Kitty Genovese/Dr David Dao

This morning I’m thinking about the video of Dr David Dao being dragged off a United plane in Chicago. There’s been worldwide press evaluating and condemning the actions of United Airlines and the Chicago police, but what strikes me is the action, or rather lack of action, of the other passengers on the aircraft. There are cries of anxiety, “oh my god, oh my god,” entreaties of “c’mon, c’mon” and “look at what you’re doing,” but in none of the footage do we see passengers saying “No! You may not bloody my fellow passenger. Stop!” or any version of that. The aisle of an aircraft is quite narrow, and it would only have taken a passenger or two to interfere with the police dragging Dao off but we see no one attempt to intervene. Numerous cellphones are held up; the phones’ owners remain seated. Do Americans see themselves as capable only of passively observing state violence?

Earlier this year I heard Norman Solomon here in San Francisco. In talking about resistance to the Trump administration Solomon commented on the naïvety of “speaking truth to power” with the goal of accomplishing anything. Telling Rex Tillerson that Exxon is polluting is absurd. He knows. When seeing a Chicago policeman dragging a bloodied doctor rather than saying “look at what you’re doing” we need to say “Stop!” and mean it.

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Resistance is $45 for general admission

Conversation on Trump resistance: A new event series hosted by The Chronicle called “Chronicle Chats.” This event, “The Future of the Left: Can the Trump Resistance Grow Beyond Protest,” will be led by columnist David Talbot and will feature a senior advisor of the Bernie Sanders campaign and other experts and leaders. The event is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave. Tickets available: https://info.sfchronicle.com/chroniclechats.

Tickets for the Herbst Theatre are $45 each. I’m wondering who the “senior advisor” is. “Other experts and leaders”? Experts in what?

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Fools and Frenchmen

Robert Parry’s piece on the mainstream media reminds us: “The evidence he [Powell] presented to the United Nations – some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail – had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn’t accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them,” wrote Post columnist Richard Cohen. “Only a fool – or possibly a Frenchman – could conclude otherwise.”

I remember those days. How is it that so many Americans seem to have forgotten?

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Michael Hayden

Trevor Timm has a piece on Michael Hayden in the Columbia Journalism Review. It reminds me of how the country’s attention seems absolutely off Iraq, Bush, and Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld’s war crimes. I haven’t forgotten.

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Kurt Cochran, great American

How is the national consciousness affected when the US president sounds like a lout? How can we recover from decades of national discourse which is increasingly image-driven and verbally barren?

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Democrats view the CIA more favorably than Republicans

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The United States as Bebelplatz

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.

—Joseph Brodsky, Library of Congress Information Bulletin, 1991, p. 225

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The US is the first country to have stopped growing taller

The BBC:

The US also performs poorly and is on course to have the lowest life expectancy of rich countries by 2030.
The study predicts an average age of 80 for men and 83 for women – roughly the same state Mexico and Croatia will have achieved….
[Society in the US is] very unequal to an extent the whole national performance is affected – it is the only country without universal health insurance.
And it is the first country that has stopped growing taller, which shows something about early life nutrition.

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Enemy of the people

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Trump’s most extraordinary news conference

From the BBC:

Me: Could I just ask you, thank you very much, Mr President. The trouble…

President Trump: Where are you from?

Me: BBC.

President Trump: Here’s another beauty.

Me: That’s a good line. Impartial, free and fair.

President Trump: Yeah. Sure.

Me: Mr President…

President Trump: Just like CNN right?

Me: On the travel ban – we could banter back and forth. On the travel ban would you accept that that was a good example of the smooth running of government…

President Trump: Yeah, I do. I do. Let me tell you about this government…

Me: Were there any mistakes…

President Trump: Wait. Wait. I know who you are. Just wait. Let me tell you about the travel ban. We had a very smooth rollout of the travel ban. But we had a bad court. Got a bad decision…

Grey line

It was quite the most extraordinary news conference I have attended.

The Guardian:

Trump spent his first solo press conference as president berating the press and dodging any serious questions – and none of it is ever going to be normal

It was an exhausting 77-minute extravaganza, and any five-minute segment would have been enough to make front-page headlines around the world.

Trump said he wasn’t “ranting and raving” during his press conference, and that was correct. The president was confidently unhinged as he spent more than an hour berating the press and boasting without any real basis that “there has never been a presidency that’s done so much in such a short period of time”.

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