Give Biden a break


Paul Waldman in today’s Washington Post pointed out an obvious fact about Senate votes in an op-ed laying out why it’s wrong to blame progressives for Biden’s failure to keep campaign promises to pass transformational and widely popular measures that include funding proven measures to decrease child poverty, billions to fund programs to slow climate catastrophe and the protection of older Americans, new parents, their children and democracy itself. Biden faces a wall of 52 obstructionists in a minority controlled 100 member lawmaking body that requires 60 votes to move anything forward — TO EVEN DEBATE A BILL.

It’s not that the filibuster simply shuts down a vote, which of course it does, it shuts down a public debate on the issues in bills the House sends to the Senate for debate and a vote to pass it into law.

Compare Biden’s razor thin majorities to those of his two Democratic predecessors, as Waldman does here:

The Senate is divided 50-50 and Democrats have just a 10-vote margin in the House. Compare that to the majorities Barack Obama had in 2009: 60-to-40 in the Senate, 257-to-178 in the House. Or Bill Clinton in 1993: 57-to-43 in the Senate, 258-to-176 in the House.

The only reason the now hugely popular Obamacare passed was that the Democrats had an unfillibusterable majority in the Senate. Of course, the private health insurance-based bill came out of a conservative think tank, which made it more palatable to conservative Democrats who are generally called “moderates” or “centrists,” like today’s corrupt and contemptuous autocracy-enablers Joe Manchin III and Kyrsten Fucking Sinema. Sinema and Manchin are 100% against any changes or carve outs to the filibuster, other than the one Sinema voted for last month to raise the debt ceiling, the one McConnell and more than a dozen Republicans also supported on the theory that it would leave Democrats with the sole blame for reckless spending to cover debts incurred by Trump (while preventing an unprecedented international economic crisis when the federal government shut down and the US defaulted on its debts.)

But back to Biden. He is often lambasted for lack of strength and resolve, for not twisting arms, breaking them if necessary, to get these critical voting laws passed. LBJ, Master of the Senate, did just that in 1964 and 1965 getting the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts passed over feverish opposition. Restoring the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a massively successful law that five un-elected right-wing zealots eviscerated in 2013, and a 6-3 majority beheaded last year, to give their side a partisan boost in elections, would require convincing twelve lockstep Republican senators to defy the vengeance of their famously vindictive party leader, come forward and vote with 48 Democrats.

Although we hear that 16 Republican senators who voted for the 2006 re-authorization of the Voting Rights Act (it was reauthorized 98-0 under Dubya and Cheney) are still in the Senate, times have changed. If every eligible voter was allowed to vote, and have their votes counted by nonpartisan officials, the extremist Republican party, currently in thrall to a maniac who demands fealty to a series of demonstrable lies, rightfully reasons they would be finished in national politics. The obvious answer, employed so far by 19 states since Trump was voted out, is to restrict who can vote, criminalize certain voting-related practices (no water to Blacks waiting hours on line to vote in Georgia, that’s outlawed now) and place partisan election officials as the final word on who won the election in each state, crucially each “swing state”.

Here is the Congress LBJ was working with when he got the 1965 Voting Rights Act, since nullified by the Supreme Court, passed:

Now, in fairness to LBJ, a master politician, those numbers are misleading. The solidly Trumpist/Republican former Confederacy was then solidly Democratic, since the hated Lincoln had been a Republican, as had the hated Radical Republicans who, after the war over states’ rights (states rights to own slaves) that the south never lost, briefly tyrannized the region by changing the Constitution at bayonet point and trying to force them to treat their Negroes as equals of the White Man. LBJ faced at least 22 Dixiecrats (two from each state of the former Confederacy) who’d be as dead set against a law ensuring despised minorities could vote as they were against making lynching of those same troublemakers a federal hate crime. LBJ had to use all his tools to convince several members of the Ku Klux Klan Kaucus, a powerful part of the Democratic party in Congress for generations, to risk their careers to cast the votes needed to pass the reboot of the Civil Rights Act passed right after the Civil War, and a Voting Rights Act to enforce the 15th amendment that proved effective in ending racist/partisan voter suppression practices in many parts of the country. Johnson knew that passing this law would swing the former Confederacy solidly Republican for generations, which it did, but with the Voting Rights Act in place it was a reasonable tradeoff for progress toward a more perfect democracy.

Let’s also acknowledge that the GOP today is an openly racist outfit, every elected member either loudly dog whistling it, shouting it or remaining strategically silent about it — while piously quoting a sanitized, kindergarten version of Martin Luther King, Jr. on his day every year. It turns out you can rebrand racism at law “partisanship” (as the 6-3 Trump Supreme Court did in beheading the Voting Rights Act last year) and let the games begin! Manchin and Sinema are applauded by right-wing partisans and open racists everywhere for their “bipartisan” stand against allowing the majority to overrule the will of the Trump Supreme Court.

Much of this Biden Failure has little to do with Joe Biden. The corporately funded Democratic party leadership that orchestrated Biden’s candidacy is infamously spineless and reflexively accommodating to the needs of the most powerful among us, while taking the votes of the people who wait on line for hours to actually vote them into office for granted. They are also shit at “messaging” — have nothing to compare to “Lock Her Up!” or “Build the Wall!” in terms of an idea that even morons can lustily repeat to each other, in our ad and sound byte driven polity as rationale for their “ideology”.

That said, the perception that Biden is a failure is the product of a morally supple, corporate ad-fueled mass media that constantly equates things that are not equal (like unified obstruction and a willingness to compromise), offers reasonable spins on incoherent Republican arguments, gives allegations, no matter how wild and unlikely, the same benefit of the doubt it gives to proven facts, avoids discussion of the actual issues underlying policy decisions, like the moral imperative to decrease child poverty in the wealthiest nation in history, in favor of exciting horse race coverage of zero-sum electoral politics, sandwiched between commercials.

We see the world through the filter of “respectable” journalism, whether it’s the echo chamber of the far-right, where every crackpot conspiracy is carefully considered and promoted for months on end, or in the corporate “liberal media” where both sides are generally given a fair chance to influence the polls that will tell us who is the winner and who is the loser on any given issue, based on polling. And, as we all know, the polls never lie.

But also, come on, man, it’s not that Biden isn’t working his ass off. He made a big miscalculation that people, benefiting from his policies, would get behind them and move the needle back toward sanity. That ain’t happening at the moment and he should have known from day one that you can’t work to build common ground with committed Nazis bent on destroying you politically, folks who will use even safety precautions during a pandemic as a battering ram against “government tyranny”.

Politics is different now, everything is weaponized, as in Newt Gingrich’s wildest wet dream, and we have Exhibit A, Kyrsten “dagger to the throat of democracy” Sinema, filibuster absolutist (except when voting for a carve out to pay our bills) who gets most of her campaign money, 90% of it, reportedly, from lobbyists outside the state that elected her to represent them in the Senate. And as the 5-4 Supreme Court taught us a few years ago in Citizens United, to limit the dark money campaign spending of politically motivated billionaires is anathema to the First Amendment — might as well put a gag on these poor corporations and hereditary billionaires and hang them from a tree as silence their free speech in this greatest Christian, White nation ever created by the hands of men.

How all this shit is Biden’s fault? It’s not. It was reported the other day that the ten richest men in the world doubled their already record-shattering fortunes since March 2020, trillions in pandemic windfalls. Biden and 99% of the rest of us favor taxing them. That Biden can’t do it? Not strictly his fault.

You Are the Object of a Secret Extraction Operation

The brilliant Shoshana Zuboff wrote an essay published by the New York Times the other day, You Are the Object of A Secret Extraction Operation. It is worth reading and hopefully my “gift” link will allow you to read it on the NY Times website without being blocked by a pay wall. The essay begins:

Facebook is not just any corporation. It reached trillion-dollar status in a single decade by applying the logic of what I call surveillance capitalism — an economic system built on the secret extraction and manipulation of human data — to its vision of connecting the entire world. Facebook and other leading surveillance capitalist corporations now control information flows and communication infrastructures across the world.

These infrastructures are critical to the possibility of a democratic society, yet our democracies have allowed these companies to own, operate and mediate our information spaces unconstrained by public law. The result has been a hidden revolution in how information is produced, circulated and acted upon. A parade of revelations since 2016, amplified by the whistle-blower Frances Haugen’s documentation and personal testimony, bears witness to the consequences of this revolution.

The world’s liberal democracies now confront a tragedy of the “un-commons.” Information spaces that people assume to be public are strictly ruled by private commercial interests for maximum profit. The internet as a self-regulating market has been revealed as a failed experiment. Surveillance capitalism leaves a trail of social wreckage in its wake: the wholesale destruction of privacy, the intensification of social inequality, the poisoning of social discourse with defactualized information, the demolition of social norms and the weakening of democratic institutions.

These social harms are not random. They are tightly coupled effects of evolving economic operations. Each harm paves the way for the next and is dependent on what went before.

There is no way to escape the machine systems that surveil us, whether we are shopping, driving or walking in the park. All roads to economic and social participation now lead through surveillance capitalism’s profit-maximizing institutional terrain, a condition that has intensified during nearly two years of global plague.

Will Facebook’s digital violence finally trigger our commitment to take back the “un-commons”? Will we confront the fundamental but long ignored questions of an information civilization: How should we organize and govern the information and communication spaces of the digital century in ways that sustain and advance democratic values and principles?

source

Corporate lawyers like John Roberts (in his previous corporate gig) made formerly voidable one-sided “contracts of adhesion” (take it or leave it, chump) as good as gold in all contracts between individuals and the corporations who require our agreement to their terms of service before we may use those services. It works even for expensive products we buy, like $1,000 smart phones, our use of our own property is dictated by terms that advantage only the corporations providing these miraculous services. As Roberts clairvoyantly saw in crafting his innovative, popular, now standard arbitration clause (by clicking this button you agree to waive the right to sue us in court, no matter what, and consent to pay 50% of the cost of binding arbitration) in the contest for profits, every bit of deference must go to the canny corporation and let the unsophisticated, dumb-ass buyer beware.

As Zuboff shows, in her groundbreaking The Age of Surveillance Capitalism; The Fight for a Human Future At the New Frontier of Power, and again in this essay, the escalating worldwide harm done by the new keepers of the public commons, social media giants, must be mitigated and regulated by democratic lawmakers to protect democracy from the wild, self-regulated pursuit of vast personal fortunes at the expense of all non-market based values.

Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, two poster children for profit over everything (profit uber alles) constantly defend their right to regulate themselves and make as much money as possible while doing so. It is not their job to judge the credulous stupidity of the public when making business decisions. After all, who in their right mind would turn down a fifty million dollar ad buy, even if it was an ad to spread an incendiary lie about a stolen election, a calculated lie debunked in dozens of lawsuits, and one that would predictably lead to outrage and possibly violence? That’s strictly a business decision, something to which the Court has always granted great deference, it’s simply The Business Judgement Rule — courts won’t interfere in corporate business decisions if there is any theoretically plausible money making rationale for them.

Zuckerberg told his executives, prior to the 2016 election (when Hillary was making noises about regulating giants like Facebook) that any government attempt to regulate Facebook would be such an “existential threat” that you have to stand on principle, you “go to the mat”, you go to the fucking mat to defend your right to double and triple your hundred billion dollar personal fortune, sue the government, do whatever needs to be done. The principle? Nothing wrong with greed, you judgmental fucking losers.

Perhaps Zuckerberg is right. 99% of the world is a bunch of crying, bitter, jealous, judgmental fucking losers, doomed to die inglorious asshole deaths after wasted lives spent envying people like him. It’s people like him, the true outliers, visionaries, men of the future, who should, by force of meritocracy and the will of the Free Market, decide what is best for the world. Who would know better than a maladjusted nerd who had become, at a precocious age, one of the richest men in human history?


The South Will Rise AGAIN!

If zombies are real, that is.

Wary readers should note that these maps are from today’s New York Times, so there’s that to consider. Dark on the orange to purple map means high infection rates, the darkest are Covid hotspots. Darker on the green vaccination map means higher vaccination rates.

Please note that when I mock the former Confederacy it is their radical right wing leaders I am mocking, the ones who continue to represent, according to their time-honored ways, our Death Sentence Loving Bible belts. The average person in the former Confederacy is about is fucked as the Confederate citizen who opposed slavery during the war, but was obliged to serve in the army of the Confederacy or die by hanging or firing squad.

The correlation between the map of high Covid-19 infection rates, low vaccine rates and the former Confederacy, turf of the strongest Trump support, of course, could be purely a product of the Lyin’ New York Times, and you can confirm that with Q, or Mike Flynn, Sidney Powell, Ron Deathsantis, Kristi Noem, Steve Bannon, Mo Brooks, Lauren Boebert, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin or Roger Stone, for that matter. The NY Times, according to millions, lies more than Lyin’ Ted Cruz, or even the irrepressible Orange Polyp himself!

Check out the color of “moderate” right winger Joe Manchin’s West Virginia on the respective maps. Pale in terms of vaccine density, and going for Mr. Trump in the 70% range [1] in the stolen, fake, Chinese Communist-rigged election of 2020, they are a nice dark tone on the Covid infection map. Wait, that infection color is supposed to be… ah, never mind. THE PEOPLE REST!

beautiful head of hair, Don

[1] Damn near a million votes!

American Isolation and our existential loneliness

The pandemic, and the defiant rise of the mask-free MAGA rally during the pandemic, really brought home two sides of American isolation, and the profound loneliness many feel in a society that mythologizes outsized greed and takes minimal care of its must vulnerable citizens. The enthusiasm of the crowds at MAGA rallies underscores our need to connect with others, a need to belong that is loudly expressed by fans of sports teams or musical celebrities. The loud defiance of medical advice unites MAGA nation, who believe this defiance shows their toughness.

We have never, outside of fandom, been a society that much values community (though, as the MAGA rally demonstrates, Americans long for being part of a community), or the idea of sacrificing for our neighbors, favoring instead the winner takes all myth of the Rugged Individual.

Rugged Individualism, rooted in violent competition for land and wealth in the Wild West, is an absurdity if you examine it very closely, but it exerts a tremendous influence on our culture. The myth is often expressed simply as Individualism. “I come first, you don’t come at all, asshole. Get off my land, red skin. Me and my gun give you ten seconds to skidaddle.” The Rugged Individual is ready to kill to take and defend what is his, and the mythical figure is a man, a toxically masculine man, in the “woke” parlance of our day.

The prevalence of this myth that only the truly tough, those who win the endless competition, are fit to rule the rest of us, makes us a lonely, self-doubting society. How can we ever be good enough if other individuals, competing in the same basic game, manage to amass fortunes ten thousand times greater than our own?

Charles Koch, one of the wealthiest old men in the world (he’s 85), is a classic rugged individualist. He was raised by his tough, demanding self-made father, fist fighting his brothers, and he came out on top, in court and in life. He is the surviving Koch Brother (arts loving philanthropist David having recently gone on to his reward) and arguably one of the most influential men in the USA, certainly for the last twenty years or so.

Starting with nothing more than a lucrative family oil refining business and a small personal fortune of less than $100,000,000 [1], the lion’s share of the family business wrested from his weaker brothers, Charles Koch built a multibillion dollar empire, an influential, many armed political machine, and a vast personal fortune of more than sixty billion dollars. All by himself, because of his guts, drive, brilliance and his determination to be the best.

The millions of dollars and the hugely profitable business he inherited didn’t hurt him, of course, nobody could deny that, but the myth is that he’d have done it all even if he’d been born in abject poverty. It’s all a matter of character and personal strength, goes the myth. The man famously works more than 12 hours a day, weekends too, without a need to relax.

Donald Trump, similar deal. Jared Kushner, another self-made rugged individual. Though, as opposed to Charles Koch, these two rich boys did little to actually increase the wealth their tough, wealthy, ambitious fathers bestowed on them. Never mind, good enough, their vast wealth qualifies them as among the best of the best.

I love this bit of fatherly advice, debunking that bullshit in a few seconds, offered by a longtime White House dogsbody (with a great voice) on the canceled hit show House of Cards:

We have an exceptional degree of isolationist individualism here in our Winner/Loser society. And, I suspect, an exceptional degree of social isolation and desperate loneliness. We don’t have a widespread idea of social responsibility, those who advocate for it are mocked as “Social Justice Warriors,” “Class Warriors,” “Radical Socialists,” “Woke” and so on. There are dozens of ways of summarily dismissing the arguments of those who see our fellow citizens as a community riding in the same boat we are in, making us all a little bit responsible for each other’s welfare. We see glimpses of this community spirit during emergencies, so we still have the instinct and capacity to watch out for each other, though it seems to be emergency-only in our current culture.

If you are a low income worker, the myth goes, born into a family without wealth, you get what you fucking deserve. Everyone starts with the same liberty rights Charles Koch, Donald Trump and Jared Kushner started with, and the only worthwhile social project, for the well-born, is to preserve every bit of the liberties each of us are born with. That is the essence of Libertarianism, leave well enough alone (except for police to protect private property) and if you can’t flourish, you don’t deserve to, asshole.

So we get a political party now openly devoted to protecting the interests of this wealthiest 0.01%, the truly great Americans, the generous liberty-loving citizens who fund America’s dedication to liberty and democracy. That party will block a federal living wage, because people too lazy and stupid to make more than $7.25 an hour don’t deserve a dime more. (And a big “fuck you” to Kyrsten Fucking Sinema for signing on to that). That freedom loving party will insist that stupid, lazy poor people should not be allowed to easily vote (and if they do vote, political partisans must have the final say on counting votes), since they will inevitably vote for wealth-wasting projects like good public schools (tyranny!), slowing global climate catastrophe (killing jobs in fossil fuel!), affordable healthcare as a right for all citizens (killing jobs in the private sector!), reining in gun violence (tyranny! regulation is unconstitutional under the second amendment [2]!) curbing police murder of unarmed civilians (dangerous job! split second life or death decisions!), giving qualified citizens access to an affordable college education (Communism!), making sure no American child goes to bed hungry (waste of money!), etc.

The Libertarian project to combat ‘social welfare’ programs kicked into high gear as soon as the Supreme Court belatedly ruled that public school segregation imposed unconstitutional disabilities on students forced to attend poorly funded schools, based solely on race. Charles Koch’s father, Fred, was one of the founding members of the then lunatic fringe John Birch Society, which arose in response to the brutal “government coercion” represented by this radical Supreme Court. Trumpism, the modern Republican party, the 2021 incarnation of privilege-protection, flows directly from the John Birch Society lunatic fringe, whose founders included Charles Koch’s dad, who worked for both Hitler and Stalin (before the war!).

Robert Welch (wealthy candy baron) founded the John Birch Society, incorporated as a Massachusetts non-profit educational organization, to fight the judicial activism that had reared its ugly head in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas ruling. An Eisenhower-appointed chief justice, Earl Warren, had ruled, along with a unanimous court, that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. This “judicial activism” was felt, by Welch and his circle, as an intolerable blow to human liberty.

In an address in Indianapolis on December 9, 1958, shortly after establishing his non-profit educational far right-wing advocacy group, Welch lambasted Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles (a conservative anti-communist), as a covert communist agent and said that Eisenhower himself was also working for the Commies, though possibly unwittingly. Welch laid it all out, cogently, in black and white, foreshadowing Trump’s unhinged rhetoric from his American Carnage State of the Union address:

We are engaged in an end-time struggle between good and evil, the battle lines are drawn in a struggle from which either Communism or Christian style civilization must emerge, with one completely triumphant and the other completely destroyed.

You will recognize this as the dramatic zero-sum battle language of fascism. Hitler stressed this over and over — good vs. evil in a fight to the death. Purity vs. deadly blood pollution. Good people vs. evil child blood drinking Satanist pedophiles, etc.

It is, in many ways, one against all here in the USA — and the sides are not drawn by any rational calculation of what is right, and sustainable, and what is wrong, and destructive, but by what we might call fate and the accident of birth.

I was reminded of this by a remarkable bit of autobiography I encountered the other day. A guy whose every joke is at his gamely smiling wife’s expense, responded to a story about violence in my own family (my grandmother’s to my mother) with this:

“When my brother and I used to fight, my father would tell us to fight outside — and the winner will fight me. My father and my uncle were both prodigious bar fighters, they got in fights every day, with anybody. Their father used to run the waterfront in [I forgot which city] and he was a very tough guy, in fact, he was a crime boss. He was basically Johnny Friendly from ‘On the Waterfront’.”

Which reminded me again, you can know somebody for years, and learn a detail like this, and a light goes on. My father, a difficult character, was an unsolvable puzzle to me, until I learned how viciously he’d been abused as a child. His implacability and overwhelming need to rage suddenly became very understandable. As well as the terrible loneliness that comes from being betrayed by your primary caregiver, a loneliness he evaded only momentarily while dazzling others with his quick wit and making strong arguments to support his firm opinions.

[1] first hit when querying “how much did Charles Koch inherit when his father died?”

Charles’s brothers Frederick and Bill had inherited stock in Koch Industries. In June 1983, after a legal and boardroom battle, the stakes of Frederick and Bill were bought out for $1.1 billion and Charles and his younger brother David became majority owners in the company.

It is not easy to find out how much Charles Koch inherited when Fred died. It’s not mentioned in his Wikipedia biography, which points out that he and his brothers inherited a “medium sized” oil refining business and that Charles and David (on the Forbes top ten wealthiest list until 2018) turned the renamed Koch Industries into the “largest privately held company by revenue in the United States, according to Forbes.[6]“.

[2]

Particularly if you discard the first four words of that inartfully drafted amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Somaticizing your people’s trauma

I heard a very insightful discussion (between therapist and trauma specialist Resmaa Menakem and Kritsta Tippett) of the deep bodily harm racism inflicts, on a cellular level. Menakem describes how the subjects of racist attention are born inheriting, in their bodies, the stress their mothers felt while carrying them in their wombs. It made a lot of sense to me, the innate vigilant tension that must be carried in the body by those who society marks, solely by their external appearance, as inferior and threatening.

Menakem makes this profound point:

Not just that they lived through trauma, but that the angst and the anguish was decontextualized. And so for my Black body to be born into a society by which the white body is the standard is, in and of itself, traumatizing. If my mom is born as a Black woman, into a society that predicates her body as deviant, the amount of cortisol that is in her nervous system when I’m being born is teaching my nervous system something. Trauma decontextualized in a person looks like personality. Trauma decontextualized in a family looks like family traits. Trauma in a people looks like culture.

source

I immediately knew the truth of this. I thought of my advantage, as a white person raised in safety by white middle class parents [1], when an off-duty cop tried to punch my face in for a disrespectful remark I’d made to him. (In my defense, I had no idea the violent piece of shit was an off-duty cop.) When three of his colleagues finally pulled us apart, two pinned my arms. I immediately relaxed my body, signaling to them I was not resisting, that I was calm, that they could safely let me go, which I quietly asked them to do.

Had my body been programmed to tense up and resist, knowing in my ancestral memory that the next likely thing was for all four of them to start beating me, or worse, I’d never have been able to relax and free myself so easily. I’d never have had the chance to reasonably ask the guy who’d tried to punch me in the face over and over what was stopping me from doing the same to him, then doing it, in front of three witnesses, and making my exit without having the shit beaten out of me afterwards.

The trauma of growing up in a despised, feared group is somaticized, it becomes part of the body’s response system (making the body more susceptible to disease and early death, among other things [2]). Not surprising at all, once it’s put out there, but fascinating and important to consider. The inherited, instinctive fight or flight mobilization in traumatized bodies can also be described by epigenetics, which Krista Tippett also did a great show about.

The new field of epigenetics sees that genes can be turned on and off and expressed differently through changes in environment and behavior. Rachel Yehuda is a pioneer in understanding how the effects of stress and trauma can transmit biologically, beyond cataclysmic events, to the next generation. She has studied the children of Holocaust survivors and of pregnant women who survived the 9/11 attacks. But her science is a form of power for flourishing beyond the traumas large and small that mark each of our lives and those of our families and communities.

source

These biological expressions of stress and trauma can be worked through by survivors who receive help and support, once the traumatic events are far enough in the past. But what of those whose stress and trauma are ongoing, systemic, unending, in the news every single day?

In the context of now daily police killings of unarmed Black people, this dynamic is very important to consider. The day after Derek Chauvin was convicted, unarmed, unresisting Andrew Brown was, shot to death in a rural county in eastern North Carolina. The warrant for his arrest called him a dangerous drug dealer and the unidentified sheriff’s deputies who went to serve the warrant on him wound up killing him. According to the officers who shot him, the proof that he was resisting arrest is that once they began shooting into his car, and four shots are confirmed to have hit him, he tried to drive away, attempting to back down his driveway, which seems to have been when the fatal fifth shot was fired into the back of his head.

Ask yourself how a Black man, even if he is not a “dangerous drug dealer”, does not try to flee from police bullets coming into his car, particularly after he has complied and kept both hands on the steering wheel.

Recall the original police account of the murder of George Floyd: “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction.” We know now, thanks to the video shot by a courageous seventeen year-old, the testimony of several witnesses, police officials and medical experts, and the guilty verdict by a jury of twelve of Derek Chauvin’s peers, that the original police account, while strictly true (there was a “medical incident” but it was Floyd’s murder) was a grossly misleading oversimplification of what happened during those fatal final nine and a half minutes of the “police interaction” that ended George Floyd’s life.

Makes me want to holler, it really does.

I’ve been reminded that most people who become police officers, the vast majority of them “white,” grow up with a conservative mindset, conforming to the norms of our society and believing in a basic code of right and wrong based on enforcing the law, whatever it is, against lawbreakers. I believe many, if not most, are motivated to become police officers by a real desire to protect and serve. The burning, killing question is who and what, exactly, you have vowed to protect and serve.

[1]

Leaving aside my own epigenetic trauma to be the child of parents who lost all but a few family members, every single family member left in Europe, to an outbreak of murderous group madness in Ukraine and Belarus in 1942 and 1943. Every one of them murdered and disappeared without a trace, just thirteen years before I was born. Try as I might, it is something I can never get out of my head, or my body, I suppose, though my own experience never included anything like the killing crews that were the last thing my grandparents’ family members ever saw.

[2]

For a very short description, see also, HERE.

Come on, man!

from today’s NY Times

United States

population: 328.2 million (2019) per capita income: $53,240

India

population: 1.353 billion (2018) per capita income: $1,900

Brazil

population: 209.5 million (2018) per capita income: $10,400

incidence of infection:

USA — one in 17 Americans (more than a 5% infection rate, and steadily rising)

India — one in 132 Indians (less than 1%)

Brazil — one in 156 Brazilians (less than 1%)

As we can plainly see, the country with the greatest wealth and the most liberty, once again leads the world in freedom, justice, health, safety, patriotism, nationalism and everything of value. USA! USA!!! And if you don’t believe it — go defund yourself!!! “Facts”? Go fact check yourself, pencil neck!!!

Reality Check, maybe

The world’s single nation record for COVID-19 infections in a day was set not long after the presidential election. The NY Times reported:

A little more than a week earlier we’d broken the 100,000 case a day barrier (and they said it couldn’t be done!). I attribute this shattered record to all the contact, all over the US, that resulted from the Trump/Kremlin lie that mail-in ballots were tickets to widespread fraud and all the propaganda and Republican voter suppression that sent millions to stand on lines to cast vote in person. In places like Texas, poll workers were not required to wear masks and they could force voters to take off their masks in order to vote. Freedom, you know…

Today we nonchalantly eclipsed that sad-ass record again with a non-record 207,000 new cases (and an impressive 2,259 deaths from COVID, not a record but nothing to sneeze at!)

Check out this graph and think of how hard this dangerous, lying child, our Winner-in-chief, is still fighting to make this skyrocketing mass death on his heedless watch simply go away as he scrambles, hideous as a late stage Roy Cohn, to avoid all responsibility for anything in his long, narcissistic life of unlearned lessons.

During the years of the Cheney/Bush administration the octogenarian mother of a friend showed up at dinner one night sporting a BUCK FUSH button. Right on, sister! TRUCK FUMP!

The so-called truth about the so-called election (as of yesterday, anyway)

Clicking links can be tedious, I know. So, as a service to the reader in a hurry, a few highlights from the traitorous Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s website (as of yesterday — subject to deletion upon discovery by the president’s most loyal men and women). All this information is apparently still online today.

You can click on the CISA website’s URL HERE for more details about each of these thoroughly debunked rumors/Trump barking points. Most of these debunked rumors have useful resources below including links to the laws and practices that protect and ensure each of these things. A quick scroll through this list should probably do the trick, though.

Or, as is your inalienable right as an American anti-masker type, simply ignore this seditious “reality-based” list, as millions of our other countrymen, including 18 state attorneys general and 106 House members, are currently on the record doing (though in the guise of a lawsuit on other grounds not covered here).

 Reality: Ballot handling procedures protect against intentional or unintentional ballot destruction.

  Rumor: Ballots can easily be destroyed without detection, preventing them from being counted.

 Reality: Voting systems undergo testing from state and/or federal voting system testing programs, which certify voting system hardware and software.

  Rumor: Voting system software is not reviewed or tested and can be easily manipulated.

POST-ELECTION

 Reality: Robust safeguards including canvassing and auditing procedures help ensure the accuracy of official election results.

  Rumor: A bad actor could change election results without detection.


 Reality: Voter registration list maintenance and other election integrity measures protect against voting illegally on behalf of deceased individuals.

  Rumor: Votes are being cast on behalf of dead people and these votes are being counted.

 Reality: Variations in vote totals for different contests on the same ballot occur in every election and do not by themselves indicate fraud or issues with voting technology.

  Rumor: More votes in one contest than other contests on the ballot means that results cannot be trusted.

 Reality: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) do not design or audit ballots, which are processes managed by state and local election officials.

  Rumor: DHS or CISA printed paper ballots with security measures and is auditing results as a countermeasure against ballot counterfeiting.


 Reality: Election results reporting may occur more slowly than prior years. This does not indicate there is any problem with the counting process or results. Official results are not certified until all validly cast ballots have been counted, including ballots that are counted after election night.

  Rumor: If results as reported on election night change over the ensuing days or weeks, the process is hacked or compromised, so I can’t trust the results.

 Reality: Provisional ballots are counted in every election regardless of result margins.

  Rumor: Provisional ballots are only counted if there’s a close race.

 Reality: In some circumstances, elections officials are permitted to “duplicate” or otherwise further mark cast ballots to ensure they can be properly counted.

  Rumor: Witnessing election officials marking ballots means that fraudulent voting is taking place.

 Reality: Election night results are not official results.

  Rumor: If election night reporting sites experience an outage, vote counts will be lost or manipulated.

 Reality: A defaced or manipulated election night reporting webpage would not impact counting and certification of official results.

  Rumor: If the election night reporting webpage is defaced or displays incorrect results, the integrity of the election is compromised.

 Reality: Malicious actors can use fake personas and impersonate real accounts.

  Rumor: If a social media account claims an identity, the account must be run by that person or organization.

 Reality: Cyber actors can “spoof” or forge email sender addresses to look like they come from someone else.

  Rumor: I received an election-related email that looks like it came from a certain organization, so the organization must have sent it.

PRE-ELECTION

 Reality: Some voter registration data is publicly available.

  Rumor: Someone possessing or posting voter registration data means voter registration databases have been hacked.

 Reality: Online voter registration websites can experience outages for non-malicious reasons.

  Rumor: An online voter registration website experiences an outage and claims are made the election has been compromised.

 Reality: A compromise of a state or local government system does not necessarily mean election infrastructure or the integrity of your vote has been compromised.

  Rumor: If state or local jurisdiction information technology (IT) has been compromised, the election results cannot be trusted.

 Reality: Malicious actors can fake manipulation of voter registration data to spread disinformation.

  Rumor: Videos, images or emails suggesting voter registration information is being manipulated means voters will not be able to vote.

 Reality: Safeguards are in place to prevent home-printed or photocopied mail-in ballots from being counted.

  Rumor: A malicious actor can easily defraud an election by printing and sending in extra mail-in ballots.

Reality: Safeguards are in place to protect against fraudulent voting using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB).

  Rumor: A malicious actor can easily defraud an election using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB).

ELECTION DAY

 Reality: Election officials provide writing instruments that are approved for marking ballots to all in-person voters using hand-marked paper ballots.

  Rumor: Poll workers gave specific writing instruments, such as Sharpies, only to specific voters to cause their ballots to be rejected.

 Reality: Voters are protected by state and federal law from threats or intimidation at the polls, including from election observers.

  Rumor: Observers in the polling place are permitted to intimidate voters, campaign, and interfere with voting.

 Reality: Safeguards are in place to protect ballot secrecy.

  Rumor: Someone is claiming to know who I voted for.


 Reality: Polling place lookup sites can experience outages for non-malicious reasons.

  Rumor: If polling place lookup sites experience an outage, election infrastructure must have been compromised.

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Now, it’s true that outside of all this obviously partisan palaver, there is still the totally plausible chance that there was massive voting fraud and coordinated irregularities in ANARCHIST JURISDICTIONS that deprived our greatest, most handsome, smartest, most charismatic, most sexually attractive, BEST FRIEND OF THE GODDAMNED COLORED RACES SINCE “HONEST” FUCKING ABE president of his rightful second term (just as a baseless WITCH HUNT deprived him of a fully effective first term, and the Chinese/Democrat virus HOAX unfairly hurt him too). You can believe unhinged “reality alarmist” traitors at some government agency nobody ever heard of or… or…

Only one final thing I have to say on any of this, to Mr. Trump, the shady AG of Texas (under indictment since 2015), the other dozens of loyal-to-the-death elected Republican Trump zealots who signed on to the Texas AG’s idiotic “lawsuit” delivered to Amy Coney Barrett and her five Federalist Society colleagues on the Supreme Court:

Black, Brown, Urban, “Minority” Votes Matter (and count just like your’s), you racist motherfuckers, whatever you might sincerely, fervently, strongly believe to the contrary.