Tag: Politics

What did the weekend of terrifying civil unrest that has seized America’s cities look like from City Hall? For the mayors of major U.S. cities, what began as protests over police violence triggered by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25 has intensified into something else — a national uprising that’s also a complex, fast-changing threat to public safety, driven by forces and actors not yet fully understood and threaded with the unseen menace of a still-active pandemic.

From What Mayors Are Saying About the George Floyd Protests by CityLab Staff

Second, I’ve heard some suggest that the recurrent problem of racial bias in our criminal justice system proves that only protests and direct action can bring about change, and that voting and participation in electoral politics is a waste of time. I couldn’t disagree more. The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable; in fact, throughout American history, it’s often only been in response to protests and civil disobedience that the political system has even paid attention to marginalized communities. But eventually, aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices — and in a democracy, that only happens when we elect government officials who are responsive to our demands.

From How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change by Barack Obama

Here’s what centrists/moderates will say about the current crisis: if Mine Furor’s publicity stunt today, as CNN reported, was because he was embarrassed by coverage of him running to a bunker the other day, they will exhort and implore people not to embarrass him any further.

CNBC:

Several ViacomCBS TV networks, including MTV, Comedy Central, VH1 and more, ran eight minutes and forty-six seconds of breathing sounds with the words “I can’t breathe” Monday evening.

The company said the video is meant to show its support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight against police brutality and racial inequality. The video also displays a way for viewers to text Color of Change, an organization that says it provides online actions and in-person events for people to stand up to racial injustice.

So, by noon today I was so fatigued I almost couldn’t get from the couch to the bed, a distance of all of about two yards. Then I slept for three and a half hours. I wake up to a news alert that Mine Furor is about to speak, which of course I don’t watch. Apparently he threatens to invoke the Insurrection Act in any state where governors don’t call up the National Guard. Then the cops storm peaceful protestors away from the White House just to he can go stand in front of a church holding a Bible and get his picture taken. All of this after an unhinged telephone call where he told governors they had to “dominate” protestors or risk looking like “jerks”, his Defense Secretary said to dominate “the battlespace” when referring to American cities, and the governor of Illinois called him out. And that phone call came after an earlier one between Trump and…Putin?

It’s Monday.

I Am Antifa

Mine Furor today announced, “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.” Antifa, of course isn’t an organization; it’s a principle: antifascism. Here’s a sampling of the people he’ll be designating as terrorists.



You’d also have to include groups like the 107 Independent Supporters’ Trust (a.k.a Timbers Army), and many other American soccer fan clubs.

This is not nit-picking. The control of language is important here. Mine Furor is telling Americans that they must choose between fascism and terrorism.

Let me be clear: I am antifa.

Addenda

  1. You know what local antifa has been up to lately? Making masks and hand sanitzier and other mutual aid activities.
  2. By contrast, Mine Furor has been running around the country without a mask on and telling people to look into injecting bleach. Who's the terrorist here?

Brian Stelter was just on CNN calling events around the country “disturbingly widespread” and “terrifying”, but it wasn’t at all clear to me just what part he’s disturbed or terrified by. Personally, I’m disturbed and terrified by the fact that we seem incapable of fixing what causes people to be in the streets to begin with.

Before this segment, Don Lemon had an extended conversation with Reverend William J. Barber II, who helpfully explained to viewers that there’s this entire wider context to what’s happening, such as disparities in health and wealth that black Americans and other people of color deal with even before bearing most of the brunt both of COVID-19 itself and needing to keep going to work during the pandemic — a conversation there really needs to be more of.

That’s the disturbing part, and the terrifying part. I’m neither disturbed nor terrified by the protests or the property damage, excepting the fact that they arguably are commensurate to and revealing of the ongoing violence to which they are a response.

Addenda

  1. This is the first I have had on any kind of television news in almost three months, I think.

He’s right. Once again, Trump has led the US out of an international agreement that we used to dominate. Just two days ago, president of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass said that Trump’s foreign policy doctrine should be called the “Withdrawal Doctrine.” Trump has pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact designed to pressure China to meet international rules; the Paris climate accord; the 2015 Iran nuclear deal; the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, limiting nuclear weapons; UNESCO, the U.N.’s educational, scientific, and cultural agency; the Open Skies Treaty that allowed countries to fly over each other to monitor military movements. He pulled U.S. troops away from our former Kurdish allies in Syria, and has threatened to leave the North Atlantic Treaty Organization—NATO—that ties 30 North American and European countries into a military alliance.

From May 29, 2020 by Heather Cox Richardson

Well, shit:

As unrest spread across dozens of American cities on Friday, the Pentagon took the rare step of ordering the Army to put several active-duty U.S. military police units on the ready to deploy to Minneapolis, where the police killing of George Floyd sparked the widespread protests.

Soldiers from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York have been ordered to be ready to deploy within four hours if called, according to three people with direct knowledge of the orders. Soldiers in Fort Carson, in Colorado, and Fort Riley in Kansas have been told to be ready within 24 hours. The people did not want their names used because they were not authorized to discuss the preparations.

[…]

The person said the military units would be deployed under the Insurrection Act of 1807, which was last used in 1992 during the riots in Los Angeles that followed the Rodney King trial.

Face mask use is a social contract. My mask protects you; your mask protects me. But face masks are not perfect and they need to be used in conjunction with other measures to lower risk of infection such as physical distancing and hand washing. There is ample evidence to suggest that widespread use of masks results in significant reductions in the transmission of respiratory viruses. Mask use is grounded in biology and can have a real world and meaningful effect on slowing the spread of infection, protecting your coworkers, and those vulnerable members in your community.

From What’s the deal with Masks? by Erin Bromage

Ed Pilkington’s excoriation of the ways in which “America’s deep and brutal fault lines […] rendered the country ill-prepared to meet the challenges of this disease” easily can be read by the light cast by Venkatesh Rao’s exploration of how the Black Death “brought a bunch of strong historical forces, which had been building up pressure, to a crisis point”.

“But what city leaders have been trying to reckon with recently,” writes Andrew Small, “is how representative that audience sample is of the community they represent.”

The audience sample in question here being those who show up for things like local neighborhood planning meetings and whether or not they “represent the moderate opinion of everyone who’s just okay [on] a decision but don’t have the time between work, school, and play to show up to a meeting”.

I’ve deep reservations about the use of the word “recently” there, as this was a perennial question back when I was covering local planning matters on Portland Communique back in the early-to-mid aughts, and even then it wasn’t a new issue.