News of the week

News of Week Ending April 24

The ending of the Derek Chauvin trial means that this will be the last week where that holds “first place” as a separate category in this week’s news summary.

Police, Derek Chauvin trial & related matters, including general police “misconduct”


Interesting show on CNN right now. Brian Stelter’s show is discussing how the media has to take a more independent and even skeptical approach to police reports. They discuss, among other things, how the bodycams, when their footage is released, often contradict the official police reports of various incidents. Another example of how the capitalist class is trying to get their police under greater control. This will not be easy. Maybe not even possible. Look for some real political crises around this as splits develop at the top of society.

Kieran Frazier Knutson posted this video on the National Guard being kicked out of the Minneapolis Labor Council’s offices: Here’s my response to the controversy over Union activists getting the National Guard removed from the St. Paul Labor Center during the militarized occupation of the Twin Cities to back up the police in so called: “Operation Safety Net”


Cops Tackle Grandma With Dementia Who is Picking Flowers; break her arm

A couple of comments: From his tone of voice (talking as if he were talking to a child), it’s clear the cop knew she had dementia. Second, it’s interesting to see his interaction with the passerby who had stopped and was videotaping the incident. He’s clearly concerned. This shows the effect of these videos. Also, note the little lie he told the guy – that the woman had started “running” away. Finally, I have to say, I do think if this woman had been black it would have gone worse for her. This in now way minimizes the inhuman treatment of this woman. Finally, this seems to be one of the “good” cops, fortunately for the woman.–6OcYCphmKjZpERhJA4tLWkwH6pZSDPN8Qaa-SgQXxAP2GGsiNLw0

Two additional points re Chauvin trial: The judge has explained that the jury neednt find that Chauvin’s actions were the sole cause of death. all the jury need find is that Chauvin substantionally contributed. Second as the CNN commentator explained by the judge giving his instructions before the sum ups by the prosecutor and the defense the prosecutor will have the last and final words. the CNN commentator said that is a Huge advantage for the prosecutor who will get to have the last and final words before the jury goes into deliberations.

Listening to prosecutor summing up the case. Any reasonably competent college freshman could do this job. The evidence is so absolutely overwhelming even within the narrow confines of legalistic minutae.

Prosecutor: “This case is exactly what you saw with your own eyes”

The defense is now just throwing up a smokescreen of words. But there is one issue that he raises. It is the same issue that I have asked a question about: if George Floyd‘s hemoglobin oxygen saturation level was at 98% how does that square with his having died of asphyxiation. I hope some medical expert can explain.

Now the defense is trying to raise the stereotype fears of the white jurors he is talking about that the police officer is entitled to take into account the fact that he is in a “densely populated urban environment”.

This is a display from the defense. It shows here what a so-called reasonable police officer is supposed to take into account in using force. You see it includes mental impairment. That means if the subject is psychologically impaired from complying. Chauvin heard Floyd say I’m claustrophobic. So according to their own formal rules Chauvin should have taken that into account. In other words the defense is providing evidence for the prosecution. But they have no other choice because their grounds for defending Chauvin are basically nonexistent.

The principal Claim of the defense is that a reasonable police officer would interpret things in the way that Chauvin did including the idea that the subject, who doesn’t exist as a human being, might get up and start fighting again

I have been scrolling through the defense summation. He goes through how a “reasonable police officer” would interpret every step in the process. If a juror comes into this trial with the assumption that all cops are “reasonable”, that they are all “dedicated public servants” and are the thin blue line standing between ourselves and anarchy, then I could see that they might be influenced by this summation.

The defense is presenting one serious argument. They were saying that Chauvin knew he was being recorded on his own body cam from passersby and also from the street cameras.  knowing that how could he have possibly intended to harm George Floyd? The only way to really answer that is to explain that cops have literally been getting away with murder including when it was videotaped all across the country for years now and Chauvin figured he would too.  of course for the obvious political reasons, the prosecution cannot say that so we will see how they answer that argument. [It turned out that they just ignored that claim. Fortunately, so did the jury evidently!]

The judge has made three rulings favorable to the defense rulings which I think are unjustified are you

So, I’ve been watching Judge Cahill during the trial to see if he’s leaning one way or another. Overall, he’s come across as a real asshole in a couple of instances, such as when he chewed out the young EMS worker who had gone a little overboard in answering some of the defense questioning. Even within the legal confines, the judge should have recognized that she was reliving a traumatic situation and simply explained to her how she may and may not answer.

As for his rulings overall, I figure he’s balancing certain interests. First is his own career and personal reputation and political aspirations. Connected with that is to maintain the credibility of the judicial system overall. He cannot accomplish either of these if his rulings are too blatantly in violation of the rules. He also has to balance that with whatever outcome he’s personally looking for.

With all that in mind, one of the most important was to refuse to move the trial. That was huge. It clearly favored the prosecution, but had he moved the trial, and had that resulted in a complete not-guilty verdict on all counts, the credibility of the judicial system would have been shattered for tens of millions of people and he knows that.

Another important ruling was to refuse to abide by the defense’s request to sequester the jury. That actually favors the defense. They had to make that request in order to give them grounds for an appeal. Now, if Chauvin is found not guilty of all charges, or if there is a hung jury, they’re home free. If Chauvin is found guilty, they’ve got grounds to ask for a mistrial.

On the last day (today) he made a couple of other small rulings which to me were illegitimate and which favored Chauvin. For instance, he had instructed the jury that all they had to do was find that Chauvin’s actions substantially contributed to Floyd’s death, but that there could be other causes also (e.g. heart attack). But the way he put it was legalistic and it would have been easy to get confused. The defense, in their sum up, claimed that the jury had to find that Chauvin’s actions were the one and only cause of death. This was a flat-out lie. The prosecution asked the judge to clear that up, as coming from him it would mean more than coming from the prosecution. The judge refused. True, the prosecution explained that, but it didn’t carry as much weight in the minds of the jurors I believe.

There were a couple of other rulings like that.

One other issue: The defense moved for a mistrial based on some public comments from Assemblywoman Maxine Watters, who is from Los Angeles. The judge ruled out a mistrial, but the asshole said that he granted that Watters’ comments “may be grounds for a mistrial” on appeal.

I think the defense recognizes where the judge is coming from. In the end, Chauvin gets to decide whether in the event of a guilty verdict he wants the jury or the judge to determine his sentence. He chose the judge.

George Floyd’s brother was asked on CNN about his response to the claim that Chauvin couldn’t have intended to harm George Floyd, because he knew he was being video recorded from multiple sources. The brother replied by saying that Chauvin just felt he was above the law or something like that, based on his having been absolved of 19 other complaints. And that’s the problem: The judge had ruled that the prior complaints could not be brought into the trial, so the jury can’t consider that. If I’m not mistaken, he had allowed the one complaint where a woman complained that Chauvin had used a similar restraint against her. I don’t know why the prosecution decided not to bring that in, but the overall ruling of the judge left some wiggle room for the defense’s claim.

In a way, the Chauvin trial has been a big distraction. While we were paying attention to it, bills like this one are being passed. This article details what the bill does, except for one aspect. According to a Washington Post article, “Civil rights groups and Florida Democrats have blasted the law as a violation of the First Amendment right to protest. For instance, they say, someone could participate in a demonstration that becomes violent — without partaking in any violence themselves — and face felony charges due to the behavior of others around them.”

So even if Chauvin is convicted on all counts, there will be even greater repression in the future.

Chauvin verdict has been reached. Will be announced shortly.

My expectation is that since the jury reached its verdict so quickly, not a hung jury (definitely) and most likely guilty on at least one count. I would expect third degree murder but not second degree. For latter, my suspicion is that would have required more debate among jurors.

That is my guess, although every lawyer says you can never tell the result, including that the timing doesn’t necessarily mean anything.


Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!

From a friend:

Indeed Best part of our day. In the middle of all the news coverage, the phone rang and it was a telemarketer. I picked up the phone and said “ are you calling to celebrate the conviction of Derek Shoven on all three charges?” The woman on the other end, who I think might have been African-American laughed and said absolutely, yes I am do you have the champagne? We both had a good laugh about it and a unique moment of solidarity. I told her if this was a sales call we weren’t interested but great to talk with you for a moment.

Never forget this initial report:

I was in downtown Oakland to see if there was any gathering. None, but a few cops were there. I asked one of them what they thought about the verdict. “No opinion,” was his reply. He didn’t sound happy, though.

The key sectors of the Wall St. Journal editors’ comments on the verdict. Two things: In the first place, note how they phrase it when they describe the cause of George Floyd’s death, as if there were any grounds for any serious doubt. Second, notice how they don’t attack the verdict, but what they do is use this event to attack anybody who would speak up:

“Expert witnesses differed over the cause of Floyd’s death. The police restraint was the most obvious culprit, but the defense pointed to Floyd’s severe heart disease and that he had recently consumed fentanyl and methamphetamines, which can interfere with cardiopulmonary function. …

“It would be nice to think all of this would prompt reflection among those who have exploited Floyd’s killing for political purposes. But it probably won’t. Even after the verdict, commentators who applauded the jury gave last year’s riots in American cities the credit for inspiring it.

Not the facts. Not the law. But lawless protests. If a large faction of Americans really believe that only mayhem in the streets can guarantee justice in America, then this verdict will mean little and we are in for far more unrest ahead.

On this point, President Biden has been little help, despite his inaugural pleas for unity and healing. On Tuesday before the verdict, Mr. Biden said he was “praying” for the jury to reach “the right verdict” and that the evidence was “overwhelming.” That’s an outrageous interference with the administration of justice….

One defense witness had his former house vandalized, which might have unsettled some jurors about the implications of an acquittal. The city settled a civil case with Floyd’s relatives that wasn’t shielded from the jury. Trial Judge Peter Cahill said Monday that Rep. Maxine Waters’s weekend call in nearby Brooklyn Center that protesters should get “confrontational” in the event of an acquittal could be grounds for mistrial on appeal….

As the cases move ahead, the politicians and media elites should be calming tempers, not inflaming them. The verdict showed that the legal system isn’t systemically racist, and that a police officer who exceeded his power can be found guilty. The challenge as always is to let police defend the innocent and public order while punishing those who misuse their power. American justice isn’t perfect, but it works.”

Other news


Here is a fascinating article on “the Quad”, which is composed of the US, India, Japan and Australia. This is the principle imperialist alliance that is developing to counter Chinese imperialism. (Both are a threat to humanity and life on the planet.) On the periphery of the Quad are such countries as Britain and Israel. It seems that this will be developing into an Asia/Pacific Ocean oriented NATO, but with as much emphasis on economic and cyber-security as outright military.

Expel the military coup from ASEAN and impose strict economic sanctions on all companies doing business with that government! Myanmar shadow government demands that coup government be expelled from ASEAN summit talks.

From Minneapolis to Myanmar: Remember the Warsaw ghetto uprising!

On this day, April 19, 1943, there was one of the most heroic uprisings in human history – the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It deserves to be remembered every year, not only to inspire our hearts but also for the lessons we should carry in our minds. The best history of this uprising is “The Ghetto Fights,” by one of the very few surviving participants, Marek Edelman.

Edelman was a member of the youth group of the Bund, which was the Jewish socialist party. The Zionists were bitterly hostile to the Bund, it should be noted. See article on this here.


This article by Nay Paing is a brilliant description of the thinking of workers for Total [Chevron’s joint venture partner] in Myanmar. Nay Paing currently lives in France and has joined our Myanmar Chevron campaign.

Wall St. Journal reports:
Middle-age adults who sleep six or fewer hours a night may be at higher risk of developing dementia in later life, a new study suggests.

People age 50 or 60 who regularly slept six hours or less each night were more likely than those who slept seven hours to be diagnosed with dementia, according to the study published Tuesday in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

Even after controlling for cardiac, metabolic and mental-health issues, the study researchers found that 50-year-olds who were sleeping six hours or less a night had a 22% higher risk of developing dementia later in life. Sixty-year-olds were 37% more likely to develop the disorder. The comparisons were with people who slept for seven hours each night.

A group of European researchers looked at survey data for nearly 8,000 adults in the U.K. over 25 years and linked the data with dementia diagnoses in electronic health records. The data came from a study of British civil servants out of University College London that began in 1985. Since then, participants have been surveyed every four to five years.

Participants reported their sleep duration and some wore sleep trackers overnight to confirm that their self-reporting was accurate. While the authors cautioned that the findings can’t establish whether less sleep causes dementia, they said the new study adds to shorter-term research showing that too little sleep is linked to the development of the disorder.

Other studies have shown that both too little sleep and excessive sleep are linked to increased risk, but this particular study didn’t show a link between dementia and sleeping eight hours or more a night. Studies have also shown that interruptions preventing people from getting a good night’s sleep are associated with higher dementia risk later on.

Past research also suggests that obesity, high systolic blood pressure and mental-health issues like depression increase the risk of sleep issues and dementia.


This is the game the Democratic Party plays. Always almost enough Democrats. Not quite, but almost enough.

Headline: Manchin Mocks $15/hour Minimum Wage Bill at Restaurant Lobbyist Event


Article on whether still need to wear masks. Summary:

Use the 2-out-of-3 Rule

To lower risk for Covid-19, make sure your activity meets two out of the following three conditions: outdoors, distanced and masked.

Outdoors + Distanced = No Mask Needed


Outdoors + No Distance = Mask Needed


Not Outdoors + Distanced = Mask Needed


“The way I make decisions on behalf of Arizona and for our constituents is by listening to the business leaders who will be impacted by these decisions.” @

Kyrsten Sinema [US Senator from Arizona, former Green Party leader]

From conservative columnist David Brooks:

Those of us who had hoped America would calm down when we no longer had Donald Trump spewing poison from the Oval Office have been sadly disabused. There are increasing signs that the Trumpian base is radicalizing. My Republican friends report vicious divisions in their churches and families. Republican politicians who don’t toe the Trump line are speaking of death threats and menacing verbal attacks.

It’s as if the Trump base felt some security when their man was at the top, and that’s now gone. Maybe Trump was the restraining force.

The GOP Is Getting Even Worse”

I have long wondered why the generation that came of age in the 1980s and ’90s seems to me to be nearly obsessed with “cleanliness”, meaning sterilizing everything. That’s especially so as far as dealing with newborn babies. Reading this article (reprinted below) gives me some clues. I think it’s got to do with a general insecurity and a feeling that the world is a dangerous place and the result is a drive to control everything. But we cannot control the “biome” – that tremendous community of bacteria and who knows what other living organisms that live on and underneath our skin. So, the desire is to kill it all off instead. (I never, ever use anti-bacterial soap, by the way.) Here’s the article:

Are we at an interregnum – a pause before we plunge into the abyss? We see the increased levels of violence in society, coupled with a whole host of new measures aimed at suppressing protests. Here is an article explaining how new measures are aimed not at voter suppression, but vote count fraud – but real fraud, perpetrated by Republicans. Consider this scenario: A combination of such measures plus gerrymandering enables the Republicans to recapture control over the Senate and the House in 2022. Then, in 2024 they completely fraud the vote count as well as the count of electoral college votes to enable them to force their way back into the White House. In part, this is done through a Republican-controlled House and Senate refusing to recognize the electoral college results from one or two key states and, instead, recognizing a rump electoral college in those states (as Hawley and others tried to do last year). Protests break out, but the new repressive laws facilitate even greater repression. What then? The alternative is to build a movement in the streets NOW. That would have to include a no-holds-barred campaign to transform the unions, meaning organizing oppositional rank-and-file caucuses.


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