Derek Chauvin – Was it really about race?


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Just a note to the side: the murder of George Floyd has not been investigated. The two men knew one another as bouncers at the same club. There may have been other business between them, Whether or not, the image conveyed of Floyd’s killing involved more than white cop and black victim.

In addition, Derek Chauvin, the cop, had developed a reputation for the use of excessive force both in the club and in the police force. Whatever he did, it was enough to draw notice and reprimand but apparently not enough for taking punitive action against him.

Finally, Chauvin’s wife was Laotian or brown, so for some mere color-based racist act . . . the story just doesn’t hold up.

More likely, this guy was a bully who enjoyed dominance in his work, at least.

The court will follow through with due process in the prosecution of Derek Chauvin; however, the street and the mob have done their work like dynamite touched off by a blasting cap.

However weak the premise – a compelling image; not yet a compelling truth – the damage done cannot be recalled.


Commentary: COVID-19; Race War; Anything Else?



We are sitting ducks for either external aggression or continued self-immolation.

More than 41 million Americans are jobless. In the coming weeks temporary eviction moratoriums are set to end in half of the states. One-fifth of Americans missed rent payments this month. Extra unemployment benefits are set to expire at the end of July.

What is Trump’s response? Like Herbert Hoover, who in 1930 said “the worst is behind us” as thousands starved, Trump says the economy will improve and does nothing about the growing hardship. The Democratic-led House passed a $3TN relief package on 15 May. Mitch McConnell has recessed the Senate without taking action and Trump calls the bill dead on arrival.

Regarding George Floyd

It’s an unpleasant reminder but let’s go with it: you are looking at policeman Derek Chauvin methodically, professionally even, take a knee to the life of small time criminal George Floyd. The world would interpret this image in racial terms–just like that, we’re in South Africa when power was white and slavish labor was black.

However, these two knew one another as bouncers in the same bar. Could something else have been taking place?

Also, Floyd’s wife, now divorcing him, was not white but Asian from Laos. Might we be witnessing an expression of sadistic dominance on the part of a bouncer and cop with a track record involving the applying of excessive force?

Call that 2020 hindsight (and in philosophical rather than political sense, conservative (forensic) reason.

China’s Democrats, Russia’s Republicans?

Oh, the accusations — and each the reflection of the other!

Biden & the Socialist Far Out Left Democrats: everybody stay home (unless your importance and wealth justifies the hop to a good dinner somewhere else). We’ll shutter your business, put your employees of their jobs, and worry about repairs later.

Sure they will.

Trump & the Fascist and Strident Far (White) Right: everybody back to work, but we’re not going to cover your losses (why should we? We’re wealthy and comfortable and take care of ourselves: what the hell happened to you? And sorry to hear it. Tough luck).

And the colored girls sing . . . .

Vanessa Paradis – Walk On The Wild Side [Lou Reed].

So, white girls, black girls, transvestites, LGBTs in general and all other Americans who might wish to be as God made them — or they chose to make themselves — what has happened to muscular Christianity in the U.S.A. Is it running the show? Is it losing the show? Has it found the secular humanist design of American democracy overrated and in need of a good strong power fix? America’s fear of America’s Old Money and its Puritan and other of the nation’s Christian cultural pillars seems at times in the mix as well.

Has the Great Society failed?

Regarding Biden : China and Trump : Russia, there should be no question that each has both a posture and relationship opposite the other on China and Russia. For the skinny and Trump and Russian entanglement, one may pick up Craig Unger’s findings here: . Both China and Russia have made perhaps superficial moves toward the west in recent decades but have also reverted to their civilizational souls in regard to governance, power, and pride plus vanity.

China’s Communist Totalitarianism may be linked by the American Right to the latest edition of the nation’s Far Out Left (those socialist, communist, weirdo rebels!).

It doesn’t make much sense but suits for demonizing the Left.

The Left’s case against the Far Right and President Trump’s temporarily phantom (off-stage) relationship with Russia has more meat to it in blood-and-soil (white) nationalism planted in Christian conservatism and flag waving militarism. The formula established in Russia by Putin that has had a resurgent Russian Orthodox Church (funded by alcohol and tobacco revenue) beside an active military (capable of bombing undefended Syrian hospitals to smithereens) hasn’t really worked for Russians in any broad and modern sense: the might of church and state power may serve for some superficial pride in earlier grandeur and spirit, but the same, on the whole, would seem to serve Putin and his preferred company and not general and national economic redevelopment.

A “New Nationalist” United States may work differently by way of the long-term managing of the nation’s development in ways that have been over time culturally and geographically comprehensive and inclusive. One might say the pork barrel distribution of defense and development funds worked, and as long as tax revenues recycled through the nation’s economy, people worked too — and in both civilian and defense industries and downstream enterprise.

In any case, the return to feudal political absolutism in the three superpowers is something BackChannels will have to tackle in the future. For now, the felt insult of an authoritarian handling of Americans seems to be producing both the impression of a magically-thinking Left and a boot-in-the-face American Right, neither of which seem very American at the moment.

American Police Shooting at Journalists

I cannot remember a day — never! — in which American police, any, took aim at the faces — or cameras — of journalists, well marked, to inflict harm in the crowd control process.

CPJ is investigating reports of attacks and arrests in recent days in Louisville, Kentucky; Las Vegas, Nevada; Atlanta; and Washington, D.C. Journalists can consult CPJ’s safety notes for covering civil unrest for advice on how to minimize the risks of reporting on protests.

Related in The New York Times, May 30, 2020:

Kaitlin Rust’s report – “Louisville Police Fire Pepper Bullets At Reporter And Crew | MSNBC”.

What do YOU make of it?


What’s that like, being shot at by your own fellow Americans?

This infamous event involved the Ohio National Guard and produced a national conscience and passion opposite intentions to quell protests. Unknown to the students, the Soviet Union had put $1 billion dollars into funding their anti-war efforts.

“On this day: Four killed in Kent State shooting” (May 4, 1970).

How all of the above looks today, a part of the plastering of culture-altering dramas — “The Pandemic!” — Remember that one from, like, you know, a week ago? and now “Race Riots!” How long before the Next Big Thing sweeps this latest news into dimming (and crowded) memory?

“Scenes from protests, riots across the U.S. after killing of George Floyd” – CNBC Television.

The police appear to be taking and following orders.

However, given the glimpse of the above violence shown an accredited reporter and photographer, however casually dressed, are they defending America’s Constitution — or making the first small violent motions in the process of killing it?


FTAC: One More Thing Regarding Our Expectations About Politicians

We wouldn’t be here sick — and sick about being sick — as well as dependent on our government for bailouts and tide-me-overs and driven apart, largely by drivel, were it not for the mediocrity of some of our most powerful politicians.

On Facebook, I just ran a series of Trump Authoritarian pieces from the Mainstream Media that also informs us about Trump’s popular — or not so popular — image. These were the URLs (in order of posting): – 5/28/2020 – 5/28/2020 – 2/27/2020 – 1/18/2017 – 5/28/2020 – 3/26/2020

Like no other President in history, Trump has so inspired quintessential American passion in his own opposition that even when he strives to do the right thing and speak honestly (as I believe he has with COVID-19), he’s neither believed nor trusted. 😦

HE (Caps intentional) has brought this on himself, and we — all of us who are part of the American constituency and who have lived beneath the umbrella of our extraordinary humanist and secular Constitution all of our lives — deserve much, much better.

From the Awesome Conversation

BC’s Note:

Of course I scan and cherry pick these pieces for whoever may be around to glimpse history as it passes from the present.

IMHO, Americans — all of US — need a new class of earnest, high-integrity, honest local and state leaders and statesmen. This bouncing between peacocks – some criminal and shady; some living between The People and the upper stratosphere of power and wealth – where does that leave us?

Today we have a Far Out Left apparently incapable of digesting and independently analyzing CDC data, and as consequence we have the hijab of health fascism with few to zero lives saved in a pandemic that largely mirrors our own popular contempt for our common fate — death is immutable — and to some extent our own health (as we drink and eat too much and stay up too late). 🙂 COVID-19 takes advantage of our vulnerabilities and, perhaps, our passivity. (Do you want to fight back for real: pay attention to diet and go jogging, and, toward the end, accept ageing and increasing frailty as part of your humanity).

Regarding too many politicians, their narcissism and related nepotism and complete loss of personal and public ethics and principles: shame on them — and shame on us for letting them get away with what they do!

The arch note has come to mind: “Democracies elect the governments they deserve.”

Is all of this — from the “Helsinki Moment” to so riven a society it seems unable to remember its own mission in the world, its sense of itself, its better expression of the western civilizational ethos — what we — all of us — have come to deserve?

Related on BackChannels (Timeless) – 5/19/2020

Is it too much to ask to want to walk the streets in freedom, generally good security, and some pizza money for family or self?

Thank back on feudalism and the unquestionable character of the powerful and powerfully greedy and thoughtless.

I don’t want to live “back there”.

I hope you don’t either.


FTAC: Rant: COVID-19: Let’s Save Our Economy & Our Neighbors


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I hope we understand our age and ageing, our frailties as Homo Sapiens sapiens, the dangers we pose to ourselves — !

We have a lot of fights (coming) on our plate.

This one, “C19”, as I call it, that has so distracted and obsessed the world, needs to be handled with nonpartisan reason and some love for our fellow travelers — and some love of living unmasked, unbridled, untamed, and unchained as well.

We should have been prepared for this pandemic.

Our governments — around the world — have put hundreds of millions of dollars into consideration of CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiation, Nuclear) Warfare — and not a few on the wrong side of it! — and should have had an expansion capability for dealing with an upsurge in illness and death. Let’s have that capacity now — and let’s move on.

Let’s save our economy and our neighbors.


COVID-19: Enslavement Through Peonage


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Inspiration for this post —

Papenfuss, Mary. ‘Hang Fauci’ Sign Brandished Amid Lockdown Protesters Trump Hailed as ‘Great People’.” HuffPost, May 17, 2020.

Well, Mary Papenfuss, this old liberal too will call the protesters Great People, for they have been long the backbone of this Great Nation, the builders in the workplace, the fixer uppers at home, the great energy and muscle that builds America and renews her every day. Start with Whitman and wind it down in the vicinity of Studs Terkel: wherefore your contempt for the hard working men and women of the United States?

I’m aware of potentials for class resentment once involving education, income, and shoe polish (perhaps) and the general demeanor and plumage of the wealthy, but who are you talking about — and to whom are you speaking — these days?

These very fine people who have worked their asses off to hold their place in America, specifically to keep a roof over their heads and their families safe, and own some part of what their labor built in freedom — or investments acquired — have suddenly been introduced to absolute power of the sort that may shutter their businesses by edict and throw employees out of their jobs without debate.

Perhaps they want their country returned to them.

My fear for America is the enslavement of Americans through peonage and the cultural, political, and spiritual degradation of ordinary Americans who may find themselves at the mercy of an economy that may not have much in store for them but addiction, crime, desperation, exhaustion, stress, and suicide.

While President Trump’s demeanor, history, and track record well reflect the interests of the most selfish among the wealthy, his intent to get America back to work (and into economic recovery) would seem agreeable even to old liberals.

Related on BackChannels:

The raging public debate over statewide coronavirus lockdowns is running parallel to a series of legal battles in state capitals — and the lockdown skeptics got a big boost this week.

The decision by Wisconsin’s Supreme Court on Wednesday to toss Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide shelter-in-place order set off a scramble in cities across the state to impose their own local restrictions. Elsewhere, bars and restaurants shut down by the order declared themselves open for business. (5/17/2020)

President Trump told governors on a conference call Monday that he “will step in” if the federal government disagrees with state reopening plans, as he largely expressed satisfaction with how the governors are moving to lift coronavirus restrictions in their individual states, according to a report.

Trump, whose administration last month revealed guidelines for when states should begin lifting stay-at-home orders and other social distancing measures meant to slow the spread of the virus, has vocally pushed for the rapid reopening of the economy. The president said in an interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo last week that his critics want the economy to remain shuttered until the November election, calling Democrats’ reluctance to lift the coronavirus measures “a political thing.” (5/19/2020)


FTAC: COVID-19: The West’s Big Blunder


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Inspiration: the fearful now hiding in their appointed tombs before their time; the politicians intent on institutionalizing the separation of individuals (in our most gregarious species) by way of the bludgeoning force of law; the observation that the “Greatest Generation” of WWII has passed and the most ambitious, rambunctious, and rowdy of the “Baby Boom” generation has found itself nearing the end of its crazy, dangerous, wealth-building, wealth-reneging ride through history, the oldest being today 75 and the youngest of the ultra-conformed and ultra-rebellious having attained age 60. Once upon a time, 18 meant that one was old enough for the national draft and the possibility of finding death in Vietnam; today’s 60 in America has become old enough for being the clay target on life’s shooting range and 75 cranky and settled down behind one’s computer and cell phone.

Some will live to see their 100th birthday.


From the Awesome Conversation

Deja Vu –

We’re neither going to accommodate nor defeat nature in any absolute sense, but we may respond — and may have responded to — COVID-19 with both greater foresight capability (we KNEW something like it was coming) and community-wide responsibility. The collective “we” as expressed through public policy and budget decided against the funding of an ever-ready position in relation to potential public emergencies. We chose not to be ready with field hospitals, masks, and ventilators as well as caskets, burial grounds, and related facilities and services.

Who knew, right?

Well, look at the demographics, backward and forward. The oldest of the “Baby Boomers” has hit 75 (and little brother here 65, almost). The whole of the generation will not be here in the next quarter of a century. Well, some will break through 90 and some expire sooner than expected.

What is an appropriate rate of morbidity for a population of 328 million?

Is there a good target for population x space x organization?

Can we defend and embrace freedom — choice, free will, independent moral agency, independence in fact — through fear laced with totalitarian behavioral coercion and “guidance”?

From a practical perspective, we really needed — and need now — facilities and services and systems — and flexibility — sufficient for handling what is now present and some basic portion of what’s possible.

We’re not helpless.

We should never have tanked our own economy!


The Judges Will Not Lord It All Over Texas. Governor Amends Law.


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— On Thursday, Gov Abbott said in a news release: “Throwing Texans in jail who have had their businesses shut down through no fault of their own is nonsensical, and I will not allow it to happen.”

“That is why I am modifying my executive orders to ensure confinement is not a punishment for violating an order. This order is retroactive to April 2nd, supersedes local orders and if correctly applied should free Shelley Luther.” —

Earlier —

In a letter to state District Judge Eric Moyé, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called Shelley Luther’s sentencing outrageous.

“The trial judge did not need to lock up Shelley Luther,” Paxton wrote. “His order is a shameful abuse of judicial discretion, which seems like another political stunt in Dallas. He should release Ms. Luther immediately.”

Later —

“As a current Member of the Bar, you certainly should be aware of the impropriety of this contact, as prohibited by Canon 3(b)(8) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct,” the letter to Paxton stated. “In this context, for you to “Urge” a Judge towards a particular substantive outcome in this matter is most inappropriate and equally unwelcome. Please do not communicate with the Court in this manner further.”

The letter was obtained by the Dallas Morning News. It was signed by Eric Moyé, the judge who sentenced Luther, and 11 others.

The cover of a national medical emergency — and so the emergence of COVID-19 was that for a brief period — made way for the absolute power of governors (whose states have rightly had jurisdiction over emergencies within their boundaries) who then got their constituents to shutter their businesses and leave their jobs, willingly or not, in the name of containing the (uncontainable) contagion. Now has come the time to reverse tracks, assess and address the damage done, and get America fully back to work — and then some.

Some rote —

More than 7,700 Americans die every day from all causes, for America’s annual rate of morbidity has been about 2.813 million souls annually (may all rest in peace).

COVID-19 continues to associate with preexisting conditions in the vast majority of deaths (may we please all stop ageing and remain healthy forever!).

From the Awesome Conversation

And the unfortunate story of money: exchange –> tax base –> public spending –> private earnings via contracts and investments; interagency exchange; $$$ in support of basically every system of defense and survival we collectively depend on for what we have called “The American Way of Life”.

Given our spending on defense and security, we really should have been ready to roll out treatment and morbidity facilities and services much, much more quickly than we have. Generally speaking, how we choose to assess and meet risk — whatever the source may be — has been up to us privately rather than collectively.

From global pandemic to the barber shop, there’s the whole story unless we “Earthlings” choose to do away with money altogether.

. . . .


I’m not seeing it.

Rx. Avoid exhaustion and stress; find love; stay healthy and well; and for how it ends, inevitably, try to develop a good and noble philosophy with which both to fight a fair battle and, sigh, return to God, nature, and the universe in the way that all living must (with partial exception made for the elders among cedars and redwoods).

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Guest Blog by Oklahoma Attorney Mitchell Gray on Lock-downs and the Law


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Every day I see Norman residents furious about reopening. These folks want to be “protected” by the Mayor and she must enforce “stay home” orders. They have no regard for the rights of others and they are encouraging despotism.


So many are willing to cede dictatorial powers in excess of the Constitution.

The Founders explicitly avoided emergency powers. They exist only in statutes. In Oklahoma, it’s in Title 63. The main thrust of these heretofore rarely used laws is to reduce red tape and enhance agency cooperation and to request funding. These powers do not provide for long standing lock downs with criminal sanctions for exercising constitutional rights. These rights are natural rights and therefore cannot be circumscribed by executive fiat.

The Oklahoma statutes even for emergency powers make plain that the government is to use the “least restrictive” measures and to avoid infringements on civil rights.

There are no Supreme Court cases to support long term lock-downs with criminal enforcement for persons who are healthy.

The laws on quarantine and isolation are not emergency powers. This power is protect the public from those infected or likely infected by a communicable disease that threatens the public health. But the person infected retains due process rights that includes a right to a hearing before a neutral magistrate. In most states, the government decision must be supported by “clear and convincing “ evidence.

The sole justification for this latest unprecedented action over COVID-19 was to prevent the hospitals from being overrun.

It was not to guarantee you won’t get sick.

Any citizen has the right to self-quarantine or isolate if they think that’s best for them.

But there is not one clause in our constitution—the supreme law of the land—that supports coercion to remain indefinitely at home unable to exercise your natural rights. Any law or regulation to the contrary is subject to constitutional challenge where the government action will be closely scrutinized. This is a nation of laws. The opinions of Dr Fauci or the WHO are not binding and we are not a technocracy.

Even within the medical and scientific community there are diverse views.

More and more, the data suggests an extremely low lethality to this virus. The elderly with preexisting problems are most at risk.

Do as you please—it’s your right—but there’s is no basis to deny livelihoods and destroy other aspects of society and health based on opinions and feelings that this is required.

I would caution against encouraging officials to exercise these Draconian measures.

You won’t like the results.

Iraq war veteran and attorney Mitchell Gray serves today as an adjunct professor in Energy Legal Studies, Oklahoma City University. He is the author of the 2015 retrospective on 9/11, I Heard You Were Going on Jihad (Mill City Press, Minneapolis).