Posted by: maboulette | July 3, 2020

4th Of July


For the 4th of July, a little history most people will never know.  These are interesting Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall.


There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.  The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 45 years since the last casualties.


The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.


There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.

39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.

8,283 were just 19 years old.

The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.

12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.

5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.

One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.

997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam.

1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam.

31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.

Thirty-one sets of parents lost two of their sons.

54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia. I wonder why so many from one school?

8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.

244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.

Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.

West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.


These Marines led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest. And in the patriot camaraderie typical of Morenci’s mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High in 1966 enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.


LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.

The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 – 2,415 casualties were incurred.


For most Americans who read this you may only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass-away, haunted with these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons, and daughters. There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.


Related articles

Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall 

24 Fact about the Memorial Wall  


Posted by: maboulette | June 28, 2020

Carlo Acutis. Servant of God.


A London-born “computer genius” who died in Italy from leukemia at 15 is one step closer to becoming a saint now that the Vatican has attributed a miracle to him.


Carlo Acutis, who died in Milan in 2006, was credited with healing a Brazilian boy who recovered from a rare illness after praying to him, asking him to communicate with God. Carlo will be beatified in Assisi, Italy, in October this year — the final step before sainthood.


Beatification — recognition by the church that a person has entered heaven and has the capacity to intercede on behalf of those who pray in his or her name — is the final step before sainthood.


The coronavirus pandemic delayed his beatification, which will take place in the fall in Assisi, Italy, where he is buried. Once a second miracle is approved by a council of scientists, he will become the Patron Saint of the Internet.


Carlo’s mother, Antonia Salzano, said that, in many ways, her son was a normal teenager who liked playing video games, but one who also had “a special spiritual life and gifts on the internet.”   Using the family’s small, old computer, Carlo taught himself how to program and built a website cataloging miracle around the world.  Carlo also supported classmates who were bullied and helped the homeless.

“When he contracted leukemia at age 15, his faith helped him to see his suffering differently,” Brenden Thompson, the CEO of Catholic Voices. said.


At Carlo’s funeral, the church was “so flooded that many people had to remain outside,” his mother said. Catholics from around the world then petitioned the Vatican, calling for the teen to be named a saint.


The Catholic Church recognizes about 10,000 saints, according to the Pew Research Center — including the patron saints of animals, lost causes, and children — but very few child saints.


From the day he received his First Communion at the age of 7, he never missed an appointment with daily Holy Mass.  He always tried, either before or after the Eucharistic celebration, to pause before the Tabernacle to adore the Lord, always truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. Our Lady was his great confidant and he never failed to honor her by reciting the Holy Rosary every day. Carlo’s modern and up-to-date ways combined perfectly with his profound Eucharistic life and Marian devotion, which helped to make him that very special boy who everyone admires and loves.


To quote Carlo’s own words:

“Our goal must be the infinite and not the finite. The Infinity is our homeland. We are always expected in Heaven”. Another phrase of his was: “All people are born as originals but many die as photocopies”.

To move towards this goal and not “die as photocopies” Carlo said that our compass must be the Word of God, that we have to measure up to constantly. But to reach such a lofty goal very special measures are necessary: The Sacraments and prayer. In particular, Carlo placed the Sacrament of the Eucharist at the center of his life and he called it “my highway to Heaven”.


Further reading:

Video of Carlo talking, music, life photo



It is being reported that the levels of antibody in those who recovered from COVID-19, sharply fall in 2-3 months after infection in both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.  This is according to a study in China.  This raises questions about the length of time of any immunity against this novel coronavirus.


This research has been published in Nature Medicine and highlights risks of using COVID-19 “immunity passports” and supports prolong use of public health interventions such as social distancing and isolating for those most at risk, researchers said.


Health authorities in some countries such as Germany are currently debating the ethics as well as the practice of allowing individuals who test positive for antibodies to freely move in society more than those who do not.


This research studied 37 symptomatic patients and 37 asymptomatic patients and found of those who tested positive for the presence of the IgG antibody – main types of antibodies induced following infection, 90% of them showed sharp declines in 2-3 months.


The median percent of decrease was over 70% for both patients who were symptomatic and asymptomatic.  For neutralizing serum antibodies, the median percent of decrease for those symptomatic was 11.7%, while in those who were asymptomatic it was 8.3%


This study was conducted by scientists at Chongqing Medical University, which is a branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and other institutes. 


Jin Dong-Yan, a professor of virology at the University of Hong Kong was not part of the research group, says the study does not negate the possibility that other parts of the immune system could offer protection.  Some cells memorize how to cope with a virus when it is first infected and is able to muster effective protection if there is a 2nd round of infection, the professor said.  Scientists are still investigating whether this mechanism works for the new coronavirus.

The finding in this paper doesn’t mean the sky is falling,” he said, also noting that the number of patients studied was small.


noval virus

The National Institutes of Health abruptly cut off funding to a long-standing, well-regarded research project on bat coronaviruses only after the White House specifically told it to do so, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


Fauci made the revelation Tuesday at a Congressional hearing on the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is caused by a coronavirus that is genetically linked to those found in bats. Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Texas) asked Fauci why the NIH abruptly canceled funding for the project, which specifically worked to understand the risk of bat coronaviruses jumping to humans and causing devastating disease.

Fauci responded to Veasey saying: “It was cancelled because the NIH was told to cancel it.”

“And why were they told to cancel it?” Veasey pressed.

“I don’t know the reason, but we were told to cancel it,” Fauci said.


After the hearing, Fauci clarified to Politico that it was the White House that told the NIH to cancel the funding. An unnamed White House official told Politico that the White House did encourage the funding cut, but ultimately it was the Department of Health and Human Services—of which the NIH is a part—that made the final decision. An HHS spokesperson said only that the funding was cut because “the grantee was not in compliance with NIH’s grant policy.”


The involvement of the White House is a new wrinkle in a story that has appalled and angered scientists. Since the grant was nixed in late April, scientists had speculated that politics and a conspiracy theory played a role in canceling funding for the research, which was in good scientific standing and seen as critical work. The grant, titled “Understanding the risk of bat coronavirus emergence,” was originally funded by the NIH in 2014 and renewed for another five years in 2019 after receiving an outstanding peer-review score.


The research is run by EcoHealth Alliance Inc., a nonprofit based in New York, but it collaborates with a virologist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China, who works with bat coronaviruses. The WIV became the center of a conspiracy theory that suggested that the pandemic coronavirus originated in or escaped from a lab at the institute.


On April 17, a reporter brought up that conspiracy theory and EcoHealth’s grant to President Trump during a press conference. The reporter asked: “Why would the US give a grant like that to China?” Trump responded that We will end that grant very quickly.”


In an email to EcoHealth on April 19—two days later—Dr. Michael Lauer, NIH deputy director for Extramural Research, reportedly wrote:

“The scientific community believes that the coronavirus causing COVID-19 jumped from bats to humans likely in Wuhan where the COVID-19 pandemic began. There are now allegations that the current crisis was precipitated by the release from Wuhan Institute of Virology of the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. Given these concerns, we are pursuing suspension of Wuhan Institute of Virology from participation in federal programs.”


The funding was terminated on April 24. In a termination letter to EcoHealth, the NIH wrote: “At this time, NIH does not believe that the current project outcomes align with the program goals and agency priorities.”


NIH abruptly cuts coronavirus research funding, alarming scientists

In an emailed statement to Ars Wednesday, the NIH did not respond to questions about the cancellation, saying only that “NIH does not discuss internal deliberations on grant terminations.”


Following Dr. Fauci’s revelations Tuesday, EcoHealth President Peter Daszak tweeted that it was an “obvious case of political interference.”

“Eventually, we’ll all know the shoddy truth of how a conspiracy theory pushed by this administration led @NIHDirector to block the only US research group still working in China to analyze COVID origins,” he wrote. “Thanks to this China can now do the research, we can’t!”


Scientists, meanwhile, have roundly refuted claims that the WIV was the source of the new coronavirus, noting that natural spillover from animals is the most likely source.


In an April 18 comment to ScienceInsider, the WIV virologist working with EcoHealth—Shi Zhengli—also disputed the link, saying that “the closest progenitor of COVID-19 virus is still mysterious and it’s definitely not from my lab or any other labs… It’s a shame to make the science so complicated.”


Scientists also continue to express dismay at the apparent political interference. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) released a statement Wednesday saying that such orders to cancel funding “will undermine the integrity of science funding and public trust. We urge Congress to use its oversight authority to ensure that the integrity of government science agencies is not compromised.”


Posted by: maboulette | June 20, 2020

Happy Father’s Day

On this day in 1958 my father died. I was 10 years old. Three days later my mother and I buried my father. I have never written much about my Dad and I am not sure why – so today I would like to honor my father – Capt. Reginald Martin George, USMC Ret.

Most everything in my father’s life began and ended with the Marine Corp. He ran away when he was 17 to join the Corp but the Marines had to get my grandmother’s permission. Surprise, Surprise – my grandmother said yes! So, at the age of 17 my father pledged his life to the Corp.

Dad served in WWII and the Korean War and every Marine Base in the States. Before I was the age of 10, we had moved 7 times. While in Korea his health got bad and the Marine Corp retired him. He had been in the Marines for 23 years and my father was lost after that. My mother always said that he really died the day the Marine Corp retired him.


Dad was 6-foot-tall with the deepest blue eyes and had the nickname of “Tex” while in the Marines. He was devoted to the Marine Corp, my mother, his mother, and me – in that order, I think. Every Sunday when he was home, we drove to Bang, Texas to visit my grandmother. After his death, every Sunday my mother and I would visit my grandmother and the cemetery where Dad was buried.


My father and I did everything together when he was home – he would always take me to the movies, bowling, or we would fly kites together. When I was about 8 years old, I got mad about something and said I was going to run away so Dad packed my bag and put it and me on the front porch and locked the door. I thought he was serious so I sat on the swing on the front porch and cried until it got dark and Dad opened the door and carried me and my bag back in the house. Mother told me later that Dad stayed right by the front room window to make sure I was ok.

I loved my father just like every little girl does – he was my hero, my friend, and the funniest person in our family. And he was a devoted Marine. Almost every day since that Father’s Day in 1958, my life has seemed only half full. 

So, to my father every Marine salutes you – Happy Father’s Day Tex – you are still remembered!


Posted by: maboulette | June 15, 2020

Greenwood District, Tulsa Massacre


Greenwood is a historic freedom colony in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As one of the most prominent concentrations of African-American businesses in the United States during the early 20th century, it was popularly known as America’s “Black Wall Street”.


Many African Americans came to Oklahoma during the Native American removal. When these tribes came to Oklahoma, their slaves, or people of color living among them as tribal members (notably in the case of the Seminoles) were forced to move with them. This proved problematic as rules concerning the freedom of African Americans differed between tribes. Others later traveled to Oklahoma for the land rushes in 1889 through 1891 and continued in the years leading to 1907, the year Oklahoma became a state, hoping that a majority-black population could build a firewall against further extension of the system of racial degradation and segregation known as Jim Crow. Oklahoma represented the hope of change and provided a chance for African Americans to not only leave the lands of slavery but oppose the harsh racism of their previous homes. They traveled to Oklahoma by wagons, horses, trains, and even on foot.


White residents of Tulsa referred to the area north of the Frisco railroad tracks as “Little Africa.” The success of Black-owned businesses there led Booker T. Washington to visit in 1905 and encourage residents to continue to build and cooperate among themselves, reinforcing what he called “industrial capacity” and thus securing their ownership and independence. Washington highlighted that he had directed the creation of a 4,000 acre totally black-owned district in Tuskegee, under the direction of C. W. Greene, to demonstrate his vision; it became known as Greenwood a few years after it was formally organized. The Tulsa community was formally organized in 1906 and took the name Greenwood. By 1921, it was home to about 10,000 black residents.


Greenwood Avenue in Tulsa was important because it ran north for over a mile from the Frisco Railroad yards, and it was one of the few streets that did not cross through both black and white neighborhoods. The citizens of Greenwood took pride in this fact because it was something they had all to themselves and did not have to share with the white community of Tulsa. Greenwood Avenue was home to the Black commercial district, whose many red brick buildings belonged to Black Americans and housed thriving businesses, including grocery stores, banks, libraries, and much more. Greenwood was one of the most affluent African-American communities in the country, thus earning the name of “Black Wall Street.”


Greenwood, Tulsa was one of the most commercially successful and affluent majority African-American communities in the United States. Some economists theorize this forced many African-Americans to spend their money where they would feel welcomed, effectively insulating cash flow to within the black community and allowing Greenwood to flourish and prosper.


In “Black Wall Street”, there were African-American attorneys, real-estate agents, dentists, entrepreneurs, and doctors who offered their services in the neighborhood.  One primary example of the black entrepreneurial spirit is illustrated by J.B. Stradford. He had graduated from Indiana University with a law degree and had moved to Greenwood to purchase various land vacancies in the area. After buying these vacant spaces, he would then sell them to African-American residents for redevelopment so that these empty spaces could be transformed into residential houses and profitable businesses. By 1921, Stradford had been considered one of the wealthiest African-Americans in the country as he owned numerous properties in Greenwood and even had his hotel named after him: Stratford Hotel. In addition to Mr. Stradford, there were also investments and reinvestments into the community. One executive of the local YMCA recalled that there were several barbershops, several grocery stores, and even a funeral home service. Greenwood was known to be an active religious community as there were numerous black-owned churches, Christian youth services, and other religious organizations.


Many white residents felt intimidated by the prosperity, growth, and size of “Black Wall Street”.  Not only was Greenwood, expanding in population, but it was also expanding its physical boundaries, which eventually collided with the boundaries of white neighborhoods. According to several newspapers and articles at the time, there were reports of hateful letters sent to prominent business leaders within “Black Wall Street,” which demanded that they stop overstepping their boundaries into the white segregated portion of Tulsa. White residents grew increasingly frustrated and anxious about the wealth of the Greenwood community.


The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 started when police accused a Black shoe shiner named Rowland of “assaulting” a white woman.  On the morning after the incident, Detective Henry Carmichael and Henry C. Pack, a black patrolman, located Rowland on Greenwood Avenue and detained him. Pack was one of two black officers on the city’s police force, which then included about 45 officers. Rowland was initially taken to the Tulsa city jail at First and Main. Late that day, Police Commissioner J. M. Adkison said he had received an anonymous telephone call threatening Rowland’s life. He ordered Rowland transferred to the more secure jail on the top floor of the Tulsa County Courthouse.


The Tulsa race massacre (also called the Tulsa race riot, the Greenwood Massacre, or the Black Wall Street Massacre) of 1921 took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921, when mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It has been called “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history”.  The attack, carried out on the ground and from private aircraft, destroyed more than 35 square blocks of the district.


A subsequent gathering of angry local whites outside the courthouse where Rowland was being held, and the spread of rumors he had been lynched, alarmed the local black population, some of whom arrived at the courthouse armed. Shots were fired and 12 people were killed: 10 white and 2 black.


At around 1 a.m., the white mob began setting fires, mainly in businesses on commercial Archer Street at the southern edge of the Greenwood district. As crews from the Tulsa Fire Department arrived to put out fires, they were turned away at gunpoint. There are many who support the claim of holding firefighters at gunpoint as they suppressed the firing of guns by the rioters and disarmed them of their firearms.  Yet others state that they were fired upon by the white mob, “It would mean a fireman’s life to turn a stream of water on one of those negro buildings.” There was shooting all morning. There is not a chance in the world to get through that mob into the negro district.. By 4 a.m., an estimated two dozen black-owned businesses had been set ablaze.


As news traveled among Greenwood residents in the early morning hours, many began to take up arms in defense of their neighborhood, while others began a mass exodus from the city. Throughout the night both sides continued fighting, sometimes only sporadically.


As news of these deaths spread throughout the city, mob violence exploded. White rioters rampaged through the black neighborhood that night and morning killing men and burning and looting stores and homes, and only around noon the next day Oklahoma National Guard troops managed to get control of the situation by declaring martial law. About 10,000 black people were left homeless, and property damage amounted to more than $1.5 million in real estate and $750,000 in personal property (equivalent to $32.25 million in 2019). Their property was never recovered nor were they compensated for it.  It is estimated that over 3000 blacks were buried in a mass grave.


Many survivors left Tulsa, while black and white residents who stayed in the city were silent for decades about the terror, violence, and losses of this event. The massacre was largely omitted from local, state, and national histories.


In 1996, seventy-five years after the massacre, a bipartisan group in the state legislature authorized formation of the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. Members were appointed to investigate events, interview survivors, hear testimony from the public, and prepare a report of events. There was an effort toward public education about these events through the process. The Commission’s final report, published in 2001, said that the city had conspired with the mob of white citizens against black citizens; it recommended a program of reparations to survivors and their descendants.  The state passed legislation to establish some scholarships for descendants of survivors, encourage economic development of Greenwood, and develop a memorial park in Tulsa to the massacre victims. The park was dedicated in 2010. In 2020, the massacre finally became part of the Oklahoma school curriculum


Other reading:

1921 Greenwood Tulsa Massacre

Shifting Collective Memory In Tulsa – Opinion piece New York Times;

Tulsa Race Riot –

Posted by: maboulette | June 14, 2020

Speaker Pelosi Named Recipient of Profile in Courage Award


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was named the recipient of 2020 Profile in Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. The award, which has been called the Nobel Prize for public figures, is given for an act, or a lifetime, of political courage.


In a statement, Caroline Kennedy called Pelosi “the most important woman in American political history.”

The first female to be elected Speaker, and the first person elected Speaker in non-consecutive terms in over 60 years, Pelosi has served in the House of Representatives since 1987. The California Democrat worked with a Republican president to pass an economic bailout package in 2008, and with a Democratic president to pass landmark healthcare reform in 2010, despite strong opposition in both cases.

“So, the courage that that takes, really, I think, makes her an example and an inspiration for generations of Americans, men and women,” Kennedy said.

“Coming from Caroline, that’s an enormous compliment,” Pelosi told “Sunday Morning” However, going with it are shoulders for other people to stand on. I’ve stood on many women’s shoulders, who have paved the way for us. And now we have to pave the way for others. So, it’s about the future.”


Thin-skinned she is not, and with attacks coming at her even from within her own party, there is a lesson there:

“You have to be ready to take a punch, and you have to be ready to throw a punch,” Pelosi said. “I’m in the arena. And I know that when you’re in the arena, this is what you should expect. But if you don’t have the courage, don’t get in the arena.”


In 1956, as a young Senator and war hero, John F. Kennedy published “Profiles in Courage” about some of his own heroes – eight U.S. Senators who did what they thought was right, not what was popular, even if it destroyed their political careers. The book won the Pulitzer Prize.


As a teenager, Pelosi was pictured standing next to Senator Kennedy, her idol:

“My father was the mayor of Baltimore and there was a big dinner, black tie dinner, where Senator Kennedy was going to speak. My mother, she said, ‘If you want to go in my place to the dinner, please do.’


Caroline Kennedy, the president’s daughter, said,

“In 1989, our family was thinking about how to memorialize him and remember him, and we decided to do it by honoring the quality that he thought was most essential in public life, which was courage.”


Since then, every year, the Profile in Courage Award has been given, without regard to party. It is silver and heavy and made to look like a ship’s lantern.

 “We wanted something that would be both symbolic and beautiful,” Caroline said. “Hopefully, the symbolism of the lantern will also help us all go forward, following our courageous leader.”


In his introduction to “Profiles in Courage,” JFK wrote:

“Compromise need not mean cowardice,” a surprising concept in today’s climate of political divisiveness, along with bipartisanship.


For more info:



Posted by: maboulette | June 11, 2020

Election Model Predicts Trump Suffers Historic Defeat


A national election model has predicted that Donald Trump will suffer a “historic defeat” in November’s election due to the coronavirus economic recession.  This model by Oxford Economics uses unemployment, disposable income, and inflation to predict the elections outcome.


According to the model, Trump will lose in a landslide, capturing just 35% of the popular vote, according to a report by CNN.  This model has predicted the winner of the popular vote in all of the past 18 elections and is a total reversal of what the model was predicting prior to the coronavirus outbreak hitting the United States.


Before the public health crisis, Oxford Economics predicted that Trump would win about 55% of the vote, CNN reported.

“It would take nothing short of an economic miracle for pocketbooks to favor Trump,” Oxford Economics wrote in the report.


Additionally, the economy will be a “nearly insurmountable obstacle for Trump come November.”  The report further stated that the downturn has emerged in light of the poor economic backdrop that the US is now facing and this model assumes that this would still be the case at the time of the election.

“The economy would still be in a worse state than at the depth of the Great Depression,” Oxford Economics said.


Experts say that the outcome of the election could still very much depend on how the pandemic pans out in the next months.

If new infections really pick up, people will conclude Trump opened the country too soon,” Greg Valliere, chief US policy strategist at AGF Investments told CNN. “But if new infections drop, Trump will get some credit.”

They also note that the 6 months run up to polling day might give Trump time to reframe his campaign against Joe Biden and pass the blame of coronavirus onto China.


Voter turnout could also swing the election one way or another, according to the report.


The model is said to have correctly predicted the popular vote in every election since 1948, other than 1968 and 1976.  But researchers admit it has “inherent limitations”, excluding non-economic factors such as a candidate’s agenda or likeability.

“Traditional models work in normal times. But we’re not in normal times right now,” Mr. Valliere said.

This model also does not take into effect, the killing of George Floyd and the protests that have taking place since then.  This is due to the model excluding non-economic factors.


Further reading

The Americans who think that coronavirus is a hoax

Do you need a face mask and where can you buy one?

Posted by: maboulette | June 9, 2020

No Charges In Williamson County Texas Case



A black man stopped by Texas cops being filmed by a reality TV show died after being repeatedly tased as he begged, “I can’t breathe” — with the final bolt coming after he cried, “Save me,” police footage shows.


“I have congested heart failure!” Javier Ambler, 40, repeatedly sobbed as officers ordered him to turn face down on the ground after he was chased for refusing to dim his headlights, the newly released footage shows.  Gasping, the former postal worker then begged several times, “I can’t breathe!” according to the footage of the fatal arrest in Austin last March that only emerged this week.


“I’m not resisting … Sir, I can’t breathe! Please. Please!” he sobbed, as the arrest was filmed by a crew from A&E’s “Live PD,” which is being accused of refusing to release the footage to investigators.  “Save me,” Ambler begged, just before a taser was deployed for the final time.




The death has been ruled a homicide — but no disciplinary action or charges have been filed, according to the Austin American-Statesman.


One of the officers was heard admitting he was “pretty sure I just broke his finger” as they cuffed him — with footage showing officers trying to administer CPR as they failed to find a pulse.  Deputies performed CPR for four minutes, and medics worked another 50 minutes before Ambler was declared dead at an Austin hospital, the paper says. A death-in-custody report said he had never tried to assault any of the deputies nor make any threats, the American-Statesman said.


Ambler’s parents — a retired Army veteran and a hospital clerk — said that until last week they had only been told their son died in police custody. “Live PD” never aired the footage.  The police footage and documents only emerged after media pressure from both the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV, they say.


Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore told both media outlets that she plans  to present the case to a grand jury.  She accused both Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody and “Live PD” producers of repeatedly stonewalling efforts to obtain evidence or interviews, the reports said.  The DA was also concerned that the TV crew may have influenced the officers’ tactics. The officer who chased Ambler, Deputy J.J. Johnson — who is black — had a “Live PD” crew with him, as did his first-responding backup, Deputy Zachary Camden, who is white.

“It is of very serious concern to any of us who are in law enforcement that the decision to engage in that chase was driven by more of a need to provide entertainment than to keep Williamson County citizens safe,” Moore told the outlets.


An autopsy showed he died of congestive heart failure and hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with morbid obesity “in combination with forcible restraint,” the two outlets said.


Ambler’s mother, Maritza Ambler, told KVUE-TV that she warned him to be wary when dealing with law enforcement. “I would mention it to him, just to remind him, he is a minority,” she said. “You have that against you, your color.”  His father, Javier Ambler Sr., told the station he has needed help for depression because of the death. “Dads should not have to bury their sons,” he said.


Posted by: maboulette | June 8, 2020

Not Smart Enough To Be President


President Donald Trump has described himself as a “very stable genius,” but economist and former Republican Bruce Bartlett believes that he is anything but. Writing on Twitter, Bartlett promotes a new piece he’s written for The New Republic that he says deeply examines the question of whether Trump is “too stupid to be president.”


In the piece itself, Bartlett notes that stories of Trump’s ignorance on policy matters are legendary, and he says there is no evidence that things have improved over the last three-and-a-half years.

“From the earliest days of his administration, it has been obvious to everyone who has come in direct contact with him that Trump knows very, very little about any policy issue or even how the federal government operates. Among those most alarmed by Trump’s ignorance and incompetence were those in the military and intelligence community,” he writes. “After a National Security Council meeting on January 19, 2018, Defense Secretary James Mattis told aides that Trump had the understanding of ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader.’”


Bartlett then runs through a litany of both Trump advisers and foreign diplomats marveling at his colossal ignorance, including some aides who believe Trump does not even understand that some foreign countries are in different time zones.

“With the Trump presidency, H.L. Mencken’s 1920 prediction that one day the White House ‘will be adorned by a downright moron’ has now come true,” Bartlett concludes.


It appears that Trump’s performance in office has had a negative effect on assessments of his mental acuity. The Quinnipiac poll tracked assessments of Trump’s mental sharpness from 2016 through 2018, asking,

“Would you say that Donald Trump is intelligent, or not?”

When first asked in November 2016, 74 percent of people said yes, and only 21 percent said no. A year later, however, those answering yes had fallen to 55 percent, while those say no rose to 41 percent. Ensuing polls found roughly the same ratio.


Closely related to doubts about Trump’s intelligence is the question of whether he is too ignorant to do his job. In 2016 and 2017, the Fox News poll asked people,

“Do you think Trump has the knowledge to serve effectively as president?”

In the five times the question was asked, 60 percent of people said no and just 40 percent or fewer said yes.


Further evidence that Trump is widely viewed as something shy of the sharpest knife in the drawer comes from another, far-from-leading query pollsters have posed about him. In September 2017, a Washington Post–ABC News poll asked people an open-ended question:

“What one word best describes your impression of Trump? Just the one word that best describes him?” 

The first most common term to describe him was “incompetent.” Other related characterizations in the top 10 included “idiot,” “ignorant,” and “unqualified.”


Quinnipiac asked a similar question in December 2017:

“What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of President Trump?”

 By far, the most frequent word that came to mind was “idiot.” Other common terms included “incompetent,” “moron,” “ignorant,” and “stupid.”


Of course, Trump regularly refers to himself as a “very stable genius.” As proof, he often mentions that he got an undergraduate degree from the prestigious Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, after spending his first two years at Fordham. However, there is no evidence that he was anything other than an ordinary student. He didn’t make the list of students in his class who graduated with honors. Reportedly, one of his professors, William T. Kelly, later said Trump was one of the dumbest students he ever had.


There is no evidence that Trump has ever sought the company of intellectuals or taken any advice even from those of a conservative belief. It’s ludicrous to imagine him hosting a dinner for 49 Nobel Prize winners, as John F. Kennedy did in 1962. (On that occasion, Kennedy said, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”)

Instead of flaunting knowledge for knowledge’s sake, Trump has leaned into a different model of intellectual achievement, one that falls under the broad heading of the familiar taunt,

 “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?”

Throughout his career, Trump has maintained that the proof of his smarts was in his fortune—that his early ascension to billionaire status reflected superior worldly wisdom across the board. This is a long-standing article of faith in American business folklore—the notion that  great wealth and the notable utilization that accompanies it confer, by definition, an important benefit to society. Trump contributes to this belief by suggesting that he is a a self made man rather than someone who inherited the vast bulk of his wealth. He also grossly inflates his net worth and downplays the extent to which it was achieved through inside connections and tax breaks rather than entrepreneurial skill. (In fact, Trump would have made more money investing his inheritance in a passive index fund than using it to finance his real estate empire.)


From the earliest days of his administration, it has been obvious to everyone who has come in direct contact with him that Trump knows very, very little about any policy issue or even how the federal government operates.


To this day, Trump pays very little attention to his intelligence briefings. He received repeated warnings about the coronavirus that he completely ignored—at great cost in terms of lives. Long after the seriousness of the pandemic became too serious for him to ignore and after many briefings on the subject, Trump continued to make ridiculous comments about unproven cures, including some that are simply ridiculous.


Trump’s mental failings are also painfully clear to foreign diplomats, who are professionally obligated to be frank and clear-eyed about him. Among themselves, diplomats early on shared tips on meeting with Trump: Don’t assume he knows anything about your country, flatter his ego, and be mindful of his extremely short attention span. He quickly became a “laughing stock,” as one unnamed official put it, at international meetings, where diplomats mocked his ignorance and limited vocabulary.






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