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Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 169,779

Journal Archives

America Gasps for Air


America Gasps for Air
The virus and the cops and the masks and the anxiety all have the same result.
By Dahlia Lithwick
May 30, 2020
4:02 PM

“I can’t breathe.” That was one of the last things George Floyd could be heard saying as Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground with his knee until he died. In 2015, Eric Harris was shot by Tulsa reserve deputy Robert Bates, and as Harris struggled to breathe, another cop on the scene told him, “fuck your breath.” Eric Garner’s last words in 2015, were “I can’t breathe,” eleven times, as he pleaded for air while officer Daniel Pantaleo held him in a chokehold, head pinned to a sidewalk, until he died.

When you die from the coronavirus, your lungs fill with fluid until you are gasping to draw breath. “I couldn’t breathe” is the descriptor I hear most frequently from friends who’ve been put on ventilators, who describe gasping for air, and a kind of slow-burn drowning sensation in the lungs.


It’s pure coincidence that America feels like it is dying this summer because nobody can breathe. It’s a powerful metaphor though, and one that bears some parsing: Cities are literally on fire and nobody can breathe, people of color are being strangled by white police officers and their last words— captured on camera—are “I can’t breathe.” A pandemic has taken over 100,000 lives and the death, the disease, and the attempt at prevention keep us from breathing fully.

To be dying of a lack of air is a powerful symbol; it’s a metaphor for scarcity, for insufficiency. It’s a marker for ways in which the “richest country in the world,” the “most powerful nation in the world,” and the “leader of the western world” somehow finds itself gasping.
Fighting for what should be plentiful. Suffocating is different from a heart attack, different from a stroke. I think about suffocating as something that creeps up on you; you lose your breath little by little, maybe barely even noticing at first; thinking you have the means to get it back. And by then, suddenly, it hits you that this is a serious crisis and that your breath might be lost for good. This one essential function—breathe in, breathe out—feels like it captures something very deep about inequality, and anxiety, about childhood asthma and pollution and desperate poverty. Breath is something that seems like it will go on forever, until you realize that it will not.

You can’t breathe when the world is on fire. And you can’t breathe when you are unable to stop screaming with anger, frustration, and fear. You can’t breathe when you are sobbing or terrified.


We can’t breathe, and the words “last gasps” seem to have taken on a new force as we contemplate the stunning fact that we all breathe the same air, whether we like it or not, and that a nation in which only some people can draw breath safely is not a nation, but rather a tenuous hostage situation. This is of course a call for the reimagining of an America in which everyone can breathe freely, which was probably itself only a dream, but which might still be achievable. It would require refining our understanding of air, and space, science, frailty and connection, in ways that seem to demand something more than the current moment affords. The answer to “I can’t breathe” has got to be “then let me breathe for you.” But maybe that moment, too, is already gone.

It’s my face man
I didn’t do nothing serious man
please I can’t breathe
please man
please somebody
please man
I can’t breathe
I can’t breathe
man can’t breathe my face
just get up
I can’t breathe
please (inaudible)
I can’t breath shit
I will
I can’t move
I can’t
my knee
my nuts
I’m through
I’m through
I’m claustrophobic
my stomach hurt
my neck hurts
everything hurts
some water or something
I can’t breath officer
don’t kill me
they gon kill me man
come on man
I cannot breathe
I cannot breathe
they gon kill me
they gon kill me
I can’t breathe
I can’t breathe
please sir
please I can’t breathe”
- George Floyd
Posted by babylonsister | Sun May 31, 2020, 07:16 PM (5 replies)

Officials Claim Far-Right 'Boogaloo Bois' Fanning Flames Of Chaos In Minnesota

I thought I heard yesterday that 80% and 20% were transposed, and 80% were residents. I don't know what is true, though I do tend to believe 80% are disruptors and worse. I also believe some are cops.

5/31/20 7:35am
Read time: 4 minutes
Officials Claim Far-Right 'Boogaloo Bois' Fanning Flames Of Chaos In Minnesota
Nearly everyone arrested in the George Floyd protest is from out of state, and there's evidence they're right-wing extremists.
By David Neiwert

The specter of white supremacists surreptitiously participating in protests surrounding the death of George Floyd, the black man killed in the custody of Minneapolis police last week, became more substantive than earlier vague rumors when Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Saturday told reporters that neo-Nazis—along with members of Mexican drug cartels—appear to be involved in inflaming the violent riots that have struck Minneapolis, as well as other cities around the country.

“The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd,” Walz said today. “It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.”

“We have seen things like white supremacist organizers posting on platforms about coming to Minnesota,” Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said at the same press conference, adding that a potential connection to organized crime is also being investigated.

Harrington added that white nationalists are posting messages on social media, according to Joy Reid, that urge fellow extremists to go to Minneapolis to “get our loot on” and create mayhem. He told reporters that authorities will investigate people attempting to use public outrage over Floyd’s death as a “cover” for illegal activity.

Walz told reporters he was aware of rumors that white supremacists were involved in some of the looting surrounding the protests and that “based on my suspicions and what I've seen on this,” he found them credible.

"It gets worse than that," he added. "The cartels, who are wondering if there was a break in their drug transmissions, are trying to take advantage of the chaos. That's why this situation is on a federal level.

"Walz and other officials also claimed that 80 percent of the rioters were from out of state.


Posted by babylonsister | Sun May 31, 2020, 12:34 PM (4 replies)

GOP planning for 19,000 in attendance, full bars and restaurants for Charlotte convention

Meh. Go for it.

GOP planning for 19,000 in attendance, full bars and restaurants for Charlotte convention
By Brian Murphy
May 30, 2020 06:40 PM

Republicans are planning a full convention in August, meaning 19,000 people in the arena and hotels, restaurants operating at full capacity to support the event, they said in a letter to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Saturday.

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Republican National Convention President and CEO Marcia Kelly sent the letter, the latest in public communications between Republicans and the Cooper administration over convention guidelines.

The convention is scheduled for Aug. 24 through Aug. 27 at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center. But the coronavirus pandemic has thrown into question whether North Carolina will allow such a large gathering to take place.


“A full convention entailed 19,000 delegates, alternate delegates, staff, volunteers, elected officials and guests inside the Spectrum Center. In order to house and feed them, we needed full hotes and restaurants and bars at capacity,” the GOP officials said in their letter of the original plan.

Then, they added: “We are planning to hold a full Convention starting August 24.”

Read more here: https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article243122946.html
Posted by babylonsister | Sat May 30, 2020, 10:22 PM (15 replies)

Far-Right Infiltrators and Agitators in George Floyd Protests: Indicators of White Supremacists


Far-Right Infiltrators and Agitators in George Floyd Protests: Indicators of White Supremacists
by Mia Bloom
May 30, 2020


A report by Vice News about right-wing infiltrators in the protests notes “hardcore ‘accelerationists’ … are encouraging their neo-Nazi followers to go to the protests and carry out acts of violence against black people.”

Accelerationists follow the blueprint laid out by neo-Nazi James Mason in The Siege (not the film with Denzel Washington) whose writing inspires Charles Manson types of killing sprees. Mason, living in obscurity in Denver until he was brought out of retirement by Atomwaffen, a right wing Neo Nazi group. The goal of accelerationism is to burn everything down and to use violence both to target enemies and instigate an overt and extreme response from the government. Their strategy echoes Gustavo Gorriti’s writings about the Shining Path terrorist group that the movement’s “goal was to provoke blind, excessive reactions from the state… Blows laid on indiscriminately would also provoke among those unjustly or disproportionately affected an intense resentment of the government.”

Similarly accelerationists hope to “demolish the state apparatus that stands between them and a white-dominated future.” And the White Supremacists here could be of a different orientation too – organized to discredit the protestors with no clear or deliberate vision for greater political change in mind.

Bellingcat has documented the involvement in the protests of a largely white, and far-right movement called the Boogaloo, whose leaders “expect, even hope, that the warmer weather will bring armed confrontations with law enforcement, and will build momentum towards a new civil war in the United States.” “As protests over the death of George Floyd heated up in Minneapolis on May 26th, members of Boogaloo groups across Facebook considered it a call to arms,” wrote Bellingcat’s Robert Evans.

On Twitter, Evans has said he does not think the Boogaloo group is behind the destruction of property. Vice News’ Tess Owen wrote about the Bugaloo Bois, anti-government extremists recognizable by their Hawaiian shirts, that “in addition to their physical presence at the protests, the #boogaloo hashtag on social media has been flooded with memes in the last couple days egging on violence, and talking about how they hope this is the beginning of a civil war.”

Sounds like a subplot of the X files, sounds unlikely, or too conspiratorial…maybe. But recall the Russian Internet Agency posted ads and pages for demonstrations for Black Lives Matter as well as Pro Trump anti immigrant groups on Facebook in the months leading up to the 2016 election. The protests have changed the national conversation from over 100,000 dead and counting to rising violence and chaos on American streets. Tossing gasoline onto an already explosive situation, President Donald Trump tweeted and posted on Facebook about the George Floyd protests, including one in which the president warned, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The president tried to walk back the tweet later saying he had no idea of the racist use of that phrase to support extrajudicial killings by police. Yet he can’t deny that several hours after experts pointed out the origins and meaning of the phrase, the official White House twitter account reposted Trump’s statement. Then on Saturday, the president retweeted a post saying, “In an ironic twist of fate, CNN HQ is being attacked by the very riots they promoted as noble & just.”

It is worth reiterating what Loren DeJonge Schulman argued, that even if the protests include outsider participation to foment chaos and spark an overreaction it doesn’t mean that the driving sentiment launched by these protests should be minimized or ignored.

If the protests are being infiltrated by police provocateurs, accelerationists or other bad actors, we can expect a lot more violence in the lead up to the 2020 election.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat May 30, 2020, 10:04 PM (0 replies)

From AIDS to Covid-19: Trump's decades of spreading dangerous misinformation about disease outbreaks

From AIDS to Covid-19: Trump's decades of spreading dangerous misinformation about disease outbreaks
By Andrew Kaczynski, Nathan McDermott and Em Steck, CNN
Updated 11:02 AM ET, Sat May 30, 2020

(CNN)Donald Trump has spent decades spreading and sowing dangerous misinformation about disease outbreaks -- from falsely suggesting AIDS can be transmitted through kissing to warning Americans not to get vaccinated and falsely suggesting vaccines can cause autism.

Long before advising Americans to ingest disinfectant to treat the coronavirus as President, Trump demonstrated a pattern of spreading unsupported medical claims that preyed on the public's fears of getting sick, a CNN KFile review of the President's statements on past epidemics and pandemics found.

In 1993, Trump promoted the widely-debunked claims that AIDS could be spread by kissing and that AIDS patients intentionally spread the virus. As the swine flu pandemic began in 2009, he warned Americans against taking flu vaccines. When the Ebola virus outbreak devastated West Africa in 2014, he disputed guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how it spreads.

Today as the nation's chief executive overseeing his own public health crisis, Trump continues to comprehensively misinform the public about the coronavirus, offering remarks riddled with false, misleading or scientifically questionable claims.

While Trump, the White House and his supporters often defend his outlandish coronavirus remarks by claiming the President is acting as the nation's cheerleader, his optimism does not square with medical science or his long history of sowing disinformation.


Posted by babylonsister | Sat May 30, 2020, 03:34 PM (0 replies)

Millions of paper tax returns go unopened at short-staffed IRS

Millions of paper tax returns go unopened at short-staffed IRS
Overall, the IRS estimated it had a backlog of 10 million pieces of mail to open and process.
05/29/2020 06:04 PM EDT
Updated: 05/29/2020 09:48 PM EDT

The IRS estimates that nearly 5 million unopened paper tax returns had piled up at the agency by mid-May amid the closure of its offices nationwide due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report that POLITICO has obtained.

Overall, the IRS estimated it had a backlog of 10 million pieces of mail to open and process as thousands of workers begin returning to the offices on Monday.

In addition to tax returns, the unopened mail includes taxpayer correspondence, information returns and payments, according to the report.

Through May 22, the agency had processed 120 million returns, down 14 percent from the same point in 2019, when the filing deadline was April 15. The deadline was delayed by three months this year because of disruptions caused by the pandemic.


Posted by babylonsister | Sat May 30, 2020, 10:31 AM (5 replies)

Trump Insists on Full Convention with No Masks


Trump Insists on Full Convention with No Masks
May 29, 2020 at 10:58 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

President Trump called North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) on Friday and insisted on a full Republican convention this summer with no face masks or social distancing, CNN reports.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat May 30, 2020, 10:22 AM (22 replies)

Judge orders Social Security to pay survivors benefits to previously disqualified gay couples


Judge orders Social Security to pay survivors benefits to previously disqualified gay couples
Kerry Eleveld
Daily Kos Staff
Friday May 29, 2020 · 6:08 PM EDT
Share this article

A federal judge Wednesday ordered the Social Security Administration to pay benefits to the surviving partners of same-sex couples who had been denied the opportunity to marry sooner due to state marriage bans.

As Slate's Mark Joseph Stern notes, the ruling reversed “one of the last remaining vestiges of federal discrimination against same-sex couples.”

The case centered around Michael Ely and James A. Taylor, a committed Arizona couple of 43 years who wed shortly after the Supreme Court struck down same-sex marriage bans nationwide in June 2014. Six months later, Taylor died of cancer. But when Ely applied for federal survivor benefits, he was denied because federal law requires couples be married for at least nine months in order to qualify. The fact that the couple had been illegally banned from marrying sooner was deemed immaterial.

The case was brought in 2019 by the LGBTQ advocacy group Lambda Legal as a class action suit, arguing that the Social Security Administration "cannot rely upon unconstitutional state laws that have since been overturned to justify discriminating against same-sex surviving spouses today."

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Macdonald agreed with that reasoning, writing that "reliance on an unconstitutional law" perpetuated an "unconstitutional infringement on Mr. Ely and Mr. Taylor’s fundamental right to marriage.”

Lambda Legal counsel Peter Renn called the ruling a "tremendous victory" for surviving same-sex spouses nationwide. "No one should be penalized for being the victim of discrimination. The denial of access to these critical benefits can have dire consequences, with some of our class members experiencing homelessness," Renn said.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri May 29, 2020, 09:24 PM (4 replies)

Dr. Michael Baden to perform independent autopsy on George Floyd


Dr. Michael Baden to perform independent autopsy on George Floyd
By Ben Feuerherd
May 29, 2020 | 4:58pm

Former New York City chief medical examiner Michael Baden will conduct an independent autopsy on George Floyd following his death after being pinned by a Minneapolis police officer.

Dr. Michael Baden, who previously conducted an independent autopsy of Jeffrey Epstein, will do the examination after the family takes Floyd’s body back from the state, their lawyer said Friday.

“We’re going to take custody back of his body, and we’re bringing in Dr. Michael Baden to perform an independent autopsy,” the attorney, Ben Crump, said at a news conference, 1010 WINS reported.

“The family does not trust anything coming from the Minneapolis Police Department. How can they?” Crump added.

a bit more...

Posted by babylonsister | Fri May 29, 2020, 08:27 PM (6 replies)

Holy smokes! Chicago Mayor Responds to Trump's Tweet


Chicago Mayor Responds to Trump’s Tweet
May 29, 2020 at 5:06 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) accused President Trump of trying to “foment violence” and offered a vulgar response — in code — after he threatened Minneapolis rioters protesting the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, the Chicago Sun Times reports.

Said Lightfoot: “We see the game he’s playing because it’s so transparent and he’s not very good at it. He wants to show failures on the part of Democratic local leaders to throw red meat to his base. His goal is to polarize, to destabilize local government and inflame racist urges. And we can absolutely not let him prevail.”

She added: “I will code what I really want to say to Donald Trump. It’s two words: It begins with F and ends with YOU.”
Posted by babylonsister | Fri May 29, 2020, 05:16 PM (59 replies)
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