10,000 on ignore, Book 158: The Days of Reckoning, Part 17.....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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'Daunte's lynching isn't a mistake': Social media outcry follows disturbing police killing
Lauren Floyd

It’s difficult to feel nothing when seemingly each week brings new video of a Black person shot, killed, brutalized, or all of the above at the hands of white police officers. In this week’s case, veteran Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright after he was pulled over because his air freshener blocked a portion of his rearview window on Sunday. Potter reportedly was reaching for her Taser when she accidentally grabbed her gun instead, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said. Wright’s death occurred in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, about 10 miles north of the Hennepin County Courthouse, where ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial accused of murdering George Floyd. Chauvin kneeled on the Black father’s neck for more than nine minutes. So just as with Floyd, demonstrators in Minnesota and throughout the country took to the streets in protest for justice. Those who chose a different form of protest, from former President Barack Obama to former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, took to social media and used their platforms to bring attention to Wright’s death.

“Daunte Wright’s life mattered,” Clinton tweeted on Tuesday. “An investigation must yield answers and justice for his family. #BlackLivesMatter”
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Obama similarly called for an investigation in a statement he tweeted on Tuesday. “Our hearts are heavy over yet another shooting of a Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of police,” the former president tweeted. “It’s important to conduct a full and transparent investigation, but this is also a reminder of just how badly we need to reimagine policing and public safety in this country.”



San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich voiced his frustration for nearly six minutes at a press conference on Monday before the Spurs’ game against the Orlando Magic. "It just makes you sick to your stomach. How many times does it have to happen?" Popovich asked. "As sick to our stomachs that we might feel, that individual is dead. He’s dead. And his family is grieving. And his friends are grieving. And we just keep moving on as if nothing is happening."



Popovich explained how he sees a connection between gun violence and police violence disproportionately affecting Black people, and that connection is the willingness to turn the other way and prioritize political loyalties. "We see what’s happening with policing and Black men and some other people of color. With the massacres of our children, it’s the same thing,” Popovich said. “It goes on and on, and everybody says, 'When is it going to be enough?' Of course, I don’t have those answers. But the people who continually fight to maintain that status quo are not good people."



He listed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott by name, calling him "a liar" after the Republican governor claimed the left was trying to take guns away from the American people. "Do these people have grandchildren? Do they want their grandchildren to go to work and go to school and go through these drills and worry about being murdered?" Popovich asked. "What does it take? They care more about them than your freaking power and your position and your donors. With policing, it’s the same damn way. How many young Black kids have to be killed for no freaking reason? How many so that we can empower the police units? We need to find out who funds these people. I want to know what owners in the NBA fund these people who perpetrate these lies. Maybe that’s a good place to start so it’s all transparent."

As of recently, the NBA has encouraged its players and coaches to be more vocal in the fight against racism, according to USA Today. Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers, one of only eight Black head coaches in the NBA, discussed the outrage about cancel culture on Monday before a game against the Dallas Mavericks. "We keep hearing this cancel culture stuff, but we’re canceling Black lives. To me, that’s more important in my opinion," Rivers said. "It just keeps happening. We keep making mistakes and killing Black people. I don’t want to get into race, but it’s there."



Amber Guyger, the white ex-Dallas police officer convicted of murdering a 26-year-old accountant, said she mistook Botham Jean’s apartment for her own and shot him thinking he was an intruder. She was sentenced in 2019 to 10 years in prison, made eligible for parole in five years, and given credit for time served. Singer Sy Smith tweeted on Monday:

“’I thought it was my taser’

‘I thought it was my apartment’

‘I thought I saw him/her with a gun’

‘I thought he was selling loosies’

‘I thought she was there alone’

‘I thought she was gettin smart with me’

Their thinking = terrorism for us and I’m tired.”



Bernice King, activist and daughter of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., said on social media many people are asking the wrong questions. "If your response to the death of a 20 year-old Black man, who was pulled over by police for an air freshener violation, is ‘he should have complied,’ you don’t understand the fear that Daunte was likely feeling in his encounter with police 10 miles from the Derek Chauvin trial," King tweeted.

She added in a follow-up tweet: “And you also don’t understand that your question should be, ‘How could the police have apprehended him without killing him?’ Because a badge shouldn’t be a license to kill.”



Activist and Rev. Jacqui Lewis tweeted on Monday: “Not bothering to double-check whether you're holding a tazer or a handgun is, itself, an indictment of how little our system values Black lives. It's not the defense you think.” Lewis also called for an end to white supremacy in a series of tweets about the shooting. "Daunte's lynching isn't a mistake: It's how the US has always treated Black communities," she said. "Until we uproot this country's foundational white supremacy, we'll never stop racist violence." She added in another tweet: "We can’t even finish trying one police officer before another murder. It’s not about ‘one bad apple.’ It’s about a culture of death and domination that must be dismantled."



Legendary musician Stevie Wonder shared similar thoughts in a thread on Twitter on Monday. "I remember an accidental police shooting in Minnesota four years ago,” he tweeted. “A Black police officer accidentally shot and killed a white woman. The police officer immediately stated it was an accident and apologized to the family.”

Wonder added: “He was tried and convicted of 3rd degree murder and 2nd degree manslaughter. The judge refused any leniency and sentenced him to 12 1/2 years in prison. He was the first Minnesota police man to be convicted of an on duty shooting in recent years.”

The cop in the Grammy Award-winning musician’s example is Mohamed Noor and he was convicted of killing Justine Ruszczyk on July 15, 2017, according to The New York Times.

"Black police- white victim-justice was swift and stiff,” Stevie Wonder tweeted on Monday. “Another unintentional police shooting last night - White police and Black victim. What will justice serve this time? A police chief who had made a conclusion without discussing any facts? Will the police officer apologize?”

The musician added: “Will the judge ignore leniency? Will this Black victim and his family in Minnesota see swift and stiff punishment? Does this system need reform? Do the math.”
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Trump's Big Lie about election fraud is going down with a whimper in the face of multiple lawsuits
Kerry Eleveld

Last November, former Trump attorney Sidney Powell boasted on Fox Business Network that she was getting ready to "release the Kraken," evoking some mythical war on the nonexistent voting fraud Donald Trump was baselessly claiming had disenfranchised him.

“We are talking about hundreds of thousands of votes,” Powell told host Lou Dobbs in the interview. Dobbs likely didn't realize the Kraken would bite back. After an election technology company filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox Corporation and Fox News, the network aired awkward rebuttals of the claims from their own hosts. The outlet additionally canceled the Fox Business Network program hosted by Dobbs, who also became a subject of the suit.

Powell's fall from grace has been among the higher profile of the perpetrators of Trump's Big Lie that the election was “stolen” from him through widespread fraud. Fending off her own lawsuit by a different technology firm, Powell’s attorneys recently argued her fraud claims were so ridiculous that "no reasonable person" would ever believe something so preposterous. In other words, please don't make me produce evidence for this claim in discovery—it's indefensible.
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But Powell, Dobbs, and Fox are hardly alone. Last Friday, a second former Trump attorney and conspiracy talker, Joe diGenova, tried to wriggle out of a defamation suit with a written apology to Christopher Krebs, Trump's former cybersecurity chief who diGenova physically threatened last year during a conservative talk radio interview.

After Krebs debunked Trump’s election fraud claims last year, diGenova said he should be "drawn and quartered" and "taken out at dawn and shot."

But much like Powell, instead of trying to defend his comments, diGenova is rolling over.
“On November 30, 2020, I appeared on the ‘Howie Carr Show.’ During the show, I made regrettable statements regarding Christopher Krebs, which many interpreted as a call for violence against him,” diGenova said in the statement released on the day traditionally reserved for news dumps. “Today I reiterate my public apology to Mr. Krebs and his family for any harm my words caused. Given today’s political climate, I should have more carefully expressed my criticism of Mr. Krebs, who was just doing his job.”

In the statement, diGenova that he had already apologized on Newsmax for his "grossly inappropriate statements." But much like Powell's surrender, diGenova's repentance comes in the face of a defamation lawsuit Krebs filed against him in December.

Newsmax has also aired awkward disclaimers. In the middle of a February interview with MyPillow Guy CEO Mike Lindell, a diehard Trump supporter and conspiracy spreader, a Newsmax anchor abruptly interrupted Lindell as he claimed to have "100 percent proof" of election fraud.

"We at Newsmax have not been able to verify any of those kinds of allegations,” anchor Bob Sellers said. As Lindell continued speaking, Sellers broke out a written statement and read from it: “The election results in every state were certified. Newsmax accepts the results as legal and final. The courts have also supported that view.”

Like Fox, Newsmax is facing legal trouble. In December, an employee of Dominion Voting Systems sued Newsmax and another Trump-boosting outlet, One America News Network (OANN), for personal and professional harms suffered by him and his family. Dominion, which has filed a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox for spreading lies about its voting machines, has also sent letters to Newsmax and OANN threatening legal action.

WABC Radio has also starting running a disclaimer before the radio show of Rudy Giuliani, who is likewise being sued for defamation by Smartmatic USA and Dominion. WABC doesn't seem to want any part of that legal action.

“The views, assumptions and opinions expressed by former U.S. Attorney, former attorney to the President of the United States and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, his guests and callers on the program are strictly their own, and do not necessarily represent the opinions, beliefs or policies of WABC Radio, its owner Red Apple Group and other WABC hosts or our advertisers,” says the statement.

The disclaimer angered Giuliani, who is attempting to have the lawsuits against him dismissed, claiming for instance that Dominion made 50 "false and defamatory statements" about him in its legal filing. But Giuliani has also made no attempt to justify his statements against Dominion. Instead, his lawyer promised a "vigorous and complete response" if the lawsuit reached "factual adjudication on the merits" of the case. In other words, we're kicking the can down on the road while double crossing our fingers the lawsuit never reaches the point of discovery.

But the trend is clear, as The Washington Post's Aaron Blake points out: Almost no person or entity who helped spread Trump's election fraud lies is even attempting to back them up with evidence. In fact, most of those lie-spreaders have either partially or totally backed away from them in the face of litigation: Fox, Newsmax, OANN, Giuliani’s radio host WABC, the RNC, and two former Trump lawyers.

It's almost as if the dozens of legal defeats Trump's attorneys suffered in the courts shortly after the election are now being verified by the very people who helped lay the foundation and pushed those cases to begin with.

Still, numerous polls have found that anywhere from half to three-quarters of Republican voters falsely believe the election was "stolen" from Trump. Just last week, a Reuters/Ipsos poll put that number at 60% of Republicans.


If only the death of the Big Lie went out with a big bang rather than a whimper, it might undo some of the damage done by the fraud Trump and his sycophants perpetrated against GOP voters and the nation.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Biden extends hand to Republicans on infrastructure, but reminds them he has voters' approval
Joan McCarter

President Joe Biden met Monday with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to talk infrastructure. Coming out of the meeting, his message was clear: "I'm prepared to negotiate as to the extent of my infrastructure project, as well as how we pay for it," Biden said. "It's going to get down to what we call 'infrastructure.'" He also said "Everyone acknowledges we need a significant increase in infrastructure."

The message worked for one of the Republicans in the room. "Those are all the exact words that I wanted to hear going into the meeting," Republican Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told the AP. "And so that was really encouraging." One of the Democrats in the room, Sen. Alex Padilla of California, attested to the collegiality in the room. "Nobody stormed out yelling 'no.'" That's probably because Rand Paul and Ted Cruz weren't invited.

Instead, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi gets to play the role of obstructor, though he might be a bit more civil in doing so. He came out of the meeting saying "clearly there are parts of this program that are non-starters for Republicans." He was mostly speaking about partially undoing the 2017 GOP Tax Scam that still hasn't produced any jobs. Wicker told Biden that partially restoring the taxes to 28% (pre-2017 they were 35%, now they're at 21%) "would be an impossible sell."
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So yes, you can see how going right to the middle and landing on 28% would be an absolutely outrageous compromise for the Republicans that West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin insists will be happy to find middle ground to help pass this bill. Manchin suggests a rate of maybe 25%—which isn't the middle.

That could be part of Biden's strategy here. On the one hand, demonstrating that he is willing to consider Republican ideas and inviting them to sit down and talk seems a fool's errand. Because they will never agree to help him. So there's the other hand—leading Manchin to the self-realization that he's an idiot. It could work. Because Republicans, however nice Biden is to them, will never help pass this bill.

Meanwhile, Biden is maintaining the position that opposing this bill on the basis of that tax increase is politically very dumb for Republicans (and Manchin) because ordinary people are 'sick and tired of being fleeced. Kerry Eleveld has all the recent (and some historical) polling there, demonstrating that for at least the past six years, more than two-thirds of the American voting public has said corporations "don't pay their fair share" in taxes. On Biden's specific plan, 65% say "yes, raise corporate taxes to do that."

Biden is taking that polling, as well as all the other polls, into his Oval Office meetings with Republicans. He's telling them flat-out that "Republican voters agree with what I'm doing." His team sends that message every chance they get.

"If you looked up 'bipartisan' in the dictionary, I think it would say support from Republicans and Democrats," senior Biden adviser Anita Dunn told reporters this weekend. "It doesn't say the Republicans have to be in Congress." That's reinforcing what Biden himself said in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago when he unveiled the new infrastructure package. "Everybody said I had no bipartisan support," on the COVID-19 relief package. "The overwhelming bipartisan support were Republican—registered Republican voters."

Biden's message last week is very close to Biden's message to Republicans Monday. "Debate is welcome, compromise is inevitable, changes are certain," Biden said last week. "I would like Republican—elected Republican—support. But what I have now is, I have electoral support from Republican voters. Republican voters agree with what I'm doing."

So is Biden putting on a show for Manchin (and Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona Democrat who decided that her flaky maverick pretense this year would be supporting the filibuster)?

He says no: "I"m not big on window dressing, as you've observed." Meanwhile, he's certainly going to make sure that Manchin knows that West Virginia got a D grade for its infrastructure. Using a combination of private and public data, the White House has graded every state, reporting on the condition of roads, bridges, power grid, health, broadband availability, and housing affordability as well as other metrics.

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Manchin bases opposition to infrastructure plan on Republican lie about corporate tax cuts, jobs
Joan McCarter
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Biden administration pauses Johnson & Johnson vaccinations amid concerns of ultra-rare clotting
Hunter

The Biden administration has announced that they are "recommending" a momentary pause in usage of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot COVID-19 vaccine after six U.S. patients out of 6.8 million administered doses developed a rare but "severe type of blood clot" in the weeks after vaccination. The pause is expected to last only days, but already Americans are reporting Johnson & Johnson vaccination appointments for today being cancelled. While the White House asserts that the increased supply of other vaccines means there will be little overall effect on vaccination rates, there's no question the cancellation of appointments will disrupt many Americans' own efforts to get vaccinated, and the news is likely to further convince some vaccine skeptics to avoid getting any of the available shots.
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That's the top line news, and what Americans woke up to this morning. The details are considerably less alarmist and the administration is already facing significant criticism for the brief delay. There is, at the moment, no evidence of causality between the vaccine and clotting, meaning experts do not yet know whether the six cases are entirely coincidental. Each case coincided with getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccination six to 13 days earlier, but the incredible rarity of the condition—literally, one case per 1+ million vaccine doses—will make it difficult to tease out a connection.


The primary reason for the pause appears to be so that medical providers can be hastily briefed on the extremely rare condition and how to properly administer treatment. The drug typically used to reverse blood clotting is heparin, an anticoagulant. For this particular type of clotting, which is called thrombocytopenia, administering heparin can be extremely dangerous. Alternative treatments are required, and federal experts intend to use the momentary pause to push out nationwide instructions on how to identify and treat patients who might develop the condition.

To once again emphasize the point: It is not established that the vaccine caused any of these ultra-rare clots to begin with. Experts don't know yet, so even if you’re the sort of person inclined to panic about these things: don't. It can be frustrating to watch medical science grapple with these questions in public, and it’s not made better after a year of uncontrolled pandemic has frayed every nerve in the country. But you have a considerably greater chance of getting into a fatal car accident on your way to your Johnson & Johnson vaccine appointment than you do of coming down with this ultra-rare type of blood clot, even if the two do turn out to be related. Get the vaccine. Get whichever you can get, unless your own doctor tells you you shouldn't.

The (rather astounding) federal caution on display here is almost assuredly due to months of concerns over the AstraZeneca vaccine, a medically similar vaccine alleged to rarely—possibly—cause the same type of clotting. Those reports continue to be probed, and it still may turn out that both the AstraZeneca and now Johnson & Johnson vaccines are being linked to these cases in error.

Non-vaccine related thrombocytopenia is estimated to affect roughly 33 of each 1 million U.S. adults per year, which would appear to put six reports of clotting in the two weeks after a Johnson & Johnson vaccination at something very close to the "normal" background rate of such reports. Even if it does turn out that the immune response generated by this particular vaccine has a one-per-million chance of causing such clotting, those risks remain much, much lower than the risk of death from COVID-19 itself—and COVID-19 can itself cause widespread organ damage even when it doesn't kill you outright.
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'Vaccine passports' are coming, whether Republican governors want them to or not
Hunter
 

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[On Sunday,] “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper asked Buttigieg, an Episcopalian, about the large portion of white evangelicals who say they won’t get a COVID-19 vaccine. About 40% of white evangelical Protestants said they likely would not get vaccinated, according to a poll conducted last month, compared to about 25% of all Americans, 28% of white mainline Protestants and 27% of Protestants who are not white.

“I’ve heard people I care about saying, you know, ‘If I’m faithful, God’s going to take care of me,’” Buttigieg said. “And I guess what I would hope that they might consider is that maybe a vaccine is part of God’s plan for how you’re going to take care of yourself.”

Buttigieg acknowledged during the exchange on CNN that his opinion on the matter may not sway many white evangelicals, and he urged faith leaders to speak out in support of vaccines.

“In the end, I have to admit that it’s unlikely that an official like me is going to be persuasive to somebody who maybe doesn’t feel like Washington has been speaking to them for a long time,” Buttigieg said.

“The idea of pastoral care is about supporting those who look to you for guidance,” he added. “So I hope anybody who is looking after a community of people, including a faith community, will consider ways to help guide them toward steps that can protect them and protect those around them.”.....
 

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Scientific American: "Climate Change" Is Out, "Climate Emergency" Is In
Charles Jay

The popular science magazine Scientific American has been in print since 1845, as a weekly until 1921, and since then as a monthly.

The magazine had never commented on U.S. presidential politics until 2016 when it criticized Donald Trump for his “anti-science” attitude and rhetoric. In 2020, the magazine endorsed Joe Biden for president, citing Trump’s rejection of scientific evidence, especially in his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Its editorial said: "Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.”

Yes, the magazine does not do things lightly. And in its latest issue, the magazine published an opinion piece by senior editor Mark Fischetti headlined: “We Are Living In a Climate Emergency and We’re Going to Say So.” The magazine declared it was joining a global initiative by news outlets to use the term “climate emergency” instead of “climate change.”


From Scientific American:

An emergency is a serious situation that requires immediate action. When someone calls 911 because they can’t breathe, that’s an emergency. When someone stumbles on the sidewalk because their chest is pounding and their lips are turning blue, that’s an emergency. Both people require help right away. Multiply those individuals by millions of people who have similar symptoms, and it constitutes the biggest global health emergency in a century: the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now consider the following scenarios: A hurricane blasts Florida. A California dam bursts because floods have piled water high up behind it. A sudden, record-setting cold snap cuts power to the entire state of Texas. These are also emergencies that require immediate action. Multiply these situations worldwide, and you have the biggest environmental emergency to beset the earth in millennia: climate change.
Given the circumstances, Scientific American has agreed with major news outlets worldwide to start using the term “climate emergency” in its coverage of climate change.

Of course, being a science magazine, the opinion piece went on to provide the “solid scientific ground” on which it based its decision.

It cited an article published in its January issue about a study entitled “World Scientists Warning of a Climate Emergency” in which more than 11,000 scientists from 153 countries signed a report that said bold action is needed to combat the climate emergency now facing the world. The report now has been signed by 13,802 scientists from 156 countries.

The January article said::

“The adverse effects of climate change are much more severe than expected and now threaten both the biosphere and humanity.... Every effort must be made to reduce emissions and increase removal of atmospheric carbon in order to restore the melting Arctic and end the deadly cycle of damage that the current climate is delivering.”

The story also noted that as of January 2021, “1,859 jurisdictions in 33 countries have issued climate emergency declarations covering more than 820 million people.”

The opinion piece concluded by noting that “journalism should reflect what science says: the climate emergency is here.”

In declaring its new policy, Scientific American endorsed a global journalism initiative coordinated by Covering Climate Now.

More than 400 news outlets are supporting the initiative. The particpants include: Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, The Guardian, Noticias Telemundo, Al Jazeera, Asahi Shimbun and La Repubblica:


The statement endorsed by the participants in Covering Climate Now reads:

The planet is heating up way too fast. It’s time for journalism to recognize that the climate emergency is here.
This is a statement of science, not politics. Thousands of scientists—including James Hansen, the NASA scientist who put the problem on the public agenda in 1988, and David King and Hans Schellnhuber, former science advisers to the British and German governments, respectively — have said humanity faces a “climate emergency.”
Why “emergency”? Because words matter. To preserve a livable planet, humanity must take action immediately. Failure to slash the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will make the extraordinary heat, storms, wildfires and ice melt of 2020 routine and could “render a significant portion of the Earth uninhabitable,” warned the January Scientific American article.
The media’s response to COVID-19 provides a useful model. Guided by science, journalists have described the pandemic as an emergency, chronicled its devastating impacts, called out disinformation and told audiences how to protect themselves (with masks and social distancing, for example).

We need the same commitment to the climate story. As partners in Covering Climate Now, a global consortium of hundreds of news outlets, we will present coverage in the lead-up to Earth Day, April 22, 2021, around the theme “Living Through the Climate Emergency.” We invite journalists everywhere to join us.

Of course, there are major roadblocks in this country to taking the bold action needed to deal with the climate emergency — namely a major political party which denies that climate change even exists.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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TTM note: This is pretty good. Once he gets past some brief opening words, he is addressing the family directly for almost the entirety of his remarks. It is great to have a normal president again.

 
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Julián Castro: Republicans now concerned about migrant kids 'were with Trump every step of the way'
Gabe Ortiz

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro writes in a recent CNN op-ed that many of the federal and state elected Republicans who are today shedding crocodile tears over unaccompanied children seeking safety in the U.S. were not only silent during the four years of the previous administration’s anti-immigrant and anti-asylum abuses, but “were with Trump every step of the way.”

“In 2018, Republicans supported Trump's ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy, which mandated that all migrants be criminally prosecuted and thousands of children be separated from their parents,” the former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate wrote. That included Ted Cruz, who recently staged a ridiculous photo op at the southern border. Cruz initially supported the policy of state-sanctioned kidnapping, falsely claiming separations of asylum-seekers and their children were “inevitable.” They were in fact a choice by officials.
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Castro writes that Cruz and other Republicans demagoguing at the southern border, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, “did not make a peep in Trump's last nine months in office, when there was a 359% increase in border encounters and a 690% increase in unaccompanied minors seeking asylum.” NBC News reported that the Biden transition team and career officials had actually tried to warn the prior administration of the need to increase Health and Human Services capacity in order to shelter children, but they made no movement until just five days before Biden’s inauguration.

He continues on to write that “[w]hile some immigration reporters may have called attention to the increases at the time, there was no wall-to-wall cable coverage or debates about the use of the word ‘crisis.’ The increase in asylum seekers only got attention when Republicans started attacking President Biden, and many in the media bought their misinformation and fear-mongering hook, line, and sinker.”

Example: The delegation of 19 Republican senators, including Cruz and John Cornyn, at the Rio Grande last month to carry out their shameless theatrics. Photos captured Cruz and other Republicans surrounded by bulletproof vests and machine guns. Marianna Wright, director of the National Butterfly Center, is from the region and cleared up the reality there. “This is at Anzalduas County PARK,” she tweeted. “A PUBLIC PARK, across the river from multiple MX parks, the Reynosa zoo, and the launch site for the MX ‘Pachamama’ 2-story pontoon party boat. The capt is the DJ and they have a bartender upstairs at the dance floor. Real dangerous area... NOT!”

“Republicans' trips, floor speeches, and statements are nothing more than cynical political stunts that attempt to rewrite the history of former President Donald Trump's failed immigration agenda,” Castro writes.

Nor was there was a delegation of 19 Republican senators at the White House when the previous president slashed aid to Central America during a tantrum. “In the long term, the Biden administration is working to address the root causes of migration and improve conditions in Central America so that families can find safety and opportunity at home, instead of making the dangerous journey to the border,” Castro continues. “President Biden tapped Vice President Kamala Harris to oversee these efforts.” Biden’s initial budget includes “$861 million to finance efforts to mitigate corruption, violence and poverty in the region,” CBS News reported.

Immigrant rights advocacy group America’s Voice called Castro’s op-ed a “must-read” in a statement. “If we’re interested in solutions at our border, we have to look beyond the border to the source of the crisis in Central America while finally delivering on citizenship for long-settled immigrants and new legal pathways to make migration patterns safe and orderly,” director of communication Doug Rivlin said. “Of course, Republicans aren’t interested in real solutions, just short-term politics, looking tough for the cameras and whitewashing Trump’s disastrous record of family separation, failure and cruelty.”

Proving that point is a report Tuesday of Republican governors Pete Ricketts of Nebraska and Kim Reynolds of Iowa pushing against the Biden administration and refusing to shelter unaccompanied children in their states.


“President Biden has created an immigration crisis on our border with thousands of unaccompanied migrant children coming to our country without their parents or family,” Ricketts claimed according to Omaha World-Herald. “Nebraska is declining their request because we are reserving our resources for serving our kids. I do not want our kids harmed as the result of President Biden’s bad policies.”
 

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MyPillow CEO launches ‘free speech’ social media site by announcing list of censored words
Walter Einenkel

MyPillow CEO, former settler of business fraud, and promoter of COVID-19 snake oil Mike Lindell has a new product to sell the MAGA people. It seems to be some kind of social media platformed named Frank Speech, but Lindell has also told microphones that it will be named VOCL (pronounced vocal). According to Business Insider, the tagline for the platform is, "The voice of free speech." But what people like Lindell consider “free speech” is … very Bible-y.

Lindell went on Eric Metaxas’ radio show to promote the launch of his new platform. Metaxas is a faux-intellectual author-turned-MAGA Christian Right personality. Metaxas’ radio show is one of the best places to go for right-wingers who are interested in incriminating themselves on tape about all things Donald Trump coup d’etat-related. Like Lindell, Metaxas’ morality seems to go about as deep as the superficial use of bad words. Lindell first gave a predictably WWE promotional-sounding rundown of how his social media platform defines “free speech” in a “Judeao-Christian” way. Then Lindell proceeded to tell Metaxas all of the speech that cannot be used on the platform.
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“You’re not going to be able to swear. There will be four words for sure you can’t say: You can’t say the C-word, the N-word, the F-word, and you can’t use God’s name in vain. What a concept. Right?” It’s not cancel culture if it’s Christian. To understand how this works and is American and is also Christian, you just have to understand that in Lindell’s estimation, the Founding Fathers believed exactly the same thing Lindell believes now, which is a great coincidence and potentially very profitable for Mikey!

”Get this: This Judeo-Christian platform we’re gonna have here, they go by biblical principals. You know, to get to the Supreme Court you have the Ten Commandments.” I don’t know exactly what that is supposed to mean. Lindell, Trump, and other hucksters of limited vocabulary and articulation tend to elide the most important connections between buzzwords. It’s sort of like doing a paper on early American fiction and saying the phrase “cult of domesticity and stuff.”

Here is, verbatim, what he says next: “You’ll see, our definement [sic] there, so in other words, you can’t, you’re not going to have porn up there, you’re not going have these sites, or sites that contain material that go against our Constitution, go against what our Founding Fathers put in there.” I don’t know, but I do know the words porn, Founding Fathers, and Constitution. Maybe Lindell’s site will be mostly erotica about the Founding Fathers writing the Constitution? Metaxas loves it, saying it’s “really puritanical,” which he believes to be a positive.

Lindell has had a rough go of it of late what with losing retailers for his pillow business, meaning a vacuum of tens of millions of dollars. While Lindell assures everyone he is investigating why Fox News doesn’t want Dominion voting lawsuits,* he has made his fringe right-wing appearances, telling audiences all kinds of wackadoo things—like that Donald Trump will be some kind of White House dictator/leader by August of this year. In fact, while writing this story, Lindell announced that big box store Costco has slowly stopped selling his merchandise.

Things that Lindell believes are true are what seems to be what he defines as “free speech,” like that the election was stolen, our border crisis was created by Joe Biden, everybody supporting Trump is good, and everyone else is lying. Lindell is explaining that anyone attacking people like Metaxas—or Lindell, for that matter—will be protected from other people’s free speech because the Ninth Commandment says one shall not bear false witness. It’s totally sound stuff in the Constitution according to Lindell.

.....
* It’s because Fox News executives understand their on-air personalities can’t help but slander Dominion in the presence of Lindell.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Anti-baseball, anti-business—GOP lawmakers make clear there's no safe space in the Republican Party
Kerry Eleveld

As an unmoored Republican Party searches for ways to curry favor with a base eager for sugar highs, the GOP is becoming ever more a party of opportunists in search of attention, however fleeting.

That's the best framework through which to view the latest announcement from three Republican senators targeting Major League Baseball's exemption from antitrust laws after the league relocated its All-Star Game over Georgia's new voter suppression law.
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On Tuesday, Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Josh Hawley of Missouri announced an effort to punish MLB by removing its antitrust shield. Lee said the legal exemption had been created from "whole cloth" by the Supreme Court nearly 100 years ago.

Cruz, a perennial huffer, criticized "woke corporations" for becoming a "political enforcer for Democrats" in Washington.

Hawley painted corporate monopolies as an enemy of freedom. “When you have a concentration of economic power, political power follows,” he said. “It’s time for a new round of trust-busting in the United States. Major League Baseball is a good place to start.”

Whatever one thinks of the MLB's antitrust exemption, the notable point here is a triad of Republicans taking direct aim at powerful corporations now that they no longer like how those corporations are using the power the GOP helped them amass.

Again, it's just a head-spinning turn of events that is likely to only get more common in the coming months. “Since the 1950s, people have associated the GOP and big business. It doesn’t work anymore,” Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at Yale University’s School of Management, told the Washington Post. Sonnenfeld helped organize a recent call among 100 corporate leaders as they grappled with how to demonstrate their opposition to GOP voter suppression measures. Outside of an issue like raising the corporate tax rate, Sonnenfeld said corporations were growing continually more out of step with Republicans. “They don’t have a political home," he said.

It's also important to note that GOP lawmakers are living in a world where the base of Trump voters they aim to please seems entirely disinterested in actual policy outcomes. Bluster and vitriol alone are enough for Trumpers. They simply want their leaders to draw blood regardless of whether it produces any long-term change.

The tactic also isn't reserved for Republicans in Washington. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, for instance, is now telling a luxury cruise line it can't require its passengers to be vaccinated for COVID-19. “The Governor’s Executive Order provides that businesses in Florida are prohibited from requiring patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business,” press secretary Cody McCloud told the Florida-based Sun-Sentinel. “Therefore, the Executive Order prohibits cruise lines from requiring vaccine passports for their Florida operations.”

Ultimately, DeSantis may not have the legal authority he is claiming, but that's not the goal. The goal is simply to score points with a GOP base that is ever more focused on hyperbolic grandstanding than outcomes.


The difference now is that absolutely everyone and everything is fair game as Republican politicians look for ways to ingratiate themselves to Trump’s base voters. Corporations, Major League Baseball—it’s all open season in the GOP.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Defense expert claims George Floyd should have been 'resting comfortably' with knee on his neck
Lauren Floyd

The defense in the murder trial of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin began building its case this week, and unfortunately but predictably attorneys seem to be trying to convince the jury that George Floyd was responsible for his own death. Barry Brodd, a use-of-force expert called by the defense on Tuesday, aided the defense in some regards. He testified that sometimes suspects "don't feel pain" and have "superhuman strength" while on drugs. He also said that Floyd was "actively resisting" and "struggling against the officers" for several minutes when being held in the prone position. "A compliant person would have both their hands in the small of their back and just be resting comfortably versus like he's still moving around,” Brodd said when shown a photo of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck.

He even claimed that holding Floyd in the prone position while he was handcuffed didn't constitute a use of force because Floyd wasn’t in pain. “I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, and was acting with objective reasonableness, following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement, in his interactions with Mr. Floyd,” Brodd said. But even the alleged expert couldn't stick with that interpretation of the facts when the prosecution presented him with body-camera video and photos. He ended up admitting that the position Floyd was held in could inflict pain and that Chauvin's response did not align with the Minneapolis Police Department's policy.




In other matters pertaining to the case, however, Brodd seemed to stick with his interpretation of what happened. What the prosecution called “writhing on the ground because he can’t breathe,” Brodd deemed to be resisting. When Floyd said “everything hurts,” Brodd admitted he didn’t “note it.”



When Floyd said his neck hurt, Brodd also admitted that he didn’t make a note of it. Why, it’s almost as if he was preparing for this very moment to be of use to the defense. In fact, his testimony contradicts nearly every police official who’s testified in this case during the first two weeks, including Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.



"There's an initial reasonableness in trying to just get him under control in the first few seconds,” Arradondo testified last Monday, “but once there was no longer any resistance and clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive, and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person prone out, handcuffed behind their back, that, that in no way, shape, or form is anything that is by policy.

“It is not part of our training, and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values."

The defense continued building on its position that Floyd’s drug use caused his death, with attorney Eric Nelson focusing on the testimony of a woman who is a retired paramedic and knew Floyd. Former emergency worker Michelle Moseng testified that Floyd told during an earlier arrest in 2019 that he had taken a opioid, but he was not in respiratory distress as a result at that time.



Shawanda Hill, who was in the SUV Floyd was sitting in at the time of his detainment, testified that Floyd was "happy, normal, talking, alert" before his death on May 25, 2020. She said she had bumped into him at the Cup Foods store and he offered to give her a ride home; but while she was taking a call from her daughter, Floyd fell asleep. Hill said he nodded off repeatedly, but Floyd didn’t wake up until Hill told him police were outside his window. At one point, an officer had a gun pointed at the window, she said.



“So he instantly grabbed the wheel and he was like, ‘please please don’t kill me. Please please don’t shoot me. Don’t shoot me. What did I do? Just tell me what I did,’” Hill recounted.

Testimony from Minneapolis police officer Peter Chang seemed to support another element of Chauvin's defense, that a loud and unruly crowd of onlookers posed an added risk and distraction to officers. Chang described the crowd as "aggressive," but earlier witnesses testified that they were only frustrated and desperately trying to get Floyd help.



Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty firefighter who lived in the area of Cup Foods, testified that she tried to help but former Minneapolis Police Officer Tou Thao prevented her from intervening and even questioned her authority. “’If you really are a Minnesota firefighter you would know better than to get involved,’” Hansen said of Thao’s reported words. She broke down in tears when describing how frustrated she felt knowing that she could help but not even being allowed to try. She admitted to calling officers a "b---h." “Mm hmm, yeah, I got quite angry after Mr. Floyd was loaded into the ambulance and there was no point in trying to reason with them anymore because they had just killed somebody,” Hansen said.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Domestic terrorism reached a peak in Trump’s last year, and is unlikely to be going away soon
David Neiwert

We’ve known for awhile that there has been a measurable “Trump Effect” regarding right-wing violence, particularly in the form of hate crimes and domestic terrorism, both of which rose to new levels after his election in 2016. But new data shows that it reached unprecedented heights in the last two years of his tenure—and even more worryingly, the perpetrators increasingly include military and law enforcement veterans among their numbers.

The data, compiled by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, shows that far-right domestic terrorism not only has been rising sharply in the past four years, but the 110 incidents recorded in 2020 represented a new high-water mark. Of those incidents, 70 involved right-wing extremists of various stripes, particularly white supremacists.
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The report, titled “The Military, Police, and the Rise of Terrorism in the United States,” cited a Department of Defense report to Congress last month warning that the American military “is facing a threat from domestic extremists, particularly those who espouse white supremacy or white nationalist ideologies.”
An analysis of the data by The Washington Post found 36 instances in the CSIS data from 2015 through January 2021, including the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, which represented a kind of apotheosis of the trend. More than 40 people charged with conspiracy and other crimes for their roles in the insurrection had served in the military, as were more than a dozen current or former law enforcement officers, including police and corrections officers, facing similar charges. At least 31 veterans were charged with conspiracy or other crimes in the attack, along with one reservist and one National Guard member.

The CSIS study found:
U.S. active-duty military personnel and reservists have participated in a growing number of domestic terrorist plots and attacks, according to new data from CSIS. The percentage of all domestic terrorist incidents linked to active-duty and reserve personnel rose in 2020 to 6.4 percent, up from 1.5 percent in 2019 and none in 2018. Similarly, a growing number of current and former law enforcement officers have been involved in domestic terrorism in recent years.
The report also notes that in 2020, the FBI alerted the Pentagon “that it had opened 143 criminal investigations involving current or former service members—of which nearly half (68) were related to domestic extremism. Most investigations apparently involved veterans, some of whom had unfavorable discharge records.”

The broader, and most disturbing, trend in the data indicates that U.S. military personnel are increasingly involved in a growing number of domestic terrorist plots and attacks:
The percentage of attacks and plots committed by active-duty and reserve personnel rose in 2020 to 6.4 percent of all attacks and plots (7 of 110 total), up from 1.5 percent in 2019 (1 of 65 total) and none in 2018. Active-duty personnel perpetrated 4.5 percent of the attacks in 2020 (five incidents), and reservists conducted 1.8 percent (two incidents). While these individuals represent a tiny percentage of all current active-duty and reserve personnel, the increased number of incidents is still concerning.
In January, alarmed by veterans’ involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection, the Pentagon initiated a 60-day lockdown in recruitment while it began to assess the level of infiltration of their ranks by far-right extremists. Predictably, the efforts to do so have drawn complaints from right-wing pundits.

An FBI report in March also warned of far-right extremists infiltrating the ranks of American police forces.
The Post analysis—which includes a useful set of interactive graphics—focused more generally on the effects of, and trends within, the terrorist acts themselves. Among its more noteworthy findings is that there have been 30 attacks or plots directing violence against Black Lives Matter since 2015, with the large majority coming in the past year.

“Perpetrators beat BLM activists in the streets and attacked them with mace, knives, guns or explosives, records show,” the analysis reports. “Right-wing extremists used their vehicles as weapons against activists, plowing into crowds of racial justice demonstrators on at least nine occasions over the past six years … Businesses affiliated with racial justice protests were vandalized and torched, among them a Black-owned coffee shop in Shoreline, Wash.” A video shows two young white men hurling molotov cocktails at the business late at night on Sept. 30 last year; it was later vandalized with neo-Nazi graffiti.

The data also confirms that the outcome of the Trump administration’s approach to right-wing terrorism—worse than hands-off, it fundamentally winked and nodded at such extremism—was an entirely predictable plague of far-right violence. In the last year of his tenure alone, the terrorism ranged from attacks on black churches and synagogues, to militiaman-led plots to kidnap a governor and invade the Michigan statehouse, to the actual attack on the Capitol Jan. 6.

The common factor across all these trends is that the Internet has provided the platform both for radicalization and organization needed to give the radical right a robust presence in modern culture, particularly on social media. “Social media has afforded absolutely everything that’s bad out there in the world the ability to come inside your home,” one federal counterterrorism official told the Post. “And so that makes it hard for law enforcement to see potential tripwires and indicators.”

“What is most concerning is that the number of domestic terror plots and attacks are at the highest they have been in decades,” said Seth Jones, director of the database project at CSIS. “It’s so important for Americans to understand the gravity of the threat before it gets worse.”
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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A reminder as the House prepares to vote on D.C. statehood: All the good arguments are on one side
Laura Clawson

Statehood for Washington, D.C., will get a committee vote in the House of Representatives this week. According to Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the House Oversight and Reform Committee will mark up and vote on a statehood bill on Wednesday, paving the way for a vote of the full House as early as next week.

According to a recent poll from Data for Progress and Democracy for All 2021 Action, 54% of likely voters think Washington, D.C., should be a state. Republican members of Congress, however, are united in opposition. They prefer to keep taxation without representation going for 700,000 people, a number larger than in either Vermont or Wyoming, each of which have two senators.
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The statehood bill would reduce the size of the federal district—the part not given the full rights of statehood—to the immediate surroundings of the White House, Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court, and the National Mall, and turn the rest of the current Washington, D.C., into the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, honoring Frederick Douglass.

Republicans know their arguments are weak, like “The Founding Fathers never intended for Washington D.C. to be a state,” an argument courtesy of Sen. Mike Rounds, who represents South Dakota, a state created separate from North Dakota to give the Republican Party more senators. Or “They have no source of income,” from Rep. Ralph Norman, ignoring the fact that the District’s residents somehow pay more federal taxes than residents of most states—despite having “no source of income.”

The District’s government has noted several important ways that not being a state has hurt in recent months. On Jan. 6, as Trump-supporting insurgents attacked the U.S. Capitol, the order for the National Guard to activate had to come from the reluctant Trump White House and Defense Department, because the Washington, D.C. National Guard is not under local control. Additionally, “While our population is larger than that of both Vermont and Wyoming, under the CARES Act, the District was denied $755 million in emergency funds, which is the amount provided to the least populous state through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.”

Statehood for the plurality-Black District would help change the fact that, in the U.S., “The average Black American voting power is only 75 percent as much representation as the average white American in the Senate and a 55 percent to the Hispanic voter.” Republicans really don’t want to change that.

Because Republicans oppose statehood for partisan reasons, you’re often going to hear this presented as partisan on both sides. But the reality is that there’s simple justice issue here, and it’s a racial justice issue as well. More than 700,000 people in this country effectively have no representation because of where they live. This situation of taxation without representation is being upheld by the minority rule of the Senate, with Republicans able to block it despite representing tens of millions fewer people than Senate Democrats. It’s an insult to democracy upheld by an insult to democracy.