Random Thoughts (Political Edition)

SirEdward

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^Sweden hasn't shown that much. If anything, it has shown that you need a Swedish level of civic education ot be able to get mostly average-european Covid-19 numbers without lockdown. Do you have those numbers, or those characteristics?
Compare their numbers with Norway if you want to have a full picture, remembering that on March 10th they had the same numbers and are very similar countries in many aspects.

Japan is a bit complicated
 

argatoga

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I'll get the info later today.

I will say, Sweden doesn't need to worry about a second wave and their economy hasn't been trashed.
 
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SirEdward

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I'll get the info later today.

I will say, Sweden doesn't need to worry about a second wave and their economy hasn't been trashed.
As of today, Sweden has 4,403 deaths on 38.000 official cases. That 11% mortality is higher than the typical Covid-19; this shows that not all the cases have been identified, as in most of Europe. At 436 deaths per million, Sweden is similar to France. It is a bit worse than the Netherlands and Ireland and, though being better off, it is uncomfortably near to the 550 death per million of Italy.

Norway has 236 deaths over 8500 cases. That's 2,7%, which indicates that most of the cases have actually been registered. At 44 deaths per million, Norway has comparable numbers, among others, to Estonia, Slovenia and Czech Republic.

I'll throw in another one: Denmark: 576 death over 11700 cases, 5% mortality, 99 deaths per million, similar to Austria and Germany.

So, in absolute numbers, Sweden has 7,5 times the deaths of Denmark and 18 times more than Norway (both of which have half the population of Sweden). And it has 1/2 the number of deaths of Germany, which has 9 times the population of Sweden.

In percentage, deaths per million in Sweden is more than 4 times that of Germany and Denmark and 10 times that of Norway. By the 10th of March, Norway and Sweden had EXACTLY the same number of cases and deaths.

So yeah, not a great result, all in all.

But yes, they managed to get away with it without the lockdown. It's because they are Swedish, though. Brazil and the US tried to go without lockdown, and look where they are now.
 

GRtak

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https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonleopold/george-floyd-police-brutality-protests-government

The DEA Has Been Given Permission To Investigate People Protesting George Floyd’s Death


The Justice Department gave the agency the temporary power “to enforce any federal crime committed as a result of the protests over the death of George Floyd.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been granted sweeping new authority to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on people participating in protests over the police killing of George Floyd, according to a two-page memorandum obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Floyd’s death “has spawned widespread protests across the nation, which, in some instances, have included violence and looting,” the DEA memo says. “Police agencies in certain areas of the country have struggled to maintain and/or restore order.” The memo requests the extraordinary powers on a temporary basis, and on Sunday afternoon a senior Justice Department official signed off.


Attorney General William Barr issued a statement Saturday following a night of widespread and at times violent protests in which he blamed, without providing evidence, “anarchistic and far left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics,” for the unrest. He said the FBI, DEA, US Marshals, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be “deployed to support local efforts to enforce federal law.”

Barr did not say what those agencies would do, however.

The DEA is limited by statute to enforcing drug-related federal crimes. But on Sunday, Timothy Shea, a former US attorney and close confidant of Barr's who was named acting administrator of the DEA last month, received approval from Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer to go beyond the agency’s mandate “to perform other law enforcement duties” that Barr may “deem appropriate.”

Citing the protests, Shea laid out an argument for why the agency should be granted extraordinary latitude.

“In order for DEA to assist to the maximum extent possible in the federal law enforcement response to protests which devolve into violations of federal law, DEA requests that it be designated to enforce any federal crime committed as a result of protests over the death of George Floyd,” Shea wrote in the memo. “DEA requests this authority on a nationwide basis for a period of fourteen days.”


A spokesperson for the DEA declined to comment.

“Drug enforcement agents should not be conducting covert surveillance of protests and First Amendment protected speech,” said Hugh Handeyside, a senior attorney for the ACLU. “That kind of monitoring and information sharing may well constitute unwarranted investigation of people exercising their constitutional rights to seek justice. The executive branch continues to run headlong in the wrong direction.”

Three DEA sources told BuzzFeed News they are troubled by the memo and see it as an example of the Justice Department potentially abusing its power in an attempt to smear the protests and crack down on protected First Amendment activity.

The sources requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak with the media.

In addition to “covert surveillance,” the memo indicates that DEA agents would be authorized to share intelligence with local and state law enforcement authorities, to “intervene” to “protect both participants and spectators in the protests,” and to conduct interviews and searches, and arrest protesters who are alleged to have violated federal law.

A day after Shea’s memo was approved, President Trump said he is “mobilizing all available federal resources — civilian and military — to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson, and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights.”

Under the Insurrection Act, the president has the authority to deploy the US military for domestic purposes. It has not been employed since 1992, when troops were sent in during the Los Angeles riots.


There is a long history of federal agencies infiltrating and surveilling protest groups. During the protests in Baltimore in 2015 over the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody, the Department of Homeland Security monitored Twitter and other social media platforms for "intelligence" on the protesters. In Ferguson, Missouri, during the 2014 protests over Michael’s Brown’s killing by a white police officer, DHS planned to "plug" federal officers into protests to conduct surveillance and collect intelligence. And the FBI conducted extensive monitoring and surveillance of the Occupy Wall Street protest movement that began in 2011.

It’s unknown if the ATF, FBI, or other federal law enforcement agencies have been granted the same authority as the DEA.
The memo is at the link.
 

GRtak

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https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/american-cities-are-not-battlespaces/612553/

I Cannot Remain Silent

Our fellow citizens are not the enemy, and must never become so.

It sickened me yesterday to see security personnel—including members of the National Guard—forcibly and violently clear a path through Lafayette Square to accommodate the president's visit outside St. John's Church. I have to date been reticent to speak out on issues surrounding President Trump's leadership, but we are at an inflection point, and the events of the past few weeks have made it impossible to remain silent.


Whatever Trump's goal in conducting his visit, he laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country, gave succor to the leaders of other countries who take comfort in our domestic strife, and risked further politicizing the men and women of our armed forces.
There was little good in the stunt.
While no one should ever condone the violence, vandalism, and looting that has exploded across our city streets, neither should anyone lose sight of the larger and deeper concerns about institutional racism that have ignited this rage.
As a white man, I cannot claim perfect understanding of the fear and anger that African Americans feel today. But as someone who has been around for a while, I know enough—and I’ve seen enough—to understand that those feelings are real and that they are all too painfully founded.


We must, as citizens, address head-on the issue of police brutality and sustained injustices against the African American community. We must, as citizens, support and defend the right—indeed, the solemn obligation—to peacefully assemble and to be heard. These are not mutually exclusive pursuits.
And neither of these pursuits will be made easier or safer by an overly aggressive use of our military, active duty or National Guard. The United States has a long and, to be fair, sometimes troubled history of using the armed forces to enforce domestic laws. The issue for us today is not whether this authority exists, but whether it will be wisely administered.
I remain confident in the professionalism of our men and women in uniform. They will serve with skill and with compassion. They will obey lawful orders. But I am less confident in the soundness of the orders they will be given by this commander in chief, and I am not convinced that the conditions on our streets, as bad as they are, have risen to the level that justifies a heavy reliance on military troops. Certainly, we have not crossed the threshold that would make it appropriate to invoke the provisions of the Insurrection Act.

Furthermore, I am deeply worried that as they execute their orders, the members of our military will be co-opted for political purposes.
Even in the midst of the carnage we are witnessing, we must endeavor to see American cities and towns as our homes and our neighborhoods. They are not “battle spaces” to be dominated, and must never become so.
We must ensure that African Americans—indeed, all Americans—are given the same rights under the Constitution, the same justice under the law, and the same consideration we give to members of our own family. Our fellow citizens are not the enemy, and must never become so.
Too many foreign and domestic policy choices have become militarized; too many military missions have become politicized.
This is not the time for stunts. This is the time for leadership.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.





Mike Mullen is a retired admiral from the U.S. Navy and was the 17th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
 

GRtak

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https://www.benjerry.com/about-us/media-center/dismantle-white-supremacy

Silence Is NOT An Option

All of us at Ben & Jerry’s are outraged about the murder of another Black person by Minneapolis police officers last week and the continued violent response by police against protestors. We have to speak out. We have to stand together with the victims of murder, marginalization, and repression because of their skin color, and with those who seek justice through protests across our country. We have to say his name: George Floyd.
George Floyd was a son, a brother, a father, and a friend. The police officer who put his knee on George Floyd’s neck and the police officers who stood by and watched didn’t just murder George Floyd, they stole him. They stole him from his family and his friends, his church and his community, and from his own future.
The murder of George Floyd was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy. What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning. What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis is the fruit borne of toxic seeds planted on the shores of our country in Jamestown in 1619, when the first enslaved men and women arrived on this continent. Floyd is the latest in a long list of names that stretches back to that time and that shore. Some of those names we know — Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, Martin Luther King, Jr. — most we don’t.
The officers who murdered George Floyd, who stole him from those who loved him, must be brought to justice. At the same time, we must embark on the more complicated work of delivering justice for all the victims of state sponsored violence and racism.
Four years ago, we publicly stated our support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Today, we want to be even more clear about the urgent need to take concrete steps to dismantle white supremacy in all its forms. To do that, we are calling for four things:
First, we call upon President Trump, elected officials, and political parties to commit our nation to a formal process of healing and reconciliation. Instead of calling for the use of aggressive tactics on protestors, the President must take the first step by disavowing white supremacists and nationalist groups that overtly support him, and by not using his Twitter feed to promote and normalize their ideas and agendas. The world is watching America’s response.
Second, we call upon the Congress to pass H.R. 40, legislation that would create a commission to study the effects of slavery and discrimination from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. We cannot move forward together as a nation until we begin to grapple with the sins of our past. Slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation were systems of legalized and monetized white supremacy for which generations of Black and Brown people paid an immeasurable price. That cost must be acknowledged and the privilege that accrued to some at the expense of others must be reckoned with and redressed.
Third, we support Floyd’s family’s call to create a national task force that would draft bipartisan legislation aimed at ending racial violence and increasing police accountability. We can’t continue to fund a criminal justice system that perpetuates mass incarceration while at the same time threatens the lives of a whole segment of the population.
And finally, we call on the Department of Justice to reinvigorate its Civil Rights Division as a staunch defender of the rights of Black and Brown people. The DOJ must also reinstate policies rolled back under the Trump Administration, such as consent decrees to curb police abuses.
Unless and until white America is willing to collectively acknowledge its privilege, take responsibility for its past and the impact it has on the present, and commit to creating a future steeped in justice, the list of names that George Floyd has been added to will never end. We have to use this moment to accelerate our nation's long journey towards justice and a more perfect union.
 

DanRoM

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I've thought about whether I should ask this question, because I might step on some toes. But I'm really curious, so what the hell.

Why all the protests this time? I mean, police brutality in the US, especially against african americans, is nothing new, nothing out of the ordinary, and even a cop straight up murdering (sure looks like it, but I'm not a lawyer and for sure not a judge) a black man in full view of cameras is not even surprising or shocking - or am I just so cynical and jaded? What am I missing? Is it the Trump factor, or the Corona situation having everyone on an even shorter fuse than usual?

And second question: We've seen protests, also violent ones, several times in the past decades after yet another black person got killed by US police forces. Things never changed. Does anybody really believe this time it will be different?
 

gaasc

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I've thought about whether I should ask this question, because I might step on some toes. But I'm really curious, so what the hell.

Why all the protests this time? I mean, police brutality in the US, especially against african americans, is nothing new, nothing out of the ordinary, and even a cop straight up murdering (sure looks like it, but I'm not a lawyer and for sure not a judge) a black man in full view of cameras is not even surprising or shocking - or am I just so cynical and jaded? What am I missing? Is it the Trump factor, or the Corona situation having everyone on an even shorter fuse than usual?

And second question: We've seen protests, also violent ones, several times in the past decades after yet another black person got killed by US police forces. Things never changed. Does anybody really believe this time it will be different?
The answers here are but my opinion and they should not be read as endorsement or condemnation of anyone.

To answer your first question. It's all of them. Also take into consideration that while these incidents are more common than they should be (I would stop short from calling them 'ordinary'), they not only have a cumulative effect on the collective consciousness of the country, but on this one you have footage of the officer in question for eight minutes. Unlike other similar incidents where bodycam footage and accounts are inconsistent, there is not a lot of wiggle room here apart from intent to kill (so murder or manslaughter). Also, unlike those other examples, you also get to hear Floyd Pleading quite clearly.

To answer your second question, the problem with your assertion is that things do change. The entire Civil Rights movement and the legalization of cannabis and gay marriage is proof positive of that. The increase in identity politics and extremism in political positioning has taken a horrific incident and made it so it can be analyzed from a race angle, as well as an abuse of power and police brutality one (remember, Floyd was grabbed on suspicion of using counterfeit currency). It is also an election year.

Add to that the officers were just fired after the incident, Trump's habit of taking the foot off his mouth just so he can spit the dirt, and people who are not protesting, but looting for the joy of it. The Police has its hands tied because they will be crucified by the media if they arrest the looters and crucified by the media if they do not. Even worse, people getting nearly arrested for protecting their property, which causes could cause them to worry tjat their officials will just take away their ability to do so when the dust settles. And finally, there's a relative lack of other stories because it's either Trump or Corona on the 24h news cycle since march. All of that put together gives you the components for a good old-fashioned riot.

But what do I know, I am a Honduran talking with a German about the US.
 
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GRtak

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@DanRoM This time, there is more than ample video evidence that the man was cooperating when he was arrested. There was no reason to put him on the ground, let alone have 3 people kneeling on him. He can be heard saying he can't breathe and they did not give him a chance to do so. He also was not accused of a violent crime, it was check fraud or something of that nature.

There is also the fact that the country is frustrated by COVID and all the effects from that. Minorities are taking the brunt of the disease too. Part of it is because many work in fields that are still working, so the possibility of exposure is much higher for them.. They are also out of work in higher numbers. so they have time to protest. It is a magical combination of events that lined up in just the wrong way.

Things have to change.
 

93Flareside

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Yeah, I imagine if this happened during a time when there wasn’t a global pandemic, there would still be an outcry but at a much smaller scale. I see this as “those that wanted to say something now have the time to do so.” Couple that with the cabin fever most of us have during the virus lockdown, it sort of exploded.

Basically, people want change, aren’t doing much these days and can now do something about it.

I really hope this will reflect in the elections in November.
 

Momentum57

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For alot of Americans Colin Kaepernick brought this "issue" to an increased visibility. He was then excoriated by the President. They sent Vice President Mother Pence to shake his head and leave the game at the cost to taxpayers. Trump threatened owners and the league to fire Kaepernick or he would pull military advertising dollars. They fired him and colluded to exclude him. Kaepernick sued and when they saw that they were losing they settled out of court.

Yet the optics were clear Trump would bend over backwards to insure black America was unheard. And he would use any means he could to remove dissenting opinions.

Trump's going to kill alot more people to prove he doesn't want black "issues"
 
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