Saturday, February 25, 2017

Beware the Shallow State

 I am old enough to remember when people who were educated, knowledgeable and experienced were respected rather than denigrated.  When becoming educated and knowledgeable and experienced were common goals among children of all classes and races, strongly encouraged by their less-educated parents.

Yes, the Know-Nothings have always been with us, but they have never been championed by a major political party.  Until now.

Tom Sullivan at Hullabaloo:

At Foreign Policy, David Rothkopf writes that it is not the "deep state" Americans need to worry about, but the emergent shallow one that "actively eschews experience, knowledge, relationships, insight, craft, special skills, tradition, and shared values." With Trump as its avatar, the shallow state believes:
... knowledge is not a useful tool but a cunning barrier elites have created to keep power from the average man and woman. The same is true for experience, skills, and know-how. These things require time and work and study and often challenge our systems of belief. Truth is hard; shallowness is easy.
If this is greatness, it is not the kind lovingly preserved in museums as a cultural legacy. If this is greatness, it will not produce classic works of art treasured for celebrating "What a piece of work is a man!"

Rothkopf writes:
Art is not an adornment to society. It is not a luxury. It is the purpose of society. It becomes our legacy. It is also, however, our teacher; it helps us consider that which is around us and what we want to be. It makes demands on us that in turn lead us to place demands on ourselves and those with whom we live and work. And that is precisely why these programs have been targeted by Trump. They are the enemies of the shallow state. So, too, of course, are the members of the press whom Trump has mislabeled as “enemies of the people.” The only people they are the enemy of are those who are at war with truth and thought: Trump and his supporters, the champions of the shallow state. That is why, while it is easy to simply be angry or to laugh at a president who doesn’t read or to be distracted by half-baked conspiracy theories like the deep state, we must recognize that the shallow state is much more pernicious. This administration has come to power because America has allowed public discourse, the quality of education we give our kids, and the standards we set for ourselves to decline. Trump seeks to institutionalize that decline. He is at war with that which has made our society great. He seeks to eviscerate the elements of our government and discredit those within our society who are champions of the depth on which any civilization depends.

The Resistance: Clarifying the Message

For those who don't understand poetry.

A banner reading "Refugees Welcome" was hung from the Statue of Liberty's
pedestal on Tuesday.
The banner measured about 3 by 20 feet, according to a report by NBC New York, and was unfurled across the statue's pedestal just before 1 p.m. National Park Service rangers removed it after they determined that the banner, which was hung with nylon ropes, could be removed without damaging the structure.
Shame on you, National Park Service.

The United States Park Service is investigating who hung the banner and how they did so, per NBC's report.

According to a report by Fusion, activists hung the banner in response to President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily barring visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
“We’ve seen since the election in November a lot of people who’ve never been political before, feeling like they needed to do something,” one said, as quoted by Fusion. “And I think this is one thing that four people today did, but I think that we’re seeing that across the country in a lot of different ways.”

'Refugees Welcome' banner unfurled on Statue of Liberty

Unfortunately, minimum wage hikes also help employers

When employers whine that they can't find qualified workers, what they really mean is that they can't find qualified workers stupid enough to accept slave wages.

But one ranch in California figured it out.

The LA Times reports that the biggest garlic producer in the country has adopted an intriguing new strategy:
Christopher Ranch, which grows garlic on 5,000 acres in Gilroy, Calif., announced recently that it would hike pay for farmworkers from $11 an hour to $13 hour this year, or 18%, and then to $15 in 2018. At the end of last year, the farm was short 50 workers needed to help peel, package and roast garlic. Within two weeks of upping wages in January, applications flooded in. Now the company has a wait-list 150 people long.

 “I knew it would help a little bit, but I had no idea that it would solve our labor problem,” Christopher said. He said the farm has been trying, without success, to draw new workers since 2014. Human resources frantically advertised open farm-labor positions, posting help-wanted ads online and urging employees to ply their networks for potential recruits. Nothing came of it. 
You get what you pay for, motherfuckers.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Resistanbce: Elections Chief to Lord Dampnut: Prove It

The trumpies are not pursuing their promised "investigation" of non-existent voter fraud, but they should still have to prove their accusation.
An FEC commissioner repeated her demand Tuesday that the White House provide proof for its claims that thousands of people were bused from Massachusetts into New Hampshire to vote illegally in the 2016 election. She also defied a letter from a Koch brothers-funded group that asked that she be investigated for her actions.

The commissioner made a similar demand for proof last week.

This Isn't Law Enforcement; It's Military Action

And Crimes Against Humanity.

As the Trump administration seeks to implement precisely what he said he would do and deport every undocumented immigrant in the country (although somehow I think the Irish undocumented Thimmigrants won’t quite be treated the same as those from El Salvador and I wonder why that is….), it tries to claim that it wants to prevent panic while destroying lives and families. OK. Because what it is really doing is Making America White Again.


It is my feeling that ICE agents should be seen as people committing crimes against humanity. If you choose to deport people for a living, you are a major cog in an unjust machine. These are the active enemies of everything that you should hold dear about this nation. And they deserve to be treated with utter contempt by everyone who knows them. There are plenty of other law enforcement or public safety jobs they could hold. This is the most despicable possible job. Shun them as racist thugs.
Think that's an exaggeration?

An undocumented woman in desperate need of brain surgery has been forcibly removed from a Texas hospital — and her relatives in New York fear she could lose her life, a family representative said early Thursday.
Sara Beltran-Hernandez was detained after trying to migrate to the Big Apple from El Salvador without proper documentation in November 2015, family spokeswoman Melissa Zuniga told the Daily News. Beltran-Hernandez has been held at the Prairieland Detention Center in Alvarado, Texas ever since, as her Queens-based family members have tried to petition for her asylum.
Earlier this month, Beltran-Hernandez, 26, began complaining about severe headaches, nosebleeds and memory loss. Last week, she collapsed and was subsequently taken to a hospital. Doctors diagnosed her with a brain tumor and determined that she needed surgery.
But Zuniga told The News that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents forcibly removed Beltran-Hernandez from the Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth on Wednesday evening.
“They had her tied up from hands and ankles,” Zuniga said. “She was brought in a wheelchair and is not being given treatment even though her nose continues to bleed and she has told them her head is exploding.”
Beltran-Hernandez had been put on a surgery waitlist over the weekend, according to Zuniga. But when Beltran-Hernandez’ relatives called on Wednesday night, the surgery was suddenly off the table.
“ICE was preparing paper work to get her back to the detention center,” Zuniga said.
We need to find out who these terrible human beings and confront them. We need to make working for ICE so shameful for these people that they quit. More directly, we need to take radical action to stop this. Maybe I don’t know what the right path is, but we need to do something. This is horrifying and despicable and we cannot allow it to continue.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Resistance: Confronting Mitch

Protesters outside, sharp questions inside.

Mitch McConnell expected the protesters outside the Republican-friendly luncheon in heavily Republican Anderson County. He didn’t expect what he found inside the American Legion hall.

The questions from the $10-a-plate crowd, which heard the Senate Majority Leader offer his usual defense of the Trump administration and the GOP-led Senate, were not gentle.

At one point, a frustrated audience member implored him: “Answer the question, Mitch!” after he offered a curt answer to a woman asking about lost coal jobs in Eastern Kentucky.
As he began leaving the event, escorted by state and local law enforcement, a few in the crowd booed. Someone shouted “Do your job.”

Al Cross, the director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky and a veteran political reporter, said it’s unusual for McConnell to be put in that kind of position at in-state events.

“Typically, when he goes out and does these town halls, they’re not widely announced,” he said.
This wasn't a town hall.  It was a $10-dollar a plate fundraiser, and the fucking coward brought a battalion of local and state police to protect him from elderly and disabled constituents.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Resistance: Seculars Stand Up and Speak Out

We are skeptics, so we need to face reality. We are humanists, so we need to take action when human beings are in danger. We of all people do not want to be the ones standing in the rubble when it’s over, insisting to anyone who will listen that we didn’t know.

And the Roundups Begin

After Kristallnacht, this is the next step.  But it's just the "criminals" with parking tickets so don't worry.
According to more recent reports, a blueprint has been put together for Trump’s immigration crackdown.
On Monday, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly issued memos to senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that provide instructions for implementing two executive orders President Trump signed January 25, regarding immigration enforcement on the US/Mexico border and within the United States…
Under President Trump, the massive immigration enforcement “machine” of the US will now have nearly free rein to arrest, detain, and deport unauthorized immigrants wherever it finds them.
In addition to deputizing local law enforcement to arrest undocumented immigrants, the challenge is to figure out what to do with them. They’ve come up with two solutions. First of all, there is this deplorable plan:
It can take years after an immigrant is apprehended for that immigrant to get deported, because immigration courts are massively backlogged. The executive order signed by President Trump lays out a possible solution: sending people back “to the territory from which they came” while their cases are still pending in immigration court.
Basically, it’s a “deport first and ask questions later” strategy.
Secondly, the Trump administration is planning to detain a lot more people.
But given that America’s detention system for immigrants has been running at full capacity for some time now, where is the president going to put all of these people before deporting them?
In new jails, for starters. In the same executive order that called for the construction of a southern border wall, Trump instructed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to build out its sprawling network of immigration detention centers. Starting “immediately,” his order said, ICE should construct new facilities, lease space for immigrants alongside inmates in existing local jails, and sign new contracts—likely with private prison companies.
The initial targeting of people like DREAMers, victims of domestic violence and those who are cooperating with law enforcement sent a chilling message that is designed to quiet undocumented immigrants who might otherwise fight back against these efforts. That is why they will depend on those of us who are legal citizens to raise our voices in resistance before it’s too late.
This is going to cost the taxpayers billions and will result in nothing positive for our country and untold misery for many people. But it will make bigots have an orgasm and that's what really matters in America these days. They will surely enjoy the sight of Latino families being torn apart. They hate them that much:

By the way, immigration from Mexico is the lowest it's been in over 40 years. They're "solving" a "crisis" that doesn't exist, purely to give their bigoted followers a thrill up the leg.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bevin Lied to Justify Right to Slave Labor

Just like his hero. Repugs can never tell the truth about the anti-worker, anti-family, racist, sexist, greedhead and un-American policies they are shoving down our throats, because if they did, they'd never win another election.

Automaker Volvo and Swedish officials dispute Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s recent claim that Volvo refused to consider locating a production plant in Kentucky in 2015 because the state did not have a so-called “right-to-work” law at the time.

Insider Louisville reported Friday that a spokeswoman for the Embassy of Sweden denied Bevin’s claim that Ambassador Bjorn Lyrvall told the governor that Volvo would have set up shop in Kentucky if it had a law that allows employees to work in unionized workplaces without paying union dues. Also, Volvo Car USA denied that a right-to-work law was a requirement as it searched for locations.

“I sat next to the ambassador from Sweden a couple of weeks ago who told me Volvo wanted to be here,” Bevin said during his State of the Commonwealth Address. “Volvo could have been here, would have been here, had we been serious about passing right to work, had we shown any interest in them as a company with any real significance, they would have been here. Those are the kind of companies that want to see this.”

In a response to Insider Louisville, the ambassador’s spokeswoman, Monica Enqvist, said “there must be some kind of misunderstanding with regard to what the Ambassador said during his talk with Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky.”

Insider Louisville also reported that Volvo Car USA replied to a tweet about Bevin’s comments by saying “We have never confirmed which locations we considered, but a ‘right to work’ bill was not a requirement.”

Volvo broke ground on a factory in Berkeley County, South Carolina on Sept. 25, 2015. Production of the Volvo S60 is expected to begin there in late 2018. The company must invest $600 million and create 2,000 jobs by Dec. 31, 2023, in order to get more than $200 million in incentives from the state and county, according to The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C.
Bevin’s office did not respond to a request for comment, according to Insider Louisville.
Kentucky’s Republican-led General Assembly approved a “right-to-work” law last month over the loud protests of union workers. Bevin immediately signed it into law.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Resistance: Wisdom From Suvivors

One march, one rally, one law won't do it.  Reaction never quits, so we have to keep fighting.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

No Rights for Ideas

“ Ideas should be discussed without any fear of any physical consequences of any kind.
“I understand that punching Nazis is fun, and I don’t feel one bit sad for Richard Spencer, but this is my official position.
” ”
“He that would...
Ideas should be discussed without any fear of any physical consequences of any kind. 
“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself. ” -Thomas Paine

Your Beliefs

Divine Irony: