Month: June 2021

The Solution to this Problem is Democratic Legitimacy

Didier Reynders, the European Union’s justice minister is arguing that challenges to EU law on the basis of national law threaten to break up the organization.

That nations in the EU are taking these steps is no surprise.  The EU has no democratic legitimacy.

It has been, since its origins as the European Coal and Steel Community, a profoundly undemocratic institution.

The European Parliament is about as ineffective as the Roman Senate under Caligula,* and posesses far less power than said august Roman institution.

Ordinary voters still have a voice in their local government and in their local judiciary, while they have none (by explicit design) in the EU.

As such challenging EU dictum through the local courts is a logical, and likely popular, strategy, particularly in the face of German hegemony within the The European Commission:

The EU’s justice commissioner has vowed to fight back against a proliferation of legal challenges and rulings by member states that have attacked the supremacy of EU law, warning that they could destroy the union itself.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Didier Reynders said that this increased questioning of the primacy of EU law — and the right of the European Court of Justice to have the final word — created a “spillover effect” that had emboldened others to follow suit.

In a sign of the perceived threat, the European Commission this month launched legal proceedings against Germany in response to an explosive ruling by its constitutional court last year that the ECJ had acted beyond its competence in a case related to European Central Bank bond-buying.

This ruling is actually an artifact of German hegemony.  Bashing the lazy and profligate south has been a winning electoral strategy in Germany since the adoption of the Euro as a currency.

The next big legal challenge Brussels is bracing for is a decision by the Polish constitutional tribunal, which could come on July 13, on whether certain elements of the EU’s treaties are compatible with the constitution. The case, brought by Poland’s nationalist government, is regarded by legal experts as the most serious challenge yet to the EU’s legal order.

If the EU, and the Eurocrats, fail to realize that without political legitimacy through meaningful democratic processes these problems will only get worse.

Democracy is inconvenient, and a pain in the ass sometimes, but absent a muscular application of this concept to EU governance, the EU may cease to exist.

*The real history of Caligula appointing his favorite horse, Incitatus, to the Roman Senate is actually saner than is commonly represented. He threatened to appoint the horse to the Senate in order to demonstrate just how dysfunctional the body was.

It was a prank intended to humiliate the Senate.

New York Mayor Primary Election and Ranked Choice Voting

With the counting of the in-person votes being more or less finished (this is the famously corrupt and incompetent New York City Board of Elections, after all), what looked like a run-away victory has turned into a nail biter.

Just to remind you, the voting was that you could rate candidates from 1 to 5, and the votes were tabulated based on the first choice initially, giving Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams 31.6%,  former de Blazio counsel Maya Wiley with 22.3%,  former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia, with 19.7%, and smug asshole Andrew Yang with a dismal 11.7%.

With a normal US style election, what the British call, “First Past the Post,” Adams would be the next mayor of New York.

This was not a normal US style election though, it was ranked choice voting, which is also called instant runoff voting (IRV), though it’s not exactly instant, as we can see from the delay of a bit over a week.

Additionally, the top two finishers were originally numbers 1 and 3 in the first vote.

With IRV,  if no one gets a majority on the first vote, then the person with the lowest total votes in the first round has their votes struck from the tally, and those voters second choice is counted instead.

If no one still has 50%+1 of the votes, the procedure is repeated until someone does have an absolute majority.

In this case, Katheryn Garcia overtook Maya Wiley, and it appears that she is pretty close to Eric Adams, something on the order of 2-3%, with thousands of absentee ballots not yet counted. 

Then those numbers were withdrawn, because they mistakenly included test data, but it is clear that the top 2 at the end of the process will be Adams and Garcia, and that it will be close.

Given that Eric Adams is Black, these results illustrate interesting point about instant RUNOFF voting, which is an artifact of most (if not all) runoff voting systems in the United States, which is that runoff votes allow white voters to get behind the proverbial “White Guy”, which is why it has been a fixture of voting in the South for years.

Without getting into the weeds of the relative merits of first past the post versus instant runoff voting versus proportional representation, I think that it is clear that any runoff system, whether instant or traditional, will make it more difficult for a minority candidate to win.

It’s troubling, and so I have mixed emotions about the whole process:

The New York City mayor’s race plunged into chaos on Tuesday night when the city Board of Elections released a new tally of votes in the Democratic mayoral primary, and then removed the tabulations from its website after citing a “discrepancy.”

The results released earlier in the day had suggested that the race between Eric Adams and his two closest rivals had tightened significantly.

But just a few hours after releasing the preliminary results, the elections board issued a cryptic tweet revealing a “discrepancy” in the report, saying that it was working with its “technical staff to identify where the discrepancy occurred.”

By Tuesday evening, the tabulations had been taken down, replaced by a new advisory that the ranked-choice results would be available “starting on June 30.”

Then, around 10:30 p.m., the board finally released a statement, explaining that it had failed to remove sample ballot images used to test its ranked-choice voting software. When the board ran the program, it counted “both test and election night results, producing approximately 135,000 additional records,” the statement said. The ranked-choice numbers, it said, would be tabulated again.


For the Board of Elections, which has long been plagued by dysfunction and nepotism, this was its first try at implementing ranked-choice voting on a citywide scale, and skeptics had expressed doubts about the board’s ability to pull off the process despite its successful use in other cities.

Under ranked-choice voting, voters can list up to five candidates on their ballots in preferential order. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of first-choice votes in the first round, the winner is decided by a process of elimination: As the lower-polling candidates are eliminated, their votes are reallocated to whichever candidate those voters ranked next, and the process continues until there is a winner.


A few hours later, the board disclosed its unspecified discrepancy, and it was not at all clear Tuesday night how accurate the most recent tally was, or if it was accurate at all.

The results may well be scrambled again: Even after the Board of Elections sorts through the preliminary tally, it must count around 124,000 Democratic absentee ballots. Once they are tabulated, the board will take the new total that includes them and run a new set of ranked-choice elimination rounds, with a final result not expected until mid-July.


If elected, Mr. Adams would be the city’s second Black mayor, after David N. Dinkins. Some of Mr. Adams’s supporters have already cast the ranked-choice process as an attempt to disenfranchise voters of color, an argument that intensified among some backers on Tuesday afternoon as the race had appeared to tighten, and is virtually certain to escalate should he lose his primary night lead to Ms. Garcia, who is white.

It appears that I’m not the only one who thinks that runoffs tend to disadvantage minority candidates.


While it is difficult, it is not unheard-of for a trailing candidate in a ranked-choice election to eventually win the race through later rounds of voting — that happened in Oakland, Calif., in 2010, and nearly occurred in San Francisco in 2018.

The winner of New York’s Democratic primary, who is almost certain to become the city’s next mayor, will face Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels, who won the Republican primary.

Yeah, that racist clown is the Republican nominee, so the primary is the real election here, even if the eventual nominee is found in bed with Donald Trump.


Other close observers of the election separately expressed discomfort with the decision to release a ranked-choice tally without accounting for absentee ballots.

Yeah, this has been completely mismanaged.

BTW, did I mention that the board of elections also sent out the absentee ballots late in 2020? 

The good citizens of New York are in for a bumpy ride.

Tweet of the Day

Among the worst parts of climate anxiety is knowing full well that when the Earth ends up literally just being one giant ball of fire, the final tweets will be Republicans insisting there’s no climate crisis & Dems saying they can’t do anything because of the parliamentarian.

— David Sirota (@davidsirota) June 28, 2021

The use of the word “Literally” here is accurate.

Right-Wingers Hate Their Cable Companies More Than They Hate Democrats

This is why the Republican dominated legislature in Ohio has backtracked on its attempt to ban municipal broadband.

People really, really, really, really, really, really hate their cable companies:

After coming close to imposing a near-total ban on municipal broadband networks, Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature has reportedly dropped the proposed law in final negotiations over the state budget.

The final budget agreement “axed a proposal to limit local governments from offering broadband services,” The Columbus Dispatch wrote. With a June 30 deadline looming, Ohio’s House and Senate approved the budget and sent it to Gov. Mike DeWine for final approval on Monday night, the Dispatch wrote.

As we wrote earlier this month, the Ohio Senate approved a version of the budget containing an amendment that would have forced existing municipal broadband services to shut down and prevented the formation of new public networks. The proposed law was reportedly “inserted without prior public discussion,” and no state senator publicly sponsored the amendment. It was approved in a party-line vote as Democrats opposed the restrictions in municipal broadband.

The House version did not contain the amendment, and it was dropped during negotiations between the House and Senate.

Lawmakers apparently relented to public pressure from supporters of municipal broadband and cities and towns that operate the networks. People and businesses from Fairlawn, where the city-run FairlawnGig network offers fiber Internet, played a significant role in the protests. FairlawnGig itself asked users to put pressure on lawmakers, and the subscribers did so in great numbers.

If Democrats want to win, they should claim that Republicans want the cable companies to have monopolies on broadband (true), and that they support robocalling by Indian and Pakistani telemarketers. (True enough)

We’d have 65 seats in the Senate, and 320 in the House.


Toyota USA Needs a Major Management Shakeup

This car model from Toyota has taken on a new meaning.

— (@MeidasTouch) June 28, 2021

Best Tweet on the Subject

Because the car manufacturer leads in campaign donations to members of the “Sedition Caucus” since January 6

I understand the need for companies to spread the campaign donations around, I’ve always felt that the current system is more extortion than it is bribery, but you can donate to Republicans without being the single most aggressive of people who supported the insurrection at the Capitol:

Nearly three-dozen corporate PACs have donated at least $5,000 to Republicans who objected to certifying the 2020 election, yet Toyota leads by a substantial margin.


By the numbers: Data compiled by the left-leaning watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington show Toyota gave $55,000 to 37 GOP objectors this year.

  • That equates to a quarter of the bloc that voted to nullify President Biden’s win after the Capitol siege.

  • Toyota gave more than twice as much — and to nearly five times as many members of Congress — as the No. 2 company on the list, Cubic Corp., a San Diego-based defense contractor.

  • The Japanese automaker’s donations this year included a February contribution to Rep. Andy Biggs, an Arizona Republican who has been one of Congress’ most vocal election conspiracy theorists. According to an organizer of the “Stop the Steal” rally prior to the Capitol attack, Biggs also helped put on that event, a charge Biggs has denied.

What they’re saying: “We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification,” a Toyota spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Axios. 

This is a bummer.  

I have a 2004 Toyota Prius with about  ¼ million miles on it, and I like the car, I consider it my midlife crisis car,* but it is getting long in the tooth, and it’s getting to be time to find a replacement.

I WAS considering a newer Prius, possibly a Prime plug-in, but I try to avoid buying from companies with stupid and psychotic management.  (It’s actually it’s a REMARKABLY high bar to clear with American management these days.)

Any recommendations from my reader(s) for a decent reliable high MPG car not from Toyota?

*Yeah, a 2004 Prius as my midlife crisis car. I am the dullest motherf%$#er on the face of the earth.

Boeing Still Cannot Make Aircraft

The FAA has announced that it is delaying certification of their new 777X variant because of design maturity and potentially disastrous problems with its control systems.

Everyone employed at Boeing’s Chicago headquarters beyond the janitors and secretaries need to be fired ……… and into the sun:

In yet another blow to Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration last month formally denied the jet maker permission to move forward with a key step in certifying its forthcoming giant widebody airplane, the 777X.

In a sternly worded letter dated May 13, which was reviewed by The Seattle Times, the FAA warned Boeing it may have to increase the number of test flights planned and that certification realistically is now more than two years out, probably in late 2023.

That could push the jet’s entry into commercial service into early 2024, four years later than originally planned.

Clearly, someone at Boeing decided to, “Take off their engineer hat and put your management hat on,” with predictable results.*

Boeing is suffering death by MBA.


The FAA cited a long litany of concerns, including a serious flight control incident during a test flight on Dec. 8, 2020, when the plane experienced an “uncommanded pitch event” — meaning the nose of the aircraft pitched abruptly up or down without input from the pilots.

Boeing has yet to satisfy the FAA that it has fully understood and corrected what went wrong that day.

After all the troubles with the 737 MAX, you think that they would have that one at the top of their, “To Do” list, but in their rush to meet schedule, and to move production to a non-union facility, they screwed the pooch AGAIN.

“The aircraft is not yet ready,” [local FAA manager Ian] Won wrote. “The technical data required for type certification has not reached a point where it appears the aircraft type design is mature and can be expected to meet the applicable regulations.”

An FAA official, who asked not to be identified in order to speak freely, said the drag on 777X certification is now “the subject of a lot of attention” at high levels both within the agency and at Boeing.

The FAA got burnt by Boeing with the 737MAX, and they are now dubious of Boeing’s claims.

The reputational damage to the Seattle aircraft manufacturer from its rampant managerialism is ongoing and an existential threat to its continued viability as a going concern.

*This is a paraphrase of a comment made to Thikol engineer Roger Boisjoly by an unnamed manager when he warned of the danger of launching the Space Shuttle Challenger in very low temperatures.

For those who don’t know your history, the o-rings in the solid booster failed, and the Challenger blew up.


Where’s Waldo, the movie:

From the Department of About F%$#ing Time

The Department of Justice has sued Georgia over over its new racist voting laws

Personally, if evidence of a conspiracy to deprive citizens of their civil rights is found, and this is clearly fits the legal definition of a conspiracy, I’d like to see a criminal investigation with some of the principals subject to the risk of jail time:

Justice Department officials announced a federal lawsuit Friday against Georgia over new statewide voting restrictions that federal authorities allege purposefully discriminate against Black Americans, the first major action by the Biden administration to confront what it describes as efforts by Republican-led jurisdictions to limit election turnout.

The legal challenge takes aim at Georgia’s Election Integrity Act, which was passed in March by the state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp (R). The law imposes new limits on the use of absentee ballots, makes it a crime for outside groups to provide food and water to voters waiting at polling stations, and hands greater control over election administration to the legislature.

The 46-page federal court filing came as numerous GOP-majority state governments have been seeking to impose new voting restrictions in the wake of President Biden’s victory over Donald Trump last November. Trump has spent months waging a baseless effort to discredit the result, making false and unsubstantiated allegations of widespread voter fraud.

In Georgia, Black voters helped drive record turnout for the presidential election and handed the state to Biden, who became the first Democrat to win its electoral votes in 28 years. High levels of Black voter turnout also helped Democrats Raphael G. Warnock and Jon Ossoff sweep the U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia in January, ensuring full Democratic control of Congress.

Among other things, this lawsuit moves to bring Georgia under the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act again, and this is a good thing.

Politicians should not be allowed to prevent people from voting because they vote against those politicians. 

As an aside, if you live in Georgia, register as a Republican, and vote for the Trump-nuts in their primary so as to make a chance of Democratic victory in the general election more likely.


Portland, Oregon hit 114°F (45.5°C) Today.

If the death toll in the Pacific Northwest from high temperatures over this weekend is not in the thousands, I would be very surprised.

Even for houses with air-conditioning, this is likely to be more heat than they could handle: 

Portland again reached a new record temperature late Sunday afternoon, hitting 112 degrees and breaking the previous records set earlier Sunday and Saturday, the National Weather Service announced on Twitter.

The high temperature for Portland International Airport reached 108 degrees Saturday, surpassing the city’s all-time record of 107, first set in 1965. By 2:20 p.m. Sunday afternoon, Portland had surpassed that record by three degrees. The record now stands at 112 as of 5 p.m. Sunday.

Portland normally has a handful of 90°F+ days a year.

In the 4 years that I lived in Portland, it never broke 100°F. (Update, Checked the record, I was wrong.  From August 1976 through August 1980, there were 10 100°F+ days)

Obviously, this is weather, and not climate, but it is clearly anthropogenic climate change driven weather.

An UNBELIEVABLY Appropriate Use of the KKK Act

Various Biden campaigners have sued Texas terrorists who attempted to force their campaign bus off of the road in October of last year under the Klu Klux Klan act of 1871.

This seems about right:

Timothy Holloway clutched the wheel of a Biden-Harris campaign bus last October, swerving and dodging as one hostile car bearing a Trump flag after another tried to run him off a Texas highway.

“We were terrified,” Holloway said in a news release. “They were clearly trying to scare us and prevent us from arriving at our destination in peace.”

The tactic worked — the Biden campaign canceled the rest of the day’s events, saying it feared for the safety of campaign staffers, supporters and local political candidates. Some prominent Republicans cheered the effort by the self-proclaimed “Trump Train,” while President Donald Trump himself lauded their efforts, calling the drivers “patriots” who “did nothing wrong.”

Now, Holloway — along with a White House staffer, a former Texas lawmaker and a campaign volunteer — are suing several members of the caravan, accusing them of violating the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which bars violent election intimidation, as well as local Texas laws. The group is also suing local law enforcement, claiming they failed to provide protection.

“Those on the bus feared injury or for their lives. All suffered lingering trauma in the days and months thereafter,” says one of a pair of federal lawsuits filed to the Western District of Texas court on Thursday. “The events of October 30 arose from a campaign of politically motivated intimidation.”


The case isn’t the only recent attempt to invoke the Ku Klux Klan Act against Trump supporters. In February, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, invoked the Klan Act in a lawsuit against Trump, Rudolph W. Giuliani and two extremist groups whose members are accused of participating in the insurrection. Thompson alleged that Trump and Giuliani violated the act by inciting the riots with false claims of a rigged election. The lawsuit is ongoing.

This was terrorism, pure and simple, and they should be treated at LEAST as severely as the Muslim losers that the FBI entraps in their sting operations.

Take their guns while the trials are going on, and seize their trucks, as they are the instruments of the crimes.

Never Walking the Walk

One of the reasons that liberals and progressives are given no respect is because when the rubber hits the road, and they need to abide by their own morality, they refuse to do so.

Case in point, the Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School in Massachusetts, where administrators are going scorched earth over a unionization effort by teachers.

In case you don’t recognize the name, “Paulo Freire,” he was a Marxist educator, who wrote extensively on how the current model of education did not meet the needs of the poor and downtrodden.

Not exactly the sort of philosophy that is compatible with going Walmart on your staff:

In 1968, Paulo Freire, a famous Brazilian philosopher, authored the book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, a Marxist argument for using education to empower the downtrodden. In 2013, a charter school named in his honor was founded: the Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School (PFSJCS), located in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Now, in a display of the universe’s sense of humor, teachers at PFSJCS say that the school’s leadership is engaging in union busting.

In March 2020, the school’s professional staff of about 26 people — mostly teachers, along with a few other employees such as guidance counselors — unionized with UAW Local 2322 in Massachusetts. Zack Novak, one of the teachers who helped lead the union drive, said that several years of experience working in unionized public schools had led him to expect certain standards of treatment that he didn’t see at PFSJCS. ​“At charter schools in general, the climate is much different. I noticed people being treated unfairly by the administration,” Novak said. ​“The only way to get ahead was if the powers that be liked you. That’s not an equitable environment for teaching staff.”

Novak sent out an email notifying everyone at the school that the staff had unionized in March of last year. The same day, he says, he was pulled into a meeting with administrators, which he interpreted as an assertion of their power. At the end of the school year, he said, he was offered a new contract to come back — but that contract was rescinded before the next school year began, for no apparent reason. He believes that his involvement in organizing the union was the motivating factor.

In July 2020, the school hired Gil Traverso as its new executive director, to replace a retiring predecessor. Since then, union members say, labor relations have been awful. According to Carol Huben, a PFSJCS teacher, the first ominous sign was ​“a really strong pattern of not responding to union communications.” Next, she said, teachers were warned or disciplined after posting innocuous pro-union messages in their Zoom backgrounds at bargaining meetings.

Then, Huben said, came the most serious blow to the union: a dozen teachers whose contracts were up last year were ordered to reapply for their own jobs — and none of them were rehired. The union said in a press release that ​“no explanation was offered for their non renewal of contracts.” Huben also said that management is warning newly hired teachers to beware of the union. The union has filed complaints over more than 20 incidents since Traverso’s hiring, teachers said.

Primates in general, and humans in particular, are hard wired for fairness, and when they see, “Liberalism for thee and not for me,” it disinclines them from considering the idea of people working for the collective good.

It’s the hypocrisy, stupid.

Training Will Not Help.

Training does not reduce incidences of abusive law enforcement conduct. This has been shown over, and over, and over, and over again

What DOES help is firings and prosecutions, because the misconduct arises from the perceived impunity of police officers.

They don’t do this because they are poorly trained, they do this because they CAN do this, so the brutality of the Ocean City police needs to be treated as the crime that it is:

A year before video of the violent arrests of six Black teenagers in this Maryland resort town went viral, spurring calls for reform and demands for an investigation, a police lieutenant grabbed a White man who was shouting insults at officers and punched him in the face.

The Ocean City Police Department said the lieutenant’s actions were “within policy” that day on the crowded boardwalk, where the population swells with nearly 8 million visitors each year, and officers on foot and bicycle are charged with maintaining a “family friendly atmosphere.”

This is the problem.  The Police think that thier behavior is OK, and it is NOT.


Records released by the department show its officers use force a couple hundred times a year during arrests that are concentrated in the summer season. Policing experts say such confrontations illustrate the importance of de-escalation techniques, especially in today’s charged law enforcement environment. While limited, publicly available data shows the violent arrests in Ocean City have involved both Black and White civilians, with a disproportionate percentage of use-of-force incidents involving Black people.

At a time when Maryland and other states are launching new efforts to hold police officers accountable, and the nation is paying closer attention to police treatment of minorities, the June 6 and 12 arrests of several young Black men have drawn national attention.

The incidents — in which unarmed teens were shocked by Tasers, held down on the ground and repeatedly kneed in the rib cage — are generating questions about how a popular vacation spot polices its visitors, and whether officers should do more to de-escalate confrontations before resorting to force.

The real question should be about how a popular vacation spot polices its police.

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan says that if people obey the law and are courteous to each other, they have nothing to worry about. “We have ordinances, and we do need to enforce those ordinances,” he said. “Our goal is compliance, and if people comply there’s really no issue. The majority of people do.”

And here is the crux of the issue:  The people of Ocean City, as represented by the Mayor, see the job of the police as being keeping the n*****s down, with a secondary roll of keeping non-townies in their place.

He Won’t See 22½ Months

Derek Chauvin, who murdered George Floyd, and tried to do the same with many of the people he encountered, (in addition to being a tax cheat) was sentenced to 22½ for murdering George Floyd.

It’s nice that he got a sentence commensurate with his actions, which were callous and heinous, but I’m inclined to believe that he’s going to get preferential treatment in terms of prison assignments and by the parole board, so I don’t expect him to serve this in a maximum security prison, which the sentence would generally require, and I expect him to serve only a small portion of the actual sentence, rather than the ⅔ of the sentence generally required for parole:

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced Friday to 22 and a half years in prison for the murder of George Floyd.

Before Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill announced the sentence inside a courtroom in the Hennepin County Government Center, members of members of Floyd’s family spoke about the impact of his murder. Floyd’s brother Terrence Floyd wept as he struggled to speak.

“I wanted to know from the man himself,” he said, addressing Chauvin. “Why? What were you thinking? What was going through your head when you had your knee on our brother’s neck?”

Philonise Floyd, another of Floyd’s brothers, wiped his eyes as he spoke and asked the judge for closure by giving Chauvin the harshest sentence possible.


“I want to give my condolences to the Floyd family,” Chauvin said in a brief statement before he was sentenced. His defense team has indicated they will appeal.

Cahill’s decision started with the state’s sentencing guidelines which recommend 12 and a half years in prison for a conviction on unintentional second-degree murder for someone with no criminal history.

The prosecution asked for 30 years, or twice the highest recommended sentence of 15 years.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank reiterated the four aggravating factors the prosecution hoped would sway the judge to add years to Chauvin’s prison sentence — that Chauvin abused his position of authority, treated Floyd with particular cruelty, that the crime was seen by several children and that Chauvin knew the restraint of Floyd was dangerous.

I would add another reason for a harsh sentence:  This sort of behavior is ROUTINE for police officers in the United States, and thus the sentence needed to be severe in order to provide deterrence to other malefactors on police forces throughout the country.

Still, I expect him to be out into home confinement or some-such within 2 years.

Say What You Will about the French, but They Do Not like Nazis

So, unlike government representatives than almost any other country in the EU, they were unamused to stumble on a Nazi event at a celebration of Kiev’s birthday.

If they had been from any other EU nation, (and the Brits) they would have done their best impression of Sergeant Schultz, and pretended that they had seen nothing, but the French are slightly less accomodating of those who want to lionize Nazis. 

Given that the US has been actively cultivating Neo-Nazis in the FSU for years, we know how US government officials would have reacted to this.

The French, however, theyy take it kind of personally:

After a group of French senators visiting Kyiv to celebrate the city’s birthday stumbled across a far-right event involving children, Ukraine’s western allies no longer have any excuse not to demand action.

On the last weekend of May, the Ukrainian capital Kyiv celebrates its “birthday”, marking the day in 482 when the city was, according to legend, founded.


This year, however, there was another – very different – kind of event. On Andrievskiy Descent, a scenic, historic road in central Kyiv, members of the Ukrainian far-right party Right Sector and its youth wing, Right Youth, put on a militaristic show for children. They invited kids to shoot from air rifles at a paper target of the Kremlin and at pictures of Colorado beetles (a derogatory term for Russians).

This rather macabre scene coincided with a visit to the city of three French senators to Ukraine. Nathalie Goulet, Jean-Pierre Moga and Joel Guerriau were all in Kyiv for its birthday celebrations, and apparently witnessed Right Sector’s display.

They did not like what they saw.

On June 10, the delegation officially submitted a request to the French Foreign Ministry to “know what the position of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs [is] on this subject and what measures it intends to take to avoid the contagion of this deadly ideology.”

“The neo-Nazi parties are developing increasingly visible activities, including in the centre of Kyiv, with shooting ranges, practices of assembling and dismantling Kalashnikovs and recruitment offices for young people for militias that clearly claim Nazi ideology,” their joint letter read.

The senators also claimed that they had seen pro-Nazi memorabilia being sold by Right Sector cadres, including identity papers of members of SS-Sonderkommando units.


Bubbling under the surface for decades, the far-right came to mainstream attention following the Maidan Revolution of 2014. Far-right elements were present in the protests against then president Viktor Yanukovych, and had a higher degree of organisation, ideological zeal and propensity to violence than the bulk of the protesters.

The far right were supported by the US State Department, the CIA, and the Orwellian named National Endowment for Democracy.

The West needs to stop supporting Nazis in the former Soviet Union states.

It’s Jobless Thursday!

Initial unemployment clams remained steady last week, and the less volatile 4-week moving average rose slightly.

I don’t find this a surprise.

We are not even close to being out of the proverbial woods:

A recent downward trend in worker filings for jobless benefits stalled in mid-June amid other signs the labor market continues to gradually recover.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that initial unemployment claims, a proxy for layoffs, moved slightly lower last week to a seasonally adjusted 411,000 from an upwardly revised 418,000 the prior week, when claims rose. The four-week average for claims, which smooths out volatility in the weekly figures, rose slightly off a pandemic low to 397,750.

While last week’s initial claims were higher than projected and claims overall remain above pre-pandemic levels, their downward trajectory, along with a pickup in hiring, a declining unemployment rate and optimistic consumer sentiment, points to gains for the U.S. labor market.

Claims are down sharply from the depths of the Covid-19-induced downturn during 2020, and are hovering at levels half of what they were in January this year. Weekly claims totals are down more than 40% from the 742,000 total posted the week ended April 3.


The report showed new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft—so-called core capital-goods orders, a closely watched proxy for business investment—declined 0.1% in May from April. Such orders were up 2.7% the prior month.


The Commerce Department also released updated calculations of U.S. gross domestic product—a broad measure of the economy’s output of goods and services. The update said GDP rose at an annual rate of 6.4% in the first quarter, matching previous estimates. 

It’s going to be interesting to see what happens as extended unemployment benefits wind down.

This injection of money into the economy is a large reason why we’ve had a decent recovery.

The Schadenfreude Drought is Over

Did you hear that the New York State appellate court just suspended Rudy Giuliani’s law license pending a more permanent disposition?

The court basically said that  his lies in court in support of Trump had been so egregious that a permanent disbarment should be on the menu:

Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former top federal prosecutor, New York City mayor and lawyer to a president, had his law license suspended after a New York court ruled on Thursday that he made “demonstrably false and misleading statements” while fighting the results of the 2020 election on behalf of Donald J. Trump.

The move was a humbling blow to a man who was once known as a law-and-order crusader and whose political ambitions and creative courtroom tactics against mob bosses turned him into a fixture on national television.

The New York State appellate court temporarily suspended Mr. Giuliani’s law license on the recommendation of a disciplinary committee after finding he had sought to mislead judges, lawmakers and the public as he helped shepherd Mr. Trump’s legal challenge to the election results. For months, Mr. Giuliani, who was Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, had argued without merit that the vote had been rife with fraud and that voting machines had been rigged.

In its 33-page decision, the court said that Mr. Giuliani’s actions represented an “immediate threat” to the public and that he had “directly inflamed” the tensions that led to the Capitol riot in January.

“The seriousness of respondent’s uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated. This country is being torn apart by continued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election and of our current president, Joseph R. Biden,” the decision read.

Courts and law bars hate ruling on things political, but this rat-f%$#ing is so pervasive, that they feel that they have no choice but to act.

Given that Giuliani has not actually practiced as a lawyer, except for his Trump related rat-f%$#ing, for years, it won’t effect him much financially, but it marks his exit from respectable society. 

Or at least, that’s what I hope.  After all Roy Cohn remained a fixture of society well after his “sell by” date.

The 3rd World Welcomes Florida

If you are thinking that sh%$ like buildings falling down for no reason is a symptom of 3rd world dysfunction, then the the collapse of a condominium tower in Surfside, Florida is a pretty good indication that something is very wrong in Florida, though my guess is that this is not isolated to the sunshine state:

After the dust had settled and the fog of incredulity had lifted, Soriya Cohen had only prayer and hope and questions — lots of questions — about the abrupt and violent collapse of a 12-story oceanfront condominium tower in Surfside early Thursday morning.

First and foremost in Cohen’s mind was the whereabouts of her husband, Brad Cohen, whom she had not seen or heard from since part of the Champlain Towers South Condo came crashing down, wiping away 55 units in mere seconds.

Brad Cohen was inside one of those units on the 11th floor along with his brother, Gary Cohen, said Soriya Cohen, when the building collapsed at 1:23 a.m., the time that Miami-Dade Fire Rescue first responded to a call for help at the condominium tower. Soriya Cohen had spent the night with their daughter at a different building in neighboring Miami Beach.


It will likely be months or even years before engineers and other experts know exactly why a part of the Champlain Towers South came crashing down.

Before those answers are found, search and rescue crews will continue the painstaking work of picking through a mountain of rubble, looking for even the faintest signs of life that might be buried inside the two-story-high pile of debris.

More than 20 hours after the partial collapse, the death toll remained unknown. Officials confirmed at least one death, and said 35 survivors were pulled from the wreckage, with 10 injured persons treated at the scene and at least two transported to a hospital.

Miami-Dade County police said as many as 99 people are reported missing. There were 102 people from the building who had been accounted for. The part of the tower that collapsed held 55 units. The remainder of the 136-unit tower remained standing, though residents have been evacuated.


Security camera footage of the collapse looked eerily similar to a controlled demolition, minus the flash of explosives. One side of the tower buckled first before more of the structure collapsed into a pile of rubble. The cause of the collapse is unknown, though one building expert deemed it “an oddity of biblical proportions” for the 40-year-old structure to fall unexpectedly.

Climate change driven rising water tables, typically Floridian lax building codes and enforcement, and general poor maintenance are the likely causes.

Still this is profoundly 3rd world sh%$.

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