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Hometown: Green Mountains
Home country: US
Member since: Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:27 PM
Number of posts: 11,446

Journal Archives

"The L-Word Not Used" - emptywheel (lynch)


Many of us are shocked, angry, dismayed by the harrying intimidation Moss and her mother and grandmother endured simply because Moss and her mother were election workers. Some of us have been moved to tears.

But what we’re missing is what Dr. Johnson avoided saying in his care to avoid offending white Americans with ‘performative Blackness’.

What was described by the testimony today was the mobilization of a lynch mob.

Neither, though, were targeted simply for being election workers who were Black in a white-minority county, doing their jobs while not having any authority to change anything about the election.

Hunted down and harassed by a mob because mother Ruby passed her daughter Shaye a mint. Fearful going forward, always looking over their shoulder, because they know these kinds of mobs and how they operate.

White pundits and reporters have and will discuss the terror Trump inflicted on election officials, but they’ve not yet mentioned the specific kind of terror Moss and her family experienced and continue to experience.

The secret lives of mites in the skin of our faces - interesting sexual positions


Their unique gene arrangement also results in the mites' unusual mating habits. Their reproductive organs have moved anteriorly, and males have a penis that protrudes upwards from the front of their body meaning they have to position themselves underneath the female when mating, and copulate as they both cling onto the human hair.

The mites are passed on during birth and are carried by almost every human, with numbers peaking in adults as the pores grow bigger. They measure around 0.3 mm long, are found in the hair follicles on the face and nipples, including the eyelashes, and eat the sebum naturally released by cells in the pores. They become active at night and move between follicles looking to mate.

Dunno. Just thought this interesting for those of us that don't get around much anymore...

The Insurrection they planned for - isn't the insurrection they


The intent of trump was to cause an uprising among citizens protesting his usurpation of power. He was thinking that he could call out the troops because the citizens were being unruly. Turns out his deplorables were the rioters.

(Much good material preceding.)

Taylor thinks Trump purposefully incited the mob of January 6th for that purpose but Thursday’s testimony is far more suggestive of a plan to invoke the act after Pence overturned the election, inciting expected street protests from the people whose votes had just been discarded and whose democracy had just been incinerated. This would have given Trump the excuse he needed to solidify his coup with a classic military intervention.

Trump and his henchmen may very well have known their actions would incite an insurrection. They just planned for a different one than they got. When the mob stormed the Capitol, Trump was left with the choice to call out the National Guard on his own supporters or let them try to overturn the election by force. We all know which path he chose to take.

Police Militarization Gave Us Uvalde - The Atlantic

Archived: https://archive.ph/PuDOB'

I would normally not post something from the RW George Mason Antonin Scalia Law School, but this is incredibly powerful and informative.

The cost of aggressive policing tactics and training can be measured in bodies: Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others, I believe, died in part because of a policing culture that sanctions unnecessarily aggressive tactics in everyday policing situations. But there are other consequences. Thoughtful police leaders will tell you that frayed police-community relations—especially with communities of color—have become an impediment to good policing, and the problem is growing. Effective policing always depends on buy-in from the community. Every unnecessarily aggressive policing encounter, every viral video of people begging for their life, causes individuals to withdraw their willingness to aid police. A critical mass of everyday citizens at odds with their police is a disaster for effectiveness and democratic legitimacy.

What does this have to do with Uvalde—an event in which more, not less, aggression was called for? It would be insufficient to chalk up the tragedy at Robb Elementary to bad individual decision making. I think it reveals a hollowness that has always lurked deep within police militarization.

Having served in both, I can tell you that police aren’t the military. The intensity of the training, the resources put into developing unit cohesion, the careful cultivation of competent junior officers, the physical demands, the singular focus on obedience—military training is not simply “tougher” (in some ways) than police training; it is different in kind. This reflects the differing purpose and goals of the two institutions. That’s good; we shouldn’t want police to treat Americans like the military treats America’s enemies, and we shouldn’t train them to do so.

But in our ill-conceived attempt to refashion police into a cadet branch of the military, we have somehow managed to get the worst of both worlds. We have trained a generation of officers that being casually brutal in everyday encounters is acceptable, but these same officers show a disturbing tendency to fall back on jargon about “battlespace management” and “encounter tempo” to explain a slow reaction in the rare circumstance that really does require a rapid, all-out response. Especially in poor communities, the result has been the strange dynamic of “over-policing and under-protection” described by the criminologist David Kennedy, in which police are hypervigilant about petty offenses but unresponsive to more serious criminal activity.

Police militarization, it turns out, is largely swagger, and short on substance. What strikes me as I study the Facebook photo of the Uvalde SWAT team, standing in their tactical gear, is the theatricality of the whole thing. Any thoughtful observer of policing over the past 20 years has come to recognize the increasing childishness of the rhetoric about police militarization generally, and SWAT specifically. The journalist Radley Balko and others have documented police units’ use of military insignia and tough-guy mottos totally unsuited to civilian agencies (examples: “Hunter of men,” “We get up early, to BEAT the crowds,” “Baby Daddy Removal Team,” and “Narcotics: You huff and you puff and we’ll blow your door down”). Police education and training standards are abysmally low. In Texas, more training hours are required to be a hairdresser than a cop. National standards for SWAT training and tactics are essentially nonexistent.

AARP's Billion-Dollar Bounty : KHN

Can't trust anyone anymore.

In September, AARP, the giant organization for older Americans, agreed to promote a burgeoning chain of medical clinics called Oak Street Health, which has opened more than 100 primary care outlets in nearly two dozen states.
Fortune logo

The deal gave Oak Street exclusive rights to use the trusted AARP brand in its marketing — for which the company pays AARP an undisclosed fee.

AARP doesn’t detail how this business relationship works or how companies are vetted to determine they are worthy of the group’s coveted seal of approval. But its financial reports to the IRS show that AARP collects a total of about $1 billion annually in these fees — mostly from health care-related businesses, which are eager to sell their wares to the group’s nearly 38 million dues-paying members. And a paid AARP partnership comes with a lot: AARP promotes its partners in mailings and on its website, and the partners can use the familiar AARP logo for advertisements in magazines, online, or on television. AARP calls the payments “royalties.”

There are reasons for concern about the latest partnership. Less than two months after announcing the AARP deal, Oak Street revealed it was the subject of a Justice Department civil investigation into its marketing tactics, including whether it violated a federal law that imposes penalties for filing false claims for payment to the government. Oak Street has denied wrongdoing and says it is cooperating with the investigation.

Companies like Oak Street, whose funders have included private equity investors, have alarmed progressive Democrats and some health policy analysts, who worry the companies may try to squeeze excessive profits from Medicare with the services they market mainly to people 65 or older. Oak Street hopes it can cut costs by keeping patients healthy and in the process turn a profit, though it has yet to show it can do so.

AARP has stood for decades as the dominant voice for older Americans, though people of any age can join. Members pay $16 a year or less and enjoy discounts on hundreds of items, from cellphones to groceries to hotels. AARP also staffs a busy lobbying shop that influences government policy on a plethora of issues that affect older people, including the future and solvency of Medicare.

Perhaps not as well known: that AARP depends on royalty income to help “serve the needs of those 50-plus through education, programs and advocacy,” said Jason Young, a former AARP senior vice president.

Plants and fungus are every bit as much "life" as animals, but you don't hear their screams

This is such a great piece of thinking that I wanted to promote to its own OP. (It's not mine, but NullTuples).

Plant chlorophyll and mammalian hemoglobin are nearly identical molecules; one uses iron as the central functional atom, the other uses magnesium. One of us found movement via muscles a better route to survive, the other found staying still and using energy from the sun to survive a better route. That there is a balance indicates neither is in any way better.

Going deeper and yet higher in the taxonomic organization structure, meaning even more basic, at the first division of life on Earth:

Archaea, Bacteria, Eukarya - all life on earth uses the same encoding scheme, differing primarily in the ribosomal RNA flavor they use. DNA came from RNA; there's evidence that life on Earth was once RNA based (though considerably simpler than life now), and we eukaryotes keep a reminder of that past inside us with our ribosomal RNA, typically inside mitochondria or plasmids, essentially a symbiotic organism that lives in most of our cells, be we plant or animal. Plants and animals are very nearly the same at this level. Their source code if you will, is written in the same language and simply uses different variations of the details. We simply go about accomplishing the same tasks in slightly different ways.

My point is that life is life. Animals are no more worthy of that designation, nor the reverence it should impart, than plants. Like animals, plants show clear signs of physical distress when harmed and communicate it to each other - but you have to know what to look for, and we are so very human-centric we simply don't notice.

Like plants, we are omnivores (plants need more than just sunlight & water after all, and some of it comes from animal, fungus or bacterial carcasses). We get our nutrition from whatever we can. Does that mean we need to eat meat more than somewhat rarely? No, not at all. In fact we evolved to eat meat - but very little of it. The amount most Americans consume is very bad for both their health and the health of the planet. But we did evolve countless structures to enable us to live off meat and to a lesser degree, plants. Side note, we evolved mechanisms to identify & hopefully eject one way or the other plants we can't live off of, which is most of them. There are comparatively few plants we can live off of. Truth be told, most of our ancestors throughout our history likely ate whatever they could find ranging from foraged plants if they didn't make them sick or die, insects, and scavenged meat. The occasional fresh meat, though it had a large payoff in terms of protein and fats, was also the most dangerous (again, assuming one didn't pick the wrong plants). Our bodies evolved accordingly.

Raising meat under capitalism, where every penny invested must be maximized, is a part of what's killing off our ecosystem. Livestock ranches are akin to small cities of 1000 pound citizens constantly creating methane. Then their excrement creates more methane. The remainder of the excrement tends to contaminate and salt aquifers and waterways, and nitrogen loads rivers leading to unbalanced algae growth (which dies, depletes oxygen & kills off so-called higher life forms like fish & frogs). Methane by the way is 80x - 400x worse of a greenhouse gas than CO2. Then there's the water usage from growing feed to cleaning slaughterhouses; here in the West it's a substantial amount when it's added up, which is why it rarely is added up for people to see.

So yes, eat more plants and less meat. But do it to save all life, please.

Fascist Fashion: How Mainstream Businesses Enable the Sale of Far-Right Merchandise - Bellingcat


Fascist fashion items can help promote and provide funds for extremist groups. In some instances, it appears, their sale relies upon key services provided by prominent businesses that have policies against promoting racist organisations and hateful content.

An investigation by Bellingcat has found that a number of far-right and neo-Nazi online stores are openly utilising the infrastructure provided by major payment processors, commercial content management systems and web domain registrars.

Bellingcat was also able to establish that some far-right web stores appeared to be purchasing garments from wholesale manufacturers, whose charters celebrate diversity and equality, before embossing their own hateful messaging onto the clothing and selling it at a profit.

Some of the far-right sites could even be seen using mainstream social media platforms to promote links to their own online shops and those of their far-right allies.

Zuckerberg sued for alleged role in Cambridge Analytica data-slurp scandal

Source: The Register

Cambridge Analytica is back to haunt Mark Zuckerberg: Washington DC's Attorney General filed a lawsuit today directly accusing the Meta CEO of personal involvement in the abuses that led to the data-slurping scandal.

DC AG Karl Racine filed [PDF] the civil suit on Monday morning, saying his office's investigations found ample evidence Zuck could be held responsible for that 2018 cluster-fsck. For those who've put it out of mind, UK-based Cambridge Analytica harvested tens of millions of people's info via a third-party Facebook app, revealing a – at best – somewhat slipshod handling of netizens' privacy by the US tech giant.

That year, Racine sued Facebook, claiming the social network was well aware of the analytics firm's antics yet failed to do anything meaningful until the data harvesting was covered by mainstream media. Facebook repeatedly stymied document production attempts, Racine claimed, and the paperwork it eventually handed over painted a trail he said led directly to Zuck.

Fast forward to this week, and in announcing he's suing Zuckerberg, Racine on Monday said: "This lawsuit is not only warranted, but necessary, and sends a message that corporate leaders, including CEOs, will be held accountable for their actions."

Actual filing: https://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2022-05/2022.05%20%283%29.pdf

Read more: https://www.theregister.com/2022/05/23/zuckerberg_sued_for_his_role/

Rep. Jamie Raskin on losing his son and saving democracy - Unthinkable - VTDigger

Great interview with David Goodman (brother of Amy).

Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin was expecting trouble after the November 2020 presidential election. Raskin and his Democratic colleagues in Congress anticipated that former President Donald Trump would try to subvert the results and try to derail Congress’s normally pro-forma certification of President Joe Biden’s election.

But Raskin was blindsided. On December 31, 2020, Raskin’s only son, Tommy, a promising young student at Harvard Law School, took his own life after a long struggle with depression.
Don't miss an episode.

Seven days later — and just a day after burying his son — Raskin returned to Congress to cast his vote to certify Biden’s election. That’s when Trump supporters mounted a violent insurrection in the U.S. Capitol, egged on by the defeated president. Speaker Nancy Pelosi then tapped the grieving Raskin to be lead manager in Trump’s second impeachment trial. Since the summer, Raskin has been a member of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the Capitol.

Raskin tells his intensely personal and political story in his new book, “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy.”

David Goodman

I want to finish where we began. It's been almost a year and a half since Tommy's passing. How is he with you now? How is the mission that you have in Congress and in life connected to the terrible experience you've been through?

Jamie Raskin

Tommy was someone who had great dreams for democracy. He wanted a lot more from democracy, not a lot less from it. I feel very driven by the things that he saw and the things that he believed in. And I feel the same way, that we need to be asking a lot more of ourselves, not a lot less from ourselves. I feel very connected to his generation of Americans because they've had a hell of a time. There's a huge emotional mental health crisis among young people now. People used to talk about mental health stigma. They don't really talk about it anymore because when you've got problems like depression and anxiety that are afflicting a majority of an age cohort in the country, it's hard to stigmatize it. And the surgeon general has declared there to be a national emergency in mental and emotional health among the young, all the way down through middle school and elementary school. So everybody is on an individual odyssey with respect to their psychological and emotional health, but it does exist in a social context. Covid-19 was a brutal and isolating time for people and a really demoralizing time for the young. I know it was in Tommy's case, and I know what the other young people in our family have gone through. I feel we owe it to them to fight for them — and also to get them to see that politics — although it's never going to be a complete answer for anybody, is a large part of the answer that people need to make a connection with others in their generation and with people who have fought for freedom and democracy before them. That's going to be part of the solution for us reestablishing a sense of well-being and security in a really dangerous moment for democracy. I feel connected to Tommy's generation, and I know how many young people loved him and miss him. I am a poor substitute for my son, but I'm going to do everything I can to fight for that generation.

David Goodman is an award-winning journalist and the author of a dozen books, including four New York Times bestsellers that he co-authored with his sister, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman. His work has appeared in Mother Jones, New York Times, Outside, Boston Globe and other publications. He is the host of The Vermont Conversation, a VTDigger podcast featuring in-depth interviews about local and national topics. The Vermont Conversation is also an hour-long weekly radio program that can be heard on Wednesday at 1 p.m. on WDEV/Radio Vermont.

The origin of Mothers' Day - Heather Cox Richardson


If you google the history of Mother’s Day, the internet will tell you that Mother’s Day began in 1908 when Anna Jarvis decided to honor her mother. But “Mothers’ Day”—with the apostrophe not in the singular spot, but in the plural—actually started in the 1870s, when the sheer enormity of the death caused by the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War convinced American women that women must take control of politics from the men who had permitted such carnage. Mothers’ Day was not designed to encourage people to be nice to their mothers. It was part of women’s effort to gain power to change modern society.

The Civil War years taught naïve Americans what mass death meant in the modern era. Soldiers who had marched off to war with fantasies of heroism discovered that long-range weapons turned death into tortured anonymity. Men were trampled into blood-soaked mud, piled like cordwood in ditches, or transformed into emaciated corpses after dysentery drained their lives away.

The women who had watched their men march off to war were haunted by its results. They lost fathers, husbands, sons. The men who did come home were scarred in body and mind.

Modern war, it seemed, was not a game.

From her home in Boston, Julia Ward Howe was a key figure in the American Woman Suffrage Association. She was an enormously talented writer, who had penned The Battle Hymn of the Republic in the early years of the Civil War, a hymn whose lyrics made it a point to note that Christ was “born of woman.”

Howe was drawn to women’s rights because the laws of her time meant that her children belonged to her abusive husband. If she broke free of him, she would lose any right to see her children, a fact he threw at her whenever she threatened to leave him. She was not at first a radical in the mold of reformer Elizabeth Cady Stanton, believing that women had a human right to equality with men. Rather, she believed strongly that women, as mothers, had a special role to perform in the world.

For Howe, the Civil War had been traumatic, but that it led to emancipation might justify its terrible bloodshed. The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 was another story. She remembered:

"I was visited by a sudden feeling of the cruel and unnecessary character of the contest. It seemed to me a return to barbarism, the issue having been one which might easily have been settled without bloodshed. The question forced itself upon me, “Why do not the mothers of mankind interfere in these matters, to prevent the waste of that human life of which they alone know and bear the cost?”

Howe had a new vision, she said, of “the august dignity of motherhood and its terrible responsibilities.” She sat down immediately and wrote an “Appeal to Womanhood Throughout the World.” Men always had and always would decide questions by resorting to “mutual murder.” But women did not have to accept this state of affairs, she wrote. Mothers could command their sons to stop the madness.

Howe organized international peace conferences, and American states developed their own Mothers’ Day festivals. But Howe quickly gave up on her project. She realized that there was much to be done before women could come together on such a momentous scale. She turned her attention to women’s clubs “to constitute a working and united womanhood.”

As she worked to unite women, she threw herself into the struggle for women’s suffrage, understanding that in order to create a more just and peaceful society, women must take up their rightful place as equal participants in American politics.

Perhaps Anna Jarvis remembered seeing her mother participate in an original American Mothers’ Day when she decided to honor her own mother in the early twentieth century. And while we celebrate modern Mother’s Day, in this momentous year of 2022 it’s worth remembering the original Mothers’ Day and Julia Ward Howe’s conviction that women must make their voices heard.
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