DOJ Asks Judge to Dismiss Lawsuit Against Trump & Barr for Clearing Protestors from Lafayette Square

Protesters gathered on May 29 – June 7 to protest the killing of George Floyd

Last year, Bill Barr and others directed that Lafayette Square be cleared of protestors who were exercising their 1st Amendment rights so then-President Donald Trump could walk across the street to stand in front of a church for a political photo-op. The ACLU filed suit on behalf of protestors and journalists that were assaulted by law enforcement officers while they cleared the way for Trump’s political stunt.

In a troubling move, the Department of Justice has now urged the judge to dismiss the case, claiming that Trump, Barr and other government officials have immunity from this particular lawsuit. This video presents an argument for why the suit should not be dismissed but instead should proceed to the discovery phase to, at a minimum, determine if Trump and Barr were acting within the scope of their official governmental duties when they ordered the area cleared – shutting down the protestors’ exercise of their 1st Amendment rights, for a presidential photo op.

TIME BOMB: 32% Of Households Missed July Payments


another terrifying economic
fact for everybody about the kovid
depression here
this is in cnbc as the economic fallout
from the coronavirus pandemic continues
almost one-third of u.s households
32 percent have not made their full
housing payments
for july yet according to a survey by
apartment list
and online rental platform about 19
percent of americans
made no housing payment at all during
the first week of the month
and 13 only paid a portion of their rent
or mortgage
that’s the fourth month in a row that a
historically high number of households
were unable to pay their housing bill
on time and in full up from 30 percent
in june and 31 in may
renters low income and younger
households were most
likely to miss their payments apartment
list found
so listen to this many households
have already spent their one-time
stimulus check
the one-time 1200 check and the extra
per week in unemployment insurance
used by many to cover essentials like
runs out at the end of july
that means even more households could
potentially miss
their rent or mortgage payments in the
coming months
we’re already at 32 percent
we’re already at 32 percent
what’s that going to go up to when you
get rid of the 600
per week unemployment insurance increase
and again it goes away at the end of
this month
what’s that going to get up to over 50
over 50 percent of people unable to pay
their rent or their mortgage
over half the country is that what’s
gonna happen over half the country
can’t pay their rent and can’t pay their
i’m at a loss for words we’ve never seen
anything like this before
i don’t know how many times i could tell
you that
when you look at the subprime mortgage
crisis in the great recession
in 2009 guys
even before covid we were kicking two
million people
out of their house i believe per month
which is higher
than the height of the great recession
that was pre-coveted
pre-covet what’s gonna happen
when we’re totally done with covid no
more cases which it’ll be a while by the
way before we get there
what’s gonna happen to all these people
who can’t make their payments what’s
going to happen
over 50 percent of the country perhaps
is not going to be able to make their
you think we’re seeing social unrest
with this george floyd situation
just wait just wait
there will be social unrest the likes of
which we maybe haven’t seen in this
country before
when you have real unemployment over 20
percent when you have a situation where
maybe half the country or
more can’t pay the bills
i mean that’s a recipe for revolution i
don’t want to sound hyperbolic about it
but like all the distractions in the
cannot save us from the inevitable
i get it you know we live in the modern
era we got computers
we got netflix we’re like plugged in in
a way that can distract us from
all the problems of everyday life but if
over half the country can’t
keep a roof over their head what do you
think is going to happen
and just so everybody understands i’m an
idiot loudmouth youtuber and i’m talking
about this
do you think that mitch mcconnell do you
think that nancy pelosi or chuck schumer
do you think that trump or his merry
band of idiot advisors like larry kudlow
you think that they know that this is on
the way and that
this is the dire situation that we’re in
you think they know they have literally
no idea
trump goes out there every day now and
brags about the v-shaped recovery
it’s unbelievable the stock market is
bouncing back
the stock market 92 of the stock market
is owned by the top
10 of income earners
so you’re bragging about the stock
market you’re bragging about how the
rich you’re doing you’re bragging about
how the corporations are doing
guys we had a full corporate bailout we
had full
corporate socialism at the beginning of
this crisis it was naomi klein shock
doctrine 101.
they looked at kovid they looked at the
the federal reserve the central bank
stepped in and said we will do anything
to prop the market up a trillion dollars
in liquidity per day
fine then you had the cares act
the coveted bailout it was crumbs to the
people but really the point of that was
the five trillion dollars to corporate
to let them know hey we got your back
so we fully socialized corporate america
propped them up and then now
regular people are the ones who are
getting screwed why didn’t we just not
bail them out and bail
just do a bailout from the bottom up
instead of the top down this is the same
thing we didn’t know eight we did a
bailout not a bottom-up same thing now
we did a top-down bailout not a
well when you don’t bail out from the
bottom up this is what happens
you’re gonna have 50 of the country who
can’t live who can’t put a roof over
their head
we’ve never seen anything like this and
to think about the fact
that in the midst of this crisis with a
they’re like no we will not do medicare
for all you’re not going to get health
there’s a pandemic bro people can’t pay
the bills they can’t even put a roof
over there do you think they can afford
medical bills if they get sick
are you kidding me even the idea even
the concept
of medical bills makes me sick just
hearing it
somehow other countries have figured out
how to make sure everything’s covered
when it comes to your health
this country nope you might have to go
bankrupt you have to go bankrupt because
you got sick
that’s the way it works we’ve covered
stories what was it forty thousand
dollar bill because somebody had coveted
and they needed a lot of care
they’re denying you universal health
care in a pandemic
they’re denying you universal basic
when you can’t work because of the
they give you a one-time 1 200 payment
that you went through in probably a week
if they don’t make real concessions i
shudder thinking about what happens
in the future if they don’t do real
concessions if they don’t do medicare
for all
if they don’t do universal basic income
shudder at what’s going to happen this
country is coming apart at the seams it
could come
apart a lot worse than it already has
because there’s no way you can keep the
facade going
when probably over half the people will
not be able to put a roof over their
what do you want to do you want to you
want to evict all of them or foreclose
on all of them you want to keep them all
out of their
their place where they live is that what
you want to do
you want millions and millions and
millions and millions of
new homeless people is that what you
want to do
you know i knew our government was
totally corrupt and terrible
but i think i was naive in the sense
on some level i thought well they won’t
let it get
beyond a certain point like it won’t
get so bad that it threatens the fabric
of the system
period no it will and they’re totally
it absolutely will they’ll let it get as
bad as possible because these guys are
not there to represent you
they’re not they’re given money to get
by corporations and billionaires so when
they get in there they represent
corporations and billionaires they don’t
care about you
and this is the result this is the
we have the solutions that’s the thing
that’s probably the most frustrating
is that we know what would work we know
how to fix these problems
we know how to make our country better
and they just they’re not doing any of
those ideas they’re not doing medicare
for all
they’re not doing free college they’re
not doing a great new deal they’re not
doing a living wage
they’re not ending right to work laws
and having stronger
union laws they’re not doing universal
basic income
there are really clear ways they’re not
getting money out of politics
they’re really clear ways to fix all
this stuff they don’t want to do it
they want to do it and we’re about to
see unrest
that again will make the george floyd
protest look like cakewalk because
this may surpass the great depression if
these numbers
come to fruition
think about how the history books are
going to look at this point in time
think about how they’re going to look
back on this
kind things are not going to be said
about this era about this generation
and i haven’t even touched climate
change yet which is ecological disaster
which is
civilization threatening haven’t even
touched that yet
oh that is a nihilistic laugh i just had
if i’ve ever heard of one

Economist’s Black Lives Matter Criticism Draws Calls for Resignation

Debate over comments from academic-journal editor Harald Uhlig comes during national protests over police brutality

A prominent economist faced pressure from others in his field to step down from an editing post because of comments he made criticizing the Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police movements, reflecting some of the turmoil roiling economics and other professions following the recent police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis.

The sparring this week between critics and defenders of University of Chicago economist Harald Uhlig, the lead editor of the Journal of Political Economy, comes during national protests over police brutality and discussions about racial inequality and policing practices.

The debate over Mr. Uhlig follows several years in which the economics profession has sought to grapple with tensions in its ranks over its lack of racial and gender diversity.

In a Twitter post late Monday, Mr. Uhlig said that Black Lives Matter—a long-running campaign focused on issues of police brutality—had “just torpedoed itself, with its full-fledged support of #defundthepolice,” a reference to calls by activists to shift government spending away from police departments. Those calls have increased since Mr. Floyd’s killing.

Time for sensible adults to enter back into the room and have serious, earnest, respectful conversations about it all,” Mr. Uhlig wrote. “We need more police, we need to pay them more, we need to train them better,” he added.

Backlash grew quickly on Twitter, including demands from prominent and rank-and-file economists for Mr. Uhlig’s resignation from the publication, which describes itself as “one of the oldest and most prestigious journals in economics.”

He belittled the movement,” said Olugbenga Ajilore, senior economist at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning Washington think tank, who supports Mr. Uhlig’s resignation.

Mr. Uhlig and the Journal of Political Economy didn’t immediately return requests for comments. Mr. Uhlig apologized Tuesday on Twitter and said his views weren’t pronouncements by the journal or the University of Chicago.

“My tweets in recent days and an old blog post have apparently irritated a lot of people. That was far from my intention: let me apologize for that,” Mr. Uhlig wrote.

Harald Uhlig@haralduhlig

Too bad, but per its core organization @Blklivesmatter just torpedoed itself, with its full-fledged support of : “We call for a national defunding of police.” Suuuure. They knew this is non-starter, and tried a sensible Orwell 1984 of saying,

279 people are talking about this

Critics also had flagged past posts on his blog, including one in 2017 that criticized National Football League players for on-field, kneeling protests over police brutality.

Mr. Ajilore said Mr. Uhlig’s comments reflected a failure to recognize that the Black Lives Matter movement has had an impact on policing policy. Mr. Ajilore said the comments were further troubling because of how closely academic economists’ career trajectories are tied to their ability to have editors approve research for publication in top-tier journals, such as the Journal of Political Economy.

How can you be an objective arbiter of work when you’re not able to recognize actual, tangible, serious, significant movements?” Mr. Ajilore asked.

Maximilian Auffhammer, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, tweeted on Tuesday a link to a letter that called for Mr. Uhlig to step down from his post at the journal, with encouragement for others to sign it.

“Prof. Uhlig is welcome to say whatever he wants. But his comments hurt and marginalize people of color and their allies in the economics profession,” Mr. Auffhammer, who planned to deliver the letter Thursday, said in an email Wednesday.

“I would also argue that they call into question his impartiality in assessing academic work on this and related topics. More broadly they damage the standing of the economics discipline in society,” he said.

Mr. Uhlig’s defenders also circulated their arguments online, saying in a letter he should remain in the journal post.

“We, the undersigned, do not believe political litmus tests should be applied when deciding who receives prominent academic positions. This is bad for economics,” the counterpetition said.

Robin Hanson, associate professor of economics at George Mason University, said he had signed the letter in support of Mr. Uhlig.

“The line is moving here in terms of how enthusiastically you must support a party line,” Mr. Hanson said. “You can’t in any way seem at all critical or you’re threatening our unity or something. That’s a Stalin level of conformity,” he added.

The American Economic Association has said it is working to improve the profession’s culture since a survey released in 2018 found women and minorities felt they were discriminated against in hiring and the publication process at top economics journals.

“We acknowledge the pain of our colleagues and students—and especially our Black colleagues and students—who must once again bear witness to evidence that violent racism has not yet been eradicated from our society,” the AEA’s executive committee said in a June 5 statement on Mr. Floyd’s death.

“We commit ourselves personally and professionally to actions that the economics profession can and should take to contribute to broader social efforts to root out racism,” the statement added.

Several black economists, and others, have called for the profession’s research methods to better address racial disparities.

William Spriggs, chief economist to the AFL-CIO, wrote in a recent open letter to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis that Mr. Floyd’s killing offers the economics profession a chance to reflect on shortcomings in its approach to race-related issues and research.

The overwhelming majority of explorations of racial disparities in economic outcomes remains deeply tied to that view of race as an exogenous variable,” Mr. Spriggs wrote. That model leads to economic analysis that “assumes that there is something ‘deficient’ about black people.”

Mr. Spriggs, in an interview, said economists should instead be more willing to identify the construct of race itself as the cause of certain unequal outcomes for African-Americans.

Our theory is that the market rewards everything equally,” Mr. Spriggs said. Sometimes, “somebody is putting their hand on the scale and race is the marker that they put their hand on the scale.”

The Head Of CrossFit Told Staff On A Zoom Call, “We’re Not Mourning For George Floyd”

Hours before he posted a controversial tweet on Saturday night that has sparked backlash for his company, Greg Glassman, CrossFit’s CEO and founder, told gym owners on a private Zoom call, “We’re not mourning for George Floyd — I don’t think me or any of my staff are,” according to a full recording of the meeting obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Can you tell me why I should mourn for him? Other than that it’s the white thing to do — other than that, give me another reason,” he asked a Minneapolis gym owner who had questioned why the brand hadn’t posted a statement about the protests across the country after the death of George Floyd.

The 75-minute Zoom call, which was sent to BuzzFeed News via its secure tipline, was a part of an initiative that CrossFit had started after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered gyms across the country. CrossFit affiliate owners who spoke with BuzzFeed News said they were invited at random to the check-in calls over the past three months with Glassman and other staffers from CrossFit’s corporate headquarters.

The call was held hours before Glassman responded to a tweet on Saturday night that called racism a public health issue, writing, “It’s FLOYD-19.” His tweet drew immediate backlash from gym owners and caused Reebok to end a partnership deal with the company. CrossFit subsequently posted an apology on Glassman’s behalf, calling his words “not racist but a mistake.”

“Floyd is a hero in the black community and not just a victim,” he said in his public apology. “I should have been sensitive to that and wasn’t. I apologize for that.”

But during the Zoom call hours earlier, which had been between 16 affiliates and staff members, Glassman repeatedly expressed doubts about whether systemic racism existed and questioned the motives of protests around the country.

“I doubt very much that they’re mourning for Floyd,” Glassman said on the call about protesters and CrossFitters who were looking for the company to speak out. “I don’t think that there’s a general mourning for Floyd in any community.”

He also recounted unfounded conspiracy theories on the call that included speculation Floyd was killed to “silence him” due to a purported, baseless role in a criminal conspiracy involving counterfeit money.

Glassman speculated that the nightclub where both Floyd and his alleged killer, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, worked has “been under investigation by the FBI for over a decade for laundering money.”

“It’s very interesting that George gets popped with counterfeits, and who comes but the head of security from the dance club? Watch: This thing’s going to turn into first-degree murder,” he said. “That’s what it’s going to turn into. And it’s going to be because I’m predicting this. We have friends in the FBI in your neighborhood, and they’re of the view that this was first-degree murder and it was to silence him over the counterfeit money. That’s the belief. That’s what the cops think.”

Glassman and representatives for CrossFit did not respond to repeated requests for comment for this story. BuzzFeed News is publishing select clips from the call, but not the full audio, in order to protect the identity of the source who shared it.

Listen to clips of Glassman on the call, edited together by BuzzFeed News to protect the identity of the source who shared it.

During the call, Glassman also complained about looting and buildings that had been set on fire. He questioned the legitimacy of the protest movement that has gripped the nation in the three weeks since Floyd’s death.

“Moved to action? Burning the city down, is that the action? Destruction of Black- and minority-owned businesses, is that the action?” Glassman asked while speaking to a gym owner from Minneapolis who detailed what their members had been doing to help the community in the aftermath of nights of looting and protests.

“I would prefer a trial of a murderer rather than burning the city down. I think that the law has a better response. I think burning your city to the ground and burning a police station to the ground because a cop killed what was very likely going to be a coconspirator in a counterfeit ring — I just don’t get the burning thing. How about the Black cop that was killed?” Glassman said later in the call, adding that he wasn’t going to “fund antifa” — another conspiracy theory — because “a guy got killed.”

Glassman told the owners on the call that “killing George was wrong” before adding that “burning the town down was wrong, killing the Black cop was wrong, and the Black-on-Black murder every weekend in every one of our cities is a tragedy.”

He told the Minneapolis gym owner on the call that he thought the city’s plans to defund the police department were “terrifying” after they outlined how their community was trying to rebuild from Floyd’s death.

“It sounds like more of the same. It sounds like punishing the cops. It sounds like blaming the police for all of the problems in blighted communities, and I don’t think anything could be farther from the truth. Have you ever done a ride-along with cops in a rough neighborhood?” Glassman said. “You don’t have to answer, but I have many, many times, and that is crazy tough work and almost all of the men and women are professionals.“

During a lengthy discussion on the coronavirus, Glassman again shared more unfounded theories. “The Chinese let this virus get out of the laboratory, and that indeed did happen,” he said. (US intelligence officials have said they have not formally concluded whether the virus emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.)

Glassman also trashed epidemiology as “a social science,” said upstate New Yorkers should secede from the rest of their state due to the strict lockdown measures in New York City, and urged gym owners to only pretend to comply with health precautions when they reopen.

“It was a panic. Absolute panic right from the start. And I think it’s inevitable that it’s going to turn out that this has cost way more lives than have been saved. Way more,” he said. “At some point, you’ve got to do what’s right, and it may not come with approval. It may not be seen as the right thing to do, but you still have to do it. It’s the burden.”

“I was asked by the Italians, ‘What would you do, coach?’ And I said, ‘I would agree to any restrictions put on me by the health authorities, and I would open my gym, and then 10 minutes later I would do whatever the fuck I wanted. That’s what I would do.'”

Mike Young — the owner of a fitness facility in Morrisville, North Carolina, that contains a CrossFit affiliate — was one of the people on the call. He’d had the franchise for more than a decade and had been excited to speak with the CrossFit CEO and owner. “I get to meet this guy who’s probably been the biggest influence in this field,” Young told BuzzFeed News, “and then it turned into a shitshow, really, where the guy is just — conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory.

“My first thought was, I thought maybe I was being punked, but I knew how he was and I thought this is just batshit crazy. I’m sitting there, like, my jaw is dropping. Is this happening? What is this guy saying?

“It was just surreal,” he said.

Young, whose audio had not been working for most of the call, said he had to leave early to attend another meeting. He said he later wrote to the Minneapolis gym owner to apologize for not being able to defend them on the call.

“It was beyond awkward,” he said. “The way I would describe it, I was privy to information from a private conversation that the world should know about. This guy has a couple thousand of these CrossFit affiliates, and he’s the figurehead, and he’s speaking like a lunatic at a time when things like COVID-19 and George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, are basically already causing unrest. And the things he’s saying are unsubstantiated conspiracy theories — inflammatory nonsense, really.”

Young said he went to bed on Saturday night with the conversation weighing on him. When he woke up on Sunday, he decided to take a stand and publicly announce he would no longer work with CrossFit. He prepared a post on Medium, but Glassman had already written his “FLOYD-19” tweet. But because Young did not record the call, he said, he tried to not go into specific details in his Medium post about what Glassman said in order to avoid a potential lawsuit.

“The tweet is bad. It’s insensitive,” he said. “But as someone who listened to the call, you know the tweet is nothing compared to the phone call.”

Near the end of the call, when a gym owner suggested they were considering dropping their affiliation with CrossFit, another CrossFit headquarters staff member spoke to defend Glassman. “You’re not even approaching this with any compassion. You’re approaching this strictly with your agenda,” they told the gym owner. “Do you know how many Black people are going to be saved by CrossFit?”

CrossFit’s days of backlash started when Alyssa Royse, an affiliate owner from Seattle, posted an email that she received from Glassman in response to a letter she wrote detailing why her gym would be leaving the brand.

“You’re doing your best to brand us as racist and you know it’s bullshit,” Glassman wrote back. “That makes you a really shitty person. Do you understand that? You’ve let your politics warp you into something that strikes me as wrong to the point of being evil. I am ashamed of you.”

Glassman went further on the call with affiliates that did not include Royse, saying that her letter had “all of the class, all of the moral value of putting a sign in someone’s yard that says ‘known pedophile.’”

“It’s a horrible fucking thing to do to someone, to call them a racist when there’s no evidence, when there’s not one scintilla of evidence to suggest anything like that, and that’s what she did to me. And what I sent her back was a ‘Fuck off!’” Glassman told the members of the Zoom call. “You call me a racist and I’mma tell you, ‘Fuck you!’ You tell me to spin around twice or I’m a racist and I’ll go, ‘Fuck you!’ We can get to ‘fuck you’ a bunch of ways. What it leads me to believe is that this isn’t about race.”