Political violence, anti-Semitism, and trouble with the snap 2.0

Dan Balz of The Washington Post asserts that the attack on Paul Pelosi is a part of the larger attack on democracy.

The demonization of Pelosi is the example of how the practice of politics seeks to destroy individuals. The same is happening to the system of democracy. The more Trump and others baselessly claim the 2020 election was stolen, the more his believers adopt a similar attitude and the more the foundations of democracy are weakened.

The electoral process depends on the collective goodwill and confidence of the American people. Trump traffics in conspiracy theories and lies. The more he does, the more his followers take it as gospel. Confidence in the electoral process has declined among Republicans since the last election. Does that raise the possibility of violence? Jan. 6, 2021, provides one big data point. […]

Apocalyptic rhetoric courses through the system. It is a mentality of “we must win or the country will be lost.” This amped up rhetoric is reflective of the nature of politics today, the need to supersize everything to grab the attention of voters focused on their work and their families and their friends.

I like Balz’s essay but he “both-sides” the issue of violent political rhetoric when it’s only Republican elected politicians and partisans that are a threat to the continued existence of democracy.


Dana Milbank also of The Washington Post, writes that America’s Jews have begun to think about the unthinkable.

For Jews, just 2 percent of the population but the targets of 55 percent of reported religiously motivated hate crimes, the trend revives centuries-old fears. This is not to compare Jewish victimhood to other groups that have had it much worse in this country; most Jews are White and benefit from associated privilege. But until the American experiment, Jews in the diaspora were marginalized, ghettoized, persecuted and eventually converted, exiled or killed. “As Jews, we know at some point the music stops,” Greenblatt said. “This is burned into the collective consciousness of every Jewish person.”

The United States has until now been different because of our constitutional protections of minority rights: our bedrock principles of equal treatment under law, free expression and free exercise of religion. Now, the MAGA crowd is attacking the very notion of minority rights. Ascendant Christian nationalists, with a sympathetic Supreme Court, are dismantling the separation between church and state. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), for example, calls the principle “junk that’s not in the Constitution” and claims “the church is supposed to direct the government.” Red states, again with an agreeable Supreme Court, are rolling back minority voting rights and decades of civil rights protections. And leading it all is Trump, threatening violence and going to “war with the rule of law,” as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) puts it.

Without these protections, there is no safety in the United States for Jews — or, really, for any of us. In a perverse sense, Trump’s MAGA movement shares the fear of becoming a persecuted minority. The whole notion of the bogus “great replacement” conspiracy belief is that some nefarious elite is scheming to import immigrants of color to marginalize White people.


Andrew Downie of the Guardian reports from São Paulo, Brazil about today’s Brazilian presidential election.

Brazilians head to the polls on Sunday in their most important election for years, with leftist challenger Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva the slight favourite to put an end to four years of destructive government by the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro.

Opinion polls on the eve of the ballot gave Lula, as the Workers’ party candidate is known, a lead of between four and eight percentage points.

However, polls before the first round underestimated the incumbent’s numbers and there is no guarantee he will not spring a surprise and win another four years in power.

The two candidates slugged it out in a desperate final debate on Friday night that started off with 30 minutes of name calling and improved little over the subsequent two hours.

Phys.org reports that a pair of researchers have found that comprehensive music classes correspond with higher test scores in math but only at higher-income schools.

The researchers found that taking music courses at higher- or mid-SES schools relates to higher math scores. Mackin Freeman said that’s not a surprise given the ways in which music and math overlap.

“If you think about it at an intuitive level, reading music is just doing math,” he said. “Of course, it’s a different type of math but it might be a more engaging form of math for students than learning calculus.”

However, the positive relationship between music course-taking and math achievement is primarily isolated to schools that serve more socially privileged students. The study suggests this could be because arts courses in low-SES schools are of lower quality and/or under-resourced. Students in low-SES schools also take fewer music and arts classes on average compared to their peers, also suggesting low-SES schools are under-resourced when it comes to arts courses.

“It’d be reasonable to expect that at under-resourced schools, the quality of the music program would differentiate any potential connection to other subjects,” Mackin Freeman said. “For programs as resource-intensive as something like band, under-resourced schools are less likely to even have working instruments, let alone an instructor who can teach students to read music in a way that they can make connections to arithmetic.”

Finally today…some catharsis.

That sounds familiar. Has it been seven years, already?

Have a good day, everyone!

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