Perhaps this is what it would look like to live under a government run by corporations. You’ve probably heard that a United Airlines passenger was beaten and dragged off a plane at the behest of the airline. You may not have heard they had exactly no legal right to do so.
As the scandal over a United passenger who was beaten unconscious and dragged off a plane when he refused to give up his seat for a deadheading crewmember unspools, there’s a predictable torrent of bullshit about how United was in the right because something something private property, and let us not forget the great American sport of victim-blaming.
Media outlets large and small have consistently misreported key details of the story, following spin from United corporate communications. Yves Smith does us all the service of summing up some of the major areas of bullshit. Here’s a few highlights:
* This was not an oversold plane. The plane was full, but it only became overfull when United decided that some of its crew needed to board, despite there being another flight an hour later they could have traveled on.
* Dao’s bloody nose is the least alarming thing about his injuries. The guy was beaten unconscious. That carries a high risk of concussion and worse.
* Dao wasn’t beaten up by Chicago Police, but by airport cops, who are not part of CPD; what’s more, the airport cops’ rolls include Richard Zuley, a dirty Chicago homicide detective who quit after a series of wrongful convictions, then worked as an “interrogator” at Guantanamo Bay, before boarding a plane in Chicago and beating a passenger unconscious.
Dao’s story overshadows another outrage, again by United Airlines, in which a full fare first class passenger, already seated on the plane, was ordered to give up his seat to a “higher priority” passenger, or else be handcuffed
“That’s when they told me they needed the seat for somebody more important who came at the last minute,” Fearns said. “They said they have a priority list and this other person was higher on the list than me.”
“I understand you might bump people because a flight is full,” Fearns said. “But they didn’t say anything at the gate. I was already in the seat. And now they were telling me I had no choice. They said they’d put me in cuffs if they had to.”
In remarks Tuesday to border patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Ariz., Mr. Sessions spoke in stark terms about the threat he said illegal immigration posed.
“We mean criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into warzones, that rape and kill innocent citizens,” Mr. Sessions said, according to the text of his prepared remarks. “It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth.”
“This is a new era,” he said. “This is the Trump era.”
Oh yes it is. Casual racism is now the norm at the highest level of the Justice Department of the United States.
I didn’t set out to write about nothing but fascism today; this is just how the news broke.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer not only made the fool’s mistake of comparing Assad to Hitler, Hitler came out ahead in that comparison. Because, said Spicer, even Hitler didn’t sink to using chemical weapons. Given a chance to fix that awful answer, Spicer said, and I am not making this up, that Hitler “was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”
So German Jews were not Hitler’s “own people”? Or is it just the method of gassing people that makes the difference?
It’s technically true that Hitler’s methods were different from Assad’s, but “rounded them up into camps and then put them in gas chambers” is … not really better. Especially when Spicer’s way of saying this was “He brought them into the Holocaust Centers, I understand that, but … “
Let’s just take a moment to consider that word choice. Not concentration camps, not death camps, but “Holocaust Centers.”
Steve King’s pal Marine Le Pen pretends to be a “populist” and denies that her politics are the fascist politics of her father, Jean-Marie le Pen. That pretense was damaged, perhaps along with her ambitions to be elected President of France, when she denied French complicity in rounding up Jews during WWII.
Le Pen the Younger disclaims her father’s racist baggage, and presents herself as a populist/nationalist in the model of Nigel Farage and Donald Trump (themselves notorious racists, but of the sort who make recourse to dog whistles instead of out-and-out racism, at least some of the time).
On Sunday, Le Pen disclaimed French responsibility for the notorious “Vel d’Hiv” incident in which French police rounded up 13,000 Jews and crammed them into the Velodrome d’Hiver so that Nazi occupiers could deport them to Auschwitz, saying “”I think France isn’t responsible for the Vel d’Hiv…I think that, in general, if there are people responsible, it is those who were in power at the time. It is not France.”
The remarks came just a couple weeks before the French general election, which has many around the world nervous, given the recent success of other crypto-fascist “populists” around the world.
Do I need to add that Le Pen is a Trump supporter?
If you needed another reason to put a priority on income inequality, here is one.
A new paper from a trio of Boston College researchers shows that the states with the highest degree of income inequality are also the worst offenders for carbon emissions; as the share of wealth and income claimed by the richest 10% increases, the amount of carbon-intensive consumption they engage in grows, as does their political clout, allowing them to buy laws and policies that let them pollute more.
Democrats should stand for getting rid of all regressive taxes and replacing them with a steeply progressive income tax, the opposite of what Republicans are busy doing right now.
It’s going to take a lot to defeat the party of Trump: volunteer hours, conversations with friends and with strangers, time and votes…and money.
Now that Neil Gorsuch has taken the Supreme Court seat stolen from President Obama, let us put aside the fantasy that someday we will be able to get along with the Republican Party like we used to. We won’t. It will be self-defeating to try. When we are back in the majority, let’s plan on revising the Judiciary Act of 1869 to increase the number of Supreme Court Justices, and appoint Democratic nominees until the damage done by Trump is reversed. They will call it court packing (and for once they will be correct), they will call it unprecedented, they will call it unfair. And we should say nothing in response but “April 7, 2017.”
We are supposed to believe that Donald Trump has an aversion to civilian casualties in wartime.
Yesterday’s chemical attack, a chemical attack so horrific in Syria against innocent people including women, small children, and even beautiful little babies, their deaths was an affront to humanity.
That would be a perfectly normal response from a normal leader. But coming from the guy who falsely said this:
We have to stop the tremendous flow of Syrian refugees into the United States. We don’t know who they are. They have no documentation and we don’t know what they’re planning.
about those same women and children. Trump is the guy who suspended the refugee program, specifically turning Syrians away in violation of the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Not only was he not bothered by the deaths of 93,000 Syrian civilians during the six years of the Syrian civil war, he specifically called on President Obama to leave Syria alone, not once but more than a dozen times.
He encouraged people to hate when it suited his short term political needs. Now his short term political need is to go to war against Syria, so he pretends to care about babies long enough to launch the missiles.
This will surprise no one.
Mr. Trump criticized media outlets, including The New York Times…while singling out Fox News and the host Bill O’Reilly for praise, despite reports this week that the veteran conservative commentator settled five lawsuits filed by women claiming sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. The president then went on to defend Mr. O’Reilly, who has hosted him frequently over the years.
“I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” said Mr. Trump, who during the interview was surrounded at his desk by a half-dozen of his highest-ranking aides, including the economic adviser Gary Cohn and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, along with Vice President Mike Pence.
“I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled,” said Mr. Trump. “Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”
And this is only the first week of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Someone, probably the Syrian government, launched an attack using both conventional and chemical weapons that killed at least 58 people, including 11 children. The Trump adminstration condemned the attack and called it “heinous” and “intolerable,” but then proceeded to blame the Obama administration’s “weakness and irresolution” for it.
To the extent that reality still matters, what Obama actually did was seek congressional authorization for a military offensive against the Assad regime — authorization that Spicer’s Republican allies in Congress refused to offer. A guy by the name of Donald J. Trump was especially vocal in his opposition to Obama attacking the Assad government in Syria.