[guest post by Dana]
Whew, made it through another week! Here are a few news items for you to chew over. Feel free to include anything of interest. Make sure to include links.
First news item
Election officials in Arizona announced Friday that they had identified just 182 cases of potential voter fraud among the 3.4 million ballots cast in the 2020 presidential election. Of the 182 cases referred to investigators, only four have led to charges against those involved, and no one has been convicted. That’s .005 percent of the votes cast. Two of the four cases that resulted in charges were Democratic votes, and two were Republican. Joe Biden won the state’s Electoral College votes…The count undercuts the accusations of widespread fraud made by former president Donald Trump.
Second news item
A federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program shielding certain undocumented immigrants from deportation, is illegal and blocked new applicants.
The ruling from Judge Andrew Hanen would bar future applications. It does not immediately cancel current permits for hundreds of thousands of people — though it once again leaves them in devastating legal limbo and is a reminder of the uncertainty they face.
Third news item
During a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Biden said that the United States is looking into ways to possibly reinstate access to the internet in Cuba but indicated that the US is not considering reestablishing US to Cuba remittances — the practice of Americans transferring money to their Cuban relatives — over concerns that the regime would confiscate the funds.
“Cuba is unfortunately a failed state and repressing their citizens. There are a number of things that we would consider doing to help the people of Cuba, but it would require a different circumstance or a guarantee that they would not be taken advantage of by the government,” Biden said. “For example, the ability to send remittances back to Cuba. We would not do that now because the fact is it’s highly likely the regime would confiscate those remittances or big chunks of it.”
When asked about his views on communism, the President added: “Communism is a failed system — a universally failed system. And I don’t see socialism as a very useful substitute. But that’s another story.”
Fourth news item
Saying the quiet part out loud:Just go already, Justice Breyer!:
Justice Stephen Breyer’s latest signal, in comments made exclusively to CNN, that he is not yet ready to retire from the Supreme Court is angering progressive advocates and leading legal observers to wonder whether the left’s pressure campaign on Breyer backfired.
For months, liberal groups have called on Breyer to step down while Democrats’ control of the Senate would allow Democrats to confirm a replacement nominated by President Joe Biden.
Especially after Justice Ruth Ginsburg lost her bet on her own longevity, with the rest of us forced to pay, it’s astonishing that Justice Stephen Breyer would court the same risk,” Samuel Moyn, a Yale Law School professor who signed a letter with several other academics calling on Breyer to retire, said by email. Another signatory of that letter, University of Houston Law Associate Professor Daniel Morales, told CNN by email that Breyer was “playing Russian roulette.”… Miranda Yaver, an Oberlin College political science assistant professor who signed the academics’ letter, expressed frustration about Breyer calling his health the main determinant of his retirement timeline. “We’ve seen egregious consequences of a Supreme Court justice who was gambling on her own health and misjudged the extent to which she would be able to serve on the Supreme Court,” she said. “He’s also gambling on the health of the 50 senators who would be able to confirm his replacement.
Fifth news item
Former President Trump said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley should be court-martialed if it’s true that, as reported, Milley thought Trump would orchestrate a coup.
Trump has been defending himself from an excerpt in the book “I Alone Can Fix It,” by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, that says Milley believed Trump would try to stay in power through a coup in the last days of his presidency.
“The writings within these third-rate books are Fake News, and ‘General’ Milley (who [former Defense Secretary James] Mattis wanted to send to Europe in order to get rid of him), if he said what was reported, perhaps should be impeached, or court-martialed and tried,” Trump said in a statement on Friday.
“So, there was no talk of a coup, there was no coup, it all never happened, and it’s just a waste of words by fake writers and a General who didn’t have a clue,” Trump added…In a statement on Thursday refuting the book, Trump said “if I was going to do a coup, one of the last people I would want to do it with is General Mark Milley.”
He attacked Milley again on Friday, saying he had “lost total confidence” in him during his presidency.
“Never once did I have a discussion with him about bringing in the Military, or a ‘coup,’ which makes sense, because I lost total confidence in him and the way he handled himself on our little walk to the church,” Trump said, apparently referring to Trump’s 2020 photo op in Lafayette Square, which Mattis criticized.
Sixth news item
But is critical race theory actually taught in schools?
For the most part, no, suggest the results of the EdWeek Research Center’s latest monthly educator survey, which was administered June 30 to July 12.
Just 8 percent of teachers say they have taught or even discussed critical race theory with their K-12 students.
Urban teachers are significantly more likely to have addressed the theory. Twenty percent say they’ve discussed or taught the theory with students, compared with 6 percent of teachers in suburban areas and rural communities or towns.
Our host has covered this subject in great depth. I remain in the camp that sees an absolute need to accurately teach history, including the good, the bad, and the ugly, in an appropriate way that corresponds to various grade levels. But from what I’ve read about CRT, the definition seems to always be in a state of flux, which is problematic. But I do believe that anyone in education whose goal is to make white children feel “shame” has no business being near said children.
Anti-critical race theory parents in Tennessee are reportedly objecting to an English language arts curriculum that includes a book by civil rights activist Ruby Bridges, decrying it for not having enough “redemption.”
The Tennessean reported last month that parents in Williamson County have been criticizing the “Wit & Wisdom” curriculum for allegedly not being appropriate for young kids and teaching critical race theory concepts. Community members and advocacy groups, the report describes, have objected to the inclusion of books like “Ruby Bridges Goes to School” written by Ruby Bridges, who became the first Black child to integrate a segregated New Orleans school when she was six.
Robin Steenman, who heads Moms for Liberty’s Williamson County chapter, reportedly pointed to this book and others at an education committee meeting, claiming its mention of a “large crowd of angry white people who didn’t want Black children in a white school” was too harsh and pointing to the fact that it didn’t offer “redemption” at the end, the Tennessean reports. Steenman also reportedly objected to another book about school segregation and expressed disapproval of teaching words like “injustice” and “inequality” in grammar lessons.
Oh, please. “Ruby Bridges Goes to School” is a beautiful little book written by Bridges herself, and tells the story of how she was the first Black child to attend the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in 1961. While it’s written at a second-grade level, the original photos accompanying the text really bring to life what a struggle it must have been for Ruby’s parents to agree to participate in the integration program of that school district, and for Ruby herself. Unfortunately, Robin Steenman doesn’t seem to want children to know that there really was a “large crowd of angry white people who didn’t want Black children in a white school”. Instead of trying to whitewash the angry white crowd of racists, why not use that sad reality as an opportunity to extol the virtues of the Golden Rule, and how we need to treat one another with kindness, no matter the color of one’s skin? Young children want to please and respond well to encouragement to be kind. It’s absurd to complain that it’s too harsh to point that out. And what “redemption” is she talking about? Where was the redemption? The government *compelled* them to allow Ruby to attend school – it wasn’t out of the goodness of their hearts that the school district did this. The fact that US marshals had to accompany Ruby to and from school in order to make sure she had safe passage demonstrates to me that there was no redemption. I guess the “redemption” is that the government did the right thing, and a little girl got to go to her neighborhood white school. But that has nothing to do with the angry, white crowds. It’s unfortunate that a group that calls itself “Moms for Liberty” (haha: Liberty) seems to want to keep such an incredible story out away from students.
Seventh news item
President Biden leveled an extraordinary charge against Facebook and other social media platforms on Friday, claiming they are “killing people” by allowing coronavirus misinformation to spread. The accusation comes as health officials are voicing concern over rising cases of the virus and stalling vaccination rates.
“They’re killing people. I mean it, really. Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated and they’re killing people,” Mr. Biden told reporters.
Reporter: "What's your message to platforms like Facebook?"
President Biden: "They're killing people." pic.twitter.com/jrAvQpG7i0
— The Hill (@thehill) July 16, 2021
Eighth news item
The wave of protests this past week show that Cuba may soon be approaching its own 1989 moment. Thousands of people marched in cities and towns across the island to protest the conditions imposed on them by the dictatorship. Foreign news organizations have noted the protests over vaccines and blackouts, but in many of the videos that have emerged the Cubans themselves could be heard demanding “freedom.”
For those of us who closely follow events in Cuba, this has been a remarkable and unprecedented development. As Stephen Gibbs writes for the Times of London: “Millions of Cubans who have never seen any significant protest in their lifetimes saw one unrolling live before them. They now know what is possible.”
I have seen the slogan “Hands Off Cuba” being used by sections of the Western left in response to this week’s protests. But if such slogans are to mean anything, they should be directed at the decrepit dictatorship, which right now is the biggest fetter to Cuba’s future.
Cuba is a nation of more than 11 million people who have waited 70 years for the right to interfere in their country’s internal affairs. It is a diverse and complex society; it is more than Fidel and Che. The left should stand with the protesters, even if it means letting go of comforting romantic illusions.
Ninth news item
In “I Alone Can Fix It,” Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker write about a phone call between Cheney and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in which the Wyoming Republican describes a confrontation she had with Jordan during the riot, CNN reported.
“That fucking guy Jim Jordan. That son of a bitch. … While these maniacs are going through the place, I’m standing in the aisle and he said, ‘We need to get the ladies away from the aisle. Let me help you.’ I smacked his hand away and told him, ‘Get away from me. You fucking did this,’” Cheney reportedly told the general.
(I spelled out certain words instead of just putting an F followed by hyphens because it just reads better.)
— The Republican Accountability Project (@AccountableGOP) July 16, 2021
Have a great weekend!