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.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Thanks to the Mob

When your cowardly repug reps refuse to listen to you and a few hundred of your closest friends, remember this, via Wonkette:

I am the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world’s food and clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons come from me and the Lincolns. They die. And then I send forth more Napoleons and Lincolns.
I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and makes me work and give up what I have. And I forget.
Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red drops for history to remember. Then—I forget.
When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer forget who robbed me last year, who played me for a fool—then there will be no speaker in all the world say the name: “The People,” with any fleck of a sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.
The mob—the crowd—the mass—will arrive then.

Wrong Remedy

Divine Irony:

“Yes, Islam is dangerous gibberish, but only for the same reasons that all religions are dangerous gibberish.
Yes, Islam is dangerous gibberish, but only for the same reasons that all religions are dangerous gibberish.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Resistance: E. KY Tells Nazis to Fuck Off and Die

They may have given the Orange Loser 80 percent of their votes, but they're not tolerating this shit.

James Bruggers at the Courier:

Southeast Kentucky residents are organizing two rallies in opposition to white nationalists who have chosen to come to Pike and Floyd counties to recruit new members and hold their own demonstration.

The Unity for a Diverse Appalachia rally will be  April 28 from 5-8 p.m. at Jenny Wiley State Park to counter an announced gathering there by white-power groups.

"This hateful group plans to hold a dinner on the night of April 28 (at the state park) and we plan on being there to remind them that their ideologies are not welcome among our people," a Facebook event page said.

Then the next day, the Rally for Equality and American Values will "hopefully far eclipse anything that the neo-Nazis bring to Pikeville," said Christian Tyler Marcum, a Pikeville resident and medical student at the University of Pikeville. "We're going to show the state, and the country, that these people do not reflect Kentucky values."


Marcum said the Pikeville counter-event is nonpartisan and will feature Republic and Democratic party speakers in addition to music.

"So long as you value fairness and equality as bedrock American principles, you are welcome here," a posting on the event's Facebook page says.

That rally will be held 2-5 p.m. at Pikeville City Park, about 200 yards from where the white-power groups are planning to hold their event at the same time, Marcum said, adding the separation is intended to avoid conflict: "The idea is to not have a screaming match."

People are encouraged to bring photos of family members who fought Naziism in World War II.

He said organizers have been contacted by national organizations and are discouraging people from coming from outside Kentucky or Appalachia. "We don't want it to be hijacked by busloads from out of state," he added.
My grandfather fought those motherfuckers in North Africa and Italy, contracting the Hepatitis C that killed him at 58. He was born and raised in the mountains. It would not surprise me if he rose up out of his grave to kick some skinhead ass in April.

KY Repug Reps Too Scared to Face Constituents

All over the country, people are turning out by the thousand to demand their representatives do their fucking jobs, but we can't do that in Kentucky because all of our piece of shit repug congress critters are hiding under their beds, sniveling and shitting themselves in terror because a bunch of elderly, obese, disabled voters might ask them questions.

Brand-new First District Rep James Comer: ZERO Town Halls

Old Second District Rep. Brett Guthrie:  ZERO Town Halls

Hypocritical Fourth District Rep. Thomas Massie:  ZERO Town Halls

REALLY Old Fifth District Rep. Hal Rogers:  ZERO Town Halls

Smarmy Sixth District Rep. Candy Barr:  ZERO Town Halls

Only Democratic Third District Rep. John "Congressman Awesome" John Yarmuth is showing his face in public.

Now we happen to be personally acquainted with some of Yarmuth's more politically involved constituents, and we can testify that they know how to get loud and rowdy at elected officials.  And we have also seen Yarmuth in action facing those loud and rowdy crowds, and the man does not back down.  He knows that his job is to represent his constituents and show them respect because he works for them.  Unlike Comer, Guthrie, Massie, Rogers and Barr, Yarmuth is not afraid of the people who elected him.

America's Kristallnacht

ICE Agents in the military vehicles following school buses and the children walking home in order to grab their parents and disappear them.  It's happening here.  Right now.  On your street.

Donald Trump's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents began massive deportation sweeps Thursday in Los Angeles and other cities around the country, only there's no indication that agents specifically targeted dangerous criminals. In the LA raids, Esther Yu Hsi Lee reports:
Advocates and lawyers said that ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations agents detained 134 immigrants at their workplaces and homes in a series of raids. They said that some people were picked up as “collateral arrest” after they opened their doors to agents who were not there to specifically arrest them. ICE agents allegedly requested to see identification from everyone and took in family members who were undocumented. (emphasis added)
The immigration sweeps are believed to have taken place across Southern California in Santa Paula, Oxnard, Van Nuys, San Bernardino, and Downey.
ICE agents denied detaining 100 people and a spokesperson insisted the raids targeted "individuals who pose a risk to our communities." Kind of like apprehending Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos in Arizona Wednesday, a mom with American children whose only crime was getting caught in a workplace raid about a decade ago.
Or these sweeps in Austin, Texas: “Alvarado described her husband’s arrest like ‘he was being hunted. … She said they knew where he lived, his job, his morning route.’”
“What do I do now?” Reyna Alvarado said in Spanish. "I had to go to school and tell my daughter that they’ve taken her father away,” she added, while her forlorn 12-year-old, the youngest of the Honduran couple's three children clutched her mother as she spoke.
There’s also unconfirmed reports that ICE agents are trailing kids walking home from school to lead them to their parents.
Back to the Los Angeles raids:
Routine immigration operations typically detain three to five people — but a sweep across seven counties to round up people appears to be a direct consequence of Trump’s recent executive order that gives broad power for agents to detain immigrants, advocates said. [...]
Jorge-Mario Cabrera, the Director of Communications at the immigrant advocacy group Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), told ThinkProgress that the immigrants arrested this week were “low-priority.”
Cabrera said that, by late Thursday evening, lawyers were able to consult 16 people detained in the raids who do not in fact have criminal records. One of those detainees has two U.S.-born children, no criminal background, and has spent years living in the United States. Another one was considered a “gang member” simply because of old speeding tickets and tattoos.
One LA attorney who went to the ICE offices to represent immigrants who had been detained said some detainees may have been immediately deported.
An ICE officer told her that one of the people she represents — a father to three children who are U.S. citizens who was likely eligible for a green card — had been deported. But Navarrete couldn’t confirm that because she was denied entry to physically see him. “We don’t know because we don’t believe them,” she said. She is now working to file a stay for the man.
This is how Trump is making America safe again—detaining and deporting people with traffic tickets and tattoos as well as parents of U.S.-born children who have been doing their best to keep their families fed. He’s going to create a generation of American kids who grow up without their parents. Nothing could make America greater than that.
And when America is a pariah nation, shunned by the people and companies we need to drive the economy, the neo-Nazi trumpies who are cheering today will be crying in their dark, waterless shacks and still blaming Obama.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Resistance: Who We Really Are

Send this everywhere.

To demonstrate, please forgive me for quoting at length from President Obama’s amazing speech at the 50th anniversary of the march in Selma. It’s as good of a summary as you’re likely to find.
For we were born of change. We broke the old aristocracies, declaring ourselves entitled not by bloodline, but endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. We secure our rights and responsibilities through a system of self-government, of and by and for the people. That’s why we argue and fight with so much passion and conviction — because we know our efforts matter. We know America is what we make of it.
Look at our history. We are Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea, pioneers who braved the unfamiliar, followed by a stampede of farmers and miners, and entrepreneurs and hucksters. That’s our spirit. That’s who we are.
We are Sojourner Truth and Fannie Lou Hamer, women who could do as much as any man and then some. And we’re Susan B. Anthony, who shook the system until the law reflected that truth. That is our character.
We’re the immigrants who stowed away on ships to reach these shores, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free –- Holocaust survivors, Soviet defectors, the Lost Boys of Sudan. We’re the hopeful strivers who cross the Rio Grande because we want our kids to know a better life. That’s how we came to be.
We’re the slaves who built the White House and the economy of the South. We’re the ranch hands and cowboys who opened up the West, and countless laborers who laid rail, and raised skyscrapers, and organized for workers’ rights.
We’re the fresh-faced GIs who fought to liberate a continent. And we’re the Tuskeegee Airmen, and the Navajo code-talkers, and the Japanese Americans who fought for this country even as their own liberty had been denied.
We’re the firefighters who rushed into those buildings on 9/11, the volunteers who signed up to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq. We’re the gay Americans whose blood ran in the streets of San Francisco and New York, just as blood ran down this bridge.
We are storytellers, writers, poets, artists who abhor unfairness, and despise hypocrisy, and give voice to the voiceless, and tell truths that need to be told.
We’re the inventors of gospel and jazz and blues, bluegrass and country, and hip-hop and rock and roll, and our very own sound with all the sweet sorrow and reckless joy of freedom.
We are Jackie Robinson, enduring scorn and spiked cleats and pitches coming straight to his head, and stealing home in the World Series anyway.
We are the people Langston Hughes wrote of who “build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how.” We are the people Emerson wrote of, “who for truth and honor’s sake stand fast and suffer long;” who are “never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”
That’s what America is. Not stock photos or airbrushed history, or feeble attempts to define some of us as more American than others. We respect the past, but we don’t pine for the past. We don’t fear the future; we grab for it. America is not some fragile thing. We are large, in the words of Whitman, containing multitudes. We are boisterous and diverse and full of energy, perpetually young in spirit.

Only If We Call Gun Deaths Terrorist Attacks

Because that's the real danger Americans face.
This from the president who hasn't mentioned, even once, the white supremacist who mowed down half a dozen people in a mosque in Quebec last week. But then the white supremacist is a big fan of Trump's so he figures he must be doing something right.

I'm just going to run this one more time:

It's nothing more than racist fearmongering. He's looking for a war against Muslims, here and abroad. And he'll be happy to start persecuting Mexicans and incarcerating millions more African Americans to keep "us" "safe."

"Blue Lives Matter More Than Your Civil Rights" Bill Advances in KY

So, you're driving along at the speed limit when a state trooper pulls you over. You say "I don't think I was speeding" and he drags you out of the car, throws you face down on the hood and cuffs your hands behind your back while screaming "Stop Resisting!  Stop Resisting."

And now you're in jail, facing fines and prison time for the crime of "attacking" a police officer by merely asking why you were stopped.

That's going to be life in Kentucky if this piece of shit passes.

A bill that would make police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel a protected class under Kentucky’s hate crime law passed easily through a House committee Wednesday.
State Rep. Kevin Bratcher, the sponsor of House Bill 14, said the proposal is intended to protect police and give judges more “tools” when sentencing people who attack officers.

“I just want people to know that if you’re going to harm one of our first-responders, that we’re going to give you the maximum that we can,” Bratcher said.

Opponents argued that police are different than others protected by the hate crime law because they chose to go into the profession. Including an occupation on the list of protected classes would water down the law by expanding it beyond historically oppressed minorities.

“This is not about making police officers safe,” said Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville. “This is about something else. Bottom line, there is no place for this in hate-crime legislation. Where do you stop?”
You don't.  This bill gives cops carte blanche to arrest, abuse, even torture by taser anyone they want.  All the cop has to do is claim he was attacked, even as his "attacker" lies unconscious and bloody at the feet of the untouched cop.

Or as veteran Stephen Gardiner wrote to his legislators:
It is important to keep the purpose of hate crimes laws in focus. They are not just a way to tack on penalties for motivations considered particularly offensive. From their conception, such laws have been a way to recognize that certain types of violence impact not just individuals, but whole communities. Hate crimes discourage entire groups of people from exercising their rights. The long and ugly history of lynching is only the most blatant example of the impacts hate crimes have by intent. The origins of racist terror groups such as the Ku Klux Klan were in an intent to deter Black people from voting, assembly, speech and other rights guaranteed by the constitution. 

HB 14 is political theater. It ignores the real problems faced by police officers, chronic over-policing in Black and low-income neighborhoods, and worsening police-community relations. It ignores our Commonwealth realities of mass detention. It ignores our extraordinary incarceration rates and already overcrowded jails. 

Police work is difficult, at times dangerous. To be clear, willfully targeting a law enforcement officer because of their occupation is a heinous crime. However, Kentucky law already provides enhanced penalties for assaulting a police officer and treats the murder of an officer as a capital crime, without the burden of proving motivation. HB 14 is an attempt to legislate “respect” for law enforcement even while their benefits dwindle, training is inappropriate or underfunded, and their mission as it exists has led to overflowing jails, the disproportionate and aggressive policing of Black neighborhoods, and mutual mistrust between police and the most vulnerable communities in the state. 

Meanwhile, this bill suggests Kentucky has a kind of trouble Kentucky does not have. According to the highly motivated tracking of the Officer Down Memorial Page, across our entire state, no officers were killed in 2016. Even one would be too many, but HB 14 encourages a misperception that Kentucky and particularly Black neighborhoods in Kentucky are dangerous places for officers to work. The data suggests the opposite is true. 

Charges of resisting arrest and intimidation are extraordinarily discretionary. HB 14 transforms discretionary misdemeanors, for petty offenses or no offense at all, into discretionary felonies. This is an obvious threat and offense against Black neighborhoods and youth who are already too aggressively policed. In the current political climate and according to early showings of how similar bills are enforced elsewhere, these discretionary felonies are all too likely to be realized on the bodies of peaceful protesters as well. In this way, HB 14 fits well among the recent slew of reactionary anti-protest laws nationwide. Poor, homeless and mentally ill people are extraordinarily vulnerable to HB 14, as they may be less able to negotiate tense and frightening encounters with police, and less able to contest unjust charges.

The only purposes HB 14 serves are to allow legislators to make a public show of support for police that is show only, and to further the abuse of Black people and protesters. Kentucky doesn’t need this bill.
It will pass of course and Governor "Trump's dick tastes like caviar" Bevin will sign it.  There are many steps on the road to totalitarianism, and this bill takes a giant one.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Resistance: Come and Get Me

Daylin Leach is a Pennsylvania state senator who is obviously extremely popular with his constituents.
Hey @realDonaldTrump I oppose civil asset forfeiture too! Why don't you try to destroy my career you fascist, loofa-faced, shit-gibbon!

Dissent Being Outlawed

They've tried it before, many times, and failed.  But they never had an all-authoritarian government and judiciary to support them before.

For example, in North Dakota, they are considering a law that would decriminalize…wait for it…"accidentally" running over protesters. From KTLA:
Rep. Keith Kempenich introduced the bill, which states that if a driver "unintentionally" causes injury or death to someone blocking traffic on a roadway, then the driver will not be liable for damages. Kempenich said he was spurred to act after Dakota Access Pipeline protesters last year moved to block public roadways, scaring some of his constituents. "It turned from a protest to basically terrorism on the roadways, and the bill got introduced for people to be able to drive down the roads without fear of running into somebody and having to be liable for them," he told CNN.
What kind of a mind comes up with this? Presumably, if he'd been in Selma in 1965, Representative Kempenich would have run down those terrorists on the Edmund Pettus Bridge because they were keeping him from getting to the Piggly Wiggly. The problem is that there's a kind of fever for suppressing dissent out in the states that has been unleashed with the inauguration of an authoritarian president.

In Minnesota, a proposed law would increase the penalties for public protest on a highway, and another proposed law would force any protester convicted of illegal assembly or public nuisance to recoup the police expenses for monitoring the demonstration. In Indiana, they're pushing a similar bill, as The Indianapolis Star reports.
An Indiana lawmaker says disturbing newscasts of chaotic and sometimes violent protests across the U.S. helped lead him to propose a bill that would direct police to use "any means necessary" to breakup mass gatherings that block traffic.
Any means, Gracie? Boy, this must be a real problem.
When asked, Tomes could not cite specific instances where protesters prevented or delayed an emergency response.
But…but…scary newscasts!
But he said he's seen troubling scenes on the nightly news and thinks people are overcomplicating the issue. "People get off track and get off on sidebars on this. It's just to get the streets opened up for traffic flow, for emergency personnel, for commerce — that's all," said Tomes, who added that he thinks protesters should get a permit if they want to block-off a street. As written, the bill would give authorities 15 minutes to "dispatch all available law enforcement officers" after receiving a report of 10 or more people illegally blocking traffic "with directions to use any means necessary to clear the roads."
But leave it to the newly insane state of North Carolina to come up with a new law dedicated merely to the protection of delicate fee-fees. The News Observer tells the tale.
The proposed legislation would "make it a crime to threaten, intimidate, or retaliate against a present or former North Carolina official in the course of, or on account of, the performance of his or her duties," Bishop said. "Because lines are being crossed," Bishop, a Republican who represents the 39th District in the North Carolina Senate, wrote in an email from his Senate campaign account.
And who is brother Bishop? Glad you asked.
Bishop was one of the sponsors of House Bill 2, or "the bathroom bill" which McCrory signed into law. The bill was criticized for nullifying local non-discrimination ordinances statewide, directing transgender people to use restrooms and locker rooms matching the gender on their birth certificate in government-owned buildings and initially revoking the right to sue in state court for discrimination.
Which, it should be said, is the reason that people are so upset with McCrory in the first place. Nevertheless, Bishop is soldiering on.
Bishop said such behavior should come with a five-year prison sentence and said he'll introduce the legislation to make it so in North Carolina, similar to an ordinance in the District of Columbia. "So should it be in North Carolina," he wrote. "This is dangerous. Jim Hunt, Bev Purdue and other governors never faced riotous mobs in their post-service, private lives, without personal security." Bishop said he also will urge his fellow legislators "to take other appropriate steps to guarantee the personal safety of Gov. McCrory by all means necessary."
These are going to be hard days for public protest and, if things keep up the way they're going, there are going to be more and more public protests. I genuinely fear for the safety of the protesters at the Standing Rock camp. But, more than that, I'm afraid that too many people don't understand the purpose of public protest anymore. We're going to have to remember that there is no provision in the Constitution providing for freedom of convenience.
Thus, someone's "right" to make money (enumerated in the Bill of Rights somewhere?) would be considered superior to another's exercising 1st Amendment rights, both according to state law and Ericksen's values. If the protesters carried guns, it would become a 2nd Amendment issue and a different matter altogether. Ericksen was Donald Trump's deputy campaign director in Washington.

Only Unions Make Living Wage Jobs

"Right to work (for less)" laws are nothing but union-busting.  Because corporations and their wholly-owned repug subsidiary politicians have watched for 40 years how well union-busting works for them.

Without strong unions, there is nothing to stop companies from shutting down factories here and building them overseas. And that's exactly what they did, once they'd killed the unions.

Apologies to Robyn Pennachia at Wonkette for copying almost her entire post, but every word is essential reading.

This is, as you might imagine, not at all about “freedom” for workers. It is about decimating unions — which Republicans see as a threat to their political power, on account of the fact that they traditionally back Democratic candidates, and it is about company owners getting to pay their workers less. And less, and less, and less as time goes on.

If we want fair wages, if we want equal pay, if we want maternity/paternity leave, if we want safe workplaces, the only way we are getting those things for quite some time is through unions and collective bargaining. Rather than letting unions deteriorate, we need more unionization, and we need those unions to fight for those things, and make them so normal that non-unionized companies have to play along or lose out on qualified labor. We need unions now more than ever.
We also need to fight for this if we ever want to win another election. Because we need to be the party that stands up for the American worker. We need to fight poverty, we need to fight for higher wages and a higher standard of living.

There are a lot of people out there who voted for Trump on account of the fact that he said he’d bring manufacturing jobs back, assuming that those jobs would pay like they did before NAFTA. This will ensure that even if they do, by some miracle, come back, they will not be doing that. If you think companies are going to go from paying sweatshop wages to paying you a living wage out of the goodness of their hearts without pressure from a union, you are an idiot. Manufacturing jobs did not always pay well — people had to fucking fight and die for them to pay well.

It's also racist and sexist in addition to being anti-worker.  Trifecta!

This legislation will be a major hit to the black community, in particular. Black workers — specifically black female workers — are more likely to be represented by a union than any other demographic. Union membership provides a buffer to wage discrimination based on race and sex, resulting in those who belong to unions making higher wages and receiving better benefits than their non-union peers.
Economic justice is also social justice. There is a reason so many of our most admired and fiercest advocates for social change were union organizers. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, A. Philip Randolph, Dolores Huerta, Lucy Parsons, Cesar Chavez all came from labor. Martin Luther King was assassinated while helping to organize a sanitation worker’s strike in Memphis. It is a way to fight for social change without the permission of the government, which is why Republicans hate it.

If one single factor is to blame the most for the extreme, unequal distribution of wealth in this country, it is the decline of unions. If all those “white working class Trump supporters” want to know why they are “poor” — it is the decline of unions. Not only did unions raise wages for their workers, they increased wages across the board — because non-union companies had to compete with union wages. This is still true today. Workers in Right To Work states make an average of $6,109 less a year than states that don’t have “Right To Work” on the books.

Unions have been steadily losing power since the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan broke the air traffic controllers strike, setting a dangerous precedent. To summarize, the union went on strike, and instead of negotiating with them, Reagan just fired them all and hired new people for less money, and then also banned all those who struck from ever having a federal job again — a ban later lifted by President Clinton. Prior to that, this was an unthinkable thing to do. Reagan made it thinkable.
In addition to that (and, admittedly, several public scandals involving corrupt union bosses), Republicans further pushed an anti-union agenda by aggressively pushing the idea that unions were essentially anti-American. Real Americans wanted to negotiate their salaries for themselves! Because why should they make the same amount of money as someone who wasn’t as good as them?

And won’t someone please think of the poor job creators? Who won’t be able to create jobs and profit from them if you don’t let them pay people next to nothing to do them?

Convincing Americans that their fellow Americans are all just lazy fucks who just want to mooch off of their hard work is one of the greatest tricks the GOP ever pulled. Keeping poor people more resentful of other poor people than they are of the rich is a great way to keep those people poor.
As a result, people are fucking poor now, and CEOs are incredibly, incredibly wealthy. Because surprise! Your boss doesn’t actually think you are worth more than that guy over there! He doesn’t think you’re as special as you think you are! And that guy over there probably thinks you’re not as good as he is.

Americans, by and large, have bought this line of thinking. They have drifted away from embracing labor rights and unions the way they used to, and no longer bother looking for the union label. Union membership is constantly decreasing, and I regularly hear people brag about working 60+ hours a week, never taking actual lunch breaks, etc. etc. Millennials, in particular, so fear the “entitled” label thrust upon them, that they feel the need to work more than they are paid for, and constantly disparage other millennials as the “entitled” ones that they are different from.

Last year, a woman who worked for Yelp’s Eat24 service wrote an open letter complaining to the CEO about how little she was paid, and was subsequently roasted by the internet for being so entitled as to think she ought to be able to buy groceries on her salary. And then was fired by Yelp. Ugh! Can you even believe it? How tacky! And why is she living in San Francisco if she doesn’t have money (never mind the fact that in order to operate in San Francisco, Eat24 does require employees that live there)! She should be grateful she even has a job!

Thinking about this behavior as some kind of unprecedented “everyone deserves a trophy” entitlement is part of the scam. You see, many years ago, people regularly fought for higher wages. They even died for them. They died for the weekend, for the 40 hour work week, for lunch breaks — and they died for unions.

Back in 1912, workers in a textile mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts, launched what is popularly known as the “Strike for Bread and Roses,” due to the fact that their pay was cut when a new law shortened the work week. A strike led by poor, immigrant women and children. One woman, Anna LoPizzo, was shot and killed by police during the strike. But they fought, and they won.

The term “Bread and Roses” comes from a speech by socialist and feminist Rose Schneiderman, in which she said that “The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too.” Meaning that not only must people be paid enough to eat, but also to enjoy their lives. Were someone to say that now, they would certainly be called “entitled.”

But thank goodness they were entitled, huh? Thank goodness they did not put the “job creators'” well-being and ability to profit above their own needs. Thank goodness they were not scared of being told “Well then I guess we won’t be creating any jobs for you in the future” and didn’t buy into that shit anyway. Thank goodness they were not frightened off by the kind of anti-union bullshit that Wal-Mart feeds its employees. Thank goodness they were brave. Because otherwise, our lives would all be pretty damned miserable right now.

If anything, we, as a country, have become far less entitled than we need to be. We have forgotten how to be brave, we have forgotten how to fight. We are all too willing to gratefully accept whatever is handed to us. We are entitled to labor rights, we are entitled to fair wages, we are entitled to overtime, we are entitled to robust unions that fight for those things. We must stop national Right To Work For Less, because it’s only going to get worse from there.
They are coming for the trade unionists, and — this time — we had better speak the fuck up.