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Roaming Charges: The Ring of the Truncheon Thing

Poster by the Atelier Populaire from the student uprising in May 1968, Paris.

“If you insist on having statues of people who fought the U.S. military, how about Ho Chi Minh? For one thing, he actually won…”

– Paulo L dos Santos

+ The Democrats are absolutely desperate to smother the Defund the Police movement (not just the slogan, but the abolitionist ideology driving it) before it totally escapes their control, much as they defanged the Occupy Wall Street movement before the 2012 elections & transformed it from a critique of neoliberalism and casino capitalism into a support group for some of the same Democratic politicians who had enacted and abetted the very policies OWS sprang up to decry.

+ “Defund the police” should be an easy concept for our neoliberal penny-pinchers to understand, since they’ve ruthlessly applied it to almost every other line item in the budget, except cops, prisons and the military.

+ Even Sanders has joined the chorus of Democrats trying to defuse the Defund the Police movement. Of course, Bernie is a liberal reformer at heart. He proves it time and again. He’s no longer running for anything, so he’s under no pressure to moderate his views or language. This is is just who he really is. He’s not a socialist, not a radical. Many of his followers are far ahead of him. Let’s hope they don’t look back…

+ Some of the most verbose right-wingers, however, hear the sound of the ice breaking beneath their feet…Sean Hannity called for an end to police “chokeholds” and cities to develop “rigorous standard” for “holding crooked cops accountable.”

+ It’s more than 50/50 shot that by election day Trump and Sean Hannity will be to the left of Biden, Pelosi and Schumer on police reform…

+ Biden introduced a “Police Officer’s Bill of Rights” eight times as a senator that restricted the ability for police departments to investigate their own officers accused of misconduct….(He may well be the WORST nominee of my lifetime.)

+ You can always count on the AFL’s Richard Trumka to fall in line. In fact, he usually arrives early to secure his place at the head of it….Trumka says he’s against cutting ties with cop unions because “everyone who works for a living has the right to collective bargaining… and the best way to use our influence…is to engage with our police affiliates rather than isolate them.”

+ I’ll never forget this from Obama on Colin Kaepernick’s quiet and dignified protests agains police shootings and I hope you won’t either: “Kapernick needs to think about the pain he’s causing military families.” It really distills the whole Obama experience for me.

+ Obama’s unique function was to defuse and shame growing social and political movements from inside his own base, especially black movements.

+ So Trump plans to come out of his chicken coop on Juneteenth to hold a rally in Tulsa, site of the Black Wall Street Massacre, one of the worst acts of mass murder and violence committed against blacks in the 20th century. This can’t be an accident and is redolent of Reagan giving his race-mongering “states rights” speech in August 1980 at the Neshoba County Fair, a few miles from where Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner were murdered by the Klan…

+ On the registration page for Trump’s Juneteenth MAGAnacht rally in Tulsa, there is language advising attendees that they are signing away liability if they contract COVID-19…

+ Here’s why they need the MAGAvolk to sign the waiver releasing them of liability from a viral threat they have repeatedly discounted. The rolling 7-day average of COVID-19 infections in Tulsa is skyrocketing…

+ Very Good People Alert, Tulsa Edition…Tulsa Police Department Maj. Travis Yates told a Tulsa talk radio host this week that police probably weren’t shooting enough black people: “All of the research says we’re shooting African-Americans about 24 percent less than we probably ought to be, based on the crimes being committed,”

+ No wonder Trump is so eager to visit Tulsa.

+ Take it from the Lady who said that killing 500,000 Iraqi kids was “worth it.”

+ Wendi C. Thomas is a black journalist in Memphis, who worked the police beat. At least, one officer she reported on admitted to spying on her. She’s just one of many prominent black journalists and activists who have been come under police surveillance in the last few years.

+ Another police officer has been caught wearing the logo of the far-right paramilitary “three percenters” (III%) on his gear, this time in Chicago. “The officer’s name tag and badge number, which can be seen in video, identify him as Kyle Mingari, a 13-year veteran of CPD.” Mingari has already cost Chicago $400,000 in lawsuits over his career!

+ New report shows that 64% of civilian complaints against NYPD officers were filed by or on behalf of young black people ages 8 to 18 who claimed to have been mistreated after being stopped for innocuous activities like high-fiving and carrying backpacks….

+ Euphemism Watch: “vascular neck restraint…”

+ In contrast to CNN, an excited Trump was much more explicit on FoxNews this morning: “I think the concept of chokehold sounds so innocent, so perfect.”

+ When Joe Biden speaks his mind: “You know the rapidly rising umm uh in with uh with I don’t know.”

+ More evidence sustained mass protest works: On Tuesday, New York repealed 50-A, the law that kept police records secret. Activists have worked to overturn it for years. Just a year ago, it was no legislative traction at all.

+ IBM will no longer offer, develop, or research facial recognition technology. IBM’s CEO says we should reevaluate selling the technology to law enforcement. Of course, they may be a decade late in coming to this conclusion…

+ Rome calling…

+ Key findings from LA Times investigation of LAPD use of force during protests: 1) Significant numbers of demonstrators were seriously hurt. 2) The videos showed LAPD action that likely violated LAPD policy…

The problem with these types of well-intentioned investigation is, of course, that they tend to legitimize the beatings and injuries that take place from actions that adhere to LAPD policy.

+ Impossible to parody or satirize Trump assigning mini-Goebbels himself, Stephen Miller, to draft a speech on the Race Question

+ The Volatile Mermaid: “When I heard that Stephen Miller was writing a speech about racism I assumed it was a How To guide.”

+ Weeks after it was promised, the Louisville Police Department finally released the incident report into the killing of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year old black EMT who was shot in her bed 8 times during a no-knock raid by Louisville cops. The four-page report was almost entirely blank. Under the section for listing injuries, the report said “none.

+ Day by day, Larry Kudlow is steadily closing in on Bill Kristol’s all-time record for the most ludicrous howlers in US political history.

+ “I am not resisting,” 40-year old Javier Ambler told the deputies, who had pulled him over for failing to dim his headlights, pulled him out of his car and pinned him to the ground. “Sir, I can’t breathe,” Ambler repeatedly cried. His last words: “Please… Save me.” The body cam footage was released this week from the 2019 encounter. The cops who killed Javier Ambler are still on the job.

+ Very Good People Alert, Mass. Edition… Looks like we’ve found your “false flag” operation, Mr. President. In 2016, a cop’s wife faked a home invasion, blamed Black Lives Matter.  The cop’s wife probably spray-painted BLM because she couldn’t spell antifa…

+ Martin Gugino was a 75-year old school teacher, and Catholic Worker peace activist, in the tradition of Dorothy Day and the Berrigans, who was brutally shoved to the pavement by police in stormtrooper gear and left bleeding an unconscious on the sidewalk, as they goose-stepped by him. Trump’s conspiratorial Tweet is the kind of depraved bullshit from an autocrat-on-the-ropes that got nuns raped by US-trained death squads in Latin America and Archbishop Romero, among other Liberation Theology Catholics, assassinated.

+ Trump’s uncle may have been a professor at MIT, but he didn’t seem to teach his nephew much about the laws of physics and gravity.

+ The headline screamed, “Trump Aids Despondent Over Trump Buffalo Protester Tweet.” This is the kind of “story” Axios (aka, Access is Us) runs two or three times a week, which has absolutely no relation to what’s really going on inside the White House, as evidenced by MAGAda Goebbels’ smearing of Martin Gugino on FoxNews on the very same morning Axios ran its inside account of Trump staffer rending their hair in despair. Her evidence? Profanity in his Tweets…

+ She was still at it later in the day…

WELKER: Is it incumbent upon the president to have facts before he tweets out a conspiracy theory about a 75-year-old man?

McENANY: The president did have facts

WELKER: It’s a baseless conspiracy theory

McENANY: It’s not.

 

+ One’s always tempted to say this time it’s different, but this time there are signs that it really might be different. There does seem to be a seismic shift in public opinion about the Black Lives Matter movement in the past two weeks…

+ The Hill ran an editorial this week proclaiming that Condoleezza Rice is the perfect VP pick for Joe Biden. I can see it happening. Condi checks off all the Biden boxes: Female, yes. Black, yes. Iraq war, yes. Her own oil tanker, yes. Republican, yes!

+ According to the sports bookies, who have nothing much else to do these days, the odds in Vegas have pegged Val Demings as the new front-runner for Biden’s vp pick. She’s a former cop with the Orlando PD…

+ In my experience, one surefire test for detecting a racist is if the person repeatedly says, “I’m not a racist.” Consider the case of the Texas mayor, who called Black Lives Matter “a threat to our lives!

+ The NYPD’s $6,000,000,000 budget would make it the 33rd largest military spender on the planet. (h/t Public Citizen)

+ A small, but elite, circle of Philly’s powerbrokers,  including Mayor Jim Kenney, Police Commissioner Outlaw and Managing Director Brian Abernathy, all signed off on teargassing protesters on I-676 last week…

+ Bernie Sanders is introducing legislation to ban the use of “pepper spray” and “rubber bullets” against “peaceful protesters,” which is about as morally courageous as outlawing the death penalty against people who are innocent of the crime they’ve been convicted of.

+ In Trump’s ripe phrasing, “defunding the police will be good for robbers and rapists.” In fact, less than 10 percent of calls to police that ultimate end up in police violence have anything to do with robberies, sex crimes or domestic abuse. Most are “welfare checks” and people with mental health issues…

+ After rampaging Seattle cops ignored the Mayor’s 30-day ban on teargas, the Seattle City Council is now considering defunding the Seattle PD by 50% and reinvesting the money in other programs.

+ From a letter by Microsoft employees demanding that the company cut ties with the Seattle Police Department:

“We are all in agreement that our neighborhood has been turned into [a] warzone escalated by SPD and that our coworkers and leaders need to know what is happening. We need awareness and empathy across every level of management asap so that the burden of educating our coworkers doesn’t fall on those of us in the middle of a public safety and mental health crisis.”

+ The evidence of Biden’s cognitive decline mounts by the day…but this statement alone may be enough for a preemptive invocation of the 25th amendment.

+ One of the most useful things the Washington Post has published in years is this minute-by-minute video breakdown of what happened during the raid on LaFayette Square, which shows definitively that the government lied repeatedly about both what the protestors did and about the force used against them.

+ When the Chair of the Joints Chiefs of Staff of the Pentagon claims to have been “duped” by the world’s dumbest man, you get the sense that maybe the nuclear arsenal should be transferred into the safer hands of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing…

+ Where’s Gen. Milley’s apology for this? “Members of the Old Guard were issued bayonets and live ammunition in case active-duty troops were deployed in the US capital last week…”

+ From a WW I British training manual on the use of the bayonet in the field…

+ Texas had a state office that could have investigated racial disparities in COVID-19 cases. State lawmakers defunded it three years ago. Now we know where Bolonsaro is getting many of his ideas…

+ Top 20 COVID-19 hotspots…

75% = prisons/jails
20% = meatpacking plants
5% = aircraft carrier

+ Arizona opened early and badly. The result is a rising EPI curve with evidence of increasing community transmission. Hospitals across the state are being asked to prepare for crisis care.

+ How did coronavirus first spread so quickly across Scotland? This report suggests a few possible answers. Authors say there were “at least 113 introductions” of the virus into Scotland in early days…

+ As for the UK itself, a similar pattern emerges, where a new study estimates that ≈34% of the coronavirus lineages arrived via inbound travel from Spain, ≈29% from France, ≈14% from Italy and ≈23% via other countries, but not, intriguingly, from China.

+ Former UK government advisor Neil Ferguson told the Commons Science Committee this week: “Had we introduced lock down measures a week earlier we would have reduced the final death toll by at least a half.” (He, of course, lost his position for violating the lockdown for a tryst.)

+ COVID19 hospitalizations have been on the rise since Memorial Day in Texas, the Carolinas, Calif., Oregon, Ark., Miss., Utah, and Arizona. Overall, the US continues to have 20,000 known cases per day and testing is down rather than up.

+ Your lungs on COVID…

+ White residents of Multnomah County (ie, Portland) have received about 10 times the number of tests Hispanics have received, yet whites account for only about 1.5 times the number of cases.

+ Blacks make up 23% of Houston’s population, but have accounted for 66% of COVID-19 deaths.

+ The poor of the planet face the worst food crisis in 50 years, with an additional 50 million people falling into extreme poverty this year owing to the pandemic…

+ Once deemed an insidious menace to public health, Glory Holes are now being promoted by New York City officials: NYC Health advice discourages casual sex during COVID, but also says if you’re going to have it: “Be creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact.”

+ Here’s Jerry Nadler babbling on about the modest set of criminal justice reforms being proposed by House Democrats. Has anyone told these people they can speak with the mask on? That in fact, speaking is one of the ways COVID-19 spreads most efficiently and that the country would be much better off if our politicians all wore masks and spoke less, if at all…?

+ According to the Urban Institute, between March 25 and April 10 of this year, nearly half of renters reported that they were having trouble paying their rent or utilities, were food insecure or couldn’t afford needed medical care…

+ Only about 25% of Americans still believe that capitalism is “good for society,” which is roughly the same percentage who think that Trump is God’s representative on Earth

+ A GAO report revealed that the Border Patrol and ICE violated the conditions the emergency funding law passed by congress last year for humanitarian needs at the border last summer by using money for “consumable and medical care” to purchase dirt bikes, boats, as well as dog food and leashes.

+ Federal Judge Jed S. Rakoff in New York declares ICE’s policy of courthouse arrests to be illegal and enjoins it from making such arrests on the grounds of New York State courthouses or of anyone required to travel to a New York state courthouse as a party or witness to a lawsuit.

+ Cruella strikes again…Betsy Davos issued a rule this week barring colleges from granting coronavirus relief funds to DACA recipients.

+ The supreme court of Israel delivered a rare domestic rebuke to Land Thieves, Inc. this week, striking down a law that retroactively legalized 4,000 illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands.

+ Meanwhile, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that France violated the free speech rights of pro-Palestinian BDS activists….

+ The Obama/Biden economic expansion left about 75 percent of the county falling farther & farther behind, living payday loan to payday loan & instead of helping people on the verge of losing their homes, they bailed out the banks that foreclosed on them. It’s one big reason Trump won.

+ “Escort”? Why not drag out in chains? It would, after all, amount to the ultimate constitutional crime.

+Colin Powell endorsing his Iraq War buddy Joe Biden because Trump “lies” is surely destined for the Guinness Book of Hypocrisies…

+ Now that Colin Powell is back in the news and being feted for his courage in calling Trump a liar, it might seem rude to remind liberals that before Powell lied the US into the Iraq War, he whitewashed the My Lai massacre, a service to the empire that helped launch the upward trajectory of his career…

+ I’d like to ask liberals cheering the Biden-Powell alliance where they’d draw the line? What precise number of dead bodies would their moral slide rule find unacceptable. We know that two million dead in Iraq doesn’t bother them. Do I hear six million?

+ Bush, Powell, Bolton…War Criminals Against Trump!

+ The last time there were global protests of this size and intensity was on the eve the Iraq War, millions took to the streets. How did the Dems respond? Their nominee in 2004 voted for the war. Their nominee in 2016 voted for the war. Their current nominee voted for the war. Change you can’t believe in…

+ Looks like Raynard Jackson will advance to the next round of the “That’s My African-American” Special Edition of The Apprentice …

+ According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 80% of Americans say the country is out of control, and a majority are more troubled by police actions than by riots, which sees a fairly lucid reading our of circumstances.

+ Minnesota cops caught on tape slashing the tires of medical workers, acts of malicious vandalism later blamed on protestors…It really looks like they’ve done this kind of thing before.

+ Congressman Bobby Rush says he got a call two weeks ago that his campaign office was burglarized during looting. He says the video shows 8-9 officers in his office making coffee and popping popcorn while nearby stores were looted…

+ Lawyer T. Greg Doucette and mathematician Jason Miller have been compiling a very useful database of videos “ police brutality videos” during the George Floyd protests.

+ Of the 15 largest departments in which a majority of officers are people of color, only one, Memphis, has a union leader who is black.  (And the white police union leaders all sport the same 70s porn mustache…)

+ Study the face of Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipeywan First Nation. This is what “reasonable force” looks like according to the exalted Canadian Mounties…

Photo: Alan Adams.

+ Antifa This! Harry H. Rogers, a self-proclaimed leader of the KKK in Virginia, was arrested after driving his truck into a crowd of protesters on Sunday and injuring at least one person.

+ Matt Novak: “It will always be hilarious that right wing assholes spent the past decade whining kids were too soft with safe spaces and trigger warnings, just to turn on a dime in 2020 insisting those same kids are antifa supersoldiers.”

+ Number of arrests on federal charges during George Floyd protests: 51
Number linked to “Antifa:” 0

+ Very Good People Alert, Vegas Edition…A Las Vegas cop was shot in the head and paralyzed by a man who was trying to disrupt a peaceful protest near the Circus Circus casino. That same night Las Vegas police shot and killed an armed man who appeared to be wearing body armor near the Vegas courthouse.

+ Teach the youngins, Ol Dale!

+ This Trump rant sounds absurd on its face, but I can understand that they may have been running “out of ammunition.” After all in 2016 alone, Obama’s Pentagon and CIA were ordering 3 missile strikes every hour, 24 hours a day for the entire year…

+ I’d have thought the Democrats would have at least waited until after the election to spring their austerity plan, but give them credit for transparency they’ve just come right out with it….This week 30 Democrats signed a letter warning that the debt is getting too high, recommending a commission (like the awful Simpson-Bowles) to deal (ie, block grant, means test, cut and privatize) with Social Security and Medicare. Biden’s been advocating austerity measures like this his entire political career…

+ Last weekend, the great centerfielder for the Twins, Torii Hunter, said that he had a no-trade clause in his contract that kept him from being traded to the Red Sox. He explained that he insisted on this provision because almost every time he played at Fenway he was called the N-word by Red Sox fans. Today the Red Sox organization confirmed Hunter’s account. This should come as no surprise. Boston is a notoriously racist city. It was the last baseball team to integrate (12 YEARS after Jackie Robinson’s debut with Brooklyn) and Pumpsie Green, the first black to play for the Red Sox, was treated viciously at Fenway, his home field (See Howard Bryant’s powerful account in Shut Out: a Story of Race and Baseball in Boston)…

+ And now a message from NASCAR, which at this moment has taken a more aggressive stand against racism in its sport than Rob Manfred and the front office of MLB…

By the end of his presidency will there be a sport that Trump can watch or will he be condemned to endless rounds of golf with Fuzzy Zoeller, which is a kind of Hell, I suppose…

+ In Warren, Michigan, a young, black Amazon delivery driver was detained, slammed to ground, arrested and hit with felony charges with resisting arrest and refusing to show his driver’s license for…parking on the wrong side of the street, an infraction that is almost always enforced by a mere ticket. The dash-cam video is disturbing.

+ In the May 20, three officers chased, Derrick Scott, down a street in Oklahoma City before tackling him and restraining him on the ground. On a body-cam video released this week by the Police Department Scott can be heard asking repeatedly for his medicine and saying that he can’t breathe. “I don’t care,” one of the officers, Jarred Tipton, can be heard replying. Scott died on the way to the hospital.

+ Melania: “I don’t care. Do you?”

+ Steven Salaita: “You can beat the fuck out of people without consequence. You can kill without going to jail. Critical thinking is discouraged. Blind allegiance is rewarded. Politicians are required to kiss your ass. What kind of person do you think this job will attract?”

+ Trump and his interns, aka The Children of the Corn…

+ Merritt Corrigan, USAID’s new deputy White House liaison, has decried the “tyrannical LGBT agenda” and celebrated Hungary’s autocrat Victor Orban as “the shining champion of Western civilization.” If we must have an empire, a “Homo-Empire” sounds okay with me…

+ A list of demands has been issued from the Seattle Autonomous Zone…which prompted this ludicrous outburst from Trump…

+ Which led the normally meek, and very corporate, mayor of Seattle, Jenny Durkan, to Tweet-slap Trump with this line: “Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker.

+ Trump is clearly out of his depth, which is basically the shallow end of the kiddie pool.

+ They continue to use the same base racist tropes they’ve been using since 1619…only the spelling changes (and usually not for the better). An Ohio lawmaker (and ER doctor!) asks if “colored population” is hit hard by coronavirus because they “don’t wash their hands as well” … (Dr. Huffman was fired from his job as an ER doctor shortly after his racist diatribe was disclosed. But he remains a lawmaker in the Ohio statehouse…)

+ “Welfare” recipients by race:

Food stamps (SNAP): 36.2% white, 25.6% black
WIC: 58.6% white, 20.7% black
Public housing: 32% white, 45% black
Medicaid: 40% white, 21% black

+ Aiding and abetting the real looters of the national treasury, the Steve Mnuchin is refusing to disclose the recipients of more than $500 billion in bailout money delivered to 4.5 million businesses through the PPP.

+ Former Senator Trent Lott was fired this week by powerhouse corporate lobby shop, Patton Boggs. The circumstances of Lott’s ouster are something of a mystery. Maybe even Patton Boggs no longer felt comfortable employing an “honorary member” of the White Citizens Councils of Mississippi. Note that Lott was disciplined by his party and resigned his leadership position after praising Strom Thurmond, on the old racist’s birthday. While Thurmond’s backslapping pal Biden was picked as Obama’s VP and will be Dems nominee for president….

+ Has Betsy DeVos approved the use of pepper spray as a vegetable in school lunch programs, yet?

+ Most confederate monuments didn’t go up after the Civil War. They were erected as signs of racial domination during Jim Crow and as a signs of resistance to the Civil Rights movement, as this graph posted by historian Kevin Kruse demonstrates…

+ Watch him fall. Activists with AIM, many of them women, lasso the statue of Columbus (who, as I’m sure every Pizzagater knows, started the trade in native girls as sex slaves) on the grounds of the statehouse in St. Paul and pull it to the ground…

+ Sean Penn just called NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo a “time capsule of reason.” Penn’s unreadable novel, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, made more sense than his politics these days.

+ Here’s Cuomo defending the statue of Christopher Columbus: “The Christopher Columbus statue in some way represents the Italian American legacy in this country.” C’mon, don’t besmirch the Italian legacy in America with one Italian exile who was a mercenary, looter and sex slave trader for the genodical Spanish Empire, who didn’t step one foot on any land that later became the USA…Let’s replace Columbus Day (and his statue) with James Gandolfini Day.

+ The people who claim to revere American history the most fervently actually know almost nothing about it.

+ Tearing down historical statues has been a regular historical event at least since the Egyptians smashed or defaced all of the images of Akhenaten they could find in the year 3350 BC (Before Covid)…

+ The planet would have been much better off, if, as Kyrie Irving contends, the Earth had been flat and Columbus had sailed his three ships right off the edge…

+ We don’t have to tear down the Washington Monument. Just rename it. In the West, most of the geological formations resembling that particular shape were dubbed “Cock Rock,” which prudish cartographers later renamed Rooster Rock–a  concrete (well, Before, Indiana limestone) manifestation of the tumescent national fantasy. I’m sure Lady A, if not Lady G, would approve…

+ Stanley Cohen: “To acquire a full taste for American history all presidents should be sworn in wearing a small pox infested blanket.”

+ Very Good People Alert…New Jersey Edition. A group of Trump supporters gathered in the pine barrens of New Jersey to reenact with a mannequin the killing of George Floyd in front of a camera. The man with his knee on a mannequin’s neck shouts: “You don’t comply, that’s what happens. You don’t comply, that’s what happens right here, look. He didn’t comply. He didn’t comply. If he would’ve complied, it wouldn’t have happened.” One of the men, identified as Joseph DeMarco was a New Jersey corrections officer. He was suspended. The other worked for FedEx and was fired.

+ Here’s Dick Gregory, at his acidic best, on the campus of Kent State, 1971…

+ Very Good People Alert, Alabama Edition: Black store owner in Alabama calls police. Police arrive, immediately attack the store owner, punching him in the face, breaking his jaw.

+ Check out the chickenshit wording of this paragraph from the Associated Press on police department lies about the use of extreme violence against protesters: “Claims made by police are increasingly being disproved by videos seen widely on the internet and TV. Police departments deny lying but acknowledge sometimes making mistakes when releasing information in fast-moving, complicated situations….”

+ Hamilton Nolan: “Extremely noticeable that cable news spent the early days of protests covering them nonstop while condemning the burning and looting and then stopped covering the ongoing protests once there was no burning and looting.”

+ While Michael Jordan is out killing 440-pound blue marlin for a photo-op, LeBron is setting up a voting rights group

+ A map of electric car charging stations in Chicago…in 1916!

+ In yet more good news, Canadian prosecutors have dropped charges against 22 Wet’suwet’en Land Defenders arrested this past February for blockading the construction of TransCanada’s 400-mile, $4.7 billion Coastal GasLink pipeline, across tribal lands.

+ This is how insane things are over at the Interior Department these days: Eleven years after a bird strike led to the “Miracle on the Hudson,” the Trump administration is using it as evidence that protections for migratory birds should be ditched.

+ US taxpayers shelled out $75,000 so the sadistic offspring of our sadistic president could kill endangered sheep in Mongolia…

+ Already in the grip of a mega-drought, the Four Corners region is gearing up for a summer of extreme heat waves, massive wildfires and widespread water supply shortages, on top of rising coronavirus infection rates.

+ On the same day the Arctic hit 86F, Anaheim smashed its record high reaching a blazing 103F degrees. The old record was 92F set in 1990.

+ I wager this is the weirdest thing you’ll see in a week of weird things…

+ Oregon’s biggest timber companies are engaged in an aggressive clearcutting assault on coastal rainforests, unburdened by environmental regulations, while pocketing the benefits of tax cuts that have cost rural counties billions in revenue…

+ Now that Biden is offering himself up as the reincarnation of MLK Jr, let’s recall his support for provisions in the Telecommunications “Reform” Bill of 1996 that effectively criminalized rap music, making it a federal crime punishable by five years in prison to promote or distribute any music deemed “obscene, lewd, lascivious or filthy.” (Much more on how liberals conspired with the religious right to criminalize black music can be found in the new book, Rap on Trial.)

+ No band rocked harder than the Stooges…and only a few even came close. Now a recording of the final live performance of the original band has been unearthed and ready for release.

+ Thank you, Angela Davis, for providing this week’s soundtrack

+ One of the sappiest and most banal groups in Nashville these days is Lady Antebellum, who announced on Thursday that they were changing their name to Lady A, in order to distance themselves from the slave-owning South. They are notably keeping the residual “A,” which I guess makes this move like the Schutzstaffel, after years of unwelcome publicity, rebranding itself as the SS…

+ If you’ve never heard Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite (or need to hear it again), here’s a stunning live version performed at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1964 and released for the first time (that I’m aware of)…

+ John Beaver has made a citizen’s arrest of the word “uptick,” the overuse of which (ie., “an uptick in the market,” an “uptick in violence,” an “uptick in corona cases”)  he contends has assaulted the public consciousness. The prosecution has considered the matter and ruled in Citizen Beaver’s favor. “Uptick” will be pitched in a tumbril and carted to a place of annihilation. The tribunal shall hear no appeal.

We Ain’t Got No Swing, Except for the Ring of the Truncheon Thing…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy
Stephanie Kelton
(Public Affairs)

Enemy of All Mankind: A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History’s First Global Manhunt
Steven Johnson
(Riverhead)

Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of World War I to the Streets of Today
Anna Feignebaum
(Verso)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Our Contrafacts
Gary Smuylan
(Steeplechase)

All Things Being Equal
Sonic Boom
(Carpark Records)

On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment
Ambrose Akinmusire
(Blue Note)

Frightened by History

“Our too-young and too-new America, lusty because it is lonely, aggressive because it is afraid, insists upon seeing the world in terms of good and bad, the holy and the evil, the high and the low, the white and the black; our America is frightened of fact, of history, of processes, of necessity. It hugs the easy way of damning those whom it cannot understand, of excluding those who look different, and it salves its conscience with a self-draped cloak of righteousness.” (Richard Wright, Black Boy)

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent books are Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution and The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink (with Joshua Frank) He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net or on Twitter  @JSCCounterPunch

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