…something’s gotta give [DOT 24/6/21]

because it's taking a lot...

…ok…so I could be talking about myself…in the aftermath of the most-indicted & unpresidented president’s tenure it did kind of feel like there was sort of less news in that not every day came with a fresh onslaught of reasons to wonder if today was the day that the wheels came off

Climate change will fundamentally reshape life on Earth in the coming decades, even if humans can tame planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, according to a landmark draft report from the UN’s climate science advisers obtained by AFP.

Species extinction, more widespread disease, unliveable heat, ecosystem collapse, cities menaced by rising seas – these and other devastating climate impacts are accelerating and bound to become painfully obvious before a child born today turns 30.

The choices societies make now will determine whether our species thrives or simply survives as the 21st century unfolds, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says in a draft report seen exclusively by AFP.

But dangerous thresholds are closer than once thought, and dire consequences stemming from decades of unbridled carbon pollution are unavoidable in the short term.

Climate crisis: dangerous thresholds to hit sooner than feared, UN report says [Guardian]

…well…sort of

Donald Trump wanted Covid-19 to “take out” his former national security adviser John Bolton, a new book is set to reveal, as a heated summer of further colourful revelations about the controversial former president spills out from competing tomes.


The nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington published a report Tuesday detailing how 881 Secret Service employees had tested positive between March 1, 2020 and March 9, 2021. The data, which came from a Freedom of Information Act request to the Secret Service, found that 477 members of the special agent division had been infected. Described by the Department of Homeland Security as “the elite agents you see protecting the President and Vice President,” special agents are also responsible for a number of safety assignments overseas and in the United States, such as protecting the president and vice president’s families, presidential candidates and visiting foreign leaders.
While the data does not give a breakdown of coronavirus infections between the two administrations during this period, the watchdog placed much of the blame on former president Donald Trump and former vice president Mike Pence for holding “large-scale rallies against public health guidelines.”

The group also slammed the Trump family’s regular travel during the pandemic and Trump’s photo op last year outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center “in a car with secret service agents while being treated for COVID, further putting agents in danger.”

“It’s impossible to overstate the risk the Trump administration put on Secret Service agents,” CREW wrote.


Nearly 900 Secret Service employees were infected with the virus, a watchdog group finds. [NYT]

…but in truth there’s still more going on out there in the world than realistically we can keep pace with

Boebert had to raise her game. And on Wednesday, she gave it her best shot. She assembled 10 colleagues in the House TV studio to announce her new resolution to censure Biden — a reprimand that a chamber of Congress has delivered only once in U.S. history, to Andrew Jackson — over Biden’s border policy. “The Biden regime has punched our Border Patrol agents in the face!” she shouted, after calling Vice President Harris “Cackling Kamala.”

Not bad. But Boebert was immediately overshadowed by her colleagues, who put on a clinic in crazy talk.

Lauren Boebert, lost in a cacophony of crazy [WaPo]

…even if, like me, you read entirely too much of what we endearingly insist on calling the news even when there’s comparatively little new about it

Lawmakers were set to take a tentative framework to the White House on Thursday. Administration officials signaled the president was prepared to support it, pending final details.

Biden and Senators Close In on Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal [NYT]

The legislators are jumping through these hoops in the first place because for the past three decades, the Republican Party has organized its agenda around an absolutist principle: no new taxes, ever. But despite the senators’ insistence, these arrangements do not actually avoid extractive charges on residents. They just launder the new fees through private investors.

Rather than the government financing the rebuilding of roads and bridges that get you across town, you pay a private company operating in contract with the government — while policymakers pretend that they have avoided imposing new costs.

Republicans Want You (Not the Rich) to Pay for Infrastructure

Spread of delta coronavirus variant exposes poorly vaccinated regions to renewed danger [WaPo]

By rooting through files stored on Google Cloud, a researcher says he recovered 13 early coronavirus sequences that had disappeared from a database last year.

Scientist Finds Early Virus Sequences That Had Been Mysteriously Deleted [NYT]

Seattle scientist digs up deleted coronavirus genetic data, adding fuel to the covid origin debate [WaPo]

States across the country are dropping barriers to voting, widening a stark geographic divide in ballot access [WaPo]

A committee led by Michigan Republicans on Wednesday published an extraordinary debunking of voter fraud claims in the state, delivering a comprehensive rebuke to a litany of accusations about improprieties in the 2020 election and its aftermath.

The 55-page report, produced by a Michigan State Senate committee of three Republicans and one Democrat, is a systematic rebuttal to an array of false claims about the election from supporters of former President Donald J. Trump. The authors focus overwhelmingly on Michigan, but they also expose lies perpetuated about the vote-counting process in Georgia.

The report is unsparing in its criticism of those who have promoted false theories about the election. It debunks claims from Trump allies including Mike Lindell, the chief executive of MyPillow; Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former president’s lawyer; and Mr. Trump himself.

Michigan Republicans Debunk Voter Fraud Claims in Unsparing Report [NYT]

Michigan Republicans find no voter fraud and say Trump claims ‘ludicrous’ [Guardian]

…so it’s somewhat of a foregone conclusion that this isn’t going to wind up including all the things I might have been tempted to try & cram into it

Russia says it fired warning shots at a British warship in the Black Sea. It didn’t, says U.K. [WaPo]

How Press Freedom Is Being Eroded in Hong Kong [NYT]

A linguist for a U.S. Special Operations task force in Iraq was sentenced Wednesday to 23 years in prison in a rare terrorism espionage case, after she admitted she turned over names of informants and other classified data to a Lebanese man with ties to the militant group Hezbollah.


FEMA pressed on historically high rejection rates for disaster survivors [WaPo]

U.S. officials expected to extend eviction moratorium by 30 days as fears about renters mount [WaPo]

A presumption of innocence is never afforded to poor people accused of petty theft. Yet billionaires benefit from it every day when it comes to taxes

We’re told billionaire tax avoidance is ‘perfectly legal’. But is it? [Guardian]

Policymakers and the media are paying too much attention to how quickly the US economy will emerge from the pandemic-induced recession, and not nearly enough to the nation’s deeper structural problem – the huge imbalance of wealth that could enfeeble the economy for years.
Seventy per cent of the US economy depends on consumer spending. But wealthy people, who now own more of the economy than at any time since the 1920s, spend only a small percentage of their incomes. Lower-income people, who were in trouble even before the pandemic, spend whatever they have – which has become very little.

In a very practical sense, then, the US economy depends on the spending of most Americans who don’t have much to spend. That spells trouble ahead.
History is repeating itself. Typical US wages have hardly increased for decades, adjusted for inflation. Most economic gains have gone to the top, just as Eccles’ “giant suction pump” drew an increasing portion of the nation’s wealth into a few hands before the Great Depression.

The result has been consumer spending financed by borrowing, creating chronic fragility. After the housing and financial bubbles burst in 2008, we avoided another Great Depression only because the government pumped enough money into the system to maintain demand, and the Fed kept interest rates near zero.
The heart of the imbalance is America’s wealthy and the corporations they own have huge bargaining power – both market power in the form of monopolies, and political power in the form of lobbyists and campaign contributions.

By contrast, most workers have little or no bargaining power – neither inside their firms because of the near-disappearance of labor unions, nor in politics because political parties have devolved from giant membership organizations to fundraising machines.
Until the structural imbalance is remedied, the American economy will remain perilously fragile. It will also be vulnerable to the next demagogue wielding anger and resentment as substitutes for real reform.

The American economy is perilously fragile. Concentration of wealth is to blame [Guardian]


The splashy news out of the Supreme Court is the case of the cursing cheerleader, who won her First Amendment challenge against a Pennsylvania high school that suspended her from the junior varsity squad for posting a vulgar message on Snapchat. The bigger, more ominous news on Wednesday came in two cases that are a lot less sexy, as the court’s conservative majority continued its passion project: limiting the reach of government regulation and enhancing presidential authority over regulatory agencies.


Supreme Court Rules for Cheerleader Punished for Vulgar Snapchat Message [NYT]

…it’s maybe worth noting that the news doesn’t always make things clearer

Former NRA president tricked into gun violence prevention video [NBC]

Responding to a spike in homicides across the country, President Biden on Wednesday laid out an anti-crime strategy from the White House that cracks down on gun stores that don’t follow federal rules, steps up programs for recently released convicts and provides more support for police departments across the country.

Biden’s plan to tackle rising homicides: tighten gun regulations, bolster police [WaPo]

In the national conversation about policing over the past year, public attention has focused on those who die at the hands of officers. Americans know the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice and others killed by cops. Few know that tens of thousands of people like Paulino end up in emergency rooms after run-ins with police.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that since 2015, more than 400,000 people have been treated in emergency rooms because of a violent interaction with police or security guards. But there’s almost no nationwide data on the nature or circumstances of their injuries. Many of the country’s roughly 18,000 law enforcement agencies don’t tally or make public the number of people who need medical care after officers break their arms, bruise their faces, or shock them with Tasers.

Researchers point out that only a tiny portion of arrests involve force. But when police do use force, more than half of the incidents ended with a suspect or civilian getting hurt, according to a 2020 analysis. It’s unclear how serious the harm is. “We need better data on injury severity,” said Matthew Hickman, a professor at Seattle University and one of the study’s authors.


Video shows Florida trooper using stun gun on teenager outside girlfriend’s home [NBC]

In an era of viral videos of police violence and rising numbers of fatal police shootings, the momentum for police de-escalation of force is growing among police leaders nationwide. On Wednesday, New York City’s police department, the largest in the United States, announced it will train all 35,000 of its officers in de-escalation, using the Police Executive Research Forum’s Integrating Communications, Assessment and Tactics approach to reduce violent encounters and injuries to both officers and citizens.

The ICAT theory rejects the long-held police tactic of meeting force with greater force, though it doesn’t apply in situations where someone has a gun. But The Washington Post’s database of fatal police shootings shows that since 2015, about 40 percent of people killed didn’t have a gun. Chuck Wexler, the longtime head of PERF and vocal proponent of de-escalation, said 40 percent is where police can make a significant reduction in the number of people killed each year.
For officers long trained in the “use-of-force continuum,” the fear is often expressed that not using force will get them wounded or killed. “Actually, the opposite is true,” said New York Assistant Police Chief Kenneth Corey, the head of training for the department. “That’s what all the studies have proven. If we can reduce incidents in which we have to use force, it keeps everyone safer, not just the citizens but the officer. We’re not taking any tools out of the toolbox. We’re adding tools to it.”

Corey referred to a study released last fall by University of Cincinnati criminologist Robin S. Engel, funded by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Center for Police Research and Policy. The study examined the Louisville Metro Police Department before and after it received PERF’s ICAT training in de-escalation and found 28 percent fewer use-of-force incidents by officers, 26 percent fewer injuries to citizens and 36 percent fewer injuries to officers.
The ICAT approach counsels officers to move cautiously upon arrival, communicating more with dispatchers to obtain additional information about the subject, rather than immediately taking charge of a scene where someone isn’t wielding a gun. The goal is to start a conversation, to calm the subject rather than confront them, while maintaining a safe distance from them and waiting for more resources rather than promptly seeking an arrest. PERF has also added new modules on reducing “suicide by cop” with similar tactics, and intervening in situations where other officers may be using force inappropriately.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/06/23/new-york-police-deescalate/ [WaPo]

…the thing is

Military leaders excoriated Rep. Matt Gaetz during a House hearing on Wednesday after the Florida Republican raised questions about critical race theory being taught to the nation’s soldiers.

“We do not teach critical race theory, we don’t embrace critical theory and I think that is a spurious conversation,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Gaetz during a House Armed Services Committee hearing. “And so we are focused on extremism behaviors and not ideology, not peoples thoughts not people’s political orientations.”


…shit’s complicated…which is why it pays to try to understand stuff

Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pushed back on Wednesday against suggestions from a Republican congressman that the military was becoming too “woke,” calling such accusations “offensive” and alluding directly to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol in which some veterans and active-duty members participated.

General Milley pushes back on G.O.P. accusations of a ‘woke’ military.

…but if you follow that tweet to the dubious wasteland that is twitter there’s a surprising number of responses that seem to either not have watched the clip…or perhaps more tellingly either don’t understand what critical race theory is or assume that the people reading their responses will themselves either not watch the clip or not know what the theory is…because they claim the clip doesn’t feature a defense of critical race theory…which is odd given that whilst extolling the virtues of being widely read in things which explain positions you don’t necessarily hold the general mentions that one of those things is something “started at harvard law school years ago that proposed[…]that there were laws in the United States[…]that led to a power differential with african americans that were ‘three quarters of a human being’ when this country was formed[…]then we had a civil war & an emancipation proclamation to change that and we brought it up to the civil rights act in 1964″…which sounds to me a lot like a description of the basic origin of what the term critical race theory was coined for…& in conjunction with claiming there’s some utility (not least in the context of things like the armed storming of the seat of government by a mob bent on overturning the result of an election) in “having some situational understanding about the country which we are here to defend”…that sounds an awful lot like a defense of the idea that theory bears learning about…but that’s just me…& let’s face it…I’m almost certainly dangerously socialist at heart

…I’ll try to go find some tunes to sit at the bottom of this…but speaking of the bit at the bottom…the machine translation which provides the subtitles to that little speech by the general is unintentionally hilarious



  1. …I read mouse and tongue. That’s awesome.
    As seas get higher, people on the coast will have to move inland, buh bye, red middle. And the upbeat trend continues. Where is it coming from. fucking vaccine was loaded with pollyanna genes or some shit, lost out on my magnetism for that? fuck me.

      • It has served me well in the past but it is a double edged sword. Like I should have gotten a new job a long time ago but instead I kept thinking, but my commute is great, no overtime, decent benefits, i’m kind of overpaid and underutilized, not ideal, but gives me lots of times to figure out new knitting projects.

  2. Before I forget, let me offer this: This article was written by Robert Reich:


    Who? Clinton’s first Labor Secretary, among other things. I am a huge fan/collector of political memoirs and he wrote at least one. The one I read talked about his tough confirmation hearing. A hostile Republican opened a line of inquiry that was almost a fatal blow. Sen. Ted Kennedy, as powerful as ever, lobbed a rephrased softball version of the question and Reich was able to—something. Reich was confirmed. To what benefit I don’t know. I don’t remember the first half of the 1990s as being a Golden Age of Labor. Reich described it this way (paraphrasing from memory):

    “I was drowning and Sen. Kennedy threw me a life preserver.”

    How did his editor let this get into print? I think Kennedy was alive when the book came out. There are another half dozen zingers, I’m assuming unintentional gaffes,  in that book. Even the “worst” political memoir is usually a worthwhile read.


    • When I first read that – I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it – I thought maybe he spelled preserver wrong – then I was like “Holy shit!”

      • That’s the thing about the political-memoir-zinger: Reich himself probably didn’t realize how that comment might be interpreted, and the editor no doubt wasn’t alive in 1969 and probably has no idea who Ted Kennedy is/was, being armed with a small but prestigious liberal arts school degree in 19th-century French literature and all.

      • “I was drawn to public service because I was a great admirer of President Kennedy. I would have taken a bullet for that man.” Bill Clinton, who is indeed a great admirer of JFK, once said something that skated awfully close to that sentiment. However, after Donald Trump, he’s probably he most verbose President we’ve ever had, so tracking down exact quotes is difficult. I think it was when Clinton was running for the White House in 1992.

  3. Speaking of the intersection of ProPublica, rich folk avoiding taxes, the IRS, and Deadsplinter’s most loathed techbro….
    Denton was a dick, but the dislike was 100% legit and MUTUAL
    And if anyone somehow doesn’t think Zuck is just as terrible, look at when Thiel became an investor in Faces-we-are-a-scanning, and remember juuuust how long that means he’s been mentoring Zuck…

  4. The big issue I have with a lot of reporters’ books on current affairs is that they tend to overly atomize issues. There’s a tendency to shy away from any kind of deep analysis and focus on individuals and their specific decisions.
    It happened with a lot of Iraq War books. One example is The One Percent Doctrine by Ron Suskind, which in one way was illuminating. It honed in on Dick Cheney’s argument that any threat which had a one percent chance of succeeding needed to be treated as a 100% threat, and showed how that drove the Iraq War.
    But in a bigger way it was deeply frustrating, because it never dug into the bigger issue, which is that Cheney’s doctrine was complete BS. Cheney never treated other 1% threats as 100% certainties, and in fact his mania over Iraq meant that other threats were downgraded into zero percent threats so that he could chase after Iraq. What did the complete emptiness of Cheney’s claim mean? The book never even thought to go there. The net result of these books is that Iraq was treated as a series of mistakes, rather than a deeper systems problem.
    I fear the same thing from the upcoming wave of Trump White House post mortems. They will follow the same pattern of the earlier books, which were transparently about bad actors shifting the blame to others and ultimately defending a crooked system — the problem isn’t the GOP, it’s a matter of bad manners.
    It’s the old magician’s trick — keep people focused on your right hand and they’ll never see what’s going on with your left hand, your feet, or beautiful assistant. You can even feed them a blunder or two to fix the focus even more firmly away from what is really happening.
    Which is not to say that there isn’t some value to in-depth reporting. It’s absolutely a necessary condition to fixing problems. But without providing a deeper account, it becomes nothing but the worst kind of gossip.

    • Compounded, no doubt, by Trump’s capacity for unfiltered madness. I was joking this morning with a friend about how his staffers would approach their interviews for the books:

      Aide 1: “Oh man, did you tell him the one about the time he was going to sell Alaska to the Russians because Murkowski said she wasn’t sure about voting for the tax bill?”

      Aide 2: “What? No, I thought he was going to sell it to the Canadians!”

      1: “No, it was the Russians because the Russian ambassador complimented his tie.”

      2: “Oh man, I totally forgot about that because that was the same dinner when he gave the ambassador’s wife the nuclear launch codes because she said he had very manly hands. But wait, then he got mad because she said something nice to Jared.”

      1: “Ohhh, yeah, you’re right, then he was going to sell it to Canada…”

      2: “But didn’t because he didn’t like Trudeau’s socks!”

    • The whole Trump experience is a slight of hand trick.  I always said that the reason the Republicans love him so much is he was the great distracter, while we talked about the stupid shit he did each day or the latest scandal, they could pull off all the evil shit they want without anyone noticing.  Now the party has no ideas, no plans, and no fear of losing power so it is 100% outrage theater.  They want to win the culture war and kneecap all policy of the Democrats and nothing else.  I am almost out of outrage at this point.

      • And as long as they don’t have to worry about this ever being the narrative, they’re fine.
        The political press covering them like this is like a reporter acting like David Copperfield really did make the Statue of Liberty disappear, and writing followup reports like “How did the National Park Service allow one of America’s landmarks to disappear” and “New Jersey families mourn loss of loved ones in Statue of Liberty disaster.”

    • It’s completely heartbreaking, and wholly unsurprising, too😕
      From some of the folks I follow over on Twitter, it’s also no surprise, even though *white folks* are just learning about it now… apparently the site was KNOWN in in the First Nations community for decades now… just didn’t get attention from outside.
      There’re gonna be a LOT more “discoveries” like these–known about for decades by First Nations/Native folks, and *suddenly discovered* by white ones.
      And there will probably be even more *outrage*(🙄😒🤬) when white Americans fiiiiiiinally learn about our history of “Native Schools”🙃
      Ffs, *I* didn’t even know that ours were as close to where I grew up, as they were, until the last year or so!!!🙃
      I grew up ~40 miles/40 minutes from the site of one…. *NOW * known as The University of Minnesota Morris…
      But back shortly before/around the time my Great Grandparents moved to the next towns over? (About a decade before my grandparents–both the babies of their reapective families–were born.)
      It was still the Morris Industrial School for Indians.
      And i’m SURE, that just like in soooo many other places, we’ll eventually “discover” that an entire passel of children died & were buried there, too… even though it was for part of it’s history “just” a day school…
      The Morris school was run by nuns, then by the Government.
      There HAD to have been terribleness that went on–just as there was in the other boarding schools here in MN (that I also only learned about in the last 4-5 months!🙃)
      The motto back then– stemming from the first Indian boarding school was “Kill the Indian and Save the Man”

  5. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2021/06/24/building-collapse-miami-structure-had-been-sinking-into-earth/7778631002/
    -Florida condo collapse because??
    -Rudy Giuliani’s NY law license suspended *cackling*
    In local news, I opened my patio blinds this morning to see a smol birb huddled up against the door, feathers puffy and head tucked under a wing. I thought “oh gods, now all the animals feel safe enough to come here to DIE. I am going to have to add bird & bun funerals to my list of services.” Then he perked up, blinked, and alit to the feeder. HE WAS ASLEEP!! ON THE GROUND!! Safe, indeed, lil dude. *phew*

    • i dont know why it collapsed…feels like saying florida man was involved somehow is the safe bet
      i really hope a good chunk of those still missing are simply elsewhere and havent checked in yet tho….. coz i dont think they’re gonna be finding many live ones in that pile

      • When i read about it this morning, they didn’t know anything. But apparently the foundation has been shifting under the building since the 90s, and (whoever is in charge of that sort of thing) has known and reported on it. I wondered if it was a sinkhole since Florida is lousy with em. But absolute incompetence doesn’t rule out a Florida Man.

    • …not that I don’t get what he implies…but from time to time some remark like that comes along & reminds me that the intentional distortion of the definition of some terms…socialism being one in particular…by these people really is beyond parody…& it pisses me off all over again?

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