The Breakfast Club (Juneteenth)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg executed; Father’s Day first celebrated in the U.S.; The event behind ‘Juneteenth’; Author Salman Rushdie born; NBA draft pick Len Bias dies; Entertainer Paula Adbul born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.

Frederick Douglass

Continue reading

Upper Class Twit Of The Year!

It’s a mite early but this will be hard to top.

Ok, just so you understand who Dominic Raab is, he’s the Foreign Secretary of Great Britain. Because of our “Special Relationship” he is thoroughly familiar with all Internet tropes and memes.

Raab betrays his ignorance of the origin and meaning of taking a knee
by Haroon Siddique, The Guardian
Thu 18 Jun 2020

The foreign secretary Dominic Raab’s assertion that the act of taking a knee appears to be “a symbol of subjugation and subordination” that originates from the TV show Game of Thrones showed a startling level of ignorance of the genesis of the protest adopted by the Black Lives Matter movement.

When the then NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the US national anthem before a game on 1 September 2016 to highlight racism, it began a protest that would reverberate around the world.

Other NFL players followed in his footsteps, as did players in other US sports including Megan Rapinoe, who played for the women’s national soccer team.

While many applauded Kaepernick’s action – he also announced he would donate $1m to charitable causes – it was controversial, not least with the then presidential candidate Donald Trump, and made global headlines.

While Kaepernick failed to land an NFL contract for the following season, prompting accusations he had been sidelined for political reasons, the protests in the league became far more widespread. Trump, now president, said players should be fired for kneeling. Two members of Congress took a knee in the House in support of the NFL players, as did celebrities and even police officers.

At around the same time, Bernice King, the daughter of the murdered civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, tweeted a picture of Kaepernick taking a knee with Eric Reid, the first NFL player to join him in the protest, alongside that of her father kneeling in prayer outside the Dallas County courthouse in Alabama on 1 February 1965 during a peaceful demonstration. She captioned the two images: “The real shame and disrespect is that, decades after the first photo, racism still kills people and corrupts systems.”

Another famous image of a black man kneeling featured on a 18th-century medallion created by renowned potter Josiah Wedgwood. He copied an existing design of a slave in chains kneeling, adding the inscription “Am I Not a Man and a Brother”. The image was widely reproduced and the wording became a rallying call for British and US abolitionists.

However, the image was a far cry from the defiant gesture today. The academic and novelist David Dabydeen described it as “docile and supplicatory (reflecting nothing of the frequent fierce rebellions by enslaved people in the New World plantations)”.

Neither the image of King nor the slave provided the inspiration for Kaepernick, however. It is often forgotten that his initial protest was to remain seated for the national anthem, mirroring a 1996 protest by the NBA basketball player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who took the same action citing US tyranny.

It was Nate Boyer, a white former NFL player and army veteran, who advised Kaepernick to take a knee instead of sitting down. Boyer told National Public Radio: “In my opinions and in my experience, kneeling’s never been in our history really seen as a disrespectful act. I mean, people kneel when they get knighted. You kneel to propose to your wife, and you take a knee to pray. And soldiers often take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave to pay respects. So I thought, if anything, besides standing, that was the most respectful.”

In other Kaepernick news, after Goodell shamed the Owners a bit the Chargers may give him a look as Back Up. “He’s a good fit for our system.”

There will certainly be some car door slamming in Kensington tonight.

Pondering the Pundits 6.18.2020

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Amanda Marcotte: The Supreme Court saves Trump from himself, twice — will it do the same with abortion?

On DACA and LGBTQ rights, John Roberts is shielding Trump from 2020 backlash. Is he willing to protect abortion?

For the second day this week, the Supreme Court surprised legal watchers by issuing another decision protecting the rights of minorities against the aggressive assault unleashed during Donald Trump’s administration. On Monday, the court issued a momentous victory for LGBTQ rights — one that may ultimately be more consequential than the decision granting marriage equality — ruling that employers cannot fire people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. On Thursday, in the sole decision released, the court once again gave liberals a reason to celebrate by voiding the Trump’s administration’s attempt to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program begun under Barack Obama, which allowed undocumented people who were brought to the U.S. as minors to live free of the threat of deportation.

Chief Justice John Roberts, a George W. Bush appointee, joined the liberals on both decisions, and even wrote the DACA decision. (Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, shocked both the left and the right by writing the earlier decision about LGBTQ rights.) In both cases, conservatives justified their decisions in dry language about legal procedure. Gorsuch argued that the plain text of the Civil Rights Act barring discrimination on the basis of sex covered sexual orientation and gender identity. Roberts argued that Trump’s move to end DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act, an FDR-era law barring “arbitrary and capicrious” executive rule changes, in language that almost eerily anticipated the arbitrary and capricious nature of pretty much everything Trump does. [..]

The only real question is whether Roberts, a notorious anti-choice ideologue, will keep it up through the rest of the term — and will actually be willing to protect Trump by protecting abortion rights.

Tim Wu: How to Avoid a ‘Rich Man’s Recovery’

The economic legacy of the pandemic threatens to be an extraordinary new concentration of wealth.

Since January, Amazon’s stock price has gone up from about $1,850 to about $2,600. The S.&P. 500 — comprising large corporate stocks dominated by technology companies — has recovered most of its recently lost value. And most highly paid professionals and managers have kept their jobs and experienced minimal changes in wealth.

Yet more than 20 million Americans are unemployed.

These are signs that the economic legacy of the coronavirus pandemic could be an increase in wealth concentration that will shock a nation that thought itself numb to such things. Arguments over whether the recovery will be “V-shaped” or “U-shaped” ignore the fact that different socioeconomic classes have been affected differently and will recover differently. Despite its populist airs, the Trump administration is orchestrating what will be, unless something is done, a rich man’s recovery.

Nicholas Kristof: When Antifa Hysteria Sweeps America

The panic is a measure of how deluded public discourse has become.

What can we possibly make of the crisis that unfolded in the remote Oregon seaside town of Coquille?

Coquille is a sleepy logging community of 3,800 people, almost all of them white. It is miles and miles from nowhere. Portland is 250 miles to the north. San Francisco is 500 miles to the south.

But Fox News is in a frenzy about rioters and looters, and President Trump warns about the anti-fascist movement known as antifa. So early this month as a small group of local residents planned a peaceful “Black Lives Matter” protest in Coquille, word raced around that three busloads of antifa activists were headed to Coquille to bust up the town. [..]

Of course, no rampaging anarchists ever showed up. The Battle of Coquille ended without beginning.

Similar hysteria about antifa invasions has erupted across the country. I asked my followers on Facebook how earnest citizens could fall prey to such panics, and I was stunned by how many reported similar anxieties in their own towns — sometimes creating dangerous situations.

Paul Waldman: We’re finally talking about structural racism. Republicans are freaking out.

In the annals of weird and revealing arguments between members of Congress, the one that took place between Reps. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday stands out. Along with a less fiery but equally revealing moment in a Senate hearing on Tuesday involving Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), it showed how the fact that we’re now discussing structural racism has Republicans seriously freaked out.

Their response is to attempt to take a debate about institutions and structures — policing, criminal justice, housing, health care, banking, employment, education and so much else — and reframe it as just about individual hearts. Which accomplishes two things. First, it renders them blameless, since they can assert “I’m no racist!” and take great affront at any suggestion otherwise. Second, it diverts us from ambitious reform to combat racism, if all we have to do is find the “bad apples” and get rid of them. [..]

There’s one other goal this kind of framing can accomplish: It allows white men in particular to say their feelings are hurt, and they know well that ordinarily, when they say that everyone drops everything to assuage them. You may recall a particularly vivid incident in which then-Rep. Mark Meadows, now White House chief of staff, mistakenly thought Rep. Rashida Tlaib had called him a racist, grinding a congressional hearing to a halt while everyone madly reassured him that the contents of his pure heart were not in question.

That’s how it usually goes, which is what was so striking about what Richmond said. He made clear that he really didn’t care about the hurt feelings of white members of Congress, an assertion so shocking that it led Gaetz to imply he had imaginary black children and erupt in fury.

But if the debate is about structures — not about the animus that does or doesn’t lie in any one person’s heart — then Republicans can’t say “Are you calling me a racist???” and have everyone drop everything to placate them. And frankly, it’s about time. We have more important things to deal with.

We’ll Meet Again

Mein Führer, I can walk!

Dame Vera Lynn, singer and ‘forces’ sweetheart’, dies aged 103
by Ben Beaumont-Thomas, The Guardian
Thu 18 Jun 2020

Dame Vera Lynn, whose song We’ll Meet Again became an anthem of hope and resilience during the second world war, has died aged 103.

Her family said they were “deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers”, and that they were with her when she died at her East Sussex home.

Born in East Ham, on the outskirts of London, in 1917, Lynn survived a near-fatal case of diphtheria as a two-year old, and began performing aged seven. From the age of 18 she began working with orchestras in the UK, and released her debut solo recording, Up the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire, in 1936, while she worked in an East End shipping company.

During the second world war, she performed to people sheltering from bombing raids in the stations of London’s underground, and her popularity among soldiers grew her fame. She earned the nickname “the forces’ sweetheart”, touring for troops in Egypt, India and Myanmar, then known as Burma, during the war. “Singing in the jungle was very hot and very sticky, which was a bit hard going,” she told the Guardian in 2017. “I had a little piano, which they trudged around on the back of a lorry, hoping it would survive the journeys.”

Captain Tom Moore, the veteran who recently raised £33m for NHS charities, tweeted: “She had a huge impact on me in Burma and remained important to me throughout my life.”

Lynn’s wartime popularity was boosted by her signature song, We’ll Meet Again, released in 1939 and written by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles. Its wistful melody and determinedly optimistic lyrics – “I know we’ll meet again some sunny day” – proved powerfully uplifting for departing soldiers, and it has endured as the defining song of the British campaign. It re-entered the UK charts this year at No 55 amid the 75th anniversary celebrations of VE Day. It was also used – with heavy irony – by director Stanley Kubrick at the climax of his cold war satire Dr Strangelove.

The White Cliffs of Dover, in which Lynn hymns the British coastline as she hopes for peace, is another of her enduring patriotic songs – written by Walter Kent and Nat Burton, it was originally released in 1942. The far right British National Party (BNP) featured it and used its title for a compilation album of British songs in 2009 – Lynn objected, and took legal action over the release.

We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs of Dover were released too early to enjoy chart success, but Lynn did top the UK charts for two weeks in 1954 with My Son, My Son, a heartfelt ballad from a mother to her son. She is also the oldest person to have reached the top of the UK album charts, which she achieved with a best-of compilation in 2009, beating the previous record holder Bob Dylan. A compilation marking her 100th birthday reached No 3 in 2017 – Paul McCartney was among those marking her milestone, saying at the time: “She became a symbol of optimism and a better life to come. We all grew up with a great admiration and respect for her.”

A 1952 single, Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart, topped the US charts, and she had two other Top 10 singles there.

Her last public performance came in 2005, at the 60th anniversary celebrations for VE Day in Trafalgar Square. She performed a snatch of We’ll Meet Again, and told the crowd: “These boys gave their lives and some came home badly injured and for some families life would never be the same. We should always remember, we should never forget and we should teach the children to remember.”

She was awarded an OBE in 1969, and made a dame in 1975, for her charity work. She has given her name to her own breast cancer and child cerebral palsy charities, and has also worked with charities for military servicepeople, including Forces Literary Organisation Worldwide (Flow).

The British army, navy and air force all paid tribute via the Twitter accounts, as did the Royal British Legion, who described her as “an unforgettable British icon [and] symbol of hope to the Armed Forces Community past and present.”

Lynn also wrote three autobiographies – the most recent, Some Sunny Day, was published in 2009 – and hosted a variety show on BBC television during the 1960s.

Cartnoon

So we’ve done Canada and Tahiti. Here’s Les in Costa Rica which is… dangerous.

The Breakfast Club (Focus On The Light)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

Churchill rallies Britain in World War II; Napoleon beaten at Battle of Waterloo; Amelia Earhart crosses the Atlantic; Sally Ride becomes America’s first woman in space; Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.

Aristotle

Continue reading

Dried Cranberries

Quaker Oats Replaces Historically Racist Aunt Jemima Mascot With Black Female Lawyer Who Enjoys Pancakes Sometimes
The Onion

In response to nationwide protests regarding police brutality and racial discrimination, food conglomerate Quaker Oats announced Friday that after 130 years, it would replace its historically racist Aunt Jemima mascot with a black female lawyer who enjoys pancakes from time to time.

“The time has come to replace Jemima, a problematic and stereotypical character that originated in minstrel shows, with Sheila, the public defender of cultivated tastes who eats pancakes on occasion, in addition to a variety of other foods,” said Quaker spokesperson Aaron Parshley, who explained that the former Aunt Jemima brand of syrups and pancake mixes would now bear a logo depicting an African American woman who wears a suit, carries a briefcase, and isn’t an aunt per se, though she is godmother to the child of a dear friend she met as an undergraduate at Dartmouth College.

Our new mascot is based on several real-life black women who are lawyers and eat pancakes some mornings when they aren’t too busy litigating on behalf of the disadvantaged.

While Sheila does enjoy our extended line of breakfast foods, that is only one small facet of her rich and complex identity as a human being: Sheila also speaks fluent Italian, likes U2, is bisexual, and enjoys cross-country skiing.

Let us make it clear that Sheila never serves the pancakes herself, but now and then goes to a diner near the courthouse where waitresses and waiters of a variety of races serve them to her.”

At press time, Mars Inc. announced it would follow suit by replacing the mascot of its Uncle Ben’s brand with a black engineering graduate student.

I suppose I should have been buying Non-GMO Organic Steel Cut right along but you know, if you’re eating Oatmeal at all you kind of get this aura of healthiness even if it’s less than 50% of your Oatmeal Cookie mix.

I use Regular and not Instant because it’s instant enough and dried Cranberries instead of Raisins because I like savory and top it with Butter and Salt. Two parts Water to 1 part Oatmeal (you put your dried fruit in at this point too). Nuke it for about 3 minutes (it gets soft and gummy) but only 30 seconds at a time because otherwise it will crawl out and get all over.

Or you can use it in Meat Loaf or Balls to lighten the texture instead of Bread Crumbs (Richard uses it that way).

Aunt Jemima to change name and logo due to racial stereotyping
by Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian
Wed 17 Jun 2020

One of America’s most recognizable but unreconstructed household brands, Aunt Jemima pancake products, will change its name and image in an effort by the brand to distance itself from racial stereotypes.

The logo of the brand, familiar to shoppers on every supermarket shelf that features pancake mix and pancake syrup – a staple of the classic American breakfast – features an African American woman named after a character from minstrel shows from the 19th century.

“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” a statement from Quaker Foods North America, a unit of PepsiCo that owns the Aunt Jemima brand, said, in a statement obtained by NBC news.

The company has long been criticized for the logo and name of its product, and made the announcement as Black Lives Matter protests against racism in the US continue to grow amid a fresh surge in anger following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.

“As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations,” Quaker said.

Quaker said the new packaging will be introduced in fall of 2020. A replacement name will be brought in some time after.

Early Aunt Jemima logos featured various crude renderings of a dark-skinned woman wearing a headscarf, the design clearly influenced by minstrel shows, where white-skinned actors would portray stereotyped black people.

Later Aunt Jemima was portrayed by real women – first Nancy Green, who had been born enslaved, and then Anna S Harrington.

In 1989 Quaker updated Aunt Jemima, removing the woman in a head scarf and introducing the character which still appears on packaging today. At the time a company spokesman said they “wanted a more modern-looking woman, but one who still has traditional values”, who could retain the “goodwill and positive perceptions that already existed”.

According to the Jim Crow museum of racist memorabilia, Aunt Jemima is “the most well known and enduring racial caricature of African American women” and is based on the “mammy” stereotype.

“From slavery through the Jim Crow era, the mammy image served the political, social, and economic interests of mainstream white America.

“During slavery, the mammy caricature was posited as proof that blacks – in this case, black women – were contented, even happy, as slaves. Her wide grin, hearty laughter and loyal servitude were offered as evidence of the supposed humanity of the institution of slavery.”

A pair of businessmen in Missouri created Aunt Jemima’s pancake mix in the late 1880s. They took the name Aunt Jemima from a popular vaudeville song, according to the Jim Crow museum.

In 2014 two descendants of Harrington, whose likeness was used for Aunt Jemima, sued the brand, claiming they were owed royalties. The case was dismissed in 2015, after Quaker said Aunt Jemima was never meant to be a real person.

“The image symbolizes a sense of caring, warmth, hospitality and comfort and is neither based on, nor meant to depict any one person,” Quaker Oats said at the time.

So just generic Racism, nothing personal.

The Happiest Place in the World

I’ll spare you my Bobby Brown story for the moment, but I’ve been to Orlando.

Florida governor says 260 Orlando airport workers tested positive for COVID-19. OIA says not quite
by Jon Jankowski, WKMG
June 17, 2020

Gov. Ron DeSantis said 260 workers at the Orlando International Airport have tested positive for the coronavirus after nearly 500 employees were tested but according to the airport management that’s not the case.

“[An] airport in Central Florida had a couple of cases, they did the contact tracing,” DeSantis said Tuesday during a news conference. “They looked [at] almost 500 workers [and] 260 people working close together were positive, 52 percent positivity rate on that one.”

However, it turns out those positive cases were not all airport employees and the cases were from a period of several months, according to the Orlando International Airport.

Orlando airport executives clarified the numbers Wednesday, clarifying not all 260 people are workers nor were they part of the group of 500 workers tested as referenced by the governor.

The governor’s office has also since walked back on the claims.

“Governor DeSantis has emphasized the benefit of testing for COVID-19 and contact tracing throughout the state. MCO had 132 employees test positive for COVID-19. Through contact tracing of those employees, an additional 128 individuals not associated with the airport tested positive for COVID-19 resulting in 260 total positive cases. We appreciate MCO’s commitment to working with the Orange County Health Department, the Florida Department of Health and for ensuring best practices are followed for the health and safety of all employees and visitors to the airport,” communications director Helen Ferre said Wednesday afternoon.

More than 2,780 new cases of coronavirus were reported in Florida on Tuesday.

The state reports more than 80,100 people have tested positive from COVID-19 and 2,993 people have died from coronavirus.

The Florida Department of Health reports 5.5 percent of people taking a COVID-19 test have tested positive for the virus.

Gov. DeSantis said this month around 30,000 COVID-19 test results are coming back each day.

The percentage of people testing positive for the virus has gone up since May 17.

Dr. Raul Pino with the Department of Health said coronavirus cases in Orange County are up 202 percent from the week before.

In Orange County, Dr. Pino said six people were on ventilators and 70 people were hospitalized outside of the intensive care unit.

The median age for people testing positive for COVID-19 is 46.

Eighty-six percent of COVID-19 related deaths in Florida have occurred in the age group of 65 and older, according to DeSantis.

He also said there have been more COVID-19 related fatalities over the age of 90 than under the age of 65.

Have fun in Jacksonville.

Really.

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Dahlia Lithwick and Scott Pilutik : John Bolton Is Not the Free Speech Hero We Need

His clownish fight with the president is the denouement that the Trump impeachment saga deserves.

n what may be the stupidest yet of the thousands upon thousands of lawsuits President Donald Trump has triggered, Attorney General Bill Barr’s Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit in a federal court in the District of Columbia on Tuesday ostensibly seeking to stop publication of John Bolton’s upcoming book, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir. The suit is filed on behalf of “the United States of America,” and it claims that the former national security adviser is in breach of contract and has also violated a government nondisclosure agreement. The suit demands that he complete the government’s official “prepublication review process,” and also “not disclose classified information without written authorization,” and also ensure that his book, which has already shipped, not be published or disseminated, lest its publication cause “damage, or exceptionally grave damage, to the national security of the United States.” This of course comes on the heels of recent ominous warnings from Trump that Bolton—whose book is scheduled to be released next week and who has given an interview to ABC News that is set to be aired on Sunday—is staring down the barrel of “criminal problems” if he doesn’t stop this publishing juggernaut right quick.

Barr’s Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit in a federal court in the District of Columbia on Tuesday ostensibly seeking to stop publication of John Bolton’s upcoming book, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir. The suit is filed on behalf of “the United States of America,” and it claims that the former national security adviser is in breach of contract and has also violated a government nondisclosure agreement. The suit demands that he complete the government’s official “prepublication review process,” and also “not disclose classified information without written authorization,” and also ensure that his book, which has already shipped, not be published or disseminated, lest its publication cause “damage, or exceptionally grave damage, to the national security of the United States.” This of course comes on the heels of recent ominous warnings from Trump that Bolton—whose book is scheduled to be released next week and who has given an interview to ABC News that is set to be aired on Sunday—is staring down the barrel of “criminal problems” if he doesn’t stop this publishing juggernaut right quick.

Now if all that sounds like “frivolous litigation” to your ears, it’s because when Trump—in his capacity as the boss of bosses of DOJ—uses the state to try to stop a book from being published, well, that would be prior restraint. As the Supreme Court noted in 1971 when it allowed for the publication of the Pentagon Papers, “Any system of prior restraints of expression comes to this court bearing a heavy presumption against its constitutional validity.” [..]

The prior restraint threat is nothing more than kayfabe, but the humiliation of the Department of Justice is once again exhaustingly real. The marks it will leave will remind us of how many folding chairs DOJ took to the head these four long years. The fact that Trump has a whole privately orchestrated law firm under Bill Barr willing to work the levers at taxpayer expense just makes it impossible for him to stop now.

Let’s be honest: It is a bitter pill to swallow to now be rooting for John Bolton, the man who opted for cashing in over testifying during the impeachment, when his revelations about Trump’s misdealings with foreign governments may have made a real difference. But here we are, not just rooting for the grifter-with-the-mustache against the grifter-with-the-hair, but also profoundly anxious at the fact that the Justice Department as well as an array of federal prosecutors have cheerfully lined up behind Barr to go after another one of Trump’s foes. As John Dean—who knows a thing or two about abuse of power in the executive branch—said, “this is about Barr using the Justice Department as Trump’s law firm.” That we’ve all gone numb to Barr’s willingness to perform precisely this role for some time now makes it all the more troubling. Barr’s gone from Trump’s personal prosecutor general to his bagman in the blink of an eye.

Amanda Marcotte: How and why Fox News is encouraging right-wing vigilante violence toward protesters

Armed pro-Trump fanatics are lashing out violently against protesters — and Fox News is begging them to go further

While the majority of the violence against peaceful protesters at Black Lives Matter demonstrations has been orchestrated by police, there’s also been a troubling side trend of increasing right-wing vigilantism against protesters. In city after city — and even in small towns — Donald Trump’s faithful are shooting protesters, hitting them with cars, or, in one case, attacking protesters with a chainsaw. Add to that multiple situations where self-appointed “patrols” of armed conservatives have shown up at demonstrations to threatened protesters, claiming they are responding to the threat of imaginary antifa violence. It’s spiraled so far out of control that even people who have taken no part in the protests are being menaced by gun-toting right-wingers, just because they’re black and the Trump fans have deemed them “suspicious.”

A great deal of blame for this can be laid at the feet of Trump himself, who has been eagerly responding to the protests by calling them “THUGS” and fantasizing about unleashing lethal violence against them. It’s more than fantasizing, really. Unleashing tear gas on protesters so he could have a photo-op was Trump acting on that fantasy, albeit in the most cowardly fashion, making others do his dirty work.

But what may be even more important is the impact of Fox News and other right-wing media outlets, who have been shamelessly misleading their audiences, hyping imaginary threats and creating the rationalizations that right-wing vigilantes — or, more bluntly, domestic terrorists — need and want in order to justify their assaults and threats against peaceful protesters and other innocent people.

Stephen I. Vladeck: How the Supreme Court Is Quietly Enabling Trump

Using emergency relief at the court, the administration has imposed controversial policies without a final determination of their legality.

In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court is expected to clear its docket of current term cases, with potential major decisions on DACA, abortion, President Trump’s financial records and public funding for religious schools. Like Monday’s ruling on L.G.B.T. discrimination, it’s a safe bet that they will generate outsize attention — and that the decisions will be deeply controversial in some quarters.

But for all of the attention that we pay to these “merits” cases on the court’s docket, the Trump administration, with a majority of the justices’ acquiescence, has quietly racked up a series of less visible — but no less important — victories by repeatedly seeking (and often obtaining) stays of lower-court losses.

Such stay orders are generally unsigned and provide no substantive analysis. But they nevertheless have the effect of allowing challenged government programs to go into full effect even though lower courts have struck them down — and often when no court has ever held them to be lawful in the first place. [..]

At the very least, if the justices mean to change the rules for when government litigants should be allowed to obtain emergency relief, they should say so. Otherwise, the court’s behavior in these cases gives at least the appearance of undue procedural favoritism toward the government as a litigant — a “disparity in treatment,” as Justice Sonia Sotomayor warned in February, that “erodes the fair and balanced decision making process that this Court must strive to protect.”

Especially when that disparity seems to repeatedly favor conservative policies over progressive ones, it gives at least the appearance that the court is bending over backward to accommodate a particular political agenda — a message that, now more than ever, all of the justices should be ill inclined to send.

Frank Bruni: The Revenge of the Trump Tattletales

Keep your friends close and your enemies away from book publishers.

Beware the number of enemies you make, and pray to God they don’t have literary agents.

That’s a lesson President Trump never learned. But he’ll be schooled anew in late July, the scheduled publication date for a book by his niece, Mary Trump. Spoiler alert: She’s not defending the honor of a misunderstood uncle. She’s reportedly plunging a dagger into him, though its lethalness is unclear. It’s not as if she had an Ivanka-grade seat to the circus of his life.

John Bolton had an excellent, if briefly occupied, perch as the third of Trump’s four national security advisers so far. That’s surely why he makes the president so nervous. Trump and his flunkies are raging about and suing to delay distribution of Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” set for release early next week. (“He’s broken the law,” Trump fumed on Monday, referring to the administration’s claims that Bolton is trafficking in classified information. “I would think that he would have criminal problems.”) But Martha Raddatz of ABC News has done a long interview with Bolton to be aired on Sunday. One way or another, the truth will come out.

Then again, the truth was never in. While most presidential administrations leak like kitchen faucets — or at worst, garden hoses — Trump’s leaks like Niagara Falls, as many unflattering books and much unsparing journalism have already shown. And while most presidential administrations have a few embittered exiles, Trump’s has a teeming diaspora of disgusted refugees, many of whom tattled as soon as they fled, either on the record or in whispers to reporters.

Paul Waldman: 115,000 Americans are dead. The administration says its performance is ‘cause for celebration.’

There are countries around the world, large and small, where aggressive government action and a mutual commitment by the population have gotten the coronavirus pandemic under control. The United States is not one of them.

Well over 2 million Americans have been infected, over 115,000 of us have died, and rather than falling, our rates of new infections and deaths seem to have stabilized at horrifically high rates.

Yet now, in a propaganda effort that can only be described as obscene, the Trump administration is trying to convince us not only that the pandemic is all but behind us, but also that its spectacularly incompetent response has been a great triumph.

This will without a doubt go down as one of the worst presidential failures in American history. And we can see now that it had three distinct (if overlapping) phases. [..]

It will be nowhere more apparent than at Trump’s upcoming rally in Tulsa this Saturday. Local officials are pleading with him to cancel it, but he is determined to pack 20,000 people into an arena where they can shout and cheer and breathe each other’s air — and you can bet that almost none of them will be wearing masks, because that would just show that they aren’t devoted to the president who refuses to wear one himself.

This pandemic is an era-defining catastrophe, and it didn’t have to be this way. It’s almost impossible to imagine a president more ill-prepared, by virtue of experience and temperament and judgment, to handle it, and all our worst fears have come true. Don’t let him or any of his lackeys tell you otherwise.

Cartnoon

Road Hazards

The Breakfast Club (America The Failed)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

The Watergate scandal begins to unfold; The Battle of Bunker Hill during the American Revolution; O.J. Simpson arrested in the slayings of his ex-wife Nicole and Ronald Goldman; Singer Kate Smith dies.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Psychology is as important as substance. If you treat people with respect, they will go out of their way to accommodate you. If you treat them in a patronizing way, they will go out of their way to make your life difficult.

Mohamed ElBaradei

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Dailyish Last Nightly (Law & Order Criminal Intent)

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9-1-1 for White Emergencies
Why Did Rayshard Brooks Have to Lose Life?
Court Outlaws LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination
Fox News’s Law & Order Experts

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