Skip navigation

Category Archives: postings from others


Michaela Greer

Michaela Greer

Associate Editor, Audience Engagement & Distribution at LinkedIn News

Generally, I try to keep my work and home life separate. But the reality is that for me, and many people like me, the issues within my community cannot be placed in a metaphorical box until the workday ends.

And this week has been especially difficult.

I’d like to preface this by saying that I don’t speak for an entire group; and I’d never want to. I am simply sharing my experience because I feel a duty to – even if I am speaking into a digital void. This post is also not related to my current role, so feel free to place it within the “a bit of personal news” pile.

This morning, I almost had the police called on me over a misunderstanding at the post office. In the moment, I was just angry. Once I left and my mind was able to run free — in all honesty, I broke down thinking of all the ways that situation could have played out.

As a person of faith, I thanked God that He placed a clerk on shift at the right time to intervene; and then I found a way to carry on with my day.

Come Monday, many persons in my community will report to work as usual. Some of us cry between meetings and during our breaks. Others keep our heads buried, consumed with projects, in an effort to stay too busy to see breaking news notifications jumping across our screens. We worry about our family members in other parts of the world. More of us numb. We hurt.

I’m fortunate enough to be a part of a team filled with caring allies and a manager who looks like me. I fully understand this is not the standard.

What’s happening in the U.S. is maddening. It’s even more upsetting that it continues to happen worldwide. However, time has proven that ignoring an issue doesn’t make it go away. We can argue about the methods of protesters — from a kneeling athlete to a rioting crowd — but it doesn’t change the fact that at the very core, something is truly broken.

I can admit that it would be foolish to think that things will change overnight, and I don’t expect anyone to have the solution Black people have been searching for for centuries. What I do ask, is that if you care for your coworkers or anyone who looks different to you, do or say something. The silence can be deafening.

Whether you choose to join in a protest, sign a petition, engage in an uncomfortable discussion, be an ally on the job, or simply check in on someone, have the guts and compassion to do it.

To my community, I ask that when non-Black persons speak out, don’t be so quick to condemn because you didn’t like their tone or method. Relish in the fact that you have an ally and educate. It takes a lot of courage to speak out and the fear of saying or doing the wrong thing can be crippling. We’re all doing the best we know how.

The only way forward is going to take an effort from all of us. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a trek ahead. So, as they say back home: walk good.

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


Liz Roscher

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t pull his punches. You may not like what he has to say, but he’ll always tell you exactly what’s on his mind. And after nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality over the weekend, he had quite a lot on his mind.

Popovich spoke to The Nation’s Dave Zirin on Sunday, and he touched on several topics that are currently in the news. He began by talking about racism and police violence in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody, and how things continue to stay the same.

“The thing that strikes me is that we all see this police violence and racism and we’ve seen it all before but nothing changes. That’s why these protests have been so explosive. But without leadership and an understanding of what the problem is, there will never be change. And white Americans have avoided reckoning with this problem forever because it’s been our privilege to be able to avoid it. That also has to change.”

Then he moved on to leadership, lamenting the current resident of the White House, President Donald Trump.

“It’s unbelievable. If Trump had a brain, even if it was 99 percent cynical, he would come out and say something to unify people. But he doesn’t care about bringing people together. Even now. That’s how deranged he is. It’s all about him. It’s all about what benefits him personally. It’s never about the greater good. And that’s all he’s ever been.”

Spurs head coach Greg Popovich didn't hold back when talking about Donald Trump's response to the protests that have sprung up in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Spurs head coach Greg Popovich didn’t hold back when talking about Donald Trump’s response to the protests that have sprung up in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Popovich has spoken about Trump before, but given everything that’s happened over the past week, this time he really went in.

“It’s so clear what needs to be done. We need a president to come out and say simply that ‘Black Lives Matter.’ Just say those three words. But he won’t and he can’t. He can’t because it’s more important to him to mollify the small group of followers who validate his insanity. But it’s more than just Trump. The system has to change. I’ll do whatever I can do to help because that’s what leaders do. But he can’t do anything to put us on a positive path because he’s not a leader.

“It’s like what Lindsay Graham and Ted Cruz used to say when they had the courage to say it: He’s unfit. But they have chosen instead to be invisible and obsequious in the face of this carnage. In the end what we have is a fool in place of a president, while the person who really runs the country, Senator Mitch McConnell, destroys the United States for generations to come. McConnell has destroyed and degraded our judicial system. He has tried to destroy heath care. He’s destroyed the environment. He’s the master and Trump’s the stooge, and what’s funny is that Trump doesn’t even know it. Trump’s always wanted to be part of the in-group, but McConnell is an in-group of one and Trump plays the fool.

“He’s not just divisive. He’s a destroyer. To be in his presence makes you die. He will eat you alive for his own purposes. I’m appalled that we have a leader who can’t say ‘Black Lives Matter.’ That’s why he hides in the White House basement. He is a coward. He creates a situation and runs away like a grade-schooler. Actually, I think it’s best to ignore him. There is nothing he can do to make this better because of who he is: a deranged idiot.”

As far as the protests that have sprung up across the country (and the world) since the death of George Floyd in police custody, Popovich let up on the gas pedal a little. He gave the protesters advice that he hopes will help them.

“[The protests] are very necessary, but they need to be organized better. It’s frustrating. When Dr. King did a protest, you knew when to show, when to come back the next day. But if you’re just organizing protests and everyone is coming and going in every direction, it doesn’t work that way. If it was nonviolent, they knew to be nonviolent, but this is muddled. More leadership would be very welcome so these incredible mass demonstrations can’t be used by people for other means. We can limit the bad, but only if things are organized better.”

Popovich has never shied away from making political statements and standing up for what he believes in. It’s comforting that even though the NBA is currently suspended due to COVID-19, Popovich hasn’t changed one bit.

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


There were no governors hiding in the cellars of the State Houses, the weakness resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. TOTUS again placing the blame for his failure elsewhere MA.
Washington Post
Robert Costa, Seung Min Kim, Josh Dawsey

President Trump on Monday berated the nation’s governors on a conference call, describing them as “weak” in the face of growing racial unrest and urging them to try to “dominate” unruly protests, according to three people on the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation.

Trump also called on the governors to take back the streets and use force to confront protesters. He said if they did not, they would look like “fools,” alarming several governors on the call as they communicated privately, according to the officials.

“If you don’t dominate you’re wasting your time,” Trump said, according to a person on the call.

 

Trump told the governors that “you have to use the military” and “we have a wonderful military,” and he mused about the Occupy Wall Street movement and said it was a “disgrace” that was ended by governors and mayors being tough.

The president said that people arrested at the protests should serve 10-year prison sentences, according to another person familiar with the call.

“You’re allowed to fight back,” he said describing the situation as a “war.” “Now maybe my attorney general will stop me from saying that … but you are all big, tough, strong people and you are allowed to fight back.”

Many of the protests have featured violent clashes with the police, as well as the destruction of private property and looting.

Trump has remained mostly silent on the issue beyond his Twitter account, where he as at times sent out tweets that were more inflammatory than calming during the unrest.

His comments on the call drew immediate criticism from some governors, who charged he is inflaming tensions.

“The president repeatedly and viciously attacked governors, who are doing everything they can to keep the peace while fighting a once-in-a-generation global pandemic,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said in a statement following the call. “The president’s dangerous comments should be gravely concerning to all Americans, because they send a clear signal that this administration is determined to sow the seeds of hatred and division, which I fear will only lead to more violence and destruction. We must reject this way of thinking.”

Trump and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) had a testy exchange on the call. Pritzker called out the president’s rhetoric. The president replied that he does not like Pritzker’s rhetoric, either, and that Pritzker mishandled his state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to two people on the call.

Another person on the call said Trump praised Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) and thanked Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper for his assistance.

When someone made a comment about the Minnesota response looking like an occupying force, Trump said that after the recent violence, “people wouldn’t have minded an occupying force.”

He added, according to a call participant, that the first phase of the response in Minneapolis was “weak and pathetic.” The National Guard phase was “domination … It couldn’t be any better. It was a beautiful thing to watch.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Monday afternoon that the primary focus of the call was encouraging the deployment of the National Guard at protests nationwide and said the president wanted to ensure that streets were “dominated with a police force and with a National Guard presence.”

Trump publicly addressed Floyd’s killing during remarks Saturday in Florida, where he was on hand to witness the launch of U.S. astronauts into space.

“Yesterday I spoke to George’s family and expressed the sorrow of our entire nation for their loss. I stand before you as a friend and ally to every American seeking justice and peace,” he said before moving on to address the successful rocket launch. “Healing, not hatred, justice, not chaos, are the mission at hand.”

Those remarks stood in contrast to many of his tweets, which were more belligerent in nature.

“I was inside, watched every move, and couldn’t have felt more safe,” the president tweeted Saturday morning about protests outside the White House on Friday night. “They let the ‘protesters’ scream & rant as much as they wanted, but whenever someone got too frisky or out of line, they would quickly come down on them, hard — didn’t know what hit them … Nobody came close to breaching the fence. If they had they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.”

The protests grew so heated Friday night outside the White House that the Secret Service rushed the president to an underground bunker previously used during terrorist attacks, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of security for the president.

Early last month, Trump rooted on people protesting public health restrictions put in place by governors in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He expressed support on May 1 for armed protesters who had stormed the Michigan Capitol, demanding the state lift coronavirus restrictions. Trump tweeted Friday that “these are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely!”

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate

 


Coward of the country did what cowards do-Hide! MA
By JONATHAN LEMIRE and ZEKE MILLER, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the executive mansion, some of them throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades.

President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, May 30, 2020, after stepping off Marine One as he returns from Kennedy Space Center for the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)© Provided by Associated Press President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, May 30, 2020, after stepping off Marine One as he returns from Kennedy Space Center for the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

 

Trump spent nearly an hour in the bunker, which was designed for use in emergencies like terrorist attacks, according to a Republican close to the White House who was not authorized to publicly discuss private matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. The account was confirmed by an administration official who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

The abrupt decision by the agents underscored the rattled mood inside the White House, where the chants from protesters in Lafayette Park could be heard all weekend and Secret Service agents and law enforcement officers struggled to contain the crowds.

Friday’s protests were triggered by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after he was pinned at the neck by a white Minneapolis police officer. The demonstrations in Washington turned violent and appeared to catch officers by surprise. They sparked one of the highest alerts on the White House complex since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 .

“The White House does not comment on security protocols and decisions,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. The Secret Service said it does not discuss the means and methods of its protective operations. The president’s move to the bunker was first reported by The New York Times.

The president and his family have been shaken by the size and venom of the crowds, according to the Republican. It was not immediately clear if first lady Melania Trump and the couple’s 14-year-old son, Barron, joined the president in the bunker. Secret Service protocol would have called for all those under the agency’s protection to be in the underground shelter.

Trump has told advisers he worries about his safety, while both privately and publicly praising the work of the Secret Service.

Trump traveled to Florida on Saturday to view the first manned space launch from the U.S. in nearly a decade. He returned to a White House under virtual siege, with protesters — some violent — gathered just a few hundred yards away through much of the night.

Demonstrators returned Sunday afternoon, facing off against police at Lafayette Park into the evening.

Trump continued his effort to project strength, using a series of inflammatory tweets and delivering partisan attacks during a time of national crisis.

As cities burned night after night and images of violence dominated television coverage, Trump’s advisers discussed the prospect of an Oval Office address in an attempt to ease tensions. The notion was quickly scrapped for lack of policy proposals and the president’s own seeming disinterest in delivering a message of unity.

Trump did not appear in public on Sunday. Instead, a White House official who was not authorized to discuss the plans ahead of time said Trump was expected in the coming days to draw distinctions between the legitimate anger of peaceful protesters and the unacceptable actions of violent agitators.

On Sunday, Trump retweeted a message from a conservative commentator encouraging authorities to respond with greater force.

“This isn’t going to stop until the good guys are willing to use overwhelming force against the bad guys,” Buck Sexton wrote in a message amplified by the president.

In recent days security at the White House has been reinforced by the National Guard and additional personnel from the Secret Service and the U.S. Park Police.

On Sunday, the Justice Department deployed members of the U.S. Marshals Service and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration to supplement National Guard troops outside the White House, according to a senior Justice Department official. The official could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

___

Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


Stupid is as Stupid has always done in private and now it affects millions of people, while his administration continues to assault the American voters and their allies. MA.
Karla Adam- The Washington Post
President Donald Trump formally cuts ties with World Health Organization

LONDON —Global health experts and government officials joined in criticism Saturday over President Trump’s plans to cut ties with the World Health Organization and funnel U.S. money elsewhere.

In the remarks made in the Rose Garden on Friday, Trump blamed China for the covid-19 pandemic and accused Beijing of effectively controlling the WHO and pressuring it to “mislead the world.”

The United States is the single biggest financial contributor to the U.N. agency, and its exit will hit its budget even as it struggles with a global pandemic that has resulted in more than 364,000 deaths.

Trump said that the annual $400 million that the U.S. contributes to the organization will be redirected “to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs” without giving specifics.

Jens Spahn, Germany’s health minister, tweeted in English on Saturday that Trump’s decision to sever ties with the organization was “a disappointing backlash for International Health.”

Spahn added that the WHO “needs reform” if it is to make “any difference for the future.” Germany will take over the rotating E.U. presidency in July and the minister said finding a way for the European Union to “take a leading role and engage more financially” with the U.N. agency would be prioritized.

South Africa’s health minister, Zweli Mkhize, called Trump’s move “unfortunate.”

“Certainly, when faced with a serious pandemic, you want all nations in the world to be particularly focused … on one common enemy,” he told reporters, according to the Associated Press.

A spokesman for the British government said the WHO had an “important role to play in leading the international health response” to the pandemic. “We have no plans to withdraw our funding,” the statement said.

The European Union urged Trump to reconsider.

In a joint statement, E.U. Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said that “as the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the main task for everyone is to save lives and contain and mitigate this pandemic.”

“Now is the time for enhanced cooperation and common solutions,” the statement added. “Actions that weaken international results must be avoided. We urge the U.S. to reconsider its announced decision.”

A number of scientists and global health experts also stepped forward to voice their support for the organization.

In Australia, Peter Doherty, the founder of the Doherty Institute, whose modeling has played a role in the government’s response to the crisis, tweeted that the WHO is “central to the global fight against COVID-19.” He added that the “leadership has seemed overcautious in some of its statements,” but added that “much of the real, essential work of the WHO” goes on at lower, professional levels.

Gail Carson, director of network development at the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium, warned that a pandemic was “not the time” to make health political.

Richard Horton, the editor of the Britain-based Lancet medical journal, which has not shied away in its criticism of Trump’s handling of the crisis, wrote: “We give our 100% support to the World Health Organization at this time of crisis.”

“The U.S. government has gone rogue at a time of humanitarian emergency,” he added

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


POLITICS 

 

Trump Signs Social Media Executive Order

The president acted against social media companies after Twitter attached a fact-check label to two of his baseless claims.

The move, which may expose social media companies to liability for what gets posted on their platforms, dramatically escalates a confrontation between Trump and his favored mode of communication, where the president can address his more than 80 million followers directly without relying on news conferences or the traditional media.

Trump and his backers claimed Twitter was suppressing free speech by labeling his tweets, which falsely claimed mail-in ballots would be “substantially fraudulent.” The president typically uses the platform to brag, attack rivals, bolster allies and spread falsehoods.

When a reporter asked at the signing why Trump didn’t simply stop using using the platform, the president retorted, “If we had fair press in this country, I would do that in a heartbeat.”

It wasn’t immediately clear how, if at all, the order can be enforced. The president cannot regulate tech companies without congressional approval and any challenge to their autonomy is sure to end up in court.

“Much as he might wish otherwise, Donald Trump is not the president of Twitter. This order, if issued, would be a blatant and unconstitutional threat to punish social media companies that displease the president,” the American Civil Liberties Union noted on Twitter.

“The president has no authority to rewrite a congressional statute with an executive order imposing a flawed interpretation of Section 230,” the ACLU continued, referring to the section of the Communications Decency Act that shields platforms from being held liable for what users publish on them.

“Ironically, Donald Trump is a big beneficiary of Section 230,” the legal nonprofit continued. “If platforms were not immune under the law, then they would not risk the legal liability that could come with hosting Trump’s lies, defamation, and threats.”

But Trump insisted Thursday that he would go as far as shutting down Twitter if his lawyers found a way. “I’d have to go through a legal process,” he said.

Social media companies have enjoyed legal protections for what gets posted on their platforms and have resisted tampering with even vile falsehoods, including Trump’s aspersions that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough committed murder.

Still, Twitter labeled two of Trump’s tweets with a fact-check warning for the first time on Tuesday after the president’s mail-in fraud claim. Many states have moved to expand vote-by-mail during the coronavirus pandemic, including California, which said this month all registered voters would be sent ballots for the general election.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone…..

83.5K people are talking about this

The Twitter addendum tells readers they can “get the facts” about mail-in ballots and directs them to news reports that debunk Trump’s claims.

The move, however, sparked a dramatic outburst from the Oval Office.

Twitter “is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election,” Trump wrote. He later said the social media giant was “completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!”

Trump doubled down on that criticism Thursday afternoon, tagging Twitter’s head of site integrity Yoel Roth in a separate tweet and deriding him as a “hater.” It’s the second time in as many days the White House has specifically targeted Roth. White House adviser Kellyanne Conway spelled out his Twitter handle on Fox News Wednesday, ominously predicting “he’s about to get a lot more followers.”

 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he disagreed with Twitter’s policy in an interview with Fox News set to air Thursday.

“I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” Zuckerberg said. “I think in general, private companies probably shouldn’t be — especially these platform companies — shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”

 

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey fired back at the criticism, saying the company would “continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.”

“This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth,’” Dorsey said. “Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions.”

 

Lydia O’Connor and Ryan Grenoble contributed reporting.

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


Apparently placing restrictions on all large gatherings to slow the spread of  COVID 19 is a threat to Religious freedom or is it. The Thomas More Society in Illinois sued the Governor over the restrictions on mass gatherings in order to slow and hopefully curtail death from a pandemic that has resulted in 100,000 deaths that we know of across the nation. I do not recall asking this group to represent me, did you? Everyone in the United States is affected by this Pandemic and no one is happy about it so why is this religious subgroup advocating for the opportunity to increase the spread of an illness under the guise of religious freedom? Be wary of groups making statements in your name without your permission.MA

May 28  5:50 p.m. NPR Illinois
Churches Free To Gather. Gov. Recommends Against It

Governor JB Pritzker Thursday announced new guidance for churches and places of worship.   It comes as he faces multiple lawsuits over his ban on gatherings of more than ten people.

Pritzker now says faith leaders should try to limit attendance to a quarter of a building’s capacity or 100 attendees, whichever is lower, along with social distancing.

“We’re not providing restrictions. We’re simply providing the best recommendations that we can for keeping people safe so we hope that the pastor will follow those got that guides and those recommendations for his services, his or her services,” he said.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is still calling for outdoor or remote services when possible, along with cleaning protocols.

The conservative Thomas More Society responded to the changes by claiming victory and saying Pritzker used the pandemic “to stomp on the religious liberty of the people of Illinois.”

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


Conor Friedersdorf
a person sitting in a dark room© The Atlantic / GettyEditor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Earlier this month, Representative Adam Kinzinger told his constituents that he is worried by the excessive number of conspiracy theories he has seen circulating lately on social-media sites.

“As leaders, we have a choice,” he told his constituents in a video message posted to Facebook. “There’s far too many who will simply reflect back that paranoia, to feed fuel to that fire, if it’ll help their reelection … We need to push back against these attempts to divide and destroy us.”

Days later, President Donald Trump disseminated a conspiracy theory for the ages. In the midst of an ongoing pandemic that has killed 100,000 Americans, he attacked a cable-television host, former Representative Joe Scarborough, with a thinly veiled murder allegation. “A lot of interest in this story about Psycho Joe Scarborough,” Trump wrote. “So a young marathon runner just happened to faint in his office, hit her head on his desk, & die? I would think there is a lot more to this story than that? An affair? What about the so-called investigator?”

 

In fact, there is no evidence of an affair or foul play in the staffer’s death almost 20 years ago. Kinzinger quickly pushed back against the leader of his political party. “Completely unfounded conspiracy,” he wrote on Twitter. “Just stop. Stop spreading it, stop creating paranoia. It will destroy us.”

Why was his principled stand so lonely?

There are many reasons, besides general concern about conspiracy theories, that a Republican member of Congress would want to speak out on behalf of a former representative being unfairly attacked.

As members of a coequal branch of government charged with checking and balancing the executive, legislators might also feel duty-bound to rebuke flagrant abuses of the presidential pulpit, if only to deter future executive misbehavior. As public figures, they’d presumably all hope for defenders if the president were spreading thinly veiled murder accusations about them.

And even if they’re not concerned for Scarborough as a victim, they might have noticed that Trump’s attack on a political adversary did collateral harm to the still-grieving widower of the woman who died. “The President of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him—the memory of my dead wife—and perverted it for perceived political gain,” that widower wrote in a letter to Twitter asking that Trump’s tweet be removed. “I would also ask that you consider Lori’s niece and two nephews who will eventually come across this filth in the future.”

That message apparently moved Utah Senator Mitt Romney to speak out Wednesday morning, when he tweeted, “I know Joe Scarborough. Joe is a friend of mine. I don’t know T. J. Klausutis. Joe can weather vile, baseless accusations but T.J.? His heart is breaking. Enough already.”

 

The same morning, Representative Liz Cheney told reporters in Washington, “I do think the president should stop tweeting about Joe Scarborough. I think we’re in the middle of a pandemic. He’s the commander in chief of this nation, and it’s causing great pain to the family of the young woman who died. So I would urge him to stop it.” But this trio was among the rare exceptions of the 197 Republicans in the House and 51 Republicans in the Senate. Silence was the rule. There was no rebuke from the GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (who sidestepped questions about the matter, professing ignorance) or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; no reaffirmation of basic decency as a valuable norm by a few dozen members; no call from a frustrated caucus to refocus presidential attention on the disease ravaging the country rather than one accidental death.

Perhaps that dereliction of the duty to protect and defend basic decency should not surprise anyone at this point. Trump bullied Ben Carson and Ted Cruz, implying that Cruz’s father killed JFK and likening Carson to a pathological killer. “Now those targets count as Trump’s most faithful servants,” Jonathan Chait observed in a recent New York magazine column. Trump has been conditioned to expect reward rather than rebuke from prominent GOP officials after he behaves badly.

But I didn’t want to infer too much from silence. So I reached out to the offices of the Republican members of Florida’s congressional delegation, who represent the state where Scarborough served and the dead woman lived, seeking comment. I tried Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, as well as Representatives Matt Gaetz, Neal Dunn, Ted Yoho, John Rutherford, Bill Posey, Daniel Webster, Gus Bilirakis, Ross Spano, Vern Buchanan, Gregory Steube, Brian Mast, and Francis Rooney. I also reached out to the Republican Party leadership of the counties of Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton, in Scarborough’s former district.

I have yet to receive a response from any member of the congressional delegation. The one GOP county official who replied to me defended Trump’s conduct. No one expects every member of Congress to comment on every controversy. But the president’s indecent behavior makes the silence among his many supporters in the GOP conspicuous. “There are many in the GOP power structure and pro-Trump media who have lost loved ones in unspeakable ways who would be gutted if the president spread malicious lies exploiting their tragedy,” the CNN anchor Jake Tapper wrote.

Yet despite the widower’s pleas, most “sit silently.” And that silence, like past silence on Trump indecencies, all but guarantees more abuses of this kind by the president. I’m hoping to be able to update this story with responses from Republican officials; my email address is conor@theatlantic.com.

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


 

 

By Scott Martelle, Los Angeles Times

55 mins ago

This is how a thug acts.

Twitter at long last has affixed fact-check links to a couple of tweets by President Donald Trump that include verifiably false details, in this case claims by the president that mail-in balloting leads to election fraud.

Note that Twitter didn’t remove the tweets, and hasn’t gone so far as to add fact-check links to the president’s baseless insinuations that MSNBC co-anchor Joe Scarborough might bear responsibility for a congressional aide’s long-ago natural death.

Trump’s response: Take out the flamethrower and scorch away.

Um, no, calling out bald-faced lies by a politician is not interfering with an election.

As slow and insufficient as Twitter’s response to Trump’s serial lies and grotesque insinuations has been, this moment spotlights just how Trump manipulates a moment to turn it into something it is not.

He’s tweeted spurious insinuations about MSNBC co-anchor Joe Scarborough and the long-ago death of an aide. He’s thrown out inane one-liners such as “OBAMAGATE MAKES WATERGATE LOOK LIKE SMALL POTATOES!” He’s spun lies about the spread of the coronavirus and his response to it, retweeted a cascade of conservative takes on events and his actions, posted free plugs for books and television segments that align with his world view, and attacked the media (he cheered announced staff cuts at the Atlantic; what kind of president cheers job losses?), Democrats and a smattering of fellow Republicans who have the temerity to oppose him.

He has also, most troublingly, tweeted his support for blatant attempts at intimidation by armed anti-government protesters who joined demonstrations in states whose Democratic governors froze many public interactions to halt the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

This is how a thug acts. But it’s also how Trump works to deflect public attention from his historically inept presidency. He creates controversies, then turns them into us vs. them fights to keep his base engaged and his critics outraged. In a divided country Trump makes the divide the issue, at the expense of the public well-being.

Trump’s attacks on the mail-in voting option as a way to conduct an election amid the coronavirus pandemic is an effort to undermine public faith in the November election. And his attack on Twitter for supposed censorship (pointing out a lie is not censorship in any accepted definition) is an attempt to distract the electorate from his initial lie.

Trump is preparing the ground to, once again, claim victimhood. If he loses in November, he’ll scream (well, tweet) “foul!” and “unfair!” and somehow draw in President Barack Obama and Jeff Bezos and his expanding cast of political critics real and imagined to argue that he is the target of some vast left-wing socialist lamestream media conspiracy (it’s not beyond imagination that he’ll claim it was concocted in a Wuhan research lab) and that we need to TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK NOW! (emphasis in the imagined original tweet).

This is standard procedure for Trump. Attack, debase and devalue in the hope that he emerges victorious from the verbal battlefield. Never mind the carnage. Never mind the truth.

Never mind what’s best for the country.

———

ABOUT THE WRITER

Scott Martelle, a veteran journalist and author of six history books, is a member of the Los Angeles Times editorial board.

———

©2020 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. 

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


National Geographic

TODAY’S BIG QUESTION:

WILL THE POST OFFICE GO AWAY?

Monday, May 25, 2020Before it was halted, people used to "mail" people, like this woman on a cargo flight to San Diego.

Before it was halted, people used to “mail” people, like this woman on a cargo flight to San Diego.

PHOTOGRAPH BY UNDERWOOD ARCHIVES, GETTY

 

By Debra Adams Simmons, HISTORY Executive Editor

 

The art of letter writing, mailing pastel-colored birthday cards with floral stickers, and sending packages that need to be handled with care: Those are traditions still held dear by my mother, mother-in-law, and other seniors in my life. These traditions are directly tied to the belief that the post office will get each special delivery to the intended recipient in short order.

 

This quaint way of life and the deeply embedded trust that has endured for 250 years of the United States Postal Service, and which we too often take for granted, is in a fight for its life. Decreasing revenue in a dynamic marketplace has some congressional leaders speculating that the service could be out of business by June.

 

This is not new. The USPS has had a tumultuous and colorful existence, including 100 years ago when people would put stamps on their children and send them through the mail to their destination, Boyce Upholt writes for NatGeo. (Pictured above, a woman who was shipped air mail in an early plane’s cargo.) In forming the Post Office, the founders had wanted a service that connected the scattered populous of the new United States. For two centuries, the agency would drive the expansion of roads and transit, strengthen the nation’s connections with its rural communities, and brave all conditions to bring packages to citizens’ front doors, Uphold writes.

 

By 1860, these roads linked 28,000 post offices, where people sometimes waited in long lines to pick up their mail in an era before home delivery. In the 1990s the Postal Service was turning a profit. But since 2007, first class mail has dropped 34 percent. It’s greatest source of revenue is delivering packages fueled by an ever-expanding online shopping addiction.

 

For our family, the Postal Service is like a trusted member. Just last week, I felt guilty when the mail delivery woman had to lug three giant boxes of groceries packaged in cardboard from her truck to my front door. Not that long ago the Postal Service lost a quilt that was mailed to me, made of fabrics from important life moments. Their apology wasn’t particularly emphatic and I was really upset. I vowed to use other services to get packages where they need to go.

 

Not long thereafter I came around, acknowledging the important role of the Postal Service in keeping us connected. I hope we don’t learn this lesson after it’s too late to do anything about it.

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate

 

 

%d bloggers like this: