Sunday, June 21, 2020
All in all, not a very good week for Donald Trump. It started off
with Supreme Court rulings that the 1965 Civil Rights Act prohibits
discrimination against LGBTQ people, and that Trump's revocation of
the DACA program was invalid because the Trump administration failed
to explain why. The marches continued, as did the police outrages
provoking more demonstrations, but also a few reform stories, and
even some indictments and/or dismissals that show that, despite the
fury of Trump and the right, protest is getting somewhere. Trump
spent much of the week threatening and/or suing his former national
security director and his niece for writing books showing some of
the many ways he is incompetent and/or vile. And just as we're still
processing his recent purge of federal inspectors for trying to do
their jobs, he goes off and fires a US attorney who had opened
investigations of some of his cronies. He's finding Covid-19
infection rates still on the rise in nearly half of the states,
including virtually all of the "red" ones in the South. He expected
to finish the week on a high after resuming his campaign rallies in
one of those states, only to find the Tulsa arena half-empty (and
considerably less than half-masked). It's hard to see how that turns
into a win.
Even before the rally, most polls show Trump losing badly to Joe
Biden. See Nate Silver:
Our new polling averages show Biden leads Trump by 9 points nationally,
which shows a bunch of 2016 Trump states flipping: Michigan, Florida,
Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, but
not quite Iowa (where Biden is -0.6) or Texas (-0.7). Trump's approval
rating is 41.4% (vs. 55.2% disapprove). The generic congressional ballot
is at 48.4% Democrats, 40.4% Republicans. Of course, too early to count
your chickens. The one thing I'm most certain of is that the rest of the
2020 campaign season is going to be the nastiest in American history.
Quite a few sublists below, usually starting with the first piece
I found on a subject, so you'll have to scour around to find ones of
personal interest. In fact, quite a lot of everything.
Some scattered links this week:
Seattle's newly police-free neighborhood, explained.
Marc Caputo/Matthew Choi:
Klobuchar shuts down VP speculation, urges Biden to pick woman of
color. Article describes this as "a blow to the chances of
Massachusetts' Sen Elizabeth Warren," but that assumes that someone
who didn't rate high enough to still be a contender has somehow
gained influence by pissing in the punch bowl on the way out.
Leaves me with the feeling that not only does she want to torpedo
the much more progressive Warren, she also can't bear losing to
her fellow midwestern prospects (most often mentioned are Gretchen
Whitmer, Tammy Baldwin, and Tammy Duckworth).
Trump claims his niece signed an NDA, threatens to sue her over tell-all
book: report. The niece is Mary L Trump, PhD, the book Too Much
and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous
The disappearance and death of activist Oluwatoyin Salau, explained.
Police killings can be captured in data. The terror police create
Jesselyn Cook/Nick Robins-Early:
Inside the dangerous online fever swamps of American police: "Cops
have a far-right media ecosystem of their own, where they post racist
memes, spread disinformation and call for violence against antifa."
Donald Trump is a menace to American democracy. But he didn't come out
of nowhere. "His rise was only possible because of a Republican and
Democratic political consensus that has ravaged American politics and
society for a generation." Long article, touches on a lot of things.
It's certainly true that politics have become more polarized, especially
on the very ideological and aggressive right, and Trump in many ways is
a logical extension of where the right was already going. Still, I wonder
if it might be more fruitful to look at how businessmen have become more
imperious and arrogant (and, no coincidence, much richer) over the last
30-40 years. Trump may seem like a major break with previous politicians,
but how different is he from the last few generations of CEOs/financiers?
(Insert long list of names here, like Jack Welch, Carl Icahn, Charles Koch,
Sheldon Adelson, etc.) Trump's instincts are certainly authoritarian, but
they strike me as more like despotic monarchs, who grew up in worlds where
everyone deferred to them, and fascist (or mafia) strongmen, who came to
power by snatching it, and kept it by intimidation.
The age of disappointment? Or how the American century ends. These
TomDispatch articles get reproduced on various websites, often with
slightly different titles. AlterNet calls this
The American century is ending decisively with a pyromaniac in the
Why was a grim report on police-involved deaths never released?
Who really was Roy Cohn?: Interview with Ivy Meeropol, who directed
a new documentary on Trump's mentor, including his role in getting her
grandparents executed, in what Alan Dershowitz thinks "was one of the
greatest miscarriages of justice ever in this country."
Black authors are on all the bestseller lists right now. But publishing
doesn't pay them enough.
Israelizing the American police, Palestinianizing the American people.
Elahe Izadi/Paul Farhi:
The standoff between owners and journalists that's eviscerating Pittsburgh's
biggest newspaper. Newspapers are businesses, owned by rich people, who
are often tempted to impose their political views on their reporters -- here
the signal is the charge of "bias." Free press is a nice concept, but doesn't
exist in America -- least of all, evidently, in Pittsburgh.
Letting private equity billionaires rob worker retirement funds: "A
new Department of Labor rule allows private equity to get into 401(k)
plans. One expert estimates a $13.7 billion annual wealth transfer from
workers to Wall Street tycoons."
The government can afford anything it wants: Review of Stephanie
Kelton: The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of
the People's Economy. I must admit that I've never understood
MMT, although I have noticed that the predictions of "deficit scolds"
have rarely (if ever) come true -- so it wouldn't surprise me if
there is more flexibility for deficit spending than is commonly
assumed (e.g., by those bemoaning how Bernie Sanders could ever pay
for his proposals). Consider:
"The problem we have today," Kelton writes, "is that economic policy
is often prescribed by people who, despite holding advanced degrees
in economics, possess no real understanding of how our monetary system
works." The idea is that a basic understanding of how money works, of
MMT precepts, could empower any citizen to fight for a better world.
But this will only happen once we reconcile what the country is capable
of and what the people are willing to do. "Austerity," Kelton writes,
"is a failure of imagination." So what kind of society do we want to
imagine, if we unshackle ourselves from the language of taxpayer-funded,
deficit-diminishing government? Are we willing to stop shoveling resources
into the military (and its domestic paramilitary offshoot, police
departments) and start diverting them to working-class communities?
If everyone deserves to be safe, housed, and prosperous, let's instruct
the Federal Reserve to start marking up some different accounts.
Seung Min Kim:
Top State Department official resigns in protest of Trump's response to
racial tensions in the country: Mary Elizabeth Taylor, assistant
secretary of state for legislative affairs..
Remember Brexit? It's still not over.
The 7 most disturbing allegations about Trump in John Bolton's forthcoming
book. Bolton didn't get to start any major wars during his brief tenure
as Trump's national security adviser, but at least he got a book out of it,
The Room Where It Happened, and enough publicity that it's likely
to be a bestseller (assuming a
Trump administration lawsuit fails to quash it), setting himself up
for a return to the limelight should Tom Cotton or Marco Rubio or some
similar reptile become president. Subheds (which really aren't more
disturbing than what you already know):
- Trump asked Xi for help with his electoral prospects -- as
if he ever thought about anything else.
- Trump told Xi to go ahead with the internment of Muslims in
China -- as if Xi cares what he thinks.
- Trump learns about nukes . . . Trump didn't know that the UK
has nuclear weapons, but (unlike the US) they've never used them.
- . . . and about geography -- well, Finland used to be part of
Russia, and the US actually did land marines in Venezuela, and later
effectively owned its oil industry.
- Trump wanted to withdraw from NATO with a dramatic made-for-TV
- Trump had some issues with the Constitution -- like wanting
to execute "scumbags" who rat him out; this is a polite way of saying
he doesn't understand why a president shouldn't be able to do things
any self-respecting mob boss would.
- Meddling in Ukraine, yes, but so many other things
More reaction to Bolton:
John Bolton didn't tell the truth when it mattered most: "Instead,
he kept his mouth shut until he could cash in on a book deal." This is
the popular line among people who are eager to grasp at any cudgel to
attack Trump, but we should be clear that Bolton always had his own
private agenda, and it always included concern for his bottom line.
Even before his book deal, Bolton has long made an unseemly amount of
money by consistently hewing to the most hawkish line allowed at any
given moment, even as each of his arguments has proven disastrous.
That he occasionally finds Trump insufficiently belligerent is more
of an indictment of him than of Trump. That he occasionally finds
Trump to be stupid, vain and petty just shows that he can marshal
ordinary perceptions into passages that make himself look smarter
and more principled, if only by comparison.
Theodore J Boutrous Jr:
Why Trump's lawsuit against John Bolton will fail.
Trump: I didn't realize Bolton supported Iraq War until after I hired
him: "A small slip-up in the vetting process"? What vetting process?
Did Trump ever make his own concerns known? Bolton not only supported
the Iraq War, he never stopped defending it. It's impossible to imagine
a job interview, even by someone as inattentive and uncurious as Trump,
failing to raise red flags.
Trump is determined to get John Bolton jailed.
John Bolton: American coward.
There are no heroes in the John Bolton v Donald Trump story.
Josh Gerstein/Kyle Cheney:
'The damage is done': Judge denies Trump administration request to block
Bolton book: "but he warned the former national security adviser
could face criminal charges."
Bolton book exposes rare fissures between Trump and Pompeo.
Trump: I should have fired John Bolton for botching North Korea nuclear
talks. Yes you should have. No you didn't. Moreover, it was totally
obvious when you appointed him that he would do everything he possibly
could to make sure no agreement was reached. Same could be said of your
boy Mike Pompeo, although he did a slightly better job of pretending he
was with the program. Trump should rifle back through what remains of
his memory and identify all the people who recommended Bolton to him,
and fire them too. By the way, I wouldn't say that Trump's own words
were especially eloquent or insightful, but for once their pith finds
a deserving target:
"When Wacko John Bolton went on Deface the Nation and so stupidly said
that he looked at the 'Libyan Model' for North Korea, all hell broke
out," Trump tweeted Thursday. "Kim Jong Un, who we were getting along
with very well, went 'ballistic,' just like his missiles -- and
Trump added that Kim "didn't want Bolton anywhere near him."
"Bolton's dumbest of all statements set us back very badly with
North Korea, even now. I asked him, 'what the hell were you thinking'"
He had no answer and just apologized. That was early on, I should
have fired him right then & there!" Trump wrote.
William Rivers Pitt:
It's Trump vs Bolton, and I'm rooting for a meteor.
The folly of Trump's Bolton lawsuit.
WH trade adviser slams Bolton book as 'deep swamp revenge porn':
John Bolton is a weasel in a party of weasels.
Trump's Bolton problem is nothing compared with Senate Republicans'
woes: "We knew Trump violated his oath. Now we're certain Senate
Republicans did, too."
John Bolton is telling the truth, but let's not forget his horrible,
DOJ goes all in on trying to block release of Bolton book.
US drops planned limit for toxin that damages infant brains.
Another General wants forever war in Iraq: Meet CENTCOM Commander
Gen. Kenneth F McKenzie Jr.
The history of the "riot" report: "How government commissions became
alibis for inaction."
The ongoing struggle between two American ideals: liberty and equality:
"Inside the biggest fault line between the two parties in American politics
today." The conservative mind-trick here is defining liberty as something
that only a few people can enjoy because it's taken at the expense of
others. But you never can get to "liberty and justice for all" that way,
which makes me wonder if it isn't better to think of liberty as something
equality makes possible. Even conservatives should be satisfied defining
liberty as the ability to choose one's course of action without being
compelled by economic constraints. Why can't everyone enjoy such freedom?
The real "fault line" has nothing to do with liberty, which all pursue,
but with equality, which conservatives deny and despise. Sure, they have
their rationalizations, but even if true -- and I'd argue they are not --
why would a democracy prostrate itself to their vanity?
Why are conservatives so threatened by equality? Subhed says "It's
the toxic and irrational fear that more freedom for LGBTQ Americans
infringes on their own," but isn't that just a way of admitting that
they believe that their freedom comes at the expense of other people?
And not just LGBTQ -- there's also race, class, sex. They believe that
unions are picking their pockets. Each plank is rooted in a sense of
privilege, and a belief that force can safeguard their privileges.
After all, we might all agree to be equal, but there can never be
agreement (hence there can never be peace) that one class is entitled
to rule over all others.
How Republicans convinced themselves that Trump will win in a landslide:
"Delusional thinking often goes unchallenged when you're living inside
a cocoon." Also:
The landslide of 2020? Someone recommended this link as the funniest
thing he had read in quite some time. Doesn't quite qualify as a review of David
Horowitz's Blitz: Trump Will Smash the Left and Win because he
admits that he hasn't read the book, but he believes Horowitz ("one of
the most perceptive observers of the current scene") blindly.
The current environment reminds me of 1972, and a conversation I had
then with a friend who was, like me at that time, on the left. The
contest then was between Nixon and McGovern, and my friend said,
"Nixon will win because he is for America, and McGovern is against
America." He and I didn't see it that way, but we knew that was how
the race was coming across to most voters. That is true in spades
this year: McGovern was wrong about a lot of things, but he was a
sincere patriot. Today's Democrats, in contrast, really are
The cognitive disconnect in the last sentence is so hard to
process that the simplest explanation is that people who utter it
are stark raving insane. Yet we hear this line repeated endlessly
on the far right, especially since Obama won the presidency in
2008. (Sometimes at book length, as in David Limbaugh's The
Great Destroyer: Barack Obama's War on the Republic -- the
most explicit title from a long list I compiled in 2012, which
I summed up as "uninspired and empty.") The thing is, there's
never been a shred of evidence that Obama or any other mainstream
Democrat wanted to harm America. Maybe you can accuse a few fringe
leftists (maybe even myself) with being insufficiently obeisant
to the militarized symbols of American power, but Obama, Biden,
the Clintons, Pelosi, Shumer, et al., have become the last true
believers in American exceptionalism: the steadfast belief that
this country remains a beacon of light, of hope and opportunity
for the rest of the world. Even those of us who have become
thoroughly disenchanted with America's long history of racism,
militarism, colonialism, corruption, and economic plunder, tend
to express our concerns by referring to the historical moments
when Americans seemed to aspire to something better, and we can
frame our solutions in terms which promise to help the majority
of Americans. But while we believe that further left solutions
would be better for Americans than what mainstream Democrats
have done, the fact is that when given the power, Democrats have
made the economy more prosperous, have reduced the harm done to
less fortunate Americans, have blundered into fewer wars, have
treated the environment better, and have responded to disasters
more effectively, than Republicans have done. So how can people
like the author here say such things? I considered the possibility
that their definition of America was just so exclusive -- as Todd
Snider put it, "conservative Christian, right-wing Republican,
straight, white, American males" -- that maybe their paranoia was
grounded in something real. But I know many such people, and I've
never seen them actually hurt by things Democrats have done (even
where they've felt outraged). So, I have to conclude, the depths
of their delusion far exceeds my ability to explain.
'We're thinking landslide': Beyond DC, GOP officials see Trump on glide
path to reelection: Quotes Phillip Stephens, a GOP county chairman
in NC: "The more bad things happen in the country, it just solidifies
support for Trump. We're calling him 'Teflon Trump.' Nothing's going to
stick, because if anything, it's getting more exciting than it was in
2016. We're thinking landslide."
Trump supporters already know he will definitely win by a landslide.
Two stories that show why Trump's unfit for office.
The are two lightly reported stories in the news that really highlight
the norm-breaking and criminality of the Trump administration. One
involves the nation's inspectors general and the other the administration's
treatment of science. Anyone who might care about these subjects is most
likely already in Biden's camp, but they should get wider circulation
because they ought to inform how people will vote.
The stories Longman cites (though neither are isolated incidents):
The 'Caesar Act' has no teeth and is not about Assad. Evidently
"Caesar" is an anonymous photographer who documented human rights
abuses by the Syrian military police, providing the basis for a
report (known as "The Caesar Report") written by ICC prosecutors,
and hence a law which allows the US (sworn enemies of the ICC) to
levy sanctions on Syria, adding fuel to America's psychotic love/hate
relationship with Syria. While I would have been pleased if the
Assad regime had fallen and disappeared in Syria, at this point
continued war is far worse for all concerned. Instead of figuring
out ways to inflict further pain, the US would be well advised to
make peace with Assad, and use whatever good will that produces to
help the Syrian people recover from the war the US (and its nominal
allies) did so much to protract. Related: Shahed Ghoreishi:
The next US administration must fix our broken Syria policy.
Notice that at this point no one has any hopes the present
administration can fix anything.
A new paper finds stimulus checks, small business aid, and "reopening"
can't rescue the economy.
How public opinion changes for the better.
Policing or occupation? Crowd control practices in the US and Palestine.
Trump wants to create election chaos by killing the Post Office:
On March 30, Trump spilled the beans himself when he said, if it were
easier to vote in the U.S., Republicans would never get elected. The
president made the comments as he dismissed a congressional Democrat-led
push for reforms such as vote-by-mail, same-day voter registration and
early voting to help states run elections safely during the COVID-19
pandemic. "They had things, levels of voting that if you'd ever agreed
to it, you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again,"
Trump said. "We don't want anyone to do mail-in ballots," the president
said in May.
The Trump administration's flawed plan to destroy the Internet as we know
it: "Following the president's lead, Republicans are trying to chip
away at Section 230."
Is Donald Trump a danger to democracy? Review of new books by Masha
Gessen (Surviving Autocracy) and Eric A Posner (The Demagogue's
Playbook: The Battle for American Democracy From the Founders to Trump),
by the author of The People Vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger
& How to Save It (2018). All concerned are fond of analogies, so
their books run the gamut. I think it's important to make a distinction
between Trump with his authoritarian impulses and the Republican Party's
greedy schemes to subvert democracy. Trump is reprehensible but dangerous
only to the extent that the Party supports and defends him. The real
threat is the Party, but I suspect that the authors would rather indict
individuals than look into the profoundly anti-democratic beliefs of
modern (or, indeed, any) conservatism.
Ellen Nakashima/Shane Harris:
Elite CIA unit that developed hacking tools failed to secure its own
systems, allowing massive leak, an internal report found.
Trump fires the US attorney investigating his allies: "Attorney
General William Barr tried to fire Geoffrey Berman on Friday, but
he refused to step down. So the president stepped in."
Barr trying to purge the last prosecutor who can still investigate
A remarkable turn of events:
The Trump administration, with its most effective enforcer, Bill Barr,
is looking at an uphill reelection campaign, a range of still unfolding
civic catastrophes, and trying to make the most of its executive power
while it still holds it. Abusing the powers of office look like the
clearest path to retaining those powers past next January. But since
the rampant abuses are now adding to the marked deterioration of support
for Trump's presidency the incentives for bad acting only grow more
perverse, the need to keep doubling down or upping the ante only grows.
As I noted above, Berman's public refusal is itself a sign of Trump's
ebbing power. It all points to a perilous six months of mounting
instability, wrongdoing and criminality in which Trump, his lieutenants
and toadies see the need to keep rolling the dice, fomenting chaos in
the hopes some version of it works in his favor.
Trump's pick to run Manhattan US attorney's office defended prominent
Wall Street firms for years: Jay Clayton, previously SEC chairman,
another obvious perch for serving his past (and future?) clients.
Aunt Jemima and the long-overdue rebrand of racist stereotypes.
Morgan Palumbo/Jessica Draper:
Knockout in Washington: "A monumental lobbying battle over American
foreign policy -- How the Saudis, the Qataris, and the Emiratis took
Washington." I'm tempted to argue that the US hasn't had a coherent
foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. Maybe GW Bush thought
he had one with his Global War on Terrorism. Maybe Obama thought his
"Pivot to Asia" would fill the void left by abandoning the hapless
GWOT. But really, US foreign policy just reverted to what it had been
before rabid anti-communism added its ideologial veneer: favors for
interest groups with business abroad. Before WWII, those favors were
for US companies, especially in Latin America. More recently, the
companies became multinationals, and sovereign nations got into the
act, all working through the usual lobbyists. Trump's innovation was
to drop the pretense that foreign policy was ever about anything but
money. So if Saudi Arabia, for instance, wants to bomb a neighboring
country, or kill an American journalist, all they really have to do
is to make sure the checks clear, and America will be their ally.
The Fed is addicted to propping up the markets, even without a need.
Why, exactly, the Fed feels it necessary to inject more dollars into
the corporate credit market is hard to fathom. The interest rate at
which investment-grade companies can borrow on the bond market is now
below 4 percent, about as low as anyone can remember. And the pace of
bond issuance so far this year, at over $1.2 trillion, has been double
that of last year's torrid pace. Indeed, there's so much capital
sloshing around that investors are lining up to lend money to companies
such as Boeing and Macy's and the cruise-line operator Carnival, although
these companies' revenue has plummeted with along revenue in much of
the travel and retail sectors. . . .
The best explanation for this confidence is the widespread belief
on Wall Street that the Fed will do "whatever it takes" -- that is,
print money to buy as many bonds as necessary -- to keep credit flowing
to the business sector, no matter the risk. By placing a floor under
bond prices, the Fed makes it possible for over-indebted, sales-starved
companies to borrow even more to cover operating losses, or refinance
existing loans, allowing them to avoid, or at least delay, the day when
they cannot pay their bills.
Trump's executive order on police reform, explained.
Brad Plumer/Nadja Popovich:
Emissions are surging back as countries and states reopen.
Mitt Romney is not your friend.
Adam K Raymond:
One of the officers who shot Breonna Taylor is getting fired.
Feds dismiss incitement charge against Michael Avery. As near as
I can tell, Avery (a "Ferguson activist") was charged for making posts
on Facebook criticizing St. Louis police. Greg Magarian commented,
"Winning malicious prosecution suits is nearly impossible, but Avery
should go for it, and [prosecutor Michael] Reilly should have this
abomination hung around his reputational neck for the rest of his
professional life." Another piece from the St. Louis American that
Magarian pointed me to: Chris King:
New video shows Florissant cop swerve to hit fleeing man with SUV.
King's follow up story:
Florissant cop charged with felony assault, armed criminal action.
A national US power grid would make electricity cheaper and cleaner.
David K Shipler:
The racial stereotypes infecting American police departments.
Republicans are hypocrites. They happily 'de-funded' the police we
One of America's worst acts of racial violence was in Tulsa. Now, it's
the site of Trump's first rally in months. More pieces on Tulsa,
past and present (some before and some after Trump's event):
Trump falsely suggests wearing a mask at his Tulsa rally could be
harmful: "He anticipated a 'wild evening' where 'people do what
The 'Silent Majority' didn't show up for Trump.
"Pitiful turnout": Trump mocked for "hilariously weak" attendance at
Tulsa comeback rally.
Six Trump campaign staffers in Tulsa test positive for COVID-19 ahead
of indoor rally.
Trump campaign blames protesters for disappointing turnout at Tulsa
Trump's rally looked like his vision of America. Limited and pitiless.
It was a long, rambling performance with the president lamenting that
he surely must have saluted some 600 times and by God, it was so hot
that day and the ramp was like an ice-skating rink and he was wearing
leather sole shoes. As far as he was concerned, he really should have
been cheered for making it down that ramp unscathed instead of being
mocked in the media. So perhaps it made him feel better when the Tulsa
crowd -- his crowd -- applauded after he theatrically drank a
glass of water onstage with only one hand and didn't dribble any of it
on his tie.
It was Trump's crowd. Everything is his. Everything is because of
him. "We -- I -- have done a phenomenal job," he said about
the federal government's response to the pandemic. "I saved hundreds
of thousands of lives."
Trump's Tulsa rally is shaping up to be a coronavirus petri dish inside
a wrecking ball.
Astead W Herndon:
Black Tulsans, with a defiant Juneteenth celebration, send a message to
Annie Karni/Maggie Haberman/Reid J Epstein:
How the Trump campaign's plans for a triumphant rally went awry:
"Instead of offering President Trump a glide path back into the campaign
season, Saturday's rally in Tulsa has become yet another flash point
for a candidate who has repeatedly displayed insensitivity about race."
Tulsa and the many sins of racism: "The ugly story didn't end with
the abolition of slavery."
Donald Trump's empty campaign rally in Tulsa.
Taylor Lorenz/Kellen Browning/Sheera Frenkel:
TikTok teens and K-Pop stans say they sank Trump rally: "Did a successful
prank inflate attendance expectations for President Trump's rally in Tulsa,
This is how Trump plans to beat Biden: "In his latest campaign kick-off
rally, the president maps his desperate plan to overcome the national crisis
he enabled and win re-election."
Trump accuses critics of attempting to 'Covid Shame' upcoming rally.
Dr Anthony Fauci warned White House that Tulsa rally would be dangerous.
5 takeaways from Trump's Tulsa rally:
- Trump elevates violent rhetoric against protesters
- 'Kung Flu,' a testing slowdown and other flippant comments
about the coronavirus
- No attempt to salve racial tensions
- Explaining 'the ramp and the water'
- Weaving old with the new for a 2020 campaign pitch
Randy R Potts/Victor Luckerson:
A Trump visit lays bare two Tulsas, a mile and a universe apart.
How Tulsa's Republican mayor found himself at the center of America's
debate on race.
Trump is terrorizing America: "His reelection campaign is going to be
all about one thing: fear. The Tulsa rally was just the beginning."
The burning of Black Wall Street, revisited: "Nearly a century after the
Tulsa Race Massacre, the search for the dead continues."
Marc A Thiessen:
Trump must reach out to black voters. His Tulsa rally is the place to
start. I don't normally read him, even given that his columns
inevitably appear in my home town paper. In fact, he strikes me as
the single most reprehensible political pundit in America. So I can't
tell you whether this is more tone-deaf than usual. But I can assure
you that Trump didn't deliver the hoped-for breakthrough message in
Facebook removes Trump ads with Nazi symbol used to identify political
prisoners. This story is so weird on many levels that I skipped over
it many times before noting it.
Why policing is broken: "Years of research on brutality cases shows
that bad incentives in politics and city bureaucracies are major drivers
of police violence."
A new group of leftist primary challengers campaign through protests
and the coronavirus.
Zephyr Teachout/Shaoul Sussman:
Amazon's private government: "A new patent cements the company's
aims to use its power over sellers to consolidate control." Hard to
tell right now how big a deal this is, but several questions leap to
mind: Should this technology even be patentable? If so, isn't it
dangerous to assign it to an unregulated private company? If the
service is really valuable, wouldn't it be much better to build
it as a public utility? Many parts of Amazon (e.g., Marketplace),
already raise this question.
The patent, for a form of blockchain ledgering technology, will
allow Amazon to oversee the collection of an unprecedented amount
of data about the business operations of its sellers, including
their entire supply chain. In essence, the patent fulfills Amazon's
plans to create a private regulatory regime, where it uses proprietary
information to create a "certification" bureaucracy: a private,
for-profit alternative to the Food and Drug Administration, the
Environmental Protection Agency, and the Federal Trade Commission.
Unlike governmental agencies, however, it will have no public
oversight, and can use its certifying power to squeeze sellers
and consolidate control.
Brands and companies that use Amazon's technology would have
to list the manufacturers, couriers, and distributors they use.
Those entities will have to corroborate that they indeed sell to
the brand. Amazon will know where and when every single sweater,
earplug, and frying pan sold on its platform was made, and by
whom. The patent states: To certify an item, a verifiable record
for the item indicating, for example, what materials were used
to make the item, where the item was made, who made the item,
when the item was made, and so forth, is needed.
Kris Kobach's guns stolen from truck at Wichita hotel. Kobach is
running for US Senate. He says he always carries a gun for protection,
and he left a few more in his car, planning on campaigning at some
shooting event. "There were 255 guns reported stolen from vehicles in
Wichita in 2019." Kobach may be the dumbest person running for Congress
in Kansas this year, but don't sell his main rival, Roger Marshall,
short. See Abigail Abrams:
GOP Congressman says the poor 'just don't want health care.'
Alright, he was quoted out of context. The full quote was: "Just like
Jesus said, 'The poor will always be with us.' There is a group of
people that just don't want health care and aren't going to take care
of themselves." Marshall, by the way, is a M.D., whose recent publicity
stunt was to prescribe hydroxychloroquine for himself and his family.
Latest piece on his is:
Roger Marshall was convicted of reckless driving in 2008. Here's how
it was erased. Turns out it helps to have the son of a business
partner in the prosecutor's office.
As Trump warns of leftist violence, a dangerous threat emerges from
the right-wing boogaloo movement.
Florida man leads his state to the morgue: "Ron DeSantis is the
latest in a long line of Republicans who made the state a plutocratic
dystopia. Now he's letting its residents die to save the plutocrats."
Trump is pushing annexation as political tool to cast Dems as anti-Israel,
says J Street expert: Interview with Neri Zilber.
It sure looks like Trump and Adelson have cut a deal on annexation.
Sheldon Adelson, the Israel-loving, Iran-war-craving casino baron,
talks to Donald Trump all the time, and for good reason, he and wife
Miriam are the biggest Republican donors, poised to give as much as
$200 million this year. Now that the White House appears to be lying
down for the Israeli government as it moves to annex portions of the
West Bank despite a growing chorus of international condemnation,
the focus should be on Adelson. He has always been a strong supporter
of Israeli expansion, a man who says, "There's no such thing as a
So far, the Adelsons have gotten everything they've wanted from
our transactional president: tearing up the Iran deal, moving the
embassy to Jerusalem, defunding Palestinians, recognizing the Golan
annexation, treating settlement expansion as legitimate, even a
presidential medal of freedom for Miriam, etc. Right up to yesterday --
a Trump attack on the ICC in the name of Israel. As Trump once said
when a Republican rival was getting Adelson's money, Adelson wanted
a "perfect little puppet."
The disgrace of Donald Trump: "Was the battle of Lafayette Square
the beginning of the end of his presidency?" Why call it a battle?
Doesn't that imply two sides were fighting? (As opposed to one side
using excessive force to drive people who were legally and peaceably
assembled away.) As a historian, Wilentz can think of past events
like Herbert Hoover's routing of the "Bonus Marchers" during the
Great Depression, which was one of many things that led to Hoover's
The fight for transparency in police misconduct, explained: "New
York's repeal of section 50-a -- which allowed police to shield misconduct
records -- is a big win for activists, but there is more work to be
The End of Policing left me convinced we still need policing:
Critique of Alex Vitale's book. I've cited several Vitale pieces and
interviews recently. I agree, although (as with ICE) I also think that
some organizations are so rotten it might make sense to restart from
scratch. The best thing I see coming out of the "defund" argument is
a rethinking about what police should (and should not) be doing. But
we're still stuck the the trials of the modern world. We need laws,
and we need order, and we need a system to enforce that as fairly and
as charitably as possible. In short, we need reform, but we still need
to come out the other end with something, even if it too is imperfect.
Donald Trump is defunding the police: "He's proposed cuts in budget
after budget, and is holding up needed fiscal aid." Meanwhile, it's the
Democrats who are pushing federal aid to cities and states hit hard by
But the larger and more significant budgetary context is that the HEROES
Act passed by House Democrats and stalled by Senate Republicans appropriates
$900 billion to state and local governments.
With that kind of fiscal support, cities that don't want to defund
their police departments wouldn't have to. And cities that do want to
experiment with shifting funding out of law enforcement and into mental
health, drug treatment, and youth services will have the opportunity
to do that.
Republicans, meanwhile, have characterized this idea as a "blue state
bailout" and say Congress should instead consider changes to bankruptcy
law that might allow states to shed their pension obligations in bankruptcy.