How do you spell “Reichstag” in American?

The day before MAGA Insurrectionists bashed their way into the Capitol building—murdering a cop in the process—a curious posting appeared on the website of their Führer, whitehouse.gov:

“Antifa activists have brutally attacked our law-abiding friends, neighbors, and business owners, and destroyed historic landmarks that our communities have cherished for decades. This violence and lawlessness has no place in the United States and will be called out for the domestic terrorism that it is. Today, President Donald J. Trump signed a memorandum to ensure that Federal officials assess actions of Antifa activists in light of Federal laws that restrict the entry of aliens associated with terrorist organizations and aliens intent on criminal activity.  President Trump will not allow Antifa, or any terrorist organization, to destroy our great country.”

The day after the riot, MediaMatters reports, “the Washington Times published an article, which was cited by some Republicans, claiming that ‘a retired military officer’ reported that a facial recognition technology company had identified ‘antifa’ members among the insurrectionists. The firm in question called the story ‘outright false,’ demanded a retraction, and the Washington Times unpublished and retracted the story on January 8th, before republishing it with a correction.

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker determined in June that, as of that date, there had “not yet been a single confirmed case in which someone who self-identifies as antifa led violent acts at any of the protests across the country.” But, of course, no one believes the Post except members of the fact-based community.

The Washington Times correction had little apparent effect on Sinclair Broadcast Group, a Right Wing cable news network propaganda spigot. MediaMatters found that “Sinclair aired these false claims days after the retraction and correction were made,” airing it “on at least 66 Sinclair-owned or -operated stations in at least 39 states and Washington, D.C., several days later—between January 9th-11th—according to a transcript search of the Kinetiq video database.”

In October, 2020, U.S. attorney Erica MacDonald charged Ivan Harrison Hunter, a 26-year-old Texas resident, with traveling across state lines to participate in a riot., according to The Guardian.

“The charges are the latest example of far-right extremists attempting to use violence to escalate national protests against police brutality into an uprising against the government, and even full civil war.” Hunter is a self-described Boogaloo Boi.

In June, NBC News reported that Staff Sgt. Steven Carrillo, 32, had been charged with murder and attempted murder in the killing of federal officer Dave Patrick Underwood, 53. Another officer was wounded. Both were members of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service. They were shot with an AR-15, privately manufactured without a serial number.

“Investigators found inside Carrillo’s vehicle a ballistic vest with a patch on it that featured an igloo and a Hawaiian-style print,” the NBC report said, “symbols associated with the far-right extremist ‘Boogaloo’ movement, according to his federal complaint.”

So, yeah—antifa: a big threat. In totally unrelated news, Rush Limbaugh had this to say on Monday afternoon:

“Georgia has been overrun by people leaving the northeast. There are stories all over the news about how Democrats were being targeted to move to Georgia, to establish residency there for the singular purpose of electing these two Communists to the Senate. And they did it.”

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Now For Some Real News

It’s all very entertaining to read thrilling, accurate, fact-based, news stories about low-information larpers* failing—so far—to overthrow a duly-elected government in the name of patriotism and the Constitution. Entertaining, if more than a little confusing….

It’s best, though, to ensure that our news diets are well balanced. So, dear reader, it’s vegetable time—as in, at the rate things are going, pretty soon we’ll be lucky to get ’em.

While everyone’s been distracted by the other horrors of 2020, i.e., the pandemic, the wheezing economy, &c., &c., the biggest existential threat we face—other than a deranged President launching 4,312 nuclear warheads because no one brought him his MacDonald’s hamburger—is the climate we’re still wrecking.

For authoritative reporting on this issue we turn to Berkeley Earth, a California-based non-profit research organization which has been preparing independent analyses of global mean temperature changes since 2013.

Berkeley Earth has just released its report on global mean temperature during 2020. It’s about as bad as you might expect.

2020

In keeping with its performance in all other known metric realms, 2020 was a rotten year, thermally speaking.

“We conclude,” Berkeley Earth writes rather drily, “that 2020 was nominally the second warmest year on Earth since 1850. Our estimate of the global mean temperature in 2020 was slightly colder than 2016, but warmer than every other year that has been directly measured. However, the difference between 2020 and 2016 was only 0.022 °C. This is smaller than the 0.045 °C uncertainty on our ability to measure the global average temperature in 2020. This means that 2020 and 2016 could also be regarded as effectively tied.”

The last six years have included all of the six warmest years directly observed: 2020 was the 2nd warmest; 2019 was the 3rd warmest; 2018 was the 6th warmest; 2017 was the 4th warmest; 2016 was the warmest; and 2015 was the 5th warmest.

We presume that Berkeley Earth focuses its efforts on temperature because rising temperatures have been shown to be the root cause of changes we’re seeing in our climate. Those changes in the climate are causing storms to worsen, to a calamitous degree. The only way to fight this trend would seem to be restraining the release of greenhouse gasses.

Unfortunately, the release of greenhouse gasses has proven, over the past century or so, to be vastly profitable, because the industry doing the releasing has been allowed to externalize the environmental cost of doing so.

That little oversight has created an entire sector of our economy, and, therefore has accrued political power commensurate with its wealth. The industrialists who profit from this arrangement seem reluctant to allow our political system to change its regulatory regime in such as way as to prevent a climatic catastrophe.

For some reason the scientists at Berkeley Earth do not mention any of this….

Oh, yeah—that’s our job.

For the full, de-Gazettified version of this report, see berkeleyearth.org.

This graph shows the global average temperature from 1850 to the present. In other words, it begins shortly before the execrable presidency of New Hampshire’s own Franklin Pierce. The temperature remains stable until Warren G. Harding’s inauguration. Even the untrained eye can see a moderate upward trend, until about the time Ronald Reagan opened his presidential campaign in Nashoba County, Mississippi in the general vicinity of the site where James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were murdered in 1964. After that, things really went to hell.

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Duet for Windbags: William Barr, then-Attorney General of the United States, yucks it up by playing the bagpipes before addressing United States Attorneys in Washington, D.C. on June 26, 2019. He was accompanied by the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums Band of the New York Police Department. Ten days earlier, Barr had ruled against his own Civil Rights Division, which had sought to bring charges against New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo. Pantaleo had been videotaped on July 7, 2014 putting a chokehold on Eric Garner for selling loose cigarettes. Garner died; his death was ruled a homicide. His last words were, “I can’t breathe.”

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Black Heritage Trail Expands

The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire (BHTNH) has announced the further expansion of the Trail into Andover, New Hampshire.

Potter Place, a village in Andover, is named for, and contains the homestead and gravesite of, Richard Potter (1783-1835), a well-known black magician and ventriloquist of the early 19th century, who traveled and performed successfully throughout America. He was the first American-born magician to achieve fame in this country and is widely considered to have been the first African-American celebrity.

The Andover Historical Society, located in Potter Place, has now raised the funds for a bronze plaque, expected to be installed this fall, commemorating Potter’s life and work.

As Andover gains a plaque, Portsmouth will gain a sculpture.

In 2018, the Andover Historical society held a retrospective of the work of Andover resident Winslow Eaves. A renowned American sculptor, Eaves (1922-2003) and his wife Faye moved their family to Andover in 1952 when he took a position at Dartmouth. They became beloved members of the community; Eaves built a reputation as one of the finest and most independent-minded artists in New England.

A sculpture by Eaves will now become a part of the BHTNH permanent collection and will be on display at its statewide headquarters in Portsmouth when it reopens to the public in the summer.

The sculpture, a 2.5 foot ceramic figure of famed contralto Marian Anderson, “reminds me how deeply art can make us feel injustice and learn to act,” according to its donor, Dana Dakin. “Clearly, art leads the way in expressing injustice.”

JerriAnne Boggis, BHTNH executive director, explained the background of the gift, “Marian Anderson was such an important figure in the struggle for civil rights. She may be most well known for her 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial, arranged after the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused to allow her to sing at its Constitution Hall, DAR member Eleanor Roosevelt publicly resigned, NAACP leader Walter White suggested the idea of an outdoor concert, and Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes led Anderson to the stage on April 9, 1939.” That concert was the muse for Eaves’ sculpture of Anderson. Dakin purchased it from Eaves in 2000.

More information is available by calling (603) 570-8469, or visiting www.BlackHeritageTrailNH.org.

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The Flag Police, having diligently scrutinized 4 U.S. Code § 8 – Respect for Flag yet again, can report with confidence that it contains no provision under which an officer of the United States Capitol Police can lawfully be beaten, clubbed, or impaled with the Flag of the United States, or any pole or other fixture to which it may be attached.

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Law and Disorder

If the year 2021 does nothing else, it should hammer shut forever the coffin holding the remains of the Republican Party’s claim to supporting law and order.

As Exhibit A in defense of this proposition, we offer a few words from Wall Street on Parade, a financial news site created, owned and maintained by former New Hampshire residents Russ and Pam Martens. Its mission is to help “level the playing field between Wall Street and the 99 percent. Wall Street is a jungle of devices to effect an institutionalized wealth transfer system. The goal of this web site is to provide the jungle guide to the 99 percent in the hope of bringing about citizen-inspired change.”

The title of Thursday’s post: “The Untold Story of How the Republican Attorneys General Association, Funded with Large Sums from Corporate Felons, Including OxyContin Drug Pusher Purdue, Participated in Recruiting the Mob that Attacked the Capitol.”

We’ll just hit some high points, the whole thing is a must-read, at https://bit.ly/3oIOmtz.

“When one thinks of a group with the word ‘Association’ in their name,” write the Martens, “it invokes the idea that this is a fraternal organization or a trade association. What doesn’t come to mind is that it is a campaign financing group to elect Republican Attorneys General—the highest law enforcement officer in a state—by taking vast sums of money from the very companies committing crimes in those states. But that is what RAGA has been doing for many years now.”

Needless to say, the Martens provide the sordid details: Purdue Pharma, big tobacco, Koch-aligned money-spigots, &c. A unit of RAGA then made robocalls on January 5th, calling on the gullible to join a so-called “March to Save America”—“[M]arch to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal.”

Most of RAGA’s funding comes from the Judicial Crisis Network, which in turn has been funded by the Wellspring Network, which….

The Newsprint Withdrawal Blues

One might think that after ten months without handling a single fresh bundle of newsprint, we’d be climbing the newsroom walls. But, as is so often the case, one would be wrong.

Oh, we would far prefer to be wheeling papers up Congress Street, slinging bundles and half-bundles about with wild abandon and insinuating whatever it is we do here into the material world. Confinement in this weightless, no-dimensional digital realm is a bit like having covid—it’s as if we’ve lost our sense of taste.

Of course that could just be our cooking. Oh, for a Ceres Caesar salad…. We even miss lurking around the Volunteer Distributor’s unofficial Union Hall, eavesdropping on the scheming as we grab a cup of ’Goats.

In the greater scheme of things, though, we understand: to paraphrase Rick Blaine, our problems don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. So, we’ll just keep plugging along until we can get that mighty web press rolling again.

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