Trash Talk: Get (Fourth) Down and Dirty

Golf widow here once again, enjoying the dwindling days of Michigan’s golf season.

By which I mean I am doing more fall cleaning while looking forward to a nice cold Modelo and an entertaining book once my chores are done.

Lawn furniture put away? Check.

Outdoor cushions washed and dried? Check.

Fireplace prepped for winter use? Check.

A couple more chores and I can revel in quiet quaffing. I keep a couple lounge chairs on the deck through the winter to enjoy the midday sun; soon I’m going to park in one with a book and my beer and partake in the peak autumn color here.

I’m sure it’s nice out on the fairway but I don’t have to put up with trash talk from the rest of my foursome to do so, nor do I have to spring for beers for the winner.

Golf widowhood for the motherfucking win.

~ ~ ~

If you are a regular Twitter use you already know exactly what happened last night in Major League Baseball because it flooded Twitter users’ feeds.

One friend whined for hours about the Houston Astros (at Seattle Mariners). Another dropped offline because they couldn’t take anymore stress watching the New York Yankees (at Cleveland Guardians).

Best take:

Hell, I didn’t even watch the game and I could feel that one – the Astros-Mariners’ game was over six hours long.

The Guardians didn’t win until the ninth inning, which merely made the game feel long.

In hindsight I must not follow many people in my other Twitter account in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Los Angeles, or San Diego because their presence as fans was so much less obvious in my Twitter timeline in spite of the Padres beating the Dodgers and the Phillies taking the Braves out of their series with last night’s win.

Dr. Biden caught the Phillies’ win, though.

Good for her.

~ ~ ~

I’m just not in the mood for NFL football today. I’m hanging onto the fleeting sensation of yesterday’s Big 10 conference win by Michigan State’s Spartans against Wisconsin’s Badgers.

It’s not been a good season for the Green and White up to now. Every game has been a roller coaster ride.

Hah. Funny. Manzullo doesn’t note the fourth observation by Scott Bell is that of a University of Michigan fan. U-M is still ranked in the top five in the nation.

Next week will probably be rocky around here, and a good time to go shopping because every public venue except for bars with big screen TVs will be empty while MSU meets in-state rival U-M at U-M.

MSU is expected to get the stuffing knocked out of them but the rivalry is pretty intense and not factored into the odds.

~ ~ ~

This post is called Trash Talk, not sports talk so now I’m going to take out the trash

This tweet by Maggie Haberman crystalizes what the fuck is wrong with Haberman’s journalism.

Pure regurgitation, no analysis, zero pushback on naked hate. Her subject barfed up a noxious furball she then dutifully carried from the cesspool in which he left it to the bigger pond at Twitter.

Haberman is trash, allowing herself to be used for hateful propaganda purposes.

~ ~ ~

All right, have at it, use this as an open thread. Air out your trash.

And pass me my beer.

Trash Talk: Monday Night Bites

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Hey. Golf widow here. I survived another quiet weekend, this time with dogs added for company.

This weekend was a good one – not only did I get to pet dogs on loan but the entire family was here. They made up a foursome and kicked some ass in their respective flight.

And I got my cut of the winnings without having to swing a club.

If only Monday Night Football was as promising.

~ ~ ~

We’re wrapping up Week 5 of the NFL football season with Oakland Raiders (1-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-1) – kickoff was at 8:15 p.m. ET this evening.

Gee whiz, I wonder who will win? The suspense is killing me. Not.

I dare you to go to Google News → Sports → NFL and scan the coverage for Tua Tagovailoa’s name. It’s almost as if he doesn’t exist. Tagovailoa is still out because of his injuries. The NFL and the NFL Players’ Association, however, have modified the concussion protocol since Tagovailoa’s last game.

Under the new protocol, the Dolphin’s backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater ended up out of yesterday’s game after an injury in the first play of the game. Bridgewater showed signs of ataxia after the hit; Tagovailoa displayed ataxia after his first injury in Week 3 but was put back into the game instead of being pulled out for further observation.

The new concussion protocol may leave the Dolphins down to their rookie QB Skylar Thompson with head coach leaving the line up for next Sunday up in the air.

But not strictly observing the concussion protocol to avoid unnecessary closed brain injury could lead to retired football players being used like toilet tissue by crooked old white men even off the field:

while completely unaware how pathetic their lives have become.

~ ~ ~

Speaking of abusive situations, we learned late this past week that U.S. National figure skater Bridget Namiotka died this July. She was a victim of sexual abuse by her pairs partner John Coughlin for two years.

Namiotka’s parents told USA Today in an interview that their daughter died on July 25, having “succumbed to her long struggles with addiction after several very difficult years of dealing with the trauma of sexual abuse.”

Coughlin committed suicide in 2019 after he was suspended from the sport during investigation into allegations of abuse.

Namiotka was not the only skater who came forward to accuse Coughlin of assault; like Namiotka, some were minors at the time.

This feels too much like other sports where minors were abused and adults failed to detect the problem when it happened and as it continued. Should we have more oversight of sports when minors are athletes?

Sadly, the GOP only seems to be able to regulate women and girls’ athletes’ fertility and not their personal safety. Surveys completed by Florida girls’ doctors for clearance to play ask about girls’ menstrual history; while not yet mandatory, this is grooming girls to expect compulsory disclosure for eligibility.

That’s horse shit misogynist repression which does nothing to ensure healthy athletes.

~ ~ ~

Major League Baseball’s playoffs have begun, with the first game of the 2022 World Series set hard and fast for November 1. Geez…that leaves a whopping 19 days until Thanksgiving.

League division championship series continues tomorrow with NY Yankees, Cleveland Guardians, Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners in the American League, and LA Dodgers, San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies in the National League remaining.

Baseball fans in Toronto, Tampa Bay, and St. Louis may not be following along after their teams were eliminated this past weekend. I’m following no teams into the playoffs since the Detroit Tigers haven’t been in it at all.

By the way, if you’re dogsitting a particularly spoiled dog who won’t settle in their crate for the night, try playing live or recorded MLB games for them on low. Worked like a charm.

~ ~ ~

It’s kind of a theme around here, losing at sports. Our family cheers for Michigan State football and they were obliterated by Ohio State this weekend. Detroit Lions also got beat up again and badly. Tigers aren’t in the playoffs.

I should be thankful being a golf widow paid off better than betting on other Michigan teams.

Yes, I know, U of M won this weekend again. It may be Marcy’s alma mater but this particular household goes Green and White, not Blue.

Treat this as an open thread. It will be used for other topics unrelated to the House January 6 Committee hearing currently scheduled this Wednesday.

Trash Talk: Much Trash, Very Sport, So Talk

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Yes, it’s me, the golf widow, once again drafting a Trash Talk post.

And yes, I’m here at home alone enjoying the quiet of my remaining golf widowhood. This weekend is one of the last of regular play on the local course; next weekend there will be some celebratory golf outing shindig in which my kids will also golf while I dogsit.

Meanwhile I’m doing exciting things like cleaning carpets and scrubbing floors, washing draperies, and baking since I won’t be able to much next weekend with dogs and adult children underfoot.

What about you? Are you sportsing, or watching sportsing, or cleaning up after this week’s hurricane? Do tell.

~ ~ ~

Dreadful news came from Indonesia this week when at least 127 people died in a stampede at the Kanjuruhan Stadium after police used tear gas to disperse an angry crowd gathering on the football pitch.

This Reuters’ video shows how the crowd funneled toward an exit:

But this video reveals the animosity police displayed toward the attendees on the field which may also have led to panic:

The resulting death toll already exceeds that of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, making Kanjuruhan Stadium disaster in Malang the sixth deadliest sporting event related disaster in history.

Let’s hope there will be a thorough inquiry into this horror with accountability, and more quickly than followed the deadly Hillsborough crush. There are global repercussions in spite of the soccer match’s local nature; were there any stadium design problems which encouraged this crush? Were there lessons from policing at the stadium which might prevent future stampedes?

~ ~ ~

It’s been a shitty week in the National Football League – not because of any one game but because of players’ health and the league’s handling of the same.

Lots of buzz right now after this tweet by St. Louis Cardinal’s JJ Watt:

ahead of this news:

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is a particular kind of irregular heart beat rhythm. There are many underlying causes though it occurs most frequently in persons age 50 and older. Watt is a bit young and assuming his general health has been monitored by the team, conditions like heart disease and diabetes are unlikely.

Football fans are shocked by this development but they shouldn’t be; A-fib can also be caused by viruses, both during active infection and as sequelae. We should expect to see more younger persons developing cardiac sequelae because of exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

Watt may or may not have had COVID, but it’s not impossible for an exposure to have played a role in his A-fib event.

It should disturb football fans that Watt’s health care privacy was violated in spite of HIPAA privacy rules – especially since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision undermined citizens’ unenumerated right to privacy.

As distressing as it is to know an NFL player was treated for A-fib this week and is playing today, it’s also distressing that another NFL player’s career may be over because the NFL and their team didn’t handle the player’s recent injury with more caution.

The Miami Dolphins’ 24-year-old quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was injured during last weekend’s meetup with the Buffalo Bills:


In spite of what appears to be a head injury in the second quarter, Tagovailoa came back after halftime and finished the game throwing 186 yards after he was given a once-over by the team’s medical personnel which said Tagovailoa had a neck injury. The NFL Players’ Association demanded an investigation into what appeared to be the Dolphins’ skirting of the league’s concussion rules.

Before Thursday’s match against the Cincinnati Bengals, the concussion Legacy Foundation’s founder tweeted about Tagovailoa:

A sadly prescient opinion; Tagovailoa suffered head and neck injuries during the game, so severe that he manifested a fencing response on the field before the Dolphins’ medical team could reach him.

It was so awful and gruesome I won’t even share it, such an obvious sign of a head injury. He was seen at the local hospital but the team managed to get him packed up and on a plane with the rest of the team to head home to Miami. Goodness knows what all that handling including pressure changes did to Taigovaloa’s head and neck.

The NFLPA terminated the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant involved in the assessment of Tagovailoa after his Week 3 injury before Thursday night’s game, but too late for Tagovailoa whose career may be over.

How badly do football fans need sports? At what point will they demand the NFL do better by players?

Or have fans become numb after more than 31 months of death and disability chewing away at the country during the pandemic?

~ ~ ~

Finally, we get to my kind of sports.

The World Series kicked off last night in Kansas City, Missouri. Nope, not Major League Baseball, not any kind of ball sports but the American Royal World Series of BBQ.

I think we need to send our contributor Jim White to this event next year, provided a hurricane doesn’t bear down on his part of the country next September/October.

Better get to practicing, Jim!

~ ~ ~

Once again, this thread will be an overflow catch-all this week if the House January 6 Committee hearing is rescheduled to this week. Bring all your off-topic discussion here to this open thread.

Trash Talk: Not Exactly Favre-nügen

[NB: Check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Yes, I am a widow.

I’ve been a golf widow since the first week of April when the grass was greening but still too short to cut, but long enough to bear the weight of golfers.

I am now widowed twice over because said golfer hangs in the clubhouse after 18 holes to watch every sport on all the big screens lining the clubhouse walls.

At least I have a month to plan the golfer’s resurrection after the last golf outing the first week of November.

Damn it. I forgot about deer season. I guess I have two months of planning woodworking and painting projects to keep him busy until the cycle begins again next April.

~ ~ ~

Last weekend when the widow-maker spouse came home from watching post-golf football he was far too happy. He launched into a paean to the Detroit Lions. I pissed him off by replying, “You mean the perpetual losing Lions?”

“But they won!” he sputtered.

Two games does not a season make. I know better than to get my hopes up this early.

Apparently the sputterer is not alone: 2 analysts are already talking playoffs for Detroit Lions

The Lions may be up 14-0 as I type this but I am still not ready to believe.

~ ~ ~

I doubt I will see the sputtering undead golfer before the end of the Tampa Bay-Green Bay game which begins at 4:25 p.m. ET. Plenty of time to figure out what to serve for dinner to a guy who’s fallen deeply into the 19th hole.

Give me Aaron Rogers over Tom Brady and the non-profit, community-owned team versus the corporate team.

I won’t bother to argue the relative merits of either team; in truth the Green Bay Packers are a family favorite because of a family member who lives in Milwaukee area and is a superfan of the Pack. We’re really rooting for them to have a good Sunday.

~ ~ ~

Last but not least, that POS Brett Favre and his bullshit corruption, insisting on redirecting welfare money to university sports. He doesn’t have the morals to fess up to the public and do right by the state of Mississippi.

Remember the college admissions scandal, particularly that surrounding actor Lori Loughlin and her spouse who paid bribes to get their two daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as members of the rowing team though neither student ever rowed? Loughlin and her spouse were arrested, prosecuted, and served time; Loughlin also paid tuition for other students as amends.

But Favre pressed state officials to use Mississippi welfare funds to build a volleyball facility for his daughter to use at his alma mater…and nothing.

Or at least nothing has happened to Favre, while former head of Mississippi Department of Human Services, John Davis, pled guilty to federal and state charges related to misuse of funds including those on behalf of Favre.

It’s not as if there weren’t text messages released which show Favre knew the misallocation was wrong.

One might even come away thinking Favre conspired to launder the money

The capper on all of this has been the ridiculous amount of attention the sports media sector paid to another sports ‘scandal’ this week, when Boston Celtics’ head coach Ime Udoka admitted to engaging in a consensual relationship with an employee working for the same team, resulting in a season-long suspension for Udoka.

Favre’s corruption received much less attention in comparison.

Meanwhile people outside the state ask why Mississippi’s capital city, Jackson, has such tremendous problems with its water system.

Can’t imagine why.

~ ~ ~

Just a head’s up that this thread will be an overflow catch-all this week, assuming we don’t have too many other posts between now and the scheduled House January 6 Committee hearing on the 28th.

You might want to bookmark this for all non-hearing chatter.

[Photo: Emily Morter via Unsplash]

Open Thread: Would You Fly to Dulles Wearing Golf Shoes?

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

I’m throwing up a post for an open thread because community members are restless and twitchy tonight and appear to need an outlet.

Oddly enough, there’s a current event about which folks can speculate and yammer to their hearts’ content:

Apparently Trump was driven to the NJ airport from Bedminster and then flew to Dulles in Washington DC. The photo George Conway mentions was allegedly taken at a distance at Dulles.

I suspect a fair amount of snark about this episode may be unleashed.

But did Goldfinger fly in his golf shoes, Michael?

ADDER – 11:59 PM:

There’s video here of his motorcade headed to the airport at Morristown NJ. Sandi Bachom who shares this video has filmed a lot of material over the years about Trump.

This is a short video of Trump’s arrival at Dulles. There are suitcases unloaded and shifted to another vehicle. Trump is dressed far more casually than he usually is when traveling.

There have been folks who’ve speculated Trump may have need health care at Walter Reed, but others have observed he wasn’t headed in that direction.

It’s a mystery; Trump rarely does anything without big fanfare because he needs narcissistic supply.

Okay, have at it. Do your worst in this thread. Do NOT pollute other threads with idle chatter about whatever this is.

Do keep in mind in the age of social media-borne influence operations this could be a put-on of some sort.

Regina Mortua Est, Vivat Rex

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

The following message was issued by Britain’s Royal Family:

Even in the U.S. which threw off the British monarchy 246 years ago, the media will be flooded with coverage of the 96-year-old queen’s life and death. Reigning more than 70 years, Elizabeth of the House of Windsor has been the only reigning British monarch nearly all Americans can remember until now.

Condolences to those who mourn her passing.

Her eldest son Charles ascends to the throne with his mother’s death though it’s not clear if he will be known as Charles III or take another name.

Over the last 24 hours the royal family had flown to Balmoral, Scotland where Elizabeth had been staying when her physicians expressed concern about her health.

Elizabeth had appeared frail when she greeted UK’s new prime minister Liz Truss on Tuesday at Balmoral.

Acknowledging the new prime minister may have been Elizabeth’s last significant official act as queen.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

~ ~ ~

I am not a royalist. Britain in particular inflicted enormous challenges on my father’s forebears. Many colonized people, most Black and/or indigenous persons of color, will feel less than sentimental at the passing of the figurehead of a monarchy which seized, occupied, oppressed their people and lands.

While I feel for Elizabeth as a woman caught in history’s grip, a mother whose children and grandchildren have like most humans been mixed parts successful and failing, I can’t celebrate her reign. Even though the head of a constitutional monarchy, she had power she did not use as she could have to alleviate the suffering of former colonies let alone her own people. She did too little to assure her country was prepared to meet the future.

I will mourn instead the opportunities squandered.

May her eldest son have the courage to seize what power he now has to do better by his people and the colonies which once formed the British empire. May he do more and better at cleaning out the House of Windsor.

What is left of the United Kingdom in the wake of hard Brexit and Boris Johnson’s corrupt and feckless leadership will need whatever guidance Charles Rex can muster as his nation heads into one of its grimmest winters ever.

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

I’ve thought so often this last two weeks about Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

These two paragraphs in particular, which I’ve shared in a past Fourth of July post, are more gripping than ever:

… What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival. …

What, to the American woman — especially women of color and impoverished women — is this Fourth of July?

This nation’s gross injustice and cruelty has always been obvious to people of color; the amount and frequency has fluctuated over the nation’s history but it has always been present. That we can name names now like murdered Minnesotan George Floyd has been both a horror and a blessing; the general public can now see what has been less visible. We have been in a position to begin to address it.

But the American public’s attention has been shifted by the COVID pandemic, horribly managed under the Trump administration with the likely intent to hurt BIPOC the most because of their concentration in blue states. The anti-vax and anti-mask propaganda may have hurt majority white communities, too, but their access to health care has been far better than in majority-minority communities, nor has this propaganda’s COVID fallout changed how red states vote.

The American public’s attention has been shifted once again, this time by the Supreme Court’s absurd opinions from states’ ability to regulate guns to recolonization of Native American nation’s lands, to women’s bodily autonomy, to the nation’s ability to regulate CO2 and other emissions.

What is this Fourth of July now that women of childbearing age no longer have the ability to move freely across the U.S. without concern for their personal welfare? They can no longer be assured their health care is private from either the federal or states’ government. They can’t be certain they can seek health care and not be treated with the same level of consideration as their male counterparts since some states may have deputized individuals (including health care workers from doctors to janitors) to report their reproductive health care status.

Women of this same age group can’t be certain they will be saved from death if they have an ectopic pregnancy which bursts — and in the age of COVID, some drugs used to treat the virus may increase the chances of ectopic pregnancy.

This nation’s ongoing gross injustice and cruelty was flagrantly obvious in the case of the 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio, who by virtue of a matter of days could not receive an abortion in her home state and instead had to go to Indiana.

It is beyond cruel and inhumane to place a child at risk of mortality by insisting they carry their rapist’s spawn to term. In this country the risk of maternal mortality approaches one in 3000 pregnancies — it’s like the rapist, SCOTUS’s conservative majority, and Ohio’s GOP-dominated state legislature playing Russian roulette for the duration of every unwanted pregnancy with worse odds for a child forced to carry to term, a form of sustained terror.

Indiana’s state legislature is already debating anti-abortion legislation which would make a flight from Ohio to Indiana for rape and incest victims seeking abortion impossible.

What is this Fourth of July to this victimized child and others like her who will suffer the same and worse injustice thanks to an unelected and irrational SCOTUS’s conservative majority?

~ ~ ~

What are these hollow celebrations to Native Americans whose autonomy has been recognized under federal law and treaties for more than two hundred but has now been violated as their lands were with SCOTUS’s decision in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta?

There have been discussions about the availability of reproductive services on Native Americans’ lands after the Dobbs’ decision. But if this same SCOTUS has now penetrated tribal lands to allow states to exercise policing in the name of public safety, are any women white, BIPOC, or Native Americans on their own nations’ land secure in their persons from incursions by states?

~ ~ ~

It will not stop with cruelty and injustice for women of childbearing age. Americans who need birth control are already at risk as well as American couples in same-sex relationships and marriages. We can thank Clarence Thomas for this much: he did spell out the next targets this current SCOTUS will attack now that the unenumerated right to privacy for Americans has been arbitrarily stripped from them.

What is this Fourth of July and the next, to as much as 70 percent of this nation who are women, people in need of birth control, persons who are non-binary in relationships?

~ ~ ~

But again, I think of of Douglass’s speech, made in 1852 before abolition of slavery with the 13th Amendment in 1865.

Though blunt about the young nation’s failings toward Black persons, Douglass used the word ‘hope’ and ‘hopefully’ seven times in his speech.

“…There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon.

I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. …”

Hope is not an easy thing when one is under constant threat of enslavement and death simply because they had the luck to be born with a particular skin color to a particular group of people. Yet Douglass had it, as have the BIPOC people of this nation who have had to resist and persevere through many waves of progress and regression.

Douglass could see a trend which fed his hopes, writing,

…my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. …

This trend remains, obvious in the response of democratic nations toward Russia’s assault on Ukraine intent on overthrowing a sovereign autonomous people. This attack will not succeed; it has already failed in many ways by encouraging more cohesion between other democracies including Finland and Sweden’s intent to join NATO. It has failed by exposing how hollowed out and threadbare Russia has become, eaten away by the kleptocratic forces which emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union.

The increased solidarity of democracies relied on regressive action and thought, stripping away the fuzziness of economics and culture, distilling the choice: violence against a sovereign autonomous democratic nation will not be accepted by other free, autonomous, democratic nations which will unify to support defense against such an illegitimate attack.

What must happen now within our own states is another regression — not that of the current SCOTUS conservatives’ majority’s thinking, but one which should be familiar.

I wrote four years ago during the Trump administration, after posting a copy of the Declaration of Independence:

The signatories to this document knew they also signed their death warrant. They debated this document thoroughly, understanding their lives, fortunes, and possibly the same of friends and family were staked on the success of the undertaking launched by this declaration (“corruption of blood” in family’s case, which so concerned the founders it was cited later in the Constitution’s Article III).

They staked blood and treasure for their thoughts and beliefs that the colonies must be free. The least we can do is remember this bravery and consider our own willingness to fight for this American democracy.

When asked in 1787 at the end of the Constitution Convention what form of government had been created, Ben Franklin answered, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

What will we do to keep it?

We must regress and think once again upon the intent of the founders if we are to regain our progress. We can’t keep a government whose power is derived from the people and its elected representatives if we do not demand the Republican Form of Government guaranteed to us under Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution unless we embrace the hope and faith in ourselves as a majority to do so.

It wasn’t fear which drove the founders to write that guarantee, but a sincere belief that a republic could be assured by its own citizens.

It is not a republic when a government erases the rights of its citizens — especially a majority of its citizens which women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ represent.

It is this failure which must be addressed; organized, focused, collective effort is needed to this end. Fear will only undermine the work to be done. Naysayers and doom-mongers must be ignored, their demoralization pushed aside.

By you he meant we, the people, when Franklin described the new nation’s government.

This remains a Republic, if we together can keep it.

~ ~ ~

Further reading:

The Necessity of Hope
Things are bad. They will get worse. But despair has never been an option.
By Rebecca Traister, The Cut – New York Magazine, June 24, 2022

These cursed United States
‘It’s time to be brave. Fear is not a plan.’
By Jared Holt, Sh!tpost, July 4, 2022

“Chile got out from under an actual dictator using peaceful means. …”
A Twitter thread
By Terry Kanefield, July 3, 2022

Open Thread: Summer Sunday Afternoon

It’s a Sunday afternoon in the middle of a three-day holiday weekend. We’re all feeling the weight of the last several weeks’ horrors along with oppressive heat and humidity depending on where you live.

It’s a good afternoon to kick back and sip something cold while cracking open a beach read or a book you’ve put aside for a slow day. We deserve and need the relaxation.

~ ~ ~

“Summer is only the unfulfilled promise of spring, a charlatan in place of the warm balmy nights I dream of in April. It’s a sad season of life without growth…It has no day.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

~ ~ ~

“Dandelion wine. The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered…sealed away for opening on a January day with snow falling fast and the sun unseen for weeks…”
― Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

~ ~ ~

“I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer – its dust and lowering skies.”
― Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

~ ~ ~

What are your summer reads? I’m working on Carol Leonnig’s Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service while I dog sit for my kids.

Tony Ornato appears several times in this text, by the way.

I think I may have made a mistake, though, choosing this text to read while caring for these two canines who are a lot like my kids — one is serious and mildly anxious, the other is as uncontrolled as an 11-month-old Aussie Shepherd mix can be and as smart but ADHD as their owner.

Not a good combo under my care when our white trash neighbors give in to their annual not-to-local-code zeal for fireworks. I don’t have any CBD for dogs on hand to give the jittery rat terrier-spaniel mix or the spastic Aussie when the sun sets and the neighbors’ first firecrackers are lit.

You may imagine me later this evening experimenting with white noise applications until I find one that works for dogs and fireworks. Hope for the best.

I’ll get as far as I can in the mean time while the dogs continue to loll about in the grass beneath the shade of my maple tree.

This is an open thread. Talk about your beach reads, or barbeque, or what not.

Three Things: Something Truck-ed This Way Comes

[NB: Check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

If you’re not white you’re not surprised at expressions of hate in our society. There are frequent demonstrations in the form of microaggressions white folks often miss.

Sometimes they’re more obvious, like racist tagging on buildings or even more obvious like the noose once left in a friend’s front yard tree, or direct confrontation experienced by another friend and their family who trapped in their car by racists yelling at them and beating on their vehicle. Many of these expressions never make the local news and might not even be reported to police for fear of making things worse.

But overt signs of hate, the kind to which even white people notice and take exception, didn’t appear as frequently in the news until Donald Trump took the White House.

Now increasingly everyone can see the wretchedness out in the open, waving its stars and bars, screaming hateful epithets at persons who aren’t cis-het white.

Like the insurrectionists waving Confederate flags outside and in the Capitol building on January 6, 2021.

Like the neo-Nazis’ demonstration in Orlando, Florida this past February.

And then the usual Republican DARVO response – Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender – when confronted with these hateful expressions.

In February, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ aide Christina Pushaw accused the Democrats of being neo-Nazis followed by DeSantis playing victim by accusing Democrats of smearing him about the neo-Nazis.

Yet nothing about DeSantis’ office’s response discouraged another future demonstration with attacks on passersby.

The hate’s all out there in the open – and it’s escalating.

It’s no longer restraining itself to minorities, either; it may also be a component of hybrid warfare intent on demoralizing a substantive number of Americans while embedding and normalizing itself in our communities.

~ 3 ~

On Saturday evening December 4, 2021, a white nationalist group — the Patriot Front (PF) — gathered in Washington DC and paraded in numbers along the Mall before hopping into U-Haul trucks and driving away.

The group is a spin-off from Vanguard America which took part in the hate rally in Charlottesville VA in 2017.

PF has had numerous pop-up events; the Anti-Defamation League has documented their activity across the country from propaganda to rallies. The December 4 event was in the same vein.

There were many calls to avoid giving this fascist organization any air time, and more calls to ridicule them as unserious.

… This weekend in Washington, a ridiculous white supremacist boys club called Patriot Front dressed up in matching outfits to make themselves look like menacing middle managers of an electronics store. They got their white nationalist flags and their little shields and their khakis and their shin guards and they marched from the Lincoln Memorial down the national mall in what was supposed to be a white supremacist show of force in the nation`s capital. …

(source: Rachel Maddow, MSNBC )

But the December 4 event should have given us pause, especially 11 months after the January 6 Capitol Building insurrection.

— PF didn’t have a permit for their demonstration;

— They amassed a large number of participants in a short time with little-to-no advance notice to the public;

— They used at least one smoke bomb during their demonstration;

— Their rally took place in the same area the insurrectionists gathered and traveled from the January 6 speeches at the Ellipse to the Capitol Building;

— Police presence was a fraction of the number of PF rally attendees, with many on bikes;

— It was difficult to tell whether police were protecting or monitoring PF attendees.

Not only were folks left of center insisting PF’s rally not be treated as a valid expression of dissent, but they encouraged laughing at their normcore appearance which included not only khaki pants and ball caps but white neck gaiter masks.

Where have we seen so many white men wearing white fabric masks over their faces not to prevent infection but to hide identity while displaying a unified identity?

The December 4 event and other earlier PF events like this one may have looked performative, like costume players merely dressing as contemporary fascists, but the entire effort made a point and may have been proof-of-concept for some other future effort.

In other words, what’s to stop another group which is armed from beginning an assault on Washington DC in exactly the same way?

Enclosed box trucks show up, their contents not visible to anyone on the street including law enforcement; the occupants jump out wearing similar outfits and shields but this time concealing firearms and other weapons; they march to their intended destination and deploy a smoke bomb at first to mask another explosive device or to mask their weapons.

On December 4 they made it clear they could do this.

I’d have been less worried about these normcore shock troops but persons with more expertise have likewise expressed concern.

~ 2 ~

All of the above I wrote months ago, beginning a draft in December after the PF event in D.C., revising the draft after yet another PF rally on January 8, 2022 when PF participated in the March for Life anti-abortion rally in Chicago IL.

Clearly I should have published what I had at the time, ahead of yesterday’s arrest of 31 PF members in Coeur d’Alene ID for conspiracy to riot at a scheduled Pride parade.

Though Coeur d’Alene police were in contact with federal law enforcement, it was CADPD which handled the arrest and charging of the PF members.

Only one person of the 31 arrested was from Idaho; the rest were from across the U.S. — Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia, and Arkansas — though the bulk were from West and Midwest states.

Like the December 4, 2021 PF rally in DC, CADPD found PF brought riot gear, one smoke grenade, shin guards and shields.

No firearms have been mentioned in any reports, but this event could have been bad had PF arrived and violence triggered if locals were carrying weapons.

There have been no federal charges, yet; it’s not clear if any federal laws were broken. Traveling across state lines might be a factor.

It’d be easy to brush this off as just another stunt by cosplayers on a sunny summer Saturday afternoon, except the number of events like this and the corresponding propaganda by PF have exploded.

(source: ADL report: White Supremacist Propaganda Spikes in 2020)

More than 80% of that uptick was PF’s work. Where are they going with this besides demoralizing much of the country?

~ 1 ~

There’s been some confusion in left-of-center social media about Patriot Front and the Proud Boys, some mistaking one for the other. They are different groups with overlapping if not identical ideologies.

Patriot Front

Proud Boys

Launched: 2017 (spun off from Vanguard) Launched: 2016
Ideology:

  • Patriot Front is a white supremacist group whose members maintain that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them, and no one else.
  • Patriot Front justifies its ideology of hate and intolerance under the guise of preserving the ethnic and cultural origins of its members’ European ancestors.

(source: ADL’s backgrounder)

Ideology:

  • The Proud Boys are a right-wing extremist group with a violent agenda. They are primarily misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-immigration. Some members espouse white supremacist and antisemitic ideologies and/or engage with white supremacist groups.

(source: ADL’s backgrounder)

Their xenophobia, antisemitism, and misogyny are their primary shared attributes along with racism to varying degrees.

We’ve now seen what the Proud Boys have been willing to do which Patriot Front have not yet engaged in — participation in events which can become violent. Yesterday’s Pride parade in Coeur d’Alene could have become a crossover event had Team PF not been arrested ahead of their destination.

What’s problematic, though, is the slack Proud Boys have been allowed. They’ve been treated like other civic and community organizations when their core ideology is hate. Buhl, Idaho allowed the Proud Boys to participate in a parade last summer:

The Times-News reports that Proud Boys members were among about 100 floats in the Sagebrush Days parade that went through the center of town.

The Buhl Chamber of Commerce runs the parade but wouldn’t comment specifically about the Proud Boys taking part.

“At this time the Buhl Chamber (of) Commerce will not feed into any negative propaganda,” the group said in a statement to the newspaper. “The Buhl 2021 Sagebrush Days parade saw 90 plus entries who celebrated in a courteous and civil manner. The Buhl Chamber takes pride in welcoming all participants, while giving them the opportunity to celebrate our great nation.”

“will not feed into any negative propaganda” meaning what, they weren’t going to allow anyone to bash Buhl’s Chamber of Commerce, or they weren’t going to let anyone bash the Proud Boys?

So long as Buhl allows the Proud Boys to participate in a community event, there’s no daylight between Buhl and the Proud Boys.

Ditto for Scotland, South Dakota which had agreed to allow the Proud Boys to host a street dance in their town though the Proud Boys backed out due to unspecified security concerns.

Both communities have validated and legitimized a hate group by allowing them equal footing with the rest of their community.

Would they have done so with Patriot Front had they taken the same approach as the Proud Boys rather than showing up in a U-Haul panel van after publishing comments online which could be construed as an expressed intent to riot?

Are these two hate groups testing the waters to see where they can establish a foothold and grow their organizations? Or has there been something more hateful in the offing?

Why yes, there was — where PF was stopped from harassing a Pride event in Idaho, the Proud Boys had already stormed a public library to halt a Drag Queen story hour in San Lorenzo, California, scaring families with children by shouting hate-filled diatribes at attendees.

Alameda County sheriff’s department escorted the Proud Boys out of the venue.

Between the two groups at these two different locations on the same day, they now know they can get away with their harassment if they restrain themselves to smaller numbers and target families with children, or attack larger groups if they use more operations security.

~ 0 ~

When I first set out months ago to write about PF, I had also wanted to discuss harassment of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the truck convoys. Both are examples of the spread of overt expressions of hate, the first being racist and the second being socio-economic. Whatever was driving the attacks on HBCUs and the convoys has eased for now. I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if foreign influence operations were the primary drivers.

However we have plenty to focus on immediately with the domestic influence operations these two hate groups are engaged in which must be stopped.

PF, by the way, still has an active Twitter account and a Twitter account used as a follow hub.

‘This Time Is Going to Be Different’: Confronting the NRA

[NB: Check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

I can’t read one more story today about the fathomless horror children, teachers, and parents experienced in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday. Each new report nauseates me learning that Texas state and local government failed their most vulnerable citizens repeatedly.

Knowing that a child had to play dead after swabbing themselves in their dead friend’s blood is just…I don’t have words for this, only tears and an urge to scream and rail.

If this representative was mine, I’d be screaming at him.


Par for the course with this guy who succeeded NRA’s buddy Will Hurd for Texas’s 23rd congressional district.

Utterly useless and irresponsible, unresponsive to the needs of his constituents while doing little more than lobbying for guns.

Fortunately, the young people of Texas aren’t taking the attack on their futures lying down. We’ve seen protests after mass shootings before but this feels different — they are taking it right to the NRA.

Yeah, this really feels different.

There will be more protests tomorrow against the NRA in Houston outside the organization’s convention when big name doofuses like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump show up.

I hope more protests will occur in Uvalde against this monstrous wretch who is trying to suck up to the NRA and patronize Uvalde’s citizens at the same time. One can only wonder if polling told him to do this.

You’ll recall David Hogg is a survivor of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He continues to fight for the rights of young Americans to live without the terror of gun violence.

Hogg’s promoting the next rallies on June 11. By then Congress will be back in session.

It will take more than these rallies to make change happen, though. I hope there’s effort on the ground to encourage voter registration and education about candidates who support gun control.

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