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Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Media Really Has Neglected Puerto Rico | FiveThirtyEight

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The Media Really Has Neglected Puerto Rico | FiveThirtyEight

Retired Lieutenant General: While Trump Golfs, San Juan’s Mayor Is ‘Living On A Cot’ | HuffPost




Retired Lieutenant General: While Trump Golfs, San Juan’s Mayor Is ‘Living On A Cot’ | HuffPost

Who is Carmen Yulín Cruz, the San Juan mayor Trump blasted? - The Washington Post





"... Like many Puerto Ricans, she left the island to pursue opportunities on the  mainland, earning a bachelor's in political science at Boston University and a master's in public management and policy at Carnegie Mellon.



She stayed on the mainland for many years, according to her official biography, and worked her way up to the position of human resources director at several companies, including Scotiabank and the U.S. Treasury Department.



In a 2014 interview with a small New York newspaper, Cruz described the tug of war she and other Puerto Ricans often feel between the mainland and their home island.



"I often say to my friends that I felt too Puerto Rican to live in the States; then I felt too American to live in Puerto Rico," she said. "So when I settled back in Puerto Rico in 1992, I had to come to terms with all of that."



After 12 years on the mainland, Cruz returned to her island to plunge back into politics.



She became an adviser to Sila María Calderón, a San Juan mayor who later became Puerto Rico's only female governor.





With the experience she gained under Calderón, Cruz ran in 2000 for a seat in Puerto Rico's House of Representatives. She lost that race, but in 2008 she ran again and won.



"Politics is a rough game, and sometimes as females we are taught that you have to play nice," she said in a 2014 interview. "Sometimes you can't play nice."





A new mayor



As the race for mayorship of her home town approached in 2012, she waffled publicly on whether to become a candidate.



At first she denied any plans to run. Once she entered the race, she strung together a series of small coalitions — including the LGBT community, students, Dominican immigrants and taxi drivers — to form a base of support.



Such allies helped her defeat a formidable opponent — a three-time incumbent, Jorge Santini.



"People don't realize they have the power," she recalled in an interview several years later. "People don't realize that if they come together, there are more of them than those who occupy the seat that I'm in right now."



Puerto Rico's politics are largely defined by their relationship with the mainland and whether the island should remain a U.S. territory, gain statehood or vie for independence."



Who is Carmen Yulín Cruz, the San Juan mayor Trump blasted? - The Washington Post

U.S. Virgin Islands still struggling to recover from hurricanes | MSNBC



U.S. Virgin Islands still struggling to recover from hurricanes | MSNBC

What’s the latest Trump-Russia investigation news? | MSNBC



What’s the latest Trump-Russia investigation news? | MSNBC

San Juan mayor responds to Trump attacks | MSNBC



San Juan mayor responds to Trump attacks | MSNBC

Blade Runner 2049 review: spoiler-free edition - The Verge





I really want to see this, I loved the original.

"It’s been 35 years since Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner hit theaters, and when it takes this long for a sequel to roll around, a few questions need to be answered. No question is more important than “why?” Yes, we’re in a cultural moment where nearly everything is a sequel, prequel, reboot, or spinoff, but Scott’s dystopian film never organically called for a follow-up the way some films do. It’s a neo-noir thriller with an open ending, but from a character and thematic perspective, Scott neatly sewed up the story. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), an android hunter known as a “blade runner,” learns that all life has some sort of value. Tired of killing others, he decides to go on the run with his android lover Rachel (Sean Young)."



Blade Runner 2049 review: spoiler-free edition - The Verge

The President Isn't 'Liking' 'Anti-Trump' Facebook

How Badly Is Neil Gorsuch Annoying the Other Supreme Court Justices? | The New Yorker





"What made Gorsuch’s appearance especially notable was that it took place at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, which is the focus of several pending cases that may well wind up before the Supreme Court. These lawsuits allege that the Trump family’s ownership of the hotel, which is patronized by foreigners with interests before the executive branch, violates the emoluments clause of the Constitution. Gorsuch’s presence at the hotel could look like an endorsement of the propriety of its ownership arrangements.

Gorsuch’s Trump Hotel speech followed one he gave at the University of Louisville, where he was introduced by Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, who was, more than anyone, responsible for blocking Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the seat that Gorsuch now occupies. Gorsuch rewarded McConnell not only with an appearance in the senator’s home town but with a speech that underlined the Justice’s own conservative approach to the law.

There is nothing unlawful about Gorsuch’s speeches, though it’s hard to say just what the ethical rules are for Supreme Court Justices. They are exempt from the code that governs the conduct of other federal judges, so the Court has traditionally relied on informal self-policing. There is a strong internal culture based on the idea that no Justice should embarrass the Court; Gorsuch’s tiptoeing up to the line of advocacy for and gratitude to conservatives might earn some advice from the Chief Justice to mind the unwritten rules.

Gorsuch’s speeches might appear less distasteful to his colleagues if he had made an otherwise more graceful début on the Court. As Linda Greenhouse observed in the Times the end of Gorsuch’s first term, he managed to violate the Court’s traditions as soon as he arrived. He dominated oral arguments, when new Justices are expected to hang back. He instructed his senior colleagues, who collectively have a total of a hundred and forty years’ experience on the Court, about how to do their jobs. Dissenting from a decision that involved the interpretation of federal laws, he wrote, “If a statute needs repair, there’s a constitutionally prescribed way to do it. It’s called legislation.” Perhaps he thought that the other Justices were unfamiliar with this thing called “legislation.” Gorsuch also expressed ill-disguised contempt for Anthony Kennedy’s landmark opinion legalizing same-sex marriage in all fifty states. Earlier this year, the Court’s majority overturned an Arkansas ruling that the state could refuse to put the name of a birth mother’s same-sex spouse on their child’s birth certificate. Dissenting, Gorsuch wrote, “Nothing in Obergefell spoke (let alone clearly) to the question.” That “let alone clearly” reflected a conservative consensus that Kennedy’s opinion was a confusing mess.

Perhaps Gorsuch will, as the years pass, prove to be a more clubbable colleague; or perhaps he’ll decide, at least socially, to go his own way. But what’s already clear is his ideology as a Justice. In his first fifteen cases on the Court, as the number-crunchers at FiveThirtyEight discovered, he joined Thomas, the most right-wing Justice, every time—and he even joined all of Thomas’s concurring opinions. Gorsuch’s outside activities may draw a private word from the Chief Justice, but Roberts would never presume (or want) to change Gorsuch’s votes. And the new Justice is casting those just as his sponsors had hoped and his opponents had feared."


How Badly Is Neil Gorsuch Annoying the Other Supreme Court Justices? | The New Yorker

Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: when communication is a matter of life and death - The Verge







"Now, more than a week later, filthy, stagnant floodwaters still blanket the streets. The island remains almost entirely without electricity, and nearly half of the 3.4 million US citizens who live there don’t have fresh water. Food and fuel supplies are scarce, and two people on life support have died because a hospital’s generator ran out of diesel. The island’s communications infrastructure was also badly damaged, leaving Puerto Rico eerily cut off from the rest of the world. The widespread power outage knocked out almost all cable service and telephone lines, according to the latest update from the Federal Communications Commission. And more than 90 percent of the island’s cellphone towers are still out of service."



Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: when communication is a matter of life and death - The Verge

Lost weekend: How Trump’s time at his golf club hurt the response to Maria - The Washington Post






"As Hurricane Maria made landfall on Wednesday, Sept. 20, there was a frenzy of activity publicly and privately. The next day, President Trump called local officials on the island, issued an emergency declaration and pledged that all federal resources would be directed to help.



But then for four days after that — as storm-ravaged Puerto Rico struggled for food and water amid the darkness of power outages — Trump and his top aides effectively went dark themselves.



Trump jetted to New Jersey that Thursday night to spend a long weekend at his private golf club there, save for a quick trip to Alabama for a political rally. Neither Trump nor any of his senior White House aides said a word publicly about the unfolding crisis."



Lost weekend: How Trump’s time at his golf club hurt the response to Maria - The Washington Post

Trump’s Deadly Narcissism - The New York Times





"According to a new Quinnipiac poll, a majority of Americans believe that Donald Trump is unfit to be president. That’s pretty remarkable. But you have to wonder how much higher the number would be if people really knew what’s going on.



For the trouble with Trump isn’t just what he’s doing, but what he isn’t. In his mind, it’s all about him — and while he’s stroking his fragile ego, basic functions of government are being neglected or worse.



Let’s talk about two stories that might seem separate: the deadly neglect of Puerto Rico, and the ongoing sabotage of American health care. What these stories have in common is that millions of Americans are going to suffer, and hundreds if not thousands die, because Trump and his officials are too self-centered to do their jobs.



Start with the disaster in Puerto Rico and the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands.



When Hurricane Maria struck, more than a week ago, it knocked out power to the whole of Puerto Rico, and it will be months before the electricity comes back. Lack of power can be deadly in itself, but what’s even worse is that, thanks largely to the blackout, much of the population still lacks access to drinkable water. How many will die because hospitals can’t function, or because of diseases spread by unsafe water? Nobody knows.



But the situation is terrible, and time is not on Puerto Rico’s side: The longer this goes on, the worse the humanitarian crisis will get. Surely, then, you’d expect bringing in and distributing aid to be the U.S. government’s top priority. After all, we’re talking about the lives of three and a half million of our fellow citizens — more than the population of Iowa or metro San Diego.



So have we seen the kind of full-court, all-out relief effort such a catastrophe demands? No.



Admittedly, it’s hard to quantify the federal response. But none of the extraordinary measures you’d expect to see have materialized.



The deployment of military resources seems to have been smaller and slower than it was in Texas after Harvey or Florida after Irma, even though Puerto Rico’s condition is far more dire. Until Thursday the Trump administration had refused to lift restrictions on foreign shipping to Puerto Rico, even though it had waived those rules for Texas and Florida.



Why? According to the president, “people who work in the shipping industry” don’t like the idea.



Furthermore, although it’s more than a week since Maria made landfall, the Trump administration has yet to submit a request for aid to Congress.



And where’s the leadership? There’s a reason we expect visible focus by the president on major national disasters, including a visit to the affected area as soon as possible (Trump doesn’t plan to visit Puerto Rico until next week). It’s not just theater; it’s a signal about urgent priorities to the rest of the government, and to some extent to the nation at large.



But Trump spent days after Maria’s strike tweeting about football players. When he finally got around to saying something about Puerto Rico, it was to blame the territory for its own problems.



The impression one gets is of a massively self-centered individual who can’t bring himself to focus on other people’s needs, even when that’s the core of his job.



And then there’s health care.



Obamacare repeal has failed again, for the simple reason that Graham-Cassidy, like all the other G.O.P. proposals, was a piece of meanspirited junk. But while the Affordable Care Act survives, the Trump administration is openly trying to sabotage the law’s functioning.



This sabotage is taking place on multiple levels. The administration has refused to confirm whether it will pay crucial subsidies to insurers that cover low-income customers. It has refused to clarify whether the requirement that healthy people buy insurance will be enforced. It has canceled or suspended outreach designed to get more people to sign up.



These actions translate directly into much higher premiums: Insurers don’t know if they’ll be compensated for major costs, and they have every reason to expect a smaller, sicker risk pool than before. And it’s too late to reverse the damage: Insurers are finalizing their 2018 rates as you read this.



Why are the Trumpists doing this? Is it a cynical calculation — make the A.C.A. fail, then claim that it was already doomed? I doubt it. For one thing, we’re not talking about people known for deep strategic calculations. For another, the A.C.A. won’t actually collapse; it will just become a program more focused on sicker, poorer Americans — and the political opposition to repeal won’t go away. Finally, when the bad news comes in, everyone will know whom to blame.



No, A.C.A. sabotage is best seen not as a strategy, but as a tantrum. We can’t repeal Obamacare? Well, then, we’ll screw it up. It’s not about achieving any clear goal, but about salving the president’s damaged self-esteem.



In short, Trump truly is unfit for this or any high office. And the damage caused by his unfitness will just keep growing."



Trump’s Deadly Narcissism - The New York Times

Zuckerberg’s Preposterous Defense of Facebook - The New York Times





"Responding to President Trump’s tweet this week that “Facebook was always anti-Trump,” Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, defended the company by noting that Mr. Trump’s opponents also criticize it — as having aided Mr. Trump. If everyone is upset with you, Mr. Zuckerberg suggested, you must be doing something right.



“Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don’t like,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “That’s what running a platform for all ideas looks like.”



This doesn’t hold water at all.



Are you bothered by fake news, systematic misinformation campaigns and Facebook “dark posts” — micro-targeted ads not visible to the public — aimed at African-Americans to discourage them from voting? You must be one of those people “upset about ideas” you disagree with.



Are you troubled when agents of a foreign power pose online as American Muslims and post incendiary content that right-wing commentators can cite as evidence that all American Muslims are sympathizers of terrorist groups like the Islamic State? Sounds like you can’t handle a healthy debate.



Does it bother you that Russian actors bought advertisements aimed at swing states to sow political discord during the 2016 presidential campaign, and that it took eight months after the election to uncover any of this? Well, the marketplace of ideas isn’t for everyone.



Mr. Zuckerberg’s preposterous defense of Facebook’s failure in the 2016 presidential campaign is a reminder of a structural asymmetry in American politics. It’s true that mainstream news outlets employ many liberals, and that this creates some systemic distortions in coverage (effects of trade policies on lower-income workers and the plight of rural America tend to be underreported, for example). But bias in the digital sphere is structurally different from that in mass media, and a lot more complicated than what programmers believe.



In a largely automated platform like Facebook, what matters most is not the political beliefs of the employees but the structures, algorithms and incentives they set up, as well as what oversight, if any, they employ to guard against deception, misinformation and illegitimate meddling. And the unfortunate truth is that by design, business model and algorithm, Facebook has made it easy for it to be weaponized to spread misinformation and fraudulent content. Sadly, this business model is also lucrative, especially during elections. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, called the 2016 election “a big deal in terms of ad spend” for the company, and it was. No wonder there has been increasing scrutiny of the platform.



However, at the slightest sign that Facebook might be pressured to institute at least some sensible oversight (as has happened recently in the German and French elections, when the platform mass-deleted fake accounts), right-wing groups and politicians can swiftly bring Facebook to its heels with charges of bias, because Facebook responds to such pressure as much of the traditional media do: by caving and hiding behind flimsy “there are two sides to everything” arguments.



This right-wing strategy has been used to pressure Facebook since before the presidential election. It was revealed in April 2016, for example, that Facebook was employing a small team of contractors to vet its “trending topics,” providing quality control such as weeding out blatant fake news. A single source from that team claimed it had censored right-wing content, and a conservative uproar ensued, led by organizations like Breitbart. Mr. Zuckerberg promptly convened an apologetic meeting with right-wing media personalities and other prominent conservatives to assure them the site was not biased against them.



Facebook got rid of those contractors, who were already too few for meaningful quality control. So what did it do to stem the obvious rise in the scale and scope of misinformation, fake news and even foreign state meddling on the site in the months leading up to the election? Clearly not enough — for fear, no doubt, that it would again be accused of bias.



Make no mistake: The flood of misinformation and fake news that went viral on the site was visible even to casual observers. A good chunk of such content featured outrageous claims about Hillary Clinton — that she had murdered F.B.I. agents, for example — as well as unfounded assertions that millions of undocumented immigrants were illegally voting.



Even the conservative pundit and wild-eyed conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck, of all people, has expressed befuddlement at the charge that Facebook censored conservative content. He has correctly pointed out that Facebook had been a boon for right-wing groups, especially of the alt-right and Breitbart variety. There has been no change in this state of affairs since the election. Last week, the best-performing post on Facebook was a Breitbart article that called African-American athletes protesting police misconduct “millionaire ingrates.”



While there are plenty of left-wing conspiracy theories, outright fake news and fraudulent sites are more prevalent on the right, especially the far right. Opportunist fake news producers who were creating such content purely to make money typically gave up trying to monetize left-leaning fake news because it didn’t go viral as easily on Facebook.



After the election, Mr. Zuckerberg characterized the suggestion that such misinformation campaigns played an important role in the election to be a “crazy idea.” This week, Mr. Zuckerberg reconsidered that comment, saying it was too dismissive. But his latest comments are still too dismissive, portraying those of us who are worried about misinformation campaigns and deception online as intolerant censors bothered by “ideas and content.”



A more astute observer of American politics than Mr. Zuckerberg might consider that Mr. Trump’s comments are part of an effort to depict Facebook as anti-conservative, lest outrage about the company’s role in the 2016 election prompt the site to adopt policies that would make a repeat of 2016 more difficult.



For those of us who are tolerant of a wide range of ideas and arguments, but would still like deception and misinformation to not have such an easy foothold in society, Mr. Zuckerberg’s comments do not inspire hope. Indeed, people across the political spectrum should be able to agree that not making it so easy, and so lucrative, for fake news to spread widely is better for all of us, since fake news isn’t necessarily a right-wing phenomenon. But since Facebook has no effective competition, we can look forward only to being lectured on being more tolerant of “ideas” we don’t like, and to smug talk of the false equivalency of “both sides.”



Zuckerberg’s Preposterous Defense of Facebook - The New York Times

San Juan Mayor Rebukes Trump Administration for Rosy Comments on Relief Effort - The New York Times





"SAN JUAN, P.R. — In the storm-battered neighborhood of Barriada Figueroa on Friday, neighbors greeted visitors with a now-familiar question, one that was inevitably followed by a disappointing answer: “Are you FEMA?”



Hurricane Maria had ripped walls and metal roofs from the brightly colored homes in this working-class neighborhood in central San Juan. Nine days after the storm hit, putrid water still lay stagnant in the streets.



Aida Perez, 73, gave a tour of her house, pointing to the holes in her roof and ceiling. She said she could use a tarp. And food. And money. But no federal officials had been spotted yet.



“After Georges, FEMA came, the Red Cross came, and they came rapidly,” she said, referring to Hurricane Georges, the 1998 storm that caused extreme damage here, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.



The slow pace of the federal response to Hurricane Maria — and the upbeat portrayal of the response by federal officials, including President Trump — threatened this week to become an embarrassment and political liability for the administration as it scrambled to confront a natural disaster that has overwhelmed this island, and presented breathtaking logistical challenges.



On Friday evening, Mr. Trump again repeatedly praised his government’s response to the Puerto Rico hurricane during remarks to reporters before leaving for his New Jersey club for the weekend.



“It’s going really well, considering,” Mr. Trump said. He added: “We’ve made tremendous strides. Very tough situation.” Later, he said, “People can’t believe how successful it’s been.”



But the disconnect between what officials in Washington were saying and the situation on the ground in Puerto Rico was captured on live television by the response of the mayor of San Juan when she was played a clip of the acting Homeland Security secretary, Elaine Duke, saying that she was “very satisfied” with the government’s response. Ms. Duke called it “a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place.”



The retort from Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz: “This is, damn it, this is not a good news story. This is a ‘people are dying’ story. This is a ‘life or death’ story. This is ‘there’s a truckload of stuff that cannot be taken to people’ story. This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen.”



Mr. Trump’s political adversaries quickly pounced on what they said was evidence of a lack of interest or urgency on the part of the president. And some saw an echo of the comments made in 2005 by former President George W. Bush, when he praised then-FEMA head Michael Brown for doing “a heck of a job” in the midst of what was widely seen as a slow and botched recovery effort in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.



“The problem is, and this is what felled the Bush administration: images tell the whole story,” said Dan Pfeiffer, who served as a communications director and senior adviser for former President Barack Obama. “You had Trump on Twitter saying one thing, and then you have the images all over cable news telling a different story.”



Peter Feaver, a national security official for Mr. Bush during Katrina, said there were many similarities between Hurricane Maria and the 2005 storm, each of which hold lessons for Mr. Trump and his team.



“There are echoes to it that should concern the White House,” Mr. Feaver said. “They would be wise that they not take it for granted that they can avoid that image stamped on this episode.”



“What matters more is the perception than the reality,” Mr. Feaver added. “The best after-action histories did not condemn Bush as vividly as the immediate media framing.”



The administration is unquestionably facing a daunting task. The hurricane knocked out nearly all of Puerto Rico’s electrical grid, and most of its cellular service. Roads are damaged, bridges have collapsed, and an unknown number of Puerto Ricans are stranded in the hills and hollows of the mountain interior without access to water or food.



Representatives of the commonwealth government stationed outside the capital have taken to driving to San Juan in person to present their progress reports. On Friday, Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló said that the government would begin commandeering and giving away at least 3,000 containers of cargo stuck at the Port of San Juan, much of it meant for the island’s supermarkets, if the stores themselves could not move the merchandise."



San Juan Mayor Rebukes Trump Administration for Rosy Comments on Relief Effort - The New York Times

The Real Reason Tom Price Resigned | The Last Word | MSNBC

Friday, September 29, 2017

Trump tax plan for 'average Americans' would mainly help richest 1%, study finds | US news | The Guardian

Trump himself would be a big beneficiary of the plan, despite his claims that the proposals had ‘very little benefit for people of wealth’.



"Donald Trump’s “once-in-a-lifetime” plan to cut taxes for “average Americans” would mainly benefit the richest 1% and deliver only modest cuts for most US households, according to an independent analysis released on Friday.



Trump announced a radical overhaul of the US tax system on Wednesday, claiming the plan would bring relief to middle-class households. But according to a study released by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, the average cut to most households would be just $1,700 by 2027 – and one in four households would actually pay more tax.

Households making more than about $900,000 a year, however, would see their taxes drop by more than $200,000 on average.



While many of the tax plan’s details have yet to be specified, Trump did propose stopping taxpayers from claiming itemized deductions on their tax returns. If passed, that change would mean taxpayers can no longer deduct state and local property tax deductions from income.



The shift would reduce the tax savings of many middle-class households and mean the majority of households making between $150,000 and $300,000 would receive a tax increase, according to the report.



“Taxpayer groups in the bottom 95% of the income distribution would see modest tax cuts, averaging 1.2% of after-tax income or less. The benefit would be largest for taxpayers in the top 1% (those making more than $730,000), who would see their after-tax income increase 8.5%,” the report calculates.



Trump himself would be a big beneficiary of the plan, despite his claims that the proposals had “very little benefit for people of wealth”. The plan will reduce the tax paid by so-called “pass-through” businesses to 25%. Currently profits from those businesses are taxed at the same rate as the business owner’s personal tax rate, the top rate being close to 40%. Trump owns about 500 such entities.



The plan would also scrap estate taxes, meaning he could pass on his fortune to his family without loss."



Trump tax plan for 'average Americans' would mainly help richest 1%, study finds | US news | The Guardian

It's Time to Pay Back Puerto Rico: The Daily Show

Donald Trump's Pants on Fire claim about the estate tax, small businesses and farms


Donald Trump's dubious claim that his tax plan won't benefit him- Politifact says False. The President is self dealing as usual.


Puerto Rico’s humanitarian crisis nowhere more obvious than at hospitals - The Washington Post




Puerto Rico’s humanitarian crisis nowhere more obvious than at hospitals - The Washington Post

Puerto Rico’s humanitarian crisis nowhere more obvious than at hospitals - The Washington Post




Puerto Rico’s humanitarian crisis nowhere more obvious than at hospitals - The Washington Post

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Trump Lies About Taxes, Health Care Amid Cabinet Scandals: A Closer Look

‘The Flag Is Drenched With Our Blood’ - The New York Times





"Yes, Donald Trump has once again used racial hostility to rouse his base and is reveling in the achievement.



According to The New York Times, when Trump’s advisers appeared lukewarm about the uproar he created by chastising, in the coarsest of terms, N.F.L. players who chose to quietly kneel to protest racial inequality and police violence, “Mr. Trump responded by telling people that it was a huge hit with his base, making it clear that he did not mind alienating his critics if it meant solidifying his core support.”



Every way he is manipulating his majority-white base to oppose a majority-black group of private citizens is disgusting. Trump is disgusting.



But I am also infuriated by his framing: that this has nothing to do with race (whenever you hear that, know that the subject at hand must have everything to do with race) and that this is just about patriotism, honoring national ritual, celebrating soldiers, particularly the fallen, and venerating “our flag.”



What this misses is that patriotism is particularly fraught for black people in this country because the history of the country’s treatment of them is fraught. It’s not that black people aren’t patriotic; it’s just that patriotism can be a paradox.



Many black people see themselves simultaneously as part of America and separate from it, under attack by it, and it has always been thus.



W.E.B. Du Bois wrote over a century ago about this sensation:



“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”



It is through that haze of hurt that black people see the flag, because the blood memory of the black man is long in this country.



Let’s start this story from its ghastly beginning.



Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr., citing the Trans-Atlantic Slave Database, writes that an estimated 10.7 million people survived the voyage — called the Middle Passage — from their homelands to North America, the Caribbean and South America, between 1525 and 1866. Of those, about 390,000 made it to North American soil. This was about 3 percent of the total who survived.



PolitiFact wrote: “Historian Herbert Klein of Columbia and Stanford Universities, who worked on the database, said that the data suggest about 85,000 people destined for North America did not survive the trip across the Atlantic.”



The overall slave trade in North and South America caused about 1.8 million deaths. There was so much human flesh being tossed over the sides of those boats — or jumping— that sharks learned to trail the boats to feast on it.



As Haaretz wrote in 2014 in an interview with Marcus Rediker, the author of “The Slave Ship: A Human History”:



“There are descriptions of coerced cannibalism, the hanging of innocent individuals by their toes, the amputation of limbs, feeding by means of the ‘speculum oris, the long, thin mechanical contraption used to force open unwilling throats to receive gruel and hence sustenance,’ branding with white-hot metal rods, starvation to death, shackling with handcuffs or by chains to other captives, and rape.” And this was just onboard the ships.



And while the percentage of slaves brought to the United States was relatively small, American owners bred slaves like cattle.



As the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History put it, “Well over 90 percent of enslaved Africans were imported into the Caribbean and South America.” Only a small fraction of African captives were sent directly to British North America, and “yet by 1825, the U.S. had a quarter of blacks in the New World.”



Furthermore, “While the death rate of U.S. slaves was about the same as that of Jamaican slaves, the fertility rate was more than 80 percent higher in the United States.”



Those children faced a harsh and uncertain future, including a strikingly high mortality rate. As Rebecca Tannenbaum’s book “Health and Wellness in Colonial America” points out:



“While good data is hard to come by, estimations of infant mortality (deaths among infants up to a year old) among African-Americans during the 18 century ranges from 28 to 50 percent. Child mortality (children from one year to 10 years old) was also high — 40 to 50 percent.”



This says nothing of the untold number of older children and adults who died during captivity in America due to cruelty, starvation, exposure, assault, and lynching and other forms of murder.



We often hear about the 620,000 people who died during America’s Civil War (in recent years, scholars have estimated the number was actually higher), trying either to eradicate slavery or save it, but what we hear less often is that black people were included in that number.



According to the National Archives:



“By the end of the Civil War, roughly 179,000 black men (10 percent of the Union Army) served as soldiers in the U.S. Army and another 19,000 served in the Navy. Nearly 40,000 black soldiers died over the course of the war — 30,000 of infection or disease.”



After the war and the Emancipation Proclamation, the terror continued. According to the N.A.A.C.P.:



“From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States. Of these people that were lynched, 3,446 were black. The blacks lynched accounted for 72.7 percent of the people lynched.”



Then, there are America’s heinous and racially biased state-sponsored executions. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, there have been 1,460 executions since 1976, when the Supreme Court effectively lifted a moratorium on the death penalty. Almost 35 percent of those executed were black, although the proportion of black people in the country hovers around 13 percent.



In fact, the the youngest person executed in America in the 20th century was a 14-year-old black boy named George Stinney. He was convicted in a rushed miscarriage of justice in which the jury was selected (all white), the trial was conducted (it lasted only a few hours, and his appointed lawyer didn’t ask a single question) and the verdict was rendered (after only 10 minutes of deliberation) all in the span of single day.



The 5-foot-1, 95-pound Stinney was so small in the electric chair that they had to use a book as a booster seat. Some say it was a phone book; others say it was the Bible.



This is to say nothing of the disastrous effects of mass incarceration and the chaos unleashed by sucking so many young people, particularly young men, out of communities.



As the Pew Research Center put it in 2013, “The incarceration rate of black men is more than six times higher than that of white men, slightly larger than the gap in 1960.”



Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow,” has put it more starkly: “More African-American adults are under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.”



And then come police shootings. According to a database maintained by The Washington Post, there have been 730 police shootings so far this year, putting 2017 on track to match or surpass the number of shootings in 2015 and 2016. But here again there is a racial imbalance: black people represent nearly a quarter of those shot but only about an eighth of the general population. When you look at unarmed victims, blacks make up nearly a third of that cohort.



Throughout most of this pain and bloodshed, some version of the flag has waved.



So how dare anyone suggest that people simply rise and conform to custom when they feel the urgent need to protest. How dare America say so cavalierly, “Forgive us our sins and grant us our laurels,” when forgiveness has never been sufficiently requested — nor the sins sufficiently acknowledged — and the laurels are tainted and stained by the stubbornness of historical fact. How dare we even pretend that the offenses have been isolated and anomalous and not orchestrated and executed by the nation?



So those football players should take a knee if they so choose. If America demands your respect it must grant you respect and the first order of that respect is equality and eradicating the ominous threat of state violence.



People upset with those who kneel seem to be more angry about black “disrespect” than black death. (Here, I need to applaud the non-black players who demonstrated their solidarity in the cause of free speech and equality.)



We have to accept that different Americans see pride and principle differently, but that makes none of them less American.



Indeed, we Americans see the flag itself differently. As the civil rights legend Fannie Lou Hamer once said, “The flag is drenched with our blood.”



‘The Flag Is Drenched With Our Blood’ - The New York Times

With Tax Cuts on the Table, Once-Mighty Deficit Hawks Hardly Chirp - The New York Times





"WASHINGTON — In 2001, when surging budget surpluses fueled hopes of extinguishing the national debt, a pitched battle broke out over President George W. Bush’s proposed $1.6 trillion tax cut. Never mind that the tax cut’s 10-year tab was supposed to leave behind more than $3 trillion in surpluses — Democrats and some Republicans said that the tax cut was just too large.



Fast forward to President Trump’s Washington, where the budget deficit for this fiscal year is projected to near $700 billion and the federal debt has topped $20 trillion.



A new tax cut is emerging to rival those of the Bush years, and the deficit hawks have hardly peeped.



“It’s a great talking point when you have an administration that’s Democrat-led,” said Representative Mark Walker, Republican of North Carolina and the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of about 150 conservative House members. “It’s a little different now that Republicans have both houses and the administration.”



For years, Republican lawmakers lamented the soaring national debt, pressing for spending cuts and clinging to the mantle of fiscal responsibility. But last week, Senate Republicans hammered out a deal to allow for as much as $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, betting that supercharged growth will make up for lost revenue, a potentially dubious prospect. The tax plan outlined Wednesday by the White House and Republican leaders in the House and Senate could cost more than $2 trillion over the next decade, according to a preliminary estimate by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan advocacy group.



This month, the majority of Republicans in the House and the Senate voted to raise the debt limit without doing anything to rein in spending.



Republican lawmakers are pushing to increase military spending by tens of billions of dollars, topping even Mr. Trump’s request for a beefed-up military. Democrats are sharing in the fiscal intemperance, lining up behind a “Medicare for all” proposal despite having no definitive plan for how to pay for universal, government-provided health coverage."



With Tax Cuts on the Table, Once-Mighty Deficit Hawks Hardly Chirp - The New York Times

Seth Reflects on His Relationship with Football

What Roy Moore and Donald Trump Have In Common: A Closer Look

‘tired of stupid’ - Morning Joe warns GOP must answer for Roy Moore’s ra...

Things to know about firebrand jurist Roy Moore - The Washington Post

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"MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Firebrand jurist Roy Moore on Tuesday night won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that previously belonged to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He will face Democrat Doug Jones in Dec. 12 election. Here are some things to know about Moore.

TWICE REMOVED FROM OFFICE

Moore has twice been elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and twice removed from those duties by a judicial discipline panel. In 2003, the panel ousted him when he disobeyed a federal judge’s order to remove a 5,200 pound (2358.7 kilogram) granite Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the state judicial building. Moore was re-elected in 2012, but the panel permanently suspended him in 2016 after he urged state probate judges to defy the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage. Moore disputed that accusation."

(Via.). Things to know about firebrand jurist Roy Moore - The Washington Post:

‘tired of stupid’ - Morning Joe warns GOP must answer for Roy Moore’s ra...

Alabama's Roy Moore: Explained

Alabama defeat leaves Trump weakened, isolated amid mounting challenges - The Washington Post

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 "As he headed to Huntsville, Ala., in a last-ditch effort to lift the floundering campaign of Sen. Luther Strange, President Trump was fuming — feeling dragged along by GOP senators who had pleaded with him to go and increasingly unenthusiastic about Strange, whom he described to aides as loyal but ‘low energy.’

His agitation only worsened on the flight back last Friday. Trump bemoaned the headlines he expected to see once Strange was defeated — that he had stumbled and lost his grip on ‘my people,’ as he calls his core voters. He also lamented the rally crowd’s tepid response to the 6-foot-9 incumbent he liked to call ‘Big Luther.’

‘Trump was never fully behind Strange to begin with,’ former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said Wednesday after Strange was trounced in Tuesday’s GOP primary in Alabama. ‘But the party coaxed and cajoled him to get on the Strange train, and he did.’

For Trump, the trip to Alabama marked the dispiriting start to one of the lowest and perhaps most damaging stretches of his already troubled presidency, leaving him further weakened and isolated with few ways out of the thicket of challenges he faces, according to a half-dozen people close to him interviewed on Wednesday."

(Via.). Alabama defeat leaves Trump weakened, isolated amid mounting challenges - The Washington Post:

Trump Tax Plan Benefits Wealthy, Including Trump - The New York Times

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 "WASHINGTON — The tax plan that the Trump administration outlined on Wednesday is a potentially huge windfall for the wealthiest Americans. It would not directly benefit the bottom third of the population. As for the middle class, the benefits appear to be modest.

The administration and its congressional allies are proposing to sharply reduce taxation of business income, primarily benefiting the small share of the population that owns the vast majority of corporate equity. President Trump said on Wednesday that the cuts would increase investment and spur growth, creating broader prosperity. But experts say the upside is limited, not least because the economy is already expanding.

The plan would also benefit Mr. Trump and other affluent Americans by eliminating the estate tax, which affects just a few thousand uber-wealthy families each year, and the alternative minimum tax, a safety net designed to prevent tax avoidance."

(Via.).  Trump Tax Plan Benefits Wealthy, Including Trump - The New York Times:

In the Virgin Islands, Hurricane Maria Drowned What Irma Didn’t Destroy - The New York Times

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 "CRUZ BAY, V.I. — Even before two Category 5 hurricanes struck the United States Virgin Islands with punishing fury this month, the notion of paradise here was already about as brittle as a sand dollar.

The local treasury had barely enough cash to keep the government funded for three days. Its debt had grown so large that Wall Street stopped lending it money. The unemployment rate was more than twice the national average.

The one-two punch of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria 14 days later was especially cruel. In many places across the three major islands of this American territory, the second storm drowned what the first couldn’t destroy, ravaging what was once one of the Caribbean’s most idyllic landscapes."

(Via.).  In the Virgin Islands, Hurricane Maria Drowned What Irma Didn’t Destroy - The New York Times:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Trump's NFL Comments Have Everything To Do With Race

Jimmy Kimmel Grateful Health Care Bill is Dead

All the Clinton Crimes the Trumps Have Also Committed & Making the NFL G...

Graham-Cassidy: The Latest TrumpCare Fail

No, President Trump, the NFL anthem protests have everything to do with race - The Washington Post

No, President Trump, the NFL anthem protests have everything to do with race - The Washington Post: ""

(Via.)

The Distance Between Donald Trump and Puerto Rico | The New Yorker

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"How far away is Puerto Rico, from President Donald Trump’s perspective? 
“This is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean. And it’s a big ocean, it’s a very big ocean,” he said, on Tuesday morning, before a meeting with House members. Puerto Rico is, indeed, an island, but it is also an American island, inhabited by three and a half million United States citizens who are in immediate danger, owing to the havoc wrought by Hurricane Maria. The storm made landfall on the commonwealth more than a week ago as a Category 4 hurricane and swept it from end to end, destroying fields of crops and ripping the façades off of apartment buildings. Relief workers have still not been able to reach some towns in the interior.

Trump announced that he would visit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which were also hard hit, next Tuesday, which he said was the soonest practical date. Meanwhile, the majority of people in Puerto Rico remain without clean water, the electricity grid is inoperable, cell towers are down, roads are impassable, food is rotting, and many of the elderly and the sick have been left without care. All of this is happening in America, rather than some place distant from this country. But instead of emphasizing that closeness, or a sense of mutual obligation, Trump has, so far, focussed on how different Puerto Rico is, and what its people owe him, which is, above all, their gratitude.

“We have been really treated very, very nicely by the governor and by everybody else,” Trump said later, during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon with Mariano Rajoy, the Prime Minister of Spain. Trump was referring to the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, and his colleagues. “They know how hard we’re working and what a good job we’re doing.” When a reporter nonetheless asked Trump whether he had perhaps spent a disproportionate amount of time tweeting complaints about N.F.L. players kneeling during the national anthem, when he should have been rallying support for Puerto Rico, Trump bristled, and insisted that his attacks on the players were important for America. Then he went back to talking about what he had done for Puerto Rico—“I have plenty of time on my hands”—adding that the governor “is so grateful for the job we are doing. In fact, he thanked me specifically for fema and all the first responders.” Trump described that praise as “incredible” and “amazing,” and said, “We have had tremendous reviews from government officials.”

The Distance Between Donald Trump and Puerto Rico | The New Yorker: ""

(Via.)

The Devastation in Puerto Rico, as Seen From Above By SARAH ALMUKHTAR, TROY GRIGGS, TIM WALLACE and KAREN YOURISH SEPT. 27, 2017 Last week, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico with winds of 155 miles an hour, leaving the United States commonwealth on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. The storm left 80 percent of crop value destroyed, 60 percent of the island without water and almost the entire island without power, as seen in the nighttime satellite images below.

Puerto Rico July 24th 2017



Puerto Rico September 25th 2017


Roy Moore Wins Senate G.O.P. Runoff in Alabama - The New York Times. Another evangelical bigot in the Senate.

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"MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Roy S. Moore, a firebrand former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, overcame efforts by top Republicans to rescue his rival, Senator Luther Strange, soundly defeating him on Tuesday in a special primary runoff.

The outcome in the closely watched Senate race dealt a humbling blow to President Trump and other party leaders days after the president pleaded with voters in the state to back Mr. Strange.

Propelled by the stalwart support of his fellow evangelical Christians, Mr. Moore survived an advertising onslaught of more than $10 million financed by allies of Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader. His victory demonstrated in stark terms the limits of Mr. Trump’s clout.

Taking the stage after a solo rendition of ‘How Great Thou Art,’ an exultant Mr. Moore said he had ‘never prayed to win this campaign,’ only putting his political fate ‘in the hands of the Almighty.’

‘Together, we can make America great,’ he said, borrowing Mr. Trump’s slogan and adding, ‘Don’t let anybody in the press think that because he supported my opponent that I do not support him.’

Continue reading the main story RELATED COVERAGE

Trump Deletes Tweets Supporting Luther Strange SEPT. 27, 2017

MAN IN THE NEWS Alabama Republicans Bet on Roy Moore, a Familiar Rebel, for Senate SEPT. 27, 2017 RECENT COMMENTS

winchestereast 46 minutes ago This race was a choice between a religious zealot bigot and a bigot. Both standing against core American Constitutional principles. Six of... cheryl 54 minutes ago I am really trying to wrap my head around the idea of this throwback as the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, which he had managed... Jordan Davies 54 minutes ago Is this possible only in Alabama or is it a trend? A homophobe, religious nut, what better for the ultra reactionary Senate. This man is... SEE ALL COMMENTS WRITE A COMMENT "

(Via.).  Roy Moore Wins Senate G.O.P. Runoff in Alabama - The New York Times:

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Puerto Rico emerges from storm; water and some food scarce - ABC News



Puerto Rico emerges from storm; water and some food scarce - ABC News

Price’s private-jet travels included visits with colleagues, lunch with son - POLITICO - My former crooked congressman that Trump promoted to Healthy and Human Services Secretary. He must resign.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is pictured. | Getty Images



"Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price took a government-funded private jet in August to get to St. Simons Island, an exclusive Georgia resort where he and his wife own land, a day and a half before he addressed a group of local doctors at a medical conference that he and his wife have long attended.



The St. Simons Island trip was one of two taxpayer-funded flights on private jets in which Price traveled to places where he owns property, and paired official visits with meetings with longtime colleagues and family members. On June 6, HHS chartered a jet to fly Price to Nashville, Tennessee, where he owns a condominium and where his son resides. Price toured a medicine dispensary and spoke to a local health summit organized by a longtime friend. He also had lunch with his son, an HHS official confirmed."



Price’s private-jet travels included visits with colleagues, lunch with son - POLITICO

Trump Attacks Protesting Athletes: A Closer Look

When Is the Right Time for Black People to Protest?: The Daily Show

Puerto Rico, North Korea And The World's Most Powerful Toddler

The NFL couldn’t keep Colin Kaepernick off the field - The Washington Post

"‘One day, maybe my youngest, who is in second grade, is going to open up a history book and he’ll read about Colin,’ Phil Sanchez, Colin Kaepernick’s high school guidance counselor, told Kent Babb this summer. ‘And it won’t have anything to do with throwing a touchdown.’

The notion of Kaepernick as an American historical figure was cemented this weekend. Among NFL players, the preferred method of protest — taking a knee — and the impetus to use the national anthem as a platform for expression traces back to Kaepernick. It was a momentous weekend, and it was shaped primarily by someone who wasn’t there. NFL teams may not have signed him to play quarterback this season, but they could not keep Kaepernick off the field.

Donald Trump prompted mass player protests during the national anthem with his caustic remarks Friday night and tweets all day Saturday. He left players with little choice but to respond, and many players took their cues from Kaepernick."

(Via.). The NFL couldn’t keep Colin Kaepernick off the field - The Washington Post:

A Rebel, a Warrior and a Race Fiend - The New York Times

Charles M. Blow SEPT. 25, 2017

"Donald Trump is operating the White House as a terror cell of racial grievance in America’s broader culture wars.

He has made his allegiances clear: He’s on the side of white supremacists, white nationalists, ethno-racists, Islamophobes and anti-Semites. He is simpatico with that cesspool.

And nothing gets his goat quite like racial minorities who stand up for themselves or stand up to him.

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors was asked about the annual rite of championship teams visiting the White House, and Curry made clear that he didn’t want to go because ‘we basically don’t stand for what our president has said, and the things he hasn’t said at the right time.’

Trump responded to Curry’s expressed desire not to go by seeming to disinvite the entire team, to which Curry responded with a level of class that is foreign to Trump. Curry said, ‘It’s surreal, to be honest.’ Curry continued: ‘I don’t know why he feels the need to target certain individuals, rather than others. I have an idea of why, but it’s kind of beneath a leader of a country to go that route. That’s not what leaders do.’

Continue reading the main story

Charles M. Blow Politics, public opinion and social justice. Is Trump a White Supremacist? SEP 18 Dispatch From the Resistance SEP 14 Soul Survival in Trump’s Hell SEP 11 Inner Racism Revealed SEP 7 In Defense of the Truth SEP 4 See More »

"

(Via.). A Rebel, a Warrior and a Race Fiend - The New York Times:

A Trump Travel Ban We’ve Seen Before - The New York Times

 

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"The central question to ask about President Trump’s latest travel ban, which he issued on Sunday, is: Will it make Americans safer?

The answer, as best as anyone can tell based on publicly available information, is no."

(Via.). A Trump Travel Ban We’ve Seen Before - The New York Times:

Charles M. Blow‏Verified account @CharlesMBlow 19h19 hours ago More Let no one dictate the decibels of your outrage. Be loud, be abrasive, make people uncomfortable. Right is on your side.

"Patriotism, the last refuge of a scoundrel." Samuel Smith -1775


Health Bill Appears Dead as Pivotal G.O.P. Senator Declares Opposition - The New York Times

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 "WASHINGTON — A last-ditch attempt by President Trump and Senate Republicans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act appeared to collapse on Monday as a pivotal senator announced her firm opposition to the latest repeal plan, virtually ensuring that Republicans would not have the votes they need for passage.

The announcement by the senator, Susan Collins of Maine, effectively dooms what had been a long-shot effort by Republicans in the Senate to make one more attempt at repealing the health law after failing in dramatic fashion in July.
The demise of the latest repeal push means that Republicans are now all but certain to conclude Mr. Trump’s first year in office without fulfilling one of their central promises, which the president and lawmakers had hoped to deliver on quickly after Mr. Trump took office.
For seven years, Republicans have said they would repeal President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement and replace it with a new health care system more palatable to conservatives. But they were never able to formulate a replacement that was both politically and substantively viable.
Ms. Collins, one of three Republican senators who opposed the last repeal attempt in July, described the latest plan as “deeply flawed.” She expressed concerns about cuts to Medicaid as well as the rolling back of protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions."

Health Bill Appears Dead as Pivotal G.O.P. Senator Declares Opposition - The New York Times: ""

Monday, September 25, 2017

Corporate Consolidation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

White House expands travel ban, restricting visitors from eight countries - The Washington Post

"The Trump administration announced new restrictions Sunday on visitors from eight countries — an expansion of the preexisting travel ban that has spurred fierce legal debates over security, immigration and discrimination.

In announcing the new rules, officials said they are meant to be both tough and targeted. The move comes on the day the key portion of President Trump’s travel ban, one which bars the issuance of visas to citizens of six majority-Muslim countries, was due to expire.

‘As president, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people,’ Trump wrote in a proclamation announcing the changes for visitors from specific nations. On Twitter, he added: ‘Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet.’

Trump’s original travel ban, signed as an executive order in the first days of his presidency, was always meant to be a temporary measure while his administration crafted more permanent rules. A senior administration official cautioned the new restrictions are not meant to last forever, but are ‘necessary and conditions-based, not time-based.’’"

(Via.).  White House expands travel ban, restricting visitors from eight countries - The Washington Post:

Fueled by Trump’s Tweets, Anthem Protests Grow to a Nationwide Rebuke - The New York Times

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"On three teams, nearly all the football players skipped the national anthem altogether. Dozens of others, from London to Los Angeles, knelt or locked arms on the sidelines, joined by several team owners in a league normally friendly to President Trump. Some of the sport’s biggest stars joined the kind of demonstration they have steadfastly avoided.

It was an unusual, sweeping wave of protest and defiance on the sidelines of the country’s most popular game, generated by Mr. Trump’s stream of calls to fire players who have declined to stand for the national anthem in order to raise awareness of police brutality and racial injustice.

What had been a modest round of anthem demonstrations this season led by a handful of African-American players mushroomed and morphed into a nationwide, diverse rebuke to Mr. Trump, with even some of his staunchest supporters in the N.F.L., including several owners, joining in or condemning Mr. Trump for divisiveness."

(Via.).  Fueled by Trump’s Tweets, Anthem Protests Grow to a Nationwide Rebuke - The New York Times:

Donald Trump’s Immigrant Mother | The New Yorker





"In November of 1929, a seventeen-year-old Scotswoman, Mary Anne MacLeod, boarded the S.S. Transylvania in Glasgow, bound for New York City. With a high arching brow and deep, round eyes, MacLeod hailed from Tong, a remote fishing community in the parish of Stornoway, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Although the American stock market was in a freefall, Europe, in the shadow of war, was in no better shape. Scots had been emigrating for years, trying to find better opportunities.

In New York, MacLeod would find a well-established community of countrymen and women, including two of her sisters. She took more than one transatlantic trip before settling in New York, in the thirties. On at least two ship manifests and in the 1930 census, her occupation is listed as “maid” or “domestic....”



Donald Trump’s Immigrant Mother | The New Yorker

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sonequa Martin-Green on "Star Trek: Discovery"

Rula Jebreal‏Verified account @rulajebreal 2h2 hours ago More American history shows that civil disobedience is not a departure from democracy, it is essential to it. I will never forget this day in 1968, siting on my best friends couch. I laughed so hard and we slapped five until I fell onto the floor.

The Racial Demagoguery of Trump’s Assaults on Colin Kaepernick and Steph Curry. President Trump’s assault on athletes, particularly prominent black ones, is is part of his larger culture war. Divide. Inflame. Confuse. Divert. And rule. | The New Yorker

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 "Every day, and in countless and unexpected ways, Donald Trump, the President of the United States, finds new ways to divide and demoralize his country and undermine the national interest. On Tuesday, he ranted from the lectern of the U.N. General Assembly about “Rocket Man” and the possibility of levelling North Korea. Now he has followed with an equally unhinged domestic performance at a rally, on Friday evening, in Huntsville, Alabama, where he set out to make African-American athletes the focus of national contempt.
In the midst of an eighty-minute speech intended to heighten the reëlection prospects of Senator Luther Johnson Strange III, Trump turned his attention to N.F.L. players, including the former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and asked a mainly white crowd if “people like yourselves” agreed with his anger at “those people,” players who take a knee during the national anthem to protest racism.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these N.F.L. owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired!’ ” Trump continued. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s gonna say, ‘That guy disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it. They don’t know it. They’re friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know it. They’ll be the most popular person, for a week. They’ll be the most popular person in the country.”
“People like yourselves.” “Those people.” “Son of a bitch.” This was the same sort of racial signalling that followed the Fascist and white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is no longer a matter of “dog whistling.” This is a form of racial demagoguery broadcast at the volume of a klaxon. There is no need for Steve Bannon’s behind-the-scenes scriptwriting. Trump, who is desperate to distract his base from his myriad failures of policy, from health care to immigration, is perfectly capable of devising his racist rhetoric all on his own.
In these performances, Trump is making clear his moral priorities. He is infinitely more offended by the sight of a black ballplayer quietly, peacefully protesting racism in the United States than he is by racism itself. Which, at this point, should come as no surprise to any but the willfully obtuse. Trump, who began his real-estate career with a series of discriminatory housing deals in New York City, and his political career with a racist calumny against Barack Obama, has repeatedly defined his Presidency with a rhetoric that signals solidarity to resentful souls who see the Other as the singular cause of their troubles. Trump stokes a bilious disdain for every African-American who dares raise a voice to protest the injustices of this country.
And lest there be any doubt about his intentions or allegiances, Trump tweeted this afternoon, “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, you’re fired. Find something else to do.”
In addition to urging the N.F.L.’s owners to fire any politically impertinent players, Trump also disinvited the N.B.A. champions, the Golden State Warriors, from visiting the White House after one of the team’s stars, Stephen Curry, voiced hesitation about meeting with the President.
Twitter was alight with players and others rushing to the support of those on the receiving end of Trump’s barbs.
“Going to the White House was a great honor until you showed up!” LeBron James said. Many professional athletes tweeted in the same spirit as James, and even the N.F.L. commissioner, Roger Goodell, who has hardly been stalwart in the interests of his players, issued a statement calling Trump’s comments “divisive” and showing an “unfortunate lack of respect” for the league and its players. Compared to the N.B.A. commissioner, Adam Silver, who has been consistently anti-racist and supportive of the players’ right to protest, Goodell is a distinctly corporate figure, whose instinct is nearly always to side with the owners. (At least six N.F.L. owners each contributed a million dollars, or more, to Trump’s Inauguration fund, including Woody Johnson, of the Jets, Robert Kraft, of the Patriots, and Daniel Snyder, of the Redskins.)
Trump has experience in professional sports––with boxing, as a casino operator; with football, as an owner. (And if professional wrestling counts, the man is practically a charter member of the W.W.F.) In the eighties, he was the owner of the New Jersey Generals, a team in the ill-fated United States Football League, which played its games in the spring. He was reportedly interested in buying the Buffalo Bills as recently as three years ago.
And yet his sympathy for the players is minimal. Not only does he try to isolate them as ungrateful anthem-defiling millionaires, he also could not care less about their health. No matter how many reports are issued making clear that the sport has left countless players suffering from all manner of neurological diseases, Trump is unimpressed. C.T.E. injuries in football seem to be no more a reality to him than climate change.
At a rally in Lakeville, Florida, during the Presidential campaign, Trump aroused the crowd by insisting that the N.F.L., which has hardly gone to great lengths to protect its players, was “ruining the game” by inflicting penalties on players who, say, hit the quarterback too late. “See, we don’t go by these new and very much softer N.F.L. rules. Concussion? Oh! Oh! ‘Got a little ding in the head—no, no, you can’t play for the rest of the season.’ Our people are tough.”
What Trump is up to with this assault on athletes, particularly prominent black ones, is obvious; it is part of his larger culture war. Divide. Inflame. Confuse. Divert. And rule. He doesn’t care to grapple with complexity of any kind, whether it’s about the environment, or foreign affairs, or race, or the fact that a great American sport may, by its very nature, be irredeemable. Rather than embody any degree of dignity, knowledge, or unifying embrace, Trump is a man of ugliness, and the damage he does, speech after speech, tweet after tweet, deepens like a coastal shelf. Every day, his Presidency takes a toll on our national fabric. How is it possible to argue with the sentiment behind LeBron James’s concise tweet at Trump: “U Bum”? It isn’t."
David Remnick has been editor of The New Yorker since 1998 and a staff writer since 1992. He is the author of “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama.(Via.).  The Racial Demagoguery of Trump’s Assaults on Colin Kaepernick and Steph Curry | The New Yorker:

John Legend on why the NFL protests are patriotic. The most patriotic thing any American can do is pressure Congress to inpeach and convict Trump ofthe many high crimes and misdemeanors he has committed.

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"The president of the United States loves to drape himself in the symbols of patriotism, but fails to respect the ideals at the core of our Constitution and national identity. Trump may love the flag, but he doesn’t love anything it’s supposed to stand for. He actively encouraged a hostile foreign power to infiltrate our electoral process. He wants to suppress millions of Americans’ right to vote because they didn’t vote for him. He routinely undermines freedom of religion with his rabid Islamophobia, attacks the free press with disturbing regularity, and is now attacking the rights of the people to peacefully protest.

Protest is patriotic. Protest has played a critically important role in elevating the voices of the most vulnerable in our nation. Protest in America has been essential to ending war, to demanding equal rights, to ending unfair practices that keep citizens marginalized. If we quell protest in the name of patriotism, we are not patriots. We are tyrants.

Would there have been a Civil Rights Act without the Birmingham protests? When Bull Connor unleashed his fire hoses and dogs on the schoolchildren taking to the streets, racial disparities and the violence facing people because of the color of their skin became the issues of the times. With savage images of the brutal attack in the news every day, President John Kennedy had little choice but to push for a Civil Rights Act that demanded equal services and equal rights.

Protests in Selma, Alabama, changed the trajectory of this nation and catapulted the Voting Rights Act into being. Soon after images of Bloody Sunday flooded television sets, President Johnson presented to Congress the Voting Rights Act, which would remove barriers to voting like literacy tests. If you think these protests were irrelevant, consider Johnson’s words to Congress: ‘[A]t times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom ... So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama.’

These are some of the most iconic protests in our history, but they are simply chapters in the great American novel where protests and social activism push us into a better and more just reality. There are the anti-war demonstrations of that decade, demanding that our soldiers be treated better in this country, that young men not be sent to their deaths for an unjust cause. The day before Woodrow Wilson’s election, thousands of suffragists marched down the street demanding the right to vote. Massive protests from steelworkers and coal miners propelled safer working conditions and better wages for millions of Americans. And where would we be, of course, without the Boston Tea Party?

These protests woke Americans up from complacency. And combined with other forms of social activism, they helped to show citizens, policymakers, and anyone listening that there could be a better way. That hope was not just an idea—a better future was both necessary and possible."

The NFL protests carry on in this tradition. They are not some arbitrary statement about a flag. They are a demand that we Americans make this country’s reality match its proud symbolism. They are an attempt to educate the public that criminal justice—mass incarceration, lengthy sentences, police brutality—is the civil rights issue of our time. Colin Kaepernick, Michael Bennett, and Marshawn Lynch are demanding that this country again take a breath, self-reflect, and recognize that we fail a large and important population in this country by investing in prison systems rather than education and housing, by using the criminal system as a first rather than last resort, and by failing to punish police officers who engage in illegal racial profiling and police abuse. They are insisting that we do better.


To be clear, this is not the end of their activism. Malcolm Jenkins, who has raised a fist, and retired player Anquan Boldin are co-leading a “Players Coalition” of 40-plus players, working with grassroots activists and talking with legislators to demand police accountability and push for change in this country’s bail and juvenile sentencing scheme. Jenkins recently spent an afternoon watching bail hearings with the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and Boldin left the league to devote all of his time to reform and humanitarian work. Colin Kaepernick has donated at least $900,000 to causes that work to better the lives of the most vulnerable. Chris Long is donating his first six game checks to fund scholarships to poor kids from his hometown of Charlottesville.

(Via.).  John Legend on why the NFL protests are patriotic.:

As Trump escalates criticisms, NFL seeks to unite amid more anthem protests - The Washington Post

As Trump escalates criticisms, NFL seeks to unite amid more anthem protests - The Washington Post: ""

Jimmy Kimmel Fights Back Against Bill Cassidy, Lindsey Graham & Chris Ch...

N.F.L.: Steelers Won’t Participate During Anthem; Live Updates - The New York Times

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 "N.F.L. players and owners, already on edge after critical statements made by President Trump at a rally on Friday night, woke up on game day to another series of tweets from the president, this time calling for football fans to boycott N.F.L. games unless the league fires or suspends players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.

Team owners responded by condemning Trump’s criticism, while the Jaguars and Ravens started things off by kneeling and locking arms during the anthem in London. There are expected to be several more demonstrations around the league today. Stay here for live updates:"

(Via.). N.F.L.: Steelers Won’t Participate During Anthem; Live Updates - The New York Times: