Monday, July 27, 2020

Police, Borac Assault Demonstrators in Seattle, Portland, Oakland, Los Angeles

Can Anarchists Get Organized?

The future of the Republic may depend on it.

Trump, with the aid of Bill Barr, has come up with the diabolically clever ploy of sending his private federal army into cities whose mayors don’t want the help, ostensibly to protect federal property and prevent violence.

Everyone knows this is a sham, intended to provoke more violence and depict Trump as a law-and-order president. But—wouldn’t you know it—the extreme fringe of the far left is playing into Trump’s hands, aided by a few angry poor people smashing downtown windows. Some people dressing up as antifa may even be right-wing provocateurs.

Mayors are caught in this crossfire. Some were the original targets of protests that were mostly peaceful, but with violent fringes. Now, people are in the streets, mad at everybody.

It reminds me of the old Irish bar joke, of a bystander watching a brawl and asking: Is this a private fight, or can anybody get into it?

Asking our far-left comrades to exercise some self-discipline is a fool’s errand. The extreme left loves moments like this. As they used to say, it "heightens the contradictions" of the capitalist system, and brings us closer to the revolution.

Read some fricking history, people. Read about the German communists in the early 1930s who confidently declared, "After Hitler, Us!"

You say you want a revolution? Trump is the revolution. This way lies fascism.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Fascism is Here

U.S. paramilitary forces in Portand.

NY Times video

Fascism is not a theory. It will not come to the U.S. with a mass meeting of 100,000 s in Washington D.C., although Trump will try.

It will come in selected cities where the opposition can be suppressed by illegal and unconstitutional repression carried out first by irregular forces. - Like Portland and Seattle.

One available response would be to create 10 - 20 Portlands.  A major problem would be controlling the irresponsible element.
Will you defend the U.S. constitution ? Or, surrender to the rise of fascism?

Duane Campbell ( editor)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Trump's Occupation of U.S. Cities Has Begun

If You’re Not Scared About Fascism in the U.S., You Should Be

Michelle Goldberg, NYT.

The month after Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Yale historian Timothy Snyder published the best-selling book “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century.” It was part of a small flood of titles meant to help Americans find their bearings as the new president laid siege to liberal democracy.
One of Snyder’s lessons was, “Be wary of paramilitaries.” He wrote, “When the pro-leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the end has come.” In 2017, the idea of unidentified agents in camouflage snatching leftists off the streets without warrants might have seemed like a febrile Resistance fantasy. Now it’s happening.
According to a lawsuit filed by Oregon’s attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, on Friday, federal agents “have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland, detain protesters, and place them into the officers’ unmarked vehicles” since at least last Tuesday. The protesters are neither arrested nor told why they’re being held.
There’s no way to know the affiliation of all the agents — they’ve been wearing military fatigues with patches that just say “Police” — but The Times reported that some of them are part of a specialized Border Patrol group “that normally is tasked with investigating drug smuggling organizations.”
The Trump administration has announced that it intends to send a similar force to other cities; on Monday, The Chicago Tribune reported on plans to deploy about 150 federal agents to Chicago. “I don’t need invitations by the state,” Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said on Fox News Monday, adding, “We’re going to do that whether they like us there or not.”
In Portland, we see what such an occupation looks like. Oregon Public Broadcasting reported on 29-year-old Mark Pettibone, who early last Wednesday was grabbed off the street by unidentified men, hustled into an unmarked minivan and taken to a holding cell in the federal courthouse. He was eventually released without learning who had abducted him.
A federal agent shot 26-year-old Donavan La Bella in the head with an impact munition; he was hospitalized and needed reconstructive surgery. In a widely circulated video, a 53-year-old Navy veteran was pepper sprayed and beaten after approaching federal agents to ask them about their oaths to the Constitution, leaving him with two broken bones.

There’s something particularly terrifying in the use of Border Patrol agents against American dissidents. After the attack on protesters near the White House last month, the military pushed back on Trump’s attempts to turn it against the citizenry. Police officers in many cities are willing to brutalize demonstrators, but they’re under local control. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, however, is under federal authority, has leadership that’s fanatically devoted to Trump and is saturated with far-right politics.
“It doesn’t surprise me that Donald Trump picked C.B.P. to be the ones to go over to Portland and do this,” Representative Joaquin Castro, Democrat of Texas, told me. “It has been a very problematic agency in terms of respecting human rights and in terms of respecting the law.”
It is true that C.B.P. is not an extragovernmental militia, and so might not fit precisely into Snyder’s “On Tyranny” schema. But when I spoke to Snyder on Monday, he suggested the distinction isn’t that significant. “The state is allowed to use force, but the state is allowed to use force according to rules,” he said. These agents, operating outside their normal roles, are by all appearances behaving lawlessly.
Snyder pointed out that the history of autocracy offers several examples of border agents being used against regime enemies.
“This is a classic way that violence happens in authoritarian regimes, whether it’s Franco’s Spain or whether it’s the Russian Empire,” said Snyder. “The people who are getting used to committing violence on the border are then brought in to commit violence against people in the interior.”

Fascist — people like to use the word to describe any politician they don’t like on both sides of the aisle. Now it might seem like an exaggeration to call Trump a fascist. I mean, he’s not calling for a genocide or imprisoning his own people without due process. But I want you to reflect for a moment on his words, on his political tactics — on his rhetoric, if you will. I’ve devoted the last decade of my life to studying fascist propaganda. And if you use history and philosophy as a guide, it’s easy to see parallels between Trump’s words and those of the most reviled fascists in history. That scares me. And it should scare you, too. [music] We’ve flirted with fascism before. “They wore Hitler’s uniforms, but they wrapped themselves in the American flag.” But how are we seeing these images echoed in 21st-century America? “Build that wall!” Well, the formula for fascism is surprisingly simple. And it gets repeated a lot. Italy and Germany, of course, but fascist movements are on the rise today in India, Myanmar, Hungary, Turkey, and right here in the United States. No matter where they come from, fascist politicians everywhere are cut from the same cloth. Fascism first takes root when politicians conjure up a faith in a mythic past — a past supposedly destroyed by liberals, feminists and immigrants. For Mussolini, it was the Roman Empire. For Erdogan in Turkey, it’s the Ottomans. Hungary’s Viktor Orban rewrote the Constitution with the goal of “making Hungary great again” — a line that sounded great to someone. “Did you ever hear this before? ‘Make America great again.’” [cheering and applause] Fascists create an overwhelming sense of nostalgia for a past that is racially pure, traditional and patriarchal. From Mussolini to Hitler to Erdogan, fascist leaders position themselves as father figures and strongmen. “I want to thank you for getting this country moving.” “I can’t thank you enough for the privilege that you’ve given me.” “Greatest privilege of my life.” As long as he — and yes, it’s always a he — remains in power, everything is possible. Without him the whole system collapses. “I’ll tell you what. If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor.” Once you’ve got your mythic past, you need the next ingredient. Division, whether it’s between Germans and Jews, Hindus and Muslims, citizens and foreigners, whites and blacks, fascists succeed by turning groups against each other. The Nazis said Jews had no value because they supposedly did no mental or physical work. In Myanmar, the Rohingya have been denounced as rapists and criminals, a line which will sound familiar to many Mexicans. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” When you divide, it’s easier to control. Once fascism has taken root, it spreads through propaganda — and, in particular, a kind of anti-intellectualism. “They can make anything bad, because they are the fake, fake, disgusting news.” Fascists attack the truth because truth is central to a free democracy. “It’s somebody’s version of the truth, not the truth.” “Truth is truth. I don’t mean to go — “ “No, it isn’t truth! Truth isn’t truth!” This environment creates a Petri dish for conspiracy theories. Have you seen this symbol at a Trump rally recently? It’s a sign for a popular online conspiracy theory that the “deep state” is working to bring down Trump. It’s not a million miles away from Viktor Orban’s wild campaigns against a global Jewish conspiracy. With the truth under attack and lies running wild, no one can agree on what’s true anymore. And fascists love it when that happens. You might think I’m trying to frighten you by making these parallels. And do you know what? I am. My parents survived the Holocaust. And my grandmother, in her memoir, wrote about how Jews in Germany didn’t see the Nazi threat until it was too late. “In 1937, we were still able to leave the country,” she wrote. “We could still live in our homes. We could still worship in our temples. We were in a ghetto. But the majority of our people were still alive.” I want you to be scared, because if you’re not worried about encroaching fascism in America, before long, it will start to feel normal. And when that happens, we’re all in trouble.
5:02If You’re Not Scared About Fascism in the U.S., You Should Be

Friday, July 17, 2020

The Next Disaster Is Just a Few Days Away

Millions of unemployed Americans face imminent catastrophe.
Paul Krugman, NYT. 

Some of us knew from the beginning that Donald Trump wasn’t up to the job of being president, that he wouldn’t be able to deal with a crisis that wasn’t of his own making. Still, the magnitude of America’s coronavirus failure has shocked even the cynics.
At this point Florida alone has an average daily death toll roughly equal to that of the whole European Union, which has 20 times its population.
How did this happen? One key element in our deadly debacle has been extreme shortsightedness: At every stage of the crisis Trump and his allies refused to acknowledge or get ahead of disasters everyone paying attention clearly saw coming.
Blithe denials that Covid-19 posed a threat gave way to blithe denials that rapid reopening would lead to a new surge in infections; now that the surge is upon us, Republican governors are responding sluggishly and grudgingly, while the White House is doing nothing at all.
And now another disaster — this time economic rather than epidemiological — is just days away.
To understand the cliff we’re about to plunge over, you need to know that while America’s overall handling of Covid-19 was catastrophically bad, one piece — the economic response — was actually better than many of us expected. The CARES Act, largely devised by Democrats but enacted by a bipartisan majority late in March, had flaws in both design and implementation, yet it did a lot both to alleviate hardship and to limit the economic fallout from the pandemic.
In particular, the act provided vastly increased aid to workers idled by lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. U.S. unemployment insurance is normally a weak protection against adversity: Many workers aren’t covered, and even those who are usually receive only a small fraction of their previous wages. But the CARES Act both expanded coverage, for example to gig workers, and sharply increased benefits, adding $600 to every recipient’s weekly check.
These enhanced benefits did double duty. They meant that there was far less misery than one might otherwise have expected from a crisis that temporarily eliminated 22 million jobs; by some measures poverty actually declined.
They also helped sustain those parts of the economy that weren’t locked down. Without those emergency benefits, laid-off workers would have been forced to slash spending across the board. This would have generated a whole second round of job loss and economic contraction, as well as creating a huge wave of missed rental payments and evictions.
So enhanced unemployment benefits have been a crucial lifeline to tens of millions of Americans. Unfortunately, all of those beneficiaries are now just a few days from being thrown overboard.
For that $600 weekly supplement — which accounts for most of the expansion of benefits — applies only to benefit weeks that end “on or before July 31.” July 31 is a Friday. State unemployment benefit weeks typically end on Saturday or Sunday. So the supplement will end, in most places, on July 25 or 26, and millions of workers will see their incomes plunge 60 percent or more just a few days from now.

Two months have gone by since the House passed a relief measure that would, among other things, extend enhanced benefits through the rest of the year. But neither Senate Republicans nor the White House has shown any sense of urgency about the looming crisis. Why?
Part of the answer is that Trump and his officials are, as always, far behind the coronavirus curve. They’re still talking about a rapid, V-shape recovery that will bring us quickly back to full employment, making special aid to the unemployed unnecessary; they’re apparently oblivious to what everyone else sees — an economy that is stumbling again as the coronavirus surges back.
Delusions about the state of the economic recovery, in turn, allow conservatives to indulge in one of their favorite zombie ideas — that helping the unemployed in a depressed economy hurts job creation, by discouraging people from taking jobs.
Worrying about employment incentives in the midst of a pandemic is even crazier than worrying about those incentives in the aftermath of a financial crisis, but it seems to be at the core of White House thinking (or maybe that’s “thinking”) about economic policy right now.

Poor People's Campaign - Strike

What we look like, where we live, or how much money we have should not determine whether or not we can live healthy and whole lives. Every day that this nation chooses not to address the five interlocking injustices, there is a death measurement. The pandemic changed our lives and deepened the divides that have always plagued us.

Before COVID-19 there were 140 million people who were poor or one emergency away from poverty. In the past few months, millions more have lost their jobs. Tens of millions are on the brink of eviction. Millions more are forced to pick between their lives and their livelihoods. Too many of us lack healthcare in the face of a deadly virus. And this is to say nothing of the environmental crisis before us.

On July 20th, people across the country will rise up and go on strike for Black lives. Will you join us?

This nation has invested in systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the militarization of our communities for too long. We must now invest in expanding democracy and establishing peace and justice across the land. Check out our just launched Moral Policy Agenda to Heal the Nation: Poor People's Jubilee Platform and stay tuned for what's to come.

Click Here to Register

Strike for Black Lives

July 20th is a day of reckoning. Across the country, workers will rise up to strike for Black lives. Together, we will declare that Black Lives Matter and build a moral fusion movement that fights against the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the way economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism, and brings about a fundamental revolution of values that will transform our society.

There are many ways to take part, even if you can’t leave home or strike.

Poor People's Ju

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Choosing Democracy: Public School Campuses Will Remain Closed

Choosing Democracy: Public School Campuses Will Remain Closed: Public school campuses in Sacramento County will remain closed when instruction resumes in the fall, leaving tens of thousands of fa...

3,500,000 Covid Cases in the U.S.

Donald Trump has demonstrated  again how necessary it is to remove him and his corrupt  regime from the government of the nation by his current failure of leadership in times of crises.
In the Covid 19 crisis  with its disproportionate impact on Black, brown and low income communities, he, and his government have shown themselves to be incompetent and corrupt.
Thousands are dying of the coronavirus each week, disproportionately Latinos and African Americans,  particularly elderly nursing home residents, the incarcerated, and detained immigrants. 

We can change this. We can defeat Donald Trump.

How Trump Is Helping Tycoons Exploit the Pandemic

The secretive titan behind one of America’s largest poultry companies, who is also one of the President’s top donors, is ruthlessly leveraging the coronavirus crisis—and his vast fortune—to strip workers of protections.

And, costing workers' lives.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Mass Death By Public Policy: We Are All Grieving

Mass Death By Public Policy: We Are All Grieving--- Trump

The hard truth: Trump's abject failure on the pandemic, coupled with the subsequent failure of "an ineducable country" to learn from it, has doomed us to a long, tough road back. Nowhere are the horrors upon us more brutally clear than among besieged medical workers, many of whom have written eloquently on "the suffering of both the living and the dead." Describing the virus as "the bodily manifestations of inequality" in this country, a young doctor at New York's Bellevue Hospital finds herself not wanting to be "soothed so much as believed...longing for the horror and devastation of this crisis to be seen and acknowledged for what it really is." 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

How the US Lost the War on Covid-19

It wasn’t because of our culture, it was because of our leadership.
Opinion Columnist

U.S. Now Has 3 million Covid cases.
When did America start losing its war against the coronavirus? How did we find ourselves international pariahs, not even allowed to travel to Europe?
I’d suggest that the turning point was way back on April 17, the day that Donald Trump tweeted “LIBERATE MINNESOTA,” followed by “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” and “LIBERATE VIRGINIA.” In so doing, he effectively declared White House support for protesters demanding an end to the lockdowns governors had instituted to bring Covid-19 under control.
As it happens, the Democratic governors Trump was targeting in those tweets stood firm. But Republican governors in Arizona, Florida, Texas and elsewhere soon lifted stay-at-home orders and ended many restrictions on business operations. They also, following Trump’s lead, refused to require that people wear masks, and Texas and Arizona denied local governments the right to impose such requirements. They waved away warnings from health experts that premature and careless reopening could lead to a new wave of infections.
And the virus came.
The initial outbreak of Covid-19, centered on New York, should have taught us to be wary. Rising rates of infection can seem like a minor concern at first, especially if you don’t have adequate testing, until they explode with terrifying speed.
Paul Krugman’s Newsletter: Get a better understanding of the economy — and an even deeper look at what’s on Paul’s mind.Sign Up
But neither Republican politicians nor the Trump administration was willing to heed that lesson. By the second week of June new Covid-19 cases were surging in Arizona and clearly on the rise in Texas. Yet the governors of both states dismissed calls for a pause in reopening, insisting that things were under control.
And on June 16, of course, The Wall Street Journal published an opinion article by Vice President Mike Pence declaring that there wasn’t and wouldn’t be a coronavirus second wave. Given the Trump administration’s track record, this virtually guaranteed that the wave was about to hit. And so it was.
Over the past three weeks things have quickly gotten very grim. Hospitals in Arizona and Texas are in crisis. And, yes, it was premature reopening that did it, both directly and by sending a signal to individuals that the risk was past.
But why did America bungle Covid-19 so badly?
There has been a fair bit of commentary to the effect that our failed pandemic response was deeply rooted in American culture. We are, the argument goes, too libertarian, too distrustful of government, too unwilling to accept even slight inconveniences to protect others.

And there’s surely something to this. I don’t think any other advanced country (but are we still an advanced country?) has a comparable number of people who respond with rage when asked to wear a mask in a supermarket. There definitely isn’t any other advanced country where demonstrators against public health measures would wave guns around and invade state capitols. And the Republican Party is more or less unique among major Western political parties in its hostility to science in general.
But what strikes me, when looking at America’s extraordinary pandemic failure, is how top-down it all was.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Choosing Democracy: New Sacramento Bee Reporter Accepts and Uses Decep...

 New Sacramento Bee Reporter Accepts and Uses Decep...: Sac Bee Reporter accepts and uses deceptive data on “  Pesonalized  Learning” schools response to Covid.  Welcome to Sacramento.  In t...

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Trump's Virus is Spreading and the Economy is Stalling

Paul Krugman

Just over two weeks ago The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by Vice President Mike Pence titled “There Isn’t a Coronavirus ‘Second Wave.’” The article was supposed to reassure the nation.

What it provided, instead, was a clear illustration of the delusions and magical thinking that have marked every step of the Trump administration’s response to Covid-19, producing an epic policy disaster.

Put it this way: By now, according to Trump officials and sycophants, we were supposed to be seeing a fading pandemic and a roaring recovery. Instead, we have a fading recovery and a roaring pandemic.

About the pandemic: The Pence article cheerily declared that “cases have stabilized,” with the daily average number of new cases only 20,000. Even that figure, as it happens, was five times the number in the European Union, which has a third more people than America does. Since then, however, new cases have soared, hitting more than 50,000 by some counts on Wednesday.

Indeed, at this point Arizona, with seven million people, is reporting around as many new cases each day as the whole E.U., with 446 million people.
Paul Krugman’s Newsletter: Get a better understanding of the economy — and an even deeper look at what’s on Paul’s mind.Sign Up

Some Trump supporters are still trying to dismiss the upswing in cases as an illusion created by more testing. But it isn’t. Cases have grown far more than testing has. Hospitalizations have shot up in Arizona and Texas, which are at the leading edge of the new surge; in both states, hospitals are in crisis mode. (Florida, which is probably in the same situation, hasn’t been releasing hospitalization data.)

The one piece of slightly good news is that deaths from the coronavirus are still falling, in part because the new wave of infections is hitting people younger than the first wave did, in part perhaps because doctors have gotten better at treating the disease. But Covid-19 can be debilitating and cause long-term damage, even when it doesn’t kill.

Also, deaths are a lagging indicator. In Arizona, where the jump in cases began about two weeks before the rest of the Sunbelt, deaths are rising.

The thing is, Covid-19’s resurgence was utterly predictable — and predicted. When Donald Trump declared that we would “transition to greatness” — which is to say, rush to reopen the economy despite a still-rampant pandemic — epidemiologists warned that this could set off a new wave of infections. They were right.

And economists warned that while relaxing social distancing would lead to a brief period of job growth, these gains would be short-lived, that premature reopening would be self-defeating even in economic terms. They were also right.

Don’t be fooled by the big jobs number in Thursday’s employment report — a number that still left us down almost 15 million jobsfrom February. The report was a snapshot of the economy during the “reference period,” basically the second week of June. So it’s telling us what was happening before the Covid-19 surge became apparent.

We don’t have official data for what has happened since then, but a variety of real-time indicators suggest that the recovery has stalled or even gone backward. Indeed, things started falling apart even before states began reversing some of their previous moves to reopen. Fear of infection will do that: Many people will avoid going out whatever their governors may say.

As a result, unemployment, still in double digits, probably won’t get much better for a long time.