Sunday, May 31, 2020
'There was no warning whatsoever': Police shoot tear gas toward protesters, MSNBC crew. This is a direct result of America being a racist nation and police, according to US Federal Courts have an average LQ of 104. Who would give someone with an IQ of 104 a gun?
The ‘Liberal World Order’ Was Built With Blood As the United States reckons with its decline, it should understand where its power came from in the first place.
As the United States reckons with its decline, it should understand where its power came from in the first place.
By Vincent Bevins
“If you read the commentary coming out of New York and Washington, or speak with elites in Western Europe, it’s easy to find people panicking about the loss of “American leadership.” From Joe Biden’s campaign pledges to trans-Atlantic think tanks, exhortations to revive American supremacy and contain China are everywhere.
They have reason to be worried: This moment is shaking the foundations of America’s hegemony. It is painfully clear that the United States is ill-equipped to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, which does not play to American strengths (we can’t shoot it, after all). President Trump has for years been dismissing allies and antagonizing international institutions. And China is seemingly laying the groundwork for its arrival as a great power. American officials are now talking openly about a “new Cold War” to confront Beijing, and China now seems such a threat that Hal Brands of the American Enterprise Institute wonders whether the United States should get back in the business of covertly toppling unfriendly governments.
It’s unsurprising that establishment pundits, American policymakers and their allies would be alarmed about American decline. The United States and Western Europe have been the winners of the process that created this globalized world, the main beneficiaries of Washington’s triumph at the end of the Cold War. But a lot of people feel very differently.
In early April, I received a message from Winarso, a man I know in Indonesia who runs an organization that cares for the survivors of the mass murder that took place there in the 1960s. He was trying to raise money to buy rice so his community wouldn’t starve under lockdown. A dollar still goes a very long way in Indonesia, as Winarso knows too well. To explain America’s economic and political power, he points to the Cold War. It’s easy to see that Washington was truly victorious in the 20th century, he told me, because “we all got the U.S.-centered version of capitalism that Washington wanted to spread.” I asked him how America won. He answered quickly. “You killed us.”
I have spent the last three years with the losers of that great game, the individuals whose lives were shattered so this global order could be constructed. I spent most of my time interviewing the victims and survivors of a loose network of mass murder programs that targeted civilian opponents of Washington’s Cold War allies. I got to know people on four continents who lived through the coups and C.I.A. plots that Mr. Brands is talking about. To fully understand the nature of American power — and its future — their experiences are as important as those of anyone in a Paris boardroom or Washington think tank.
Winarso’s country is the most significant example. In 1965 and 1966, the American government assisted in the murder of approximately one million Indonesian civilians. This was one of the most important turning points of the Cold War — Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country, and policymakers at the time understood it was a far more valuable prize than Vietnam. But it’s largely forgotten in the English-speaking world precisely because it was such a success. No American soldiers died; little attention was drawn to one more country pulled, seemingly naturally, into the United States’ orbit.
But the process was not natural. The U.S.-backed military used a failed uprising as a pretext to crush the Indonesian left, whose influence Washington had been seeking to counter for a decade, and then took control of the country. Recently declassified State Department documents make it clear that the United States aided and abetted the mass murder in Indonesia, providing material support, encouraging the killings and rewarding the perpetrators.
It was not the first time the United States had done something like this. In 1954, the American ambassador to Guatemala reportedly handed kill lists to that country’s military. And in Iraq, in 1963, the C.I.A. provided lists of suspected communists and leftists to the ruling Baath Party.
Indonesia in 1965 was the apex of anti-Communist violence in the 20th century. The slaughter obliterated the popular, unarmed Partai Komunis Indonesia, the largest Communist party outside of China and the Soviet Union, and toppled President Sukarno, a founding leader of the Nonaligned Movement and an outspoken anti-imperialist, replacing him with General Suharto, a right-wing dictator who quickly became one of Washington’s most important Cold War allies.
This was such an obvious victory for the global anti-Communist movement that far-right groups around the world began to draw inspiration from the “Jakarta” model and build copycat programs. They were assisted by American officials and anti-Communist organizations that moved across borders. In turn, leftist movements radicalized or took up arms, believing they would be killed if they attempted to pursue the path of democratic socialism.
In the early ’70s, right-wing terrorists in Chile painted “Jakarta” on the houses of socialists, threatening that they too would be killed. After the C.I.A.-backed coup in 1973, they were. Brazilian leftists were threatened with “Operação Jacarta,” too. By the end of the 1970s, most of South America was governed by authoritarian, pro-American governments that secured power by mass murder. By 1990, death squads in Central America pushed the Latin American death toll into the hundreds of thousands.
In North America and Europe, if people think about these terror campaigns at all, the narrative is too often that the United States made alliances with unsavory characters, who committed unfortunate abuses. That is wrong. The United States government was behind much of the violence, and it was far from inconsequential. Most nations in the former third world were set on their current path by conflicts that took place during the Cold War. The violence made possible a version of crony capitalism that comprises daily reality for billions of people, and it is an integral part of the version of globalization that the world ended up with.
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No reasonable person denies the great things the United States did in the 20th century, or that many countries enjoyed prosperity while in happy alliances with Washington. But as we move deeper into the 21st century, Americans are going to need to confront the darker side of American hegemony — because much of the rest of the world already has. Part of the reason the current order is so fragile is because so many people around the world know, indeed can physically feel in their bodies, that Washington used brutality to construct it.
We do not know yet what the world would look like were China to take up the position the United States is losing. There is no reason to believe that just because this world order has blood in its roots, something better will spring to life if it dies.
As Americans reckon with — and fret about — their country’s diminished position in the world, we need to understand that the United States is not, in fact, beloved as a beacon of freedom, democracy and human rights. From Argentina to the Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor to Iran, millions of people are skeptical of Washington’s intentions, even if they have no particular desire to emulate China’s government, either.
A failure to recognize reality, however, and a desperate attempt to claw back a deeply imperfect global order, could be very dangerous for everyone.”
Saturday, May 30, 2020
What Happened in the Chaotic Moments Before George Floyd Died The episode began with a report of a $20 counterfeit bill. It ended in a fatal encounter with the police, which the authorities have described in detail for the first time.
The episode began with a report of a $20 counterfeit bill. It ended in a fatal encounter with the police, which the authorities have described in detail for the first time.
MINNEAPOLIS — One was a veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department who moonlighted as a security guard. The other provided security at a Salvation Army store, and spent some of his evenings at local clubs, working as a bouncer.
In the year before their fatal encounter, George Floyd, 46, and the officer now charged with his death, Derek Chauvin, 44, worked at the same Minneapolis Latin nightclub, both part of the team responsible for keeping rowdy customers under control.
Their paths crossed for the last time in the waning light of a Memorial Day evening, outside a corner store known as the best place in town to find menthol cigarettes. Within an hour, Mr. Floyd was dead, his last pleas and gasps captured in a horrifically graphic video.
In a move that has since prompted protests in cities across the country, Mr. Chauvin knelt down on Mr. Floyd behind a police vehicle outside the store. For eight minutes and 46 seconds, according to a criminal complaint filed on Friday by the Hennepin County District Attorney, the police officer pressed his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck in silence, staring toward the ground as his captive gasped repeatedly that he could not breathe.
Bystanders waved their cellphones, cursed and pleaded for help, and still, for two minutes and 53 seconds after Mr. Floyd had stopped protesting and became unresponsive, the officer continued to kneel.
The case has become part of a now-familiar history of police violence in recent years in which African-American men have died in encounters that were shockingly mundane in their origins — Eric Garner, who died after a 2014 arrest in New York for selling cigarettes without tax stamps; Michael Brown, who died in an encounter with the police the same year in Ferguson, Mo., after walking in the street instead of using the sidewalk.
Mr. Floyd’s case began with a report of a counterfeit $20 bill that a storekeeper said he tried to pass to buy cigarettes.
“He died for nothing — something about a fake bill — that was nothing,” said Jason Polk, 53, a city bus driver and one of a number of South Minneapolis residents who have expressed outrage over the case.
Gov. Tim Walz called the fatal arrest, and the nights of violent protests that have come after it, “one of our darkest chapters.”
“Thank God a young person had a camera to video it,” the governor said.
With Mr. Chauvin in custody and formally charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, prosecutors must now try to understand what happened in the chaotic moments before Mr. Floyd was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center and pronounced dead at 9:25 p.m.
Accounts from witnesses, cellphone and surveillance video and charging documents released on Friday tell much of the story of how the “forgery-in-progress” arrest unfolded.
Mr. Floyd had been a star football and basketball player in high school, moving to Minneapolis about five years ago. When he returned to Houston for his mother’s funeral two years ago, he told a cousin that Minneapolis had come to feel like home. “He was such a happy guy, he loved to be around people, loved to dance and he loved Minneapolis,” said Jovanni Thunstrom, who owned the Conga Latin Bistro where Mr. Floyd worked security on salsa nights. “He walked in every day with a smile on his face.”
It was another club, El Nuevo Rodeo, where both Mr. Floyd and Mr. Chauvin worked. Maya Santamaria, who sold the club in January, said she doubted that the two men interacted.
Mr. Floyd worked the occasional weeknight, she said, while Mr. Chauvin worked security on weekends over the past 17 years. Sometimes during the club’s boisterous “urban nights,” she said, when it draws a primarily African-American clientele, Mr. Chauvin was sometimes overly aggressive with customers, sometimes using pepper spray, she said.
“I did have words with him on various occasions, when I thought he was not reacting appropriately based on the situation at hand,” she said. “It was like, zero strikes and you’re out.”
Mr. Floyd’s younger brother, Rodney Floyd, 36, said he was the center of any room he walked into. “Always smiling, always somebody you could talk to and know that you would not be judged.”
The fatal encounter began just before 8 p.m., when Mr. Floyd entered Cup Foods, a community store run by four brothers, and a store clerk claimed that he had paid for cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. The police got a call from the store at 8:01 p.m.
“Um, someone comes our store and give us fake bills, and we realize it before he left the store,” the caller said, according to a transcript released by the authorities, “and we ran back outside, they was sitting on their car.”
The store clerk demanded the cigarettes back. “But he doesn’t want to do that, and he’s sitting on his car ‘cause he is awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself,” the clerk said, according to a transcript of the call to police. “He is not acting right.”
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The dispatcher pressed for a description, and the caller described the man as tall, bald, about 6 feet tall.
“Is he white, black, Native, Hispanic, Asian?”
“Something like that,” the caller replied.
“Which one? White, black, Native, Hispanic, Asian?”
“No, he’s a black guy,” the caller said.
Not long after, Angel Stately, a regular customer and former employee, arrived at the store looking for menthol cigarettes. The police were already outside. Ms. Stately said the clerk, a teenager, was feeling bad; he had called the police, he told her, only because it was protocol.
The clerk held up a folded bill and showed it to her. The bill was an obvious fake, she said. “The ink was still running,” she said.
Ms. Stately said she saw an officer approach Mr. Floyd, with his hand at his gun at his hip.
The charging documents say that officers found Mr. Floyd in a parked blue car with two passengers. Soon, additional police units arrived and the officers tried to get Mr. Floyd into a police vehicle. But he struggled.
“Mr. Floyd did not voluntarily get in the car and struggled with the officers, intentionally falling down, saying he was not going in the car, and refusing to stand still,” according to the charging document.
Even before he was placed on the ground under Mr. Chauvin’s knee, according to the prosecutors’ account, while standing outside the car, Mr. Floyd began saying repeatedly that he could not breathe.
Mr. Chauvin tried to place him in the police car with Officer J.A. Kueng’s help.
At 8:19, Mr. Chauvin pulled Mr. Floyd out of the passenger side of the squad car. Mr. Floyd hit the ground, face down, handcuffs still on. Mr. Kueng held Mr. Floyd’s back while Officer Thomas Lane held his legs.
Mr. Chauvin lodged his left knee in “the area of Mr. Floyd’s head and neck,” the documents said, and Mr. Floyd continued to protest: “I can’t breathe,” he said repeatedly.
He called for his mother. He said, “Please.”
One of the officers dismissed his pleas.
“You are talking fine,” one officer said, according to the charging documents.
At least one officer was worried: Mr. Lane asked if the officers should roll Mr. Floyd over on his side.
“No, staying put where we got him,” Mr. Chauvin replied.
“I am worried about excited delirium or whatever,” Mr. Lane said.
“That’s why we have him on his stomach,” Mr. Chauvin responded.
At 8:24 p.m., Mr. Floyd stopped moving.
Mr. Kueng checked Mr. Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse. “I couldn’t find one,” he said.
Still, none of the officers moved.
At 8:27 p.m., eight minutes and 46 seconds after he had lowered himself onto Mr. Floyd’s neck, Mr. Chauvin finally released his knee.
The medical examiner’s office listed the time of death as 9:25 p.m.
Matt Furber reported from Minneapolis, Audra D.S. Burch from Hollywood, Fla., and Frances Robles from Key West, Fla. Manny Fernandez contributed reporting from Houston. Susan Beachy contributed research.“
"But we keep on keeping on.
Ms. Peck is a journalist.
Two weeks ago, when I first pitched this essay about the unique stressors that many black journalists experience while covering the coronavirus pandemic, I pointed to the glaring racial disparities in deaths, the over-policing of black New Yorkers and Chicagoans, and the killings of Breonna Taylor, Douglas C. Lewis and Ahmaud Arbery.
But since then, the list has grown longer with each passing day, sometimes by the hour. It’s hard to keep up.
Kaleemah Rozier, a 22-year-old, was wrestled down by six New York police officers in front of her 5-year-old son in a subway station and arrested for not properly wearing a mask. Two white men told Chris Brown, 51, that he should leave Vermont because they didn’t want “any of [his] kind” there.
Skhylur Davis, 11, was assaulted by a white woman who falsely accused her of stealing her mail. Christian Cooper, 57, was reported to the police by Amy Cooper (no relation), a white woman who falsely claimed that “an African-American man” was threatening her. Gaynor Hall, 37, a television reporter in Chicago, was grabbed and sexually harassed by a white man as she was live on the air. And George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man in Minneapolis, died after a white police officer pushed his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck for eight minutes.
All the while, the racial disparity among coronavirus cases reportedly deepened in several states, including Maine, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, as an eviction crises looms in black neighborhoods in Baltimore and Philadelphia. And the obstacle course black business owners have to navigate to get federal aid — compounded with climbing unemployment rates — foreshadows an economic depression in black communities.
As we’ve heard again and again, these are extraordinary times. However, it’s an especially peculiar time to be a black journalist. The pandemic has laid bare many of the same racial inequities that generations of black journalists have been covering since 1827 when the Freedom’s Journal birthed the black press. While this pandemic is unique, the waves of trauma crashing down on my community are not.
That’s why earlier last month I launched a newsletter focused on the disease and pandemic as they relate to black people worldwide. I’ve spent countless hours researching, consuming and curating news. Covering these familiar incidents of black suffering during such a time is uncanny.
I feel caught between two separate realities that are simultaneously separating and folding in on themselves. The old normal and the new normal; our society has changed drastically, while also not changing at all. I am pulled taut, straddling a time when the black community could safely gather to celebrate, praise, commiserate, mourn, protest and uplift, or simply even just be, and I am pressed thin, experiencing déjà vu as time repeats itself like a broken record.
Almost a decade has passed since the murder of Trayvon Martin, launching a wave of reporting on police and vigilante killings and never-ending hashtags that I helped to cover first as a graduate student in journalism and later as a reporter.
I photographed and filmed the marches and protests. I called police stations for reports. I read the statements released by families and attorneys and watched news conferences. I considered the photographs of faces that looked like my mother and father and sisters and cousins and uncles and aunts and friends and Brooklyn neighbors. I watched videos of black people screaming about losing their breath, pleading for mercy or sometimes just silence before a stream of “pop, pop, pop.”
An Essential, Not Expendable demonstration during the coronavirus pandemic in April in Washington, D.C.Credit...Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
This is a strange, maddening loop, out of which a new paradox has emerged: The pandemic and its subsequent crises have demonstrated the essential work of black journalists who cover racial inequities, while the crises have further eroded an already fractured media landscape rife with longstanding racial disparities.
The diversity reports that a few historically white publications release each year show that black writers, data journalists, editors, designers, illustrators, photographers, and audience and social media strategists are wildly outnumbered by their white peers. So we often become the go-to person when our colleagues need “sensitivity checks,” an invisible labor that typically goes unpaid, even though outside consultants charge exorbitant fees for it.
We are celebrated for our contributions during heritage months and given leadership positions in employee resource groups. But we are still glaringly underrepresented in management roles. All of this in a workplace where microaggressions, biases and discrimination occur as often in conference rooms, in Slack groups and even during happy hours as on sidewalks patrolled by police officers and in hospitals where black patients exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms are sent home.
These are some of the reasons I left staff writing jobs to freelance. On top of the anxiety and exhaustion of freelancing in a shrinking industry, for those of us who focus on black communities, every pitch is a precarious shooting of one’s shot if the gatekeeper is a white editor unfamiliar with your work. We wonder if rejections are about the story idea or the fact that it focused on a black person or issue specific to black people. Or both?
You may ask, “What about black publications?” So many of the inspiring magazines that I grew up with — Jet, Ebony, Vibe, Emerge — have either drastically downsized, been overhauled by new owners or simply folded. The ones that remain — including Essence, Black Enterprise and the newer outlets like Zora, The Root and Blavity — have produced stellar stories about the coronavirus pandemic that fill gaps their competitors overlook. But even so, I know that nonstop reporting of black suffering can still take a toll on one’s mental and emotional health.
To anchor myself during this pandemic (and while writing this essay), I speak to fellow journalists on similar beats. I also take breaks. Despite wanting to publish my newsletter on a regular basis out of fear of losing subscribers or being considered uncommitted, I recently took a weeklong hiatus: Caring for myself would only strengthen my work and passion for the long term.
The work must continue, but at a humane pace backed by institutional and industry support. Investment in black journalists is critical, not only through equitable compensation for our contributions, but also in addressing burnout, layoffs and mental wellness, particularly among those of us who keep on keeping on."
Opinion | Black Journalists Are Exhausted - The New York Times