Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Resistance: The Navy Follows Its Own Rules

Sometimes, presidents have to learn the hard way that the military has rules - based on U.S. Constitution - that trump even the Commander in Chief.

Andrew Wolfson at the Courier:

An unspecified number of Navy Special Warfare forces have been punished for flying a Trump flag on a military convoy seen traveling through Louisville last month, igniting fears of an authoritarian state among some motorists.

An inquiry by the unit’s commander found that the service members “violated the spirit and intent of applicable DoD regulations concerning the flying of flags and the apparent endorsement of political activities,” according to a statement issued Tuesday by Lt. Jacqui Maxwell of the Naval Special Warfare Group 2 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

She said “administrative corrective measures” were taken with each individual based on their respective responsibility.” She declined to elaborate on the punishments or how many were punished.

The Navy had previously said flying the flag was inappropriate and that a command inquiry would be initiated.

The spotting of the flag-flying convoy on Interstate 65 on Jan. 29 ignited a furious national debate.

Economic Populism for Democratic Idiots

I still say that we need the working class people of color whose votes are being suppressed, but David Atkins makes a good argument against either ignoring the white working class who voted for trump or abandoning our principles to be even more repug-lite than ever.
The Party does not, in fact, need to throw women and minorities under the bus to win back the voters who defected from Obama to Trump. It simply needs to drive a much clearer progressive narrative, admit that the nation’s economy as it has been run for the last 30 years has serious problems that need fixing, and paint corporate and Wall Street elites as the real villains in the story of the white working class’ downward mobility.

That won’t, of course, win over all of Trump’s voters or even a significant minority of them. It’s not that Matt Yglesias and his like-minded friends are wrong about the prejudiced motivations of most of Trump’s electorate. They’re right.

But it’s important to distinguish between the core Trump voters and the marginal, persuadable ones. Most Trump voters are either regular Republicans who have always voted Republican and always will whether it’s Romney or Trump, or the new aggressive breed of hyper-racist trolls and alt-right Breitbart types. But those voters have always been on the other side of the fence. What has changed is that a not insignificant number of exurban and rural white voters who used to vote for Democrats even as recently as the Obama era increasingly feel that no one speaks for them. They might not particularly like Trump’s racism or uncouth behavior, but they don’t believe that Democrats understand their plight. They feel that Democrats take care of both the very rich and the very poor as well as minorities, but that no one at all is looking out for the person who makes $40K-50K a year in small town America–people who make too much for even expanded Medicaid but not enough to afford health insurance, whose children can’t win need-based scholarships but don’t have the grades to earn merit-based ones, and whose towns seem to be dying inexorably whether Democrats or Republicans hold office. These people aren’t impressed by offers to provide family leave or increase funding for schools. They want their old jobs back, and they want the people who took their future from them to be punished, whoever they may be.

It is these marginal, persuadable Trump voters who are causing the President’s public polling support to crater. If it were all about racism and prejudice, Trump would be riding high: after all, most of the President’s actions since taking office have been geared to stoke xenophobia and hatred. Yet the President is rapidly losing support in the polls, including from his former voting base. The Trump Regrets twitter account is replete with people who held their nose on his temperament expecting action on jobs, and are angry with the President’s lack of focus and lack of results.

An aggressively economic populist Democratic Party can win back a small but significant portion of these voters–enough to flip many competitive House districts and purple Senate seats. But those who have been calling the shots will need to be humble enough to admit their errors and stop pretending that the Party’s only choices are to backtrack on civil rights or stand their ground as beautiful losers who believe that America is already great. There is a third alternative that has nothing to do with triangulation.

The Democratic Party can and must aggressively fight for the white working class votes it lost with a forceful economic populism that gives no quarter on social justice, lifting up the downtrodden construction worker in Peoria while laying low the arrogant hedge fund manager in Manhattan–with liberty and genderless bathrooms for all.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Stage Two

What are you doing to prevent Stage Three?

We are at stage 2.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Science and Poets

Edgar Allan Poe was wrong when he accused science of “tearing at the poet’s heart.” On 
the contrary: it gives the poet something to write about. One has only to marvel at the cosmic beauty and wonders as seen through the Hubble Space Telescope in order to understand what this means.

John L. Indo
Houston, Texas

What Makes A Violent Society

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:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The United States of Misogyny

Via LGM:


KY General Assembly Dismembering Public Schools

Eliminate basic standards for what we teach our children.

Scrap rules preventing school boards from hiring their idiot nephews to teach.

bibble!  Lots n lots n lots uh bibble!

And that's before they hand billions of Kentucky tax dollars to private corporations and freakazoids to make a profit not teaching our kids.

In 1990, Kentucky progressives finally forced the then-Democratic General Assembly to pass sweeping education reform.  It wasn't perfect, but as the 21st century approached, it dragged the Commonwealth's medieval school system screaming and kicking into the the 20th century.

At a time of incessant alarms about the need to revamp American education, one state has actually done it -- Kentucky, where a landmark court ruling six years ago produced the most comprehensive overhaul of public education the nation has ever seen.

The 1990 Kentucky Education Reform Act, or KERA, has produced almost everything critics of American education call for: higher standards, more money, fairer allocation of resources, new curriculums, more creative teaching, better counseling, improved technology and a philosophy that acknowledges the myriad influences outside the classroom that affect learning.
 What KERA did not do, and why it has failed to correct the severe inequities in Kentucky's public education, is the one and only thing that works:  Investing massive amounts of money in eradicating poverty.  And overturning the property tax funding mechanism that gives rich counties more than they need and leaves poor counties with nothing.

Eliminating basic education standards will not solve either poverty or inequity.

Hiring everybody's unemployable relatives won't solve either poverty or inequity.

And forcing bibble down kids' throats will make both poverty and inequity worse.

Confiscatory taxes on the rich and corporations, equalizing funding for all counties, setting real standards for content and teachers and banning religion are our only hope.

The repugs running the legislature and executive branch have incarcerated that hope and are torturing it to death right now.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Are You Still Paying Social Security Tax? SUCKER!

The rich stopped paying yesterday.  But they are still getting the max payout when they retire.  When they retire on your taxes.

From Social Security Works:

This Thursday, millionaires and billionaires will stop paying into Social Security. To shine a spotlight on this unfair policy, Social Security Works is joining with Social Security Champion Bernie Sanders for a national day of action.
Right now, the way we fund Social Security―a regressive practice that only applies to the first $127,200 of a wage earner’s income―contributes to wealth and income inequality in the U.S.
A millionaire won’t pay anything into our Social Security system for at least the last ten and a half months of the year. This is because our Social Security system is primarily funded by payroll contributions (or FICA). Once the FICA cap of $127,200 is reached, millionaires and billionaires stop paying into the system, while the vast majority of Americans continue to pay in on all of their salary.
Social Security benefits provide critical financial stability to seniors, children, surviving spouses and veterans. It is outrageous that Republicans―at the behest of their Wall Street backers―continue to call for cuts to Social Security based on a future projected shortfall to the trust fund when all we need is to ask millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share!
Call Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Rand Paul today: (202) 224-3121
Suggested call script:
My name is Lisa Aug and I live in Kentucky.
I am calling because for the rest of the year, millionaires and billionaires won’t pay into Social Security.
I urge the Senator to support legislation that lifts the Social Security payroll cap so that the wealthy pay their fair share into Social Security all year--just like the rest of us.
Because when they do, we’ll be able to extend the lifespan of the Social Security Trust Fund and expand benefits for millions of Americans.
I urge the Senator to “scrap the cap” on Social Security payroll contributions. Thank you.
Thank you for standing with Social Security Works and Senator Bernie Sanders in our fight to protect and expand Social Security.
Thank you,
Michael Phelan
Social Security Works

Bevin Backs Bill to Force Suffering Kentuckian to Die of Heroin Overdoses

For the nth time, the heroin epidemic and resulting piles of bodies are not the consequence of giving pain relief to people in chronic pain.

They are the result of refusing legal pain relief to people in pain, thus forcing them to use heroin in desperation, thus dying of the fentanyl overdose dealers are distributing.

And now Governor "I don't give a flying fuck about your pain" Bevin is promoting a bill to make those desperate overdose deaths far, far worse.
From the Courier:
Gov. Matt Bevin testified Wednesday in support of a bill that would restrict some prescriptions for pain-killers to three-day supplies, saying the commonwealth has a moral obligation to take action to curb the opioid addictions afflicting Kentuckians.

“We’ve got to make it harder to get addicted,” Bevin told state lawmakers.
Nope, you're making it far more likely that people in chronic pain will turn to heroin, you heartless, brainless piece of shit.  It's no coincidence that Kentucky's heroin epidemic started as soon as state law started punishing doctor for prescribing necessary pain relief.
House Bill 333 would prohibit medical professionals from giving patients prescriptions for more than a three-day supply of a Schedule II controlled substance - such as narcotics like OxyContin and Dilaudid - to treat pain as an acute medical condition.

The legislation includes several exceptions to its proposed three-day rule, which will preserve prescribers' ability to make professional judgments on a case-by-case basis, according to its sponsor, Republican Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser of Taylor Mill.

Doctors who determine it’s medically necessary to give a patient a larger supply of a restricted drug could do so as long as they provide justification for that decision. And Schedule II drugs could be prescribed for more than three days to treat chronic or cancer-related pain as well as for patients in hospice care.

“The goal is to reduce the potential for addiction,” Moser said. "This is not telling providers that they can't prescribe more than three days."
Yes, it is.  Kentucky's viciously stupid KASPER prescription-monitoring program strips doctors of their medical license if they step out of line.  Doctors are terrified of losing their livelihoods if they prescribe so much as an aspirin.

Obviously, Bevin and the repug motherfuckers in the General Assembly have never suffered intense chronic pain and been denied relief because of KASPER.
I wish agonizing, unending pain on all of them.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Resistance: Sign for Neighbors

Yeah, yeah, bleeding heart liberal blah blah blah.  It's Resistance.
All around Danville, colorful signs are popping up with the simple phrase, “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor” in Arabic, English and Spanish.

“This message of welcome is universal,” Maggie Shapiro Haskett said.

Haskett had heard about the signs through a friend on Facebook. The signs started at Immanuel Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Va. Matthew Bucher, the pastor of the church, erected a large, hand-painted version of the sign at the church in response to rhetoric he’d heard coming out of the presidential election.

The three-color yard sign was created, and the PDF has been shared online, so others can order their own signs to be printed.

Haskett, disheartened by the current political tone, the Muslim ban and the travel ban, loved the signs. Inspired, she took to Facebook seeking out others who might want their own sign. She found a local printer willing to print at least 10 signs at $12 each.

“I posted it on Facebook and had 10 quickly. It spread like wildfire,” Haskett said.

She does orders of 10 at a time; so far, 50 signs have been made and sold. She is currently collecting more orders.

“People like it. … It’s an easy and public way to put kindness out there,” she said.
Kate Snyder, Haskett’s friend and coworker, saw the post, heard the story and ordered a sign.

“I like that the signs are not explicitly political,” Snyder said. “Welcoming people who have resettled here should cross all boundaries.”

“It’s a nice visual statement to say, ‘Everybody’s welcome here.’”

Snyder said she has used it as a conversation starter to talk to her children about the point of the signs, and about other languages and cultures, such as Syria.

Snyder said the credit locally goes to Haskett.

Haskett said she just hopes it makes a difference.

“I’m hopeful this will be a catalyst to find common ground,” she said.

Haskett, who is Jewish, has friends who are Muslim and expressed to her how they appreciate the signs and are excited about them. She said that her own lineage affected her in bringing the signs in.

“My grandparents came here fleeing persecution. That’s why I’m here. It feels important to my part of the community to stand up and extend the hand of welcome,” Haskett said.

“This message of welcome is universal,” Haskett said. “My hope is this is something we can all agree on — to be welcoming.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Resistance: Solidarity

Scott Walker used this trick in Wisconsin six years ago, and it's not working any more.  Cops and firefighters know they can't trust elected repugs any more, and their only hope of survival is solidarity.

Cops and firefighters across America voted for the Trump and the Party of Law And Order® and all that, and they expect Republicans to treat them well.  The problem with that is cops and firefighters are still government employees with strong public sector unions, pensions, and benefits, and Republicans will not let those remain.  Iowa is a good example of this, where first responders are finding out the hard way that they voted themselves into oblivion.
.In the highly contentious battle to extinguish public worker rights, Iowa Republicans have attempted a divide-and-conquer approach to pit unions against each other. Their legislation splits public workers into two groups, one that’s “public safety workers,” and one that isn’t. The idea was to strip away nearly all collective bargaining rights from most public employees, but keep most of it for police and firefighters, who are politically more difficult to go after.

It didn’t work.

Hundreds of helmeted firefighters have flooded the Statehouse in the last week and police officers and sheriffs have lined up at committee hearings to speak against it. They don’t trust that this carve-out for their jobs will last long, nor do many of them feel it’s appropriate to deny the bargaining rights they have to fellow workers who have also had them for over 40 years.

The Undefeated 44

Finally, here is a great way to celebrate Black History Month.

This is a list of The Undefeated 44, a collection of dreamers and doers, noisy geniuses and quiet innovators, record-breakers and symbols of pride and aspiration…
This is not a list of The Greatest African-Americans of All Time or The Most Influential Blacks in History. Or even The Dopest Brothers and Sisters Who Matter Most This Week. It is a list — fervently debated among our staff, chiseled and refined — of 44 blacks who shook up the world or at least their corner of it. We recognize that this is not a complete list of jaw-dropping black achievers; we know that such a list would never run out of names. Why limit ours to 44? It’s an homage to the first African-American president, whose own stunning accomplishment was something our mothers and grandfathers and great-grandmothers never thought they’d see in their lifetimes.

Praise Dear Leader or Suffer the Consequences

The trumpies are right:  It's not a Muslim ban. It's a loyalty test.  But not to the nation or even the Constitution.
A Muslim mom gets turned away at the border, for the sin of wearing a hijab and having prayers written in Arabic on her person.

This is how it starts, folks.

Source: CTV News
A Moroccan-Canadian woman says she was turned back from the Vermont border after four hours of interrogation, including questions about her mosque attendance, thoughts on the Quebec City shooting and opinion about U.S. President Donald Trump.
Fadwa Alaoui, who has lived in Canada for more than 20 years and holds a Canadian passport, said she was on a day trip with her children and a cousin on Saturday when she faced the intense questioning.
When grilled about Trump, the Montreal woman said she told the guards “it's not in my interest -- he has the right to do whatever he wants in his country.”

Alaoui said she was forced to hand over her phone and the guards inquired about a prayer on her phone written in Arabic.
She said she was eventually told she could not enter the U.S. due to “videos and concerns.”
Alaoui now wonders if she can ever visit her parents, who live in Chicago. Her situation was also raised in Canadian parliament on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Trudeau and his Minister taking questions on the matter.
In Question Period on Wednesday, Public Security Minister Ralph Goodale said his department was looking into the situation, which he described as "troubling."
"To the best of my knowledge, this was one incident, but it's one incident too many. And I will want to examine it, but I need to get the detail of exactly who and when it happened so that I can follow it up," he said.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Normalizing Everyday Acts of Cruelty

It was bad when Smirky/Darth normalized American troops committing torture.  It was worse when the wingnut freakout over President Obama normalizing demonizing other human beings - other Americans - as sub-human.

But when an unabashedly fascist "president" normalizes literally Nazi behavior among federal employees - when the Nuremburg defense is automatic and not even questioned - it's worse than it's ever been.

It’s a well-established observation that the way that authoritarian regimes work is that people cooperate. They empower little people to be cruel and that is the base of governance. The same thing is happening with the rise of fascism in the United States. The everyday acts cruelty in enforcing Bannon’s Muslim ban are what makes one sick.
A week ago, men and women went to work at airports around the United States as they always do. They showered, got dressed, ate breakfast, perhaps dropped off their kids at school. Then they reported to their jobs as federal government employees, where, according to news reports, one of them handcuffed a 5-year-old child, separated him from his mother and detained him alone for several hours at Dulles airport.
At least one other federal employee at Dulles reportedly detained a woman who was traveling with her two children, both U.S. citizens, for 20 hours without food. A relative says the mother was handcuffed (even when she went to the bathroom) and threatened with deportation to Somalia.
At Kennedy Airport, still other federal employees detained and handcuffed a 65-year-old woman traveling from Qatar to visit her son, who is a U.S. citizen and serviceman stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. The woman was held for more than 33 hours, according to the New York Times, and denied use of a wheelchair.
The men and women who work for the federal government completed these and other tasks and then returned to their families, where perhaps they had dinner and read stories to their children before bedtime.
When we worry and wonder about authoritarian regimes that inflict cruelty on civilians, we often imagine tyrannical despots unilaterally advancing their sinister agendas. But no would-be autocrat can act alone. As a practical matter, he needs subordinates willing to carry out orders. Of course, neither Donald Trump nor Steve Bannon personally detained any of the more than 100 people held at airports over the weekend pursuant to the administration’s executive order on immigration, visitation and travel to the United States. They relied on assistance.
The men and women who reportedly handcuffed small children and the elderly, separated a child from his mother and held others without food for 20 hours, are undoubtedly “ordinary” people. What I mean by that, is that these are, in normal circumstances, people who likely treat their neighbors and co-workers with kindness and do not intentionally seek to harm others. That is chilling, as it is a reminder that authoritarians have no trouble finding the people they need to carry out their acts of cruelty. They do not need special monsters; they can issue orders to otherwise unexceptional people who will carry them out dutifully.
This is powerful stuff. It shows the need to fight fascism wherever we see it. This is one reason why protest is so necessary. It demonstrates that people will stand up to cruelty. Making these people pariahs, calling them out by name, this is a critical strategy to resisting fascism. After all, it took millions of collaborators for the Holocaust to happen. The Nazis ruled Paris with very few soldiers because so many France were willing to play along. The examples go on and on. It is fairly easy for a person to become a collaborator with dictatorship and evil if it is in their interests to do so and it so often is because it is easy and allows them to be little dictators on their own. Fighting this is a central struggle in the next four years and probably for the rest of our lives.

The Resistance: Every Protest Counts

So the freakazoids and misogynists could only come up with 12 people to protest at Lexington's Planned Parenthood.

Supporters of women, children and healthcare got out there anyway.  Six of them, but that was enough to keep the motherfuckers from falsely claiming they had no opposition.

A protest is a protest, no matter how small.

A small crowd gathered in front of Planned Parenthood on Southland Drive in Lexington on Saturday morning for opposing rallies.

About 20 people, including some children, lined the sidewalk for a Defund Planned Parenthood rally, while about half a dozen counter-protesters came out to show their support for the organization.

“I feel like it’s important to speak up for those that are victims (sic) of abortion,” said Judith Lund, who held a tiny model of a 12-week-old fetus. “That kind of helps me to keep in mind those who have been killed (sic).”
The only victims of abortion are women who need them and can't get them, or who are forced to get lethal back-alley abortions because people like you, Judith Lund, support forced-birth laws.

The only people who have been killed because of abortion are the women who die from wire hangar abortions and from forced birth, which is hundreds of times more dangerous than abortion.

Also, I seriously doubt the "model" you held accurately represents a 12-week old fetus, because a 12-week-old fetus does not look remotely human.

Self hatred is so sad.   
Other protesters carried signs that said “Stop Abortion Now” and “Planned Parenthood Lies to You.”
The projection is positively trumpian.
Joanne Brown was part of the opposing group, which stood in a median a few yards away.
She said she was inspired to become a nurse practitioner focusing on women’s health by a nurse practitioner who “provided kind, compassionate care and was a wonderful role model” to her at a Planned Parenthood facility when she was 19. She said the organization was a source of “contraceptives, education and preventive care.”

“That’s what Planned Parenthood does,” she said. “I came out today to defend Planned Parenthood and show my support.”

The local Planned Parenthood office, which was not open during the rallies on Saturday, does not provide abortions.