn., in what Mayor Tim Kelly said was probably “an altercation between other teenagers.”

The victims, in this case, were 13 and 15.

Let’s go back ack to the previous article on gun regulations.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed into law a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines (LCMs), defined as those that could hold more than 10 rounds. The law — which grandfathered in an estimated 1.5 million assault weapons and 25 million LCMs already owned by Americans — was in place for 10 years until Congress let it lapse.

Even supporters of the law have acknowledged that it was riddled with loopholes, such as allowing copycat weapons to be sold, that limited its effectiveness. Some research, however, suggests the ban became more effective toward the end of the 10-year period because it helped cap and then reduce the supply of assault weapons and LCMs.

Biden claimed that mass shooting deaths tripled after the law expired. He appears to be relying on a study of mass shooting data from 1981 to 2017, published in 2019 in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery by a team led by Charles DiMaggio, a professor of surgery at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. That group found that an assault weapons ban would have prevented 314 out of 448, or 70 percent, of the mass shooting deaths during the years when the ban was not in effect. But the data used in that study has come under attack by some analysts.

Meanwhile, Louis Klarevas, a research professor at Teachers College at Columbia University, studied high-fatality mass shootings (involving six or more people) for his 2016 book “Rampage Nation.” He said that compared with the 10-year period before the ban, the number of gun massacres during the ban period fell by 37 percent and that the number of people dying because of mass shootings fell by 43 percent. But after the ban lapsed in 2004, the numbers in the next 10-year period rose sharply — a 183 percent increase in mass shootings and a 239 percent increase in deaths.

Antonio Basco cries while standing next to the cross for his partner Margie Reckard at the makeshift memorial for the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, Aug. 5, 2019.

There’s this too from the Kessler article.

Christopher S. Koper, an associate professor of criminology at George Mason University, said in a 2020 study that LCMs enable rapid spray fire that gives shooters the ability to wound higher numbers of victims in public settings. So restrictions on LCMs can have an effect.

“Data on mass shooting incidents suggest these magazine restrictions can potentially reduce mass shooting deaths by 11 percent to 15 percent and total victims shot in these incidents by one quarter, likely as upper bounds,” Koper wrote, adding, “It is reasonable to argue that the federal ban could have prevented some of the recent increase in persons killed and injured in mass shootings had it remained in place.”

Moreover, a number of studies of state-level bans on LCMs, such as by Mark Gius of Quinnipiac University and by Klarevas, indicate that such laws are associated with a significantly lower number of fatalities in mass shootings. Fox co-wrote a 2020 study of state gun laws that concluded that bans on LCMs are associated with 38 percent fewer fatalities and 77 percent fewer nonfatal injuries when a mass shooting occurred.

One final thought from the same article.

That makes it difficult to know when to draw the line, especially because mental illness is not a predictor of violence. “Databases that track gun homicides, such as the National Center for Health Statistics, similarly show that fewer than 5 percent of the 120,000 gun-related killings in the United States between 2001 and 2010 were perpetrated by people diagnosed with mental illness,” noted Jonathan Metzl and Kenneth MacLeish of Vanderbilt University in a 2016 study. They said that other factors, such as alcohol and drug use, may increase the risk of turning toward violent crime even more. A history of childhood abuse is also considered a predictive risk factor.

Red-flag (“extreme risk”) laws — which generally allow police to take firearms away from people who exhibit concerning behavior — have been passed in 19 states and the District of Columbia, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for gun-control laws. Between 1999 and 2021, at least 16,857 extreme risk petitions were filed, the group says. Florida, which passed such a law after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, has used it 6,000 times since then.

There are other possibilities like universal background checks discussed.  It’s really a worthwhile read since it basically uses peer-reviewed research by major organizations and universities.

A choir sings to support families in Uvalde.

Here’s some latest news as we find more out about the Robb Elementary school shooting. This is from CNN: “A 9-year-old describes escaping through a window during the Uvalde school massacre as anger mounts over police response.”  Do you remember Uvalde where all the good guys with the guns stood around for nearly an hour or went in to grab their own kids?

As a gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and started firing, one student said his wounded teacher texted 911 for help.

Daniel, 9, alongside his mother, Briana Ruiz, told CNN the gunman fired several shots into his classroom after being unable to enter. The door had been locked by his teacher, and the bullets fired struck the teacher as well as a classmate.

The deadly rampage at Robb Elementary marked at least the 30th shooting at a K-12 school in just the first five months of this year. It was the deadliest school shooting since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.Daniel survived by first “hiding under a table next to the wall.” He said he could see the gunman through the door’s window.

“I could still see his face,” the boy said. “I could see him staring at people in front of me.”

The scene at the memorial of the King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado, on April 2, 2021. Ten people died in a mass shooting at the store on March 22, 2021. Courtesy of David Kalish

Why are we like this?  Are we reliving the days of the Wild West and the slaughter of Native Americans as we steal their land?  Are we stuck in the Fugitive Slave Law Days or the Lynchings of Jim Crow?   Are we on some kind of Crusade against everyone who does not worship the select god and manner we’ve been raised with?  All of this is definitely Western History. It’s our history.  Why are we repeating it every time the country makes little progress towards liberty and justice for all?  Well, let me also make this clear.  This royal “we” refers to the men in this country.  It’s rare for a woman to do this.  Remember the NPR article I suggested last week where there are two clusters of men or boys that do this? 

Densley and Peterson said they see two kinds of age clusters of mass shooters: Men in their mid-40s for those who are workplace shooters and school shooters or those involved in other types of mass shootings between the ages of 15 and 24.

Of the 180 instances of mass shootings in the U.S. they’ve studied, they found that there are only two cases where women acted alone.

It’s always men otherwise, Peterson said.

“We know that 18 is this kind of fragile age, this kind of coming of age where people tend to have mental health crises, or they may feel suicidal,” she said.

These shootings are emblematic of that.

The shooters have “the desire to have that pain, and that anger be known to the world, to have us all watch and witness it, to hear their names, to see their pictures, to read what they’ve left behind for us to read. These are public performances meant for us to watch,” she said.

Notably, in many places in the U.S., it’s also the age they can legally buy their weapons of choice.

It’s time to take all these studies seriously and change the gun laws since we obviously can’t change the boys and men.  Europe and Japan know what works.  Most civilized countries know what works.  It’s about not having an Ok Corral atmosphere with a group of testosterone-driven mouth-breathers taking their grievances out on the rest of us.

If they can’t Man Up, then they shouldn’t be able to get to play with grown-up toys.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday Reads: America has a gun fetish that’s killing us

The Super Flower Blood Moon eclipse of 2022 over my house last night.

Good Day Sky Dancers!

I gaze through my Twitter feed which is loaded with all these photos of wipipo and their small army of indoctrinated children looking like they’re all about to head to The Aluminium Warehouse Church of the Almighty Dollar to get their sanctimony on or to everyone’s favorite store, movie theatre, or place of actual worship to slaughter the rest of us.

I’m trolling my stupid Senator again because he doesn’t seem to have any concept of being moral even though he throws bible verses on his feed day after day. Sometimes he sounds almost normal and then, he goes down the MAGA rabbit hole and sounds like a monster.

I am just sick of all the gun violence and white national terrorist violence and murder. I know I keep writing about it but folks like my one semi-cogent Senator are just fixated on all the wrong problems. For one, why do kids have access to dangerous weapons of war? For another, at what point do we start looking at Terrorist Manifestos and “news” broadcasts domestically and say this isn’t free speech, it is violent insurrection talking?

This is your basic child abuse. They look like a cult! And this is what their children grow up to do:

And this is your basic horrid policy. Let’s kill a lot of people by linking these two things together! And of course, let’s ignore gun violence even if you’re a doctor and every doctor’s organization calls it a Public Health Crisis.

Please read that thread from Sherrilyn Iffel. It’s enlightening. Please read this one too!!!

I’ve been caught in several shootouts in my neighborhood recently. The abandoned Naval Base is full of methheads and heroin addicts who come from the rural areas to the city. There are gunshots at least once a day. There have been at least 4 deaths there this month that are known around here from there. The police seem absolutely unable to do anything. Our crime wave is due to the long-ignored Opioid crisis. Why don’t we see some action there?

I grew up in a small Iowa town with a lot of people that had guns specifically for hunting. All I ever saw was the meat my dad would bring home when his friends shared their bounty. I have lived in this neighborhood for over 20 years and it was labeled as dangerous when I moved here. Well, the demographics have changed and the violence is appalling now. I’ll let you read between the lines. They are getting these ideas from one Party, from their Preachers, and from the likes of Tucker Carlson on Fox News.

Congressman Adam Schiff said it out loud. Fox News, Republicans, and white nationalist xtians are killing us and our democracy. There is no other way to look at this. They are after the rights of women, religious minorities, or the nonreligious, and they are after people of color and the GLBTQ community. It’s their way or we go to prison or they just turn their maladjusted little men on us with their tactical gear and semi-automatic weapons. OR, they let big Pharma loose to turn those little men into monsters.

And they send monsters to serve at the State and Federal levels who want the process to be rigged in their favor. Otherwise, they quit or go on Fox to howl like hyenas.

The number of proposed laws catering to one very small part of the Christian belief community is astounding. I just wished that a number of people heard those of us that experienced it from the 1980s forward and actually believed what we were saying. I was under attack as not being a ‘real’ Christian because I was a social justice Methodist at the time. One of my great grandfathers was a circuit rider in the Kansas/Oklahoma area doing just about the same thing as me so it’s a long tradition in my family.

Oh, and here are some pictures of my new Kitty Cristal who was rescued from the middle of neutral ground and is now happily installed on my bed. I’m hoping to distract you from all this distress with her as much as she is doing for me.

From Salon: “Why is the Supreme Court using religious belief to alter secular law? Alito’s draft opinion is full of specious legal and historical language — but it’s just religious doctrine in drag”. This is written by Thom Hartmann.

Democrats are generally disinclined to discuss religion, much less debate it.

They like to point out that Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin were famously atheist, Thomas Jefferson and dozens of other high-profile people in the founding generation were deists (a close cousin to atheists and certainly not Christians), and that in two different places the Constitution explicitly rejects religion interfering with government or vice versa.

But it’s time to discuss religion whether we like it or not, because it’s no longer knocking on our door: Sam Alito just sent it into the house with a no-knock warrant and stun grenades that threaten to catch the place on fire.

Alito’s Dobbs v. Jackson draft opinion rests on two main premises.

The first is that the Supreme Court has no business recognizing a “right” that isn’t rooted in the nation’s “history and tradition.”

This right-wing canard has been around for years, and has been used to argue against pretty much ever form of modernity from integrated public schools to, more recently, same-sex marriage. It’s a convenient pole around which you can twist pretty much any argument you want, because American history and tradition have been all over the map during the past roughly 240 years.

For example, Alito could just as easily have pointed out that there were no federal or state laws regulating abortion at all at the founding of our republic, and they didn’t really start showing up until the 1800s as physicians were clamoring for licensure to lock midwives out of birth-related medical practice (which included abortion).

The year Virginia got an abortion-regulating law, for example, was the same year — 1847 — that the American Medical Association was founded. Ben Franklin had been dead more than a half-century and not a single signer of the Declaration of Independence was still alive.

She sure sleeps better than I do!!

Read on. We’re in the dawning of the Age of DisReason and Religious tyranny. It’s back to the Middle Ages. We also know they are a well-armed bunch of Crusaders that have been whipped up into a frenzy by the Republican Party and Fox News. They also have plenty of playgrounds out on the Internet. They’ve been stacking courts since the Reagan years and look out!

And now, we have a fringe theory guiding yet another set of their reactionary movement. This is from the New York Times: “A Fringe Conspiracy Theory, Fostered Online, Is Refashioned by the G.O.P. Replacement theory, espoused by the suspect in the Buffalo massacre, has been embraced by some right-wing politicians and commentators.”

Inside a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, a white man with a history of antisemitic internet posts gunned down 11 worshipers, blaming Jews for allowing immigrant “invaders” into the United States.

The next year, another white man, angry over what he called “the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” opened fire on shoppers at an El Paso Walmart, leaving 23 people dead, and later telling the police he had sought to kill Mexicans.

And in yet another deadly mass shooting, unfolding in Buffalo on Saturday, a heavily armed white man is accused of killing 10 people after targeting a supermarket on the city’s predominantly Black east side, writing in a lengthy screed posted online that the shoppers there came from a culture that sought to “ethnically replace my own people.”

Three shootings, three different targets — but all linked by one sprawling, ever-mutating belief now commonly known as replacement theory. At the extremes of American life, replacement theory — the notion that Western elites, sometimes manipulated by Jews, want to “replace” and disempower white Americans — has become an engine of racist terror, helping inspire a wave of mass shootings in recent years and fueling the 2017 right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Va., that erupted in violence.

But replacement theory, once confined to the digital fever swamps of Reddit message boards and semi-obscure white nationalist sites, has gone mainstream. In sometimes more muted forms, the fear it crystallizes — of a future America in which white people are no longer the numerical majority — has become a potent force in conservative media and politics, where the theory has been borrowed and remixed to attract audiences, retweets and small-dollar donations.

By his own account, the Buffalo suspect, Payton S. Gendron, followed a lonelier path to radicalization, immersing himself in replacement theory and other kinds of racist and antisemitic content easily found on internet forums, and casting Black Americans, like Hispanic immigrants, as “replacers” of white Americans. Yet in recent months, versions of the same ideas, sanded down and shorn of explicitly anti-Black and antisemitic themes, have become commonplace in the Republican Party — spoken aloud at congressional hearings, echoed in Republican campaign advertisements and embraced by a growing array of right-wing candidates and media personalities.

My Dog Temple has a new buddy.

We’ve always had ugly racist, anti-semite, white nationalist movements lurking about but now they’re weaponizing the first and second amendment against the majority. And of course, some Republicans are calling it a “false flag” operation which means this ugly ass young man was really a liberal. This Senator is a white nationalist. From HuffPo: “State Senator Who Backs White Nationalism Suggests Buffalo Shooting Was False Flag. Arizona GOP Sen. Wendy Rogers promoted a deranged conspiracy theory after 10 people were killed in what authorities say was a

A Republican state lawmaker with ties to white nationalists suggested the racially motivated mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket was staged by government agents.
“Fed boy summer has started in Buffalo,” Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers wrote on Telegram. The first-term lawmaker has built a national profile among far-right extremists with incendiary rhetoric, diehard support for former President Donald Trump and an embrace of white nationalism.

Authorities said an 18-year-old white gunman traveled several hours on Saturday to a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, where he opened fire outside at a supermarket. Thirteen people were shot; 10 died. Most were Black. The accused killer left a manifesto riddled with racist views and references to the “great replacement” conspiracy theory that white Americans are being replaced by people of color, according to The New York Times.

Oh, and then there’s this from VOX: “The Supreme Court just made it much easier to bribe a member of Congress. A case brought by Ted Cruz is a huge boon to rich candidates and moneyed lobbyists.” SCOTUS weaponized the first amendment again and there’s nothing in the original Constitution about lobbyists and dark money so please, Alito, explain this one to me in “federalist” terms.

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority has been at war with campaign finance laws for more than a dozen years, stretching at least as far back as its decision in Citizens United v. FEC (2010). On Monday, the Court’s six Republican appointees escalated this war.

The Court’s decision in FEC v. Ted Cruz for Senate is a boon to wealthy candidates. It strikes down an anti-bribery law that limited the amount of money candidates could raise after an election in order to repay loans they made to their own campaign.

Federal law permits candidates to loan money to their campaigns. In 2001, however, Congress prohibited campaigns from repaying more than $250,000 of these loans using funds raised after the election. They can repay as much as they want from campaign donations received before the election (although a federal regulation required them to do so “within 20 days of the election”).

The idea is that, if already-elected officials can solicit donations to repay what is effectively their own personal debt, lobbyists and others seeking to influence lawmakers can put money directly into the elected official’s pocket — and campaign donations that personally enrich a lawmaker are particularly likely to lead to corrupt bargains. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) manufactured a case to try to overturn that $250,000 limit, and now, the Court has sided with him.

Indeed, now that this limit on loan repayments has been struck down, lawmakers with sufficiently creative accountants may be able to use such loans to give themselves a steady income stream from campaign donors.

According to the Los Angeles Times, for example, Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) made a $150,000 loan to her campaign at 18 percent interest in 1998 — before the 2001 law was enacted. Though Napolitano did eventually reduce the interest rate on this loan to 10 percent, the high-interest loan allowed her to make a considerable profit from donors.

Okay, there’s more about this shit but I can’t do it. Maybe BB will pick up on some of it tomorrow.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today!!

And love and snuggles from all of us at the kathouse! Here’s Ted Cruz with the Last Word today.