June 3, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 7:38 PM


Both the radical Left and Right are 'left-behinds' (MARY HARRINGTON, 6/03/20, UnHerd)

This is supported by a 2017 European Union Politics paper that studied support for radical-right and radical-left parties. While 'alt' and 'radical' versions of left and right may not be quite the same, the paper's conclusions are suggestive. It showed that in bare economic terms, radical-left and radical-right supporters don't differ a great deal but where they do -- significantly -- is on education. That is, both are heavily drawn from economically precarious groups, but for radical leftists these economic grievances are overlaid with cosmopolitan values inculcated via higher education.

Both radical left and right are, the authors suggest, "different segments of the same pool of losers of globalization". 

Posted by orrinj at 7:29 PM


Posted by orrinj at 7:27 PM


Prosecutors: 3 men plotted to terrorize Vegas protests (MICHELLE L. PRICE and SCOTT SONNER, 6/03/20, AP)

The three men were arrested Saturday on the way to a protest in downtown Las Vegas after filling gas cans at a parking lot and making Molotov cocktails in glass bottles, according to a copy of the criminal complaint obtained by The Associated Press.

"People have a right to peacefully protest. These men are agitators and instigators. Their point was to hijack the protests into violence," Nicholas Trutanich, U.S. attorney in Nevada, told AP. He referred to what he called "real and legitimate outrage" over Floyd's death.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on Wednesday said they self-identified as part of the "boogaloo" movement, which U.S. prosecutors said in the document is "a term used by extremists to signify coming civil war and/or fall of civilization."

Posted by orrinj at 6:21 PM


Posted by orrinj at 6:18 PM


James Mattis Denounces President Trump, Describes Him as a Threat to the Constitution (JEFFREY GOLDBERG, 6/03/20, The Atlantic)

"Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people--does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us," Mattis writes. "We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children."

He goes on to contrast the American ethos of unity with Nazi ideology. "Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that 'The Nazi slogan for destroying us ... was "Divide and Conquer." Our American answer is "In Union there is Strength."' We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis--confident that we are better than our politics."

Posted by orrinj at 5:54 PM


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Posted by orrinj at 2:55 PM

Posted by orrinj at 2:34 PM


Three Other Minneapolis Officers to Be Charged in Police Killing of George Floyd (Pilar Melendez, Jun. 03, 2020, Daily Beast)

The three other Minneapolis cops involved in the police killing of George Floyd--an unarmed black man who was filmed repeatedly saying he couldn't breathe while an officer held his knee on his neck for several minutes--are being charged in his death.

The Star Tribune reports that the three officers --Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng--will be charged by Attorney General Keith Ellison with aiding and abetting murder. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) also announced on Twitter that Ellison is upgrading charges against Derek Chauvin, who held his knee on Floyd neck for almost nine minutes, to second-degree murder. Chauvin was charged last week with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

George Soros and Antifa win.

Posted by orrinj at 2:31 PM


Solar hydrogen production: Splitting water with UV is now at almost 100% quantum efficiency (Shinshu University, 6/03/20)

Scientists have successfully split water into hydrogen and oxygen using light and meticulously designed catalysts, and they did so at the maximum efficiency meaning there was almost no loss and undesired side reactions. This latest breakthrough in solar hydrogen production makes the likelihood of scalable, economically viable hydrogen production more than likely, paving the way for humanity to make the switch to clean energy.

Gas consumption taxes can't be high enough.
Posted by orrinj at 1:11 PM


There are now 500,000 negative tweets about George Soros every day. . (BEN SALES, JUNE 3, 2020, JTA)

Right-wing conspiracy theorists are increasingly claiming that George Soros is funding recent protests and riots across the United States in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, "aggressive language towards Soros has exploded on social media" this week. Negative tweets about the billionaire Jewish philanthropist rose from 20,000 per day on May 26 to 500,000 per day on May 30.

The posts, according to the ADL, mostly allege (without evidence) that Soros is funding riots across the country, and that he is backing Antifa, a loose network of anti-fascist activists whom President Donald Trump has blamed for the violence, also without citing evidence.

Posted by orrinj at 12:50 PM


Trump says 'common sense' for Russia to rejoin G7 (AFP, 6/03/20)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said it is "common sense" to bring Russia back into the G7, despite Moscow's expulsion from the club after invading part of Ukraine.

Speaking to Fox News radio, Trump said that the G7 countries -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States -- need Russian President Vladimir Putin back in a G8 format, regardless of his behavior.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Joe Biden's Empathy Offensive (CHARLOTTE ALTER, JUNE 2, 2020, TIME)

In his latest audition to be America's Healer-in-Chief, Vice President Joe Biden delivered a speech on Tuesday about the fight against systemic racism, which he said was fundamental to a "battle for the soul of the nation" this election year. "The country is crying out for leadership," Biden said, speaking at a podium at Philadelphia City Hall, flanked by American flags. "Leadership that can unite us, leadership that brings us together, leadership that can recognize the pain and deep grief of communities that have had a knee on their neck for a long time."

The speech was the latest in Biden's empathy offensive--a series of remarks and public appearances that talk about the pain at the heart of the nationwide protests, while calling for unity to confront systemic racism. Biden's strategy is to make his presidential campaign a contrast between character and empathy on his part and antagonism and bluster on Trump's. 

Any deviation from the message that Donald is Donald and Joe isn't is a mistake.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Biden's Speech About the Protests Is a Vision of Post-Trump America (WILLIAM SALETAN, JUNE 02, 2020, Slate)

For all his flaws, Biden fits the moment in this respect: He has always aimed for an expansive coalition. On Tuesday, he targeted Trump's most universally repellant offenses: "sweeping away all the guard rails that have long protected our democracy," "using tear gas and flash grenades" to clear out protesters for a photo op, "using the American military to move against the American people," and attacking "the right of the people peaceably to assemble." Biden reminded Trump that protest is part of liberty and democracy. "Mr. President," he said, "That is America."

In opposition to Trump's incendiary rhetoric, Biden argued not for the other side of a divided nation, but against division itself. "He thinks division helps him," said Biden. He lamented that Trump, who has promised to end wars abroad, "has turned our country into a battlefield." Biden emphasized the first word in our country's name--united--and appealed to moral principles shared by many faiths. "The President held up a Bible at St. John's church yesterday," said Biden. "If he opened it instead of brandishing it, he could have learned something: that we are all called to love one another as we love ourselves."

Biden didn't sugarcoat the injustices some Americans have inflicted on others. He acknowledged "the racial wounds that have long plagued this country," "generation after generation of hurt inflicted on people of color." "American history isn't a fairy tale," he said. It's "a tug of war between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart." He called for legislation to ban chokeholds, tighten oversight of police, and create a model standard for the use of force.

But Biden, like President Barack Obama, implored his audience to understand these injustices as part of a story of progress. Out of our nation's worst sins and crises, he noted, came many of its greatest reforms: the post-Civil War constitutional amendments, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act. America has always required "protests from voices of those mistreated, ignored, left out and left behind," he conceded. "But it's a union worth fighting for."

Trump stands against that tradition of progress.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Prime Minister Boris Johnson says U.K. will offer Hong Kong residents refuge from Beijing (EAMON BARRETT, June 3, 2020, Fortune)

On Wednesday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson published an op-ed in Hong Kong's largest English-language newspaper, the South China Morning Post, that directly warned Beijing against imposing a national security law on Hong Kong by threatening a major reform to the visa rights of some Hong Kong residents.

"If China imposes its national security law [on Hong Kong], the British government will change our immigration rules and allow any holder of [British National Overseas] passports from Hong Kong to come to the U.K. for a renewable period of 12 months and be given further immigration rights, including the right to work, which could place them on a route to citizenship," Johnson wrote, claiming the move would be "one of the biggest changes in our visa system in British history."

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Confederate Symbols Torn Down in US South (VOA News, June 02, 2020)

A Confederate soldiers' monument that stood in Birmingham, Alabama, for more than 100 years is no more. [...]

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has sued the city, accusing it of violating a state law ordering protecting Confederate memorials that are at least 40 years old.

The Washington Post reported that a statue honoring Confederate troops in Alexandria, Virginia -- a Washington suburb -- was taken also taken down Tuesday.

Demonstrators in Nashville took matters in their own hands and tore down the statue of Edward Carmack, a former state lawmaker and newspaper publisher who espoused racist views, who was gunned down in the streets of Nashville in 1908, according to the Tennessean newspaper.

And outside Tampa, Florida, a Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter voluntarily lowered a huge Confederate battle flag that flew within sight of two major highways for years.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Donald Trump has the highest disapproval rating of any president at this point in office (MARLENE LENTHANG, 6/03/20 DAILYMAIL.COM)

President Donald Trump has the highest disapproval rating of any president at this point in office, according to a new poll. 

Opinion poll analysis website FiveThirtyEight shared startling numbers showing that Trump's disapproval rate is at 54 percent, the highest it's been since October 2019.

'Trump's disapproval rating has been on the rise again, now up to 54 percent. There were some presidents with lower approval ratings to this point in their first terms, but no president had a higher *disapproval* rating than Trump now has,' site creator Nate Silver tweeted Tuesday. 

The only president who came close to this high disapproval rating was Jimmy Carter at 52 percent at day 1,230 of his presidency. 

Iowa Republicans oust Rep. Steve King, shunned for incendiary remarks (THOMAS BEAUMONT, 6/03/20, Times of Israel)

King was stripped of his committee assignments in 2018 for comments appearing to question the criticism of white nationalism in an era of increased sensitivity among Republicans nationally about the alt-right and white supremacists. He wondered aloud in a New York Times story about when the term "white supremacist" became offensive. King said the remarks were taken out of context.

The 71-year-old had piled up provocative statements throughout the years, comparing immigrants to livestock and appeared to make light of rape and incest in defending his anti-abortion views.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


An Evil Tragedy: Why the Iran-Iraq War Was So Terrible (Warfare History Network, 6/02/20)

The Iran-Iraq rivalry was profoundly altered by the Islamic Revolution that toppled the Shah in February of 1979, ending 2,500 years of monarchy. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's sudden rise to power created a regime in Iran that was far more of a threat to Iraq than the Shah had ever been. The revolution cut Iran off from the United States and the West. The 444-day U.S. Embassy hostage crisis began on November 4, 1979, and a brutal power struggle broke out between religious revolutionaries under Khomeini and radical Marxist movements that had initially supported the revolution. The internal disarray made Khomeini seem far more vulnerable than he really was, and led Saddam Hussein to believe that the time was ripe to transform Iraq into the dominant power in the Gulf.

On September 17, 1980, Hussein abrogated the 1975 Algiers Accord and declared the Shatt al-Arab "totally Iraqi and totally Arab." Heavy fighting broke out along the waterway, and Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr decreed a general mobilization. Convinced that his antagonist had been severely weakened by the purges of its regular forces and was preoccupied with suppressing grave internal threats, Hussein launched an invasion two days later. Six Iraqi army divisions advanced into Iran on three fronts along a 435-mile-broad arc in an initially successful surprise attack. In the north, an Iraqi mechanized division overran the border garrison at Qasr e-Shirin in Bakhtaran Province and pushed on, advancing 25 miles eastward to the base of the Zagros Mountains. Iraq's forces spent several days reaching the villages along the main route to Tehran; many villages were destroyed and their inhabitants expelled. On the central front, Iraqi forces captured Mehran, on the western edge of the Zagros chain in Ilam Province, an important position on the major north-south highway close to the border.

The main thrust came in the south, where five armored and mechanized divisions invaded Khuzestan Province on two axes. One easily crossed the lightly defended Shatt al-Arab near Basra, the second headed for Susangerd and the provincial capital of Ahwaz. Supported by heavy artillery barrages, the Iraqis made rapid and significant advances--almost 50 miles in the first few days. The Iraqis made heavy use of artillery and anti-tank guided missiles to break up strongpoints and met with little more than minor resistance from a mix of Revolutionary Guard and gendarmerie infantry forces.

Iraqi units entered Susangerd on September 28; finding it undefended, they pushed on toward Dezful and Ahwaz, crossed the Karun River, and approached the outskirts of Ahwaz and Korramshahr. Iraqi units now threatened all the major cities in southwestern Iran.

Emulating Israeli tactics used in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Hussein sent formations of MiG-21s in a preemptive strike against Iran's air bases at Mehrabad, Ahwaz, Dezful, and Abadan, but failed to destroy Iran's air force on the ground. Iranian jets were housed in hardened shelters and survived intact; Iraqi bombs designed to crater runways could not destroy Iran's spread-out airfields. Within hours, Iranian F-4 Phantoms took off from the airfields, attacking strategic targets near major Iraqi cities. Although Iran's 100 sorties were not especially effective, they shot down two aircraft and surprised the Iraqis; the Iranians also used helicopters to fly transport and attack missions. The Iraqi air force, with at least a 3-to-1 numerical advantage, virtually abandoned the skies to preserve its planes.

Iran was in the early stages of transforming its Revolutionary Guard Corps into a serious alternative to the regular army, which meant that much of the initial defense of Iran's central and southern borders fell to a mix of paramilitary forces, a few scattered regular army brigades, and between 12,000 and 30,000 Revolutionary Guards. The military experience of the Guards consisted largely of training as conscripts in the Shah's army or low-level fighting against the Kurds or other internal opponents. Meanwhile, the Iranian navy quickly established its mastery of the waters of the Gulf, sinking four enemy vessels and shelling Umm Qasr, the Iraqi oil port on the Faw Peninsula. Within a week, the Shatt waterway was closed for the duration of the war.

Iranian resistance at the outset of the invasion was unexpectedly fierce, if not particularly well organized. Iraqi forces easily advanced in the northern and central sectors and crushed scattered resistance there, but in Khuzestan the attackers encountered unyielding opposition. Iran had rapidly mobilized fiercely loyal Revolutionary Guard units, as well as tens of thousands of untrained and ill-armed popular volunteers called basij. By the end of November, a mixed force of 200,000 troops had been dispatched to the front. [...]

Once the fighting stopped, Saddam Hussein committed one of the greatest atrocities of the 20th century by a government against its own people. The day after the cease-fire went into effect, Iraqi warplanes began strafing Kurdish villages in the north, dropping poison gas and rocketing fleeing citizens. Some 5,000 inhabitants perished and another 100,000 refugees headed for the borders of Iran and Turkey. The end of the war for Iraqi citizens meant that they would continue to be strictly monitored, arrested, tortured, imprisoned, or killed by Hussein's brutal regime. [...]

The war had ended, but the rebuilding had yet to begin. Along the Iran-Iraq border, whole villages had disappeared, destroyed either by invading Iraqi troops or by Iranian troops pounding them to rubble in an attempt to liberate them. The true human and economic cost of eight years of unrestrained brutality is impossible to measure. The numbers of people, civilian and military, who were killed, maimed, or sickened by chemical agents can only be estimated. Possibly as many as 1 million people were slain and 1.5 million wounded; another 2 million became refugees.

Neither country came anywhere near achieving even the most modest of its war aims. The borders were unchanged; both armies ended the war in essentially the same position they were in at the outbreak of hostilities. Together, the opponents had squandered some $350 billion on a senseless war of attrition engineered by two venal and intransigent autocrats. A generation of long-suffering Iranians and Iraqis deserved far better.