IUY Weekly Journal: Vol. 2 No. 2 – July 25 – 31, 2020

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, July 25 through Friday, July 31, 2020 [Vol.2 No.2]

“John Lewis”

The Week’s Most Notable

On Thursday many pandemic, economic, and political threads came together, not so much in attention-grabbing events as in revealing the underlying fabric of our multiple crises. [See Thursday’s entries.]

Saturday, July 25

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases – 4,317,768; Deaths – 149,994

[Coronavirus] U.S. Seven-Day Average Highs per Day: 74,000 New Cases, 1,000+ Deaths – Florida alone accounted for more than 12,000 new cases, second only to California, which has had its own surge over the past couple of weeks.

[Hurricane] Category 1 Hurricane Hanna Makes Landfall in South Texas – Primarily a massive rain event with 6 to 12 inches in coastal areas around Corpus Christi, the storm will be most notable for complicating coronavirus mitigation in Nueces County, one of the worst epidemic locations in Texas.

[Racism – Protest] Protests Flare in Several Cities – Largely in sympathy with demonstrations against Trump’s paramilitary action in Portland, protesters took to the streets in Seattle, Los Angeles, Richmond, and Oakland. In some cases, they clashed with police. In Austin one man was shot and killed during a protest.

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IUY Weekly Journal #53 Vol. 2 No. 1 July 18 – 24, 2020

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, July 18 through Friday, July 24, 2020 [#53]

“Trump’s Stormtroopers”

The Week’s Most Notable

It was a week of assaults on protesters in Portland by “Trump’s Stormtroopers.” The incessant war of words, threats, and nightly chaos in a teargas cloud wound up confusing the media and most of the public. Mission accomplished. Events in Portland can be usefully categorized in three ways: For Trump/Fox News/right-wing media this was a heroic culture-clash between forces of law and order and violent city-destroying anarchists. For many small “d” democrats, it was a massive breach of constitutional law perhaps foreshadowing the onset of an authoritarian state. Or, for some analysts, it was an incident of “performative authoritarianism” – a show (of force) designed for maximum propaganda value, though probably without permanent teeth.

The facts, such as we have, seem relatively clear: the DOJ under William Barr with Trump’s authority, led by Homeland Security, assembled a paramilitary unit from members of the Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Marshals Service, Federal Protection Service, ICE and other agencies. Some were rudimentarily trained near the Mexican border and first transported to Washington D.C. for action on June 1 at Lafayette Square. The deployment to Portland of about 200–250 in battle fatigues was meant to look like regular military but, as in D.C., still without identification. The official government account brings them to Portland for protection of the federal courthouse. Most observers believe their purpose was to agitate protesters toward riot, spectacularly intimidate individuals (e,g., shoving them into unmarked vans), and create scenes of chaos for spectacular media coverage.

As part of a revival of 2016’s “Law and Order” theme, Trump threatened similar deployments in Chicago, Albuquerque, Philadelphia, and any other city that has a Democrat as mayor. Barr made several statements to undercut Trump’s bellicosity, indicating that officers sent to other cities were limited in number, and were asked to work with existing police. Later in the week Trump exploded the ante by saying, “At some point, we have to do something much stronger than being invited in. We go in with 50,000 to 75,000 people, we would be able to solve it like you wouldn’t believe, like, quick.” This was BS, but of a piece to create the atmosphere of chaos in the cities, crime everywhere, and Portland providing the dramatic footage for Fox News.

Ultimately it looks like three things happened: Right-wing media got its “chaos in the cities” theme going; legal experts  were justifiably shaken by an apparently blithe assault on the First and Fourth Amendments; and Trump set up his useful authoritarian theater for any time he needs a diversion or a way to seize the narrative.

Saturday, July 18

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases – 3,833,271; Deaths – 142,877

[Coronavirus] WHO Reports Record One Day Coronavirus Infections – It’s significant to note that the dramatic increase in coronavirus cases is worldwide. The new world record, 259,848 infections in one 24-hour period, accompanied by 7,360 new deaths, is indicative of fast increases in some countries, such as the U.S., India, Brazil, and South Africa. It’s becoming apparent that this particular virus is unusually tenacious, transmittable, and not well understood. While some scientists had been hopeful the summer heat might knock its advance down a peg or two that hasn’t happened. Meanwhile it seems most continuing studies discover more unpleasant COVID-19 effects, such as lingering damage to lungs and other organs weeks after the primary infection.

[Racism – Protest] Oregon AG Files Lawsuit Against DHS Officers – Seeking a temporary restraining order, Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum cited unlawful detention of Oregon citizens. Similarly, the ACLU has filed suit against the DHS and U.S. Marshals Service. Other lawsuits are expected, including civil suits from some of the protesters involved. [Update: on Friday a U.S. District judge denied the request for a temporary restraining order.] The novel paramilitary tactics used by a variety of agencies complicate the legal situation. Beyond thorny constitutional issues, there are numerous laws (kidnapping, for example) that run into definition (how exactly can an officer of the law “kidnap” somebody?) and jurisdictional issues.

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IUY Weekly Journal #52 July 11 – 17, 2020

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, July 11 through Friday, July 17, 2020 [#52]

“Open the Schools”

The Week’s Most Notable

It was an ides of July with almost nothing but mixed coronavirus messages. Here’s a sample concerning masks:

  • Protest: “Unmasking Tyranny Wisconsin: Mask mandates are a tool to spread fear.” Madison, WI 07/16/20
  • Georgia’s governor and attorney general sue Atlanta mayor for disobeying no masks order.
  • 5% of Americans agree with wearing masks in public. Post-ABC poll, 7/17/20
  • Walmart, Target, CVS to require customers wear masks in stores nationwide.

In some ways it was an exasperating week, yet with no prominent events. The coronavirus surge, seen as a graph comparing April-May and June-July, looks positively grotesque – mountainous. It just keeps getting bigger, the voices clamoring for help grow louder, and the White House continues to concoct denials. There were many irritating reminders of the nation’s descent into political phantasmagoria, such as the surreal images of father and daughter Trump illegally hawking Goya food products from the White House. Apparently, AG Barr didn’t think that amounted to a hill of beans. Then there was Mary Trump, hawking her new book, and revealing in an interview that Uncle Don did, in fact, use racial and Jewish slurs. The media ran with that for about 18 hours.

In an argument that should have begun months ago as to if, when, and how to open schools was the week’s running topic. Unfortunately, while the topic is serious and complicated – there are more than 33,000 school districts and 8,000 institutions of higher learning, all needing plans for opening (August-September) – the heavy hand of the White House, which for re-election reasons demands students physically attend school and has completely disrupted the ability of the CDC to issue credible recommendations, created an almost serio-comic situation. In short: too little honesty, too late, too unhelpful (simplistic guidance, no money). The upshot: Every district/institution for itself. Most will ignore federal stipulations. The result will be, as is common for this crisis, a largely uncoordinated patchwork with some successes, some failures, and a lot of unidentifiable outcomes. Since effects of the coronavirus on children and young people are not yet well understood, there is also a risk for them and their communities. Polls heavily show that parents are not in favor of opening schools too early.

Saturday, July 11

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases – 3,369,347; Deaths – 137,352

[Coronavirus] Trump Campaign Cancels New Hampshire Rally – The reason given: hurricane Fay. Fay was out in the Atlantic Ocean, New Hampshire had great weather. Real reason: Coronavirus killing attendance. Finding momentum in rallies will be difficult for Trump.

[Mueller Investigation] Mueller Protests Commutation of Stone Sentence – Breaking his unofficial silence, the former Special Counsel used a Washington Post op-ed to remind Americans that Roger Stone was found guilty of multiple serious crimes and remains a convicted felon. [Meanwhile: Lindsay Graham continues to make noises about bringing Mueller to the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of the “investigation into the causes of the Mueller probe.”]

[Coronavirus] Trump Seen Wearing a Mask – It had a presidential seal on it with possible political or cultural significance.

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Urgent Phone Call to Sen. Daines

    ACTION CALL    

Indivisibles, a while back (maybe years) we came to the conclusion that constantly asking for appeals to our state Senators and Representative was draining our energy and not particularly effective. So we switched approach, becoming very selective about when we contacted congresspeople. This is one of those times.

Next Monday, July 20, Congress comes back into session. They have a bare three weeks, until August 7, before Congress is scheduled to go on summer break. During that time they must attempt to deal with a series of related problems connected to the coronavirus crisis and the economic crisis. For example, at the end of July millions of unemployed will no longer receive their additional $600 unemployment benefit, many millions of people will no longer be able to afford August rent or pay the mortgage, states and local governments will begin having serious budget shortfalls leading to major cutbacks in services and employment. There’s more, ongoing efforts to control the coronavirus, for example, but the point is obvious: the condition of the country is perilous, complicated, and plagued with an almost total lack of leadership from the White House and the GOP-controlled Senate. Yet there will be the scant three weeks to pass a major bill. Fortunately, such a bill already exists.

The Democrats in the House put together and passed the “Heroes Act,” a massive and comprehensive bill designed to deal with COVID-19 and keep the economy afloat for at least a few more months. It’s already sitting in the Senate.With an estimated cost of $3 trillion over 10 years, the Heroes Act targets many problems, including:

  • expanded food and unemployment assistance;
  • assistance for struggling state and local governments;
  • another $1,200 relief payments to individuals;
  • hazard pay for essential front-line workers;
  • housing assistance fund to help pay rents and mortgages; and
  • health insurance premium payments for laid off workers.

The Senate Republicans will, of course, object, whine, and prevaricate; but Mitch McConnell has already signaled that he knows something needs to be passed. The question is whether it will be some kind of anemic and corrupt GOP offering, which the Democrats will reject, or the full Heroes Act bill with its $3 trillion price tag, which Republicans will certainly wish to reduce and manipulate.

We do not have time for this bill to fail or become a worthless simulacrum. If we go into the Fall without major relief and stimulation, then not only will our efforts against COVID-19 be hamstrung, but we will also be in the dreaded “economic crisis” that will look a lot like the Great Depression. This, unfortunately, is not hyperbole.

No doubt you see where this is going – we need everybody to get on the phone and put pressure on Sen. Daines. (Sen. Tester is already on board.) We need to tell Daines that there isn’t time to whip up a new bill; that the Senate GOP should accept the Heroes Act for a vote. We need to do this now, before Daines goes back to Washington. We want him to take the message to his colleagues that people understand the gravity of the situation and feel it is absolutely imperative that Congress act. Please, call him and whether you get a person or an answering machine, say something like…

“Tell Mitch McConnell to bring the Heroes Act up for a vote – and Daines needs to vote for it.”  

Senator Steve Daines  406-587-3446 (Bozeman)  202-224-2651 (DC)  

KEY POINT:

Daines needs to tell Mitch McConnell to bring the Heroes Act up for a vote – and Daines needs to vote for it.

The House has already passed it. There is no time for anything else.

If you’re motivated to do more, here are some other questions you can lob at Sen. Daines.

Other Questions:

What does he have to say about Russia paying bounties on US soldiers. Why hasn’t he moved to call for an investigation? Sanctions?

  It is a credible accusation. The info was included in a global top security brief and the report has been substantiated by intelligence sources.

Does he support Dr. Fauci? What does he think about the smear campaign?

  Reports are coming out that Trump signed off on it.

What does he plan to do about the White House side-stepping the CDC?

  This further degrades public trust in the federal response and gives the administration a wide open opportunity to manipulate the data. It’s a purely self-serving political response to a deadly public health crisis.

Did he think the press conference in the Rose Garden, now being called “the Rose Garden Rally” was appropriate?

  Another unprecedented misuse of a presidential platform. A rambling, lie ridden diatribe. Is this the latest “rally” substitute after his big fail using the COVID-19 updates?  

Would he be willing to appear with Trump at a rally where the Confederate flag was being flown?

  Trump says he has no problem with displaying Confederate flags. Says it’s a free speech issue that he supports.

Make your calls as soon as you can this week. Don’t be bashful. For once in all truthfulness we can say this is a matter of life-and-death. As ever, we don’t expect an intelligent response from Daines, but his office does collect the messages and importantly count them. That’s how your “pressure” is transmitted and it’s been proven to work particularly in cases like this with such short notice.

So many thanks for your time and voice,
Nelson and Dixie

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IUY Monthly Meeting – July 15, 2020

     EVENT     
 
As COVID-19 is on the rebound here in Montana, we decided to continue holding our
monthly meetings online.
 
Indivisible Upper Yellowstone: Monthly Meeting: This Wednesday, July 15, 6:30 PM – ONLINE via Zoom

If you wish to participate, please RSVP by email using either this message or indivisible.upper.yellowstone@gmail.com
We’ll send you the login for a zoom conference session the day of the meeting.

We’ re coming up on 100 days before the election. Will our nerves, and our nation survive
until then (almost seriously). On the one hand it’s…special (?)…to be in the middle of history.
On the other hand, this particular point in history is a little much (coronavirus crisis, economic crisis, racial justice crisis, climate change crisis, and you can always include Trump as a crisis unto himself). At the top of our agenda for this meeting is sorting through these crises and deciding how to address them as an Indivisible chapter here in Livingston. We need a bit of hardheaded evaluation of what actions work, or could work, given the incredibly changing and complicated political environment.

To repeat from last week: plague, politics, penury, and protest. We need to make the most of it, including before, during, and yes, after the November election.
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IUY Weekly Journal – #51 July 4 – 10, 2020

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, July 4 through Friday, July 10, 2020 [#51]

“Mixed Messages”

The Week’s Most Notable

Something’s gotta give. As the week progressed, the coronavirus statistics grew worse; nowhere more obviously than in the number of new cases, which began the week at around 55,000 a day and finished the week at 70,000. This is well on the way to what Dr. Fauci predicted as 100,000 cases a day. Trump, his administration, and some Republican governors continued in effect to say “not a real problem.” Meanwhile, Trump rolled out his latest political-medical diversion known as “Open the Schools.” [See Coronavirus Notes.] Although the administration’s messaging on wearing masks and social distancing remains at best mixed, Republican governors in red Sun Belt states face dire conditions (Texas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma), driving them to impose mandatory face mask wearing and other measures up to, but still short of, more lockdowns. It seems the key factor will be the number of deaths. Believe it or not, Trump and many in the GOP seem to think there’s a “sweet spot” – say 500 deaths a day – that Americans will accept in return for filling sports stadiums, opening all businesses, and basically ignoring COVID-19. How about 1,000 deaths a day, which is likely to be the average by the end of the coming week? Meanwhile, medical people and health officials point out that “You can’t restore the economy until you control the virus!” Something’s gotta give.

The Supreme Court finished its session on Thursday, having dropped a number of big legal bombs: The president is not above the law (9-0); Trump cannot block disclosure of his financial records to New York prosecutors (7-2); Trump and the House must relitigate subpoenas using the four guidelines spelled out in the decision (7-2); for legal purposes much of eastern Oklahoma is an Indian reservation (5-4); employers are allowed to deny contraception coverage for female workers on religious or moral grounds (7-2); employment discrimination laws do not apply to teachers at religious schools (7-2); states may require electoral college members to vote as they had pledged (9-0); states may not exclude religious schools from scholarship programs (5-4); the Louisiana abortion Law is unconstitutional (5-4); the president may fire the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without cause (5-4); the Trump administration cannot immediately shut down DACA (5-4); the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination (6-3); unanimous jury verdicts are required for serious crimes (6-3).

Saturday, July 4

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases – 2,945,147; Deaths – 132,339

[Coronavirus] Florida Matches New York’s Worst Day for New Coronavirus Cases – Indicative of records being set throughout the South, Florida recorded 11,458 new cases, just shy of New York State’s one-day record of 11,571 back in April. The massive surge of new cases is a forerunner of overrunning hospital capacity in at least four states (Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Arizona). The death rate remains relatively low, though probably not for long. Epidemiologists are concerned about a further spike as a result of July 4 celebrations and interstate travel.

[Elections 2020] Trump Continues “Radical Left” Campaign at D.C. Rally – The Independence Day speech continued the divisive tone established at Mount Rushmore. “We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children, or trample on our freedoms.” As for the pandemic, “we’ve learned to put out the flame” and by the way “99% of coronavirus cases are totally harmless.”

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IUY Weekly Journal #50 June 27 – July 3, 2020

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, June 27 through Friday, July 3, 2020 [#50]

“100,000 New Cases a Day”

The Week’s Most Notable

The surge is bigger than we think. When the medical community said “this is not your run-of-the-mill pandemic”, too many thought they were trying to dramatize. If only. Fox News and other conservative media scoffed when Dr. Fauci said we could see 100,000 new cases a day. By the end of the week, the U.S. had nearly reached 60,000 new cases a day. This happened for many reasons, but the apparent consensus of the medical community points to a combination of an exceptionally contagious virus and an exceptionally dysfunctional management of the crisis at all federal and many state levels. With sudden reversals (e.g., the Texas governor flipping from “no masks” to “mandatory masks” in one week), profoundly mixed messages from Trump and Pence, and the disastrous politicization of standard epidemic practices (social distancing, masks, and quarantine) it’s debatable whether most of the United States will be able to contain the spiraling COVID-19 numbers before they overwhelm hospitalization capacity and force further economy-damaging lockdowns. By week’s end 40 states were experiencing increasing COVID-19 infections, 16 of them at record levels.

Saturday, June 27

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases – 2,596,537; Deaths – 128,152

[Coronavirus] Ten Million Coronavirus Cases Worldwide and 500,000 Dead – The U.S. accounts for more than 25% of the cases and of the dead, by far the worst record of all countries. This is the ugly bedrock of reality against which all excuses fail.

[Racism – Protest] One Killed at Breonna Taylor Protest in Louisville – Someone standing at the periphery of a crowd gathered to protest the police murder of Breonna Taylor fired more than a dozen shots, killing one, hospitalizing another, and injuring several more. Police arrested a man (for the third time in two weeks) and charged him with murder and wanton endangerment.

[Russian Bounties] Biden Excoriates Trump Over Russian Bounties – During a virtual town hall, Biden focused on the intelligence reports concerning Russian bounties for American soldiers and Trump’s lack of response: “His entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale.” Biden’s sharp and rapid response signals the Democrats’ willingness to jump on this view into the wound left by the Mueller investigation and Trump’s relationship to Putin. Biden pointed out Trump recently had multiple phone calls with Putin, promoted returning Russia to the G7, and without notice pulled troops out of Germany (high on Putin’s wish list). This is an issue with wide impact on the military and veterans.

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IUY Weekly Journal – #49 June 20 – 26, 2020

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, June 20 through Friday, June 26, 2020 [#49]

“Coronavirus Surge”

The Week’s Most Notable

Reality stalks Trump and the GOP. The surging COVID-19 pandemic regained domination over the news of the week. (And a bewildering jam-packed week of news it was.) Instead of going away as Trump suggested at his Tulsa rally, new cases in states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California reached levels above previous records. In fact, it appears that several states might see 5,000 to 10,000 new cases a day, which will translate into hundreds of hospitalizations and scores of deaths – per day, per state. By midweek doctors in Texas were predicting that Houston could have the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the world, eclipsing the terrible records set in New York City. Meanwhile, Trump, most of the GOP, and the right-wing media continued to deny the significance of the surge and reiterated their abhorrence of using facemasks, social distancing, and testing. This time, however, the people being affected are mainly in the red-state South, Trump’s people. Already several southern governors are rolling back their state’s “reopening” and it is possible selective lockdowns may be required. The reality of the medical situation demands dramatic countermeasures, the political situation for the GOP demands denial to the level of delusion. The next week or two are going to be brutal as new hospitalizations and deaths add to the rising numbers and clash with Trump’s insistence the crisis is over.

Saturday, June 20

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases – 2,333,337; Deaths – 123,994

[Elections 2020] Trump Tulsa Rally Tanks – Trump spoke of millions wanting to attend. The campaign planned for about 100,000 inside and outside the arena. The arena could hold more than 19,000 – closely packed, chanting, potential coronavirus victims. (Some of Trump’s advance team and Secret Service detail have already tested positive.) It was to be the breakout rally, the re-launch of his campaign. Approximately 6,200 attended and the visual provided was a sea of empty blue seats, which became the iconic representation of one of the worst political event flops on record. Like the Bible incident in D.C., this was one for the history books if not for lasting real-world impact.

[Justice Department] SDNY Saga Stumbles On – Having failed to acquire a resignation from Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Atty. Gen. Barr was forced to go to Trump and have him directly fire Berman (although in true Trumpian fashion, Trump later denied any involvement). So Berman was out, but his obstinacy had a point; without a resignation Barr could not appoint a temporary replacement. Instead Deputy District Attorney Audrey Strauss took over the job. She is not a Trump loyalist and will likely hold the job until the Senate confirms a permanent SDNY Attorney. (Unlikely to happen before the election.) This mostly botched “coup” opened the Pandora’s Box on Barr’s interferences in cases related to the president, which is now the subject of House investigation and is attracting a trove of journalistic revelations.

[Trump – Book] Judge Rules Bolton Book Publishing May Proceed – The judge said, “the horse is already out of the barn,” as the book was distributed to thousands in the previous week and most of its contents thoroughly picked out and placed before the public. However, by the judge’s ruling it is possible Bolton may be denied sales and royalty money for having “gambled with the national security of the United States.” Most reviews said it was a poorly written book; but it contained useful cross-references, and nuggets of factoid material such as Trump imploring the Chinese to help with his reelection by purchasing more American farm goods.

[Racism – Protest] Shooting in Seattle’s CHAZ Spells End of Autonomous Zone – The shooting resulted in one dead and one injured and brought the police into the investigation. [Update: Several days later the need for police presence resulted in the mayor’s use of the incident to begin clearing the occupied six block zone. This will end a colorful right-wing media talking point within a week to 10 days.]

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IUY – Weekly Journal #48 June 13 – 19, 2020

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, June 13 through Friday, June 19, 2020 [#48]

“Juneteenth”

The Week’s Most Notable

Juneteenth and Tulsa. Although the week was chockablock with portentous events – Supreme Court rulings, more COVID-19 deaths than U.S. casualties in World War I, violent action at the Koreas and India/China borders, police reform bills, Jon Bolton’s traitorous book, and the Friday night botched firing at SDNY – the ongoing leitmotif was the interplay of the commemoration of the final day of emancipation, “Juneteenth,” and the approaching Saturday Trump rally in Tulsa. It was often repeated that Tulsa was the site of the worst massacre of a black community in American history. Yet Trump chose Tulsa. He also originally chose June 19 for the date, Juneteenth. Because of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, Juneteenth took on greater significance than ever with many events planned for Tulsa. All week the media speculated about the confluence of all the current major issues with the confluence of BLM protesters and MAGA members. Bring together tens of thousands, stuff them into small spaces, make them steam and shout – would violence erupt? Maybe. Would COVID-19 do a super spread? Maybe.

[Update: In the actual event, Trump filled scarcely two thirds of the auditorium; the pictures were very remindful of the blank spaces in his inauguration crowd. There was some violence outside the hall, but very little. The vast deflation of the situation sounded like a big sigh of relief; mostly people went home. We’ll see what the coronavirus does in the next few weeks; by then we’ll also know what this monster cow-flop event did to the Trump campaign.]

Saturday, June 13

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases – 2,142,852; Deaths – 117,527

[Coronavirus] Trump Addresses West Point Grads – The event had two notable features: Cadets had to be called in from all over the country, undergo quarantine, and be tested for COVID-19 so that Trump could have his speech. In terms of optics, Trump was recorded fumbling with a glass of water and having difficulty walking down a shallow ramp. [Update: A week later at his Tulsa rally, Trump was still explaining what happened – for ten minutes.]

[Racism – Protest] Rayshard Brooks Killing Accelerates BLM Protest – As new details emerged, such as the police kicking and standing on the dying Mr. Brooks, anger following this incident fed directly into the ongoing protests. The first fallout was the resignation of the Atlanta police chief. Later in the week both officers involved were arrested and charged with multiple crimes. The shooting officer was charged with murder.

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Weekly Journal #47 June 6 – 12, 2020

 Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, June 6 through Friday, June 12, 2020 [#47]

“monumental change”

The Week’s Most Notable

It’s a bit peculiar or possibly ironic that much of the week’s brouhaha concerned an unfortunate phrase: Defund the Police. Trump and conservatives took it at face value – get rid of police entirely. Centrist Democrats like Biden also disavowed the phrase, saying that their intent was to transform or reform the police but not to get rid of police departments entirely. Perhaps the majority opinion of protesters could be summarized with a tweak: Reimagine the Police. Of course, a more radical segment of the protesters said “No, no, no, we mean no police.” That this constituted an open debate at all is remarkable and a testament to how rapidly public opinion shifted toward doing something about police violence and racism. By the end of the week there were numerous news stories covering how cities were reforming their police in some way or another. However, putting the good news in perspective also underscores how contentious and difficult it will be to alter the culture, practice, and structure of the more than 18,000 police jurisdictions in the U.S. Systemic reform, especially with any hope of federal leadership, will at best have to wait until after the election.

Even the British got into the act as people in Bristol rolled a statue of a local slave trader into the Avon River. (British right-wingers fished it out a day later, but it’s not going back up.) Although the furor created by the George Floyd murder focused on police violence and racism, it didn’t take more than a week to set off repercussions in the general culture. In particular, a movement developed to finish removing the public monuments (statues, plaques, flags, memorials) lionizing the Confederacy, such as the statue of Gen. Robert E Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia. (A court fight over this particular monument is already underway.) Another expression of the movement calls for the renaming of military bases, mostly in the South, such as Fort Bragg, named for a particularly inept Confederate general. However, Trump tweeted “[M]y administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations…” Most of these monuments were installed for propaganda value during the Jim Crow era.

Saturday, June 6

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases – 1,988,544; Deaths – 112,096

[Racism – Protest] A Weekend of Protests – Unlike the preceding week when police frequently responded to protests by trying to enforce location and curfew rules with aggressive tactics, this weekend the police seemed to back off. There were dozens of peaceful protests in cities such as Washington DC, New York, and Seattle, in some cases drawing tens of thousands of protesters.

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