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A number of federal buildings in Louisville are closed and the windows have been boarded up as police have declared a state of emergency in the city. It’s a move that seems to indicate a forthcoming decision from a grand jury empaneled in the case of the police killing of Breonna Taylor. I bet it’s going to be a good one!
Metro Police Department interim Chief Robert Schroeder has canceled all days off and vacation requests for his officers in the meantime. This follows the city agreeing to a settlement of $12 million with Taylor’s family. Those funds as in all such police killings will be paid for by citizens and not the police themselves because it’s not enough that they can shoot us for nothing the people at large also have to be monetarily penalized for the crime of being killed.
A sixty one year old Mexican national named Cipriano Chavez-Alvarez has died from Covid-19 while being detained at the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. He is the third migrant to die in that particular facility this year. His death comes not long after a whistleblower report from another similar prison in Georgia complained of inadequate protections from the virus. That same complaint is the one that alleged the large number of unwanted hysterectomies performed on women either without their knowledge or consent.
“As we wait for more details to come to light, we know unequivocally that no one is safe in ICE custody,” Silky Shah of Detention Watch Network said in a statement. “This is an arbitrary and xenophobic system designed to profit off of immigrants even at the expensive of someone’s life. The alarming death toll in ICE custody underscores the urgent need to abolish the immigration detention system in its entirety.”
I spoke with Detention Watch Network earlier this summer about the conditions migrants are being held in under the pandemic. Paid subscribers can read it here.
“I pray God grants Cipriano Chavez-Alvarez the peace that ICE's Stewart detention center never afforded him,” Anton Flores-Maisonet of Casa Alterna said.
The Department of Justice has declared New York City and Seattle and Oregon “anarchist jurisdictions” which sounds funny at first but it is obviously another attempt from the DOJ and Trump to punish their critics for protesting.
“When state and local leaders impede their own law enforcement officers and agencies from doing their jobs, it endangers innocent citizens who deserve to be protected, including those who are trying to peacefully assemble and protest,” William Barr a man who looks like a villain in a gritty 80s graphic novel whose body keeps getting more and more horrific as he gets everything he ever dreamed of said of the move. “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance.”
Ron Desantis has announced new legislation to more harshly penalize protesters in his state of Florida. Among the measures are a mandatory six month sentence for anyone convicted of “striking a police officer” during an “unlawful assembly” two concepts that I’m sure will be defined very narrowly and not used frivolously and spitefully. Further it would now be a felony to destroy public property during a protest and those who have helped to organize one could also be prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Posting a link to a protest gathering on Facebook makes you a terrorist or mobster now.
Perhaps most horrible even among all that other already horrible shit is that DeSantis says a driver who is fleeing from a “mob” during an “unlawful protest” will not be held liable for any injury or death they cause which will not only result in vengeance killers like the one we saw in Charlottesville getting away with it but also incentivize others to use their vehicles as a weapon in just this way. Stand your ground by stepping on the accelerator.
This comes as The Nation reports federal agents in Portland this summer intercepted phone communications and data from protestors.
While in Portland, an interagency task force involving DHS and the Justice Department used a sophisticated cell phone cloning attack—the details of which remain classified—to intercept protesters’ phone communications, according to two former intelligence officers familiar with the matter.
“You’re getting an inside view into your targets, who they are, who they’re talking to—the hierarchy,” the former intelligence officer said, explaining that many within the DHS believe that antifa is an organized group—as opposed to the largely spontaneous, decentralized ideological tendency that most experts, including Trump’s own FBI director, believe it is. DHS intelligence has even found some limited evidence, which he considered thin, of foreign sponsorship. Attorney General William Barr, however, recently claimed that antifa is receiving foreign sponsorship—a necessary criterion to formally designating it a terror organization, which President Trump vowed to do in July. (The Nation recently reported on DHS intelligence’s attempts to tie antifa to Kurdish militant groups in Syria.)
Not to be outdone prosecutors in Colorado have brought a number of ridiculously trumped up charges against people who had marched in protest of the killing of Elijah McClain. Some of them are facing first degree kidnapping charges after they “unlawfully and feloniously attempted to imprison or forcibly secrete 18 officers with the intent to force them or another person to make a concession to secure their release,” by which they mean they protested outside of a police station while being on the political left.
“Forcibly secrete” lol.
Meanwhile the Justice Department is refusing to send the heads of the Civil Rights Division, Bureau of Prisons, and U.S. Marshals Service to testify at hearings “because House Democrats ‘squandered’ their opportunity to ask William Barr questions at their last hearing.”
Expect Jerry Nadler and the Democrats to fire off some indignant tweets and nothing else.
Meanwhile part 2 Trump said at a rally this week in Ohio just as we crossed the 200,000 death threshold that the virus “affects virtually nobody.”
“Open the schools,” he added. “Everybody open the schools.”
Elsewhere a billion dollars given to the Pentagon by Congress in March to bolster our supply of medical equipment “has instead been mostly funneled to defense contractors and used for making things such as jet engine parts, body armor and dress uniforms.”
None of this is fascism by the way it doesn’t actually count as fascism until the official declaration of a fascist state papers have been filed and approved and our leaders announce fascism season is underway. Everything that leads up to that point is basically fine and you’re hysterical if you complain about it
On the bright side the absolutely delightful Schitt’s Creek won all the Emmys the other night which is nice because we’re going to need as much numbing binge-streamed xanax as we can get going forward in order to ever get to sleep again.
Speaking of sleep I’ve mentioned before in here I’ve been listening to and “watching” a lot of white noise ocean rain and storm videos when I wake up in the middle of the night and my brain milk starts to curdle. The problem is I always start to look at the comments which are often lovely or sad or evocative but tend to defeat the purpose of letting your mind go blank.
It's 3:44 am not going to get sleep tonight. And have to grocery shop in the morning. I think I will fold the laundry and do the dishes . Cat hates my not sleeping well I keep her awake ,but when I sit down in the day I fall asleep. I hope I don't fall asleep on the bus.
I would just love to sit at the edge of that pier in a meditative position and just take in those awesome sights and sounds of mother nature! It reminds me of a time many years ago when my family rented a shore house in Brigantine, NJ. We were out on the beach when the skies started getting overcast, and then it started raining. I was leaning up against one of those tall, wooden lifeguard chairs, beach towel draped around my shoulders, just listening to, feeling and watching the rain fall all around me. Combine that with the sight and sound of the crashing waves, and it was one of those awesome moments of communing with mother nature that I didn't want to end!
This and thinking about the time I get to spend with my daughter is the only way I get any sleep.
I'm using this to block out the noise of my mom crying.
On the topic of moms crying I mentioned in here a while ago that I wrote the foreword for the just out now Anthology of Emo Volume 2 a bit of which you can read in the tweet below.
I included an excerpt from the book in here a while ago which paid-subscribers can read here. It’s an interview with Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World.
Please consider chipping in to help fund this cool and promising looking collective of journalists The Brick House Cooperative. They explain:
An alliance of independent-minded journalists—veterans of the Awl, Splinter, Gawker, Deadspin, and a ton of other publications—have come together to build ourselves a new home. It’s a shared publishing platform collectively owned and operated by journalists, with no advertisers or investors to interfere with us doing our job: bringing you great journalism. …
We don’t need to tell you how many valued publications have shuttered in recent years. Since 2008, almost 27,000 journalism jobs disappeared into thin air. And that was before the global pandemic—since then, another 36,000 journalists (and counting) have been furloughed, laid off, or taken pay cuts.
We’ve been told that “media is a business” and that prioritizing profits for investors and owners is “pragmatic.” But journalism is a public trust, not a get-rich-quick scheme. Alt-weeklies, local newspapers, award-winning digital outlets, beloved blogs—when these are raided or sabotaged, and when they fail, it leaves the whole culture poorer: more vulnerable to exploitation, less informed, less smart, and less fun.
So we’re not waiting for the next gang of Silicon Valley investors to roll up with the latest Trojan horse, telling us how they’re going to “save journalism.” We know all about geeks bearing grifts. We've learned again and again that when the perceived interests of investors, owners, or advertisers conflict with those of the independent press, it's journalists and readers who get thrown under the bus.
Too many of our professional homes have turned out to be made of straw or sticks, and we don’t want to watch the next one get blown to smithereens. So we’re building our own—a house built to last.
Here are some things this week that made me if not exactly laugh and if not exactly smile then at least want to do one of the two. The comic timing on this first video is just…
On the topic of riffs I came out of music reviewer retirement for one last job this week writing on the new Deftones record for Stereogum. Longtime followers of my Twitter account during the 5-7 pm cocktail hour every day for the past few years now will know the arrival of a Deftones record is a big deal for me.
Here’s a bit of my review. Read the full piece here and sorry to that one guy that sent me a real shitty email about my recent Elliott Smith-focused piece complaining about me including music in the newsletter lol sorry bud but also suck my dick.
“Pompeji” too finds Moreno juggling vocal attacks, but in even quicker succession this time, yelling on the up note then retreating to catch his breath for the next. The title is a reference to the ancient Roman city burned by the infamous volcano, a scene of devastation that left much of the area and its inhabitants entombed forever in ash in their final moments. “Jesus Christ, you gave your life, but we die in vain,” he sings over guitars corroded and rusted like a prolific backwoods murderer’s trophy-taker. “Ohh we drink from the fountain of intent, and ohh we choke on the water then repent.”
Like the previous song, “Pompeji” transforms itself halfway through, this time into a spacious and cinematic meditation that sounds like the soundtrack to an A24 film where someone’s about to be killed for reasons they don’t quite understand by a force they barely know exists. It’s a devastated landscape, a sky full of squealing gulls bustle as a grindhouse synth note spreads out, the noise of water lapping at a shore, perhaps an oarsman rowing, perhaps a last breath. “We choke on the water,” as the man sings.
That atmosphere bleeds directly over into “This Link Is Dead,” which I’m pretty sure isn’t about proper website maintenance. It starts with the sonar creaking of an ice shelf and notes from an angelic horn before a cascading pick slide delivers a — once again — especially furious Moreno working a screamed verse into a brooding chorus. It also manages somehow, with all that around the edges, to be the most groove-heavy and violently explosive of the album.
All of which builds toward the title track closer, (with its video that’s made all of the sci-fi elements of the record explicit), which I can’t describe much better than to say this is some absolute Deftones shit. Big Deftones hours here.
I drove into Boston yesterday and went back to my hospital for the first time under Covid and it wasn’t all that much different than it usually is they had a couple guys at the door like bouncers I guess but instead of checking your ID they just ask some questions about whether or not you have the virus. I had to get another injection in my wrist (jacking off injury) and it went fine the doctor who did it is like one of the first ones I’ve ever seen who seems kind of cool like I wanted to ask him to go out for a beer afterwards.
It’s actually carpal tunnel that I have I guess and I wrote about it a bunch last year in a couple of previous Hell Worlds which you may appreciate if you’ve got that particular type of pain or any other type of pain.
Here was one:
The morning I left for New York I went to the hand surgeon because I’ve had this feeling in my right hand for a year now like all of the bones inside are too large and they want to explode out of the skin and all the doctors I saw for it waiting months or weeks at a time in between visits couldn’t figure out what it was so they sent me to do physical therapy for my neck for three months so I went and did that doing small slow and simple movements that were designed to fix a body part that probably wasn’t even involved in the pain but in medicine much like government sometimes throwing resources at anything even if it isn’t the actual root of the problem allows the people in charge to create the illusion that they are making progress and on top of things.
After they make you do physical therapy for a particular body part and it doesn’t work all the different types of specialized doctors will say ah fuck I dunno man and they send you to the Pain Doctors which I’ve mentioned on here a few times for other sundry ailments. The feeling I’ve had lately makes me want to crack my knuckles all the time to relieve the pressure but it doesn’t help it just buys me like two seconds of relief and then it resets and what I think I really want to do sometimes is smash all of the bones in my hand into shards like I would take my right hand in my left hand and snap it just so. It would be like one side of me is a powerful ogre and the other side is a pest I caught stealing my horde of gold or whatever and then everything inside would break apart and I bet that would hurt really bad but at least it would be a different type of pain than this one.
So the hand surgeon gets out the steroids he’s going to inject into my hand and wrist and he says heh heh that’s weird your tattoos here are pointing directly to the two spots you have the most pain and I said heh heh yeah I guess it’s like x marks the spot on a treasure map but for pain it’s like maybe I knew at some point earlier in my life I would want to be able to find these spots again and he shoots the shit in there and I breathe in deep because for some reason breathing real purposefully makes things hurt less as they’re happening and I leave and the hand is fine for a while but then it erupts later on into the worst pain I’ve ever experienced in my life at least not including what happens in my brain sometimes. They say this is normal and expected to last for a couple days but I sort of feel like I broke my entire wrist somehow and that thing I was saying earlier about a new type of pain being a relief from the one you were feeling before is a lie because this is much worse. Also it’s almost impossible to wipe my ass now since I’ve been having to do it with my left hand so I worry the state of my asshole vis a vis cleanliness might not be at its zenith at this particular moment in my life.
You can miss the old pain is what I’m saying.
I tried to call the surgeon to see if this was a normal reaction and ask what the fuck and the people who answer the doctor’s phone said he’s got a really busy day tomorrow but we’ll see what we can do about getting him to talk to you about your pain and I think you probably know what they did which was nothing.
And then another from a couple weeks later:
I think my doctors finally figured out how to fix the hand pain I talk about a lot they finally found the right bullseye to shoot the needle into in my wrist and it pretty much stopped hurting. A weird thing was that my left hand had started experiencing the same pain as the right one recently and they say that can happen sometimes like a symmetrical echo of pain like there’s a bluetooth connection between the two communicating the pain back and forth and I suppose there’s a perfectly scientific explanation for that the nervous system doing whatever it does but I think it’s kind of romantic like one partner was hurting and the other decided to hurt too out of sympathy.
Both are paid-only but if you want to read them here you go:
The point is not much seemed different back in old Brighton except they seem to have made a lot of progress on the enormous building they’ve been putting up next to my hospital for years now and it’s weird how when you don’t go somewhere for a while the buildings all keep growing behind your back it’s like when you see your nephew once a year at Christmas or whatever and the only thing you can think of to talk about is how much taller he is now and then he goes yeah I guess and then you ask him how school is and he goes it’s fine and then you both go look at your phones quietly and you try not to think about how everything and everyone keeps getting bigger when you’re not looking for a bunch of years and then everyone and everything gets real small all of a sudden all at once and eventually disappears.