Another black man dead…Only this time?

Another black man dead…Only this time?

people carrying signs of protest during a peace rally
Photo by Natalie Chaney on Unsplash (https://unsplash.com/photos/KaLSXcB-crY)

The “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” was written seven months before I was born, and just under five years before Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered.

The 16th Street Baptist Church was bombed just under two months before my birth, and JFK was assassinated within my first 20 days on the planet.

This shit is toxic, it’s REAL, and it’s deadly. Continue reading “Another black man dead…Only this time?”

Eighteen years later, I will fly no flag…

On this day, I will not wave my credentials as an American.

Why? Because I am angry and ashamed of what we have become.

Continue reading “Eighteen years later, I will fly no flag…”

Endarkenment (Part 3)

Endarkenment (Part 3)

I’m all too familiar with the spiral Anne Wheaton describes here. The stress of the news, coupled with the kitchen repairs and impending divorce and new job and old job and milestone birthday…they all wrap around the next two and a half weeks. Continue reading “Endarkenment (Part 3)”

Racisim: It’s baKkKed in…

Racisim: It’s baKkKed in…

This post has been brewing since the end of May, but I didn’t have the words until last night. Not until I sat through BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee’s new Joint. Continue reading “Racisim: It’s baKkKed in…”

Solidarity…

Solidarity…

I don’t think it’s a secret (at least not if you’ve kept up with my writing) that I am ethnically Jewish. In fact, though I don’t observe the faith of my ancestors, I am quite proud of my heritage as an Ashkenazi Jew. Continue reading “Solidarity…”

Changes…

Changes…

And these children
That you spit on
As they try to change their world
Are immune from your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through…

–David Bowie

A little under two years ago, I wrote this post in reaction to Philando Castile’s murder:

Storm’s here.

In that time, nothing changed, until last February, kicked off when a series of white males took up arms against their social circle and inspired a movement in the aftermath of their destruction. Except, that’s not the whole picture.

Compare and contrast.

Four articles from The Guardian, a somewhat left-leaning source with roots in the United Kingdom:

1. Florida shooting: suspect escaped scene by hiding among students as they fled
Nikolas Cruz, 19, charged with 17 counts of murder as officials confirm the AR-15 rifle used to commit massacre was purchased legally

(Incident: February 14, 2018. Dead: 17, injured: 17)

2. Austin bomb suspect left video ‘confession’ before he died
Police say footage portrays ‘a very challenged young man,’ but nothing to show he was motivated by hate

(Incidents: March 2-20, 2018. Dead: 2, injured: 5)

3.  ‘They executed him’: police killing of Stephon Clark leaves family shattered
A young, unarmed black man was shot 20 times in his grandmother’s backyard. Now his brother is fighting through grief to demand justice

(Incident: March 18, 2018. Dead: 1)

4. Maryland student who shot classmate dead killed himself, officials say
Austin Rollins, 17, fired a fatal shot to his head just as he encountered the school resource officer at Great Mills high school

(Incident: March 20, 2018. Dead: 2, injured: 1)

Wait. Did I say four? I meant five.

5. Alton Sterling shooting: two police officers will not be charged with any crime
Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II won’t be charged for incident that occured [sic] in July of 2016 that sparked unrest throughout Baton Rouge

(Incident: July 7, 2016. Dead: 1)

Two of these incidents are not like the others. In fact, the victims in those two incidents stand in stark contrast to the others, even though they are connected by the way in which they died. And in how the victims were described. And in the accountability of those who perpetrated their murders.

On March 22nd, I wrote this piece, after the Associated Press put out a horrendous article describing the Great Mills murderer as a “lovesick teen.” The phrase AP used seemed completely tone deaf, wholly inappropriate given the reality that, according to the Violence Policy Center, 11 murder-suicides happen every week, and that 9 out of 10 murderers use a gun.

As the article above shows, the Resource Officer originally credited with stopping the murderer actually hit him in the hand, and that the kid died from a self-inflicted gunshot.

The hand.

Think about that.

In contrast, Stephon Clark was shot twenty times in his own backyard, murdered in cold blood, and the only thing the cops could find after the dust settled was a cellphone. And nobody could explain why they had to turn off their body cameras.

When Alton Sterling was shot, he did have a gun on him. And it shouldn’t have mattered. After all, Louisiana is an Open-Carry state, and Sterling was within his legal 2A right to possess and carry the gun.

According to an eyewitness report from his friend inside the store, near where Sterling was murdered, the gun was in his waistband, not in his hands.

What Sterling and Clark, and Castile, and Brown, and all the others have in common is an abundance of melanin, which most of the cops and all of the civilian murderers listed above, lack.

People of color have been targets since the first of the slave ships landed on these shores. And cops have proven that lynching isn’t necessary as long as they feel free to pump lead into any individual they view as a threat, regardless of reality.

Being born with dark skin isn’t inherently threatening unless one wants an excuse to pump the entire contents of a gun clip into a human being and call him a target, to exercise summary justice outside of the legal system, to shut down any possibility of accusations of police brutality or corruption.

Any excuse will do, regardless of whether the victim’s legal and civil rights say otherwise.

I’ve been writing about racism since the first few posts I wrote in this blog, way back in 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when the Bush family turned a blind eye to reality and cost the lives of almost 1,500 people and displaced a huge number of poor families, many of color, in New Orleans.

#BlackLivesMatter, which started as a hashtag on social media,  came into existence in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman’s acquittal finally drew attention to the massive disparity between being black and being white in America.

But not enough. Not nearly enough.

No, it took a major tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in a privileged part of Florida’s Broward County, to focus the movement like a laser. These students are articulate, driven, privileged kids. They have finally, firmly, seized that banner of truth and anger and sadness, raised it high, and reached out to their siblings across the country who have been targets far longer.

Inclusive, determined, driven by force of will, these kids who founded the March For Our Lives movement, who have declared #NeverAgain in places across the country, are defining the future in their terms.

Now that they’re coming of age, their movement looks a lot like the Vietnam War protests of our past. And no wonder.

We ARE at war.

We are deep into Civil War, and we have no idea where it will lead, but the children…OUR children…have declared in more than a million clear, strong voices of all ages, ethnicities, genders, and cultures, that #EnoughIsEnough.

Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky and their friends speak not just for the students at MSD, but for kids across the country, and they will sit in silence no longer.

It’s no surprise that they have welcomed their siblings of color, who are considered “at-risk” merely for existing. After all, they’re theatre kids. They understand diversity in ways only some of us fully understand.

In a time and place where our people of color are maimed or killed in disproportionate numbers, simply because they’re not white, these kids see only one thing: Themselves.

In our gun-saturated society, there’s a reckoning coming. It’s coming at the ballot box this year.

This is just the start.

May these children succeed where we have failed, in the ten years since the District of Columbia v. Heller  decision, to force change. I only wish David Bowie was still here to see it.

David Bowie – Changes (Olympia)

Connecting the Dots, Part 7…

Connecting the Dots, Part 7…

There’s a benefit to following folks I’ve never met anywhere else but FB. Occasionally, someone shows me a bit of the Internet that I’ve missed before, and because it flew under the radar, I didn’t have it available to draw connections.

Today, someone revealed a tiny tip of a much larger iceberg, and now I’ve got the first Dots post in almost seven months.

This could have been an Aftermath post, but it’s not, because it’s a train wreck in progress and it’s likely already too late to stop it from taking our country down.

It annoys me that people still have the guts to complain about Hillary Clinton, who still think she just made things up when she said there was a vast Right Wing conspiracy. That’s where the first Dots post derived, and this is actually no different.

I woke up this morning to a typical political argument on FB between a handful of people who, like the characters in Into the Woods singing about whose fault it was that the Giant “Trump” was ruining their lives, want to assign blame over how we got here.

Sondheim is a musical genius. The number “Your Fault” in Act Two is a perfect illustration of that argument I walked into this morning, and others I’ve seen since Trump has blossomed into the full blown conman cum tin pot dictator he’s always wanted to be.

Don’t know the show? Here’s the Disney version. You might recognize a couple of the faces here. Or not:

But see, that’s why I blog. Because it helps me collect my thoughts so that the next time I wander into one of these He Said/She Said/They Said arguments, I have the ability to narrow down the argument to a single point.

In a lot of ways, I fulfill that role of the Witch: Pragmatic to a fault, trying too hard to protect the thing she loves, afraid of what will happen if she loses control of the situation. I relate to that character far more than I should. And yet…

Tonight I discovered that I missed something really REALLY important about the 2010 election that other folks having a similar argument just pointed out to me. The starting point is here, in a source I only sort of like, because Salon often reproduces other people’s articles without attribution or linking to the original source.

I try very hard not to plagiarize, and I want to give credit where credit is due. I’m also keenly aware that this medium is Orwell’s Memory Hole.

In the time it took for the Salon article to hit, the source of its postulations has already vanished. Fortunately, though, there are other sources, so I’ll post the article and then I’ll follow the rest of the leads.

And never fear: I have local copies of the things I think matter, and I’ve already archived some of the site material as well, because sooner or later the folks who started this will make it disappear again, as if it never happened. Because that’s what the Ministry of Truth is all about.

It starts here:

Salon: How the Republicans rigged Congress — new documents reveal an untold story

The title is misleading (as is a lot of what Salon publishes, but that’s a different subject). Fact is, someone FINALLY noticed that the Republicans laid the roadmap (or rather REDMAP) out a long time ago.

I was just as clueless about what happened in 2010 as the next Democrat, after President Obama won in 2008. I was THRILLED to see the back side of President Bush. And I was busy with my kids, trying to stay afloat with a part-time job while I looked for something full time in a truly awful job market, living in a house that was upside down on it’s mortgage.

Distracted. Missed the details, didn’t look where I needed to look, and then BANG! New congress, Republican sweep, so many Red States and Tea Party EVERYTHING. I started paying attention, but I still wasn’t looking where I needed to look.

So when today’s Politico post dropped, I spent an hour poking around trying to locate the offending PowerPoint that showed us everything we need to know. And I got…nowhere.

The link to that PowerPoint is gone.

But…but…that’s not the end of the story.

The analysis I just finished aggregates the empirical data that shows how well the plan worked. It gives an insight into WHY the polls were wrong, and it proves out what the GOP already know.

They’re counting on low Democratic voter turnout this year. Folks are looking at Doug Jones like he’s the Blue Messiah and I can’t begin to tell you how dangerous that narrative is, because it’s based on a LIE.

Let’s back up for a moment, though.

This site seems innocent enough. It’s ancient news, in fact. http://www.redistrictingmajorityproject.com/.

According to the site’s About page:

What is redistricting and why does it matter?
At the conclusion of the 2010 national census, congressional seats will be reapportioned to each state. The states with a shrinking population will lose congressional seats and states with a population boom will gain seats. A massive effort to redraw state legislative and congressional lines will take place according to each state’s laws. The party controlling that effort controls the drawing of the maps – shaping the political landscape for the next 10 years. In 38 states, governors and state legislators play a determining role in the redistricting process.

What is REDMAP?
REDMAP (REDistricting Majority Project) is a program of the RSLC dedicated to winning state legislative seats that will have a critical impact on congressional redistricting in 2011.

How can REDMAP succeed?
REDMAP succeeds with your help. Only by staying up-to-date on the latest news, and engaging your friends and family about the importance of our effort, can we succeed.

How can I help?
REDMAP is a grassroots effort. We are funded solely through contributions from commonsense conservatives throughout the country – and we rely on grassroots conservatives as our best means of alerting fellow conservatives across the country to our efforts.

Grassroots my ass.

The Tea Party started out as a Grassroots organization, until the Koch brothers took it over and helped sweep in the ultra conservative Freedom Party Republicans in office today. And now Rand Paul, one of its founders, is bound and determined to shut down government rather than sign off on a budget bill that addresses all sorts of long term issues.

NY Times: Government Shutdown Looms as Rand Paul Protests Budget Deal

So really, HOW DID WE GET HERE?

I mean, I’ve laid out a lot of the groundwork for how we got to the mess we’re in, but I mean the GOP majority that has us so screwed we can’t actually produce a budget, and even if we could, would make it impossible to balance without taking a hacksaw to what’s left of our shredded safety net.

Well, there’s a clue right here. It came out before the end of the Primary season, and folks might have noticed, but like I said, a lot of us were distracted with trying to find work and keep our houses, and we weren’t spending a lot of time idly reading articles on an election process that would clearly take care of itself.

After all, we had our first African American president! What could possibly go wrong?

Politico: GOP could gain redistricting powers

And

New Yorker Magazine: State for Sale A conservative multimillionaire has taken control in North Carolina, one of 2012’s top battlegrounds.

These reporters were on to something, but nobody wanted to listen because we couldn’t lose. Why worry when we’d just waste our time. Of COURSE we’d keep all those seats.

Only…that’s not what happened, was it?

No.

Why?

Because the moment President Obama took his first oath of office, the Republican billionaires knew they had to stop the progress Democrats made, the movement President Obama inspired, and the progress toward a more liberal landscape. And that’s when REDMAP was born.

Here’s what it looked like, in July of 2015, one month after Trump declared his candidacy,

The following June, just as the FBI’s investigation into Russian influence started to heat up for both Clinton (publicly) and Trump (in silence), New Yorker Magazine featured a story that highlighted David Daley’s book “Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy” (Liveright).

Daley tried to tell us, but we were too busy making fun of Trump and being horrified that Cruz might win, we didn’t pay attention then, either.

Little by little, piece by piece, as the GOP realized Trump was the key to everything, they all lined up behind the grifter, the demagogue of Mar-a-Lago whose failed businesses let him deduct almost a BILLION dollars in bankruptcy claims, screwing every contractor he encountered, and seated him at the desk in the Oval Office.

Hindsight, as they say, is crystal clear. We got here because we failed to connect enough of the dots early enough in the process to stop this grassroots takeover. Like a virus, the GOP have sucked the Blue out of most of the US. There are islands, pockets of liberalism, and they’ve all been neatly tied up with a big red bow, designed to ensure that those seats will never turn blue again, no matter how many angry Democrats turn out.

There is no guarantee the GOP will run candidates like Roy Moore. There’s no guarantee that a million voters will blow off the Midterm elections because they hate all the candidates.

On the contrary, the majority of Republicans will seem to be almost okay, just enough different from the Democrats that those people who adore false equivalency will tell themselves again that it makes no difference, and they’ll vote for the guy at the top of the ballot, because he’s already got the seat and what could possibly go wrong?

It’ll be that way all the way down the ticket. Just look at what happened in Virginia. With the race down to the very last legitimate ballots, the GOP were able to pull out that one last ballot, put two names inside film canisters, and draw lots. That’s where we are today. An entire state legislature decided on a single solitary ballot. And we have people like Ed Gillespie to thank for this.

The Washington Post: Gillespie took partisan mapmaking to a new level. Try turning that into a bumper sticker.

Here’s what the goal is, for 2020. Feel free to drag that line to the left and right, to see what the GOP expects the landscape to look like after 2018. Go ahead. Check it out. It’s what I’m predicting will happen.

https://rslc.gop/map-center/

Democrats still think we can play by the rules. Greens think their high moral ground will protect and insulate them from the damage this country has already suffered and will continue to suffer under Republican rule.

They don’t understand that our country’s election process has become a game of political Calvinball, where the rules change from moment to moment, to suit the needs of the GOP.

If we keep having these blame-storming arguments that revolve around purity tests, we’ll be the rest of the way back to the Gilded age, with all the gains after 1900 just plain gone.

Back to the days of billionaire robber barons, landed gentry, slavery, and feudalism.

You think we’re there now? You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

Aftermath (Part 5): Patriarchal Theocracy

Aftermath (Part 5): Patriarchal Theocracy

patriarchal

  [pey-tree-ahr-kuh l]
adjective[1]. of or relating to a patriarch, the male head of a family, tribe, community, church, order, etc.: my father’s conservative, patriarchal ways.2. characteristic of an entity, family, church, etc., controlled by men: the highly patriarchal Mormon church.

theocracy

 [thee-ok-ruh-see]

noun, plural theocracies.

1. a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God’s or deity’s laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.
2. a system of government by priests claiming a divine commission.
3. a commonwealth or state under such a form or system of government.
(http://www.dictionary.com/)

If I had ten dollars for every argument I had in the last several years over the ramifications of choosing to vote third party, I’d be able to buy a private island and escape this bullshit, but no, nobody paid me to argue my side and so here we are. I’m still Cassandra, and our social safety nets aren’t just unraveling, they’re on fire. How long before we return to the world of robber barons, Standard Oil, and the Gilded Age? As early as the end of 2018, by my reckoning.

The text below began circulating Facebook at the start of this week. I’ve been trying to coalesce my thoughts since I copied and pasted to here, but I had to start with links to the text in each of the bills below.

This isn’t a drill. The Congressional House of Representatives controls the US budget process and they are working on the next budget for Trump to sign into law, after it passes the Senate, but that’s not stopping them from deleting whole line items, piecemeal.

Since President Obama left office in January, we have been operating on the last Obama-era budget, such as it was. With the end of FY 2016-2017 on September 30, that changed. We are now in Trump territory. If there was ever a question about his agenda, today’s reprehensible Executive Order should answer it for you.

Soon after Trump signed the executive order, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman threatened to sue the administration if it oversteps its executive power.

“President Trump now appears to be trying to accomplish by executive fiat what he could not through Congress,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “If the Trump administration takes any action that violates the law — or tramples on New Yorkers’ constitutional rights — we will take them to court.”

And while Trump was entertaining his audience (so much so, he forgot to sign the actual order and Pence had to remind him AGAIN not to leave first), the House is presently debating all of the bills below.

Every one of these hideously grotesque bills belongs to the Republicans in charge. Affix blame where it lies: At the malicious feet of the radical right who’ve taken over our country during the last 40 years.

Distracted by bump stocks, taking the knee, Corker tweet storm, “real” first lady, IQ challenge?
The following bills have been introduced (as of last week):
1. HR 861 Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency
2. HR 610 Vouchers for Public Education
3. HR 899 Terminate the Department of Education
4. HJR 69 Repeal Rule Protecting Wildlife
5. HR 370 Another attempt to Repeal Affordable Care Act
6. HR 354 Defund Planned Parenthood
7. HR 785 National Right to Work (this one is devastating to the working class … it ALSO applies to Union members)
8. HR 83 Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill
9. HR 147 Criminalizing Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”)
10. HR 808 Sanctions against Iran
Contact your House Representative.
Copy, paste, share

Combine the concerted attacks on the Affordable Care Act with the recent language change on human conception and meaning from Health and Human Services, and Trump’s change to the mandate for covering birth control and you have the toxic makings of a Patriarchal Theocracy.

So much for our Republic. One nation, indivisible, but only for rich white men.

That’s been the plan all along, ever since Carter had the audacity to take the election from Gerald Ford and Bob Dole. Make sure if the Democrats are in power, they never get another chance to do what FDR did, and erode those policies as fast as possible, by any means necessary.

These acts of Trump and the GOP are not just to destroy President Obama’s legacy. They intend to restore to the plan before Bush left office. If only McCain had won, like he was supposed to, this is what would have happened eight years ago. It’s what would have happened if Romney had won in 2012. And it’s why the hypocrites in the GOP hitched their wagon to a narcissistic imbecile like Trump, who doesn’t give an actual shit about anything except protecting his own assets.

I want to be positive, so here’s a prediction: I’m positive that if we don’t get our collective shit together before 11/6/2018, there won’t be another election in this country. Not one we can vote in, anyway.

Either we’ll be dead or the GOP will have rigged the process so that we can’t actually cast ballots for anyone, including dogcatcher.

It takes a lot to grind a functioning social region to a halt. The DC metro area does one thing and it does it very well: We support all those people who make the US Government function. Shutter three agencies, remove the regulations for private industry, shift the center of government elsewhere, and take action against all those who oppose the plan? That’s fascism.

Like I said.

Edited to add:

Just as I was getting ready to put this to bed, FB popped this article up on my feed.

The Hill: Trump to become first sitting president to address Values Voter Summit

The SPLC has identified the Family Research Council as a hate group. More from the SPLC can be found here:

SPLC: VALUES VOTER SUMMIT: WHOSE VALUES?

Tell me I’m wrong.

I dare you.

Newsflash: What you think is wrong is just the tip of the iceberg…

Newsflash: What you think is wrong is just the tip of the iceberg…

This morning there were a raft of articles like these floating around my corner of the Internet. Continue reading “Newsflash: What you think is wrong is just the tip of the iceberg…”

Theme: Elation by Kaira.