+ As the Biden administration announced its intention to leave in place Trump’s border rules “for now,” it might be worth recalling when Biden’s campaign manager derisively quipped that they didn’t see Hispanics as part of their “path to victory.”
+ 5500 children were separated at the border in the last four years, at least 628 of them still in custody. How many of them has Biden reunited with their families?
+ Biden immigration Executive Order says don’t separate families “except … where a separation is clearly necessary for the safety and well-being of the child or is required by law.” How many children will be caged based on that EXCEPT….?
+ According to CNN, the Biden admin is reopening an overflow facility [ie., concentration camp] in Texas for unaccompanied migrant children apprehended [arrested] at the US-Mexico border. It comes amid an increase in apprehensions [arrests] and reduced capacity limits at other facilities due to [the failure to decarcerate or vaccinate against] Covid-19.
+ They’re already building kinder and gentler concentration camps for kids…But relax, they’re only temporary!
+ Xenophobia with a human face…
.@PressSec to future migrants: "This is not the time to come to the United States, we need the time to put in place an immigration process so people can be treated humanely."
Univision, Telemundo, Professional Latino/x(TM) orgs hardest hit pic.twitter.com/sGlPhEPd3L
— Jorge Bonilla (@BonillaJL) February 2, 2021
+ 380,000: the number of immigrants awaiting a decision on their status to enter the United States.
+ There have been four ICE deportation flights to Haiti alone this week with least two more expected on Friday and Saturday. In coming weeks, the number migrants returned to Haiti is expected to reach 1,800. (Dozens more Haitian asylum-seekers have been abruptly expelled by the Biden administration into Mexico.) ICE is expected to deport another 1200 asylum seekers to Africa in the next 10 days, where many, especially Cameroonians, face prison and torture.
+ The Democrats: a party so eager to compromise that if the Republicans won’t show up, they’ll compromise with themselves: “Some senior Dems are looking at lowering threshold on stimulus payments so they start phasing out above $50K for single taxpayers; $75K for heads of households; & $100K for married couples…”
+ Do I hear $1400? How about $600? (Restrictions may apply to this limited time offer.)
+ Just to reset: the Democrats went from $2,000 recurring checks to $2,000 checks “immediately” to $1,400 checks to $1,400 checks but only if your 2019 income was under $50,000 as an individual or $100,000 as a married couple.
+ Two of Biden’s top advisers, Heather Boushey and David Kamin, reportedly think even the $1400 checks are too generous, while Larry Summers continues trolling from the sidelines.
+ Speaking of bipartisan xenophobia, 8 Democratic senators voted to prohibit undocumented immigrants from getting stimulus checks (if there are stimulus checks):
+ A Brookings Study predicts that Biden’s stimulus package has a shot at returning the US economy to pre-pandemic conditions–the same conditions that sucked for most Americans.
+ A federal judge in Oregon has ordered the state to begin giving COVID-19 vaccines to prison inmates immediately. To date, at least 42 inmates have died and more than 3000 have tested positive for COVID. The ruling came days after the most lethal month Oregon’s prison system since the start of the pandemic. “From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clear that our country’s prisons were uniquely vulnerable to the transmission and spread of the virus,” Judge Stacie Beckerman wrote. “Oregon prisons have not been spared from this reality.”
+ That’s not the case in Texas, where the state has begun vaccinating prison guards and health care workers but not prisoners.
+ Yet, even the pandemic hasn’t slowed the pace of incarceration in the US, where jail and prison populations continue to swell. In New York City, for example, jail population was 3,800 in April 2020. Now it’s surged to 5,300.
+ One in every 475 Native Americans has died since the Covid pandemic began. Indigenous people are dying from Covid at twice the rate of white Americans.
+ In Chicago, residents in the heavily polluted Little Village’s 60623 and 60608 ZIP codes are up to 15 times more likely to die from the coronavirus compared to their Near North Side and downtown counterparts. Yet these poor, largely black neighborhoods have received 20 percent fewer vaccinations than the city’s more affluent downtown communities.
+ The CDC issued a report this week confirming what many of us have long suspected: LGBTQ people are at greater risk of contracting severe COVID than the rest of the population.
+ 37% of LGBTQ adult smokers smoke every day compared to 27% of non-LGBTQ people.
+ 21% of LGBTQ adults have had asthma, compared to 14% of non-LGBTQ people.
+ One in five LGBTQ adults aged 50 and above have diabetes.
+ 17% of LGBTQ adults do not have any kind of health insurance coverage, compared to 12% of non-LGBTQ adults.
+ 4,000: the estimated number of COVID variants and mutations currently circulating in the global population.
+ Back to school safely? Perhaps somewhere, but not here in Oregon, where a total of 94 students and 78 staff with active COVID-19 cases and ongoing outbreaks at at least 69 different schools.
+ The deadliest outbreak of polio in the US occurred in 1952, when it killed 3,200 people in a year–roughly the number of people who died every day from COVID in the month of January.
+ People tend to think of restaurant closures, restrictions on indoor dining or takeout as protecting the consumer, when it’s the food workers who are at the most risk: “Line cooks had a 60% increase in mortality associated with the pandemic” regardless of whether customers eat inside, outside or take it home….
+ At the current rates of vaccination, only about 10% of the world would be inoculated by the end of the year and 21% by the close of 2022, according to estimates by UBS. Just 10 countries are on track to vaccinate more than one-third of their population this year.
+ It sure looks like there was something much more malign than negligence or incompetence going on here: Even after Trump the administration steered billions of federal tax dollars to drug makers for the development Covid-19 vaccines, it rebuffed states’ concerns about distributing the vaccine and sedulously undermined their efforts to get funding for the rollout from Congress.
+ The anti-vaxxers are getting more and more like the homophobic religious zealots (Westboro Church, et al.) who show up at gay funerals to insult grieving families.
+ Trumpism lives…in the New York Governor’s mansion. “Cuomo threw out two decades of work & planning by health officials and instead created a totally new vaccine plan, relying on consultants, lobbyists, and donors.”
+ Politically, there’s not much breathing space between Vladimir Putin and Alexie Navalny. Both are committed neoliberals and Islamophobes. One currently has a police force at his command, the other doesn’t…
+ The heavy hand of Modi should be getting at least as much attention as Putin’s crackdown on the Navalny protests…
+ Are there governments that aren’t arresting thousands of their own citizens this week?
+ Alabama plans to execute Willie B. Smith III — a brain-damaged Black man suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (related to childhood trauma)–on February 11th, even though Smith “hasn’t had an in-person visit with any lawyer or been assessed by any expert witness needed to properly support his clemency petition since last March.”
+ 1,389: the number of people Virginia has put to death since 1608. Hopefully, that grim toll ends today.
+ Milwaukee cops left a 4-year-old girl in a freezing car overnight after arresting her mother, then charged the mom with child neglect….
+ The US now incarcerates Black people at 6 times the maximum rate of apartheid-era South Africa.
+ At least half of the people shot by Vancouver (WA) police in the last decade suffered from mental health issues….
+ When your protocols allow you to slam a 9-year-old girl’s face in the snow and pepper spray her in the back of your police car, there’s something seriously wrong with your protocols…“The head of Rochester’s police union says protocols were not broken by the officers during the incident in question.”
+ At one point, a cop said, “You’re acting like a child.” The 9-year-old girl replied, “I am a child!”
+ Since Antifa came to town look what’s happened to the violent crime rate in Portland.
Now that’s what I call community policing.
+ As the disparate strains of the MAGAgruppen converged for their riotous denouement on Capitol Hill, federal prosecutors and FBI agents had been directed to engage in a nationwide snipe hunt for the chimerical forces of Antifa. It’s hard to find and infiltrate something which isn’t there…unless you have a few undercover operatives create it.
+ The people former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin choked before he choked George Floyd to death are beginning to tell the stories of their interactions with him….
+ So we now know from their own (still redacted) documents that the FBI planned, executed, covered up and gave themselves bonuses for the assassination of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.
+ Profiles in Insurrection: 89 percent of those arrested after the sacking of the Capitol have no apparent link with any known militant organization. 65 percent of the them are 35 or older, and 40 percent are business owners or hold white-collar jobs.
+ Top three occupations of those arrested at the sacking of the Capitol:
1. Business owner
3. Real estate broker
+ In what may proved to be the best early move of his presidency, Biden announced a halt to US support for Saudi Arabia’s offensive operations in Yemen, including an end to precision-guided munition sales. Biden said he intends to name a diplomatic envoy to end the conflict. (This support started during the Obama-Biden administration and was enthusiastically backed by some of the same people now charged with pulling the plug. Needless to say, a lot hinges on how “offensive” gets defined.)
+ In January 2017, 25 Democratic members of the House wrote to Barack Obama urging him to end US support for the Saudi war in Yemen before Trump took power. They didn’t even get a response…
+ President Biden to State Department diplomats and staffers: “I believe in you. I believe in you. We need you badly. I trust you. And I’m going to have your backs.”
+ To quote Reagan: “Доверяй, но проверяй” (Trust but verify)…
+ Duck and Cover, Redux…“There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state,” Adm. Charles Richard, head of the US Strategic Command, wrote in the February issue of Proceedings, the US Naval Institute’s monthly magazine. “Consequently, the U.S. military must shift its principal assumption from ‘nuclear employment is not possible’ to ‘nuclear employment is a very real possibility,’ and act to meet and deter that reality.”
+ In furtherance of the Admiral’s desire for a new nuclear arms race (and fat contracts to Bechtel, Boeing, General Dynamics, Honeywell, Lockheed, and Northrup Grumman), the Biden administration has announced its intention to keep Trump’s Space Force as a distinct branch of the US military…
+ Space Force and the Movie That Inspired It All…
+ It’s not really a laughing matter, though, as Biden escalates his get-tough(er) on Russia rhetoric: “I made clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions…are over. We will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia.”
+ Absent from the world stage? The US still maintains over 800 overseas military bases and has at least 14 ongoing military operations….
+ To back up his belligerent posturing toward Putin, Biden put a freeze on the planned redeployment of US troops from bases in Germany.
+ And bear in mind that according to the Federation of American Scientists’ 2021 overview of the USA’s nuclear forces there are still 5,550 warheads in US inventory with at least 1,800 deployed warheads:
400 on ICBMs
300 at US bomber bases
100 at European bomber bases
1,000 on Sea Launched Ballistic Missiles
+ Arguing that Gitmo detainees should be executed because they’ve outlived their usefulness to the Empire is about as disgusting as it gets. But I’m sure FoxNews will prove me wrong, probably later this week. By the way, only 10 of the 40 detainees still imprisoned at Guantanamo have even been indicted for any crimes. Several have been cleared for release for many years.
Fox News casually calling for the execution of every inmate in Guantanamo Bay because they have outlived their usefulness. Just your average daytime news program. pic.twitter.com/Kha2jjUAvH
— Dan Arrows 🎲 (@Dan_Arrows) February 2, 2021
+ The FoxNews talking goons who are now calling for the extrajudicial executions of Gitmo detainees (who have already endured years of torture) are some of the same people who convinced Trump to pardon soldiers and mercenaries who committed war crimes in Iraq.
+ The COIN strategy failed miserably in Afghanistan and Iraq, but why not try it here? What could go wrong?…Robert Grenier, the former director of the CIA’s counterterrorism operation, argues that counterinsurgency tactics are needed to fight the extremists who stormed the Capitol.
+ Trump voter fraud lawyer Lin Wood is now under investigation for … voter fraud.
+ In a court filing this week, insurrectionist Jenny Cudd’s attorneys said their client ”planned and prepaid for a weekend retreat with her employees” in Riviera Maya, Mexico, later this month and would like to attend. Schedule planner: Monday loot the Capitol, Wednesday manicure, Friday retreat in Mexico.
+ Meanwhile, the “QAnon Shaman” has filed an emergency motion to get served organic food while in federal custody. His lawyer’s brief argued, successfully, it turned out: “Because of his shamanic belief system and way of life, non-organic food, which contains unnatural chemicals, would act as an ‘object intrusion’ onto his body and cause serious illness.”
+ The Democrats’ move to strip the Mistress of Q of her committee assignments isn’t exactly corporal punishment. In fact, it will probably only enhance her Q Rating. Congressional committees are largely for grandstanding on CSPAN. Greene can get media coverage whenever she wants by saying something provocative, racist or just bat-shit crazy.
+ Unfortunately for Greene, her mewling defense of herself on the floor of the House didn’t exude the steely resolve one might expect from a backwoods Boadicea.
+ Marjorie Taylor Greene: “I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true.” Allowed by whom?
+ Could it be Him, perhaps?
+ I’m so disappointed in Marjorie Taylor Greene, furiously backpedaling from everything she purported so brazenly to believe in. I thought she, at least, was made of sterner stuff. Who, oh who, will defend Q? Lauren “Bloody Diarrhea” Boebert, perhaps?
+ MTG: “I also want to tell you that 9/11 absolutely happened.” Could she, in 50 words or less, elaborate on what it was that she believes happened?
+ According to the Washington Post, minority leader Kevin McCarthy said that he has received “private assurances” from Greene that she “no longer wishes death on Pelosi.”
+ Arendt: “No one has ever doubted that truth and politics are on rather bad terms with each other.”
+ Over to you, Stormy Daniels…
Marjorie Taylor Greene once brought a cardboard cutout of Trump on stage, praised him, and then began rubbing her hand on his crotch. #MarjorieTaylorGrope pic.twitter.com/ay6RHSbgNX
— Resist Programming 🛰 (@RzstProgramming) February 4, 2021
+ Eric Weissengruber: “Trump as Jesus was bad enough. Trump as Eros is too much.”
+ Eros, perhaps, but certainly not Priapus, according to published accounts…
+ Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville (a former college football coach) says he doesn’t know anything about Marjorie Taylor Greene because the bad weather in DC has prevented him from reading the newspapers. No wonder Auburn never scheduled away games against Big 10 teams….
+ Now let’s hear from a caller on the Q line. Go ahead, John from Delaware: “We need women like her (Greene) in there otherwise these Democrats are going to keep eating the babies and cutting faces off of them. We need President Trump, we elected him and it’s time he get back in there and do his job.”
+ It now turns out that Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a Trump-era US diplomat in London, who ran over and killed a 19-year-old British motorcyclist named Harry Dunn, then, claiming diplomatic immunity, fled England for the US to avoid trial worked for US intelligence.
+ The caption for Trump’s brief for his impeachment trial kind of sums it all up…
+ In order to change the party’s “body posture” and lure back lost voters, Britain’s Labour party has developed an internal plan to focus on patriotism and the flag. They’ll probably be hiring Steve Bannon as a consultant before you know it. Of course, if they want to bomb someplace, Keir Starmer still has Tony Blair on speed-dial.
+ Israeli settler violence against Palestinians is increasing once more. Last month, according to EU monitors, there were over 44 attacks, resulting in 14 injuries, 1325 trees destroyed and 27 vehicles vandalized.
+ Your mission on Earth is almost complete, Bibi, as popular support in the US for Israel sinks to its lowest level in a decade. Of course, most of the decline has been among Republicans…
+ Of course these shifting sentiments did nothing to keep the US senate from voting almost unanimously to keep the US embassy in Jerusalem.
+ Carper? Did he clear that vote with Biden?
+ He’s only been in office a week, but with his assertion that Iran could be “only weeks away” from having enough fissile material to manufacture a nuclear bomb, Tony Blinken is already the clear favorite for this year’s Colin Powell Award for Deceptive Diplomacy…
+ Axios reports that Blinken and newly appointed Iran envoy Rob Malley are putting together a “negotiating team made up of diplomats and experts with a range of views on the path forward with Iran.” Reportedly, Blinken wants more “hawkish voices” included on the team. It’s hard to conceive of someone more hawkish than Blinken himself, but if he needs a support group can’t he just call his old friends from PNAC?
+ More and more previously unknown columnists are popping up with op-eds urging war on Iran. The problem is: they don’t seem to exist.
+ Bipartisanship in action…a Congressional panel has urged Biden to “delay” the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
+ According to a new study by the London School of Economics, 50 years worth of tax slashing (1965 to 2015) did nothing to boost the GDP or employment rates in 18 nations that imposed trickle down economics. Why? The wealthy hoard much more than they spend.
+ In the fourth quarter of 2020, US productivity declined by 4.8%, the sharpest drop since 1981.
+ Follow the spinning Boris: Boris Johnson said repeatedly that he’d never agree an Irish Sea border, then agreed it. Then Johnson denied that he’d agreed with what he’d just agreed. Then he implemented the border policy and, predictably, now vows there must not be an Irish Sea border.
+ According to Assange’s Wikileaks colleague, Kristinn Hrafnsson, US Justice Department prosecutors have been granted a 10-day extension for submitting grounds for an appeal Judge Baraitser’s No Extradition ruling. All delays, of course, only exacerbated the torturous and barbaric conditions of Assange’s incarceration, which now has no legal or moral grounds at all.
+ Aung Suu Kyi appeased the Generals when they slaughtered the Rohingya, but that didn’t stop them from coming for her (again)…
+ Is it back to “Burma“, now?
+ This week finds Glenn Greenwald moonlighting on the Jimmy Dore Show, where the two chauvinists engage in a loutish tag-team takedown of their favorite target, AOC–ridiculing her bracing account of being stalked by the goons who invaded the Capitol.
Glenn Greenwald using baby voice to mock @AOC for talking about the danger to her life on January 6 and for rejecting an alliance with Ted Cruz. “She ruined that movement. Because all she wants to do is attack Republicans and fortify the Democratic Party”.pic.twitter.com/gWTS67Yknj
— Idrees Ahmad (@im_PULSE) February 2, 2021
+ Imagine if someone had mocked Glenn using a lisp…?
+ There’s something pretty sick about the obsession with AOC. It’s become increasingly obvious that it’s a manufactured outrage (who can really be irate that someone didn’t want to work with Ted Cruz under the best of circumstances), which is only going to escalate in faux-intensity in order to feed the habit of a puerile audience of armchair slobs which needs a daily fix of AOC abuse….
+ Of course, Greenwald is pretty much back where he started as a rightwing pundit, who fashioned himself a “civil libertarian.” In one of his early blasts a columnist, he inveighed against the Latin American left for taking to streets for what he called “juvenile” and “socialist-organized” protests against Bush. He spewed most of his venom at Diego Maradona of all people, the Argentine soccer legend who grew up in slum to attain a global culture status rivaled only by Muhammad Ali and Bob Marley. Greenwald smeared Maradona as “an obese, Castro-idolozing, retired soccer player” with a “decade-old cocaine addiction.”
+ Maradona’s real crime? Protesting wars that Glenn had supported…
+ These guys tend to run in packs, with the miniature breeds yipping behind trying to keep pace…
+ The Newsmax anchors (laboring under threats of a libel suit by Dominion Voting Systems) really, really wanted Mike “My Pillow” Lindell to talk about cancel culture and when he wouldn’t, they cancelled him…
+ RIP Rennie Davis…When we moved from Baltimore to southern Indiana, we landed at the old Needmore Commune just a few hundred yards from the shack where Rennie Davis hid out for a few days from the FBI. Beloved by all who knew him then…
+ Rennie Davis to Pat Thomas:
“Given Chicago, what was really going down, I was eternally grateful to Jerry and Abbie. I mean, to throw humor into this mix was the best possible thing. It needed to be done. Going in there with our big antiwar placards was really not going to make it. And the people that came to Chicago were more of that cultural side, anyway. They were young people who were fearless. And not so much in the militant sense, but just in the beautiful sense. So, Jerry and Abbie gave voice to that, to whatever that was—it was very hard to organize that—to whatever degree there could be some coherence. I counted them as allies. If Tom Hayden was sitting here, I would say, “Tom, you should get over it.” (Laughter.) Jerry’s fine. It’s like a family feud or something, forty years later, you still can’t let it go . . . it’s like that.”
+ $36 million: amount Jared and Ivanka’s income dropped in 2020.
+ The best news of the week is that a breeding pair of wolves from Oregon have crossed the crest of the Siskiyou Mountains into California, where they are likely to form a new pack in the shadow of Mt. Shasta.
+ The most depressing news of the week is that Biden administration went to court to defend the Trump administration’s morally and scientifically indefensible decision to delist the gray wolf.
+ We have fresh evidence of where this is going to lead: Ten critically endangered Mexican gray wolves were found dead in Arizona in the last quarter of 2020, bringing the death toll for 2020 to at least 29. The incidents are under investigation. Another wolf pup died in federal custody.
+ Satellite data shows that the snowpack in the Uinta and Wasatch Mountains of Utah is melting earlier and earlier, dramatically changing when and how much Great Salt Lake is refilled.
+ Analysts at Morgan-Stanley project that by 2033, coal will no longer be part of the US power generation system. Why wait?
+ Who needs a Democratic-controlled Senate? On Thursday, seven Democratic senators joined all of the Republicans in voting for the Braun Amendment, which prohibits the EPA and the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality from banning fracking:
+ According to a new report by the UN, the global food production system is the key driver behind biodiversity loss and species extinction. A shift to plant based diets is needed to slow the damage being done to nature.
+ Every year, more firefighters die of cancer caused by PFAS chemicals in their gear than of being burned in a fire.
+ The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recalled 138,951 Tesla cars, concluding that the contain design flaws which will “inevitably fail.” Though probably not as spectacularly as Elon’s latest rocket, unfortunately…
+ A previously unreleased live version of The Weight, recorded at the Albert Hall in raw and energetic fashion, before the song had become buried under thick strata of respectability.
+ Anne Feeney (who Utah Phillips called “greatest labor singer in North America”) presente! Anti-Flag’s Justin Sane: “I had seen artists include politics in their show before, but Anne Feeney was the first artist I encountered whose set was unapologetically and ferociously political. That set had a major impact on me as an artist. I remember thinking to myself, ‘This is the kind of musician I want to be. This woman is punk as hell!’ And she still is!”
+ Trump spent years attacking unions and used his executive powers to promote scab labor and undermine collective bargaining and worker rights, but it was his January 6 speech on the Mall, which prompted SAG-AFTRA to move to strip him of his membership? (He resigned his membership, instead of facing a disciplinary trial.)
+ When Roberto Clemente died in 1972 on a humanitarian mission to Nicaragua, his salary for the Pittsburg Pirates was $65,000 a year. Clemente was arguably one of the 10 greatest players in the history of baseball. By contrast, Pittsburg had paid its previous Hall of Fame right-fielder, Hank Greenberg $100,000 a year in …. 1947.
+ Vladimir Nabokov’s great uncle was the judge who sentenced Dostoevsky to death after being convicted for his part in publishing an anti-Tsarist newsletter that had advocated for the emancipation of the serfs. A century later, Nabokov would try to play the same role in his condemnatory judgment of Dostoevsky’s literary reputation. He survived both.
It’s Time We Started Calling the Shots…
What I’m reading this week…
Dostoevsky in Love: an Intimate Life
The Lives of Lucian Freud: Fame, 1968-2011
Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019
Ibram X. Kendi & Keisha N. Blain, eds.
What I’m listening to this week…
The Complete 1975 Toronto Recordings
George Coleman Quintet
(Reel to Real)
Here Lies Man
(Riding Easy Records)
That Was My History
“I had an activist grandmother, and when I was a little boy, 3, 4, 5 years old, she used to take me on marches up and down Harlem for people like Paul Robeson and segregation cases on 125th Street. That was just a part of my upbringing. Later, when I was playing music and making a little name for myself, I was able to record ‘The House I Live In,’ which was very much a civil-rights anthem at the time. And I made an early record with Miles Davis, “Airegin,” which was Nigeria spelled backwards. It was an attempt to introduce some kind of black pride into the conversation of the time. That was my history.” (Sonny Rollins to JazzTimes)