Posted: February 14, 2022 Filed under: just because | Tags: Black Lives Matter, Half Time, Puppy Bowl, Stupor Bowl
The Kingfisher, Vincent van Gogh. 1886
Good Day Sky Dancers!
We’re beginning to see signs of spring around here so that’s a good thing!! There are patches of green grass and bird arrivals. I also like spring so we get beyond the national Panem et circenses frenzy. It drags on longer than National Crass Consumerism Season. We’re deep into Carnival here and the parades are back on the streets of New Orleans. I always wonder why the greedy and rich always co-opt perfectly wonderful festivals celebrating the passage of the season and turn them into ordeals requiring mass credit card spending, ads, and tourists.
However, I did miss this sight which reminds me of me when I had to go to football games with my father and occasionally my mother. I loved the time with my Dad but it took me about two seconds to drag a book out to read through the rest of the game. The best part was the Cheese Frenchie, Onion Rings, and chocolate malted at King’s in downtown Lincoln prior to the the parking spot at the stadium and mass crowd chaos.
The only other thing I used to do at the University of Nebraska games was to stand up and cheer when the opposing team scored. We sat on the fifty-yard line in the 20th row right behind the marching band and close enough to throw stuff at the cheerleaders. I never indulged in any of that but I especially enjoyed singing Boomer Sooner. I knew all the words because that’s where I was born and my Dad went to Law School there. It was enough to irritate people but back then you just got dirty looks. Nebraska ruled college football at the time and their rival was always Oklahoma.
I also had the pleasure of reading through a Stupor Bowl in LA back in the day although my dad was a Ford Dealer and not part of the NFL players like Andrew Whitworth. Good for whoever Whitworth is because he’s got himself a nerdy, book-reading daughter!
Little Owl – Albrecht Dürer (1506)
The other parts of the Stupor Bowl–and I name this for the fans and not for the poor players who wind up severely brain damaged with CTE–are the ads, the halftime, and the Puppy Bowl. So, let’s just say that paying all that money to hype a product seems crazy but it must work. Hence, the costs of living in an oligopolistic monopoly-based failed market. The Puppy Bowl is damned cute. I missed it since I worked through the entire shindig but the country’s First Puppy stole that show! The best thing about this huge ad campaign was the game was dedicated to animal rights activist Betty White. Team Fluff won the game! (via Daily Beast)
In what may prove to be the most important sports-related story this Sunday, Team Fluff snatched victory out of the tiny jaws of defeat in Puppy Bowl XVIII. Following a fur-ocious three-hour battle, Fluff edged out Team Ruff with a final score of 73-69. The eighteenth iteration of the Puppy Bowl saw 118 adoptable puppies competing for the “Lombarky” Trophy by dragging chew toys around the miniature field. Representing more than 60 shelters and rescues in 33 states, this year’s lineup also featured a record number of puppies with special needs, including Benny, a goldendoodle with partial paralysis who used a set of rear support wheels to race around the field. Benny was also crowned the 2022 Puppy Bowl’s “Most Pupular” player. And, most importantly, “every Puppy Bowl ends with every single dog being adopted,” longtime referee Dan Schachner told the New York Post.
The Threatened Swan – Jan Asselijn (1650)
So, there are a few noteworthy things about the half-time show. And no, it’s not Snoop Dog’s toke prior to his appearance. That’s par for the course and perfectly legal in California.
Eminem–bless his bad 49-year-old ass–took the knee to remind everyone that black lives matter.
My youngest daughter–then a middle schooler–came with me to spend the holidays in NYC. The first thing she wanted to do was go see 8 Mile and so I splurged for the tremendously expensive tix and we headed to the movie theatre in the East Village. She had been playing the heck out of the CD on my laptop and was indulged by my then-boyfriend when we spent time with him in Harlem. He had very large speakers. This was 2002 so back in the good old days. I am familiar with him and rap in general. I was substitute teaching in a music class and let the kids play vinyl back in 1979. I got my first introduction to rap at Omaha Tech High School!
Well, good for Eminem! He may be middle aged, white, and rich but at least he still knows where he came from. Dr Dre set the whole thing up and was Eminem’s mentor. The genre has grown a lot since then.
On Sunday, Eminem knelt and held his head in his hand after performing “Lose Yourself,” his anthem about self-determination from the movie “8 Mile.”
Air – Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1566)
I haven’t seen it but I plan to because the royalty of early 21st-century rap performed and some bonus artists showed up. Plus, Mary Ann Blige …
Blige, whose 14th studio LP, “Good Morning Gorgeous,” arrived on Friday, sang two of her most beloved older anthems, “Family Affair” and “No More Drama,” reaching deep for some powerful high notes and ending the set flat on her back.
However, I agree with this headline in MSNBC: “NFL Super Bowl halftime show was a master class in gaslighting. The Dr. Dre-led performance was awesome — but it played into the NFL’s plan to distract from the league’s race and gender issues.” It’s written by Ja’han Jones. It seemed like awfully convenient timing to present black artists. There were also some “gender issues” present in the performances.
The mini-concert was an undeniable smash hit, featuring Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg performing their classics together, 50 Cent rapping upside-down like it was 2003, along with Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and even Anderson .Paak on the drums.
Theirs was one in a number of acts that constituted what was arguably the Blackest night in NFL history, withgospel duo Mary Mary, country music star Mickey Guyton and R&B singer Jhené Aiko performing ahead of the kickoff.
And, most importantly to the NFL, there were virtually no references to the league’s sordid racial politics, exposed in recent years by its treatment of former San Francisco49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and allegations of systemic racism from former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. (The league denies such allegations.)
The only thing even approaching a critique was Eminem taking a knee in a purported act of solidarity with racial justice activists.
Watching it in real time, I wasn’t sure whether that was a form of protest or a performance miscue, and if you have to question whether a protest is a protest … it probably isn’t.
The league did seem to convey its racial ideology in another way some may not have realized, though. During Lamar’s performance of the protest song “Alright,” a lyric was conspicuously censored to remove a line critical of police who kill.
The line — “and we hate po-po, when they kill us dead in the street, fo’ sho’” — was scrubbed of any reference to the police at all.It seems the NFL won’t even tolerate criticism of police in an imagined-yet-realistic scenario of anti-Black violence.
So, about those gender issues which were mostly hidden by a stupid tweet by some right-wing troll, I had never heard about. Well, he’s all over Twitter so he got his share of 3 minutes of fame. So wtf is Sexual Anarchy? It sounds like a 70s metal band name. I’ve got dibs on it for my next band’s name!!!
This is from the Salon link above and written by JON SKOLNIK. Too bad Kirk wasn’t around for the Janet Jackson breast shot.
Kirk’s tweet, which he did not care to explain any further, drew all kinds of responses from critics on the left, many of whom derided Kirk over his prudish tendencies.
“I’ve been trying to figure out what Charlie Kirk means by ‘sexual anarchy,'” tweeted attorney Ron Filipkowski. “I’m not exactly sure, but I think it’s probably better than whatever the opposite is.”
Peacock and Peacock Butterfly – Archibald Thorburn (1917)
Still, there was a lot of that Rapper vibe in the show which means a lot of women dancing provocatively with scant clothing. Dance has mostly always been that way but anyway, I’m not a dance critic but I do have issues with hyper-sexualizing black women for the pleasure of men. Historically, that never ends well.
So, I have to make a disclosure here. I worked the Gentilly Stage for Jazz Fest for many years as part of the front-of-the-house sound team. I have seen a lot of performers in my day on that stage and set up their kits, microphones, and instruments. My thrill was to mic Etta James. That’s closely followed by setting up the piano mics for Randy Newman then watching over his two small children side stage. I don’t want to turn this into a name game but let’s say I’ve happily helped a lot of talent of all flavors. The guy I really didn’t like was Elvis Costello but, oh well. However, I boycotted and refused to deal with 50 Cent and I was not the only one back in the day. I did not make a scene but I clearly let it be known I thought his treatment of women was appalling and I would not enable it. He showed up in “Da Club” last night with that same schtick.
After Snoop and Dre combined for “The Next Episode” and “California Love” to kick off the halftime show, the camera panned down to 50, upside down and flexing, just as he did to kick off the “In Da Club” music video 19 years ago. 50 Cent was soon joined by a slew of dancers to bounce to the rap classic, and he then threw the performance to Mary J. Blige, who sank into “Family Affair.”
Maybe, that’s where the sexual anarchy term came from, I don’t know. Like I said, I was working and not watching. I think displays of sexuality are fine. I’m cool with exuberant dancing. New Orleans represents all of that and more! All people are sexual beings. But,I still object to the objectification of women for the benefit of men. So, if I missed the cues on this I’ll go look but I’m not sure. I’m open to input.
So, of all the people to do a Super Bowl wrap-up, it shouldn’t be me but there it is. BTW, who won the game?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Posted: November 20, 2021 Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: angry white men, Black Lives Matter, Build Back Better Act, caturday, Kyle Rittenhouse
Lucky day, by Ksenia Yarovaya
Unfortunately, the House passage of the Build Back Better Act was overshadowed yesterday by the not guilty verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case. But if you’d like to know more about what is in the massive spending bill, The Washington Post has an excellent article about that: A guide to all the ways the House spending bill would affect America. Climate, taxes, immigration and other major provisions in the spending bill, explained.
House Democrats on Friday morning passed a more than $2 trillion bill to overhaul the country’s health care, climate, education and tax laws, moving beyond months of disputes between liberals and moderates that have stalled President Biden’s economic agenda.
The legislation builds off a framework that Biden unveiled to party lawmakers and includes new spending to enhance child care, provide free prekindergarten, combat climate change and advance a slew of tax benefits that chiefly aid low-income Americans.
But the bill omits many of Democrats’ top priorities, a reflection of the party’s difficult work to scale back a package once valued at $3.5 trillion. It now moves to the Senate, where it may face further cuts.
What follows is a guide to the legislation, one of the most significant overhauls of domestic policy in generations.
Head over to the WaPo to read summaries of all the important ways the bill could change the country.
On the Rittenhouse verdict:
Christina Maxouris at CNN: Here’s what legal experts say helped acquit Kyle Rittenhouse.
After more than 25 hours of deliberations, a 12-person jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of all five charges he faced after fatally shooting two people and wounding a third during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer.…
And while the jury’s decision drew harsh criticism from the victims’ loved ones, legal experts say they were not surprised by the verdict….
Among the trial’s most key moments was the testimony from Rittenhouse, who told the court he acted in self-defense when he shot Rosenbaum, who he said threatened him earlier, chased him, threw a bag at him and lunged for his gun. At one point, 18-year-old Rittenhouse broke down in tears while on the stand.
Cat’s Pause, by Bonnie Mason
“If I would have let Mr. Rosenbaum take my firearm from me, he would have used it and killed me with it and probably killed more people,” he testified.
Rittenhouse referred to the other people he shot at as part of a “mob” chasing him, telling the court Huber came at him, struck him with a skateboard, and grabbed his gun. Rittenhouse shot him once in the chest, killing him. Finally, he said he saw Grosskreutz lunge at him and point a pistol at his head, so Rittenhouse shot him, he testified.
“Number one, you humanize him… More important, number two, he explained his uses of force,” CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson said.
Rittenhouse’s testimony gave jurors the ability to hear what he thought at the time and whether he believed he was in danger — a claim the prosecution, ultimately failed to undermine, former federal prosecutor Elie Honig said.
“They (prosecutors) pointed out some sort of minor inconsistencies and things he said on the night of, and said later, but nothing that undermines sort of the core defense argument, which was, he was attacked,” Honig told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Friday. “Every time he shot, he was attacked.”
“The prosecution did not make enough of a dent in Kyle Rittenhouse,” Honig added.
What the trial came down to, according to civil rights attorney Charles F. Coleman Jr. were two competing narratives: one of Rittenhouse being a victim who was attacked, and one of being a vigilante who provoked the violence.
“The jury bought the narrative of Kyle Rittenhouse being a victim, they thought that his self-defense claim was a lot stronger than the prosecution’s provocation claim,” he said.
Wisconsin law allows the use of deadly force only if “necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.” And because Rittenhouse’s attorneys claimed self-defense, state law meant the burden fell on prosecutors to disprove Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.
And it was an uphill battle to climb from the start, because of the facts in this case, experts said.
“(Prosecutors) weren’t able to show that his response to each of these men, to each of these sets of threats was unreasonable,” criminal defense attorney Sara Azari told CNN’s Pamela Brown.
Pierre Loti with a Cat, by Henri Rousseau, 1892
Another take on the verdict from Elie Mystal at The Nation: Kyle Rittenhouse Has Gotten Away With Murder—as Predicted.
Kyle Rittenhouse, who was 17 years old when he shot three people, killing two, officially got away with murder. A jury of his white peers ruled that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense when he illegally acquired a gun, traveled across state lines, lied about his status as a medic, pointed his gun at protesters, and then used it to kill others.
The verdict is not surprising, if you are familiar with how the criminal justice system works for white people. Wisconsin Judge Bruce Schroeder, who presided over the Rittenhouse trial, consistently made rulings in the best interest of the white gunman. He refused to punish Rittenhouse for violating the terms of his bail; excluded evidence of Rittenhouse’s behavior before and after the shooting that spoke to his intent and lack of remorse; allowed the defense to mischaracterize the people Rittenhouse killed as “rioters”; yelled at prosecutors in front of the jury; dismissed an illegal gun charge against the gunman; and had the jury clap for one of Rittenhouse’s expert witnesses.
Others might want to argue about why Schroeder was biased toward the defendant (I think the judge’s MAGA ringtones and off-color jokes tell you all you need to know about why he was sympathetic to a white gunman who shot up anti–police violence protesters at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement). But that he was biased toward Rittenhouse was obvious to those watching the trial without blinders.
Still, a sympathetic judge and a predominately white jury are just standard gifts the criminal justice system gives to white boys accused of criminal violence. Rittenhouse also enjoyed hero status among white supremacists and Republicans as well as favorable media coverage from Fox News and The New York Times.
No doubt, some people will express shock at the verdict over the next few days. But Rittenhouse’s freedom is not a “miscarriage” of justice—it is our white justice system working as intended. This system is designed to free people like Rittenhouse: white vigilantes who kill to maintain the best interests of whiteness. It doesn’t always work (I still believe the people who lynched Ahmaud Arbery will be found guilty). But it works often enough (see George Zimmerman) that it gives comfort and confidence to any white person who clearly realizes that they might do an obviously illegal and violent thing (like, say, storm the US Capitol) and either get away with it completely or receive a light punishment.
Morris Hirshfield, Angora Cat, 1937-39
I wholeheartedly agree with Mystal. As he writes in the article, a black 17-year-old who did what Rittenhouse did would suffer a completely different fate. Frankly, that black teenager would most likely be killed by police before he had a chance to stand trial.
John Blake at CNN: There’s nothing more frightening in America today than an angry White man.
The specter of the angry Black man has been evoked in politics and popular culture to convince White folks that a big, bad Black man is coming to get them and their daughters.
I’ve seen viral videos of innocent Black men losing their lives because of this stereotype. I’ve watched White people lock their car doors or clutch their purses when men who look like me approach. I’ve been racially profiled….
But as I’ve watched three separate trials about White male violence unfold across the US these past few weeks — the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, the Ahmaud Arbery death trial and the civil case against organizers of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville — I’ve come to a sobering conclusion:
There is nothing more frightening in America today than an angry White man.
It’s not the “radical Islamic terrorist” that I fear the most. Nor is it the brown immigrant or the fiery Black Lives Matter protester, or whatever the latest bogeyman is that some politician tells me I should dread.
It’s encountering an armed White man in public who has been inspired by the White men on trial in these three cases.
Of course it’s not all White men, Blake writes.
But recent events have convinced me it’s time to put another character on trial: A vision of White masculinity that allows some White men to feel as if they “can rule and brutalize without consequence.”
Reynaldo Fonseca, Figure and Cats, 2003
This angry White man has been a major character throughout US history. He gave the country slavery, the slaughter of Native Americans, and Jim Crow laws. His anger also helped fuel the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
It’s this angry White man — not the Black or brown man you see approaching on the street at night — who poses the most dangerous threat to democracy in America.
That’s a sweeping claim. But these trials represent something bigger than questions of individual guilt or innocence. They offer a disturbing vision of the future, and a choice about what kind of country we want to live in.
Read the rest at CNN.
Mediaite: House Judiciary Chair Nadler Calls for DOJ Review of Kyle Rittenhouse Case After ‘Heartbreaking Verdict’: Sets ‘Dangerous Precedent.’
Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D- NY) called for the Justice Department to review the Kyle Rittenhouse case after a jury found Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges Friday.
Nadler, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, reacted to the verdict by remarking, “This heartbreaking verdict is a miscarriage of justice and sets a dangerous precedent which justifies federal review by DOJ. Justice cannot tolerate armed persons crossing state lines looking for trouble while people engage in First Amendment-protected protest.”
More stories to check out today:
The New York Times: Discussions of Race Are Notably Absent in Trial of Arbery Murder Suspects.
Politico: Judge faults Trump for Jan. 6 attack.
Buzzfeed News: Top Justice Department Officials Were Told There Were “No Credible Threats” Hours Before The Capitol Riot.
David Corn: The Steele Dossier and Donald Trump’s Betrayal of America.
The New York Times: G.O.P. Is Energized, but ‘Trump Cancel Culture’ Poses a Threat.
The Washington Post: As Biden agenda advances in Congress, White House weighs new offensive on inflation.
The Washington Post: Sinema holds firm in support of the filibuster, imperiling late voting rights push.
Have a great weekend, Sky Dancers!!
Posted: June 4, 2020 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Black Lives Matter, Donald Trump, evangelicals, former presidents speak out, Gen. John Allen, George Floyd, James Mattis, protest rallies, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper
Could we finally have reached a turning point? Suddenly Trump is getting blowback from some powerful and respected quarters. Former presidents, the current Secretary of Defense, Trump’s former Secretary of Defense, retired generals, and former presidents are speaking out about Trump’s authoritarian tendencies and his misuse of the military. Even some in his evangelical base are speaking out.
The Atlantic: James Mattis Denounces President Trump, Describes Him as a Threat to the Constitution.
James Mattis, the esteemed Marine general who resigned as secretary of defense in December 2018 to protest Donald Trump’s Syria policy, has, ever since, kept studiously silent about Trump’s performance as president. But he has now broken his silence, writing an extraordinary broadside in which he denounces the president for dividing the nation, and accuses him of ordering the U.S. military to violate the constitutional rights of American citizens.
“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis writes. “The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.” He goes on, “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.” [….]
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis writes. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”
He goes on to contrast the American ethos of unity with Nazi ideology. “Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that ‘The Nazi slogan for destroying us … was “Divide and Conquer.” Our American answer is “In Union there is Strength.”’ We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.”
For some of us, it may be too little too late, but it’s possible Republicans will be influenced by retired general and former Defense Secretary James Mattis’ condemnation. Read the full statement at NPR.
Yesterday the current Secretary of Defense also distanced himself from Trump’s attempt to use the military to put down protests. Elizabeth N. Saunders at The Washington Post: The secretary of defense spoke out against Trump’s approach to the protests. Yes, this is a big deal.
At a Pentagon news conference Wednesday morning, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper said he opposed invoking the Insurrection Act and using active-duty military forces to help calm the largely peaceful protests that have been taking place around the country. Esper’s comments directly contradict President Trump, who in a nationally televised speech Monday threatened to use the military to “quickly solve the problem,” implicitly suggesting that he would invoke the 1807 law.
Esper’s comments also came after many criticized him for walking across Lafayette Square with the president and posing for a photo in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, as well as using language like “we need to dominate the battlespace” on a Monday call with governors. On Tuesday evening, James Miller, a member of the Defense Science Board, which advises the Pentagon, wrote to Esper a letter, published in The Washington Post, to resign his position and to urge Esper to “consider closely both your future actions and your future words.”
It is tempting to dismiss Esper’s comments as words rather than action. He is not resigning in protest, as his recent predecessor, Jim Mattis, did in December 2018.
However, for Esper to give televised remarks from the Pentagon podium — something that is rare in this administration in normal times — is a significant development.
Click the link to read the reasons why this is so significant.
Retired Marine General John Allen at Foreign Policy: A Moment of National Shame and Peril—and Hope.
The slide of the United States into illiberalism may well have begun on June 1, 2020. Remember the date. It may well signal the beginning of the end of the American experiment.
The president of the United States stood in the Rose Garden of the White House on Monday, railed against weak governors and mayors who were not doing enough, in his mind, to control the unrest and the rioters in their cities, and threatened to deploy the U.S. military against American citizens. It was a stunning moment. But, in particular, it was notable for three important reasons.
First, Donald Trump expressed only the barest of condolences at the murder of George Floyd, but he also said nothing about the fundamental and underlying reasons for the unrest: systemic racism and inequality, a historic absence of respect, and a denial of justice. All of these factors are centuries old and deeply engrained in an American society that systematically delivers white privilege at the expense of people of color.
Yes, he mentioned George Floyd, but he did not touch on long-standing societal problems at all. He sees the crisis as a black problem—not as something to be addressed by creating the basis and impetus for a move toward social justice, but as an opportunity to use force to portray himself as a “law and order” president. The reasons were irrelevant to the opportunity. Remember the supposed invasion of the southern border and his deployment of federal troops ahead of the 2018 midterm elections? The president’s failure to understand the reality of the problem was on full display when, on Saturday, he attempted to explain that his supporters, the so-called Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement, “love African American people. They love black people. MAGA loves the black people.” Evidently his movement, MAGA, is a coherent thing, and it’s white, which leads to the next point about his speech.
Second, Trump was clear he views those engaged in the unrest and criminal acts in these riots as terrorists, an enemy. He said so, ostensibly as justification to deploy the U.S. military to apply federal force—his “personal” force—against the riots. Indeed, the secretary of defense used the military term “battlespace” to describe American cities.
Read the rest at Foreign Policy.
The Washington Post: All four living ex-presidents draw a sharp contrast with Trump on systemic racism.
Four U.S. presidents spoke this week about systemic racism and injustice. They used their platforms to illuminate the humanity in all Americans and to decry the dehumanization of some. And they summoned the nation to confront its failures, make change and come together.
A fifth U.S. president spoke instead this week about using military force to dominate Americans who are protesting racial injustice. He declared winners and losers among state and city officials trying to safeguard their streets. And, with his reelection campaign in mind, he sought to apply a partisan political lens to the national reckoning over racial inequities.
The outlier was President Trump.
Of course, Trump has long zigged when his four living predecessors zagged, and proudly so. But rarely has the dichotomy been clearer than this week, when Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter injected their voices into the national discussion of race and justice following last week’s death of George Floyd.
Though each weighed in separately and in his own distinctive voice, the four former presidents were measured and compassionate in tone and conveyed an urgency in their lengthy messages. It presented a sharp contrast with the incumbent’s hard line and unemotional leadership.
“They’re all saying, essentially, that Donald Trump is not doing a very big part of his job, and we have to stage an intervention, even if that intervention is not coordinated,” historian Michael Beschloss said. “Foremost in the president’s job is to try to unite the country, especially in crisis. . . . These statements and gestures are saying, ‘Donald Trump is not carrying out these essential functions of the presidency, so we have to step in.’ ”
Head over to the WaPo to read the rest. Read Jimmy Carter’s full statement here.
Even some evangelicals are unhappy with Trump’s performance with a bible on Monday. The Guardian: Trump’s Bible photo op splits white evangelical loyalists into two camps.
On Monday when Donald Trump raised overhead a Bible – the Sword of the Spirit, to believers – he unwittingly cleaved his loyal Christian supporters into two camps.
His most ardent evangelical supporters saw it as a blow against evil and described his walk from the White House to St John’s Episcopal church, over ground violently cleared of protesters, as a “Jericho walk”….
But evangelicals are not monolithic: some saw the gesture as cynical, a ploy by a president whose decisions, both private and public, do not align with biblical principles.
“I guess it’s a sort of Rorschach test, then,” said Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress, who is one of Trump’s most important defenders among the faithful. “You see what you expect to see.”
But that’s not true, Trump’s emerging evangelical critics say: an objective measure is contained in the very book Trump wielded.
“Blessed are the peacemakers! Blessed are the merciful! It’s right there in the Sermon on the Mount,” said John Fea, a professor of American history at Messiah College. “Just read Jesus.”
“Pelting people with rubber bullets and spraying them with teargas for peacefully protesting is morally wrong,” said Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. “What we need right now is moral leadership – from all of us, in the churches, in the police departments, in the courts, and in the White House. The Bible tells us so. So do our own consciences.”
The day’s events left Moore “alarmed”, he said.
Even crazy Pat Robertson is unhappy with Trump.
The staunchest of evangelicals, 90-year-old televangelist Pat Robertson, split from Trump on Tuesday.
He told his television viewers of the president: “He said, ‘I’m ready to send in military troops if the nation’s governors don’t act to quell the violence that has rocked American cities.’ A matter of fact, he spoke of them as being jerks. You just don’t do that, Mr President. It isn’t cool!”
More important stories to check out today
Jonathan Allen at NBC News: Trump lacks the consent of the governed.
NBC News: U.S. Park Police officers placed on administrative duty over assault on Australian journalists.
The Washington Post: Trump and allies try to rewrite history on handling of police brutality protests.
Matt Bai at The Washington Post: The Carterization of Donald Trump.
Susan Glasser at The New Yorker: #BunkerBoy’s Photo-Op War.
The Washington Post: A dangerous new factor in an uneasy moment: Unidentified law enforcement officers.
Masha Gessen at The New Yorker: Donald Trump’s Fascist Performance.
What do you think? What stories are you following today?
Posted: May 29, 2020 Filed under: Black Lives Matter | Tags: Black Lives Matter
Good Day Sky Dancers!
Last night I watched Ali Velshi reporting from South Minneapolis where a fire was just beginning to take out a car and spread to a pawn shop. It eventually turned in to this: “Minneapolis police station torched amid George Floyd protest. I lived in Minneapolis awhile and I know the area well. It’s been shocking but not surprising which is the biggest theme of the Trumpist Regime to date.
I was 12 in 1968 when the family station wagon drove around The Paseo Avenue neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri, to get to my Grandfather’s rest home during the Holy Week Uprising. It was a bit of unique response because it didn’t happen the day that Chicago and LA lit up. It was a few days later. We had to skirt and skate that part of town.
The first signs of disorder in the streets of Kansas City was a stable student march, in response to the government failing to close schools across the city on April 9, the day of King’s funeral. This was seen as a lack of respect for King by the students. The riot was sparked when Kansas City Police Department deployed tear gas to the student protesters when they staged their performance outside City Hall.
The deployment of tear gas dispersed the protesters from the area, but other citizens of the city began to riot as a result of the Police action on the student protesters during a meeting with Mayor Ilus W. Davis. The resulting effects of the riot resulted in the arrest of over one hundred adults, and left five dead and at least twenty admitted to hospitals.
I remember watching protest against the treatment of Black Americans on TV since the Early 1960s. I keep seeing that we continually take to the streets over the same damn thing including the clueless people that don’t understand how after decades of seeing nothing much happen, the protests eventually turn angry.
The protests in Ferguson seemed relatively tame in comparison but they were just another sign that we treat Black Americans horribly different in this country still. The Orange Snot Blob made a campaign theme of any one protesting taking the knee in a quiet silent protest. Well, now Derrick Chauvin took his knee to murder a Black Man in plain sight of cameras and citizens and Trumperz has the audacity to threaten the city and the state like that’s his role in this.
BB was in Harvard Square for protests against the war that later turned into riots at the same time. I also remember the riots in LA for the police beatings of Rodney King in 1992 but like most of us, I watched that from the safety of a couch in front of a TV . So, when BB described the morning news as a mix of 1968 and 1918 it seemed quite apropos.
I don’t know about you but I’ve just had enough of this …
“… some of those that work forces are the same that burn crosses”
So, here’s some of the headlines today that seem a lot like history repeating itself …
Jason Hanna from CNN:
A CNN crew has been arrested while covering Minneapolis protests, and the governor has apologized — Minnesota police arrest CNN team on live television — (CNN)A CNN crew was arrested by Minnesota state police Friday morning while giving a live television report in Minneapolis
The reporters were released this morning.
Jimenez could be seen holding his CNN badge while reporting, identifying himself as a reporter, and telling the officers the crew would move wherever officers needed them to.
An officer gripped his arm as Jimenez talked, then put him in handcuffs.
“We can move back to where you like. We are live on the air here. … Put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way — wherever you want us (we’ll) get out of your way,” Jimenez said to police before he was led away.
“We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection,” Jimenez continued.
Fortunately, the Governor of Minnesota took umbrage with this and they were released. (Any one remember Dan Rather and Mike Wallace been roughed up on air during the 1968 Convention by Security Guards?)
So, the (via AP) “Governor acknowledges ‘abject failure’ in protest response” from Minnesota State Police backed up by Minnesota National Guard. (Hmmm, what memory does that drudge up sister and brother Old people?)
With smoke drifting over Minneapolis, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Friday acknowledged the “abject failure” of the response to this week’s violent protests and called for swift justice for police involved in the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white officer knelt on his neck.
Walz said the state would take over the response and that it’s time to show respect and dignity to those who are suffering.
“Minneapolis and St. Paul are on fire. The fire is still smoldering in our streets. The ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish unheard,” Walz said, adding. “Now generations of pain is manifesting itself in front of the world — and the world is watching.”
Meanwhile, over in Louisville, Kentucky “7 shot in downtown Louisville at Breonna Taylor protest. Here’s what we know” from the Louisville Courier/Journal.
At least seven people were shot as hundreds of protesters in downtown Louisville gathered Thursday night to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old ER tech who was shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police in March.
Some shots were heard on scene just before 11:30 p.m., and a police spokeswoman confirmed the injuries at 1 a.m. in a statement. Two victims required surgery.
“There have been some arrests, but at this time we are not able to tell you how many as the situation is ongoing,” spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said in a statement.
Police officers did not fire their guns, Smiley said.
That city is also burning.
Courier Journal reporter Cameron Teague Robinson was on the scene at Jefferson and Sixth streets Thursday night when shots were fired at the protest over the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor in her home.
He said he was looking over to the police barricade before turning to find one of his fellow reporters when the shots started. He said he ran behind Metro Hall where some cops were stationed with guns.
“They weren’t trying to shoot anybody,” Teague Robinson said. “I think they knew people were running away, but they just (had) guns aimed, aimed up, yelling at people to leave and get out of there. So once I kind of ran into a cop with a gun, I kind of just kept running.”
His path took him beyond Fifth Street.
Here’s the latest on officer Derek Chauvin who is officer who suffocated George Floyd by keeping his knee on his throate even Floyd was subdued and clearly telling the office he was in distress. Chauvin has been taken into custody.
There is more information coming out on Chauvin and his victim daily. This is from The Grio: “George Floyd and officer Derek Chauvin worked together at nightclub in 2019.”
Maya Santamaria, the former owner of the El Nuevo Rodeo Club, says that she knows both men at the center of Minneapolis’ recent protests. How? She hired them both at her club in 2019, but she cannot recall if the two actually knew each other, according to KSTP-TB, an ABC local affiliate.
“Chauvin was our off-duty police for almost the entirety of the 17 years that we were open,” says Santamaria. “They were working together at the same time, it’s just that Chauvin worked outside and the security guards were inside.”
Chauvin’s earlier excessive abuse charges were handled by Amy Klobucher. This is also from The Grio.
George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis by the hands of a cop has created a furor and protests over police brutality. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is now under scrutiny for failing to pursue charges against the officer involved when she was chief prosecutor.
Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derick Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes as he struggled to breathe on Monday. He and three other officers have since been fired but the incident with Floyd was not the first controversial one in his police jacket. Chauvin has at least 10 complaints of misconduct against him according to the database that registers complaints against police.
Klobuchar, Minnesota’s Democratic senator—and a possible vice presidential running mate to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has demanded a “complete and thorough” investigation into Floyd’s death.
Well, I’d say that’s all over.
Meanwhile, the Russian Potted Plant in the Oval office and Racist-in-Chief did exactly what you’d think he’d do. He race baited and stood with the Ku Klux Blue.
Okay, so this:
President Trump called the Minneapolis protesters “thugs” and implied looting demonstrators could be shot in two tweets posted early Friday morning, which Twitter later said violated its rules against promoting violence.
“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City,” the president wrote, adding that Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat, must “get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right.”
It was unclear if the president intended to send additional troops after Gov. Tim Walz activated the Minnesota National Guard to help restore order in the Twin Cities. But the president said he was prepared to have the federal government “assume control.”
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,” Mr. Trump wrote of the demonstrators, “and I won’t let that happen.” He added, “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
The tweet containing that quote was placed behind what Twitter called a “public interest notice,” which warned users that it “violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence” and required readers to take an extra step to read the president’s full comment.
Well… this is good by seeing that he’s actually tweeted 52.1 K tweets over time make me wonder if twitter troll is his full time job because he certainly is not presidenting.
So, I’m with Andrea Brown of the Houston Chronicle: “ Opinion: After George Floyd, I will not watch another video and witness another atrocity”.
The amount of death that I’ve seen is unnatural for a person my age. It would be easy to pass this statement off as a hazard of my job. I’m an educator in an area of town that’s been plagued by violence for years. I’ve wept at the loss of life of at least one student for six years straight. It’s much worse for the students I serve in the Third Ward. Death has turned many of them cold because they haven’t had the privilege of being shielded from the pain of violence in its many forms.
This is the same community that was home to George Floyd, a black man who was killed while in the custody of Minneapolis police. He was beloved by his community. Now, images of his lifeless body have traveled the world, sparking protests, tears, outrage and empty apologies. This is a cycle that continues to repeat itself. Each time it happens, it feels like a bandage being ripped off of a gaping wound. It never heals.
Enough! I’ve watched this play out since the early 1960s on the news … it’s way too much and we’ve done way too little to stop it.
The institutions of the United States of America should protect and serve all Americans equally and treat them all with respect and with the view of equality under the law. Police need to stop KILLING our Black Brothers and Sisters! NOW!!!!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Posted: June 17, 2017 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Black Lives Matter, Donald Trump, ignorance, Japan, Philando Castile, police shootings, priming the pump, stupidity, USS Fitzgerald, William Hagerty
Seven U.S. Sailors are missing following a collision off the coast of Japan. NBC News: 7 U.S. Sailors Unaccounted for After Navy Destroyer Collides With Ship Off Japan.
The USS Fitzgerald, a 505-foot destroyer, collided with a Philippine container vessel at approximately 2:30 a.m. Saturday local time (1:30 p.m. ET Friday), about 56 nautical miles off Yokosuka, the U.S. 7th Fleet said.
The ship, which had experienced some flooding after the collision, was tugged back to Yokosuka Naval Base, south of Tokyo, early Saturday.
Meanwhile search and rescue efforts by U.S. and Japanese aircraft and boats were underway in the area where the vessels collided.
The U.S. Navy said damaged areas of the ship will also be searched for the seven unaccounted-for sailors after the ship is safely docked.
“Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the Sailors,” Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in a statement. “We thank our Japanese partners for their assistance.”
More details from The Washington Post:
The operators of the merchant ship, ACX Crystal, reported all of the 20-member Filipino crew were safe….
The Philippine-flagged Crystal is nearly four times as large as the Fitzgerald, an Aegis guided-missile destroyer. Japanese and U.S. vessels and aircraft fanned out across the scene of the collision, about 12 miles off Japan’s Izu peninsula. The Japanese coast guard led the search teams.
USS Fitzgerald arrives at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo. TORU HANAI / Reuters
Three of the Fitzgerald’s crew, including the destroyer’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, were evacuated from the damaged vessel and are being treated at the U.S. naval hospital at Yokosuka, the home of the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet.
Benson was reported to be in stable condition, while the other two were still having their injuries assessed. The Seventh Fleet had set up an information center for families of sailors serving on the ship.
The USS Dewey, another Navy destroyer and two naval tugboats were at the scene, about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka. Two Japanese coast guard cutters with helicopters were helping with the search.
The Crystal, which is fully loaded with cargo, is bound for Tokyo, according to a website that tracks maritime traffic. Nippon Yusen K.K., the Japanese shipping company that operates the container ship.
The Fitzgerald, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer commissioned in 1995, is part of the Yokosuka-based group that includes the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, but it was operating independently of the carrier when the collision occurred, Flanders said.
It still is not clear how the vessels collided, but one thing we know is that “President” Trump’s unfilled appointments could be a problem for those trying to find the missing sailors and determine the cause of this tragedy. The Guardian reports: USS Fitzgerald collision: Trump criticised for leaving key posts unfilled.
Donald Trump has been criticised for delays in appointing a navy secretary and ambassador to Japan, leaving a communications vacuum as the countries continued their search for seven missing sailors off the east coast of Japan.
The commanding officer of the USS Fitzgerald, Bryce Benson, and two other crew were injured after the vessel collided with a Philippine-registered container ship before dawn on Saturday.
The US has been without an ambassador to Japan since Caroline Kennedy left Tokyo in January.
William Hagerty, nominated but not yet confirmed as Ambassador to Japan
Her successor, the Tennessee businessman William Hagerty, has attended a Senate confirmation hearing but has yet to take up his post.
Brandon Friedman, a former Obama administration official and co-founder of the McPherson Square Group, a strategic communications firm in Washington, pointed to the absence of an ambassador and navy secretary – two officials who would be expected to take a lead in liaising between the US navy, and Japanese and US government officials during the search.
“The USS Fitzgerald might sink off Japan and the US President can’t call our ambassador or our navy secretary because we have neither,” Friedman said.
Trump’s nominee for US navy secretary, Richard Spencer, has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.
The “president” has been too busy tweeting and raking in money from foreign governments to attend to his constitutional duties. According to Max Boot at Foreign Policy, he is also “proving to be too stupid to be president.”
I’m starting to suspect that Donald Trump may not have been right when he said, “You know, I’m like a smart person.” The evidence continues to mount that he is far from smart — so far, in fact, that he may not be capable of carrying out his duties as president.
There is, for example, the story of how Trump met with the pastors of two major Presbyterian churches in New York. “I did very, very well with evangelicals in the polls,” he bragged. When the pastors told Trump they weren’t evangelicals, he demanded to know, “What are you then?” They told him they were mainline Presbyterians. “But you’re all Christians?” he asked. Yes, they had to assure him, Presbyterians are Christians. The kicker: Trump himself is Presbyterian.
Trump claims he originated the saying “priming the pump.”
Or the story of how Trump asked the editors of the Economist whether they had ever heard of the phrase “priming the pump.” Yes, they assured him, they had. “I haven’t heard it,” Trump continued. “I mean, I just … I came up with it a couple of days ago, and I thought it was good.” The phrase has been in widespread use since at least the 1930s.
Or the story of how, after arriving in Israel from Saudi Arabia, Trump told his hosts, “We just got back from the Middle East.”
These aren’t examples of stupidity, you may object, but of ignorance. This has become a favorite talking point of Trump’s enablers. House Speaker Paul Ryan, for example, excused Trump’s attempts to pressure FBI Director James Comey into dropping a criminal investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn on the grounds that “the president’s new at this” and supposedly didn’t realize that he was doing anything wrong. But Trump has been president for nearly five months now, and he has shown no capacity to learn on the job.
More broadly, Trump has had a lifetime — 71 years — and access to America’s finest educational institutions (he’s a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, he never tires of reminding us) to learn things. And yet he doesn’t seem to have acquired even the most basic information that a high school student should possess. Recall that Trump said that Frederick Douglass, who died in 1895, was “an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more.” He also claimed that Andrew Jackson, who died 16 years before the Civil War, “was really angry that he saw what was happening in regard to the Civil War.”
Read the rest at Foreign Policy.
Think Progress on all those emoluments: Trump details how he’s profiting off the presidency.
New financial disclosure forms provide insight into where and how Donald Trump has reaped profits since he launched his bid for the presidency.
The 98-page filing with the Office of Government Ethics, released on Friday afternoon, provides an incomplete snapshot of Trump’s financial picture. But since Trump has broken presidential precedent by refusing to release his taxes, it’s the closest look into his investments the public has gotten so far.
The documents provide financial information for the period of time between last January and this spring — encompassing the lead-up to the presidential election and Trump’s transition into the White House.
Trump’s sprawling business empire is difficult to definitively quantify. However, the filings do show that the properties Trump has visited frequently as president have seen significant gains in income, the D.C. hotel at the center of an ethical controversy has generated millions in revenue, and the royalties for Trump’s books have soared.
Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where he spent most of his weekendsimmediately after his inauguration, returned millions more in income after his campaign and subsequent election. Trump reported about $16 million in profits for Mar-a-Lago in his report filed in 2015, about $30 million in his report filed in 2016, and about $37 million in his most recent report.
Trump didn’t hide the fact that his presidency made Mar-a-Lago a more profitable venture for him. The initiation fee for the so-called “Winter White House” doubled to $200,000 — a figure that doesn’t include taxes and $14,000 annual dues — immediately after Trump was inaugurated.
Please click on the link and read the rest.
I’m sure you’ve already heard about this story, but it’s important to take note of it. In Trump’s America, police officer can kill unarmed black people on video and still evade punishment. Slate: Philando Castile’s Killer Acquitted Despite Forensics That Contradicted His Case.
Philando Castile’s killer, police officer Jeromino Yanez, was acquitted of manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm on Friday. The case of Castile’s shooting last July in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota had sparked mass protests after his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds posted a dramatic and wrenching video of the shooting’s aftermath. The video, taken with Reynolds’ 4-year-old daughter in the car, included footage of Castile lying in a puddle of blood after he was struck five times from seven shots.
Castile had informed the officer that he was carrying a firearm, for which he had a permit. Shortly thereafter, Yanez opened fire. In his opening statement, Yanez’s defense attorney claimed that Castile was holding his gun when he was shot.
“He has his hand on the gun,” Engh reportedly said during opening arguments. “The next command is, ‘Don’t pull it out.’ … [Yanez] can’t retreat … But for Mr. Castile’s continuous grip on the handgun, we would not be here.”
The prosecution argued that the 32-year-old school cafeteria supervisor with no violent criminal record was reaching for his driver’s license—as Yanez had instructed—and not his gun when he was shot. The forensic evidence and Reynold’s testimony would both seem to back up the prosecution’s account and rebut the defense’s version. Reynolds testified that he was trying to unbuckle his seatbelt so that he could get out his wallet and driver’s license when he was shot. As the Associated Press reported, this was supported by forensics:
Prosecutor Jeff Paulsen highlighted autopsy evidence in his closing argument, reminding the jury of a bullet wound to what would have been Castile’s trigger finger — and that there was no corresponding bullet damage nor wounds in the area of Castile’s right shorts pocket, where he carried his gun. He also cited testimony from first responders who saw Castile’s gun in his pocket as he was loaded onto a backboard.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports: Hours after officer Yanez is found not guilty in fatal shooting of Philando Castile, marchers close I-94.
After 27 hours of deliberation, a jury of seven men and five women reached a verdict in Philando Castile’s death. Eight hours later, after a march in St. Paul, hundreds went on the freeway, where some faced off with police before 18 were arrested.
A jury found St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez not guilty Friday in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, whose livestreamed death during a traffic stop stunned a nation.
Castile’s family called the decision proof of a dysfunctional criminal justice system, while prosecutors cautioned the public to respect the jury’s verdict “because that is the fundamental premise of the rule of law.”
“I am so disappointed in the state of Minnesota,” Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, said at a news conference shortly after the verdict was read in court about 2:45 p.m. “My son loved this state. He had one tattoo on his body and it was of the Twin Cities — the state of Minnesota with TC on it. My son loved this city and this city killed my son. And the murderer gets away.”
Castile’s girfriend Diamond Reynolds, who videotaped his murder.
Castile was a cafeteria worker who was very popular with the children he served. Twin Cities Pioneer Press: J.J. Hill school’s grief over Philando Castile’s death continues after verdict.
Philando Castile’s death last year rattled the J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School community.
Friday’s verdict acquitting the officer who fired the shots that killed the beloved school cafeteria worker brought no relief to their grief, parents contacted afterward said.
“I’m appalled, unbelievably sickened,” parent Chad Eisen Ramgren said about the verdict.
Castile — called “Mr. Phil” by the students — had worked at J.J. Hill for two years as nutrition services supervisor before he was fatally shot by St. Anthony officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop on July 6. A vigil and children’s march were held in the days after outside the school where his smile and kindness were recalled….
Families knew Mr. Phil as the man who gave their children high-fives in the lunch line and helped them with their lunch numbers.
More at the link.
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