Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sacred to the Memory

The fate of Lexington's Traitors In Defense of Slavery statues is now in the hands of the military "heritage" commission set up to prevent exactly the progressive removals the City Council is requesting.

Meanwhile, Political Animal reminds us of this:

* W.E.B. DuBois once wrote that Confederate monuments should contain this inscription: “Sacred to the memory of those who fought to perpetuate human slavery.” He also penned his thoughts about Robert E. Lee. You’re going to want to read all four paragraphs, but he ends with this lighting bolt:
It is the punishment of the South that its Robert Lees and Jefferson Davises will always be tall, handsome and well-born. That their courage will be physical and not moral. That their leadership will be weak compliance with public opinion and never costly and unswerving revolt for justice and right. it is ridiculous to seek to excuse Robert Lee as the most formidable agency this nation ever raised to make 4 million human beings goods instead of men. Either he knew what slavery meant when he helped maim and murder thousands in its defense, or he did not. If he did not he was a fool. If he did, Robert Lee was a traitor and a rebel–not indeed to his country, but to humanity and humanity’s God.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Who's Really Lazy? Or, Projection Is An Amazing Drug

It's always amazing and sickening to me to hear rich fucks condemn poor people - especially poor black people - for being "lazy."  Amazing and sickening because the rich fucks saying that have never worked a day in their lives.

No, sitting in front of a camera denouncing the people whose poverty supports your lazy rich ass is not work.  Sitting in front of a computer watching your money make more money is not work. Sitting at a desk ordering underlings to evict renters so you can sell their apartments as condos to other rich fucks is not work.

Work is cleaning the toilets in the buildings where the rich fucks pretend to work.  Work is serving food you can't afford to rich fucks who don't tip because that would be encouraging your "laziness."  Work is juggling three minimum-wage jobs to keep food on the table.

As Melissa Harris-Perry once exclaimed in a memorable television moment, being poor is hard work.  It always has been.  Keeping it that way is yet another legacy of the confederacy that needs to be swept away.

In a fascinating article on radical Quaker abolitionist Benjamin Lay, the Smithsonian captured this quote:

Enslaved men, Lay noted, would “Plow, sow, thresh, winnow, split Rails, cut Wood, clear Land, make Ditches and Fences, fodder Cattle, run and fetch up the Horses.” He saw enslaved women busy with “all the Drudgery in Dairy and Kitchen, within doors and without.” These grinding labors he contrasted with the idleness of the slave owners—the growling, empty bellies of the enslaved and the “lazy Ungodly bellies” of their masters. Worse, he explained with rising anger, slave keepers would perpetuate this inequality by leaving these workers as property to “proud, Dainty, Lazy, Scornful, Tyrannical and often beggarly Children for them to Domineer.”

Friday, August 18, 2017

How To Identify Racists

From Down With Tyranny:

Honoring With Beauty and Dignity

 Classless, trashy Trump is the oerfect leader for these morons.


Actual Nathan Bedford Forrest statue in Tennessee.


Who Mitch Really Is

This is what he says:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell condemned white supremacists and racial hatred Wednesday, saying, “Their message of hate and bigotry are not welcome in Kentucky and should not be welcome anywhere in America.” 
This is who he is: He's a lying Traitor in Defense of Slavery, and always has been.

From LGM:











But this is the biggest lie of all.


Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/counties/fayette-county/article167487572.html#storylink=cpyHe's a Traitor in Defense of Slavery, and always has been.

From LGM:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

They're Coming to Lexington

Kentucky's second-largest city is only slightly less un-welcoming to white supremacists than Louisville is. Our police are eager to avoid the national embarrassment that the Charlottesville cops earned. And our proudly non-violent Resistance can handle a bunch of redneck clowns without any help from armed and masked antifas, thank you very much.

So bring it on, motherfuckers.

From the Herald:

White nationalists are planning a rally in Lexington to oppose the planned removal of two Confederate statues from the lawn of the former Fayette County Courthouse, and they’re considering a lawsuit aimed at blocking the move, a leader in the movement said Tuesday.

Matthew Heimbach, chairman of the Traditionalist Worker Party, said his group is discussing plans for the rally with others allied under an umbrella organization called the Nationalist Front.

Heimbach said people in the Lexington area asked his group to get involved. The group has members in Kentucky and plans to try to recruit more, he said. 

No date has been chosen, but the goal is to have the event “sooner rather than later,” Heimbach said.
SNIP
Lexington Police Chief Mark Barnard said he has spoken with officials in Charlottesville to begin preparing for a white nationalist rally in Lexington. He said Kentucky State Police and Louisville Metro police have already pledged to help the city if needed.

“If they were to come to Lexington, we would plan to have an overwhelming amount of law enforcement to greet anyone and to ensure everyone was safe and had the right to free speech,” Barnard said.

The police department has successfully managed many large, public events — including sometimes rowdy celebrations after NCAA men’s basketball tournaments, said Brenna Angel, a spokeswoman for Lexington police. 

“That’s not just a credit to our police officers but to the people of Lexington,” she said. “We work closely with groups that organize protests here and have a good relationship with them.” 

Outside groups, though, are a concern, she said.

In Lexington, it is legal for groups to gather in public spaces without a permit as long as they do not block traffic. If traffic is blocked, a permit is required, she said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has included Heimbach’s group and others allied under the Nationalist Front on a list of what it defines as hate groups.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/counties/fayette-county/article167276197.html#storylink=cpy
They're going to have to get their Traitors in Defense of Slavery gear and tchotchkes online; that shit is banned from the Kentucky State Fair.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/counties/fayette-county/article167276197.html#storylink=cpy

We Always Beat 'Em

Blatantly Stolen from Juanita Jean:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

They're Not Historical. They're Avatars of Jim Crow.

Like most people from border states, I have ancestors who fought on both sides in the Civil War. The battles, the families torn apart, the dead: all are part of my family history.  Heritage, if you will.

But those confederate statues of Breckinridge and Morgan in Lexington, and Lee and Stonewall and Beauregard and the rest are not historical representations.  They were not raised in the aftermath of the war.

They were raised 40 years later, after Plessy v. Ferguson authorized Jim Crow.  They were raised not to honor those Traitors in Defense of Slavery.  They were raised to remind African-Americans that they were still not full citizens.  That they still had no right to the guarantees in the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the constitution.  That they remain subjugated.

They are symbols of oppression, meant to intimidate and terrorize African-Americans. 

And to remind the rest of us that the slave power still rules.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

All Lives Matter ... Not

... nobody should be saying “All lives matter” because it’s a bullshit distraction from the unique systemic prejudice African Americans face.

And Replace It With One of Muhammad Ali

There was a rally in Lexington last night at which Mayor Jim Gray was applauded for his decision to remove from downtown the statues of two Traitors in Defense of Slavery.  Meanwhile:

From the Herald:

The Kentucky chapter of the NAACP will renew its effort to remove a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from the state Capitol Rotunda in the aftermath of deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., the group’s leader said Monday.

“It’s important for all to realize how offensive these statues can be, especially to the African-American community,” said Raoul Cunningham, who also heads the Louisville chapter of the NAACP. “We are working on a meeting in a few weeks of like-minded individuals to plot a course to take the Davis statue out of the seat of state government and put it somewhere more suitable, like the Kentucky History Museum.”

He said the state chapter has between 8,000 to 10,000 members and that he will encourage local chapters around the state to seek the removal of Confederate statues and symbols from prominent positions in their communities.

“Charlottesville has focused attention again on this situation,” said Cunningham, referring to a white supremacist rally in that city Saturday that left three dead and 35 injured.

The state NAACP was unsuccessful two years ago in trying to get the Davis statue out of the Capitol Rotunda. The state Historic Properties Advisory Commission voted 7-2 to keep it there.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article167101122.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, August 14, 2017

Mad that no one calls Fox out on its lies? Thank Reagan

Yes, children, once upon  a time broadcasters did not get away with spouting lies.  Immediately the rest of the broadcast universe would condemn them, loudly and publicly.  The airwaves, after all, are public property.

And the representatives of that public - our democratic government - guarded that property with laws and regulations.

This Friday (August 4) marks the 30th anniversary of one of the most destructive decisions in the modern American media history, a shamefully successful effort to divide our public airwaves along partisan lines, a choice that made a few people rich while impoverishing our democracy.

On August 4, 1987, the Reagan-era Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the Fairness Doctrine, the sound policy that preserved a diversity of viewpoints in American broadcast media. The New York Times reported at the time:
The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously today to abolish its fairness doctrine on the ground that it unconstitutionally restricts the free-speech rights of broadcast journalists.
“We seek to extend to the electronic press the same First Amendment guarantees that the print media have enjoyed since our country’s inception,” said the new chairman of the F.C.C., Dennis R. Patrick.
He and the three other commissioners said the 38-year-old fairness doctrine was stifling the democratic debate it was supposed to promote…The doctrine, which evolved through court rulings and commission policy statements over the years, requires broadcasters to give contrasting viewpoints on issues of public importance. In addition to news reports, it can apply to advocacy advertising, as it did in the case that led to today’s ruling.
The justification for applying the doctrine to broadcasting was that in contrast to the potentially infinite number of newspapers and magazines, there were a limited number of frequencies and channels and thus a limited number of broadcast outlets…
In a comment typical of several advocacy groups, Ralph Nader called today’s decision a major setback…
“The fairness doctrine is not only constitutionally permissible, it is constitutionally required,” Mr. Nader said. Its repeal, he added, means that broadcasters “can ignore crucial issues or present only one side” of debates, and that news judgment will increasingly reflect a business orientation. Mr. Nader said such issues as women’s rights, the health effects of smoking, and the safety of nuclear power plants would have come to far less public prominence had the fairness doctrine not been in effect.
Nader’s words were prophetic, as just under a year later, on August 1, 1988, Rush Limbaugh’s Sacramento, California-based radio program was syndicated nationwide…and talk-radio stations across the country soon began to run right-wing agitprop from dawn to dusk, flooding the public airwaves with shameless demonization of Democrats and progressives–and helping to create the media/political culture that allowed a candidate as vulgar as Donald Trump to seize control of the White House last November. 
As Steven Rendall notes, the Fairness Doctrine was a net benefit to the public as a whole:
There are many misconceptions about the Fairness Doctrine. For instance, it did not require that each program be internally balanced, nor did it mandate equal time for opposing points of view. And it didn’t require that the balance of a station’s program lineup be anything like 50/50.
Nor, as Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly claimed, was the Fairness Doctrine all that stood between conservative talkshow hosts and the dominance they would attain after the doctrine’s repeal. In fact, not one Fairness Doctrine decision issued by the FCC had ever concerned itself with talkshows. Indeed, the talkshow format was born and flourished while the doctrine was in operation. Before the doctrine was repealed, right-wing hosts frequently dominated talkshow schedules, even in liberal cities, but none was ever muzzled…The Fairness Doctrine simply prohibited stations from broadcasting from a single perspective, day after day, without presenting opposing views
Indeed, when it was in place, citizen groups used the Fairness Doctrine as a tool to expand speech and debate. For instance, it prevented stations from allowing only one side to be heard on ballot measures. Over the years, it had been supported by grassroots groups across the political spectrum, including the ACLU, National Rifle Association and the right-wing Accuracy In Media.
As a guarantor of balance and inclusion, the Fairness Doctrine was no panacea. It was somewhat vague, and depended on the vigilance of listeners and viewers to notice imbalance. But its value, beyond the occasional remedies it provided, was in its codification of the principle that broadcasters had a responsibility to present a range of views on controversial issues.
Of course, that principle was offensive to those who dreamed of having the public airwaves broadcasting only Republican talking points. That dream has largely been realized (no, for the final time, NPR is not a progressive alternative to right-wing radio). Limbaugh himself damaged the right-wing radio racket five years ago after he attacked reproductive-rights advocate Sandra Fluke, but the atrocious arguments advanced on right-wing radio since the late-1980s took hold with millions of American voters—and when Trump ran as the talk-radio candidate, those voters were willing to move heaven and earth to put him into the White House. 
The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine hurt this country. That one action gave us three decades of radio programs that recklessly reaffirmed prejudices, smeared Democrats so thoroughly that some parts of this country have now seemingly become off-limits for the party, and set Americans at each other’s throats. Some legacy, eh?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Best Response

Thank you, Mayor Gray.

Robert Farley at LGM:

The events in Charlottesville have convinced Mayor Jim Gray to accelerate announcement of the removal of two Confederate statues in downtown Lexington:

The statues are of John C. Breckinridge (1860 southern Democratic Presidential nominee and Confederate military commander) and John Hunt Morgan (Confederate general). A redesign of the square a few years ago resulted in the Breckinridge statue being placed prominently on Main Street. The decision here is long overdue, but Gray deserves credit for finally pushing it through.
And for jumping on a huge opportunity.  Progressives should demand action like this around the country right now this minute, while White Supremacists and their repug enablers are facing nurder charges.

Own It, Republicans. Own It or Get the Fuck Out

D.R. Tucker at Political Animal:

If Painter has been a Republican for 30 years, then he knows damn well how long his party has been race-baiting. He knows damn well how the Republican Party resisted integrated schools, affirmative action, efforts to stop police brutality, and any and all efforts to remedy discrimination against African-Americans and other non-majority groups. He knows damn well that the GOP stopped embracing Abraham Lincoln decades ago–and wrapped its arms around the reactionary forces that gave rise to the viciousness in Virginia. 

If Painter is so morally offended by what happened in Charlottesville yesterday, he will renounce the GOP today and leave the party. If Ana Navarro is so morally offended by what happened in Charlottesville yesterday, she will renounce the GOP today and leave the party. If any Republican who bore witness to yesterday’s terrorism is horrified by what they saw, they will renounce the GOP today and leave the party.

As disgusting as many of George Will’s views are, he at least had enough common sense to get the hell out of the GOP the moment Trump won the GOP nomination. He knew that to remain a Republican after Trump became the party’s leader was to be morally complicit in Trump’s actions.
As for us, the Resistance, our moral obligation is to politely ask every trump voter we encounter that they specifically blame the white supremacy embedded in the GOP for the Deliberate Murder committed in Charlottsville yesterday.

If they refuse or deny, simply nod your head sadly, take up your cell phone and slowly and carefully type that person's name into a list headed "White Supremacist Motherfuckers."

Those Terrible Anti-Nazis Forced An Innocent Nazi to Run Them Down And Kill Them

Yep, that's the word from our wonderful media and our perfect 45th president.  Because that's what "I condemn violence on both sides" really means.

There was violence on only one side, you disgusting piece of shit. The Nazi, the racist, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-American trump voter crashed his car directly into a crowd of unarmed people protesting against the Nazi demonstrators.

And the drooling moron those very Nazis love so much is blaming the victims.  One of whom is dead.

Say, should anyone in particular be condemned for this? Certainly: those on all sides who hate. Not the organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally or even the murderer who smashed at high speed into a crowd of people there to condemn hatred, because after all, as David Duke reminded his president earlier today, he owes a good part of his victory to them.
When I say they are out to kill us, I mean They. Are. Literally. Killing. Us. Now.

UPDATE:  Josh Marshall, as always, nails it:
Trump refuses to condemn these people because he recognizes them as supporters and he supports them. That’s the truth. Anything else is denial.

How can this even surprise us? His top advisor ran the publication that courted and popularized the beliefs and actions of these same people. It’s all out in the open. Don’t ask why he can’t condemn them. We know.

The calls are coming from inside the house.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bevin adopts trumpian lies to cover up corruption.

Now we know the "tell" of politicians out to destroy the social contract and Democratic principles: trumpian lies.

From the Courier-Journal editorial board:

Poker players refer to tells, the clear signal another player unconsciously puts out that makes his hand evident.

A tell, obviously, is a liability in poker. Tells appear in other avenues of life, too, like politics.

Take Gov. Matt Bevin, for instance, whose political tell was in full effect Tuesday before a tour by an assessment committee at his Anchorage mansion that will be used to help determine the true value of the home.

 
Bevin turns positively Trumpian when he's under pressure, unleashing a flurry of falsehoods to try to deflect attention from the real issues, like whether he got a sweetheart deal on his mansion's purchase price from his buddy and political crony.

Here are some examples of the laughably ridiculous tweets he fired off Tuesday.

Lie 1: He accused the Courier-Journal and WAVE 3 News of flying a drone over his home.

Lie 2: He claimed the drone was filming his children.

Lie 3: He said Courier-Journal reporter Tom Loftus came to the governor’s home with three attorneys trying to get into his home.

These claims are false. TV station WDRB acknowledged flying the drone. There were no children filmed. Only one attorney accompanied reporter Tom Loftus, there to point out that the inspection was a public meeting subject to the Kentucky Open Meetings Act.

 
 
Bevin's tell is worth paying attention to, especially as state government gears up to tackle the crippling pension crisis.

We know the pension problem is real and we fully support Bevin's determination to fix it. 

We also know the governor's tell, and we'll be watching closely for it as his priorities play out. 


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Only Massive, Unprecedented Democratic Turnout Can Win 2018

Digby:

I'm not sure people have fully grokked just how fully the GOP has been able to tilt the playing field in their favor. They need to. Just blaming "bad messaging" and "bad candidates" is lazy and simplistic. There's something much more fundamental going on here.

It's going to be very difficult for Democrats to win in 2018 because of these structural impediments.  And just becoming more aggressively progressive is unlikely to be the panacea that many people erroneously assume it will be. Maybe in the past that wasn't such a dangerous assumption. We had time to learn and experiment and figure out through trial and error how to progress.
There are a lot of extremist, right wing Republicans in this country and they are spread all over in places where they have an electoral advantage despite the fact that they are fewer in numbers.

Trump and the Republicans have to be stopped. Maybe the Resistance will be enough to do that. But it would be nice if every left of center American recognized just what it's going to take to get that accomplished, however, and we all put our shoulders to the wheel.

On the other hand, I suppose it's always comforting to watch Republicans win and then stand around blaming the Democrats for being embarrassing losers.  It's so familiar.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Myth of the Obama-Trump Voter Exploded

I've been saying it since November: There is no such thing as a person who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 but voted for Trump in 2016.

No. Such. Thing.

Digby:

I know there are no more interesting or important people in the world than the vaunted Trump Voter, but I have long thought that the idea that there exists a substantial subset of Obama-Trump voters. My theory has always been that to the extent they existed, they were basically Republicans who may have voted for Obama because the world was going to hell in a hand-basket and they didn't like Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney for personal reasons.
Ed Kilgore catches up with the latest on this alleged phenomenon:


The defection of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice yesterday from the Democratic to the Republican Party will inevitably fuel tired rhetoric about Reagan Democrats, or white-working-class Americans, or “heartland voters,” leaving the Donkey Party in hordes in protest against its radical bicoastal liberalism. Democrats obviously need to pay attention to voters they’ve recently lost or failed to energize, all over the place, and in various demographic categories.
But the “Trump Democrat” phenomenon may have been a bit oversold. Justice obviously was never much of a Democrat to begin with. And the broader category of “Obama-Trump voters”—those who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 or 2012, and then for the mogul in 2016—may have been misunderstood as well. Or so reports the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank:

[N]ew data, and an analysis by AFL-CIO political director Michael Podhorzer that he shared with me, puts all this into question. The number of Obama-to-Trump voters turns out to be smaller than thought. And those Obama voters who did switch to Trump were largely Republican voters to start with. The aberration wasn’t their votes for Trump but their votes for Obama.
 
One problem with the much-discussed idea that Obama-Trump voters swung the election is that voters notoriously over-report votes for the election winner after the election. So some Obama-Trump voter didn’t actually vote for Obama, and others didn’t actually vote for Trump. (Some may have even voted for everyone other than Obama and Trump). That reduces the magnitude of the “flip.”
To the extent that Obama-Trump voters were identified as those who voted for the 44th president in either 2008 or 2012, it is important to remember that Obama won pretty big the first time around: according to exit polls, he won 9 percent of self-identified Republicans and 20 percent of self-identified conservatives. He also won independents—a category that includes a lot of people who usually vote Republican—52/44.

But there’s more than incidental evidence that apparent Obama-Trump voters aren’t loyal Democrats who suddenly flipped because Trump was appealing to their material or cultural interests: they supported Republicans down-ballot, too:

The AFL-CIO’s Podhorzer analyzed raw data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, out in the spring, and found that Obama-Trump voters voted for Republican congressional candidates by a 31-point margin, Republican Senate candidates by a 15-point margin and Republican gubernatorial candidates by a 27-point margin. Their views on immigration and Obamacare also put them solidly in the GOP camp.
 
If these voters have been “lost” by the Democratic Party, many of them are probably lost for good.
Milbank concludes: “The party would do better to go after disaffected Democrats who didn’t vote in 2016 or who voted for third parties.” A vote’s a vote, and in a competitive environment it makes no sense for Democrats to write anyone off. But the obsession with “Obama-Trump voters” may be myopic.
There are good philosophical and ideological reasons for figuring out how to address the economic woes of this group of voters. Even if you don't care much for the way they think, they have kids who need a decent chance at a better life. But the idea that they are the electoral holy grail has always seemed to me to be a convenient way to prove some prior assumptions about the 2016 election.

In any case, it's worth wondering if Democrats should be so focused on this group of voters to the exclusion of some others who are at least equally important to mobilize for a 2018 victory. It's not a zero sum game, but it does require that these Trump voters not be elevated to the level of all-important "super-voters." Until the economy is completely falling apart as it was after the last GOP administration, they may not be gettable.
 All Democrats need to do is remove the barriers preventing their natural voters from voting: voter suppression, voter ID laws,  restrictive voting times and places, fiery hoops to jump through to register to vote and felon disenfranchisement.

Do that, dems, and every white voter in the country could go repug and Democrats would still win.

When everybody votes, Democrats win.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

This Is Not the Religious Freedom We Fought For, But It Is the One They're Looking For

The freakazoids don't have to get the constitutional convention they are drooling for if they just destroy the one we have one right at a time.

But, seriously, Ambassador At Large For Religious Freedom? How is that even a job under a secular Constitution? And given Brownback's history as a radically conservative Catholic, one of those Crisis/First Things types who look with great envy at how Pat Robertson does business and who long for the days when a pope could terrify people at a distance, I suspect that easing the pain of the prejudice that might be afflicting, say, Muslims in Europe is not going to be at the top of agenda.

Even so, how is this even a thing? Are we going to have Ambassadors to all First Amendment freedoms? Because I'd really like to be Ambassador At Large For Press Freedom. How about the whole Bill of Rights? I think, in some countries, Ambassador At Large Against Quartering Troops might be a tougher job than it sounds. No, alas, I suspect this, along with the bizarre presidential* announcement about transgender troops on Wednesday morning, is one of the opening shots in the 2018 midterm elections, which apparently are going to be conducted according to 1998 rules, and which I already hate with a considerable passion.

In 1817, in what have come down to us as his Detached Memoranda, James Madison discussed the appointments of congressional chaplains. Mr. Jemmy was not impressed.
Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment, applicable to a provision for a religious worship for the Constituent as well as of the representative Body, approved by the majority, and conducted by Ministers of religion paid by the entire nation. The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles: The tenets of the chaplains elected [by the majority] shut the door of worship agst the members whose creeds & consciences forbid a participation in that of the majority.
Damn that little feller. He saw all of this coming, centuries down the road.

UPDATE -- To some of the Top Commenters, I am aware that the position was not created specifically for Brownback, which is why I didn't say it was. I don't believe it ought to exist at all.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Protest Works

Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
 
The real heroes of last night’s vote are not John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, or Susan Collins. They aren’t the 48 Democratic senators either. The real heroes are the direct action protestors in ADAPT that demonstrated tremendous courage in going to the offices of senators and putting their often broken bodies between those senators and ACA repeal. 

Everyone knew this bill was a disaster. But that didn’t stop most Republican senators from voting for it. The pressure to do so was tremendous. And the real pressure is internal. Especially in this era of exceptional partisanship, voting for the team is the highest priority for most senators. It was far easier to vote for this monstrosity than stand up to McConnell, Pence, and Trump, not to mention big donors like Adelson, Koch, and Wynn. Dean Heller knows this bill is terrible and he knows that it is bad for the people of his state. He also lacks the courage to do anything about it. I strongly believe that without the ADAPT protests, it’s quite likely at least one of those three senators votes for the bill. Such an assertion can be directly proven, but neither can it be for nearly any other protest movement in history, including the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s. Most politicians will never say, “I voted against a bill because protestors came to my door.” But they will vote for or against bills based on public pressure. Direct action protest adds to that public pressure. Moreover, those direct action protests also inspire other, less radical, activists into action–calling senators, going to town halls, talking to friends and family about the issue.
I mention all of this because even at this late date, many in the LGM community, broadly defined, are not very comfortable with direct action protest. Many commenters will deny that protest helps and they write about how uncomfortable they are with protests, turning into self-parodies of liberals. This kind of direct action is not the be all and end all of political action. But like voting and lobbying, it is an absolutely required type of political action. When people see disabled and mortally ill people sacrificing themselves to save health care, not only for themselves, but for millions of people, it gives a face to the issue. Much like ACT-UP galvanized political support to fight HIV instead of just letting gays and heroin users die, ADAPT helped build political pressure against ACA repeal. We are going to need a lot more of this in the future, and I hope people step up with this kind of action. I also hope we all recognize the vitality and necessity of direct action and do what we can to support it.
As I walked back into the Capitol, what came to mind were all the people I have heard over the years who told me that political activism was a sucker's game, a rigged wheel, a space for performance art with an audience of rich people. I agreed with a lot of the last part of that, and still do. But there are only two ways to go, even if you accept the latter part of the premise. You can accept that political activism is a sucker's game and give up, or wrap yourself in the robes of ideological purity as though they were suits of armor. Or, you can accept that political activism is a sucker's game and then engage in political activism to make it less so.

Protests for Civil Rights Older Than You Think

White Supremacy never dies, and never quits fighting to restore the 1850s.  The Resistance can't stop, either.

From the NAACP:

We celebrate the centennial of the NAACP’s Silent Protest Parade, held on July 28, 1917.




At the break of summer 1917, racial tension simmered across the nation. In East St. Louis, white residents launched a bloody attack on the rapidly expanding black community. Dozens of black residents were killed and thousands more were left homeless after their neighborhood was burned to ashes. The NAACP wasted no time in composing a retort and soon issued a call for a Silent Protest Parade. You must be in line,”  the Association commanded. 


On July 28, nearly 10,000 black men, women, and children wordlessly paraded down New York’s Fifth Avenue. Silently marching to the beat of a drum, the throngs of protesters clutched picket signs declaring their purpose and demanding justice. 

“Make America safe for democracy.
“We march because we deem it a crime to be silent in the face of such barbaric acts.”
“We march because we want our children to live in a better land.”

Their tactic was silence, but their message resounded: anti-black violence is unjust and un-American.  It was the first protest of its kind in New York, and the second instance of African Americans publicly demonstrating for civil rights. 


The NAACP has issued marching orders many times in the years since: in 1965, we marched in Selma in pursuit of our right to vote; in 2012, we held a second Silent March in New York to denounce stop-and-frisk policing; in 2015, we marched 1,002 miles from Selma to Washington, D.C. on our Journey for Justice.   


At our 108th Annual Convention in Baltimore this week, we marked the Silent Parade’s centennial with an interactive art installationArt Force 5 invited convention attendees to collaborate on a mosaic memorial that will debut today in New York City.





  1917-children
Activists created the NAACP in 1909 to fight racialized violence. Then, we called it “lynching.” Today, we call it “police brutality.” But the effect is the same, and so is the ferocity of our retort. 


For more than a century, the NAACP has protestedlitigatedand legislated to defend our dignity and our lives. Today, we keep marching. We are at school board meetings, county courthouses, and in the halls of government fighting for our rights because we still cannot afford to stand idle in the face of an administration that is so keen on rolling back our rights. 

We’re marching. And we need you beside us.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Petty, Insecure, trumpish Bevin Illegally Firing Critics

Just a reminder: it is both legal and the epitome of constitutional guarantees of free speech to criticize elected officials.  It may or may not be constitutional to falsely shout "fire" in a crowded theater, but
it is absolutely constitutional to say any terrible, insulting, devastating thing you damn well please about your governor. Even in Kentucky.

A University of Kentucky College of Dentistry faculty member has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that UK officials fired him after he publicly criticized Gov. Matt Bevin’s Medicaid waiver proposal.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Dr. Raynor Mullins of Lexington also alleges that the comments annoyed Bevin and administration officials, who pressured UK to get rid of him. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, is against Mark Birdwhistell, UK’s vice president of administration for UK HealthCare; Stephanos Kyrkanides, dean of the UK College of Dentistry; and “John Doe,” described as an official in the Bevin administration.

The lawsuit alleges that Mullins, 74, a former chair of the department of community dentistry and 40-year veteran of dental public health who also worked at the UK Center for Oral Health Research, made public comments along with four colleagues in July 2016 that were critical of the proposal to roll back parts of the Medicaid expansion made under the Affordable Care Act during former Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration. At the time, Mullins was employed as emeritus faculty, via a post-retirement appointment. His attorney, Joe Childers, said that appointment did not include any tenure protection. The other signers of the comments were either retired or current tenured professors.

Bevin’s proposal — which is still under consideration by federal officials — would raise premiums and create job requirements for recipients of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, which provided 400,000 people with insurance, reducing the state’s uninsured population from 20 percent to 7.5 percent. Bevin said the changes were necessary for financial sustainability.

“Our professional opinion is that the design of Kentucky Health clearly does not fulfill the states access objectives and intent of CMS Medicaid waivers or the Affordable Care Act, but instead adds additional jeopardy to the already poor oral health and general health metrics of the Kentucky population,” the comments said.

SNIP

The lawsuit says that Mullins believes Bevin and/or officials in his administration “communicated their displeasure with Dr. Mullins’ public comments to Defendant Birdwhistell, and pressured Defendant Birdwhistell to retaliate against Dr. Mullins and the UK College of Dentistry.

SNIP

By August, the lawsuit says, Kyrkanides had told Dr. Mullins he needed to go “off the radar” and keep a low profile. The lawsuit alleges that Kyrkanides notified other College of Dentistry officials that he got a call from the governor’s office and he had to “figure out how to get rid of Raynor Mullins.”

In January 2017, Mullins was notified that his post-retirement appointment would not be renewed with the College of Dentistry and by June, his employment was completely terminated.
What a fucking baby Bevin is. A bunch of academics write that the Governor's latest kill-the-poors plan is maybe not the world's greatest idea, and he has to retaliate.



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ethnic Cleansing in America

And for those sent back to be tortured and murdered, mass deportation is nothing less than genocide.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a fascist police force engaging in widescale ethnic cleansing of the United States. Now that Trump and Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (and I don’t care that Trump is bullying Sessions. That racist elf deserves everything that happens to him) have given ICE agents free run to be the racist strike force many of its employees want to be, they have acted wtih impunity. Because these victims of these fascists are poor, live in the shadows, and often don’t speak English (or even Spanish as many are indigenous), the mainstream reaction against Trump has put this issue too much on the backburner. But on the ground, it is horrifying.
A 42-year-old Los Angeles pastor with two U.S. citizen children was detained by immigration authorities on Monday morning.
Noe Carias is the lead pastor at an Evangelical church near Echo Park, a position he has held for a number of years. He is originally from Guatemala and has been in the United States since he was 14 or 15, according to his wife. Carias was reportedly detained during a court appearance Monday during which he had been hoping to receive a stay of removal. His deportation order reportedly dates back to 1994 or 1995, according to advocates for the family. He previously received a stay of removal in 2014, and that same stay was extended in 2016.
“He has a U.S. citizen wife and he has two little children,” pastor and community organizer Martin Garcia told LAist. “They own a house, and at this moment the whole family is going to crumble because he was the economic support for the family. It’s going to have an impact.”
Then there are the legal immigrants snatched at INS offices where they came to get official papers.  And the orphans snatched out of adoptive homes and thrown into detention - and not the nice kind with protections against rape and beatings.

This revolting ethnic cleansing conducted with a government-approved fascist terrorist force has to be the top target of resisting Trump. Or a top target at least. We must not only demand that this stop, but that ICE should be disbanded and reconstituted with a different mandate and under a much more accountable authority. So long as we do not speak out against this agency and its agents on an individual agents if we know who they are, then we are culpable with the ethnic cleansing of our nation.
Shame on all of us who stand by and let this happen, good little germans that we are.

Candy Barr is So Fucked

She could still turn out to be a repug-lite like Tulsi Gabbard, or even the kind of anti-abortion creepy freakazoid the DCCC is so eager to fund, but for the moment I'm going to bask in the vision of Candy Barr getting beaten up (with votes!) by a girl.

Attack her, Candy.  Go ahead.  I dare ya.

Evan Hurst at Wonkette:
Retired Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, a Democrat from Kentucky, obviously won’t make that common Sarah Palin mistake as she runs for Congress to unseat wingnut GOP dickhead Rep. Andy Barr, a guy who votes with Donald Trump 100% of the time. Is Kentucky’s 6th district doable for the Democrats? Trump only won it by 15 points, so sure, why the fuck not, because badass Democrats should be challenging A-hole Republicans in ALL THE DISTRICTS, KATIE. Besides, Marines have that “Can Do” thing going for them, which should prove helpful in such a race.
McGrath has released a really great ad. It is very PEW PEW! BANG BANG! MARINES! That’s just fine with us because A) McGrath is running in KY-06, which in case you are not up on your geography, is not located in Berkeley, B) she was the first lady Marine to fly an F-18 in combat, so she can do what she wants, and C) PEW PEW! BANG BANG! WE ARE A CORPORATIST HILLARY-MONSTER WAR-MONGER DEMOCRAT!
Just kidding, we are not really a war-monger, but we are a pro-military, national security Democrat, so we like it fine, though your mileage and that of other Wonkette writers and editors AHEM may vary. Regardless of whether you are a #War Democrat or a #GivePeaceAChance Democrat, look at this through the lens of a voter in KY-06, which includes the city of Lexington (which is pretty lib-gay) and Frankfort, the little bitty state capital:


SNIP
 
We really like how McGrath pivots from “I AM A BIG BAD GRRRR MARINE WHO BEATED UP AL-QAEDA AND THE TALIBAN” to “I AM A BIG BAD GRRRR MARINE WHO WILL SAVE YOUR HEALTHCARE, UNLIKE THAT PIG TURD ANDY BARR!”
And this last part is fantastic:
This is my new mission. To take on a Congress full of career politicians who treat the people of Kentucky like they’re disposable. Some are telling me a Democrat can’t win that battle in Kentucky. That we can’t take back our country for my kids and yours.
WE’LL SEE ABOUT THAT.
WE’LL SEE ABOUT THAT, is what she just said.

Reckon we will!
From her website:

MY PLEDGE TO THE VOTERS OF KENTUCKY'S SIXTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

When my country called, I proudly served to defend our nation against those who would do us harm.
Today, a government that doesn't work for the people threatens our way of life more than any foreign adversary. The public deserves leaders who are grounded in integrity and brave enough to tell them the truth, instead of misleading them into thinking that quick fixes are right around the corner.
We must have members of Congress willing to stand up to partisanship, divisiveness and duplicity, and meet our challenges head on, always putting country before politics.
That’s the style of decisive leadership I learned in the Marines and it’s what I’m prepared to bring to Congress. Our country is in crisis. We need leaders who never flinch.
The Cook Political Report rates Kentucky’s 6th as R+9. Romney won it 56-42 and Trump 55-39. Barr won re-election in 2014 and 2016 by 20 points. Even so, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jack Conway won the 6th 49-46 while he was losing statewide 53-44, and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray carried it 52-48 while he was losing his 2016 Senate bid to GOP incumbent Rand Paul 57-43. According to data complied from special elections in 2017 by Matt Yglesias, that would put McGrath right on the edge of a possible win in 2018.
Here's her website.  The Donate button is right smack in the middle of the home page. Hit it. 

Total Immunity for All Cops

So a prosecutor finally has the courage to put on trial a murdering cop not once, but twice, and his reward for two mistrials is the police union demanding his dismissal or they will start enforcing martial law.

Understand that the issue with Sgt. Heine's testimony is a smokescreen, the issue is that Deters dared to ever indict Tensing.  The police union is making it very clear that the collaborative agreement between the police, the City Council, the Mayor, and the black community is dead unless Deters is fired, and that's something Mayor Cranley can't afford to let crumble as he faces re-election.

That puts Cincinnati in a very bad place.  If the police union bails from the Collaborative Agreement, Cranley is toast and he knows it
Bringing in an outside prosecutor won't fix this; cops will punish the city all the same.

Banning police unions will usher in massive, nation-wide strikes by cops who are now armed with state-of-the-art military weapons.

No, I don't think the Orange Loser's exhortation to cops to beat suspects was accidental at all.