June 16, 2020

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Tucker Carlson Freaks Out Over Right-Wing Poll Showing BLM Is More Popular Than Trump (Cristina Cabrera, June 16, 2020, TPM)

Carlson opened his program with news of the right-leaning pollster Rasmussen's latest report that shows 62 percent of "likely" U.S. voters view BLM favorably while President Donald Trump's approval rating trails behind at 43 percent.

"Here's some bracing news we never expected to report: Black Lives Matter is now more popular than the President of the United States," Carlson lamented in the opening of his program. "And not slightly more popular than the President; much more popular."

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Albuquerque Man Allegedly Shot by 'New Mexico Civil Guard' Right-Wing Militia Group During Statue Protest (EWAN PALMER, 6/16/20, Newsweek)

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the shooting occurred after several protesters descended on one man wearing a blue T-shirt who had been pushing and confronting those attempting to topple the statue.

After being forced onto the street, the man in the blue shirt allegedly deployed pepper spray before pulling out a gun and firing, hitting at least one person.

Footage posted on Twitter shows a man in a blue shirt confronting protesters prior to the shooting.

A second video then appears to show armed men in military-style clothing--believed to be members of the New Mexico Civil Guard militia group who were there to protect the statue--surrounding the man on the ground.

Several members of the militia group who were allegedly involved in the violence were then taken into custody by the Albuquerque Police Department.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Remembering John Howard Griffin at 100: Catholic Convert who wrote 'Black Like Me'(Robert Ellsberg, June 15, 2020, America)

Tomorrow marks the centenary of the writer and activist John Howard Griffin, who was born in Texas on June 16, 1920. His early life was marked by a number of diverse and remarkable experiences. But he is best remembered for his classic work Black Like Me, in which he described his experience in the winter of 1959 when he traveled to New Orleans, darkened his skin, shaved his head and "crossed the line into a country of hate, fear, and hopelessness--the country of the American Negro."

Perhaps the roots of Griffin's experience lay in his earlier 10-year experience of blindness--the result of a war injury. This experience prompted a deep spiritual journey that included his conversion to Catholicism. When his sight later miraculously returned, he was struck by how much superficial appearances can serve as obstacles to perception--allowing us to regard certain fellow humans as the "intrinsic other." This was especially obvious in the case of racism. Yet Griffin was struck by the frequent challenge from black friends: "The only way you can know what it's like is to wake up in my skin." He took these words to heart.

Griffin's book went beyond social observation to examine an underlying disease of the soul. His book was really a meditation on the effects of dehumanization, both for the oppressed and for the oppressors themselves. "Future historians," he wrote, "will be mystified that generations of us could stand in the midst of this sickness and never see it, never really feel how our System distorted and dwarfed human lives because these lives happened to inhabit bodies encased in a darker skin, and how, in cooperating with this System, it distorted and dwarfed our own lives in a subtle and terrible way."

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


'It's frustrating': Trump advertising blast has limits (STEVE PEOPLES and ZEKE MILLER, 6/16/20, AP)

President Donald Trump's campaign manager warned in late spring that his juggernaut political operation -- the "Death Star," he called it -- was about to start "pressing FIRE" for the first time.

What followed was a massive investment in television and online advertising designed to demonstrate the true might of Trump's reelection team. The Republican's campaign poured nearly $24 million into paid advertising focused largely on six battleground states in the seven-week period from the last week in April through the first week of June, according to spending data obtained by The Associated Press.

The Death Star attack did not have the intended effect.

Some recent polls suggest a dip in Trump's standing and a majority of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. And nearly two months after Trump first unleashed his advertising tsunami, there are signs that his inability to demonstrate consistent leadership through multiple national crises has neutralized one of the best advertising campaigns money can buy.

Well, it's exactly like the Death Star.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Chinese officials want Trump to win reelection because he is 'destroying US alliances' and won't unite to fight Beijing (Bill Bostock, 6/16/20, Business Insider)

Chinese officials are keen for President Donald Trump to win the November presidential election because he will continue "destroying US alliances," which could strengthen China's position in the world.

Nine current and former Chinese official told Bloomberg that the US is more dangerous to China when it unites with its traditional allies -- which could happen if Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden becomes president.

In the last 12 months alone, Trump has clashed with the UK and Canada over 5G contracts planned for Huawei, exchanged barbs with French President Emmanuel Macron, withdrawn funding from the World Health Organization, and shown little interest in continuing the NATO alliance.

On Monday, Trump pulled 10,000 US troops from their NATO stations in Germany.

In the eyes of Chinese officials, Trump's actions are most welcome, according to Bloomberg.

For Donald and co, Nationalist China is an ally, democratic Europe is not.
Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Antifa All AroundFrom civil rights protesters to elderly activists, Fox News and its viewers fear an imaginary invasion by the forces of anarchy. (PAUL WALDMAN JUNE 16, 2020, American Prospect)

When 65-year-old Scott Gudmundsen of Loveland, Colorado, saw two men in blue polo shirts bearing the name of a roofing company in his neighborhood, he knew just what to do. He called the police, warning them that there were "antifa guys" in the area, and "I am going out there to confront them." When police arrived on the scene, they found Gudmundsen in fatigues and tactical gear, holding the two young men at gunpoint. Weirdly enough, they turned out to be not "antifa guys" but ... roofers.

It's one small story, albeit one of particularly vivid stupidity. But there is a specter haunting American conservatives. It's clad in a black hoodie and bent on destroying their homes, their communities, and their very lives. Antifa, they believe, is coming for them.

They believe it because it's what they're being told, not only by conservative media but by the president of the United States, who among other things claimed that the 75-year-old man in Buffalo who was pushed to the ground by police in riot gear was actually an "antifa provocateur." And there's a very good reason it's happening right now.

It's not because antifa itself has in any objective sense grown more powerful or threatening in the last month or so. It's because the urgency of the movement for police reform, and the striking change in Americans' opinions about Black Lives Matter, has left many on the right in a psychologically difficult spot.

Many of the subtle and not-so-subtle ideas about societal order and the threat from supposedly criminal (or generally uppity) black people that they've relied on in the past have become more problematic to argue for in public, at least for the moment. And because anger and fear are both the foundation of Donald Trump's presidency and the ideology of media outlets like Fox News, a temporary redirection was in order. Enter antifa.

To be fair, anti-racism threatens the entire Trump project.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Where (Not) to Begin with the Common Good (MARK HOIPKEMIER, 6/15/20, Public Discourse)

The coronavirus pandemic has re-opened the question of the common good for liberal societies that generally prefer to ignore it. This represents an opportunity for Catholic thinkers, since the Aristotelian tradition is the only corner of the contemporary scene where the idea of the common good remains vibrantly alive.  [...]

Aristotle remarked that the beginning is "half of the whole." Where then should we begin thinking about the common good? We should begin where he himself begins: from the (philosophically clarified) standpoint of thoughtful persons, who are trying to understand how to act together.

The most prominent example of an inauspicious start is the formulation found in the Second Vatican Council's Gaudium et Spes, paragraph 26, where the common good is said to be "the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment." Since its promulgation in 1965, any number of magisterial documents have confidently referred back to this text as the best definition (or handy summary, or at least starting point for investigation) of the common good.

...if you're starting with the historically anti-protestant, anti-democratic, anti-capitalist Vatican you've already abandoned the "common."  

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

SUPER ON-BRAND (profanity alert):

Gun-toting Trump supporters attack George Floyd protesters in rural Ohio town (Travis Gettys, 6/15/20, Raw Story)

A small-town solidarity rally with Black Lives Matter ended in chaos after some of President Donald Trump's supporters showed up with guns to berate demonstrators.

Alicia Gee, a 36-year-old substitute teacher, was inspired by demonstrations in Hazard, Kentucky, to hold a protest in her hometown of Bethel, Ohio, to show support for equal rights, reported the Cincinnati Enquirer.

"I guess in my mind, we only think about protests happening in the city," Gee told the newspaper. "I've always gone to cities to protest, and then to see that something was happening in Hazard -- I was like, if Hazard, Kentucky, can have a protest, Bethel can have something."

Gee, a former children's minister and a member of the village's arts collective, set up a Facebook page for the event Tuesday, hoping to draw about 50 supporters, and she drew chalk marks on the sidewalk Saturday night to allow demonstrators to remain socially distant from one another.

But her plans were upended when a group of armed motorcyclists and others showed up wearing Confederate flag, Punisher and Trump-themed hats and clothing, some of them apparently drawn by online warnings that the demonstration was organized by Antifa activists. [...]

Numerous videos show counter protesters menacing the demonstrators with ideas seemingly drawn from the president's Twitter feed about the protests following George Floyd's police killing.

Yeah, but the judges,,,,