A Visit From the June Squad

It's happening in Oklahoma, but it's not O.K. President Trump is bringing back his live campaign rallies. For your own sanity, I'd ignore the content. But don't ignore the location or the date. The rally will take place on June 19, the day African Americans celebrate the end of slavery. And it will take place in Tulsa, the site of one of the worst massacres of Black people in US history. To you it may seem like a stretch to pull these two elements together into a unified message. But like so many dog whistles and direct statements in the past, white supremacists hear it loud and clear.

+ I guarantee Daniel Lombroso sees the connection. While working on his upcoming documentary, he spent four years embedded with the alt right. He learned about the seductive power of hate. "White nationalists aren't dumb, or poor. They're scared of losing power. By 2045, white Americans will become a minority in the United States. This demographic change isn't a conspiracy—what those in the alt-right call "white genocide"—but a choice. Millions have decided that they want an inclusive society with equality and justice for everyone. As protesters march to fight structural racism against African Americans, it is clear how much work is left to be done. To defeat hate movements as widespread and damaging as white nationalism, we must understand why people are drawn to them in the first place, and what they're willing to give up in order to belong."

+ A related personal note: Guys, I really need to talk to you about something. It's been weighing on my mind for a while. I'm probably just being hysterical. But it keeps nagging at me. I can't let it go. I think my 96 year-old dad might be part of Antifa.


Confed Up

Since top military officials started to push back on Trumpism, one of the big questions has been whether corporate America would follow suit. When Trump said no one should kneel, the NFL pushed back and (under extreme pressure from players) said it would welcome protests and apologized for its past transgressions. During a week when President Trump is insisting that Confederate names and emblems belong on US military bases, another massive, mainstream American brand is taking a pit stop and reversing course. The display of the Confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties. (I'm gonna now watch some NASCAR. That's how it works. People take small steps towards one another, and before you know it, you have a country.) Corporations like safety in numbers. NASCAR and the NFL cracked the levee. Time for other corporations to show some guts and blow it apart.

+ Speaking of the military's pushback, it continues. The latest statement comes from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was patrolling Lafayette Park in fatigues the day of Trump's teargas enabled photo-op. "I should not have been there. My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics. As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it."

+ So much of this is fallout from the Lafayette Park incident, which could ultimately be viewed as the most pivotal day in the Trump presidency. It certainly was a pivotal day for the National Guard. NYT: Aggressive Tactics by National Guard, Ordered to Appease Trump, Wounded the Military, Too. "Typically, as the D.C. National Guard, we are viewed as the heroes ... It's a very tough conversation to have when a soldier turns to me and they're saying, ‘Hey sir, you know my cousin was up there yelling at me, that was my neighbor, my best friend from high school.'"

+ The National Guard members interviewed above said they hated the experience of that day. Trump insists it was a walk in the park. "Our great National Guard Troops who took care of the area around the White House could hardly believe how easy it was. 'A walk in the park', one said. The protesters, agitators, anarchists (ANTIFA), and others, were handled VERY easily by the Guard, D.C. Police, & S.S. GREAT JOB!" (I'm pretty sure the Secret Service doesn't like being called the S.S.)


Mask Yourself, Not Reality

The US has hit another negative Covid milestone as the number of cases, spurred by several states that have become hotspots, surged past the 2,000,000 mark. Meanwhile, Moderna on track for large COVID-19 vaccine test in July.

+ In the meantime, a British study confirms that you should wear a f-ckin' mask. (I'm paraphrasing...)


Stimulus is More

"These five provisions that help the well-heeled will cost the Treasury — which is to say, U.S. taxpayers — an estimated $257.95 billion for the 2020 calendar year. That's nearly as much as the estimated $292.37 billion price tag for the stimulus grants to regular folks." ProPublica: The CARES Act Sent You a $1,200 Check but Gave Millionaires and Billionaires Far More.


Different Hoax for Different Folks

The account "was set up as an experiment to show how social media platforms treat high profile public figures — specifically Trump — differently to ordinary users." What would happen if a random account repeated Trump's words on Facebook? Spoiler alert: They'd be stopped by Facebook.


The Bull Bares All

"What gives? How can this be happening? How can so much bad news in the real world result in such surprisingly good news in the stock markets? Aside from the obvious answer that no one knows why this happening—or if they say they do, they don't—there are any number of possible explanations." Vanity Fair: What's Behind the Bad-News Market Boom. (Today, things are decidedly less boomy.)


Rivitz Hits the Fan

Matt Rivitz is "a freelance copywriter - his past jobs inc being Creative Director of TBWA/Chiat/Day and Senior Copywriter at Goodby Silverstein & Partners." He's also the guy behind Sleeping Giants. He lets companies knows when their ads are showing up on hate sites. The companies often then remove those ads. It's hugely impactful. (Sleeping Giants also has the second best logo on the internet.) Here'a a podcast interview with Matt: How to stop funding hate - and change the Internet.

+ Speaking of which... Several major advertisers such as Disney, T-Mobile, and the newly woke Papa Johns have pulled their ads from Tucker Carlson's show.


Allow Me to Demonstrate

"Supporting one kind of protest but not another may seem confusing at first, but the decision reflects what public-health experts have always tried to do: Maximize the health of the population across all aspects of life. And health is about more than simply remaining free of coronavirus infection." In other words, there's a difference between protesting about centuries of abuse and protesting about the right to get a haircut without a mask. The Atlantic: Public-Health Experts Are Not Hypocrites.


Damien Omen

"The airline has a large art collection by mostly British artists including works by Damien Hirst and Peter Doig, of which one is known to be well over £1 million and have been displayed in its lounges for 30 or 40 years. The collection has increased in value significantly over the years." A sign of the times. British Airways to sell artworks worth millions by major British stars in bid to save costs during covid meltdown.


Feel Good Thursday

"I don't think she realized at the time what she was doing for me. She was saving my life." He was a Covid-19 patient. She cleaned his hospital room. Their unexpected bond saved his life.

+ Country group Lady Antebellum changes name to Lady A. And Walmart Will No Longer Lock Up Black Beauty and Grooming Products. A lot of small changes can add up to a big change

+ Street gatherings bring joy in Hell's Kitchen in pandemic.