Sunday, June 14, 2020
No intro this week.
Tweet of the week, from paulo. (@itskingapollo):
If the police did their jobs, everyone would trust them. Ain't no song
called "Fuck the Fire Department."
Also, from Rhys Blakely (@rhysblakely):
A 70-year-old man in Seattle survived the coronavirus, got applauded by
staff when he left the hospital after 62 days -- and then got a $1.1
million, 181-page hospital bill.
Some scattered links this week:
Georgia primary sends us a warning -- November could be a voting rights
disaster. On the other hand, interest in voting seems to be record
high. See Dareh Gregorian:
Voter turnout soared in Georgia despite massive primary day problems.
Bocar Abdoulaye Ba/Roman Rivera:
Police think they can get away with anything. That's because they usually
Trump: "The concept of chokehold sounds so innocent, so perfect".
Iowa quietly passes its third ag-gag bill after constitutional
Economic reality bites Wall Street and Trump.
Michael Flynn writes op-ed confirming he's definitely insane.
Trump postpones his MAGA rally planned for Juneteenth. Trump's
first rally in months was scheduled in Tulsa on the anniversary of
the 1921 massacre, where "a white mob destroyed the affluent Greenwood
District of the city, known as Black Wall Street, burning down 35
blocks, including 1,200 homes, and killing 300 black people in the
process." This was long referred to as a "race riot," but like all
similar events of the period, it was white people "rioting," much
like the pogroms Czarist Russian authorities organized against Jews.
Tulsa stands out in memory because of the sheer size of the massacre,
but also because it was the first instance of using airplanes to
firebomb an American neighborhood. Speaking of Trump in Tulsa:
Trump's new recovery plan resists sweeping police reforms.
The police shooting of Maurice Gordon, a black man killed during a traffic
The sexual assault allegations against an officer involved in Breonna
Taylor's killing say a lot about police abuse of power. Also note:
"the Louisville Metro Council banned no-knock warrants with new
legislation called Breonna's Law." Obviously, a few months too late
Aaron Ross Coleman:
Aaron C Davis/Carol D Leonnig/Josh Dawsey:
Officials familiar with Lafayette Square confrontation challenge Trump
administration claim of what drove aggressive expulsion of protesters.
Melania Trump delayed move to White House as "leverage" to renegotiate
a better prenup: report. Dish from Mary Jordan's upcoming book,
The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump. Also:
CNN rejects Trump campaign's demand for apology over polls showing him
losing to Biden by 14 points. But CNN's actual response was pretty
clueless: "[authoritarian demands] have typically come from countries
like Venezuela." But authoritarians (regardless of whether Venezuela
qualifies as an example) typically understand the limits of their
authority, which they'd undermine by demanding something they're in
no position to enforce. Trump's demand is pure PR: rejecting the poll
results so emphatically his supporters will hear and believe him, but
expecting nothing further to come of it. Normally, the next step is
to threaten a frivolous lawsuit, but CNN's pockets are deep enough to
get that dismissed, and their own PR department would spin such a
thing into an attack on free press.
White House goes quiet on coronavirus as outbreak spikes again across
the US: "It's been more than a month since the White House halted
its daily coronavirus task force briefings."
How 70 years of cop shows taught us to valorize the police:
I've watched a lot of them, starting (as this article does) with
Dragnet (and from that era I'd add Andy Griffith and
Gunsmoke, which rounds out the picture considerably), and
while I appreciate the positive image most shows attempt to project,
I'm pretty doubtful that I've learned much if anything about the
real world of police work. Nor have they made me any less fearful
of interactions with the police, or the "justice system" more
Trump's halting walk down ramp raises new health questions. Also
see Philip Rucker:
Trump tries to explain his slow and unsteady walk down a ramp at West
Point: "Elements of Trump's explanation strained credulity."
Why the Republicans' 2020 strategy is to keep as many people as possible
from voting. I'm not very worried that a fair election will give
Trump a second term. And I think that efforts to suppress the vote tend
to backfire, at least up to a point. Still, the Republicans have been
working hard to trim and shape the electorate to their tastes, and it's
not unreasonable to worry that they may ultimately be successful -- for
one thing, look at how they've managed to gerrymander districts.
What does it say about a political party when its chief strategy is
to prevent as many people as possible from voting -- and its leader
admits as much?
That is where Republicans find themselves heading into the 2020
For the latest, breathtaking example of this pathology, look at
Iowa. On June 2, Iowa held a highly successful primary, with record
turnout -- and Republicans in the state legislature immediately
initiated action to ensure the success is not repeated in the fall.
Trump poised to accept GOP nod in Jacksonville, Fla., on 60th anniversary
of 'Ax Handle Saturday': After schedule Trump's Juneteenth rally in
Tulsa, of course this comes next:
On Aug. 27, 1960, a mob of 200 white people in Jacksonville, Fla. --
organized by the Ku Klux Klan and joined by some of the city's police
officers -- chased and beat peaceful civil rights protesters who were
trying to integrate downtown lunch counters. The bloody carnage that
followed -- in which ax handles and baseball bats were used to club
African Americans, who sought sanctuary in a church -- is remembered
as "Ax Handle Saturday."
2 new studies show shutdowns were astonishingly effective.
Buffalo cops -- and all the other cops.
The generals are turning on Trump: "Mark Milley's apology for the
church photo-op is a major escalation."
West Pointless: "Trump made cadets return to campus during a pandemic
to listen to his dull platitudes." First line in article is "It could
have been worse." Hard to imagine the next paragraph ever being written
about any other president:
President Trump's Saturday morning commencement speech at West Point
was merely dull rather than abhorrent, incendiary, or flagrantly
self-aggrandizing, except for a couple of passages and -- significantly --
the fact of the speech itself, which was designed entirely as a video
clip for an upcoming reelection campaign commercial.
Sure, they'll cut out the bit where he waddles down the ramp. And
to think how annoying I found it that every time GW Bush spoke you
first had to watch him walk up to the podium. (OK, it was kind of
sick-funny the time he made Ariel Sharon do the same.) But at least
then we had a president who could walk -- not to mention read a
teleprompter without his eyes glazing over. Who imagine those would
some day be skills we could fondly reminisce over? (Even when
performed by a major war criminal?)
Trump's support for Confederate base names has nothing to do with
respecting the military.
Why this moment demands radical politics: Interview with Eddie Glaude
Jr., author of Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American
Soul and Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons
for Our Own.
The fatal arrest of Manuel Ellis, another black man who yelled "I can't
The "kettling" of protesters, explained.
Aline Kominsky-Crumb/R Crumb:
Bad diet & bad hair destroy human civilization.
About those improved unemployment numbers:
As the Economic Policy Institute's Elise Gould explains in
this indispensable short piece, if you add to the officially unemployed
statistic those workers who were staying home for health or family reasons
but reported themselves as employed, and workers who reported that they
had left the labor force but would seek work if it were available, the
adjusted unemployment rate for May is 19.7 percent.
The clincher is the number of workers still drawing unemployment
compensation, which was just under 30 million the week of May 16,
according to the same BLS report.
Trump's use of the military does not create the "appearance" of abuse.
It is abuse.
David J Lynch:
Ripple effects of downturn show pandemic's early economic toll was
just the beginning.
"Defenders of democracy" aren't bothered by its end in Bolivia.
If you don't believe systemic racism is real, explain these statistics.
Pandemic unemployment insurance is expiring soon. This economist has
a fix for it. "Ioana Marinescu would allow people who've lost jobs
to keep collecting $600 a week even after getting a new job."
Ivanka Trump and Charles Koch fuel a cancel-culture clash at Wichita
Trump loses 2 pivotal allies in his anti-kneeling crusade: NASCAR and
The black wage gap matters: "The grim state of racial economic inequality
should sicken our consciences."
White Americans are finally talking about racism. Will it translate
The preachers of the austerity gospel are back: "Though we're in the
midst of an unprecedented economic crisis, calls for budget-tightening
have reliably restarted."
"Totally predictable": State reopenings have backfired.
Donald Trump is an autocrat. It's up to all of us to stop him.
Yeah, sure: not a position I'm going to argue with, or get bent out
of shape over.
Dictatorships are built on denial. Dictators take over gradually;
each incremental step that erodes civil liberties and the rule of
law can be justified and explained away. Sometimes a would-be dictator
is laughed off as a political buffoon who shouldn't be taken seriously.
While it is happening, no one can quite believe that they are on the
road to serfdom.
I might have skipped mention of this piece but wanted to save this
paragraph-plus (more explicitly blood-thirsty than Tom Cotton's famous
op-ed) for posterity:
On Monday, Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican and Trump acolyte,
offered a typical Republican response to the protests when he called
for all the lethal tools of the global war on terror to be brought
home and turned on American protesters. "Now that we clearly see
Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the
Middle East?" Gaetz tweeted Monday. Twitter restricted access to the
Gaetz tweet, labeling it a glorification of violence.
By advocating for an end to the rule of law, Republicans like
Gaetz will find themselves surviving at the whim of Trump. That's
when the jokes about drones and Gitmo won't seem so funny to them.
The Tom Cotton op-ed affair shows why the media must defend America's
values: America has values? The New York Times should decide what
they are? I agree that Cotton's proposal to flood American cities with
the same troops that tried so fitfully to quell protests in Baghdad
is something one should oppose, but by recent evidence it's hard to
say what he's proposing is un-American. For a couple more general
pieces that take off from the Cotton op-ed:
Do baseball's labor fights drive away fans? Well, Well, I used to
read box scores every day, but haven't followed MLB at all since the
1994 lockout. That's just one data point, but it's a pretty hard one.
The article refers to "the 1994-95 strike," but all I remember is the
owners' lockout, and that's where I put all the blame.
Walter M Shaub Jr:
Ransacking the Republic.
Fox News removes manipulated images from coverage of Seattle protests.
Trump's actions rattle the military world: 'I can't support the man':
"The president's threat to use troops against largely peaceful protesters,
as well as other attempts to politicize the military, have unsettled a
number of current and former members and their families."
Mark Joseph Stern:
Republicans attack Republican official for expanding voting access.
Democrat accuses OSHA of being 'invisible' while infections rise among
essential workers. One would think that OSHA would be the key agency
consulted on all questions having to do with re-opening businesses.
As of Thursday, infections tied to meat plants had surpassed 18,500 and
worker deaths were approaching 70, according to the Midwest Center for
Investigative Reporting, which is tracking industry outbreaks through
local news reports. Grocery workers have been similarly hit hard, with
more than 5,500 testing positive for the coronavirus and more than 100
dying of covid-19, the disease the virus causes, The Washington Post
has reported. Front-line health-care workers have gotten sick in even
greater numbers, with more than 60,000 infected and more than 300 dying
of covid-19, according to new CDC data.
Alex S Vitale:
"Policing is fundamentally a tool of social control to facilitate our
exploitation": An interview by Mike Uetricht with Vitale, who wrote
The End of Policing back in 2017.
Forgive Tucker Carlson for his panicky desperation. His world is
collapsing. I don't watch his show, but clips I've seen recently
are extremely unhinged. Also see:
Study: Police killings traumatize high school students and hurt academic
Study suggests Democrats should be running more ads about Biden, fewer
about Trump. What I'd rather see is more ads that work for the whole
party, not just Biden vs. Trump. The Democratic majority in the House,
for instance, has passed a lot of bills that Republicans killed in the
Senate, so those are good opportunities to compare parties. You can
also point out differences between states with Democrats in power vs.
Republican-run states, especially on metrics like how many people don't
have health insurance. I don't see that running a lot of ads on how
Biden's going to lead us to the promised land will have much traction,
although you do want to suggest that you're not embarrassed by him as
nominee (although I rather am).
Joe Biden has a really big lead in the polls. Compares his recent
polls to Clinton's in 2016. The thing that always struck me about 2016
was that no matter how low Trump sunk, Clinton never could hit, let
along top, 50%. ("Even on October 18, Clinton was only at 46 percent
in the polls with Trump doing terribly at 39 and plenty of undecided
and third-party voters.") The CNN poll not only gives Biden a 14 point
margin, his actual figure is 55%.
"The protesters had to deescalate the police": Demonstrators are the
ones defusing violence at protests.