George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper: The Daily Social Distancing Show

[Note:  This item comes from friend Desire Banse.  DLH]

George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper: The Daily Social Distancing Show
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
May 29 2020

Trevor shares his thoughts on the killing of George Floyd, the protests in Minneapolis, the dominos of racial injustice and police brutality, and how the contract between society and black Americans has been broken time and time again.

Video: 18:12 min

Fire, pestilence and a country at war with itself: the Trump presidency is over

[Note:  This item comes from friend Ed DeWath.  DLH]

Fire, pestilence and a country at war with itself: the Trump presidency is over
A pandemic unabated, an economy in meltdown, cities in chaos over police killings. All our supposed leader does is tweet
By Robert Reich
May 31 2020

You’d be forgiven if you hadn’t noticed. His verbal bombshells are louder than ever, but Donald J Trump is no longer president of the United States.

By having no constructive response to any of the monumental crises now convulsing America, Trump has abdicated his office. 

He is not governing. He’s golfing, watching cable TV and tweeting.

How has Trump responded to the widespread unrest following the murder in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for minutes as he was handcuffed on the ground?

Trump called the protesters “thugs” and threatened to have them shot. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he tweeted, parroting a former Miami police chief whose words spurred race riots in the late 1960s.

On Saturday, he gloated about “the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons” awaiting protesters outside the White House, should they ever break through Secret Service lines. 

Trump’s response to the last three ghastly months of mounting disease and death has been just as heedless. Since claiming Covid-19 was a “Democratic hoax” and muzzling public health officials, he has punted management of the coronavirus to the states.

Governors have had to find ventilators to keep patients alive and protective equipment for hospital and other essential workers who lack it, often bidding against each other. They have had to decide how, when and where to reopen their economies.

Trump has claimed “no responsibility at all” for testing and contact-tracing – the keys to containing the virus. His new “plan” places responsibility on states to do their own testing and contact-tracing.

Trump is also awol in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

More than 41 million Americans are jobless. In the coming weeks temporary eviction moratoriums are set to end in half of the states. One-fifth of Americans missed rent payments this month. Extra unemployment benefits are set to expire at the end of July.

What is Trump’s response? Like Herbert Hoover, who in 1930 said “the worst is behind us” as thousands starved, Trump says the economy will improve and does nothing about the growing hardship. The Democratic-led House passed a $3tn relief package on 15 May. Mitch McConnell has recessed the Senate without taking action and Trump calls the bill dead on arrival. 

What about other pressing issues a real president would be addressing? The House has passed nearly 400 bills this term, including measures to reduce climate change, enhance election security, require background checks on gun sales, reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and reform campaign finance. All are languishing in McConnell’s inbox. Trump doesn’t seem to be aware of any of them.

There is nothing inherently wrong with golfing, watching television and tweeting. But if that’s pretty much all that a president does when the nation is engulfed in crises, he is not a president.

Trump’s tweets are no substitute for governing. They are mostly about getting even.

When he’s not fomenting violence against black protesters, he’s accusing a media personality of committing murder, retweeting slurs about a black female politician’s weight and the House speaker’s looks, conjuring up conspiracies against himself supposedly organized by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and encouraging his followers to “liberate” their states from lockdown restrictions.

He tweets bogus threats that he has no power to carry out – withholding funds from states that expand absentee voting, “overruling” governors who don’t allow places of worship to reopen “right away”, and punishing Twitter for factchecking him.

And he lies incessantly.

In reality, Donald Trump doesn’t run the government of the United States. He doesn’t manage anything. He doesn’t organize anyone. He doesn’t administer or oversee or supervise. He doesn’t read memos. He hates meetings. He has no patience for briefings. His White House is in perpetual chaos. 

His advisers aren’t truth-tellers. They’re toadies, lackeys, sycophants and relatives.


Mitch Albom: George Floyd’s breath was taken, but his words should haunt us all

Mitch Albom: George Floyd’s breath was taken, but his words should haunt us all
By Mitch Albom
May 31 2020

We were already heading into a long, hot summer of death.

Then a Minneapolis police officer put his knee on the neck of an unarmed black man and left it there until the man expired. And suddenly, a nation afraid to gather in the daylight began rushing en masse into the night.

One life. History has long shown that a single death can spark a revolution. In the case of George Floyd, however, a 46-year-old black man who had lost his job as a security guard because of layoffs in the COVID-19 pandemic, it was more than just his death. It was the way he died, in front of our eyes, on video everywhere, pleading for his life, that had angry people spilling into the streets of cities across this country.

At a time when it is dangerous to gather, when it is still against the law in many states to gather, when our very health could be compromised if we gather — by a virus that has already taken more than 100,000 American souls — a single American life was bigger than all of that.

So people gathered. From Minneapolis to Detroit to New York to Atlanta, from L.A. to Kansas City to Las Vegas and other cities. And yes, in some places those gatherings turned violent and in some places there was shooting and in some places stores were burned and windows were smashed and merchandise was stolen. And while all of that is awful and wrong, to focus on it is to be howling at that wrong moon.

Because this is about one life, but for black people in this country, it’s never just one life.

It’s one life after another.

To the streets

These are some of the words George Floyd can be heard saying, pleading as he lay dying beneath the knee of a white police officer for nearly nine minutes:

“I can’t breathe” … 

“Please, the knee in my neck” …

“My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts” …

“Don’t kill me” …


Ask yourself if you could hear all that and be indifferent for all that time. To an unarmed man. To a man already in handcuffs. To a man who, by all video and eyewitness accounts, did not resist arrest. To a man whose suspected “crime” was not threatening anyone, not shooting anyone, not committing any act of violence against anyone — but possibly using a phony $20 bill at a convenience store.

A phony $20 bill? And the man is dead? It’s beyond comprehension. Beyond explanation. But this is the pattern, the maddening pattern, that so many of us who are not African-American can empathize with but never truly absorb.

Because death by police, for black people in this country, is too often over nothing. A $20 bill. Someone selling illegal cigarettes. A cellphone or bottle of pills assumed to be a gun.

Unarmed, yet shot.

Unarmed, yet strangled.

Unarmed, yet dead.

George Floyd is not the first black man to die from a white cop’s indifference. He’s not even the first to die from a chokehold. When something unforgivable happens over and over again, what are people to do? Where does the grief and the anger go?

You see where it goes. It goes to the streets. And the sight of screaming protesters clashing with police in downtown Detroit Friday night sent shivers through our collective memories, and the summer 53 years ago when police brutality and African-American patience exploded.

And the city burned.

Again and again

That was 1967. Yet here we are in 2020, grappling with this same issue. You can pick a year, it just keeps repeating. In 2009, a black man named Oscar Grant was, like George Floyd, pinned down, this time by an Oakland, California, police officer, who kneed him in the head. Another officer shot him in the back.

Grant, like Floyd, was unarmed. Grant, like Floyd, died from the encounter. Once again, there were protests in the streets.

Eleven years ago. What has changed?

The officer who killed Grant got a two-year prison sentence. Other cops charged with killing suspects have gotten similar slaps on the wrist.

So while Derek Chauvin, the now-fired Minneapolis officer, has finally been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — which together carry a maximum of 35 years in prison — few in the black community, I imagine, hold out hopes for justice.

One life after another. What can be done? Yes, there are preventative steps. Eliminate chokeholds and neck restraints from police force techniques. Train more officers in recognizing mental illness. Fire cops with multiple charges of abuse. Change laws on qualified immunity that make it near-impossible to hold officers accountable for obvious misuses of power.

But how do you eliminate indifference? The image of Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, ignoring his pain, ignoring pleas from bystanders to let him up, to put him in the car, to look at him and see his suffering — quite frankly, to even acknowledge Floyd as a human being — you can’t legislate that out of someone.


Agenda Seeding: How 1960s Black Protests Moved Elites, Public Opinion and Voting

Thread by @owasow: For 15 years, I’ve been studying 1960s civil rights protests with particular attention to how nonviolent and violent actions by activists &a…
By Omar Was
May 27 2020

For 15 years, I’ve been studying 1960s civil rights protests with particular attention to how nonviolent and violent actions by activists & police influence media, elites, public opinion & voters. I’m thrilled some of that work was published last week:

Wars without end: why is there no peaceful solution to so much global conflict?

Wars without end: why is there no peaceful solution to so much global conflict?
A new study shows that 60% of the world’s wars have lasted for at least a decade. From Afghanistan to Libya, Syria to Congo DRC, has endless conflict become normalised?
By Simon Tisdall
May 31 2020

Libya’s civil war entered its 7th year this month with no end in sight. In Afghanistan, conflict has raged on and off since the Soviet invasion in 1979. America’s Afghan war is now its longest ever, part of the open-ended US “global war on terror” launched after the 2001 al-Qaida attacks.

Yemen’s conflict is in its sixth pitiless year. In Israel-Palestine, war – or rather the absence of peace – has characterised life since 1948. Somalis have endured 40 years of fighting. These are but a few examples in a world where the idea of war without end seems to have become accepted, even normalised.

Why do present-day politicians, generals, governments and international organisations appear incapable or uninterested in making peace? In the 19th and 20th centuries, broadly speaking, wars commenced and concluded with formal ultimatums, declarations, agreed protocols, truces, armistices and treaties.

Neat and tidy endings, even if sometimes illusory, are rarer these days. According to a survey published last week by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, 60% of armed conflicts have been active for at least a decade and peace-making prospects globally are in decline.

Today’s wars are mostly undeclared, undefined and inglorious affairs typically involving multiple parties, foreign governments, proxy forces, covert methods and novel weapons. They are conducted without regard for civilian lives, the Geneva conventions regulating armed conflict, or the interests of host populations in whose name they are fought.

Great moral crusades, famous causes and genuine ideological struggles are few and far between. Modern wars are mostly about power and treasure. And they go on, and on, and on.

Libya is a classic case of a state of chaos deliberately fed and manipulated by external powers, in this instance Turkey, Qatar, Russia, Egypt and the UAE. Here, as elsewhere, rival rulers claim to be upholding order or fighting “terrorism” while, in reality, they seek to extend national influence and economic advantage. As long as these aims remain unmet, they show scant interest in peace.

Ambitious states have always sought to dominate neighbours in the way China, for example, is doing now. One reason this happens more frequently today, and more anarchically, is declining American engagement.

In the Middle East and Africa, the US – no longer a global policeman – is focused on supporting Israel, squeezing Iran and selling arms, to the exclusion of almost all else. In Asia, it is in retreat.

Donald Trump, desperate for a Nobel peace prize, offered to mediate the 70-year-old North Korea-South Korea stand-off. He also claims his “deal of the century” will solve the Israel-Palestine conundrum. Few take him seriously. Otherwise, his administration has shown zero interest in global conflict resolution.

A related factor is the collapse of the western-led consensus favouring multilateral, collaborative approaches to international problems. This is matched by the parallel rise of authoritarian and populist regimes that prioritise narrow national interest over perceptions of the common good.

This trend, a regression to the pre-1914 era of competing European nation-states, undermines the authority of the UN and cooperative regional platforms such as the EU and African Union. Unsupported, UN peace envoys from Syria to Myanmar and peacekeeping operations across Africa struggle to make headway.

Ineffective international law enforcement, symbolised by the inability of the International Criminal Court to deliver justice to war zones such as Iraq and Ukraine, helps freeze or perpetuate conflicts rather than justly resolve them. Demographic and physical causes also contribute to chronic instability.

Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Sahel and Sudan is fuelled by the fact that millions of young men in Africa, where the median age is 19.8, lack fulfilling work or a meaningful stake in their country’s future. Long-running inter-state or intra-state violence is also rooted in the climate crisis and resulting resource scarcity, poverty and dislocation.

New technologies and weapons such as drones and cyber warfare are lowering the up-front cost of conflict while enlarging potential theatres of war. Global warming is turning the newly accessible Arctic into a vast, pristine battleground. Outer space presents infinite possibilities for violence.

Religious wars are often the most bitterly fought and hardest to halt. As in the past, multiple collisions of faith, culture and values between Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and other belief systems are key elements in the early 21st century’s insatiable addiction to war.

The Muslim world is also divided internally, between the Shia and Sunni traditions and fundamentalist and secular interpretations of Islam. These schisms have been depicted by the Arabic noun fitna, which can mean both “charm, enchantment, captivation” and “rebellion, riot, discord, civil strife”.

Fitna is a fitting word for describing not only the Islamic sphere but the troubled state of the world as a whole in 2020, beset as it is by wars without end. For many people, if they are honest, war has a fatal attraction. As WB Yeats noted after the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland, violent conflict can spawn a “terrible beauty” – a mix of fascination and horror that is difficult to forswear.


Through the lens of a CNN camera on the ground, a view of American disintegration

[Note:  This item comes from friend Robert Berger.  DLH]

Through the lens of a CNN camera on the ground, a view of American disintegration
By Philip Kennicott
May 29 2020

The illusion is as old as Thomas Edison and the Lumière brothers: The camera is your eye, it roams the world, seeing and recording it transparently, as if its aperture is consciousness itself. Of course that’s not true, but the illusion is part of the camera’s power to amuse us, inform us and mislead us, and it is essential to both the camera’s democratic and totalitarian power.

At 5:13 a.m. Friday in Minneapolis, under a blue-gray dawn sky choked with smoke, the power and frailty of the camera’s democratic potential were dramatized in front of the world when police arrested CNN reporter Omar Jimenez, his producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez. The confrontation had started a few minutes earlier, but it was at 5:13 when one member of the team who was being taken into custody asked if he could put the camera down. Suddenly the all-seeing eye was on the ground, recording legs, shoes and concrete. Now the world was askew, utility wires cut across the frame at a sharp and unnerving angle, and every eye on the planet could see the scene unfold from the same position that George Floyd, the African American man pinned under the knee of a white Minnesota police officer on Monday, witnessed in the last moments of his 46-year life.

The television camera generally reflects the traditional orientation of screens, capturing the world in the horizontal mode known as “landscape” format. At 5:13, it was accidentally rotated 90 degrees, converting landscape to portrait mode, giving us a picture of ourselves.

When George Orwell distilled his chilling vision of totalitarianism into a single image, he imagined this: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” The last word is critical — forever. It implies a choice, a small measure of hope. As long as the picture of a boot on a face is intolerable, there is hope for political self-determination, a meaningful public sphere and democracy. When it becomes tolerable, when it is normalized and visions like the one America witnessed Friday morning are commonplace, then the authoritarian longings latent in every democracy become totalitarian reality, and there is no escape from what Orwell called the “intoxication” of brute power.

As the CNN crew member was being led away, someone picked up his camera and carried it a few yards before setting it down again. The machine was still recording, and inadvertently and passively it captured another vision, common to people across the world. Now it seemed to see the world again transparently, and the consciousness it suggested was that of a protester — from Hong Kong, or Cairo, or Venezuela or any of the European cities where, a generation ago, people gathered to throw off the shackles of corrupt regimes. Its eye bounced along above the pavement, as if connected to a body that was offering no resistance, that was being carried off limp and compliant by armed thugs in state uniforms. And then it just lay on the ground, seemingly broken and spent, but still conscious, still looking out at the boots of the cops a few feet away.

No news organization is perfect, and volumes could be written about how CNN has turned news into theater, how the narcissism of celebrity degrades its coverage and how it has substituted the argument of self-aggrandizing ideologues for genuine discourse. But Jimenez and his crew were working journalists and identified themselves as such, and nothing caught on camera in those six or seven shocking minutes suggested that he was acting in any way counter to journalistic norms, public safety or police requests. He was, as one of his crew said off-camera, just doing his job. That he, a journalist of color, was arrested by cops whose pale arms suggest that many of them are white, and that CNN, which has been a consistent object of President Trump’s puerile and corrosive abuse, was the target raises deeply disturbing questions. Among them: How many police in America are loyal not to the public but to a racist brand of populism that has found in the president its vigorous avatar?

In authoritarian countries, the camera suggests surveillance and the manipulation of truth for ideological ends. In a democracy, the camera functions as a proxy for the ideal citizen, for the person who takes time to attend public meetings, who moves about in public space, who always wants to know more about the world. It suggests ideas of transparency, access, curiosity and openness, and a form of governance that has nothing to hide and nothing to fear.

It doesn’t just provide a simulacrum of consciousness roving the world; it suggests a larger sense of conscience, too. As long as the camera is present, people will behave in certain ways, because they can be seen, because they wouldn’t dare give free rein to their darker, more violent impulses if the world is watching. Anyone who has engaged in peaceful protest at least hopes for the old reassuring power of the camera, to keep people in line with their professed values, to keep the police faithful to their oaths.

And so it seems almost as if the camera can create public space, can forge a realm that is peaceful, open and free. But that power is dependent on those who are watching, and it withers if the camera repeatedly captures outrages against decency and nothing happens. Which is exactly the case in Minnesota, and all across this country, where cameras have caught police gunning down people of color, resting their body weight on their necks, choking them while they lie passive and unresisting. State-sanctioned murder feels everyday and commonplace; nothing changes; and yet the camera, which captures it all, is the best hope for renewing at least a little bit of principled resistance.


Remote Work Means Anyone Can Take Your Job

[Note:  This item comes from friend Mike Cheponis.  DLH]

Remote Work Means Anyone Can Take Your Job
Now thousands of people could be competing for your role from around the world.
By Indi Samarajiva
May 16 2020

When everyone’s face is milliseconds away on a Zoom call, who cares where their butts are sitting? Remote workers could be anywhere in the world. They are, by default, outsourced.

It really doesn’t matter where you hire from anymore. When you don’t need people within a one-hour commute, you can hire from the next city over, or from around the world. Right now you’ve got the same workers spread out across different locations, but over the next few rounds of hires, those employees will change. You’ll get workers from all over the world.

That’s where the real disruption comes in. If you thought globalization was fun for manufacturing, buckle up. Remote work is about to globalize a bunch of service jobs as well.

The first generation

Let’s say you just started working remotely. Everything probably feels mostly the same, work-wise. The same office crew, just on Zoom. You guys even use the old #lunch Slack channel, sometimes even ordering from the same place. Things will go back to normal soon, right?

Your office, meanwhile, is gathering dust. After the pandemic drags through Q2 and Q3 your company lets the lease run out. You say you’ll get another office when things start to open back up. This is just temporary.

But it’s not. And normal doesn’t mean anything anymore. What you call “normal” is now history. Your office culture has started evolving, and evolution doesn’t go in reverse. Like any evolution, this happens over generations, and the first generation won’t notice anything major. They’ll just be like, “Cool, no more pants.”

But the next generation will definitely notice as remote jobs become outsourced jobs.

The next new hire

Now it’s Q4 of Pandemonia, and there’s still no vaccine. You’ve been able to commute for months, but there’s no office to commute to. Your company looked at leases for a while, but then gave up. Everyone would have to sit two meters apart, which means two times the square feet, which means two times the rent. And it ultimately doesn’t matter, since the work is getting done from home anyway.

Then a team member leaves the company. The ad for her replacement reads:

Job: Manager
Location: Anywhere

The pandemic isn’t just a blip in how we work. For many jobs, it has already completely decoupled work from a location. The longer it goes on, the stronger this decoupling becomes. Long-term remote work breeds new technology, new customs, and entirely new work cultures. After a while, you couldn’t go back even if you wanted to.

Normal is just what you’re used to now. But people will be used to something else.

The economics of remote work

It’s important to remember that the economic pressures here will be immense. At first, the winners will be workers. They’ll still get paid big city salaries and will be able to move to where the rents are cheaper if they want. Very quickly, however, that dynamic will flip.

Before this pandemic, a remote worker and physical worker offered two very different types of value. You paid a premium for the physical worker because they contributed to the office culture. But work culture has changed, and in terms of value, all hires are on the same footing.

Now, you can either hire someone from San Francisco and subsidize their obscene rent, or you can hire someone from Omaha. You can get the same work done, but cheaper. What would you choose?

It’s not like wages would just go down across the board. For some jobs, they may well go up. (If you’re specialized, you can apply for jobs anywhere. If you’re in demand, your wages and offers will rise.) And beyond just wages, workers may also now be able to move near their parents, or own a big house instead of renting an apartment. It’s the promise of the suburbs without the murder of the commute. Like any big economic change, there’ll be winners and losers, and it’s not exactly clear from the outset who will end up benefiting from the change.


They Predicted ‘The Crisis of 2020’ … in 1991. So How Does This End?

They Predicted ‘The Crisis of 2020’ … in 1991. So How Does This End?
Two scholars coined the term millennial and developed a fan base for their grim theories. Now, the surviving one sees a generational realignment happening in American politics that does not bode well for Republicans.
By Jeremy W. Peters
May 28 2020

They called it the Crisis of 2020 — an unspecified calamity that “could rival the gravest trials our ancestors have known” and serve as “the next great hinge of history.” It could be an environmental catastrophe, they wrote, a nuclear threat or “some catastrophic failure in the world economy.”

That was in 1991.

The scholars responsible were William Strauss and Neil Howe, whose book “Generations” introduced a provocative theory that American history unfolds in boom-to-bust cycles of roughly 80 years. Their conclusions about the way each generation develops its own characteristics and leadership qualities influenced a wide range of political leaders, from liberals like Bill Clinton and Al Gore to pro-Trump conservatives like Newt Gingrich and Stephen K. Bannon.

Seems as if they were on to something. So now what?

Mr. Strauss died in 2007, before anyone could know how eerily correct “The Crisis of 2020” would be. But Mr. Howe, who now hosts a podcast and analyzes demographic trends for an investment advisory firm, is still very much in the insight business. And what he sees on the other end of the coronavirus pandemic — a generational realignment in American politics hastened by the failure of the baby boomer generation to lead the nation out of its quagmire — does not bode well for President Trump or the Republicans.

For most of the past 75 years, the Republican attitude about government has been rooted in a deep skepticism of authority that says, in essence: Success doesn’t take a village; it takes a determined individual whose government isn’t standing in the way. But that belief, Mr. Howe said, “is uniquely ill-suited to the current crisis.”

Nearly 30 years ago, when he first predicted an event like the coronavirus, Mr. Howe said the year 2020 was not a mark-your-calendar prognostication of doomsday but a round number that fit the cyclical nature of their theory: It is roughly 80 years after the last great crises of World War II and the Great Depression.

More insightful than the date itself was the assertion that historical patterns pointed toward the arrival of a generation-defining crisis that would force millennials into the fire early in their adulthood. (Mr. Strauss and Mr. Howe were the first to apply that term to those born in the early 1980s because they would come of age around the year 2000.)

More than just a novelty, their theory helps explain why some of the most prominent voices calling for political reform from left, center and right have been young — Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 30; Pete Buttigieg, 38; Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, 40.

And as baby boomers continue to age out of public service, the theory says, fixing the problems created by the pandemic will fall to this younger, civically oriented generation. Mr. Howe, who at 68 is a member of the cohort he is critical of, said in an interview that it was no coincidence that the boomer president and many people in his generation — especially the more conservative ones — have generally taken a more lax attitude toward the coronavirus than younger people.

Polls have found that younger Americans overwhelmingly favor a cautious approach to getting back to normal — and are more worried about the virus. This includes many young Republicans, ages 18 to 49, who were far more likely than Republicans 50 and older to say the worst of the outbreak is yet to come, according to a Pew Research Center poll last month.

“This is really the problem with Gen X and baby boomers,” Mr. Howe said. “They’ve championed this kind of individualism. They’ve championed thinking less about the community.”

On the one hand, conservatives might argue that they are the best equipped to confront a moment that feels at times as if the apocalypse is at hand. Cable news, talk radio and right-wing websites have long been full of ads for products intended to sustain people through catastrophe: investments in precious metals, home generators and supplies to can your own food.

But the peace of mind those products offer is ultimately about looking out for oneself — the kind of “me first” conservatism that developed out of America’s post-World War II boom.

Mr. Howe’s critique of today’s conservatives is shared by a growing number of younger Republicans. Rachel Bovard, the senior director of policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute, said that many in her generation wanted to see an interventionist government in areas of policy like trade and finance.

“I think that’s gone unquestioned for so long, and it’s become this national theology: Private enterprise is good. Full stop,” Ms. Bovard, 36, said. “I prize my liberty, whether it’s liberty from a tyrannical government or a tyrannical corporation.”

Mr. Howe and Mr. Strauss followed “Generations” with “The Fourth Turning,” which elaborated on looming calamity. But beyond disaster prediction, the foundation of their work is that Americans tend to develop certain traits that are fairly consistent across their generation.

In the preface to “Generations” nearly 30 years ago, they nodded to the despair that boomers sometimes felt about the character of their peers. “You may feel some disappointment,” they said, “in the Dan Quayles and Donald Trumps who have been among the first of your agemates to climb life’s pyramid.”

Mr. Howe will admit to some disappointment himself on where Mr. Trump is on life’s pyramid: “I think thus far,” he said, “it’s fair to say that Trump has not grown into the role.”

One upside to the crises at the heart of these theories is the innovation they tend to produce — an economic and social program like the New Deal, or a public health discovery like the vaccine for polio. But so far the Trump administration has been incapable or unwilling to think big about the problems at hand, critics say.

“The really bad news is we are in the grip of an administration that sees everything as marketing, spin, branding,” said David Kaiser, a former professor at the Naval War College and a historian who is a fan of the Strauss and Howe theories. “And I don’t think is really capable of thinking through a problem and acting on it.”

This skepticism that big, bold solutions will come from the Trump administration is shared even by Mr. Bannon, a fairly reliable defender of the president’s since he was pushed out of his role as White House chief strategist in August 2017. In an interview, Mr. Bannon said that the administration never took seriously the possibility that a catastrophe like the coronavirus could strike, which has led to a failure of imagination in dealing with the problem.

“You had a called shot in the beginning of this administration, and nobody paid attention to it,” he said. Mr. Bannon was a promoter of the crisis theories in “The Fourth Turning” when he was still at the White House.


Reflections on Trump’s Executive Order Targeting Social Media

[Note:  This item comes from friend Janos Gereben.  DLH]

From: janosG <>
Subject: Today…
Date: May 28, 2020 at 1:08:58 PM EDT

As today’s Executive Order approaches…

Let’s look back at the history of Drücken Sie die Steuerung

Radio only became central to Nazi aims after Hitler was elected chancellor in January 1933, but Goebbels quickly exercised power over the medium, because the state already controlled its infrastructure and content. State control over radio had been intended to defend democracy. It unintentionally laid the groundwork for the Nazi propaganda machine.

More recently:

Singapore, for example, has passed the Protection From Online Falsehoods and Manipulation bill, allowing the country’s government to require platforms and private chat apps such as WhatsApp or Telegram to remove what the authorities see as false statements “against the public interest.” The law also enables officials to prosecute people who spread those false statements, although the law does not define what it means by a “false statement.”

Re: An ‘Avalanche of Evictions’ Could Be Bearing Down on America’s Renters

[Note:  This comment comes from reader Randall Head.  DLH]

Subject: Re: [Dewayne-Net] An ‘Avalanche of Evictions’ Could Be Bearing Down on America’s Renters
Date: May 28, 2020 at 9:17:28 PM EDT

It does the landlord no good to evict a tenant if he doesn’t have another person hoping to rent the property, except in places with Rent Control.

That said, KY Governor Andy Beshear was asked about this very issue today.

His reply was very similar to:  “I have seen those reports about the upcoming wave of evictions, but they do not apply in Kentucky.   My order barring evictions is in effect until I revoke it, and I will not revoke it during this emergency.”

Of course it is not a simple issue, and it is impossible to move one piece of a complex puzzle.

One man’s rental expense is another man’s income, and that income is probably needed to make a mortgage payment, and the banks are on the brink of insolvency due to the collapse of the commercial real estate market, and insolvent banks can’t make loans, and the Just In Time economy is utterly dependent on the credit markets functioning.

This would be a really good time to have a functional government.

An ‘Avalanche of Evictions’ Could Be Bearing Down on America’s Renters
The economic downturn is shaping up to be particularly devastating for renters, who are more likely to be lower-income and work hourly jobs cut during the pandemic.
By Sarah Mervosh
May 27 2020