Home Is A Hole Where The Soul Goes
A bad idea to look down, Shirley
(Links to items in the newsletter are included at the end of it.)
Yesterday we wrote about a Swedish political party, Sweden Democrats, which was founded by neo-Nazis and other flavors of racist fascists and is now the second largest party in the Swedish parliament, after learning how to tone down the “Heils!”1
The Republican party in the U.S. is following a mirror image path, ever more clearly embracing fascism. The recent spate of forced transfers of immigrants from Texas and Florida to cities and towns where they weren’t expected, and where they weren’t expecting to go, and where they were unable to continue the process of establishing a federal paperwork trail, represents a significant step in the dehumanization of undocumented immigrants.2
And speaking of dehumanization, last night we
ran across searched out the story that first propelled our antipathy toward Nancy Pelosi. We were homeless in 2007, still writing regularly on BTC News, profoundly opposed to George W. Bush and the Iraq war, when we read a Washington Post account3 of a Pelosi interview, written by Dana Milbank, at the time a sort of Post doppelganger of Maureen Dowd at the New York Times.
Pelosi remarked during the interview that she was plagued by antiwar and pro-impeachment protestors at her home in San Francisco, complaining that she couldn’t have them arrested as she would if they were homeless and clogging her sidewalk. We found this utterly offensive not only in the dehumanizing attitude toward the homeless, but in her dismissal of protests against a war criminal.
Milbank refrained from analysis of Pelosi’s remarks, preferring to just let them float in the punchbowl, but not so our friends, the Socialists.4
Pelosi’s remark—imagine that riffraff “sleeping on my sidewalk”—is [sic] reveals the enormous social distance between the masses of working people, housewives, students who oppose the war, and the privileged ruling elite. And her disparaging reference to the First Amendment demonstrates the hostility of a big business politician towards the democratic rights of the working class.
This [insistence on helplessness] is the “big lie” that the Democratic leadership—with the full support of the media—has sought to use to excuse its own complicity with the war and cover up the fundamental agreement of both parties to continue the military occupation of Iraq indefinitely.
Pelosi, Reid & Co. have deliberately refused to take the action that they have within their power, cutting off funds for the war, which does not requires a filibuster-proof or veto-proof majority.
A simple majority in either house of Congress could have blocked war funding last May.
If forever is a unit of measurement, that’s how long we can hold a grudge.
The futility of police reform absent overwhelming financial pressure is, or should be, obvious to everyone in the “few bad apples” camp.5
[A] 2017 police chase was at the time the latest in a long line of questionable vehicle pursuits by officers of the St. Ann Police Department. Eleven people had been injured in 19 crashes during high-speed pursuits over the two prior years. Social justice activists and reporters were scrutinizing the department, and Cox and others were suing.
Undeterred, St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez stood behind the high-octane pursuits and doubled down on the department’s decades-old motto: “St. Ann will chase you until the wheels fall off.”
Then, an otherwise silent stakeholder stepped in. The St. Louis Area Insurance Trust risk pool — which provided liability coverage to the city of St. Ann and the police department — threatened to cancel coverage if the department didn’t impose restrictions on its use of police chases. City officials shopped around for alternative coverage but soon learned that costs would nearly double if they did not agree to their insurer’s demands.
The story notes that larger departments, like those in Los Angeles, New York City and other major cities, are essentially self-insured, maintaining dedicated misconduct settlement funds as a cost of doing business and of avoiding the kind of financial pressures applied by St. Anne’s insurer.
And speaking of money, if you don’t already have a free or paid subscription, please consider it.
Jason Hunter runs one of my favorite little photography sites. Take a look at Two Hour Photo!6
We’ve mentioned Alec Karakatsanis and his excellent organization, Civil Rights Corps,7 which does impactful work on decriminalizing poverty, more than once. A few days ago on Twitter, he noted that the obsession of president Biden and congressional Democrats with increased police funding will provide anti-women states with thousands of new policemen along with funds for new or expanded surveillance in service of abortion bans and other inimical laws.8
Call your Democratic federal legislators, if you have some, and demand they vote against giving Texas and Indiana more cops with which to pursue women.
The miracle settlement staving off a rail strike doesn’t exist, or if it does then no one has read it, and some union members are pissed.9
As it turns out, however, no final agreement actually exists. No one has read this supposed agreement, according to [rail union] SMART-TED, even the union chairpersons and officers, let alone the media mouthpieces and politicians. Yet they are all trying desperately to sell it as a major victory for workers.
Workers should reject this anti-democratic fraud. The unions, working with the White House and the corporations, are seeking to pull wool over workers’ eyes and ram through a contract that meets none of their demands.
This makes Bernie Sanders’ block of Republican legislation that would have forced rail workers to accept the preliminary agreement preceding the current one look even better.
The pyramid scheme created to finance the Tangerine Tyrant’s social media company may be days away from collapse. Devin Nunes, formerly one of the five stupidest persons in the House, seems not to be running the company to its best advantage.10
Amazon sells male-to-male extension cords with which customers seem determined to off their home electrical wiring, if not themselves.11
Life on Mars, or at least organic material which might indicate the presence of life at some distant point past.12
Lots of good sciencey stuff happening of late.
We are conscious of the accumulated weight of all the horrid things we talk about, and we’re trying to include analgesic stories when we find them. The goal isn’t to depress but to anger people, to the point where they’ll willingly step out of the comfort zone when an opportunity arises to address some of these things. The problems are big, the processes inexorable and so must be the solutions.
(We welcome music recommendations. If you have any, please drop them in the comments. Musical contributors to today’s post include The Beatles, “Revolver;” Lee Morgan, “Search for the New Land;” and John Batiste and Stay Human, “Social Music.”)
A Reuters story about the Venezuelan immigrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard after a stop in Florida.