The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

February 24, 2015
by terrance
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The GOP Can’t Run From Giuliani’s Hateful Rhetoric.

Republicans can’t run from Rudy Giuliani’s hateful rhetoric about President Obama’s patriotism, because the base won’t let them. This is who they are.

Last week, former New York Mayor and failed GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani ruined a quiet dinner, where anti-tax Republicans were vetting Wisconsin governor and possible presidential candidate Scott Walker, when he became the latest Republican to question President Obama’s patriotism. Continue Reading →

February 23, 2015
by terrance
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Digest for February 22nd through February 23rd

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for February 22nd through February 23rd:

  • Most Americans Say the Rich Aren’t Taxed Enough – Tax season is here and more than two-thirds of Americans think the wealthy pay too little in federal dues, according to a new poll. What’s more, six in 10 say the middle class pays too much.
  • 5 Reasons White People Don’t Have to Hate People of Color to Be Racist – Here are some reasons why even the most “well-intended” white person can consciously and unconsciously still participate in racism:
  • How we die should be a personal choice, not the government’s – Many terminally ill patients fear dying slowly in pain. They'd like to cut short the agony.
  • This man is not a “moderate”: Why Jeb Bush is more conservative than you think – According to the dominant media narrative, Jeb Bush runs to the center. But history tells a different story
  • Talent Does Not Decide Whether You Succeed – It can be easy to ground ourselves with the notion that we don't have—or weren't born with—the talent to succeed. While some people may naturally have the upper hand in some skill sets, being successful at something really comes down to dedicating yourself to develop and master skills. Talent is just a starting point.
  • The Three Stooges of the Grand Obstructionist Party – Three grumpy old white men form a triumvirate of virtually everything that is wrong with the political system of abject dysfunction that currently is preventing anything positive or hopeful for the American people. Dick Cheney, Bill O'Reilly, and Rudy Giuliani represent a modern day version of the Three Stooges, take your pick who is who but for my money Cheney is Moe, O'Reilly is Larry, and Giuliani is Curly. But their antics, while reflective of the foolishness of their namesakes, have consequences that are all too real and destructive.
  • Bury Your Haters With a Smile: Why Success is Always the Best Revenge – If there’s one important thing to remember when it comes to the general population, it’s this: Most people get a kick out of hurting others.
  • Op-Ed Columnist: Straight Talk for White Men – The evidence is overwhelming that unconscious bias remains widespread in ways that systematically offer benefits based on race and gender.
  • Why Do People Feel Entitled to Tell the Poor What to Eat? – Why do people think they’re entitled to decide how food stamps, in particular, are used? Not all government benefits elicit such feelings. When we give people assistance through the home-mortgage interest deduction, we don’t feel entitled to tell them what house to buy or what neighborhood to live in; when we subsidize a college education through student loans, we don’t tell students what school to go to or what to major in. When we tax capital gains income at a lower rate than income made from labor, we certainly don’t tell those stock pickers what to do with the extra cash.
  • Family of Alan Turing to demand government pardons 49,000 other men – Campaigners to bring petition to Downing Street, demanding all men convicted under gross indecency law for their homosexuality are pardoned

February 19, 2015
by terrance
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Digest for February 18th through February 19th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for February 18th through February 19th:

February 18, 2015
by terrance
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While Republicans Block “Bomb Train” Safety Changes, A “Bomb Train” Explodes in West Virginia

While Republicans Block “Bomb Train” Safety Changes, A “Bomb Train” Explodes in West Virginia

On Monday, a tanker train carrying more than 3 million gallons of oil derailed in Fayette County, West Virginia, just outside of Montgomery. Nineteen tanker cars, each carrying up to 30,000 gallons of crude oil, left the track and caught fire, setting off an explosion that one resident said was “like an atomic bomb went off.” At least one tanker plunged into Armstrong Creek, a Kanawha river tributary.

No injuries or deaths were reported, but two homes were destroyed, and about 1,000 people were displaced. Two water treatment facilities were temporarily closed. The West Virginia National Guard is testing water samples, but has been unable to determine how much, if any, of the oil that spilled has made it into the Kanawha River, which supplies water to thousands of West Virginians.

The West Virginia explosion came just days after another oil-bearing train derailed in Ontario, Canada. On Saturday, 29 railway cars of a 100-car train derailed, spilling oil and catching fire near Timmons, Ontario. Seven cars were still burning on Monday, when the West Virginia train derailed.

Thanks to the boom in the Bakken shale oil patch in North Dakota and Montana, the number of rail cars used to ship crude oil has increased 4,000 percent — from 9,500 carloads in 2008, to 435,000 in 2013. They’re called “bomb trains” because they’ve been involved in similar accidents in Virginia, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Alabama. In 2013, 47 people were killed when a derailed train exploded near Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.

A similar accident in Lynchburg, Virginia, last year prompted the Obama administration to consider recommending safety upgrades, including thicker tanks, shields to prevent tankers from crumpling, rollover protections, and electronic brakes to stop tanks simultaneously, instead of slamming into each other. These requirements, currently under White House review, would cause tens of thousands of older tank cars used to carry oil and other flammable liquids to be phased out, costing the oil and rail industries billions of dollars.

It’s no surprise that the oil and rail industries are against these safety upgrades. They’d prefer better track maintenance and slower speeds, to spending money to make sure their tankers don’t explode. These industries have successfully blocked new recommendations from the Department of Transportation for twenty years, thanks in part to lawmakers like California Republican Rep. Jeff Denham, chairman of House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials

According to OpenSecrets, the oil and railroad industries were among the top ten contributors to Denham’s campaign committee in the last election cycle. In fact, Denham was among the top five recipients of railway money in the 2013–2014 election cycle.

Rep. Denham’s industry backers got their money’s worth out of him this month. On February 3, almost two weeks before the train derailment in West Virginia, Denham’s subcommittee held a hearing titled, “How the Changing Energy Markets Will Affect U.S. Transportation,” featuring witnesses from the American Petroleum Institute and the Association of Railroads.

One witness got under Rep. Denham’s skin — Greg Saxton, chief engineer for the tank car manufacturer Greenbriar. Saxton was heavily quoted in an oped in The Modesto Bee, a paper in Denham’s home district. Saxton visited Lac-Mégantic, Quebec as the train cars were still smoldering. “There was a funeral every day,” Saxton recalled, “morning, noon, and night.” Saxton’s solution was to build a better tank car. His new design informed the safety upgrades currently under White House Review.

Denham made it clear where he stood.

Rep. Denham went to bat for the railway and oil industries, to delay safety standards for oil tankers rolling through American towns and cities every day — maybe yours. (Check here to find out if you live in an oil train blast zone.) Modesto is also home to Greenbriar’s manufacturing facility. New safety upgrades would likely mean new jobs in Rep. Denham’s home district, but he seems more concerned with making sure his industry friends don’t have to spend money upgrading their tankers. (After all, that means they can give more of it to his campaign. )

Rep. Denham’s response isn’t just about earning his campaign contributions. Pushing back against safety upgrades for the hundreds of thousands of oil tankers traveling through American cities and towns is as much a part of conservatism itself as the “e. coli conservatism” that brought us multiple outbreaks of food contamination, and the anti-science conservatism that led potential GOP presidential candidates to come out against vaccinating children for measles — in the midst of a measles outbreak.

While conservatives like Rep. Denham play to an anti-science conservatism that values “liberty” over safety, and allow his corporate donors to put profit above public safety, the rest of us are left to wonder: When will the next “bomb train” go off? And where?

February 17, 2015
by terrance
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Digest for February 17th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for February 17th from 15:14 to 15:24:

  • Is Welfare Reform Causing Earlier Deaths? – We’ve reformed the social safety net at the cost of human lives.
  • The Worst Sort of Violence Against Children – Keeping public schools defunded and dysfunctional is also a form of violence. Promoting privatization and competition when kids really just need resources is also cruelty. Pretending that standardized curriculum and tests are a Civil Right is also savagery. It’s called class warfare. Its most prominent victims are children. Its most active soldiers are teachers. And we’re on the front lines every day.
  • Could we please not forgive Sarah Palin? She is an unrepentant nightmare – Everyone. I am begging you. Do not participate in or encourage the aw-shucks redemption of Sarah Palin – or any other unrepentant nightmare person, for that matter. She does not deserve it. She is the same person she was in 2008 (though seemingly even more desperate and eager to pander) and she is still actively trying to make the world worse.
  • Guess we don’t live in a post-racial world after all: 13 disturbing criminal justice statistics – Next time someone tells you we live in a post-racial world– after all, we have a black president– show them these stats.
  • Lesley Gore, Feminist Icon – …while the girl group genre, at the behest of older male producers like Phil Spector, was dominated by songs that portrayed girls as boy-crazy damsels in distress—"The Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri Las and "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" by the Shirelles being iconic examples—Gore stood out by showing a more defiant, feminist side with her 1963 hit "You Don't Own Me." The song portrays a narrator standing up to her controlling, possessive boyfriend: "You don't own me, don't try to change me in any way/You don't own me, don't tie me down 'cause I'd never stay."

February 13, 2015
by terrance
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Wingnut Week In Review: Standing in the Courthouse Door

Standing in the Courthouse Door

After a federal judge struck down Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage, “Ten Commandments” judge Roy Moore channelled governor George Wallace, and all the usual wingnuttery ensued.

More than 50 years ago, Alabama governor George Wallace literally stood “in the schoolhouse door,” to prevent the integration of the University of Alabama. Wallace argued that “states’ rights” allowed Alabama to keep its school’s segregated, and that the federal government had no authority to demand it integrate.

This week, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore figuratively stood in the courthouse door, in defiance of a court ruling that struck down Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage. Moore’s argument is essentially the same one Wallace used.

The usual wingnuttery commenced.

It’s not just Alabama. The Supreme Court is due to rule on marriage equality, and Justices Thomas and Ginsburg are already dropping hints that the court will rule in favor of marriage equality. So, the madness spread far beyond Alabama.

To shed more light on the subject, Redneck News anchor Jeremy Todd Addaway reported on the changes same-sex marriage is bringing to Alabama.

Here’s the rest of the best in wingnuttia this week:

February 12, 2015
by terrance
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Obama’s Right: Shame On Staples. Shame On The Republican House, Too.

The president is right. Staples is cutting workers’ hours (and paychecks) to avoid providing health insurance. Shame on them, but that’s only half the story.

Earlier this week, Buzzfeed reported that the office supply giant Staples, Inc., has begun limiting part-time employees to no more than 25 hours per week. The company rolled out the new rules just in time to avoid the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, which kicks in this year. The mandate requires companies like Staples to pay for health benefits for “full-time” employees, which it defines as anyone working more than 30 hours per week.

Buzzfeed editor in chief Ben Smith asked President Obama about Staples blatant attempt to dodge covering its employees. The president didn’t hold back. Continue Reading →

February 10, 2015
by terrance
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We Must Not Let Greece Go It Alone

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has written a letter asking Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen to explain her inaction and the Fed’s silence on Greece’s stand against austerity. The stakes are too high for the U.S. to let Greece go it alone.

“Make it clear to the leadership of the European Central Bank that the United States and the Federal Reserve object to actions that affect our national interest and risk U.S. and global financial stability through the unnecessary and counterproductive implementation of deflationary policies,” Sanders asks Yellen in the letter.

In other words, take a side. Continue Reading →

February 10, 2015
by terrance
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Digest for February 6th through February 10th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for February 6th through February 10th:

February 6, 2015
by terrance
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Wingnut Week In Review: No Vaccine For Stupid

This week, conservatives’ anti-science agenda blew up in their faces, Republican Aaron Schock landed in hot water for his interior design choices, and Bobby Jindal got an enlightening makeover.

No Vaccine For Stupid

It started innocently enough. Asked about a recent measles outbreak during a visit to London, New Jersey governor Chris Christie responded by backing parents who choose not to vaccinate their children. Sen. Rand Paul (R, Kentucky) weighed in, and — apparently channeling Michele Bachmann — said that vaccinations cause “profound mental disorders.” The usual anti-science wingnuttery ensued.

Conservatives tried to “teach the controversy,” but this time it didn’t work.

An Office Fit For A …

Of all the rumors going around about Rep. Aaron Shrock (R, Illinois), there’s one we can definitely confirm. He doesn’t like to talk about it, but Rep. Aaron Shock is such a big fan of the hit PBS show “Downton Abbey,” that he had his Capitol Hill office decorated in the style of the “red room” on the show.

Washington Post writer Ben Terris created “a bit of a crisis” when he popped by Schock’s office to check things out. Then Schock’s interior decorator — Annie Brahler, of the (you can’t make the stuff up) Euro Trash design firm — invited him in to see the rest of the place. When Terris started snapping pictures, Schock’s communications director Benjamin Cole halted the tour, and later tried to pressure Terris into deleting the photographs and ditching the story.

Schock may have an ethical crisis on his hands. Brahler did the redesign for free, which may violate an old House rule prohibiting members from accepting “gifts of services, training, transportation, lodging, and meals,” valued at more than $50. Indeed, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed an ethics complaint against Schock for taking the free interior design work. Rep. Schock has offered to pay the decorator for her work, probably to avoid an ethics inquiry.

The real question here is, why would a guy who voted to defund PBS decorate his office in the style of a PBS show?

Benjamin Cole is now Rep. Schock’s former communications director. The spotlight on his boss also uncovered some of Cole’s racist Facebook posts

bencole1

The National Zoo was closed that week, due to the federal government shutdown that Schock voted for, inspiring Cole to compare Blacks to zoo animals.

In another post, Cole suggested a mosque should be built on White House grounds, for the president.

bencole2

Cole resigned following the revalation of his racially-charged comments. The question is, would anyone hire a communications director dumb enough to post stuff like that on social media? Probably. Some right-wing outfit will gladly put Cole on the payroll.

UPDATE: It just keeps getting better. Colby Itkowitz, at WaPo, uncovered that Benjamin Cole was once featured in a film about “saving” the Jews. Filmed in 1999, the hour-long documentary about the Southern Baptists efforts to convert Jews never aired, but it was posted to YouTube. It’s now posted here for your viewing pleasure.

Will The Real Piyush “Bobby” Jindal Please Stand Up?

This is a portrait of Louisiana’s Republican governor, Piyush Jindal, painted by a constituent. (Piyush is Jindal’s real first name, but he was nicknamed “Bobby” as a child — after the youngest son in “The Brady Bunch.”) On loan from the constituent, it hung in the governor’s office.

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This is Piyush “Bobby” Jindal’s official portrait as governor.

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This is Piyush “Bobby” Jindal.

Bobby_Jindal,_official_109th_Congressional_photo

Got a problem with that? Bobby Jindal says you’re a “race-baiter” if you do. Jindal is a big fan of forced “assimilation” for brown-skinned immigrants entering the US, but this is taking things a bit too far. It’s one thing to demand that people shed their cultural identity. It’s a whole other thing to expect them to shed some melanin too.

Here’s the best of the rest of the worst in wingnuttery this week:

February 6, 2015
by terrance
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Digest for February 2nd through February 6th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for February 2nd through February 6th:

February 3, 2015
by terrance
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Anti-Science, Anti-Social Conservatism Makes Us Sick

America is in the middle of a measles outbreak, and conservatives are rushing to embrace the anti-vaccine movement. That anti-science, anti-social position is in light with conservatism’s rejection of responsibility to the greater community.

America is in the middle of a measles outbreak, thanks to the growing number of parents who are not willing to have their children vaccinated.

News of the outbreak reached London, where reporters asked New Jersey governor and 2016 presidential hopeful Chris Christie about the outbreak, and his thoughts on vaccinations. Christie’s answer was a cynical attempt to “have-it-both-ways,” by sounding “reasonable” while appealing to the anti-science GOP base.

After Christie’s remarks, conservatives hopped aboard the anti-vaccine bandwagon.

  • Fellow 2016 hopeful Sen. Rand Paul (R, Kentucky) said that most vaccinations should be “voluntary,” and that a parent’s choice to vaccinate their children is “an issue of freedom. ” Paul also repeated the myth that vaccines cause “profound mental disorders” in children.
  • Fox News’ Andrea Tantaros joined Sen. Paul, claiming that the “proximity” of vaccinations causes autism.
  • Laura Ingraham said she doesn’t think measles is “that big of a deal,” and defended Christie.

First it was “e. coli conservatism.” Now this. Anti-science, anti-social conservatism is making us sick — again.

Anti-Science

The modern anti-vaccine movement sprang up in response to a debunked report by a disgraced and discredited doctor.

The science is settled. Measles is one of a number of diseases eradicated or practically eradicated in the US, because of vaccination. There’s no debate that the measles vaccine is perfectly safe and effective.

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Vaccine Infographic by Leon Farrant

 

Measles, on the other hand, leads to nasty complications, and kills.

  • It’s one of the most infectious diseases around.
  • Ninety percent of those exposed to it will get it, if they’re susceptible.
  • It can remain airborne for hours, exposing everyone in the vicinity.
  • Every person who gets it can spread it to 12 to 18 people.
  • For every vaccinated person who gets it (resulting in a mild case), between 40 to 80 people are exposed.
  • Measles is transmissible and virtually undetectable for several days before the red, painful rash gives its presence away.
  • It’s early symptoms — high fever, cough, and muscle ache — so closely resemble the flu that it’s often initially misdiagnosed.
  • One in 1,000 people with measles will get pneumonia. Between one and three in 1,000 will die of pneumonia, brain swelling, or other complications.

The US declared measles eradicated in 2000. Now it’s back, along with other diseases, because the anti-vaccination movement has grown. A recent survey showed that 30 percent of Americans — especially young people — agree with Chris Christie on vaccinations.

Wealthy California parents who reject vaccinations, in favor of organic foods and essential oils, are not really the GOP’s target demographic. Evangelical conservatives who reject vaccination on religious grounds, like Donna Holman, Iowa state chair of the Vaccine Liberation, are. “Some people put faith and trust in their medical doctors, rather than put faith and trust in God,” says Holman, who started protesting vaccines in 1972, when she “heard they were using living cells from aborted babies” to make vaccines.

Anti-Social

Vaccines don’t just protect the person who’s vaccinated. We eradicated measles because 90% of Americans were vaccinated against it. The 10 percent who weren’t vaccinated were covered by the collective immunity — or “herd immunity” — of those who were. The disease couldn’t get enough of a foothold to spread.

Now, the anti-vaccine movement is large enough to erode mandatory vaccination advances. Vaccination coverage in 17 states is now below 90 percent, and as low as 86 percent in some. That’s for the disease to gain a foothold and spread.

An outbreak caused by parents rejecting vaccinations, like the one in California, puts others at at risk. People with compromised immune systems due to illness, and children who are too young for the vaccine are particularly vulnerable; like three-year-old Maggie Jacks and her 10-month old brother Eli.

Dr. Jack Wolfson’s response to the Jacks family’s is pretty representative of the anti-vaccination movements response to this outbreak. “It’s not my responsibility to inject my child with chemicals in order for [a child like Maggie] to be supposedly healthy,“ says Wolfson, before blaming Maggie’s leukemia on (wait for it) vaccinations. Wolfson almost sounds like he could have written The Onion’s anti-vaccination ”op-ed“: ”I Don’t Vaccinate My Child Because It’s My Right To Decide What Eliminated Diseases Come Roaring Back.”

Parents who decide not to vaccinate their children aren’t just making a choice for their child or their family. They are making a choice for every they and their family come into contact with. Parents don’t just have a responsibility vaccinate their children against diseases. They also have a responsibility to the larger community, and a responsibility for the health of that community.

Conservatives love to preach “personal responsibility,” but they reject responsibility to community — or anyone outside of themselves — and as usual the rest of us pay for it.

February 2, 2015
by terrance
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Digest for January 29th through February 2nd

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for January 29th through February 2nd:

January 30, 2015
by terrance
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Wingnut Week In Review: From Rogue to Reject

This week, we saw the beginning of the end of conservatives’ love affair with Sarah Palin (maybe), and said farewell (but probably not goodbye) to a regular on “Wingnut Week In Review.”

From Rogue to Reject

It took them long enough. After her incoherent, meandering speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit, conservatives figured out what the rest of us always knew about Sarah Palin.

To quote Gertrude Stein: There is no “there” there.

To be fair, not all conservatives were late to the party. Shortly after John McCain inflicted Sarah Palin on the American public, a live mic caught columnist Peggy Noonan saying exactly what was up.

We know the rest of the story.

Fischer Out of Water

Hardly a week goes by when Bryan Fischer, daily radio host and Director of Issue Analysis for the American Family Association (AFA), doesn’t earn a spot on the “Wingnut Week In Review.” But Fischer may have gone too far even for the AFA. Rachel Maddow broke the news that the AFA fired Fischer following media coverage highlighting Fischer’s racism and homophobia, in advance of an AFA-sponsored trip to Israel for members of the Republican National Committee.

Here’s a sampling of Fischer’s greatest hits from “Wingnut Week In Review”:

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz got hold of the story, and the Southern Policy Law Center (SPLC) wrote to members of the RNC, asking them not to go on the AFA-sponsored Israel trip, because of the AFA’s “track record of bigotry and extremism,” and Fischer’s disparaging remarks about Jews, Muslims, and gays — among others. SPLC designates the AFA as a hate group, mainly because of Fischer’s bigoted mouth.

Does this mean the AFA has come to its senses? Of course not. Sure, the AFA wrote a letter to the SPCL repudiating some of Fischer’s views. The AFA explained that Fischer would continue to host his radio show, and write blog posts, but that his statements do not represent the views of the AFA. Fischer was right back on the air yesterday, saying that he has simply given up his role as a “spokesman.” So, the AFA has “repudiated” Fischer’s views, but still gives him and his views a platform.

Here’s the rest of the best of the worst in wingnuttia this week:

January 28, 2015
by terrance
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An Unbroken Line of Violence

An Unbroken Line of Violence

In ten years of blogging, much of my writing comes down to telling stories, and stitching them together into a bigger context. It’s been my thing, for a while now, because it just made sense to me. Individual words combine to make sentences. Sentences combine to make paragraphs, and paragraphs combine to create full-fledged stories. Stories that seem separate from one another are linked together through time by recurring themes.

After the Michael Brown was shot to death by officer Darren Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, I began gathering similar stories of unarmed black men killed by police officers. Eventually, I began putting them into a timeline to put them in chronological order. Each story I came across lead me to several more I hadn’t heard of before, until I found lists of such deaths going back several decades. Each time I came across a new story, I researched it, and added it to the timeline.

At some point, my timeline reached all the way back to the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis. Neither was killed by police officer, but by private citizens acting as vigilantes — as a law unto themselves. I couldn’t leave their deaths out of my timeline, because I saw them in the same context as the deaths of Michael Brown, John Crawford, and Eric Garner. With them, I began including extra-legal killings in the timeline.

Opening the door to extra-legal killings raised a question. How far back would this timeline go? Around that time, I came across this quote by Angela Davis.

“There is an unbroken line of police violence in the United States that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery, the aftermath of slavery, the development of the Ku Klux Klan. There is so much history of this racist violence that simply to bring one person to justice is not going to disturb the whole racist edifice.”

Extra-legal and extra-judicial killings of black men and women goes back centuries. I’d started the timeline with the most recent police killings. Eventually, I expanded the timeline to include a number of lynchings — extra-judicial killings that often took place with the implicit approval or explicit participation of law enforcement, and for which few participants were ever punished.

I started with lynching victims whose deaths were included on Wikipedia. As I came across more names, I started researching stories, and entered into the timeline those for which I could find information. I poured over stories that had a familiar ring. The “black brute” stereotype haunted the stories of lynchings going back to Reconstruction, all the way up to the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and others.

Adding lynchings to the timeline brought me to the murder of Emmet Till, where the story of lynching in America overlapped with the murders of civil rights activists. I started with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of Civil Rights Martyr’s.

I soon realized the enormity of the project I’d started. I came across a partial list of African-American lynching victims that contained 2,162 names. Meanwhile, every week seemed to bring new stories to add to the timeline. I learned that the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project had a of 122 Civil Rights-Era cold cases, concerning victims whose deaths may have been racially motivated. The Southern Poverty list, “The Forgotten, ” includes the names of 74 men and women who died between 1954 and 1968, whose deaths may have been racially motivated.

As I continue to review these lists and add the cases for which I find information, my hope will be to add names and faces to the“unbroken line of violence.” Davis spoke of.

January 28, 2015
by terrance
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Digest for January 26th through January 28th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for January 26th through January 28th:

January 27, 2015
by terrance
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Greece Proves Populist Movements Can Fight And Win

After five years of protests, demonstrations, and strikes, Greek citizens voted to throw off five years of crushing austerity. Their victory has emboldened populist parties across Europe, and should inspire Americans to resist austerity here at home.

The victory of Greece’s leftist anti-austerity Syriza party, and the election of Alexis Tsipiras as prime minister ushers in a government that will push back against the austerity measures devised by the troika of Greece’s international creditors and the International Monetary Fund, and accepted by the country’s economic elite, following the crash of Greece’s economy in 2009.

Greece’s new leaders left little doubt about their intentions as they celebrated victory.

Alexis_Tsipras"

Greece leaves behind the austerity that ruined it, at least behind the fear, leaves behind five years of humiliation, and grease moves forward with optimism and hope and dignity."
~ Alexis Tsipiras, Greece’s new prime minister

“We are going to destroy the basis upon which they have built, for decade after decade, a system, about a network that viciously sucks the of energy and economic power from everybody else in society. ”
~ Yanis Varoukis, Greece’s new prime minister, on Greece’s oligarchy.

The IMF assumed the Greek government could impose austerity without significant impact on economic growth and unemployment. In fact, the IMF assumed Greece’s economy would grow as a result of the 2010 aid package, for which the troika and the IMF demanded austerity measures. The results were disastrous.

Wealthy Greeks got off scot free. Cocooned in suburbs, they were untouched by austerity cuts until mid–2013, when the government ruled that wealthy Greeks were no longer entitled to free police bodyguards. Since 2009, businessmen and journalists who were threatened by anarchist groups had received personal police protection.

The burden of austerity cuts fell mostly upon middle and working-class Greeks. Three million Greeks are living on or below the poverty line. Nearly every family has been affected. Many have survived by queuing up at soup kitchens, and scavenging rubbish bins for food.

Austerity devastated the health of Greece’s economy and its people. The national health budget was cut by 40 percent. As a result 35,000 doctors, nurses, and other health workers were unemployed. Hospitals lack basic supplies and sufficient staff. Infant mortality went up by 40 percent. Stillbirths are up 21 percent, as a result of cuts to prenatal service. HIV infections rose more than 200 percent due to increased IV drug use, and cuts to needle exchange programs

Austerity drove some Greeks from desperation to despair. Suicide deaths in Greece increased 45 percent between 2007 and 2011, driven mostly by a rise in suicides among men. According to one analysis, every one percent fall in government spending led to a 0.43 percent increase in suicides among men. Men between the ages of 45 and 89 face the highest suicide risk, because they are most likely to have their salaries and pensions cut.

Since the financial crisis, conservatives have warned Americans that we’re in danger of becoming Greece, unless we submit to the austerity Greeks are rising up against. Unlike Greece, America has only experienced what Paul Krugman calls “de facto austerity,” due to Republicans in Congress blocking any measures that might help the economy. Sequestration was another taste of the kind of austerity conservatives want to impose.

The new Republican Congress will almost certainly try to subject Americans to the kind of austerity that Greeks have suffered. House Budget Committee chair Tom Price has already proposed measures that would reduce the federal workforce by over 400,000, leading to the loss of even more job — mostly in the private sector — supported by the economic activity of federal employees. Price’s proposed “reforms” to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are really cuts that would devastate those programs and the Americans who depend upon them.

The fight against austerity in Greece has only just begun. Greece’s creditors and economic elite will insist on more punishing austerity. In the next two years, the fight here at home will intensify. As Americans push back against homegrown austerians, Syriza’s victory should remind us that progressive, populist, people-powered movements can win — if they just keep fighting.

January 26, 2015
by terrance
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Digest for January 24th through January 26th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for January 24th through January 26th: