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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,624

Journal Archives

Robert Reich: Trump's use of the military backfired - but will it back him if he refuses to go?

Trump's use of the military backfired – but will it back him if he refuses to go?
Robert Reich

Faced with the George Floyd protests, the president wants to be seen as a strongman. What happens if he loses at the polls?
Sun 7 Jun 2020 01.00 EDT

(Guardian UK) History teaches that mass protests against oppression can lead either to liberation or brutal repression.

This past week, Donald Trump bet his political future on repression. Much of the rest of America, on the other hand, wants to liberate black people from police brutality and centuries of systemic racism. As of this writing, it looks like Trump is losing and America winning, but the contest is hardly over.

Trump knows he can’t be re-elected on his disastrous response to the coronavirus pandemic or on what’s likely to be a tepid economic recovery. But he must believe a racist campaign could work. After all, stoking racism got him into the White House in the first place.

The protests against George Floyd’s brutal killing by Minneapolis police seemed like a golden opportunity. ...............(more)


Many of the 300 plants and animals endemic to Canada at risk, report finds

Many of the 300 plants and animals endemic to Canada at risk, report finds
Ours to Save identified 308 species and subspecies but only 10% considered ‘globally secure’ or ‘apparently secure’

Leyland Cecco in Toronto
Thu 4 Jun 2020 14.19 EDT

(Guardian UK) There are few animals more iconically Canadian than the moose and the beaver, and few plants more closely associated with the country than the maple leaf.

But while those species have long considered part of the nation’s ecological identity they are also found elsewhere.

So Canadians might be better off making the Peary caribou and Vancouver lamprey their national animals, and placing the hairy braya on the national flag as a new report for the first identifies species unique to Canada – and warns that many are at risk.

Two years in the making, Ours to Save has identified 308 species and subspecies that are only found within the country’s borders.

A collaboration between the Nature Conservancy of Canada and NatureServe Canada, the report was intended to document which species are endemic to the sprawling country. But the authors soon found that many were facing the threat of extinction. ...........(more)


America's top cop is a rightwing culture warrior who hates disorder. What could go wrong?

America's top cop is a rightwing culture warrior who hates disorder. What could go wrong?
Lloyd Green

William Barr forged his worldview fighting protesters in the 1960s. Now he’s masterminding the US government’s crackdown on unrest
Sat 6 Jun 2020 02.30 EDTLast modified on Sat 6 Jun 2020 02.32 EDT

(Guardian UK) Maybe the 1960s never ended. Police, protesters and rioters once again fill our rage-filled streets and television screens. Amid a pandemic that has already claimed over 100,000 lives, a cultural divide that burst into flames more than a half-century ago is back – and burning furiously.

Earlier this week, Donald Trump seemed to morph into Richard Nixon, America’s self-proclaimed “law and order” president who resigned in disgrace. The cameras rolled as a Bible-brandishing president threatened to send US troops into America’s cities. As Trump stood in front of an Episcopal church near the White House, teargas canisters and flash-bang grenades exploded nearby.

In his inaugural address in 2017, Trump vowed to restore what he characterized as American greatness, strength, and safety. In William Barr, the US attorney general, Trump has a powerful and determined partner. It was Barr who personally ordered military police to clear peaceful protesters from around the White House, and Barr who is reportedly advocating an intense “flood the zone” show of authority. “The president sees Barr as the ‘bad cop’ he can unleash if states and cities don’t get their act together,” an administration official told the Daily Beast.

Both men aim to turn back the clock to a time when everyone “knew their place”. But where Trump has been a bumbling, self-interested and ideologically erratic leader – a weak man’s strongman – Barr is smart, dedicated and disciplined. He understands how to wield power and holds a consistent worldview. He’s an aggressive advocate for executive power and the police – who happens to be America’s top law enforcement officer at the same time as unrest roils the country. ...........(more)


Blaming Ourselves for Crowded Parks Misses the Point: There Aren't Enough Parks

(In These Times) Across the United States, local authorities have sealed off public parks and open spaces, blaming visitors who failed to maintain social distance. What started with closed urban playgrounds spread like a contagion in its own right. In California the city of Santa Cruz banned surfing. In Colorado San Juan County issued an order threatening to tow vehicles belonging to backcountry skiers. “Socially distant” gradually became synonymous with “indoors.”

It was only a few weeks ago that going for a hike was seen as a reasonable way to shelter in place. Then the sun came.

Beachgoers and picnickers turned out en masse, making headlines from San Francisco to London. Mayors and governors scolded the public on live television as they announced new restrictions.

A common refrain on social media lamenting the park closures has been, “Why can’t we have nice things?” But blaming ourselves for crowded parks misses the underlying issue: In many parts of the country, there simply isn’t enough public space to go around. ..........(more)


Coronavirus Tracked: Data reveals how we are sleeping longer but worse during lockdown

(Independent UK) People are sleeping less well under lockdown, according to a new study conducted by King’s College London and Ipsos MORI.

Half of the people surveyed between 22 and 24 May reported more disturbed sleep, while 38 per cent of people said they experienced more vivid dreams.

The findings follow several previous studies by fitness tracking firms that revealed people have been sleeping longer during the lockdown period.

This suggests that despite sleeping for longer, people may still feel less rested than before the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. .............(more)


The religious right is still sticking by Trump. Sadly, there's a long, grim pattern

The religious right is still sticking by Trump. Sadly, there's a long, grim pattern
Is there a line Trump could cross that would cause white evangelicals to abandon him? Don’t bet on it

Sarah Posner
Fri 5 Jun 2020 06.30 EDTLast modified on Fri 5 Jun 2020 06.31 EDT

(Guardian UK) As Donald Trump, aided by the attorney general, Bill Barr, orchestrates a militarized, armed-to-the-teeth crackdown, terrorizing lawful protesters of racism and police brutality, much of Trump’s white evangelical base is cheering him as a courageous, godly leader facing down protesters falsely depicted as “professional anarchists”, “cultural Marxists” and “domestic terrorists”.

For Trump’s Christian partisans, his Monday night photo op in front of St John’s Episcopal church in Washington DC, after Barr ordered the park between the White House and the church cleared of protesters with teargas, is just another illustration that Trump is a mighty protector of freedom – the freedom of his white Christian supporters, anyway.

A common refrain in white evangelical circles is to condemn the police murder of George Floyd as, in the anodyne words of the evangelist and Trump ally Franklin Graham, a “terrible tragedy that should not have happened and should never happen again”. In this all-too prevalent way of thinking, there’s only one cure for racism. As Dan Patrick, the Republican lieutenant governor of Texas, told Fox News on Wednesday, the country could only be “healed” by people accepting Jesus Christ.

But when it comes to the systemic change demanded by lawful protesters all over the country, from its largest cities to its small towns, Trump’s defenders draw the line. “We cannot heal through commissions and blue-ribbon panels and more laws,” Patrick told Trump’s favorite network. Graham wrote in a Facebook post, “New laws and more government give-away programs are not the answer. It’s a heart problem, and only God can change the human heart.” .............(more)


Uprisings Are Driving a Surge in Mutual Aid in Minneapolis and Beyond

Uprisings Are Driving a Surge in Mutual Aid in Minneapolis and Beyond

Mike Ludwig, Truthout
June 4, 2020

Mutual aid is flourishing in south Minneapolis, where the police killing of an unarmed Black man and a revolt against state violence has left a community hungry for connection and racial justice. The alleged murder of George Floyd and the ensuing powerful uprisings have made the need to forge material support networks among neighbors all the more apparent, say activists – and they are up to the challenge.

A hotel along the Lake Street corridor that saw clashes and fires after four police officers arrested and killed Floyd is now occupied by houseless residents and activists who converted the building into a shelter for those displaced by conflict between protesters and the police. From the vigil set up to honor Floyd at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue to the parking lot of the Target store that was famously looted about two miles way, neighbors and volunteers gather on a daily basis to distribute food and household supplies from pop-up free shops while many stores remain closed.

Neighbors are also coming together to build strategies for keeping each other safe without the police, according to interviews with residents and local activists.

The alleged murder of Floyd by a white police officer while three others stood and watched — and the fiery rebellion that followed – could have torn this community apart. For days, neighborhoods south of downtown were featured on the national news as police attacked protesters and buildings were set ablaze. The uprising spread to dozens of cities across the country, where police repression of protests has further demonstrated the anti-Blackness and oppressive nature of U.S. policing. ............(more)


Treasury Market Smells a Rat: Steepest Yield Curve Since 2017 Despite QE

Treasury Market Smells a Rat: Steepest Yield Curve Since 2017 Despite QE
by Wolf Richter • Jun 4, 2020 •

Market worrying about a phenomenon much worse than stagflation?
By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The 30-year Treasury yield has been rising for six days in a row, closing on Thursday at 1.61%, up from 1.41% on May 29, and up from 1.17% on April 20, and the highest since March 19, when the Fed was unleashing its multi-trillion dollar Everything Bubble Bailout.

The 20-year yield closed at 1.38%, the highest since March 4. The 10-year yield closed at 0.82%, the highest since March 26. Obviously, these yields are still in the financial repression torture basement, but the rises are showing some impatience in the market.


When a yield curve steepens, it is sometimes associated with the reaction in the market to a strong economy. And that would be a good thing. But this is the worst economy in our lifetimes, and any improvement – there will eventually be some improvement – will just make the economy a little less terrible.

Rather than seeing a strengthening economy, markets might be worrying about inflation, given all this money-printing in combination with trillions of dollars in government stimulus spending, even as the economy is in terrible shape.

Stagflation of the 1970s was a condition where the economy was in decent shape, compared to today’s economy, but just wasn’t growing much, while inflation was ballooning. Today’s economy is an unspeakable fiasco, and a big bout of inflation that would eviscerate the purchasing power of labor – of the lucky ones that still have jobs – would create a phenomenon far worse than stagflation. ...........(more)


Bizarre headline of the day

Porn Actor Nacho Vidal Arrested In Photographer's Toad Venom Death

Spanish authorities have arrested porn actor Nacho Vidal on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter after a man died during a ritual involving psychedelic toad venom.

The 46-year-old Vidal, whose legal name is Ignacio Jordà, is one of three people arrested in connection with the death of fashion photographer José Luis Abad last July, in the town of Enguera, Valencia, according to the Guardian.

Authorities have charged Vidal, as well as unidentified man and woman, with involuntary manslaughter and violating public health laws. ........(more)


San Antonio mayor shelves plan for November transit ballot initiative

San Antonio mayor shelves plan for November transit ballot initiative
The 1/8th-cent sales tax would have provided funding to expand VIA Metropolitan Transit’s service.

San Antonio will not ask voters this November to approve a 1/8th-cent sales tax that would have provided millions to the area for transit investment.

The proceeds of the tax would have funded portions of Via Metropolitan Transit’s VIA Reimagined plan, which aims to bring a better bus system, rapid transit and advanced technology solutions to the transit network.

As Mass Transit Assistant Editor Megan Perrero reported in the April/May issue:

If approved, that one-eighth cent sales tax would fund the expansion of services associated with the VIA Reimagined Plan, as well as capital costs such as more buses for the added service.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg provided city residents with an on-air assessment of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the city on June 2:

“Our top priorities must be managing the crisis, preventing both an economic and health catastrophe, and providing opportunity for all San Antonians as we restore our livelihoods. We need all hands on-deck. As we chart this course, we must put aside previous plans that made sense before the pandemic sent shock waves through our community. ...........(more)


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