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George Floyd Protests

Black Woman Mauled by White Couple; An Omen of Seismic Change?

Racists sense the sea change working its way through American society, and they are striking back in their usual stupid, brutish, half-sensate way. We could write stories two or three times daily of some white guy screaming about wearing a mask in Costco, or some white couple berating a black man for writing “Black Lives Matter” on his own property, or some pissed-off white guy going on a racial tantrum and taking a bike chain to a young black man, or a crazed racist pulling a gun on a black family (after apparently hitting one of them with her car), or so many others. They know the near-limitless amount of privilege they enjoy as white Americans is slowly being dismantled around them, piece by tiny piece. And they don’t like it. So, like any other fear-driven, hate-maddened gaggle of idiots, they are reacting with violence. Like this one in Stonington, Connecticut, where two of them tried to kill a black hotel clerk because…wait for it…their hot water didn’t work. Here’s why this is important, aside from the bleak fact that two white people attacked a lone black woman for no reason. In days passed — like, say, January — they would have felt warm and protected inside their iron shield of white privilege. So they would have felt perfectly free to storm the hotel desk, call her racial slurs, demand their money back, whatever they felt like doing, because it’s how they felt free to act every single day of their lives. I am thoroughly convinced that the Karens and Kyles of our society go out to eat, or go shopping, or whatever, with only one eye on buying that cute new set of deck chairs or chowing down on the shrimp ceviche at the local ethnic eatery, and the other eye on finding an opportunity to belittle and berate someone of lower class stature. Double points if the waitress you’re trying to make cry is black or brown. Triple word score if the employee you’re spitting on doesn’t speak English very well. Then came the COVID-19 virus and suddenly they were facing weeks or months of self-isolation. Few to no opportunities to find and tongue-lash a Keisha or a Carlos. What fun is life without a daily affirmation of the white privilege which, let’s face it, makes their lives worth living? Then comes the George Floyd murder, and all of those other people took to the streets, daring to protest because one of the sacred enforcers of white privilege actually used his privilege to kill one of the serfs. Who did they think they are? After that, things started falling apart. Videos went viral. Behavior that would have been applauded at the weekly luncheons celebrating the shared privilege of the Chosen People were suddenly causing Their People to lose their jobs and sometimes even face criminal charges. It went further. They started having statures honoring Their People pulled down. The flag they co-opted from the sad sacks of the Confederacy to honor the real “Lost Cause” — limitless white domination — was being taken down all over the country, from NASCAR refusing to allow them to be flown in the stands to having it removed from the Mississippi State Flag. Not that the Chosen People of, say, Massachusetts, Colorado or California ever actually wanted […]

New Police Chief Fires Three Racist Cops on First Day in Office

I live in Wilmington, NC. Nice beaches just a few minutes’ drive away, warm weather, college town ambience in some areas. And lots and lots of racism, both overt and (barely) under the surface. And, like so many other cities, towns and rural districts across this great country of ours (TM), our police departments and sheriff’s offices are…problematic. Some of the officers are as bluntly and callously racist as you can get. Others are good and dedicated people. I know, I’ve worked with them when I was in the educational system. This story is about both sets. [Trigger alert: I am not going to use bleeps or asterisks to sanitize the words spoken by the racists in this story. Be warned.] The Wilmington Police Department, which has a distinctly checkered history in race relations, has a new police chief, Donny Williams. Williams is black. That’s notable. One of Williams’s first actions as chief was to fire three particularly bestial racists on the force. Name them and shame them: Michael “Kevin” Piner, James “Brian” Gilmore, and Jessie E. Moore II, all white, all veterans of the police force. The firings come after a routine review of dashcam footage that accidentally recorded two phone conversations between the officers. Williams used the “extraordinary circumstances” exclusion in North Carolina law to allow him to report the details of the firings. A lawyer for the officers attempted to prevent Williams from doing just that. In a press conference by Williams and some — not all — members of the City Council, Williams said: Why are we releasing this information this way and at this time? Because it is the right thing to do. Normally, personnel laws allow only a very small amount of information to be made public. However, in exceptional cases, when it is essential to maintain public confidence in the administration of the City and the Police Department, more information may be released. This is the most exceptional and difficult case I have encountered in my career. We must establish new reforms for policing here at home and throughout this country. He added: When I first learned of these conversations, I was shocked, saddened and disgusted. There is no place for this behavior in our agency or our city and it will not be tolerated. Mayor Bill Saffo added, “I can honestly say that I was sickened by the vile and destructive language used by these officers.” Williams will release the video footage if he can secure the approval of a judge. The June 4, 2020 conversations were recorded from Piner’s car. The first recording to draw the attention of the police supervisor was a conversation between Piner and Gilmore, who pulled up alongside Piner in his car. When the conversations turned to the George Floyd protests, the talk quicly turned ugly. Piner told Gilmore that the WPD was only interested in “kneeling down with the black folks.” Gilmore replied that he had seen a YouTube video of white people bowing down on their knees and “worshipping blacks.” Bad enough, right? It gets worse. The three then began badmouthing some of their black colleagues. One was characterized as “bad news” and a “piece of shit.” Piner said of the black officer, “Let’s see how his boys take care of him when shit gets rough, […]

Watch the ‘Gentleman From Louisiana’ Take On the Cracker From Florida, Matt Gaetz, and...

My newest hero is Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA.) He graciously yielded the floor to Matt Gaetz, when discussing the topic of police reform. Gaetz then proceeded to pick a fight and then Richmond took back the floor and let Gaetz have it. Thank God this is on tape. This is elegant. Richmond never lost his cool for a moment and he totally undercut Gaetz’ usual childish antics, which one can only presume was aimed at becoming a Fox News soundbite. Generally speaking, when the likes of Gaetz, Jim Jordan, or Devin Mad Cow Nunes open their traps, an appearance on the ten o’clock news is the goal and the procedure is: 1.Disrespect the office they were elected to, 2. disrespect the topic on the floor, 3. provide something cringe worthy enough to excite the base. I don’t think this will end up on Fox, but you be the judge. This is only a little over two minutes. It starts with Richmond talking about “unconscious bias” which could “at worst” be “conscious bias.” That drew Gaetz to ask for the floor and say, “I appreciate your passion. Are you suggesting that you’re certain none of us have non-white children? Because you reflected on your black son…” said Gaetz. And then it went off the rails until Gaetz pounded the table and cried out, “Who the hell do you think you are?” What on earth made Matt Gaetz think he could take on The Gentleman From Louisiana lmao?!???? pic.twitter.com/cOe3ci1nSI — Maya Harris (@mayaharris_) June 17, 2020 Richmond is a gentleman and Gaetz is a contentious cracker. That’s the size of it. This is no big deal by today’s standards. because in the era of Trump, the bottom has fallen out of civil discourse, even in Congress. In early spring of 2017, John McCain made headlines when he confronted Rand Paul openly and said, “The Senator from Kentucky is working for Vladimir Putin,” over a dispute whether Montenegro should be admitted to NATO. If you look at the clip today, it’s nothing, compared to what we have seen in Congress since that time. The erosion of our norms is tragic, and it is a product of the age of Trump.

Vladimir Putin Just Bashed Trump’s Handling of COVID-19, Protests, On State TV, Accuses Trump...

If Donald Trump didn’t have a stroke in November, he’ll have one now, when he finds out his BFF Vladimir Putin has dissed him. Holey moley. Here’s what Putin said on Russian state TV. Daily Mail: “We are exiting the coronavirus situation steadily with minimal losses, God willing, in the States, it isn’t happening that way,” Putin said. Considering how abysmal their health care system is, compared with other countries, including the United States, that is a mouthful. Putin went on and it wasn’t complimentary. Attacking the US response, Putin told state television that the coronavirus pandemic had exposed ‘deep-seated internal crises’ in the US. He criticised a lack of US leadership, saying that ‘the president says we need to do such-and-such but the governors somewhere tell him where to go.’ ‘I think the problem is that group interests, party interests are put higher than the interests of the whole of society and the interests of the people,’ he said. Ouch. That last one wasn’t just a slam at Trump, that was a slam at the entire GOP. I wonder where Ron Johnson, John Bolton, Dana Rohrabacher and the rest of them will go for vacations, now? Then Putin went on to tell Trump how the big boys, the real autocrats, not the pretend ones, do it. In Russia, he argued, the government and regional leaders work ‘as one team’ and do not differ from the official line. ‘I doubt anyone in the government or the regions would say ‘we’re not going to do what the government says, what the president says, we think it’s wrong,’ Putin said of the virus strategy. As if this isn’t enough to make Trump’s blood boil, Putin came out and made comments on the racially sparked protests in the U.S., the first ones he has made on the issue. ‘If this fight for natural rights, legal rights, turns into mayhem and rioting, I see nothing good for the country,’ the Russian leader said in his televised broadcast. He stressed he supported black Americans’ struggle for equality, calling this ‘a longstanding problem of the United States’. ‘We always in the USSR and in modern Russia had a lot of sympathy for the struggle of African-Americans for their natural rights,’ he insisted. But Putin added that ‘when – even after crimes are committed – this takes on elements of radical nationalism and extremism, nothing good will come of this.’ Putin also described the protests as a sign of ‘deep-seated internal crises’ in the United States, linking the unrest to the coronavirus pandemic, which he said ‘has shone a spotlight on general problems’. He said he nevertheless expected that the ‘fundamental basis of American democracy will allow the country to escape this series of crisis events’. This is Putin-speak for “The United States is in the toilet,” that much is obvious. Now why would Putin say these things? He wants to make Trump look even worse to the rest of the world than he does already; He’s helping Trump cheat on this election, too, but doesn’t want to appear to be doing so; He’s giving Trump some plausibility when he says, “Nobody has been tougher on Russia than I have,” Mitch McConnell told Trump not to do Putin’s bidding re: sanctions and so Putin is taking revenge; Putin sees […]

A Memo To The Police. Adapt Or Perish.

I have always been fascinated with the prehistoric world. And one of my greatest fascinations has been with the way that some of the dinosaurs died. I imagine these incredible behemoths, weighing tons each, with armor plating and bone horns and spines on them, basically indestructible. Standing there with their front feet sucked into a tar pit. They can’t pull their front feet out, and as their weight pulls them in deeper, the back legs get closer and closer to the edge of the tar pit. And the next thing you know, there’s one less fearsome behemoth on the planet. But when I look at the civic reaction to the death of George Floyd, and the insane overreach of the police response to the following mostly peaceful protests, I can’t help but think of those goddamn dinosaurs, standing there with their front feet in the tar, wondering what hit them. The earth has shifted under their feet, and they seem incapable of sitting back on their asses to get their front feet out of the ooze. The police have had near dictatorial authority for decades now, for two simple reasons. First of all, they have a badge and a gun, and you don’t, so you had better keep frosty, or they’ll pop a cap in your ass and be back in the patrol car the next day. And second, they have a police union, and you don’t, so if they pop a cap in your ass, nothing is going to happen to them anyway. They feel basically untouchable, mainly because, for all intents and purposes, they are! And the police union has the secret sauce. That sauce, in negotiations for a new contract, is to tie up any legitimate discipline of a bad cop in so much silly string that it can never be untangled. Any cop accused of an abuse of power or authority is immediately places on administrative leave during the investigation. That can take anywhere from months to years, while the officer involved goes to work every day, sits at a desk pushing papers around, while he continues to collect full pay, pension, and benefits. Think of it as a sadists bus mans holiday. And the city doesn’t really want to have to substantively discipline the officer if they can get away with it, for fear of running afoul of police union retaliation. The secret is to run out the clock until everybody forgets. But the other half of the secret sauce is the local city or county prosecutors. Local prosecutors are absolutely loathe to bring charges against an officer, any officer, since they fear the publicity backlash from the police union, Just as importantly, those prosecutors must have a cordial relationship with the local police in order to make strong cases for the other items they have to prosecute. This is why most prosecutors were willing to delay actually having to bring formal charges against any police officer until most of the participants had died of natural causes. But the paradigm has changed, and the ground has shifted under the police and their union’s feet until the front legs are in the tar pit. And of course, it started in Minneapolis. After the killing of George Floyd, it took the city and the police department less than 48 hours to fire the officers involved. This is the nightmare scenario for the police unions in this country. […]

#UglyPresident Video Goes Viral and It’s One For the Books

If you didn’t catch Donald Trump’s latest batshit presser Thursday, it was a classic in delusion and gaslighting, where he predicted that 400 years of systemic racism was going to be solved “quickly and easily.” He actually said that. Then he bragged about what a “beautiful” sight American citizens getting teargassed was. Here, I’ll stop jabbering, take a look. ???? NEW VIDEO None of this is beautiful. Vote out this #UglyPresident. pic.twitter.com/vtfaJ4lxNG — MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) June 12, 2020 This needs airplay every nano second of every day. Washington turned into a war zone and this guy thinks it’s “beautiful?” Donald Trump is out of his phucking mind.

George Floyd’s Death Was an Act of Cowardice for Personal Motives

Everything I know about police, criminals, etc does not come from Law and Order — which is actually a good thing, as it turns out. One thing I know from experience: most murders have a personal component. And it seems that may be the case with Derek Chauvin and his choice to murder George Floyd. Chauvin worked as security for a bar in Minneapolis, El Nuevo Rodeo, where Floyd worked as a bouncer. The building owner, Maya Santamaria, recalled: “Chauvin was our off-duty police for almost the entirety of the 17 years that we were open. … They were working together at the same time — it’s just that Chauvin worked outside and the security guards were inside.” Interestingly, the bar employee who first spoke about Floyd and Chauvin “bump[ing] heads” during their time working together, David Pinney, has now changed his story, saying that Chauvin had a conflict with a different African-American employee, not Floyd. Pinney originally described himself as very close to Floyd: “Like, I see him like a brother.” He said: “I can relate to George, how he felt. And I think that’s what makes that personal bond between him and I, dealing with Derek.” Apparently that brotherly relatioship has changed in the last few days. I’ll be curious as to what Pinney testifies to under oath. Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s younger brother, agreed with Pinney’s earlier characterization. In testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, Floyd said: “[Chauvin] killed my brother just because he didn’t like him, and it has to be racist. It has to be something to do with racism.” He went on to say: He gave the little that he had to help others. He was our gentle giant. I was reminded of that when I watched the video of his murder. He was mild mannered; he didn’t fight back. He listened to the officers. He called them “sir.” The men who took his life, who suffocated him for eight minutes and 46 seconds. He still called them “sir” as he begged for his life. A.J. Jaurequi, a club promoter in the area, wondered if Floyd and Chauvine “had some beef with each other, because it’s odd that you’d treat someone you knew like that.” Originally, Pinney told CBS News that Floyd and Chauvin knew each other “pretty well,” a view somewhat corroborated by Santamaria. She steered CBS towards Pinney because, Pinney later told CBS, “she was unable to give detail information about George because she did not have a close relationship with him as I did.” That led to his supposed mistake in misidentifying Floyd. Pinney stands by his characterization that Chauvin was “extremely aggressive within the club.” On June 6, five days before Pinney made his retraction, he did a nearly hour-long interview with CBS, where he went into detail about the relationship between Floyd and Chauvin. “Is there any doubt in your mind that Derek Chauvin knew George Floyd?” the reporter asked. Pinney replied, “No. He knew him … I would say pretty well.” He added: “I knew George on a work basis. We were pretty close. When it came to our security positions, he was in charge and I worked directly below him as a security adviser.” Pinney contrasted Floyd with Chauvin. Floyd, he said, “was good at talking with people and establishing himself. […]
BBC News / YouTube Ferguson protests National Guard sent to...

The Eagle Is Soaring

Life isn’t measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away   George Carlin? Vicki Corona? Maya Angelou? Lately I’ve been a busy little camper talking about my amazement with the speed and intensity with which the protests over the death of George Floyd have advanced. Not just by the longevity of them, heading now into their third week with no let up or dwindling of crowds in sight, but also with the speed in which they have forced actual systemic change at the state and local levels as to how policing will be done going forward. The speed is nothing short of breathtaking. One of the reasons for the speedy success of these protests is the incredible diversity of the crowds. Thanks to the wonders of cellular technology, the constant visual drum beat of black lives coming to a violent, unjustified end at the hands of police finally forced non black Americans to say, What the fuck?!? This has been going on for how long? And with the wind in their sails, and their brothers and sisters finally at their side, they’re doing the only intelligent thing there is to do. They’re pushing the envelope beyond police brutality, and into the roots of systemic racism itself. Teri and I literally cheered last night when MSNBC switched to camera shots of a bunch of ordinary citizens in Virginia knocking the heads off of confederate statues before pulling them down. Ditto when NASCAR announced that they’re banning traitors rags from display at their races and on NASCAR properties. This lasting affection for a reviled and defeated ideology is something that I’ve never understood. The statesmen and generals who led the confederacy were nothing more than common traitors. Period. Full stop. They led an armed insurrection against the United States, and were defeated. And yet, when it was over, instead of being tried and hung, they end up with statues and monuments? Explain the logic of that one to me, please. And it’s not like these statues are deeply rooted in some long standing nostalgia. The vast number of confederate statues and monuments went up not during reconstruction of the following years, they went up during the struggle for desegregation, as a way of rubbing black noses in the fact that they were still second class citizens in some parts, and as a earning to watch their steps. But as these symbols of bigotry and hatred come down, you know what you’re not seeing? You’re not seeing riot geared cops replete with tear gas canisters and rubber bullets, charging in to save these sick, twisted symbols of white superiority. And you know what else you’re not seeing? You’re not seeing a phalanx of bed sheet clad morons streaming out of the darkness, ready to rumble to protect their precious toys. They’re safely ticked in their hidey-holes, darkly threatening vengeance that will never come. I have always felt in my heart that the vast majority of Americans, regardless of age, race, or creed, were kind, caring, gentle people who believe in what’s right. For once it’s nice to see that my confidence wasn’t misplaced. The actions of these current days won’t fix everything, but it’s a start. For, just like choke holds will never return to policing once they’ve […]

Consider This. They’re Just Getting Their “Sea Legs”

I think that people should be allowed to do anything they want. We haven’t tried that one for a while. Who knows, maybe it’ll work this time   George Carlin When people ask me if I’m an optimist or a pessimist, I tell them I’m a cheerful pessimist. The words I live by are An optimist sees the glass as half full. A pessimist sees the glass as half empty. I look at the glass and say “Ewww! Somebody’s been drinking outta that thing! It was only a few days ago that I sat down at this keyboard, and wrote about what it was that I thought separated the police sanctioned execution of George Floyd from all of the other black life tragedies we seem to see every time we turn on our goddamn televisions. I wrote of a few reasons why I thought that a confluence of conditions sadly made George Floyd the perfect man at the perfect moment. And as I sit here again tonight, typing away, I continue to be in awe. In awe of the passion and resilience of the protests, now entering their third week, sure, but equally in awe of the speed with which real, effective change is already being undertaken  at the local and state level. George Floyd will not go down in history as a martyr to a cause, rather he will go down in history as an engine of social justice change, along the lines of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi. But as I continue to watch the coverage of the protests, and see more and more interviews with the protesters, I realized something that not only stunned me senseless, but it also brought a feeling of confidence that the heart of this cheerful pessimist never thought I would feel. I realized that we’ve seen this before, and not all that long ago. The systemic reason for the outrage was different, but the outcome was strikingly similar. Cast your mind back to the spring leading up to the 2018  midterm elections. Other than the almost daily outrages of His Dickishness, what was the overriding social issue going into that election. I’ll tell you what it was. It was 15 minutes of terror that changed forever the lives of the entire student population of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. It wasn’t the first mass shooting at a school, and sadly not the last. But the students of MSD decided that while they may have had to suffer through the nightmare, no other high school student or parent ever should. Instead they used their innate social media skills, they activated, the organized, and they became a force to be reckoned with. Being young, innocent, and tragic, they were tailor made for the cameras. They coordinated national school walk outs to protest lax gun laws and the over sized influence of the NRA in Washington and state capitols. They reminded all and sundry that they were just about ready to vote for the first time, and they threatened dire consequences to those who fucked with them. And by the day after election day of 2018, Florida had passed gun legislation, other states were following suit, and dozens of NRA rated GOP House incumbents were filling out and updating their resumes. Do yourself a favor. Over the next day […]

Obama Says ‘We Can Do Better’ In New Campaign Ad Showing America In the...

It’s not surprising that America is in the streets in the era of Donald Trump. He’s made it clear since he announced his candidacy that he is not a leader for all people, never intended to be. His arrival on the American political scene is a publicity stunt, improvisational political theater, if you will, wherein a tabloid star, reality TV actor decided for a lark to take America for a ride and run for it’s highest office. And give us a ride, he did. He drove us all the way from a booming economy into a recession, he drove us from a place of dignity and respect amongst our allies to a place of derision and censure, and he took us from a unity with one another, into the worst civil protests that we have seen in the past half century. This is where the Trump train goes, from one disaster to another, from an untreated pandemic crisis to an unparalleled racial one. And all the while, his relatives and in-laws are telling us how perfectly swell it all is, not to worry. Right. This is a good ad, which captures the temper of the times. It was just released this morning. ???? NEW VIDEO We are united. United against hate. United against racism. United against fear. United for humanity.#UnitedForHumanity pic.twitter.com/WjZhSyBDJB — MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) June 10, 2020 Here’s a bonus ad showing you what a lying wretch Kayleigh McEnany is, not that you need corroboration. But it’s always useful to jaunt down memory lane. ???? NEW VIDEO We are sick and dying from the lies of the Trump administration. #TheyLieYouDie pic.twitter.com/amlEOuvpDo — MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) June 9, 2020 As you caught from her words in the last five seconds of the piece, McEnany is another Lindsey Graham level sell out. Man, it’s no new revelation that the love of money is the basis of Republicanism, but I thought there were some limits. Apparently not. Donald Trump is in the right party, no question about that. Remember the Cheney/Satan bumper stickers that were out in the world for a brief time? Satan absolutely could run on the GOP ticket and all the religious types would flock to his side if the money was right. No question. Satan is the Father of Lies and if politics has ever produced anything even close, before the advent of Trump, I have yet to see it. There’s an old Hollywood adage, “money talks and bullshit walks.” That should be amended to, “bullshit glides when you can pay for the ride.” That’s a verity, because if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be dealing with Donald Trump and watching all these videos from Trump allies before they were born again, into their current faith, and sold their soul to the Cantaloupe Caligula.