10,000 on ignore, Book 199, Gethsemane, Part 2.....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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McCloudersportLion

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Lacked Up wit Jerky Larry while she Hong Kong chillin' wit Gershon,
Yo Rohan Marley Y ya daddy smell like a smelly white person
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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As you may have seen, Jeff Bezos invited William Shatner to take a flight on one of his Blue Origin suborbital space flights this morning. It went all according to plan. Shatner spoke about the experience on live television with Bezos by his side.

As a lifelong Star Trek fan I won’t scuff this up with any cynicism or critical voice. It’s 100% awesome. Shatner is 90 and by appearances in fairly robust health for his age. It is still striking, though, and inspiring that someone his age, when the body can become so fragile, can do what he did this morning. For all the refinements and comforts, traveling about 60 miles straight up in 3 or 4 minutes still unleashes vast physical stresses on the body. And yet he popped out of the capsule seemingly none the worse for wear, not even a bit wobbly from the zigzag from 3G to zero gravity and back.

The big quote making the rounds this morning is this: “I hope I never recover from this” – one of Shatner’s first lines after emerging from the capsule. But it’s something very different that caught my attention.

Star Trek and the whole culture of space-anchored science fiction is about the attraction of space, its limitless possibilities: new worlds to explore, new lifeforms to encounter possibly. It’s a story of things to be discovered. Like a child on his first day of school or a young women leaving home for her first year of college – daunting and perhaps scary but a new vista of possibilities. You are walking toward the future. Earth is less a home than a nest. That’s what has kept generations of kids and people of all ages glued to TVs watching liftoffs, missions to the moon and more. That cult of intrepidity and discovery is at the core of Star Trek. Shatner as Kirk embodies that spirit in its original iteration – masculine, inquisitive, aggressive, fearless.

But Shatner’s comments on return stood this all on its head. His reactions weren’t about first steps on the precipice, with him as some network TV spaceman Moses walking to the edge of the promised land others will explore. He spoke of space as death, darkness, ugliness. He describes having the blue blanket of the Earth’s atmosphere suddenly ripped away moments after takeoff. Suddenly you’re in darkness. “Is it death?” he asks Bezos. He described this as akin to having a blanket suddenly ripped off you before you’re ready to get out of bed.

Shatner’s whole reaction was less the limitless possibilities as something more like being tossed out of Eden. He couldn’t stop talking about the irreplaceableness and fragility of the earth. Apparently Shatner is very big on the climate crisis. So he went into this morning primed with these thoughts. (At 90 he is probably thinking about the approach of the end of life.) So these perceptions are quite timely for his interests, our current moment in climate history and the fact that they are … well, completely true.

There is a whole genre of astronauts commenting on the fragility and uniqueness of the earth viewed from space. Certainly there are dystopian streams of sci fi literature that focus more on the bleakness and frigid loneliness of the expanses of space. But these aren’t the ideas that motivate kids of all ages to dream of space flight and exploring new worlds. It is very much not the culture of Star Trek, even in its latter-day, darker, more questioning iterations.

When Shatner actually went to space he seems to have experienced it more as a warning than a new frontier.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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January 6th: Profiles In Courage. Profiles In Cowardice.
KeithDB

I'm about 3/4s of the way through Bob Woodward's "Peril" and am well past the part recounting the events of 1/6. I have been struck how, as our democracy hung by a thread, the courageous actions of a few held it together, while the cowardice of one risked it all. I'll be quoting directly from the book.

PROFILE IN COURAGE:
Nancy Pelosi.

When Capitol Police approached Speaker Pelosi in the House chamber, she initially dismissed their attempt to pull her away . . . The building has been breached they told her. We need to get you out of here.
"No, I want to be here."
"You have to leave."
"No, I'm not leaving."
"No, you must leave."

She finally agreed.
......
PROFILE IN COURAGE: Mitch McConnell [Who has been evacuated to Fort McNair on the South side of D.C.].

At McNair, McConnell instructed his chief of staff, Sharon Soderstrom, to find the Democrats [who were in a separate area] . . .
"Find out where they are and tell them no matter what," McConnell said. "We are coming in tonight. I want to do it in prime time, so the country sees us back and we're going to finish the counting of the electoral votes. It's important that the public, in prime time, know the assault had failed," he said.
......
PROFILE IN COURAGE: Mike Pence [Who has been evacuated to a secure location in the Capitol basement, near his motorcade. The Secret Service wants to evacuate him from the Capitol].

"I'm not leaving," Pence said. He knew the Secret Service would whisk him away if he stepped inside his vehicle. It would look like he was fleeing.
"We've got to go now!" Giebels [on Pence's Secret Service detail] said.

Pence stalled Giebels by getting on the phone and speak to McConnell and others in efforts to get the National Guard deployed. He did not leave the Capitol, staying in the basement until he could return to the Senate Chamber.
........
PROFILE IN COWARDICE:
Donald Trump. [note: Keith Kellogg is a trump loyalist and was a national security advisor for the Administration].

Keith Kellogg, in the West Wing as the riot unfolded, noticed the president watching television in his private dining room next to the Oval Office. Images of the Capitol rioters were beginning to appear on the screen . . .
This was no longer a protest. It was being called an insurrection . . .
Trump tweeted at 2:24 p.m. He slammed Pence for having "the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution."
Kellogg went to see Trump . . .
“Mr. President, you really should do a tweet . . . You need to get a tweet out real quick, help control the crowd up there. This is out of control . . . once a mob starts turning like that, you lost it," he said.
"Yeah," Trump said. Trump blinked and kept watching the television . . .

Kellogg went to find Ivanka Trump.
.......
PROFILE IN COWARDICE: Donald Trump.

Kellogg found Ivanka Trump . . .
Ivanka went into the Oval. When she came out a few minutes later, Kellogg immediately recognized the look on her face. She had just had a tough conversation . . .
As Kellogg and others watched, Ivanka went in two more times to see her father.
"Let this thing go," she told him."Let it go," she said.

Trump never called Pence that day.
.........
Some might feel that Pence and McConnell, having returned to fealty to Trump and Trumpism, should not be credited as I have done. Their efforts to return to Trump's good side will be judged by history, and hopefully harshly. However it does not change what happened on that day and their crucial role in holding this country together, as a craven President sought to unravel it.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Conservative lawyers who once defended Trump now won't touch him with a '1,000-foot pole'
Walter Einenkel

One thing that Donald Trump’s continued corrupt experience on this plane of existence has exposed is how many terrible lawyers there are and also, how many craven, scruples-free attorneys can be bought for, at the very least, the promise of publicity. Trump’s legal woes were mostly put on hold during his presidency, but he is no longer president (regardless of what his tiny mind tells him), and is now facing many legal challenges from a variety of different avenues.

There are sexual assault civil cases and there are the cases surrounding the possibilities that Donald Trump had a conscious hand in the planning of an attempted coup d’etat of our government. Unlike before, where a corrupted Department of Justice under William Barr could be used, along with taxpayer money, to try and help Donald get over some of the legal hurdles he faced, now Trump must pay out of his own coffers. According to a new report from CNN, there are a lot of attorneys who have already done some legal work for Trump over the past few years that are sitting this one out—and the reason may have to do with Donald Trump’s reputation for not paying his debts.
......
The report says that as Trump is planning a defense against being called to testify by the House Committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, 2021, most experts believe his legal strategy will attempt to argue that Trump has executive privilege rights that must be upheld. Previous Trump attorneys like Jay Sekulow and Ty Cobb are notably not present on his current
super-squad of attorneys, according to CNN. The reason may be two-fold: some may “have been spooked by Trump's reputation for sometimes not paying as a client”; others may be staying away because Trump’s a known nightmare of a client; and finally, “others still want themselves and their firms to stay far away from Trump's insistence that the election was stolen.”

Trump, the man, when not using the bankruptcy court not to pay his bills or using the American taxpayer to pay his bills, has a long history of … not paying his bills. The list of contractors who haven’t received payment in full (or at all) is in the hundreds and goes back decades, along with many filed lawsuits.

But his long history of scammery and dirtbaggery isn’t lucrative or potentially lucrative enough for many high-powered attorneys to continue the ruse that Donald Trump deserve
s
more justice than the rest of us. According to CNN, “at least four well-known lawyers were repeatedly approached by Trump's team for help in recent weeks -- and said no, a source familiar with the discussions” told the news outlet. A former senior Justice Department lawyer under George W. Bush told CNN that law firms were distancing themselves from Trump with "a 1,000-foot pole."

One of those lawyers is reportedly William Burck, who has supposedly turned down Trump’s advances three separate times since the beginning of the year. You may remember Burck as the attorney for Steve Bannon, Don McGhan, and Reince Priebus, leading to experts being mystified about the clear conflicts of interest involved in representing all three former administration members.


CNN also reports that some of the guys that worked in support, even tangentially, of Trump’s Ukraine impeachment—people like Charles Cooper—are a no-show this time around. Cooper told CNN he would be an audience member of any executive privilege battle in a courtroom involving Trump. In fact, he would watch it "from the bleachers."

Trump, for his part, has released a statement saying this is all fake news and "I do pay my lawyers when they do a good job.” That last part is important, as it has been Trump’s calling card for decades to claim that jobs weren’t done well as his legal excuse for not paying out hundreds of contracts for his various real estate properties and interests.

On top of all of this is the reality that any and all lawyers that have been involved in the last super-swampy administration are potentially liable to find themselves giving depositions, and you can see why a powerless Trump isn’t finding the same cocky legal support he once enjoyed.




These aren’t heroic acts. These aren’t lawyers who have finally seen the light. These are (mostly) guys that made the money when it was guaranteed. They agreed to work for someone who would likely stay in office for quite a few years, and have all of the powers one might need to pardon or protect them from the grotesque injustices they were tasked to guide through the courts.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Sedition-leading militia leaders are now whining about police pointing guns at them during arrests
Hunter

It turns out that when arresting some of the participants in the January 6 insurrection, police departments have been using SWAT teams and similarly heavily-armed teams to do the actual arresting part. It also turns out that the rabid militia members, Proud Boys, and similar armored-up seditionists only too eager to end democratic rule in America to appoint Donald Blowhard Trump their god-king do not like that, so we're all going to hear about it. Everybody got their tiny, tiny bows ready? Well rosin 'em up, because it's time for a symphony. I call this one Dirge for a Paramecium in E Minor.

Politico brings us this story, in which we learn that Proud Boy leaders and other quasiprofessional militants have been moaning to willing far-right, pro-Trump "news" outlets that the circumstances of their arrests have been very very mean, with battering rams smashing in doors and "people who looked like stormtroopers" pointing "M4 weapons" at them.
..........

We also learn that law enforcement has been using this level of force when attempting arrests specifically of insurrectionists who "displayed body armor or other armament" during their participant in the attempt to topple government, and that the folks complaining are prominent members of militia groups and the aforementioned "Proud Boy" violence-seekers. In other words, law enforcement is deploying substantial force against those who have already shown that they own militia equipment designed to fend off police raids and/or have membership in a militia group that has advocated for violence against the government based on some twitchy-fingered bozo's definition of "tyranny."

Yeah, you can see why arresting officers are going to take every possible precaution when coming to arrest those sedition-minded thugs. These are folks who have premised their identities on being willing to attack government figures, and who proved capable of carrying out such attacks during their crime sprees in the U.S. Capitol. You bring body armor to a supposedly "peaceful" march intended to intimidate Congress into ending democracy rather than abiding an election you don't like, you're going to get put on a special FBI list in honor of your devotion.

What Politico does not bring us is anybody not affiliated with Team Treason who has a problem with this, even among policing reform groups whose very purpose is to combat excessive use of force by now-militarized police departments. Arresting violent would-be terrorists is the very premise of this nation's many, many SWAT teams. It was the reason for slapping them together in the first place, after pro-gun advocates succeeded in creating a new generation of criminals decked out in equipment capable of murdering dozens in the span of a minute.

If you show up in the U.S. Capitol with body armor, a weapon (makeshift or otherwise), membership in a militia premised on someday using violence against the government, and a goal to find lawmakers so that you can use force to oblige them to overturn government on your behalf, then yeah. It stands to reason that when the FBI comes to haul you in, you're going to find yourself facing two dozen heavily armed officers fully prepared for you to Try Some Shit.

Nobody cares. You wanted to take on the government, here ya go. Home delivery and everything.

The problem with heavily armed special policing teams is not that they exist—the National Rifle Association's insistence on militarizing individual Americans according to their own paranoias all but necessitates such teams, at this point. The problem with SWAT teams and other paramilitary policing units is that there are extraordinarily few circumstances that actually require them, and a great pressure to use them and their tactics for everyday police work, potentially subjecting any random civilian they run across to paramilitary tactics after a traffic stop, or when serving a warrant, or during peaceful protests demanding that fewer people be murdered in the first two cases.

This, though? This is the reason those teams exist. If Joe Oathkeeper or Timmy Threepercent is a leader in a group that advocates for killing people in government they don't like, law enforcement is right to consider them dangerous enough to require a maximal response. That is what participating in a violent act of sedition can be expected to bring you. Whining that the government you tried to overthrow is being mean to you by pointing guns at you in response isn't worth even a blown raspberry in response.

There have been multiple attempts to rehabilitate the most violent members of the insurrection, whether it be Donald Trump's continued praise for the attacker shot dead by law enforcement that day or Republican lawmakers' repeated insistence that the crowd responsible for a three-figure number of assaults on defending officers was just a group of patriotic tourists. This one, however, is going to be hard to make stick. Militia leaders who have dedicated their very existence to drumming up support for murdering government officials look like petulant little assholes when they whine that the government pointed too many guns at them during their arrests, and it's hard to project tough-guy pro-murder gravitas while sniffing about people being rude you you. Get bent.

We'll go on the record on this one. Yes, it is absolutely appropriate for the FBI and local police forces to turn to their most heavily armed, most meticulously trained teams for arresting violence-peddling militia twits who participated in a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol. For serving a random, run of the mill warrant? No. For this? Absol-freakin-lutely.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Black 'American' flags at right-wing protests, on front porches vow ‘no quarter’ against liberals
David Neiwert

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Far-right extremists over the years have adopted a number of flag designs as their representative banners. First it was the yellow “Don’t Tread On Me” Gadsden flag flown by the Patriot movement and tea party. The alt-right came up with its Naziesque “Kekistan” banner. In the past few years, the prominent use of flags by belligerent far-right Trump fans, particularly those in “Trump Trains” or participating in right-wing invasions of urban liberal centers, has ranged from basic Trump or MAGA banners to “Blue Lives Matter” flags to their most recent “**** Biden” iterations.

Now, amid far-right protests against COVID-related vaccine and mask mandates, far-right extremists are unfurling their latest symbol: An all-black American flag, with stars and stripes mainly visible through variations in material and shading. “No quarter shall be given” is the black flag’s traditional message—and in the context of the building drumbeat of right-wing “civil war” talk, a deeply ominous one. People flying them are essentially signaling that they’re prepared to kill their liberal neighbors.



The black flags have been showing up at various right-wing protests, such as last weekend’s “Health Freedom Rally” in Spokane, Washington—really a low-turnout affair mainly comprised of anti-vaccination protesters standing on a street corner, waving flags. One of these was a black American flag. Another one turned up when the protest moved to Riverfront Park.

The same flags have been showing up on people’s home flag displays as well, as Michelle Davis of Living Blue Texas observed in a post headlined, “Are Your Republican Neighbors Planning On Killing You?” Primarily, videos of people erecting these flags on the fronts of their homes are being widely shared on social media, particularly TikTok and Facebook; Davis reported finding hundreds of them.

Black flags have a particular historical meaning for Americans: They first appeared on Civil War battlegrounds, carried by some Confederate Army units, and symbolizing the intent of the soldiers to neither seek any quarter nor give any—essentially, the opposite of the white flag of surrender, signifying that enemy combatants are to be killed rather than taken prisoner. It’s a vow to massacre their enemies.

Its use in the Civil War primarily appears to have been featured in some of the heinous massacres of Black Union soldiers in the war, notably at the Battle of the Crater and at Fort Pillow. Both battles are considered Confederate atrocities.

The people posting the “black flag” videos on TikTok appear primarily to use two different pieces of music as accompaniment: The first, “Raise the Colors,” is a gloomy sea shanty from Pirates of the Caribbean 2; the second, the song “God We Need You Now” by country rapper Struggle Jennings and cowriter Caitlynne Curtis, features QAnon-derived lyrics that threaten retribution for the people who “desecrate” the “values of our country and our God”:

We've been dancing with the devil way too long
I know it's fun but get ready to pay your dues
Oh God, come back home
This crazy world is filled with liars and abusers
We need you now before we're too far gone
I hope one day they finally see the truth

God, we need you now

Davis noted that the same right-wing channels where the black flag-raisings are being posted are similarly rife with “patriots” advising their cohorts to prepare for a civil war. “Who are their enemies? Pretty much any non-Conservative. You know, Democrats, Liberals, LGBTQ, BIPOC, and the vaccinated,” she notes. “So, we're the enemy, and they're openly professing to want to execute us.”

Their primary grievance appears currently to revolve around COVID restrictions, with a number of military members talking about their imminent discharges for refusing to be vaccinated.

“The biggest message they have been sending out is, ‘it's time’ or ‘the time is now’,” Davis notes. “They primarily use Tik Tok as a recruiting tool and let others know their willingness to commit violence. Then they tell people to message them or where to find them on Telegram.”

Some of the people posting videos of black flag hangings appear to be police officers, including one from Pea Ridge, Arkansas, who takes pains to carefully fold and unfold both his ordinary American flag and his all-black version. Several “black flag” groups have already formed on Facebook, and some Twitter accounts, such as the Michigan-based “Great Lakes Black Flag Coalition” (“Our mission is to unite Liberty minded organizations, communities and individuals for the purpose of promoting and restoring Freedom”) specifically reference the symbol.

American far-right extremists have fantasized about embarking on a “second civil war” for several decades now, but the idea began building in intensity during the tea party years, when militia groups like the “Three Percenters”—whose name references its members’ desire to embark on a “second American Revolution”—began attracting significant numbers of participants. It began gaining real traction during Donald Trump’s tenure as president, mainly through the growth of such phenomena as the “Boogaloo” movement, which is specifically focused on preparing for a civil war.

Trump himself encouraged this narrative by threatening to unleash a civil war if Congress dared to impeach him, which sparked a wave of fevered preparations among his “patriot” fans in the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, Three Percenters and similar far-right groups. When it became apparent late in the 2020 campaign that he was likely headed for defeat at the polls, the civil-war discussions became intense, particularly among militia groups and white nationalists who were engaged in street-brawling protests, and “Boogaloo” activists tried leveraging street protests as opportunities for violence. Terrorism experts warned even then that fanatical Trump supporters were likely to engage in acts of mass violence.

This same, faux-patriotic worldview is what eventually inspired the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, which was the apotheosis of the GOP’s two-decades-and-longer descent into right-wing authoritarianism, fueled by eliminationist hate talk, reality-bereft conspiracist sedition, anti-democratic rhetoric and politics, and the full-throated embrace under Trump of the politics of intimidation and thuggery. There was a reason the insurrectionists believed they were all partaking of a “1776 moment”: they envisioned themselves as heroic patriots saving America from the commies.

If anyone believes the radicalized American right’s drive to push the nation into bloody civil strife was somehow expiated or exhausted that day, they only need check the presence of black American flags the next time there is a right-wing protest in their town. Or maybe they can just check the front porches in their neighborhoods.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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TTM note: Nice !!!!! My second month on SS Retirement, and already getting a raise !!!!! I must be doing something right.