Wednesday Reads: Oops Fukkit

I didn’t realize that today was Wednesday…

Here are a few cartoons:

To quote the director of national intelligence when he found out Trump invited the president of a hostile foreign power to the White House, “Say that again!?” • #putinwhitehouse #whitehouse #whitehouseinvitation #dni #directorofnationalintelligence #dancoats #saythatagain #foxinthehenhouse #henhouse #treasonoustrump #traitorinchief #whitehousevisit #trumpputin #editorialillustration #illustrator #digitalart

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After the Trump/Putin meeting in Helsinki, it is abundantly clear that Trump is an arm of the Kremlin. Any doubts there used to be are gone. The Trump dump hit the fan. • #treason #traitor #traitor45 #traitortrump #trumptreason #treasonoustrump #peepeetape #steeledossier #blackmail #trumpcolluded #collusion #mueller #muellerprobe #russiagate #shithitthefan

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Vladimir Putin occupies his second office. #Putin #Trump #Helsinki #OvalOffice #WhiteHouse #democracy #Russia

A post shared by Signe Wilkinson (@signewilk) on

If Trump were president in 1987, the Berlin Wall would still be standing. He would’ve sided with Gorbachev. • #surrendersummit #treasonsummit #treasonoustrump #trumpputin #trumppuppet #putinspuppet #trumpputinsummit #electionhacking #impeachtrump #impeach45 #impeachtrumpnow #impeach45now #threattonationalsecurity #foreignanddomestic

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First sketchbook pass on Helsinki Summit. #Helsinki #Putin #Trump

A post shared by Signe Wilkinson (@signewilk) on

Daily Drawing 597 – July 17th, 2018 Clown Card 20 "T is for Treason" Sean C. Jones @seancjonesart https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/07/16/republican-lawmakers-call-trump-putin-meeting-shameful/788752002/ https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2018/07/16/trump-traitor/irG5qZscfaHd4oy6yc4r2L/story.html http://thehill.com/homenews/397231-dictionarycom-shares-definition-of-traitor-after-trump-press-conference-with-putin https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/16/politics/john-mccain-statement-trump-putin-summit/index.html #dailydrawing #artofscjones #scj #seancjonesart #dumptrump #unamerican #trumpracist #traitor #treason #conman #demagogue #misogynist #liarinchief #votedemocrat #freepress #creep #spoiledbrat #sexist #moralsnotpolitics #vegasstrong #vegas #lasvegas #lasvegasart #tippyelvisartcollective

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This is an open thread.

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Friday Reads: The Fix was in (like we didn’t know that but it’s official now). We’re Live and Updating

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

I’m watching indictments of 12 Russians pour in while AG Rosenstein does a presser.  He’s taking questions now.  Members of Russian military intelligence have been indicted and those individuals were in touch with Americans. It is unclear if Americans knew their identity as Russian intelligence so no Americans have been named as of yet.  I would assume that this would be the next shoe to drop and you know whose campaign that would corner.  Election hacking is now directly tied to Putin.

Some familiar names popped up.   Guccifer 2.0 was indicted  and identified as a Russian intelligence officer.  The indictment was for crimes related to the alleged hacking of the DNC in 2016.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced on Friday that 12 Russian intelligence officers was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation. The officers are members of the GRU, and are all named as having allegedly hacked the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Democratic National Committee, and the Hillary Clinton campaign. CNN reported that prosecutors from Mueller’s office and the Justice Department’s National Security Division gave a grand jury indictment to a D.C. federal ma gistrate judge on Thursday morning. The indictment comes just one day before President Trump is set to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki for their first one-on-one meeting.

Rosenstein’s speech goes further to demonstrate this is no “witch hunt”.  Next shoe would probably come from Roger Stone and maybe more.

Today, a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned an indictment presented by the Special Counsel’s Office. The indictment charges twelve Russian military officers for conspiring to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

Eleven of the defendants are charged with conspiring to hack into computers, steal documents, and release documents in an effort to interfere with the election.

One of those defendants, and a twelfth Russian officer, are charged with conspiring to infiltrate computers of organizations responsible for administering elections, including state boards of election, secretaries of state, and companies that supply software and other technology used to administer elections.

According to the allegations in the indictment, the defendants worked for two units of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff, known as the GRU. The units engaged in active cyber operations to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. One GRU unit worked to steal information, while another unit worked to disseminate stolen information.

The defendants used two techniques to steal information. First, they used a scam known as “spearphishing,” which involves sending misleading email messages and tricking users into disclosing their passwords and security information. Second, the defendants hacked into computer networks and installed malicious software that allowed them to spy on users and capture keystrokes, take screenshots, and exfiltrate data.

The defendants accessed the email accounts of volunteers and employees of a U.S. presidential campaign, including the campaign chairman, starting in March 2016. They also hacked into the computer networks of a congressional campaign committee and a national political committee. The defendants covertly monitored the computers, implanted hundreds of files containing malicious computer code, and stole emails and other documents.

The conspirators created fictitious online personas, including “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0,” and used them to release thousands of stolen emails and other documents, beginning in June 2016. The defendants falsely claimed that DCLeaks was started by a group of American hackers and that Guccifer 2.0 was a lone Romanian hacker.

In addition to releasing documents directly to the public, the defendants transferred stolen documents to another organization, not named in the indictment, and discussed timing the release of the documents in an attempt to enhance the impact on the election.

In an effort to conceal their connections to Russia, the defendants used a network of computers located around the world, and paid for it using cryptocurrency.

The conspirators corresponded with several Americans through the internet. There is no allegation in the indictment that the Americans knew they were communicating with Russian intelligence officers.

In a second, related conspiracy, Russian GRU officers hacked the website of a state election board and stole information about 500,000 voters. They also hacked into computers of a company that supplied software used to verify voter registration information; targeted state and local offices responsible for administering the elections; and sent spearphishing emails to people involved in administering elections, with malware attached.

The indictment includes eleven criminal charges and a forfeiture allegation.

Count One charges eleven defendants for conspiring to access computers without authorization, and to cause damage to those computers, in connection with efforts to steal documents and release them in order to interfere with the election.

Counts Two through Nine charge eleven defendants with aggravated identity theft by employing the usernames and passwords of other persons to commit computer fraud.

Count Ten charges the eleven conspirators with money laundering by transferring cryptocurrencies through a web of transactions in order to purchase computer servers, register domains, and make other payments in furtherance of their hacking activities, while trying to conceal their identities and their links to the Russian government.

Count Eleven charges two defendants for a separate conspiracy to access computers without authorization, and to cause damage to those computers, in connection with efforts to infiltrate computers used to conduct elections.

Finally, a forfeiture allegation seeks the forfeiture of property involved in the criminal activity.

There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. There is no allegation that the conspiracy altered the vote count or changed any election result.

The Special Counsel’s investigation is ongoing.

Specific allegations are directly related to stealing Clinton’s voter data and to DNC emails and data. The DNC was hacked and doxed by Russian Intelligence. They also got into voter registrations and data in US states.

They’re accused of stealing usernames and passwords for multiple members of Clinton’s campaign, including chairman John Podesta. Democratic Party computer networks were also hacked.

Emails were stolen and released online to help influence the presidential election, the Justice Department said.

The indictment includes 11 criminal charges, including conspiracy, identity theft and money laundering to fund the hacking.

From the Atlantic: “The Russians Who Hacked the 2016 Election.   According to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, 12 intelligence officials stole emails and hacked into computers at the Democratic National Committee and a state board of elections.”

Friday’s indictment is important because the hacking of the DNC was the origin story for the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The DNC announced in June 2016 that its computer networks had been infiltrated, and security experts quickly concluded that Russia was behind the break-in. Further investigation by multiple American intelligence committees reached the same conclusion. Since then, there have been new allegations and revelations about Russian interference, ranging from the “troll farm” that was the target of Mueller indictments earlier this year to allegations of coordination and collusion between Russians and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

President Trump has repeatedly derided Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt,” even as it produces indictments, guilty pleas, and a pile of new, detailed information about how Russian interfered. The hacks are an especially important part of this case: Unlike claims of collusion or obstruction of justice, the hacking clearly constituted a crime, and there was a clear culprit. As a result, the fact that Mueller hadn’t charged anyone in connection with the crime until how had become conspicuous.

That curious silence ended on Friday. The defendants are charged with conspiracy against the United States, identity theft, and money laundering.

“The object of the conspiracy was to hack into the computers of U.S. persons and entities involved in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, steal documents from those computers, and stage releases of the stolen documents to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” the indictment states.

The indictment lays out in more detail than previously known how the hacking worked. While the federal government released an intelligence document explaining its conclusions, it offered little hard evidence. Mueller marshals more detailed forensic evidence, recording specific actions, down to searches run and files deleted.

According to Mueller, the GRU, Russia’s main foreign-intelligence agency, conducted the operation with the intention of interfering with the election. One unit was charged with hacking, while another had responsibility for spreading what was known.

The hacking unit used two methods. The first was spearphishing—sending emails intended to trick users into divulging user names and passwords. This was already known to be the method by which hackers got into Podesta’s email. The second was to hack into computer networks, installing malware that allowed them to spy on users, capture keystrokes, take screenshots, and steal files. In addition to the Democratic targets, the Russians allegedly tinkered with hacking state boards of election. Various reports have speculated on whether the Russians did, in fact, break into state election functions, and the indictment provides an answer.

To get the documents out, the second GRU unit created two front personas. One, called DCLeaks, released an early tranche of Podesta emails. The second, Guccifer 2.0, took his name from an earlier Romanian hacker, who became famous for releasing pictures of former President George W. Bush’s paintings. Though they pretended to be Americans and a Romanian, respectively, both DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 were Russian intelligence, Mueller charges. To cover up their tracks, they set up a network outside Russia, paid for with cryptocurrencies.

The Spearfishing started the same day that Candidate Spy “Who should Come in from the Cold” said this at a rally. July 27, 2016, Trump: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

Indictment: That evening, Russian operatives targeted Clinton campaign emails “for the first time.

So Trump’s call for Russia to hack his opponent during the election—which his defenders dismissed as a “joke”—was taken very seriously indeed by Russian hackers. He asked them to, and they did. If you are not yet convinced something went very, very wrong in the 2016 election, you might ask yourself whether at this point you’d be perfectly fine with the president shooting someone on Fifth Avenue.

I stopped writing on other things when this started coming through because it’s going to overshadow everything. You may consider this an open thread. I’ll continue to link to important analysis about this as it happens.

Robert Mueller is coming!!!

 

Justice Department link to actual indictment here (pdf).


Monday Reads: Keep on walking … keep on talking … marching up to Freedomland

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

Each day brings new surprises and new horrors.  I’m never quite sure which to read first.  I didn’t watch the news at all yesterday but some things happened. So, let’s start with the Michael Cohen’s interview with George Stephanopolous.  It’s looking more and more like he’ll be biting the hand instead of kissing the ring of KKKremlin Caligula.  Aaron Blake of The Fix at WAPO had this analysis.

Cohen agreed to this interview knowing that this would be a prominent question. And it can’t have been a coincidence that a trio of stories emerged a couple weeks back, all pointing toward possibly flipping on Trump. There was a Wall Street Journal story indicating that he was unhappy with Trump for not helping with his legal bills. CNN quoted an anonymous source close to him saying, “If they want information on Trump, he’s willing to give it.” Then Cohen resigned as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee by citing not just the investigation he faces, but his disagreement with the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border. That latter justification seemed conspicuous, given Cohen has pledged complete loyalty to Trump and rarely spoken publicly about policy.

And Cohen’s interview came with another big signal: the reported end of a joint agreement between Cohen and Trump’s legal team to share information. Such things often presage a more antagonistic relationship or even cutting a deal to inform on someone else. Michael Flynn’s lawyers stopped sharing info with Trump’s lawyers, for example, shortly before he flipped.

So, there appears to be a break in the thug fealty oath. TPM’s Kate Riga elucidates what’s at stake.

When confronted with the reality that Trump and his legal team would put a target on Cohen’s back if they perceive him to be a threat, Cohen “stiffened his spine.” “I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone’s defense strategy, I am not a villain in any story and won’t allow others to try to depict me in that way,” he told Stephanopoulos.

He even went so far as to candidly break with the President’s position on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, saying “I don’t like the term ‘witch-hunt.’ As an American, I repudiate any foreign government’s attempt to interfere in our democratic process and I would call on all Americans to do the same.”

“Simply accepting Putin’s denial is unsustainable,” he continued. “I choose to believe our intelligence agencies.”

Tantalizingly, Cohen then hinted heavily that he has information to share on two hot-button and possibly damning episodes for the President: the infamous Trump tower meeting when “dirt” on Hillary Clinton was promised, and the $130,000 hush money payout made to Stormy Daniels during the election.

On both questions, whether Trump knew of the meeting and if he had requested or promised to reimburse the payment, Cohen cryptically refused to answer—for now.

“I want to answer,” he said. “One day I will answer. But for now I can’t comment further on advice of my counsel.”

Others are more cynical.

There was a tremendous response for the June 30th rally to keep families together. I’ve included the pictures I took.  I was riding the street car home and sat by a couple in town for Essence Fest.  The husband was talking to a local woman across the way saying something like “That’s what I say but not my wife”. His wife simply eyed him and said “Well, they don’t show up for us so why should we care?”

I looked at her and decided to speak up.   My feet were hurting. I was hot and sweaty and I’m old and getting tired. I have a habit of lecturfying and I really didn’t want to do that. I told her that’s where I just was. I then added I was there for Black Lives Matters. I was there for the Women’s March and all of the End Gun Violence rallies. But more than that, I work on campaigns. I call. I leaflet. I send money if my budget allows.  Right now my priority is getting more black women into elected office.  It’s time for all of us to stand up together or we’re going to go down one a time.  Her husband agreed. I don’t think anything about what I said impressed her which is fine. I just ended with believe me, I’ll be there no matter what.

And that’s true. I’m not even afraid of getting arrested at this point.  Trump’s AmeriKKKa is ugly and getting uglier by the minute.

Which brings me to White Women; a special subclass of Wipipo (sigh). I’m reminded of the tale of the man who gets beat on at work by some prick then comes home to kick the dog and take it out on the wife and kids. What causes white women to vote for Trump then make phone calls to police about black people just living their lives which in this day and age can lead to being  shot by the police? I cannot imagine how incensed Black Americans must be by this. I’m mad at them myself and if I ever witness one she will hear mad lecturfying on my part.

Late Night with Seth Meyers delivered a topical parody of the ’80s pop song, “Somebody’s Watching Me” and the artist behind it, Rockwell, with Amber Ruffin dressing up as Rockwell and performing “White Women Watching Me”.

The Tuesday night sketch was tied to two recent viral news stories of white women calling the police in response to black people engaging in seemingly harmless acts or, as Meyers put it, people who were “just going about their business.”

Parodying Rockwell’s 1984 hit, complete with frightened glances, Ruffin sang, “All I want is to be left alone, then I see one on the phone, then it makes me feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone. I always feel like white women watching me, and I’ve got no privacy.”

On Saturday, a video was posted to Twitter in which a white woman confronted an 8-year-old black girl selling water near AT&T Park in San Francisco and threatened to call the police. The money being raised from sales was for a trip to Disneyland.

The caller in the video, Alison Ettel, has since been dubbed “Permit Patty.” The 15-second video of her calling the police went viral on social media and has received more than 9 million views.

I would just like to offer up this both in terms of good for these kids but do you suppose they had the proper permit and did white women call the police on them?

She set a goal of $1,000, but quickly surpassed that. Ultimately, her family raised a little more than $13,000.

According to Time, Gaggero ended the fundraiser after reaching $13,000, so she could quickly get the money to the organization, as “Facebook fundraisers pay out donations every two weeks once the minimum payout amount of $100 is met.”

Gaggero told Time her son was extremely happy with the outcome.

In a conversation over online messaging with All the Moms, Gaggero said she encourages people to donate to border-state organizations like RAICES, but to also do research into their own local community organizations helping immigrants.

We all need to work to correct wrongs on what ever level we can.  But back to asking WTF is wrong with the 52% of white woman that voted for the Pussy Grabber?  And, what is wrong with these white women raging mostly against children of color?

IMG_20180630_131527_040.jpgSo here’s a white rage muffin screaming rapist at a Mexican American Man simply doing yardwork.

As Estebán Guzman recalled it, his mother had just finished cleaning the inside of a client’s house and strapped on a leaf blower when the woman across the street started screaming.

It’s very likely that his mother had blown some pine needles into the next-door yard, Guzman told The Post. That can happen on big jobs like this one — where her clients wanted the entire property spick-and-span so they could rent it on Airbnb.

But the lady wasn’t screaming about pine needles.

In fact, Guzman said, she didn’t even live next door.

“She came out of the house on the other side of the street,” he said. “She came out of her home to yell at my mom . . . ‘Go back to Mexico!’ ”

Guzman stopped loading pine needles into the family dump truck and listened to the woman’s ranting over the drone of his mother’s leaf blower.

There’s this:

and this:

Okay, White Rage Muffins!  WTF is wrong with you? What kind of a miserable life created this behavior? The Root’s been calling y’all out since BBQ Becky!  Who among  us can tell you that you’re way out of line and you’re going to get people killed?

Well, today there is this: “Woman Assaulted Black Boy After Telling Him He ‘Did Not Belong’ at Pool,” Officials Say”. What the fuck year do you think this is?  Are you partying like it’s 1959?

Now, a South Carolina woman has been nicknamed Pool Patrol Paula after a widely shared video showed her accosting a black boy and his friends at a neighborhood pool, telling them to “get out” or she would call the police.

“There’s three numbers I could dial: 911. O.K.?” the woman said in the video, which was posted on Facebook on June 24 and was viewed more than a million times in a week. “Get out! Little punks.”

The authorities identified the woman as Stephanie Sebby-Strempel, 38, of Summerville, S.C., according to The News & Observer. The newspaper reported that she told the boy, 15, and his friends that “they did not belong” at the pool, instructed them to leave and hit the teenager in his face and chest.

The teenager had been invited to the private community pool by a friend who lived in the neighborhood, his lawyer, Marvin Pendarvis, said.

This White Rage Muffin landed her fat ass and big mouth in jail!!!  Look! Stephanie Sebby-Strempel living the Jim Crow Dream behind bars!

And, I would like to know how stupid you have to be for Mashable to feel the need to put up a fucking list of what WiPiPo should do before they call the police on Black People.

This behavior has deep historical roots and should be condemned by law enforcement as a nuisance. In the meantime, it’s clear that white people inclined to call authorities to report mundane or so-called suspicious behavior need an intervention. Here’s just one handy checklist for them to consult before they dial 911:

You really think something like this belongs in The Onion, but hell no, some WiPiPo so racist …

Google this “white woman calling the police on black people” and go straight into the dank minds and actions of White Rage Muffins.

Okay, with that I leave you a picture of what life was once like and we had hope and we work working on change that moved us forward!

Just breathe deeply. Say this Mantra: “We the People, in order to create a more perfect union”. Then sally forth vote, register people to vote, make phone calls for a good candidate, write a check and love your neighbor! Yes!  Even the creepy one hiding behind those hurricane shutters!  It just might be Boo Radley or better.

Some inspiration:  That’s us registering voters on Saturday. First up was a black man nearly blind from diabetes. A brand new citizen filled out his form while I provided the instructions.  She had just become a citizen the Saturday before. She was from Transylvania.   And then, we sang the songs and chants from all the great movements from abolition forward …

Citizenship is a shared venture. Being a good neighbor is a sacred vocation.  Stopping White Rage Muffins before they kill should be a calling.

I’m done lecturfying for the day.  I will stand with everyone standing for freedom and justice.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Memorial Day Reads

It’s the Memorial Day Holiday!

Sewell Chan writes for the NYT about the ‘unofficial’ history of Memorial Day. It is something we discovered and shared before but it bears repeating because it explains why the holiday still gets short shrift in here in the Deep South. It also explains why some Southern States still have a separate Confederate Memorial Day.  I still remain shocked that Mississippi refused to recognize it as a holiday until recently.

David W. Blight, a historian at Yale, has a different account. He traces the holiday to a series of commemorations that freed black Americans held in the spring of 1865, after Union soldiers, including members of the 21st United States Colored Infantry, liberated the port city of Charleston, S.C.

Digging through an archive at Harvard, Dr. Blight found that the largest of these commemorations took place on May 1, 1865, at an old racecourse and jockey club where hundreds of captive Union prisoners had died of disease and been buried in a mass grave. The black residents exhumed the bodies and gave them proper burials, erected a fence around the cemetery, and built an archway over it with the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

Some 10,000 black people then staged a procession of mourning, led by thousands of schoolchildren carrying roses and singing the Union anthem “John Brown’s Body.” Hundreds of black women followed with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses. Black men, including Union infantrymen, also marched. A children’s choir sang spirituals and patriotic songs, including “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“The war was over, and Memorial Day had been founded by African-Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration,” Dr. Blight wrotein a 2011 essay for The New York Times. “The war, they had boldly announced, had been about the triumph of their emancipation over a slaveholders’ republic. They were themselves the true patriots.”

The African-American origins of the holiday were later suppressed, Dr. Blight found, by white Southerners who reclaimed power after the end of Reconstruction and interpreted Memorial Day as a holiday of reconciliation, marking sacrifices — by white Americans — on both sides. Black Americans were largely marginalized in this narrative.

“In the struggle over memory and meaning in any society, some stories just get lost while others attain mainstream recognition,” Dr. Blight wrote.

His claim is not universally accepted; the fact-checking website Snopes says of the 1865 remembrance: “Whether it was truly the first such ceremony, and what influence (if any) it might have had on later observances, are still matters of contention.”

Here is BostonBoomer’s blog from 2014 and Mink’s from 2012.  We remember the role of slaves freed by the sacrifice of Union Soldiers in our Civil War in celebrating that sacrifice.

I always remember Decoration Day because when I was very young we would do what my parents did as children.  We went to small cemeteries in Kansas and Missouri to make certain the family grave sites were attended and clean. We picnicked  and trimmed bushes then put peonies in jars on the graves of greats and cousins who died in war. For some reason, all of our family grave plots were resplendent with huge peony bushes.  My mother always beat them back and would announce loudly how much she hated them. Peony bushes were not allowed any where near home. They were left to the dead in my family and they bloomed profusely each Memorial Day.

In Caney Kansas, where my own grandparents are now buried, lays my Great Uncle Jack along side his mother, my Great Grandmother Anna.  He didn’t die in the battlefields of Europe during World War 1 but came home with complications from Mustard Gas. He died quite young on the family farm but it was of his wounds brought home as a dough boy fighting in a trench.  Many soldiers come home with wounds seen and unseen that eventually catch up to them. I never understood why I was told Dad’s Uncle Jack wasn’t quite included in the same way as those whose graves got the peonies properly but we gave him peonies because my Dad and Nana adored him and it felt right to me.  Some times our country has a short memory with a narrow focus. It doesn’t really remember all of the sacrifices of those who came before us including every single slave who died unfree.

Today, we also remember the sacrifice of every gold star family too. I hope Cadet Bonespurs plays golf and that his selfish, hateful face stays away from the one holiday he can truly sully with just his presence. Unfortunately, he left long enough to give a lofty speech at Arlington that should have been given by any better person.  But, take heart, he still had a way of making it all about him!

I read this article last night and even reviewed the variables and methodology of the original study.  It’s amazing to actually review the panel data and see which attributes are significant to the question at hand but the findings are not surprising. NBC shares “The Trump effect: New study connects white American intolerance and support for authoritarianism.”

A new study, however, suggests that the main threat to our democracy may not be the hardening of political ideology, but rather the hardening of one particular political ideology. Political scientists Steven V. Miller of Clemson and Nicholas T. Davis of Texas A&M have released a working paper titled “White Outgroup Intolerance and Declining Support for American Democracy.” Their study finds a correlation between white American’s intolerance, and support for authoritarian rule. In other words, when intolerant white people fear democracy may benefit marginalized people, they abandon their commitment to democracy.

Miller and Davis used information from the World Values Survey, a research project organized by a worldwide network of social scientists which polls individuals in numerous countries on a wide range of beliefs and values. Based on surveys from the United States, the authors found that white people who did not want to have immigrants or people of different races living next door to them were more likely to be supportive of authoritarianism. For instance, people who said they did not want to live next door to immigrants or to people of another race were more supportive Iof the idea of military rule, or of a strongman-type leader who could ignore legislatures and election results.

The World Values Survey data used is from the period 1995 to 2011 — well before Donald Trump’s 2016 run for president. It suggests, though, that Trump’s bigotry and his authoritarianism are not separate problems, but are intertwined. When Trump calls Mexicans “rapists,” and when he praises authoritarian leaders, he is appealing to the same voters.

The Chinese Trade Wars are showing winners and losers already. Winners include Trump himself–and now, Ivanka– plus Chinese Companies including ones that threaten US National Security. The losers are US companies.  We seem completely unable to stop this.

Ivanka Trump’s brand continues to win foreign trademarks in China and the Philippines, adding to questions about conflicts of interest at the White House, The Associated Press has found.

On Sunday, China granted the first daughter’s company final approval for its 13th trademark in the last three months, trademark office records show. Over the same period, the Chinese government has granted Ivanka Trump’s company provisional approval for another eight trademark s, which can be finalized if no objections are raised during a three-month comment period.

Taken together, the trademarks could allow her brand to market a lifetime’s worth of products in China, from baby blankets to coffins, and a host of things in between, including perfume, make-up, bowls, mirrors, furniture, books, coffee, chocolate and honey. Ivanka Trump stepped back from management of her brand and placed its assets in a family-run trust, but she continues to profit from the business.

“Ivanka Trump’s refusal to divest from her business is especially troubling as the Ivanka brand continues to expand its business in foreign countries,” Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said in an email Monday. “It raises significant questions about corruption, as it invites the possibility that she could be benefiting financially from her position and her father’s presidency or that she could be influenced in her policy work by countries’ treatment of her business.”

As Ivanka Trump and her father have built their global brands, largely through licensing deals, they have pursued trademarks in dozens of countries. Those global trademarks have drawn the attention of ethics lawyers because they are granted by foreign governments and can confer enormous value. Concerns about political influence have been especially sharp in China, where the courts and bureaucracy are designed to reflect the will of the ruling Communist Party.

Chinese officials have emphasized that all trademark applications are handled in accordance with the law.

More approvals are likely to come. Online records from China’s trademark office indicate that Ivanka Trump’s company last applied for trademarks — 17 of them — on March 28, 2017, the day before she took on a formal role at the White House. Those records on Monday showed at least 25 Ivanka Trump trademarks pending review, 36 active marks and eight with provisional approval.

Don’t forget!  Trump’s Indonesia project has been financial enhanced by the Chinese Government after he announced he would help with ZTE.   China is definitely on the winning side with the Trumps.  However, what about US Businesses?  

As Washington and Beijing try to resolve their trade disputes, several big companies are caught in the middle.

One is Qualcomm (QCOM), an American chipmaker whose $44 billion purchase of NXP Semiconductors (NXPI), a Dutch company, has been waiting for Chinese regulators’ approval.

Far more controversial is the case of ZTE (ZTCOF), the Chinese phone and telecom equipment maker that was crippled by a US export ban issued last monthin punishment for what the US said were violations of its sanctions against North Korea and Iran.

Easing penalties on ZTE is a key priority for Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Trump has indicated he’s willing to yield in order to move ahead with further trade discussions.

But members of Congress from both parties, many increasingly wary of China’s trade practices, believe such leniency would be a mistake. A growing number of senatorshave drawn a red line on ZTE, and have been vocal in recent days about their opposition to restoring the company.

Are we winning yet?

Meanwhile, TrumpsterFires continue to break out as white men go after our national “enemies” like young men from China attending school  here.  This must be an additional feature to calling the police because black people are going about their lives in clear view!

California police say they thwarted a vigilante deportation attempt last week – in which a pilot allegedly kidnapped a foreign student, took him to an airport and tried to send him “back to China.”

Jonathan McConkey, a pilot and certified flight instructor, is accused of orchestrating the kidnapping with his assistant, Kelsi Hoser, a ground instructor. Both reportedly worked at the IASCO flight training school in Redding, California.

Among IASCO’s students were dozens of Chinese nationals with student visas, according to court records. KRCR News 7 reported that the school contracted with China’s civil aviation authority to train its new pilots, one of whom was apparently Tianshu Shi.

Shi told reporters that he had been in the United States for about seven months – living with several other IASCO trainees at an apartment in Redding. It was there, police said, that McConkey and Hoser came for the student.

Some interesting stats from Axios you can review.  Which part of our country has lost the most on the battlefield since 9/11?

Today is the 17th Memorial Day since 9/11. Since then, 6,940 U.S. military service members have died for America.

Why it matters: Every part of the country has lost soldiers to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All were Americans — someone’s neighbor, child, parent, mentor, buddy. Their average age was between 26 and 27 years old.

Have a great day and be safe if you’re in the path of all that weather on the East coast and the panhandle of Florida!.

 


Thursday Reads

Gustave Courbet, Le Desperere,1845

Good Morning!!

I admit it. I’m obsessed with the Trump/Russia investigation, and I think my posts have become boring because of my obsession; so today, I’m going to try avoiding the subject and hope I’ll get more readers. This post is illustrated with “selfies” from  before we had cell phones, just because. I hope you enjoy them.

Have you been getting a lot of annoying calls lately? I have. I usually don’t answer calls that come in from people I don’t know or area codes where I don’t know anyone; but once in awhile, I’ll pick up a call and it’s usually a recorded message. It turns out you can find out which numbers are robocalling your area.

From the Arlington Patch: Here’s Who Keeps Robocalling Your Area Code.

If you think you’re receiving robocalls now more than ever, you’re not wrong. According to the robocall blocker YouMail, pre-recorded phone messages are at an all-time high.

There were 3.36 billion robocalls last month in the U.S., 6.5 percent higher than the previous record and a whopping 34 percent higher than April 2017….

Mary Cassatt, Self portrait

Here are the states that received the most robocalls, as well as how many they received:

  1. California, 384.4 million
  2. Texas, 363.3 million
  3. Florida, 261.1 million
  4. Georgia, 213.6 million
  5. New York, 207.8 million
  6. Illinois, 134.6 million
  7. Ohio, 115.8 million
  8. Pennsylvania, 115.4 million
  9. North Carolina, 111 million
  10. Louisiana, 97.6 million
  11. Michigan, 89.7 million
  12. Tennessee, 88.3 million
  13. New Jersey, 84.3 million
  14. Virginia, 83 million
  15. Maryland, 79 million
  16. Alabama, 77.9 million
  17. South Carolina, 64.4 million
  18. Arizona, 60 million
  19. Missouri, 51.7 million
  20. Indiana, 51 million

Atlanta received the dubious honor of most robocalled city in America for the 29th straight month. People in that city received nearly 148 million robocalls last month and three Atlanta area codes cracked the top 20 most robocalled area code list.

Here are the top 10 most robocalled cities:

  1. Atlanta, GA
  2. Dallas, TX
  3. New York, NY
  4. Los Angeles, CA
  5. Chicago, IL
  6. Houston, TX
  7. Baltimore, MD
  8. Philadelphia, PA
  9. San Francisco Bay Area, CA
  10. Newark, NJ

M.C. Escher, Hand With Reflecting Sphere, 1935

The company says 47 of the 50 most robocalled cities in the country saw a higher robocalling volume in April. The increase comes even as lawmakers, consumer groups, telecommunications carriers and device makers pay closer attention to illegal calls.

“Despite the best efforts of regulators, industry groups, service providers, and app developers, we are warning consumers to remain vigilant by not picking up any calls from unfamiliar numbers, using robocall blocking apps, and researching numbers before calling them back,” YouMail CEO Alex Quilici said in a release.

Click here and enter an area code to see the full results.

I’m glad to know it’s not just me getting all these annoyance calls. Unfortunately, I’ve found that even when I block the numbers, they just call back from slightly different ones.

The media is currently obsessed with lecturing Democrats about how we need to be kinder and more understanding of Trump voters. Here’s a response to that from Osita Nwanevu at Slate: Liberals, It’s Not About Being Nice.

Over the weekend, the New York Times published an op-ed titled “Liberals, You’re Not As Smart As You Think.” In it, University of Virginia political science professor Gerard Alexander accuses American liberals of arrogance and warns them against making broad negative generalizations about large swaths of the population. “Liberals often don’t realize how provocative or inflammatory they can be,” he writes. “In exercising their power, they regularly not only persuade and attract but also annoy and repel.” Alexander cites a few particular examples of recent annoying and repulsive liberal behavior, including comedian Michelle Wolf’s performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, but the heart of the piece is a broad indictment of identity politics as practiced by liberals and the left. “Racist is pretty much the most damning label that can be slapped on anyone in America today, which means it should be applied firmly and carefully,” Alexander writes. “Yet some people have cavalierly leveled the charge against huge numbers of Americans—specifically, the more than 60 million people who voted for Mr. Trump. In their ranks are people who sincerely consider themselves not bigoted, who might be open to reconsidering ways they have done things for years, but who are likely to be put off if they feel smeared before that conversation even takes place.”

Jean Cooke, self portrait, 1972

The piece was the latest in an unending stream of commentary attributing Democrats’ electoral misfortunes to conservative cultural backlash—a variation on a theme in punditry that was old hat long before Hillary Clinton made the supposed mistake of calling Trump supporters “deplorables.” Alleged gaffes like that, the story goes, form part of an imperious posture Democrats take on questions of identity politics that alienates simple folk who haven’t caught up with the progressive consensus on social questions.

This argument has very little to do with the actual state of American public opinion on those questions. Survey data suggests that identity politics as practiced by Democrats and the left has been quite successful and persuasive. Take racial issues, for instance. According to Pew, the percentage of white people in America who believe that the country “needs to continue making changes to give blacks equal rights with whites” has grown by 18 points since the beginning of the decade. Most of this can be attributed to white Democrats moving left on the question, but the numbers show change on the right as well: The number of Republicans and Republican leaners who believe this has grown by six points to 36 percent over the same period. The percentage of Republicans and Republican leaners who say that “racial discrimination is the main reason why many black people can’t get ahead these days” has also jumped about five points to 14 percent. These are, of course, still small minorities on the right, but given talk about how liberal arrogance and piety have alienated those who disagree with Democrats on racial identity politics into a backlash, one would expect the numbers to show … well, a backlash. Instead, they suggest that post–Trayvon Martin, Ferguson, and Black Lives Matter, rhetoric and activism may be working quite well on a broad cross section of Americans.

It’s a lengthy, thoughtful piece. Read the rest at Slate.

What’s the “nice” response to a “president” who says things like this?

USA Today: Trump ramps up rhetoric on undocumented immigrants: ‘These aren’t people. These are animals.’

President Trump used extraordinarily harsh rhetoric to renew his call for stronger immigration laws Wednesday, calling undocumented immigrants “animals” and venting frustration at Mexican officials who he said “do nothing” to help the United States.

Pablo Picasso, Self Portrait, Facing Death, 1972

“We have people coming into the country or trying to come in, we’re stopping a lot of them, but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are,” Trump said.

“These aren’t people. These are animals.”

Trump’s comments came in a freewheeling, hour-long White House meeting with local California leaders opposed to so-called “sanctuary city” policies. “California’s law provides safe harbor to some of the most vicious and violent offenders on Earth, like MS-13 gang members putting innocent men, women, and children at the mercy of these sadistic criminals,” he said.

I can’t think of anything nice to say about that or about people who support the man who said it.

Will John Bolton destroy Trump’s dreams of a deal with North Korea?  Politico: Trump’s North Korea Nobel buzz could die with John Bolton.

Donald Trump wants a deal with North Korea. His national security adviser thinks the North Koreans can’t be dealt with. And North Korea thinks he’s “human scum.”

North Korea’s latest diatribe against the United States — and specifically a “repugnant” national security adviser, John Bolton — spotlights a core tension within the Trump administration as the president seeks a nuclear deal with North Korea that he hopes might earn him a Nobel Peace Prize.

Lee Krasner self portrait, 1930

Bolton is famously contemptuous of what he considers naïve U.S. diplomacy with foreign adversaries who can only be trusted to cRheat and lie. Prominent on his list is North Korea itself, which he has written “will never give up nuclear weapons voluntarily,” calling past U.S. diplomatic forays with the country “embarrassments.”

Trump, too, believes America has struck “terrible deals” for decades. And he shared Bolton’s intense animus for the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump torpedoed last week. But in the case of North Korea, even some Trump supporters worry the president is too eager for a deal that could dazzle the world and reap him huge political rewards.

The question now is whether Trump and Bolton can strike a constructive balance — or whether they might wind up at cross-purposes on one of the most important diplomatic experiments in U.S. history.

Read the rest at Politico.

May it would be a good thing if North Korea backs out of the summit, because Trump thinks he doesn’t need to spend a lot of time getting ready for the meeting. Time: President Trump ‘Doesn’t Think He Needs’ to Prepare Much for His Meeting With North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

With just one month until a scheduled sit-down with North Korea’s leader, President Donald Trump hasn’t set aside much time to prepare for meeting with Kim Jong Un, a stark contrast to the approach of past presidents.

“He doesn’t think he needs to,” said a senior administration official familiar with the President’s preparation. Aides plan to squeeze in time for Trump to learn more about Kim’s psychology and strategize on ways to respond to offers Kim may make in person, but so far a detailed plan hasn’t been laid out for getting Trump ready for the summit.

Even with North Korea threatening to scrap the meeting over long-planned U.S.-Korean military exercises, Trump’s aides in the White House and State Department are continuing to prepare briefing material in advance of the June 12 summit in Singapore. When asked Wednesday if he thinks Kim is bluffing, Trump responded, “We’ll see what happens.” He told reporters he still plans to insist on North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons.

So briefing materials are being prepared, but Trump isn’t going to bother to read them. Big surprise.

Paul Gaugin self portrait with halo and snake 1889

I’m going to end with just one article related to the Russia investigation. Eric Wemple at The Washington Post: New York Times acknowledges it buried the lead in pre-election Russia-Trump story.

The upside of the New York Times’ aggressive coverage of the FBI investigation into Russian election meddling is that the American public is learning more and more about recent history. The downside is that the newspaper keeps bumping into its archives.

In a massive article Wednesday on the FBI’s 2016 snooping into the possible nexus between Russians and the Trump presidential campaign, reporters Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos include these two paragraphs:

In late October, in response to questions from The Times, law enforcement officials acknowledged the investigation but urged restraint. They said they had scrutinized some of Mr. Trump’s advisers but had found no proof of any involvement with Russian hacking. The resulting article, on Oct. 31, reflected that caution and said that agents had uncovered no “conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government.”

The key fact of the article — that the F.B.I. had opened a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — was published in the 10th paragraph.

That’s one heck of a concession: We buried the lead! In their book “Russian Roulette,” authors Michael Isikoff and David Corn report that editors at the New York Times “cast the absence of a conclusion as the article’s central theme rather than the fact of the investigation itself,” contrary to the wishes of the reporters.

The article in question was published on Oct. 31, 2016, and it has received a great deal of hindsight-aided scrutiny for the role it may have played in easing voters’ concerns about ties between Donald Trump and Russia. Under the bylines of Eric Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers, the story, headlined “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia,” hit the public sphere just as other outlets — Slate and Mother Jones — published reports that began poking at the outlines of possible collusion.

But will the Times apologize to Hillary Clinton and the American people?

Those are my offerings for today; what stories are you following?


Live Blog: Chasing ‘Bloody Gina’

Scan-63-640x543Thought I’d put this up for those of us following the Senate hearings for the CIA DIrector.  This is an extremely important hearing as it continues to ask us to define who we are as a country.  KKKremlin Caligula has a history of loving the idea of torture.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that waterboarding “works.” But scientists say otherwise. Research has shown that the stress and pain caused by techniques like waterboarding can hinder a person from recalling information.

The president, who made similar claims on the campaign trail, said in a Jan. 25 interviewwith ABC News’ David Muir when asked about waterboarding, “Absolutely I feel it works.” He said that “I have spoken to others in intelligence. And they are big believers in, as an example, waterboarding. … Because they say it does work. It does work.”

A day later, in a Jan. 26 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Trump called waterboarding “just short of torture,” and said, “I will tell you, though, it works. And I just spoke to people who told me it worked, and that’s what they do.” Trump and Hannity also agreed that neither of them had “even a doubt that it works.”

This is a test of how we view our public servants and how they respond to requests to violate our standing laws.

 

 From The Daily Beast:

” ‘JUST A SYMPTOM’
‘She Should Have Fought Back. Other People Did’: Inside Gina Haspel’s Black Site
Abdul Rahim al-Nashiri’s attorneys say Donald Trump’s pick for CIA director is disqualified by her role in brutality and disrespect for the law.v “

“Under the Convention Against Torture that the U.S. is a party to, we’re obligated to pursue and prosecute torturers, not give them promotions. What does it say to the world that the person who may have been directly responsible, and certainly was indirectly responsible for this torture, who never stood up and said ‘Don’t do it,’ is now the person who might be leading the very agency we know committed that torture?”

Hollander’s client was tortured at a black site in Thailand that Haspel ran in late 2002. Declassified CIA documents indicate that Nashiri’s torture, which his attorneys say has left lasting mental damage, was controversial within the agency. But those documents provide no indication that Haspel opposed it, let alone stopped it—particularly when CIA headquarters pushed to intensify the torture at a subsequent black site. Interrogators who didn’t work directly for Haspel even engaged in a miniature revolt over torture that they considered egregious.

“The person we know most about, whom the [Senate torture report] called the ‘chief interrogator,’ he’s the only person we’re expressly aware protested Nashiri’s torture—after torturing Nashiri for quite awhile,” said Michel Paradis, a senior counsel with the Pentagon’s Office of Military Commissions who has aided Nashiri’s defense. “That’s the only one we’ve found from the black sites.”

Haspel goes before the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday morning and leaked excerpts of her opening statement indicate she will tell the panel that “under my leadership, CIA will not restart such a detention and interrogation program.” But her nomination is so far from assured, even after an intense and unusual public push from the CIA to confirm the three-decade agency veteran, that she considered quitting late last week. While the agency has emphasized everything about Haspel’s career except torture—pushing her basketball fandom and a pre-torture meeting with Mother Teresa—Trump, a vocal torture enthusiast, indicated that he considered her torture record, or “being too tough on terrorists,” a virtue.

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From WAPO; ‘Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, pledges she won’t restart interrogation program’.

Gina Haspel told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday that she “will not restart” the CIA’s brutal interrogation program if confirmed to lead the agency, and that she would obey her moral compass, not President Trump, if she is ever instructed to carry out other questionable activities.

“My moral compass is strong,” Haspel said, as the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Mark R. Warner (Va.), pressed her to define “your moral code.”

“I would not allow CIA to undertake activity that is immoral, even if it is technically legal. I would absolutely not permit it,” Haspel continued. “I believe CIA must undertake activities that are consistent with American values.”

Senators have asked several of Trump’s Cabinet nominees to commit to stand up to the president, and inform Congress if he were to pressure them to do anything legally or morally questionable. But the pledge takes on extra significance with Haspel, whose hearing centered around the role she played in the CIA’s interrogation program — something Trump said on the campaign trail he wouldn’t mind bringing back into practice.

Haspel told senators that she doubted the president would ever ask her to waterboard a suspect, stressing that experience had shown that the “CIA is not the right place to conduct interrogations” as it does not have the proper expertise.

The WAPO site is livecasting the hearing.

Please add what you think about all of this.


Monday Reads: Ball of Confusion

prince-purple-rainGood Morning Sky Dancers!

You know it’s just another week in Drumpfistan when I’ve got this old song by the Temptations stuck in my head.

Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration, aggravation, 
humiliation, obligation to our nation
Ball Of Confusion that’s what the world is today (yeah, yeah)
The sale of pills is at an all time high 
young folks walkin’ ’round with their heads in the sky 
Cities aflame in the summer time, and oh the beat goes on
Eve of destruction, tax deduction,
City inspectors, bill collectors,
Evolution, revolution,

 

 

 

Former first lady Michelle Obama spoke out Saturday at the U.S. Summit of Women in L.A.  Her big question was this. ‘What is going on in our heads where we let that happen?’  Indeed.

“In light of this last election, I’m concerned about us as women and how we think,” she said at the event. “What is going on in our heads where we let that happen, you know?”

In the 2016 election, 54 percent of women voted for Clinton, though that figure was sharply divided by race.

“When the most qualified person running was a woman, and look what we did instead, I mean that says something about where we are,” Obama said, referencing President Trump‘s victory in the 2016 election. “That’s what we have to explore, because if we as women are still suspicious of one another, if we still have this crazy, crazy bar for each other that we don’t have for men … if we’re not comfortable with the notion that a woman could be our president compared to … what, then we have to have those conversations with ourselves as women.”

Obama encouraged women to have high aspirations, but went on to add that she wished “girls could fail as bad as men do and still be OK.”

“Watching men fail up is frustrating. It is frustrating watching men blow it, and win,” she later added while discussing standards for women.

Obama also touched on the importance of education for women and encouraging young girls to speak their minds.

The United State of Women describes itself on its website as a “national organization for any woman who sees that we need a different America for all women to survive and thrive.”

Nothing has made me more sharply aware of my white womaness than this last damned presidential race. Black women were not fooled and they worked hard to get Clinton elected down here in Louisiana. Many white woman simply will not Surrender the Ivory Pedestal.  Figuring this out and correcting it is something only white women can do with each other. Making sure that we do not disenfranchise the women of color around us is our challenge.

Why does any white woman vote for some one like this?  This is from Republican Whisperer Jonathan Swan writing for Axios.  These candidates make me feel like we’re still choosing sides in the Civil War.  Where do they come from? 

Republicans in D.C. are panicking over Tuesday’s West Virginia Senate primary.

The problem: Don Blankenship, a coal baron who’s spent time in prison, is running a demagogic campaign in which he’s repeatedly invoked the Chinese heritage of Mitch McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

  • He’s also taken to calling McConnell “cocaine Mitch” in his ads — which, according to Politico, “is in reference to a 2014 report that drugs were once found aboard a shipping vessel owned by McConnell’s in-laws; however, he always found the products from https://urinedrugtesthq.com/whizzinator-review/ to pass his drug tests in one day.”
  • Blankenship is outspending his opponents on TV and has a ton of his own money to play with. He’s aired one ad that refers to “China people,” which you can watch here (or not).
  • And yet … he’s gaining in the polls and may win on Tuesday.

20140306_103546_Michael-Jackson-FilesBlankenship is a doozy of a candidate.  Even KKKremlin Caligula fears a repeat of Alabama’s Roy Moore. This is from Emily Stewart writing for VOX,

Blankenship is running against Rep. Evan Jenkins and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to be the Republican nominee to challenge Manchin in the fall. Their primary race is Tuesday, May 8. His credentials, and campaign tactics, have Republicans on edge about the prospect of him potentially becoming the party’s nominee.

Blankenship is a former coal baron who ran a company, Massey Energy, found to be violating federal safety regulations when a 2010 mining explosion killed 29 people, marking the worst coal disaster in 40 years. Blankenship stepped down after the incident but years later was indicted on conspiring to willfully violate federal mining regulations before the accident and lying to the Securities and Exchange Commission after it happened. He was convicted of conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards and served one year in prison, and was released in May 2017.

exbdphlhra-1467533239There’s a behind the scenes look at this Hillbilly shoot out also at Vox by Dylan Scott.  This is for the seat held by Joe Manchin who is the Democrat we count on when we need a senate majority and little else.

Blankenship is, in many ways, an only-in-West-Virginia story. He grew up in Mingo County and got his college degree from Marshall University. He rose through the ranks at the Massey coal company, helping build it into one of the largest mining outfits in the country. By 2010, he was making nearly $20 million a year.

But then on April 5, 2010, 29 miners died in an explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine in southern West Virginia.

Blankenship stepped down soon after, but four years later, federal prosecutors indicted him on conspiring to willfully violate federal mining regulations before the accident and making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission in its aftermath.

The investigation laid bare Blankenship’s cutthroat vision of capitalism. This was a businessman who broke unions, laughed off climate change, despised federal regulations, and described his industry in Darwinian imagery.

It’s an interesting read from there on out and I recommend it because this race will stay in the news for some time.  I don’t even think I’ve been to West Virginia so all I can do is watch and wonder.

 

 

Meanwhile, black men are trying to figure out what it means to be Kanye.  It’s the ongoing necessary discussion of what it means to be black in America. Again, I’m watching this all with an eye to being understanding and checking my own frames. I’ve also learned a lot by watching this new video by Donald Glover.  This thread  on Twitter is worth reading.

 

Ta-Nehisi Coates takes on the Kanye at The Atlantic.  He does this by first explaining that Michael Jackson–the idol of many a child in the 80s–was dying to be white. 

Even his accouterment felt beyond me—the studded jacket, the sparkling glove, the leather pants—raiment of the divine, untouchable by me, a mortal child who squinted to see past Saturday, who would not even see Motown 25 until it was past 30, who would not even own a copy of Thriller until I was a grown man, who no longer believed in miracles, and knew in my heart that if the black man’s God was not dead, he surely was dying.

And he had always been dying—dying to be white. That was what my mother said, that you could see the dying all over his face, the decaying, the thinning, that he was disappearing into something white, desiccating into something white, erasing himself, so that we would forget that he had once been Africa beautiful and Africa brown, and we would forget his pharaoh’s nose, forget his vast eyes, his dazzling smile, and Michael Jackson was but the extreme of what felt in those post-disco years to be a trend. Because when I think of that time, I think of black men on album covers smiling back at me in Jheri curls and blue contacts and I think of black women who seemed, by some mystic edict, to all be the color of manila folders. Michael Jackson might have been dying to be white, but he was not dying alone. There were the rest us out there, born, as he was, in the muck of this country, born in The Bottom. We knew that we were tied to him, that his physical destruction was our physical destruction, because if the black God, who made the zombies dance, who brokered great wars, who transformed stone to light, if he could not be beautiful in his own eyes, then what hope did we have—mortals, children—of ever escaping what they had taught us, of ever escaping what they said about our mouths, about our hair and our skin, what hope did we ever have of escaping the muck? And he was destroyed. It happened right before us. God was destroyed, and we could not stop him, though we did love him, we could not stop him, because who can really stop a black god dying to be white?

Kanye is deconstructed thusily:

And he is a god, though one born of a different time and a different need. Jackson rose in the last days of enigma and wonder; West, in an accessible age, when every fuck is a tweet and every defecation a status update. And perhaps, in that way, West has done something more remarkable, more amazing than Jackson, because he is a man of no mystery, overexposed, who holds the world’s attention through simply the consistent, amazing, near-peerless quality of his work.

West is 40 years old, a product of the Crack era and Reaganomic Years, a man who remembers the Challenger crash and The Cosby Show before syndication. But he never fell into the bitterness of his peers. He could not be found chasing ghosts, barking at Soulja Boy, hectoring Lil Yachty, and otherwise yelling at clouds. To his credit, West seemed to remember rappers having to defend their music as music against the withering fire of their elders. And so while, today, you find some of these same artists, once targets, adopting the sanctimonious pose of the arthritic jazz-men whom they vanquished, you will not find Yeezy among them, because Yeezy never got old.

Maybe that was the problem.

Coates argues that West is dying for ‘white freedom’.

I see these guys–Prince for that matter too–as men in a country that is deeply troubled and yet oddly awed by black male sexuality and strength.  I harken back to the days of Boney M when we were all allowed to demonstrate a bit of that obvious human need for sex and Boney M looked like Prince with a lower level of production value.  But, the shock and awe of black male sexuality harkens more back to slavery. This is why Glover’s video has images that both remind us of Black Lives Matter and Django.

 

 

 

 

The Drumpf occupation of the Oval Office keeps sorting us up into tribes then pitting us against each other.  It’s a long standing tradition in the white patriarchy to do that so that’s no surprise. What is a surprise is that it still works when so many of us are educated, aware of what’s going on in the world, and have choices.

180413-gillon-kerner-comission-hero_mtjkbo

So, since Der Hair Fury has suggested he might be holding a summit on Race Relations it seems appropriate to review the granddaddy of these kinds of efforts. ‘The 1968 Kerner Commission report harshly described a country increasingly polarized by race. Its findings inspired positive change, but also more polarization. ‘  This is from The Daily Beast and dated from last month.  This is the tale of how The Fair Housing Act was passed and the role of a Republican in doing it in House Committee.  It also reminds us how fragile even our laws can be as one Black Cabinet member enabled by a hell of a lot of Republicans is trying to water it down.

People movin’ out, people movin’ in.
Why, because of the color of their skin.
Run, run, run, but you sho’ can’t hide

These short-term victories—more effective policing, improved media coverage, and passage of the Fair Housing Act—were significant for the commission’s report, but its long-term legacy is less clear. Lindsay and Harris had fought for a summary that would grab attention and generate flashy headlines. Soon they began to worry that reporters were focusing only on the report’s most provocative language and ignoring its detailed descriptions of the problems facing America’s cities. Harris recalled that he knew the commission had a perception problem after talking to his father, a small farmer in southwestern Oklahoma who had worked hard his whole life and had little to show for it. Based on the media reports he had seen, his father interpreted the report as saying, “You should pay more taxes to help out the black people who are rioting in Detroit.” That did not make a lot of sense to his dad. “I’m already paying a lot in taxes and getting nothing for it,” he responded. “Why doesn’t someone pay attention to me? Is it because I’m not rioting?”

Lindsay was probably right in believing it necessary to include striking language in the summary about “two societies” and “white racism” to ensure that the report would garner the attention it deserved. But the downside to this strategy was that the summary distracted attention from the heart of the report—the thoughtful narrative about the cause of the riots and the detailed, statistical evidence to support the existence of persistent discrimination. Lindsay and Harris assumed that racism persisted because most middle-class whites were unaware that it existed, and they thought that if confronted with clear evidence that discrimination imposed undue hardship on African Americans, white suburbanites would embrace new social programs, accept higher taxes, and demand more aggressive efforts to integrate their communities. “I believe that white people in America are decent people,” Harris told the New York Times in February 1968, and that “if they can be shown the terrible conditions in which other Americans live and how this threatens our society, they will join together to try to solve these problems.”

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2014 - Weekend 1Today, I wonder how many white women are “decent people”.  Surely, the majority of us are but what is going on with the group that’s larger than it really should be?  Let’s take this one for example that once again proves that really, I would never vote for just any or this particular vagina bearer. From the Des Moines Register: The nation’s strictest abortion ban is now law. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs ‘fetal heartbeat’ bill.”  Goddamn!  Iowa!  Really?

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Friday signed into law the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation, surrounded by toddler-toting supporters.

As Reynolds inked the bill, backers’ cheers nearly drowned out the echoing chorus of “My body, my choice” shouted by protesters just outside the door.

“I believe that all innocent life is precious and sacred,” Reynolds said from her formal office before signing a bill that will outlaw nearly all abortions in the state. “And as governor, I have pledged to do everything in my power to protect it. And that’s what I’m doing today.”

Senate File 359 will take effect July 1, though Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said they plan to quickly  challenge the law.

Under the legislation, physicians will be barred from performing most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Experts said that heartbeat can be heard about six weeks into a pregnancy — often before a woman realizes she’s pregnant.

adidas-hasnt-discussed-dropping-kanye-west-bloombergWhat matter of insanity causes a white woman to do this?

So,let me stir this pot a bit more.  From the Guardian: Kei Miller essay about white women sparks tensions among Caribbean writers. Miller’s essay has been withdrawn after divisive reception, but supporters say it is part of a necessary conversation about race and privilege.  Kei is a black man from Jamaica.

Miller’s essay, The White Women and the Language of Bees, was published last week in Pree, a new magazine highlighting writers from the Caribbean. Asking “how many years and decades must pass before we can belong to a place and to its words? How much time before we can write it?”, the essay saw the Forward prize-winning author discuss his interactions with four white women writers from the region, evaluating their books, and the way they have interacted with the local literary community.

“Was she really afraid? Was she nervous about people like me reading her book and throwing words like ‘appropriation’ about? Am I a part of her anxiety?” he wrote of one. In another scene, he imagines one of the women telling another: “You can’t be writing this place and putting the wrong words in people’s mouths. This rock is not made of granite or limestone, but with words. You must be given the right words. And these, my dear sister, are things you have yet to learn.”

The essay drew both praise and condemnation from writers. Rhoda Bharath called it “a necessary addition to the global cultural conversations around identity, appropriation and privilege”, while Veerle Poupeye wrote, in an open letter to Miller, that “parts of the essay are indeed breathtaking, because of the writing and because of the sublime insights you offer”, but took issue with Miller’s publication of private conversations, his focus on white women and not white men, and his representation of the women in the essay.

Judy Raymond said: “Almost everything that has happened since Kei’s essay has been based on emotion. It’s clear we need to have urgent conversations about race, racism, gender and privilege. Instead, careers and friendships are being broken and those conversations are being replaced by the verbal equivalent of hurricanes.”

So, yeah … good luck to Herr DrumpfsterFire and his Race Relations Summit.  I’m sure Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway will be put in charge of it.   

One of President Donald Trump’s most trusted black advisers wants the president to hold a summit on race relations at the White House with rapper Kanye West.

Darrell Scott, a pastor from Cleveland, is scheduled to meet with the president on Thursday to discuss his proposal for the summit, which would also include other prominent artists and athletes, Politico reported.

Scott said the summit would be “totally unscripted” and no topic would be “off the table.” He’s reportedly pitching the summit alongside Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and an aide in the White House Office of Public Liaison.

Some one drop a mic please.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?