Monday, April 19, 2021

Last Call For Black Lives Still Matter

As closing arguments in the trial of the former police officer who killed George Floyd wrapped up in Minneapolis and the case heads to a jury, a new USA Today/Ipsos poll finds support for BLM back to its pre-June 2020 levels, and even lower among white Americans than it was last year, while support for police is back up to all-time highs. As FiveThirtyEight's Alex Samuels points out, that makes police reform difficult to impossible right now politically.

Daunte Wright was driving in his car through Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, two days ago when police officers pulled him over and later fatally shot him. This isn’t the first time cops have used excessive or fatal force against a Black person. In fact, just 10 miles away from where Wright died, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was on trial for murder after kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes last year.

Floyd’s death sparked a massive movement against police brutality and a sweeping shift in public opinion. And while it’s possible that in the wake of the latest tragedy, public support for reforming policing might increase again, new calls for change face a significant obstacle in public opinion. Gains in support for reform, especially among white Americans, tend to be fleeting, and there’s no consensus on what type of reforms the public wants.

Eleven months after Floyd’s death, support for the Black Lives Matter movement has fallen, while America’s trust in law enforcement has risen. Sixty-nine percent of Americans, according to a USA Today/Ipsos survey from March, now trust local police and law enforcement to promote justice and equal treatment of all races versus 56 percent who felt the same way last June. 


Meanwhile, in the almost four years Civiqs has been asking about support for the Black Lives Matter movement, a majority of white people have never supported the movement.1 Support peaked at 43 percent last June, just days after Floyd’s death. Since then, white Americans’ support for the movement has dipped back down to roughly where it was before Floyd’s death and is currently at 37 percent.


Some of the biggest drops in support among white Americans occurred among older people (between the ages of 50 and 64), Republicans and men. Black Americans, meanwhile, have remained steady in their support of the movement. Overall, 85 percent of Black Americans say they support Black Lives Matter, compared to 88 percent last year. And that cuts across age, education and gender.

The reasons for the decline in support among white Americans are myriad. Some experts have chalked it up to a decline in protests and less media coverage of ongoing calls for police reform, making it easier for white people to tune out issues of police brutality. It’s also worth noting, of course, that many protests for Black and civil rights start off unpopular, and people’s perception of the current movement might change over time; white Americans have gradually become more liberal on issues of race, for instance. (Public opinion tends to ebb and flow with tragedy, too, a trend we’ve seen in recent years with the debate over gun control.)

It’s a stark reminder, though, that despite the heavy media coverage the Chauvin trial has received in its first three weeks, its outcome is anything but certain. As we’ve written before, it’s uncommon for police officers to face legal consequences for excessive force. While a majority of Americans (57 percent) think Chauvin should be found guilty, according to a recent Economist/YouGov poll, 56 percent of registered voters told Morning Consult in a separate poll that they’re not following the trial closely. Twenty-one percent said it was because they didn’t think anything will change.

But even if Chauvin is convicted, it’s unlikely policing will fundamentally change in the U.S. Not only is public opinion variable, leading lawmakers to back off reform, law enforcement is often reluctant to admit wrongdoing toward Black people.
Police reform isn't popular. People like cops. They're supposed to protect you. But as with firearms, race, and gender the conversations have been mutated and deflected so many times that they are watered down to meaninglessness.

And we muddle through until the next police killing.

Cleaning Up Trump's Mess, Con't

The Biden administration continues to clean up the Trump toxic waste swamp, ending one dehumanizing, barbaric Trump policy at a time, this time around starting with getting rid of the term "illegal immigrant".

The Biden administration has directed immigration enforcement agencies to stop using references to immigrants that were commonplace under the Trump administration, according to the Washington Post on Monday.

In copies of memos sent to department heads at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection on Monday that were obtained by the Post, the Biden administration details the change in rhetoric that aims to reverse former President Trump’s hardline immigration policies.

The Post reported that changes include “noncitizen or migrant” instead of “alien,” “undocumented” or “illegal,” and “integration” in lieu of “assimilation” when referring to immigrants.

Top officials in CBP and ICE make clear in the memos that under the Biden administration, language that is more inclusive is a top priority.

“As the nation’s premier law enforcement agency, we set a tone and example for our country and partners across the world,” CBP’s top official, Troy Miller, said in his memo, according to the Post. “We enforce our nation’s laws while also maintaining the dignity of every individual with whom we interact. The words we use matter and will serve to further confer that dignity to those in our custody.”

In a separate memo, ICE acting director Tae Johnson expressed a similar sentiment, saying that the agency will ensure “agency communications use the preferred terminology and inclusive language” in response the guidance set by the Biden administration.

The changes in rhetoric regarding immigrants take effect immediately.

The new guidance follows a similar directive from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which processes green cards and citizenship applications, regarding agency communications such as internal correspondence and public information.

The use of “alien” and “illegal” has commonly been used by Border Patrol agents and ICE in news releases, social media and memos to refer to immigrants taken into custody after entering the country illegally.

The White House has reportedly removed and reassigned a scientist chosen by a Trump administration appointee to oversee the government’s definitive report on the effects of climate change.

Citing two sources close to the matter, The Washington Post reports that Betsy Weatherhead, an experienced atmospheric scientist, has been removed from her position as lead of the National Climate Assessment and been reassigned to U.S. Geological Survey.

According to the Post, officials at the White House Office of Science Technology Policy (OSTP) ultimately made the decision to reassign Weatherhead. The OSTP confirmed Weatherhead’s removal.

Weatherhead's selection was praised by the scientific community at the time, the Post notes, due to her decades of experience as a climate scientist in both academic and private sectors. She once served on the board of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is considered to be an expert on Earth observations, ozone depletion and the intersection of weather and climate.

Individuals close to the situation told the Post there was friction between Weatherhead and officials from the 13 agencies participating in the research program.

Despite her career as a respected climate scientist, the Post notes that Weatherhead has placed importance on communicating scientific uncertainty, which may have been what made her unpopular with the Biden administration.

Weatherhead's ideas for the assessment reportedly clashed with federal officials as she sought to bring in more authors from the private sector and increase the amount of chapters on climate change mitigation.
Another Trump bitter clinger, sticking to the ass of the regime like poop, but Biden's more than willing to clean up all the crap.
We'll be cleaning up Trump's mess for the rest of my lifetime, I figure.

The GOP's Race To The Bottom, Con't

After news broke over the weekend of GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar's odious "America First Caucus"neo-Nazi manifesto, everyone's scrambling to get away from the political barrel of gunpowder in the GOP living room, and nobody's scrambling faster than Green and Gosar themselves.
Two far-right House Republicans linked to a document calling for the protection of "Anglo-Saxon political traditions" distanced themselves from what they said was a draft of prescriptions for an "America First Caucus."

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., said in a Saturday statement that he "did not author" the document and that he became aware of it only after it was reported by the news media, saying he "will continue to work on America First issues in the House Freedom Caucus."

"Let me be perfectly clear. I did not author this paper," he said. "In fact, I first became aware of it by reading about it in the news yesterday, like everyone else."

In addition, Nick Dyer, a spokesperson for Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said in a statement that the document was merely "an early planning proposal and nothing was agreed to or approved."

When the document surfaced Friday, Dyer assailed "dirty backstabbing swamp creatures" for sharing it with Punchbowl News, which first reported on its contents and said the effort was linked to Gosar and Greene. "Be on the look out for the release of the America First Caucus platform when it's announced to the public very soon," he said.

Greene released a statement Saturday saying the platform was "a staff level draft proposal from an outside group that I hadn't read."


 In the words of Bart Simpson:


Don't nobody know who it was that wrote that, but it wasn't us, man!

GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) announced on Sunday that she plans to introduce a resolution to expel Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.) from Congress.

Greene in a statement on Sunday said that she will "be introducing a resolution to expel Rep. Maxine Waters from Congress for her continual incitement of violence."

The Republican lawmaker specifically targeted Waters for speaking to protesters at a demonstration in Brooklyn Center, Minn., on Saturday. Protests broke out in the city last week after police fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on April 11.

Waters told reporters on Saturday that she is "going to fight with all of the people who stand for justice," adding, "We’ve got to get justice in this country, and we cannot allow these killings to continue," Fox News reported.

The killing of Daunte Wright comes as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial on murder charges in the death of George Floyd last year. Floyd died after Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes during an arrest.

Asked about Chauvin’s trial, Waters told reporters that if Chauvin is not found guilty, "we've got to stay on the street, and we've got to get more active. We've got to get more confrontational. We've got to make sure that they know that we mean business," according to Fox News, in addition to making other comments on the trial and police brutality in the U.S.

Greene on Sunday claimed that Waters’s comments “led to more violence and a drive by shooting on National Guardsmen in Minnesota early this morning.”


It's moronic, racist, and vile, but Greene knows that if the press is focused on her little Mein Kampf tribute to "Anglo-Saxon culture" she's the one in dire trouble. If instead people are talking about how "Maxine Waters is just as bad" then Greene wins completely. 

She's counting on it. Better than even odds that the press is still talking about Waters than Greene by this time next week, and that's exactly what she's hoping for.

We'll see if the media bites, but...


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