Insurrectile Dysfunction

"Less than 48 hours after the president threatened to use the Insurrection Act of 1807 to contain protests if governors were not able to get a handle on unrest, Esper said it should be invoked in the United States 'only in the most urgent and dire of situations.' He declared, 'We are not in one of those situations now.'" We're in an urgent and dire situation all right, but it has nothing to do with the protests. It has to do with a Commander in Chief who is out of control and needs to be publicly constrained by those in his chain of command. Thankfully, for all us, and particularly for the men and women who sacrifice so much to serve America and who have had to watch their ranks soiled by a faux tough guy threatening our own citizens, Defense Secretary Mark Esper says there will be no military for protests as standby troops leave the DC area.

+ As shocking as it is to have a sitting defense secretary publicly split from the Commander in Chief, it's equally remarkable that a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has written an op-ed on the topic. Mike Mullen: I Cannot Remain Silent. "Our fellow citizens are not the enemy, and must never become so." Thank you Admiral Mullen. I salute you.

+ The situation has to be extreme for this pushback to be happening. And it is. CIA veterans who monitored crackdowns abroad see troubling parallels in Trump's handling of protests. (Sadly, the whole world is seeing it.)


Good Not Enough

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in the NYT: "Although as mayor, the chief of police reports to me, in that moment, I knew what every other parent to a black child in America knows: I could not protect my son."

+ R. Eric Thomas: It Does Not Matter If You Are Good.



"Commissioner Adam Silver and the league's advisory/finance committee have shared the broad details of a plan with teams to play at the Walt Disney World Resort, sources said. The plan includes 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams, eight regular-season games, a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed, and playoffs." The day Adam Silver shut down the NBA marked a turning point in the public's understanding of the virus threat. It will be great to have the league back, even if it's really nothing like it was. ESPN: NBA to approve plan for 22-team return with eight regular-season games. All the teams at one resort the whole time? It makes sense. They never call traveling in the NBA anyway.


Union Jackboot

"Private trainers across the country host seminars, frequently at taxpayer expense, teaching 'killology' and pushing the notion that if officers aren't willing to "snuff out a life" then they should "consider another line of work." Frey explained that this type of training — which has accompanied the increasing militarization of the police over the last few decades — undermined the community-based policing he wanted the city to adopt after a string of high-profile killings in the region. But then the police union stepped in." Melissa Segura in Buzzfeed: There's One Big Reason Why Police Brutality Is So Common In The US. And That's The Police Unions.

+ And a Reveal 2019 report that seems more pressing now: Inside hate groups on Facebook, police officers trade racist memes, conspiracy theories and Islamophobia.

+ Is this all police? Hell no. But it's a segment, and it's the segment that cheers the attitude of President Trump. Adam Serwer in The Atlantic: "The president, a man who once called for the execution of five black and Hispanic teenagers for a crime they did not commit, is not just skeptical of reform. He views the violent enforcement of the color line as an honorable calling, and one that police officers should embrace rather than reject. Decades after taking out a newspaper ad demanding that New York "Bring back the death penalty and bring back our police!" the president still refuses to acknowledge the innocence of the Central Park Five. If they were not guilty of the actual crime, they were guilty of being the kind of people he wanted the police to crack down on." (Editor's note: Bingo.)

+ Meanwhile, in the George Floyd case, the "officer who pressed his knee into George Floyd's neck was charged with second-degree murder and the three other officers on scene during his killing are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder."


OK, Maybe There is Crying in Baseball

"'We are really early in this disease,' Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told The Times recently. 'If this were a baseball game, it would be the second inning.'" Alan Burdick in the NYT: Monster or Machine? A Profile of the Coronavirus at 6 Months.

+ So far, every time we try to return to normal, the virus dampens hopes. NPR: "Two weeks after Israel fully reopened schools, a COVID-19 outbreak sweeping through classrooms — including at least 130 cases at a single school — has led officials to close dozens of schools where students and staff were infected."


Protest of Wills

"Thousands of people took to the streets in Minneapolis, Orlando, New York, Denver, Boston, Seattle, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Houston, Washington, D.C., and many more cities, expressing anger and frustration over ongoing police brutality and systemic racism." InFocus: American Protest: Images From the Past 24 Hours.

+ Sidenote: After seeing America, religion, the military, the first amendment, and the presidency desecrated and debased, I was pretty bummed. Then I attended a multicultural, peaceful protest in Marin City. And now I'm ready to rock again. (I'm guessing the protest I attended was quite similar in terms of makeup and demeanor as the one hit by tear gas outside the White House.)


If You Build It, They Will Leave

"It's too early to tell whether the work from home trend will extend beyond a few companies to reshape the fabric of Silicon Valley. While Twitter, Square, and Facebook are going all-in on remote work, companies like Google and Salesforce are extending work from home options for the rest of the year with plans to reopen in 2021." The Verge: Byte Flight. (I don't think the Bay Area will empty out. But a little less traffic would be nice...)


Mon Armor

"My mother started crying. She comes from Pentecostal background, and she started speaking in tongues. I haven't heard her speak in tongues in years. I thought, look at my president! He's establishing the Lord's kingdom in the world." The Guardian on those who loved Trump's bible pose, and how they got to this point. 'He wears the armor of God': evangelicals hail Trump's church photo op.


Med Head

"He had spent that time in silent meditation in a cabin in remote northwestern Vermont, where he is part of a Buddhist monastic community. During his 75 days in isolation, his hair had grown out. The last snow of winter had melted, and the trees had budded. Frogs had come out of hibernation and begun peeping. Mr. Thorson, a podcaster and enthusiastic online philosopher, had also missed 75 news cycles. And so, less than two hours after ending his silent retreat, Mr. Thorson logged back onto Twitter. 'Did I miss anything?'" A Latter-Day Rip Van Winkle Emerges, Blinking, Into a Surreal Reality. (This guy should have to watch all of our kids for the next week...)


Feel Good Wednesday

Swann Street Residents Sheltered Dozens Of Protesters From Police On The Fourth Night Of Protests. BBC: The man who sheltered 80 US protesters.

+ In a nice bit of timing, Iowa voted racist Steve King out of Congress.

+ Welcome to the world of fulltime etch a sketch artists.

+ "I went down during the day and I was there for a tiny, little short period of time, and it was much more for an inspection." Slate: Trump Now Says He Was Totally "Inspecting" the Bunker, Not Hiding in It. (Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, just imagine these hahas going on long enough for you to have to scroll about three miles....)