A terrorist is in custody after he attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado yesterday, but not before he murdered a policeman and two “civilians” and injured nine more people. As we’re all aware, Colorado Springs is a hotbed of right wing “Christian” evangelical groups.
Here’s the latest from Reuters: Police name suspect in Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting.
The suspect in a deadly shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic was named on Saturday as Robert L. Dear, 57, the Colorado Springs Police public affairs’ section said in a Tweet.
The gunman who stormed the clinic on Friday killed three people and wounded nine others before surrendering to police after a bloody siege lasting several hours inside the facility, authorities said.
Local news media reported that Dear was being held without bail.
As police traded gunfire with Dear, people in local businesses were told to shelter in place.
The rampage, which took place at a clinic that provides women’s health services including abortions, was believed to be the first fatal attack on a U.S. abortion provider in six years. Police have not discussed the suspect’s motives.
The assailant in Colorado Springs, Colorado’s second largest city, was armed with a rifle when he entered the clinic – a site repeatedly targeted for protests by anti-abortion activists – and opened fire shortly before noon on Friday, authorities said.
Police swarming the scene pursued the assailant into the building, trading gunfire with the suspect as authorities tracked their movements from room to room by watching live video feeds from security cameras mounted inside.
Officers closing in on the gunman managed to finally talk him into giving himself up inside, and he was taken into custody more than five hours after the violence began.
Planned Parenthood released a statement in response to the terrorist attack on their clinic in Colorado Springs.
“The heart of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) is broken tonight as we try to make sense of the horrific tragedy that struck our beloved health center in Colorado Springs, today. Our thoughts are with the all those who were impacted and particularly the families of the two civilians and one heroic law-enforcement officer whose lives were lost. We are grateful to report that all our staff are safe and accounted for and are hoping for the best possible outcomes for the others wounded in this attack.
“We are thankful to our security personnel and to the Colorado Springs Police Department, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, and the UCCS campus officers, who came to our aid and served with such selfless valor. Their fast response, strength, and bravery undoubtedly saved countless lives today. We also appreciate that our Colorado Springs staff responded quickly following our security protocols.
“The information regarding the gunman’s motive remains unknown as does whether Planned Parenthood was targeted deliberately. PPRM’s top priority will always be the safety of our patients and staff. We maintain strong security measures and always work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure our very strong safety record.
“We share the concerns of many Americans that the continued attacks against abortion providers and patients, as well as law enforcement officers, is creating a poisonous environment that breeds acts of violence. But, we will never back away from providing critical health care to millions of people who rely on and trust us every day.
Read the rest at the link. I think we can guess Dear’s motive, but I suppose we’ll have to wait to know for sure.
President Obama also released a statement.
President Barack Obama released a statement on Saturday calling for gun control in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the day before.
“This is not normal,” Obama said. “We can’t let it become normal.”
He then called to curtail the “easy accessibility of weapons of war” for some people.
“If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them,” Obama continued.
“Period,” he added. “Enough is enough.”
Unfortunately these mass shootings have become regular events in the U.S. That is our “normal” now.
The media has been uncharacteristically hesitant to speculate on Dear’s motive.
Police were trying to determine Saturday why a middle-aged gunman in hunting gear allegedly went on a wild shooting spree inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, killing three people, including a police officer.
The suspect, identified as Robert Lewis Dear, 57, of North Carolina, surrendered to officers after a five-hour ordeal Friday in which he fired randomly at people in the clinic and roamed the halls shooting through walls with an assault-style rifle.
“We don’t have any information on this individual’s mentality, or his ideas or ideology,”
You’d think by this time reporters could have found out some information about this guy, wouldn’t you? Nevertheless, there is quite a bit of good information in the USA Today article.
One Republican Congressman demanded an apology from Planned Parenthood head Vicki Cowart while the attack was still ongoing. Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:
Police have finally taken a shooter into custody after the five-hour siege at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs that has left at least three people dead, including one police officer. It was while that siege was still going on, though, that Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger decided to take to CNN’s air and demand an apology from Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, if the perpetrator turned out not to be an anti-abortion terrorist.
“When I heard that statement, I thought that was very premature. We may find out this person was targeting Planned Parenthood. If we find out he was not targeting Planned Parenthood, I would fully expect an apology from the Planned Parenthood director for saying that.”
That was at about 6 pm, while there was still gunfire being reported at the scene. There is a long history of terrorism against Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health providers in this country, but the statement Kinzinger is referencing [see Planned Parenthood statement excerpted earlier in this post] actually points out that the motive is as yet unknown, and yet is still true no matter what this shooter’s mysterious motive turns out to be.
Here’s some background on Garrett Swasey, the police officer who was killed in the shootout. CNN via KTXS ABC 12: Slain officer was once champion skater.
Swasey, 44, was one of three people killed Friday when a gunman attacked at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.
The married father worked for the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs and was on campus Friday morning when the shooting started 10 miles away. He rushed to the scene to support a city police officer who was under fire, the university said in a statement….
Swasey had been with university police for six years, authorities said. But long before that, he was a junior national couples ice dancing champion, The Denver Post reported.
He and his partner won the junior national championship in Orlando in 1992, the paper cited university spokesman Jared Verner as saying. A few years after the championship win, Swasey performed in a musical skating show in Maine.
As the community mourns the fallen officer, the University of Colorado football team will observe a moment of silence during its game Saturday.
I’ll end with this piece from Mother Jones: The New, Ugly Surge in Violence and Threats Against Abortion Providers.
Three people were shot dead and nine injured Friday at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, the first time since 2009 that anyone has been killed in an incident linked to activity at an abortion clinic. The attack comes amid an exponential increase in threats and violence against abortion providers since the release of a series of viral—and widelydebunked—videos.
While police have not discussed the alleged motives of the suspect, who has been arrested, the attack began at the clinic. According to authorities the gunman entered the facility Friday afternoon and began shooting. During an hours-long standoff, he exchanged fire with police, killing one officer.
Since the release of the Center for Medical Progress’ videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood selling fetal issue, harassment, threats, and attacks against abortion providers, their staff, and facilities have surged dramatically across the country, according to new numbers from the National Abortion Federation.
The clinic attacked on Friday is part of the Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains affiliate, which was featured in the Center for Medical Progress’ videos.
“Since the series of highly-edited, misleading anti-abortion videos was released in July, we have seen an unprecedented increase in hate speech and threats against abortion providers” says Vicki Saporta, the president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, which has been tracking violence against providers since the 1970s.
“We have been quite worried that this increase in threats would lead to a violent attack like we saw” on Friday, she added.
Please go read the whole thing at Mother Jones.
What else is happening? I hope to see your thoughts and links in the comment thread.
Well, it’s Monday again!
I thought I’d highlight two women’s attempts to get “justice” today. One woman didn’t really get her day in court. The other one has overstayed her time in court. For that matter, she’s overstayed her 15 seconds of infamy.
The reason that I would never vote for Joe Biden for President can be summed up by one woman’s name: Anita Hill. I will never ever forget his role that led to the seating of Uncle Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. Here’s a reminder for all of us.
It’s hard to know, but the reason Thomas is sitting silently on the Supreme Court – for 22 years and counting – can be traced back to Biden. If you’ve seen the new documentary, “Anita,” it jogs your memory clearly and cleanly regarding what went down. Of all the Senate Democrats, Biden failed most miserably. The close 52 to 48 vote might have broken differently if he had displayed grit under fire.
Jill Abramson and Jane Mayer, authors of “Strange Justice,” note Biden was pleased with his “highly unusual exposure rate” after it was all over. Sorry, but Biden is a bit too easily flattered and fooled.
The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was a searing experience building to a crescendo over several days. As chairman, Biden virtually handed the gavel to Thomas at a critical point. He allowed three senators – Orrin Hatch, Alan Simpson and the late Arlen Spector – to viciously besmirch Anita Hill, a painstakingly proper law professor who came forward to testify that Thomas had sexually harassed her with lewd language and social invitations as her boss at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In the documentary, Hill emerges content with a new lease of life, with no regrets about telling her truth. As the documentary points out, it became a question of her character on trial, when Thomas was the subject of the hearing and often out of the room. When he came back, he furiously declared the hearing a “high tech lynching,” a statement that rocked the row of senators into silence. Of course, even if it was wrong, this hostility packed quite a punch.
The coup de grace was accompanied by Biden’s nervous assurances: “You have the benefit of the doubt, Judge.” There was no legal precedent for such a claim on truth or guilt in a Supreme Court hearing. But Biden kept saying that fateful phrase on national television. The late Sen. Robert C. Byrd challenged Biden publicly by saying the country should have the benefit of the doubt. Byrd was a lone voice in the wind, which was blowing Thomas’s way.
We owe some of the worst Supreme Court Decisions ever to the seating of this rubber stamp of right wing religious pomposity and anti-intellectualism. This brings me to another woman who is a wholesale tool of the same faction of right wing whackadoos.
It seems we will never be rid of Kim Davis whose exit from jail last week was one of the most appalling displays of a woman on some kind of high or with some serious emotional issue being enabled by men that should be held to account. People were fat shaming and slut slamming her, but has any one really looked at that drugged out look on her face recently? She looks like a woman possessed by many demons.
Her lawyers are filing yet another frivilous suit and she’s started work this morning announcing that no one has the right to do any thing with marriage licenses in her office because of her “conscience” which seems to pick and choose which sentences in her version of the new testament are worthy. It may be time for officials in Kentucky to ask for Rule 11 sanctions against her attorneys as well as throw Miss “I’m above the law” back in jail. She doesn’t seem to understand that it’s not her but her position that’s issuing the license. She’s an interchangeable cog that needs to be changed.
Her lawyers are actually challenging Scalia’s written opinion that it’s not her free speech here but the speech of her position and the government she serves. But then, she’s got lawyers that are on some kind of jihad and it’s evident that she’s along for the ride. It’s getting difficult to hear her ramblings and pronouncements. Rule 11 holds attornies responsible for frivolous lawsuits and it’s time to give it some serious thought.
Kentucky clerk Kim Davis returned to work this morning for the first time since being jailed for disobeying a judge’s order for denying marriage licenses to gay couples, saying she wants her name and title removed from the licenses currently being issued by her office.
Choking back tears at a news conference before her return to work, a defiant Davis said she is faced with a “seemingly impossible choice … my conscience or my freedom,” referring to her opposition to same-sex marriages.
“I’m no hero,” she added.
That last statement is the most truthful thing she’s said the entire time. Watching her these days is definitely like watching some one under the influence of a powerful drug or mental illness. If she really thinks that she’s doing any justice to her religion then she’s sorely mistaken. She’s also saying that her deputies have no authorization to issue “authorized” licenses and that they’re not really being authentically issued based on this latest friviolous lawsuits despite what Kentucky laws says. Again, it’s time to hold her lawyers accountable and get her off center stage.
Despite her assertion that her deputies don’t have her authority to issue marriage licenses, Rowan County Deputy Clerk Brian Mason issued a license this morning to the first same-sex couple to apply after Davis’ return to the office. Davis never left her office during the process.
Davis also told reporters this morning that she wants the licenses to indicate that they are being issued under federal authority.
She returned to work today nearly one week after being released from jail for failing to issue marriage licenses over her religious objection to same-sex marriage.
Davis filed an appeal Friday that asks for another delay in issuing the licenses. If the court does not respond before Davis returns to work, she will have to choose whether to allow her office to continue issuing licenses or again disobey the judge who already sent her to jail.
This is getting ridiculous. This is exacty what Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote about in her dissenting opinion in the Hobby Lobby Case. We’re beginning to see our courts stack up with the our country suffering fools gladly.
The exchange between the two Justices gets to the heart of the issue in Hobby Lobby. When do religious convictions allow individuals (or corporations) to excuse themselves from obligations that are binding on everyone else?
A sampling of court actions since Hobby Lobby suggests that Ginsburg has the better of the argument. She was right: the decision is opening the door for the religiously observant to claim privileges that are not available to anyone else.
What we have here is that the same people that once said that granting any civil rights to the GLBT community was basically setting up special privileges that are now clogging up the courts asking for special privileges. It’s also funny that one of the big causes Republicans is their jihad against trial lawyers and frivolous law suits, yet this is exactly the fruit of the frivioulous lawsuit poison tree.
It’s important to realize exactly what a state religion does to its minorities. I’m going to use a real case of Christians being treated radically different. This example is how Israel treats its Christian minority. The answer is very unfairly. The Pope has issued a complaint. Hopefully, some one else will notice this cause and do something about a real instance of injustice and realize that our rule of law is about extending existing rights to people.
Thousands of Arab schools in Israel went on strike on Monday, their 450,000 pupils remaining at home, as the Israeli government geared up for a major showdown with its large Palestinian minority.
The trigger for the strike is the Israeli government’s decision to starve 47 independent schools, set up originally by the international churches, of the state funding they have received for decades.
The schools, among the best in the country, have effectively been forced to shut indefinitely, their 33,000 pupils unsure when or even whether they will return to their classrooms.
On Sunday, thousands of families came from across Israel, from cities like Nazareth, Haifa, Jaffa, Ramle and occupied East Jerusalem, where the schools are located, to protest noisily outside the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The schools have run up huge debts since educational officials began cutting their budgets seven years ago, from 75 percent of the funding received by state schools to just 29 percent today. To open this academic year, they need about $50mn; the government is offering $5mn.
Talks over the past 18 months with the education ministry have gone nowhere. As Monday’s solidarity strike shows, Netanyahu’s government is taking on not only the church schools and the small Christian population of about 150,000, but all of the country’s 1.5 million Palestinian citizens, who make up a fifth of the population.
Israel is also risking a diplomatic confrontation with the Vatican and other international churches.
Last week Pope Francis raised the matter during a visit by Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, to the Holy See. Rivlin promised to find a solution, though the government itself shows no signs of budging.
Christian leaders in Israel have hinted that they may try to shut important holy sites, such as the Basilica of the Annunciation Church in Nazareth and the Mount of Beatitudes next to the Sea of Galilee, in retaliation. This, they hope, will bring the issue to the attention of pilgrims and tourists, adding to the pressure on Israel.
Education officials, however, are hoping they can limit support for the schools by advancing a seemingly reasonable argument: if the church schools want government money, they should join the state education system.
In truth, however, the move is not being advanced on economic grounds. There are far more sinister motives for the crackdown on the church schools, observers note.
Nadeem Nashif, director of Baladna, an organisation in Haifa promoting the rights of Palestinian youth, warns that the Netanyahu government’s main goal is to end the educational autonomy of these schools.
Organized, state-sponsored religions are dangerous. You can recognize the theocrats among us. Republicans in Congress are threatening to shut down Planned Parenthood once again. It’s been shown they’ve done nothing wrong but their outrage blindly continues as they fight to control women’s lives and health decisions and poor women’s access to health services.
Congressional Republicans say they are determined to shut Planned Parenthood down, regardless of whether it broke any laws.
In more than two months of investigations, members have yet to turn up evidence that Planned Parenthood acted illegally, the same conclusion reached by a half-dozen state investigations. The Department of Justice has so far declined to launch a formal probe.
Several Republicans acknowledged this week that they may never find proof of wrongdoing at Planned Parenthood — but said it doesn’t matter.
“I don’t know whether we’re ever going to be able to answer that question, whether it was illegal for them to do what they were doing,” Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) said during the House’s first hearing on the topic Wednesday. “I don’t know if it was illegal … but it was immoral, what was seen on that video.”
Republicans have long been fierce critics of Planned Parenthood, which is the nation’s largest provider of abortion services. Under the law, the organization is banned from using federal funding for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or medical necessity.
Stirred by outrage over secretly recorded videos at Planned Parenthood, Republicans opposed to abortion rights say it’s time to end federal funding for the group once and for all.
“The issue is not whether there’s been a crime committed or not,” Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas.) told the same group at the hearing. “This issue is whether or not taxpayers should fund Planned Parenthood. That’s the issue before this committee.”
Three House committees and six states have investigated Planned Parenthood since it was first targeted by the undercover videos in July. The Energy and Commerce Committee has interviewed two Planned Parenthood officials as well as officials from three tissue procurement companies that have partnered with the organization: Stem Express, Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. and Novogenix Laboratories.
As our country become progressively less religious and less Christian, why do we continue to we have to continually pay to keep the hysterics of this minority on the front burner? It’s because they’ve totally co-opted one of the two major (sic) political parties who also has access to a lot of money that could care less about any thing other than getting more money. We’re seeing a political season of incredible meanness with less emphasis on actual policy and more on singling out people to blame and hate.
Jeb Bush just announced VooDoo Economics version 4.1 last week and it hid the media with a dull thud. The same sick, tired formula that has wrecked havoc all of the three times it was tried is back on the front burner with the establishment republican candidate and all we see is one woman with lawyers who file one frivolous lawsuit after another. Where’s the sense of priority here? We’re seeing some things on this from print media but where’s the TV time from all the midle class folks ousted into poverty for these kinds of wreckless policy prescriptions? Jared Bernsteins highlights the arguments we find in the print media.
John Cassidy of the New Yorker points out that neither of the Bush boys listened closely enough to their dad: “[Won’t Jeb’s] plan inflate the deficit…? Not in the make-believe world of “voodoo economics” — the term that Jeb’s father, George H. W. Bush, used in criticizing Ronald Reagan’s tax-cutting plans during their G.O.P. primary tussle, in 1980.” By sprinkling supply-side fairy dust, along with, to be fair, some of the minor offsets I noted in my earlier piece, “these policies will unleash increased investment, higher wages and sustained four per cent economic growth, while reducing the deficit,” according to the candidate. But as Cassidy reminds us: “Anyone whose memory extends back to the seventies and eighties will find this language depressingly familiar. The original iteration of voodoo economics didn’t merely involve cutting taxes and directing the bulk of the gains to the ultra-wealthy…The ‘voodoo’ accusation arose from the claim that, because the policies would encourage people to work harder and businesses to invest more, a lot more taxable income would be produced, and the reductions in tax rates wouldn’t lead to a commensurate reduction in the amount of tax revenues that the government collected.”For the record…didn’t happen.
Here comes the sneaky sound of the same old same old. Every one is trapped in culture wars trying to figure out why a few shrill religious extremists can’t just go mind their own damned business while the plutocrats sneak in with a plan to rob us all blind. Wake the fuck up people!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Hope your weekend is going great!
It seems Republicans are having terrible, horrible, very bad weeks because even when you attempt to stack the Supreme Court with wankers, there are still times when some of them respect the constitutional rights and civil rights of individuals. They also occasionally respect the lawmaking process. Aren’t they sorry they can’t clone Uncle Clarence Thomas, the right wing rubber stamp of all things truly UnAmerican?
I seriously think that a lot of today’s Republicans have mental health issues. Is there a syndrome for reaction to losing privilege or is that just some kind of perverse temper tantrum best left to unruly toddlers? They definitely have a warped sense of what is moral.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal jumped the shark a long time ago with his insistence that Birmingham, UK had No Go Zones where Muslims ruled with shariah law. This is odd given he’s been trying to make Louisiana a No Go Zone for anything but radical evangelical, right wing christianists.
Jindal continues to show just how much he’s losing it with the idea that we’d save ourselves a lot of money by just getting rid of the Supreme Court. Read your constitution much PBJ? How much do you hate this country?
Jindal’s office also provided remarks on the court’s ruling from a speech in Iowa on Friday.
“The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body. If we want to save some money lets just get rid of the court.
“Yesterday, Justice Scalia noted that in the Obamacare ruling “words have no meaning.
“Today, Chief Justice Roberts admitted that the gay marriage ruling had nothing to do with the Constitution.
Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.
“Hillary Clinton and The Left will now mount an all-out assault on Religious Freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment.
“Regardless of your views on marriage, all freedom loving people must pledge to respect our first amendment freedoms.”
Jindal is among the many Republican using religious freedom as an excuse to discriminate and disobey the law. You also hear the worn out refrain of state’s rights. These are the same arguments that were used to protect slavery, continue segregation, deny interracial marriage, and promote all kinds of basically evil things. If any one is guilt of promoting the tyranny of religious rule, it is folks like Bobby Jindal. It’s also the same throwback states refusing to carry out the SCOTUS decision legalizing marriage equality. Louisiana’s Governor and Attorney General are being complete assholes about issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. The elected officials in many southern states are acting like cheeky, spoiled little brats who didn’t get their way.
Louisiana and Mississippi are the only two states left in the country not issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples, according to Washington Post reports.
In Louisiana, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell on Friday indicated that he will not instruct parish clerks of court to immediately issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
In a statement, Caldwell’s office wrote that “it has found nothing in today’s decision that makes the Court’s order effective immediately.”
“The Attorney General’s Office will be watching for the Court to issue a mandate or order making today’s decision final and effective and will issue a statement when that occurs,” the statement noted.
In the statement, Caldwell expressed disappointment in the high court’s ruling.
In Mississippi, Attorney General Jim Hood said in a statement: “The Office of the Attorney General is certainly not standing in the way of the Supreme Court’s decision. We simply want to inform our citizens of the procedure that takes effect after this ruling. The Supreme Court decision is the law of the land and we do not dispute that. When the 5th Circuit lifts the stay of Judge Reeves’ order, it will become effective in Mississippi and circuit clerks will be required to issue same-sex marriage licenses.”
Before the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling Friday, Louisiana and Mississippi were two of 14 states with a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. After the court’s ruling, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia and Florida began issuing licenses.
Clearly, many folks in the South still haven’t gotten the idea that we’re a country ruled by laws and not their pet religious fetishes. Even the dissenting SCOTUS justices were way off the petulant scale and not only on the wrong side of history, but wrong about history. Chief Justice Roberts cited a list of civilizations that supposedly had his modern, wanker christianist view of marriage in the dissent. Simple research and googles would have disabused the Justice of his conveniently wrong views.
In his written dissent to the Supreme Court’s decision to effectively legalize gay marriage in all 50 states in the United States, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. made a conspicuous gesture to the rest of the world. He referred to the “social institution” that the majority of the court was “transforming,” and anchored its legitimacy in the currents of history.
…the Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are?
It’s not quite clear to WorldViews why Roberts decided to implicate these four particular cultures in his opposition to the legalizing of gay marriage. But we can suggest reasons why they are hardly exemplars of “traditional” unions between men and women.
It’s absolutely funny how completely wrong definitions of “traditional marriage” can be. Here’s the actual practices of the Kalahari Bushmen.
These hunter-gatherers in sub-Saharan Africa have long been the world’s stock image of “primitive man,” and presumably that’s why Roberts referenced them — as the stereotype of an atavistic people, whether it’s fair or not. (It’s not, but let’s move on.) The Kalahari Bushmen don’t have very strong wedding practices, and don’t pay much attention to ceremonies around mating.
Early European accounts of tribes and kingdoms encountered in southern Africa included details of warrior women styling themselves as kings (not “queens”), polygamous households where lesbianism was common, and even ancient Bushmen rock paintings depicting explicit homosexual sex.
Ouch. I already mentioned the misogynous and incest-based traditional marriages of ancient Greece yesterday. You really have to look to the Dark Ages to get even a remote historical resemblance to what these crack pot religious whackos describe as “traditional marriage”.
In fact, when you really dig into the history of marriage, the only consistent feature is change. My own professional group, the American Historical Association, filed an amicus brief that leveraged the combined expertise of twenty historians of marriage. The AHA brief used examples drawn largely from American history to show that marriage has never been solely about procreation, with issues like property management taking center stage. Moreover, Ruth Karras, author of Unmarriages, told me in an interview that marriage has almost never been about joining one man and one woman, but instead about “two families.” In that sense, same-sex couples looking for equal protection under the law with respect to healthcare and property rights are pretty consistent with “traditional marriage.”
That is, if there even is such a thing as “traditional marriage.” Karras began studying the multiple forms of medieval marriage—or at least the socially-accepted and often semi-legal long-term forms of relationships—because of her frustration with the idea that, “there was some sort of time that we could go back and look at where marriage was this perfect ideal between a man and woman for purposes of reproduction or creating family. The Middle Ages clearly haunts that formulation.” In fact, Karras continued, for many medieval people, “traditional marriage didn’t even exist. Yes, for aristocrats there was this system, but it’s really not very possible to know much about how people without any money formed and possibly didn’t form their marriages. People seem to have this idea that until the 1960s in America, everybody was pro-marriage—in fact, in the Middle Ages a lot of people lived in other kinds of relations besides what was recognized formally as marriage.”
So many of these folks have views based on what they read in the incredibly fabricated St James Bible which was put together in the early 17th century.
The King James Bible is considered by many today to be the ‘original’ Bible and therefore ‘genuine’ and all later revisions simply counterfeits forged by ‘higher critics’. Others think the King James Bible is ‘authentic’ and ‘authorized’ and presents the original words of the authors as translated into English from the ‘original’ Greek texts. However, as Tony points out, the ‘original’ Greek text was not written until around the mid fourth century and was a revised edition of writings compiled decades earlier in Aramaic and Hebrew. Those earlier documents no longer exist and the Bibles we have today are five linguistic removes from the first bibles written. What was written in the ‘original originals’ is quite unknown. It is important to remember that the words ‘authorized’ and ‘original’, as applied to the Bible do not mean ‘genuine’, ‘authentic’ or ‘true’.
We have an entire group of people–including elected officials and SCOTUS justices that basically can’t get beyond a nearly completely fabricated, contradictory, and false account of what may or may not be a set of fictional characters. Thank goodness the Constitution isn’t grounded in promoting religion even if so many of the whackadoos in public life build their entire life’s delusions around it.
Some of the most disturbing comments have come from crazy Mike Huckabee who is still running for President and searching for relevance beyond a small group of Southern Baptists.
Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said Friday in a statement that he would not “acquiesce to an imperial court” and its decision to make gay marriage legal in all 50 states.
Huckabee’s comments came after the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges.
“The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do-redefine marriage,” Huckabee said in the statement. “I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.”
Huckabee called the ruling “unconstitutional.”
“This ruling is not about marriage equality, it’s about marriage redefinition,” Huckabee said. “This irrational, unconstitutional rejection of the expressed will of the people in over 30 states will prove to be one of the court’s most disastrous decisions, and they have had many. The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny.”
Huckabee also questioned the authority of the Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature’s God on marriage than it can the law of gravity,” Huckabee said. “Under our Constitution, the court cannot write a law, even though some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag and accept it without realizing that they are failing their sworn duty to reject abuses from the court. If accepted by Congress and this President, this decision will be a serious blow to religious liberty, which is the heart of the First Amendment.”
Again, we have some people that are totally unhinged and seem to have no concrete knowledge about even the most basic facts about the creation of our Republic and the Constitution.
Religious liberty is not a right to force your religious fetishes on others. Religious liberty deals with the ideal that the Government cannot establish a state religion and force its tenets on every one in the country. What these whackos do in their homes, churches and minds are their own business. What they do with our government and public lives is something completely different. You don’t have to be a constitutional scholar or lawyer to grok that.
Here’s another short list of what the Republican Candidates for President say about the ruling. Can there be any doubt that these folks are out of step with the majority of people in the country and will only be relevant in outback states where they wreck the economies and persecute minorities? I wrote about Bush and Rubio yesterday so I’ll just fill you in on the other troglodytes.
Of the reactions released so far, all by Republican presidential candidates opposed the Supreme Court ruling, as expected. But they differed in tone. Some were defiant, others appealed for respect.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is expected to enter the race soon, called the ruling “a grave mistake” and reiterated his support for a constitutional amendment.
“The only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the US Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage,” Governor Walker said in a statement.
Such an amendment would be impossible to pass, observers say, given the requirement that three-quarters of the states ratify it, and so his pronouncement is effectively a symbolic gesture. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, another 2016-er, is the biggest champion of a marriage amendment.
Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who announced his candidacy Wednesday, was also clearly not in the “court has spoken” camp.
“Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that,” Governor Jindal said in a statement.
As the governor of a state that did not already recognize same-sex marriage, Jindal’s posture toward Friday’s ruling has special significance. Ditto Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is expected to enter the race soon.
“Neither governor would be able to do anything to stop same-sex marriage in their state,” in light of Friday’s decision, National Journal notes.
“But they could take actions to speed up or delay implementation of the ruling – actions that would surely become a topic of the presidential campaign over the next year.”
At press time, Governor Kasich had yet to release a statement on the decision, though in April he told reporters at a Monitor luncheon that he would be willing to attend a gay friend’s wedding, suggesting some ease with the issue. But he was also clear that he supports only the traditional definition of marriage.
It is still unbelievable to me that we can literally be held hostage by reactionaries in mostly lowly populated, insignificant states and the rural populations of some of the mid-sized states. Popular support for the issues like marriage equality are at all time highs and continue to show upward trends. Still, horrible reactionary pundits and republican politicians continue to thwart progress towards full enfranchisement of racial and religious minorities, ethnic minorities, GLBTs, and women. I’ve been reading some of the worst things ever from the always wrong Bill Kristol. This man should not be allowed a public forum other than his irrelevant rag. Since when is granting civil rights “Peak Liberalism”?
We see a French Revolution-like tendency to move with the speed of light from a reasonable and perhaps overdue change (taking down the Confederate flag over state buildings) to an all-out determination to expunge from our history any recognition or respect for that which doesn’t fully comport with contemporary progressive sentiment. The left’s point, of course, is not to clarify and sharpen appreciation for our distinctive history; the point is to discredit that history.
And the point is not to advance arguments and criticize alternative views; it is to deny the legitimacy of opposing arguments and to demonize opponents and purge them from the public square.
We see a pitiful aversion to standing up to barbarism abroad and a desperate willingness to accommodate and appease. This requires an amazing ability to shut one’s eyes to reality, and an extraordinary refusal to make tough decisions and assume real responsibilities. As Harvey Mansfield put it in the 1970s, “From having been the aggressive doctrine of vigorous, spirited men, liberalism has become hardly more than a trembling in the presence of illiberalism. . . . Who today is called a liberal for strength and confidence in defense of liberty?”
Since when is liberty defined as the right to take liberty away from others?
The real struggles for complete civil rights still exist. There is ENDA and there is still the ERA. There is correcting the Supreme Court’s evisceration of the Voting Rights Act. In those last links you will see that there is work going on to get all of these things on track. Until we are all safe from discrimination in our public lives including in our jobs, in our ability to live where we choose, in our ability to exercise our voting rights and to achieve pay equity, none of us are safe.
No matter what these jerks say, their religion isn’t a get out of complying with our laws free card.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
At age 87, Susie Jackson had lived through the era of Jim Crow laws, the civil rights struggle and “through all of the mess racism has caused in this country,” an Ogden minister observed during a prayer service Friday to honor the nine victims of a mass slaying in Charleston, South Carolina.
“She was felled by hatred, racism and terrorism” in her own church, said the Rev. Gage Church of Ogden’s Congregational United Church of Christ.
The Rev. Church was among clergy from several Ogden area churches who joined in a prayer service at Embry Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the aftermath of the mass shooting.
Prayers were offered in honor of the six women and three men who were gunned down while attending a weekly Bible study and prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night.
Clergy also prayed for the victims’ families and for peace and justice in a broken world.
“We are angry and anguished, and then we are comforted because we know that in that room, she was not alone,” the Rev. Church prayed.
“The other victims were not alone. You were there. You were holding them in your loving arms.”
Prayers were offered on behalf of each of the victims, who include Jackson, the Rev. and South Carolina state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Myra Thompson, 59; Ethel Lance, 70; and the Revs. DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49; Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; and Daniel Simmons Sr., 74.
Let that sink in for a moment. This woman. What she has seen…and lived through. What hatred she experienced in her life, and the culmination of that hate on Wednesday.
I don’t have the resourcefulness of religion or even the amount of faith required to put this act of hateful violence into perspective. That anyone is capable of “being comforted” at all…about anything, it is beyond my reasoning. I am just constantly turning the thoughts in my mind, that this woman’s entire life…was one entire struggle against something many of us do not an will not experience first hand.
Living as a black woman in the South. And the one place where she should feel safe and at peace, with connections that go back to more than the “anglo-traditional” religious community, the Black Church especially symbolic in many, many ways…here Susie Jackson was murdered.
One of nine…
One of hundreds…
I only have links for you today. We leave this afternoon for Memphis, taking a detour to Shiloh Battlefield. Will post a quick thread on Wednesday…with a longer one on Sunday….Happy Father’s Day to the Daddies out there!
Before I get to more links on Charleston, an update on a shooting here in Georgia from back in March of this year…cop kills unarmed black man:
A quick reminder of what went down:
Police said officers feared for their life when the suspect jumped in a car, tried to get away, and drove at them in the white Maserati.
They have not yet identified the man who died.
The parents of Nicholas Thomas, 23, said their son was the man killed.
Thomas’ parents were both at the scene Tuesday afternoon and told Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant that police had shot and killed their son.
“He was a lovable guy,” mother Felicia Thomas said. “He was just a lovable guy. He would do anything for everybody. He was just loved cars. He loved his family. He just had a baby. His baby is not even 5 months old.”
Nicolas Thomas’ father, Huey Thomas, told Diamant at the scene, “I guess now, I just want to understand what happened, because I hear so often and here it is now. I’m a professional, my wife is a professional and we have a kid that’s dead.”
It happened across the driveway from a busy Starbucks where witnesses inside took cover as it all unfolded.
“They were standing behind the car, opening fire. He wasn’t driving towards them,” Goodyear customer Brittany Eustache said.
Eustache told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman what happened. She said she watched from inside the store, just feet away.
“The car was not moving when they began to shoot at him. The car had been stopped. He hit a curb. He couldn’t go any further,” she said.
“So at no point was he making any aggressive moves?” Stockman asked her.
“None, none at all. They immediately opened fire on them,” Eustache said.
No police officers were injured. A spokesperson for the Smyrna Police Department said the shooting has already taken an emotional toll on the officers involved.
Thomas’ parents said he was working at the store to pay off fines associated with what they called a traffic warrant.
Police have yet to confirm that. Investigators said they are still trying to figure out how many of the six officers who were at the scene actually opened fire.
A man who was killed by a police officer’s bullet was shot in the back, a medical examiner’s report says, adding a new twist to a case in which police say the man was driving a car toward officers when the incident happened.
An autopsy on the body of 23-year-old Nicholas Thomas was conducted by the Cobb County medical examiner’s office March 25, the day after Thomas was killed while at the wheel of a customer’s Maserati outside the Goodyear tire store where he worked, according to the report that was certified by the medical examiner on Tuesday.
Police have said Smyrna police Sgt. Kenneth Owens shot Thomas because the officer feared for his life. Police have said Thomas was driving toward officers as they tried to serve him with a warrant for a parole violation, though his family says other witnesses dispute that.
The medical examiner’s report says Thomas died from a gunshot wound after a bullet entered his upper back on the right side. The bullet hit his lungs and aorta before coming to rest in his upper chest on the left side.
The autopsy did not determine how far the officer was from Thomas when the shot was fired, but the report says no gunpowder or soot was found on Thomas’ back or shirt.
“Nicholas Thomas died as a result of a gunshot wound of the torso sustained during an altercation with police,” the report says. “The manner of death is classified as homicide. The designation of the manner of death as homicide does not necessarily indicate improper actions on the part of police.”
Mawuli Davis, a lawyer for Thomas’ family said the fact that Thomas was shot in the back “reinforces the position we have taken that he was not a threat to the officers.” It also seems to contradict the police assertion that Thomas was driving toward officers, Davis said.
Back to Charleston:
This link is from a white distant relative of Pinckney: ‘Only white people can save themselves from racism and white supremacism’ – Americas – World – The Independent
Pictures for today’s post:
This is an open thread. My internet is going out. Hope to get the images up soon….
Today is the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965 in Selma, Alabama. From USA Today, Bloody Sunday commemoration commences in Selma.
SELMA, Ala. — They have come from coast to coast to commemorate a solemn moment in civil rights history, but also to renew their commitment to a fight that many say isn’t finished.
Tens of thousands of Americans are gathering here on Saturday to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when marchers attempting to walk from Selma to Montgomery to demand an end to discriminatory polling practices were viciously attacked by police.
It took two more attempts for marchers — led by John Lewis and Hosea Williams — to successfully complete their roughly 50-mile trip to Montgomery. But their determination — and the searing images of the violence during that first march — shook the nation’s collective conscience and helped usher in the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965….
Participants began arriving Thursday for a five-day commemoration that will reach its apex today when President Obama will speak from the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where the marchers were bloodied by state troopers and sheriff’s posse armed with tear gas and clubs.
The photo at the top of the page is from NPR’s Code Switch blog: Photographer Helped Expose Brutality Of Selma’s ‘Bloody Sunday’. You can also listen to a brief report at that link. From the transcript:
This month Selma, Ala., will mark the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.” That’s the day police beat demonstrators attempting to march to Montgomery in support of voting rights. Some of the most iconic images of that day were captured by a white photographer — the late Spider Martin.
Spider Martin’s real introduction to the civil rights movement came on a late night at home in February 1965. He was 25, a photographer for The Birmingham News. He explains in a video from 1987 that he got the call because he was the youngest staff member and no one else wanted to go. That assignment would lead to his most famous work.
“About midnight I get this phone call from the chief photographer and he says ‘Spider, we need to get you to go down to Marion, Ala.’ Says there’s been a church burned and there’d been a black man who was protesting killed. He was shot with a shotgun. His name was Jimmie Lee Jackson.” ….
Jackson’s killing helped spur the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights marches a few weeks later. Martin was in Selma for Bloody Sunday when state troopers attacked protesters. Holding a camera made him just as much a target. He recounted in an interview with Alabama Public Television, what happened when a police officer saw him.
“He walks over to me and, blow! Hits me right here in the back of the head,” he said. “I still got a dent in my head and I still have nerve damage there. I go down on my knees and I’m like seeing stars and there’s tear gas everywhere. And then he grabs me by the shirt and he looks straight in my eyes and he just dropped me and said, ‘scuse me. Thought you was a nigger.'”
Martin kept covering the marchers until they reached Montgomery two-and-a-half weeks later.
See more of Martin’s photographs of the Selma march at the NPR link and at ArtsRevive.com.
The New York Daily News has a wonderful gallery of photos of the events leading up to the Selma to Montgomery march, which began on March 21, and concluded on March 25, 1965. Here are two of the photos. Please click on the link to see more.
At The Nation, The Almanac column has reprinted an article by George B. Leonard published 50 years ago on March 10: Midnight Plane to Alabama.
Fifty years ago today, Alabama State Troopers attacked voting-rights demonstrators on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. Events moved quickly after that, with President Lyndon Johnson delivering his “We Shall Overcome” address before Congress and calling for a voting-rights bill just over a week later. But in early May, The Nation circled back to that moment on the bridge, with an essay by the California writer George B. Leonard, who watched footage of the assault at home. Shocked and appalled by what he saw, Leonard (originally from the South) took a plane to Selma to be there for whatever would happen next.His essay, “Midnight Plane to Alabama,” appeared in The Nation of May 10, 1965.
The pictures were not particularly good. With the cameras rather far removed from the action and the skies partly overcast everything that happened took on the quality of an old newsreel. Yet this very quality, vague and half-silhouetted, gave the scene the vehemence and immediacy of a dream. The TV screen showed a column of Negroes striding along a highway. A force of Alabama state troopers blocked their way. As the Negroes drew to a halt, a toneless voice drawled an order from a loudspeaker. In the interests of “public safety” the marchers were being told to turn back. A few moments passed, measured out in silence, as some of the troopers covered their faces with gas masks. There was a lurching movement on the left side of the screen, a heavy phalanx of troopers charged straight into the column, bowling the marchers over. A shrill cry of terror, unlike any sound that had passed through a TV set, rose up as the troopers lumbered forward, stumbling sometimes on the fallen bodies. The scene cut to charging horses, their hoofs flashing over the fallen. Another quick cut, a cloud of tear gas billowed over the highway. Periodically the top of a helmeted head emerged from the cloud, followed by a club on the upswing. The club and the head would disappear into the cloud of gas and another club would bob up and down. Unhuman. No other word can describe the motions. The picture shifted quickly to a Negro church. The bleeding, broken and unconscious passed across the screen, some of them limping alone, others supported on either side, still others carried in arms or on stretchers. It was at this point that my wife, sobbing, turned and walked away, saying, “I can’t look any more.”
How far have we come in 50 years?
Just this week, the Department of Justice released a report that enumerates shocking civil rights violations by police and city officials in Ferguson, Missouri. Following the killing of black teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, there were demonstrations during which Ferguson and St. Louis police and Missouri state troopers used military war surplus equipment and blatantly unconstitutional policies in their efforts to shut down the protests.
In the past year, we’ve seen incident after incident of black men and boys being shot and killed by police around the country.
America’s prisons are used as weapons in a virtual race war. African Americans are “incarcerated at U.S. prisons are at nearly six times the rate of whites.” and they are much more likely to be receive the death penalty.
Most concerning of all, the conservatives on the Supreme Court succeeded in greatly weakening the Voting Rights Act by invalidating the most important part of the law, which required nine states to get federal approval before they made any changes in voting laws. Following that decision, Republican states rushed to impose limits on voting that unfairly targeted minorities.
When thousands gather this weekend in Selma, Alabama, to mark the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” some will likely conclude that the town that changed America has not seemed to make much progress of its own.
The majority of registered voters in Selma are now black — along with most of the city, whites having fled in the decades since their African-American neighbors gained access to the ballot box. More than half the businesses in Selma are black-owned.
But Selma is a poor city in one of the poorest states in the country. The typical resident earns about half the state’s median income of $43,000, and over 40 percent of its citizens live below the poverty line, more than twice the state average. According to the most recent data, 10 percent of Selma residents are unemployed — one of the highest rates in Alabama — compared to six percent statewide….
“The people who received less benefit from the movement are the ones who did the most,” said Andrew Young, a lieutenant of Martin Luther King Jr.’s who was among those marching on March 4, 1965. “That’s always bothered me.”
“The farmers who let us stay in their homes, who bonded us out of jail, are old guys now. They still own land but they can’t make a living on the land.”
From Mother Jones, 50 Years Ago Today, “Bloody Sunday” Catalyzed The Civil Rights Movement. Are We Backsliding? Please go read the article–there are more great photos. Here’s the final paragraph:
“It is perversely ironic to commemorate the past without demonstrating the courage of that past in the present,” NAACP president Cornell Brooks told The Atlantic‘s Russell Berman last week. “In other words we can’t really give gold medals to those who marched from Selma to Montgomery without giving a committee vote to the legislation that protects the right to vote today.”
One more relevant piece from Alternet dated December 15, 2014, How Runaway Economic Inequality and Racism Are Linked to Police Killings. A brief excerpt:
Why are white cops shooting unarmed black men?
On one level the story is simple: racism. Too many police officers fear people of color in the neighborhoods they patrol, and are likely to over-react with force during encounters. The local courts also engage in discrimination by failing to indict the killers, even when captured on video, as in the brutal police slaying of Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY. Both the policing and the court system obviously reflect the polarization of our communities, and our inability to escape the legacy of slavery, more than 150 years after emancipation.
But racism only accounts for part of the story. We also must understand how judicial racism and even police violence are deeply connected to the financialization of the economy and runaway inequality.
It is not by accident that America has become both the most unequal developed nation in the world, and the nation with the largest prison population. We’re number one in police killings, incarceration and inequality—not Russia, not China. Our national self-image so steeped in the idea of freedom has not caught up with these ugly realities.
Racism is has been with us for centuries, but something very new happened in America around 1980 that set the stage for these police killings. Something very big is transforming us into the first democratic police state in human history.
“Around 1980…” What happened in 1980? Ronald Reagan was elected. It was the beginning of the Republican “revolution” against freedom, modernity and an inclusive America.
Do you recall where Reagan chose to begin his campaign for the presidency? Here’s a column by the late William Rasberry, published on the occasion of Reagan’s death, Reagan’s Race Legacy.
I might have let this period of national mourning pass without a sour note. But I was in Mississippi when I heard the news of his death, and it came just one day after a white Mississippi newspaper editor proudly handed me a copy of the Philadelphia, Miss., paper, the Neshoba Democrat.
Philadelphia, county seat of Mississippi’s Neshoba County, is famous for a couple of things. That is where three civil rights workers — Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman — were murdered in 1964. And that is where, in 1980, Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan chose to launch his election campaign, with a ringing endorsement of “states’ rights.”
It was bitter symbolism for black Americans (though surely not just for black Americans). Countless observers have noted that Reagan took the Republican Party from virtual irrelevance to the ascendancy it now enjoys. The essence of that transformation, we shouldn’t forget, is the party’s successful wooing of the race-exploiting Southern Democrats formerly known as Dixiecrats. And Reagan’s Philadelphia appearance was an important bouquet in that courtship.
I don’t accuse Reagan of racism, though while he served, I did note what seemed to be his indifference to the concerns of black Americans — issues ranging from civil rights enforcement and attacks on “welfare queens” to his refusal to act seriously against the apartheid regime in South Africa. He gets full credit from me for the good things he did — including presiding over the end of international communism. But he also legitimized, by his broad wink at it, racial indifference — and worse….in some ways, including racially, he left us a more divided nation, in part by making division seem legitimate.
That’s the legacy of Philadelphia.
Even Reagan probably would be amazed by what the Republican Party has become today, but he certainly enabled it.
You can watch coverage of today’s events in Selma on C-Span. President Obama and Representative John Lewis will appear at around 2:30PM.
From Reuters: Obama to make call to action in Selma anniversary visit.
U.S. President Barack Obama will call on Americans to carry forward the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement on Saturday during a visit to Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a march that sparked the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Obama, the first black U.S. president, will deliver remarks at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where police and state troopers beat and used tear gas against peaceful marchers who were advocating against racial discrimination at the voting booth….
“Selma is not just about commemorating the past. It’s about honoring the legends who helped change this country through your actions today, in the here and now,” he told a town hall-style meeting.
“Selma is now. Selma is about the courage of ordinary people doing extraordinary things because they believe they can change the country, that they can shape our nation’s destiny. Selma is about each of us asking ourselves what we can do to make America better.” ….
Obama condemned the Missouri city of Ferguson on Friday for “oppressive and abusive” actions against black residents that were revealed in a U.S. Justice Department report accusing police and court officials of racial bias.
We have a very long way to go.
This is an open thread. Please share your thoughts on this post and other stories you’re following in the comment thread and have a terrific weekend.
I’m going to be very personal and very open with you today because of something Rudy Giuliani said over the weekend. He accused the president of ‘anti-police’ propaganda. As a person who doesn’t trust the police at all, I would like to say my feelings have nothing to do with the President, Eric Holder or whatever scapegoat Giuliani and his right wing friends can find. It is because of the police themselves. It is because of what I’ve witnessed, what I’ve gone through, and what I’ve known to happen to others. I live in New Orleans, and my guess is that my experience is not all that different from any one living in an urban area like me.
I’ve seen it all and I’ve experienced it. People are fed up with out of control policing and it’s not because of anything any politician has said. Police departments have brought all of the criticism, protest, and mistrust onto themselves.. This does not mean that police deserve to be gunned down or to be the victims of violence. However, I’m not surprised to see things escalate when justice is unavailable to so many. The crazed few always start acting out the frustrations of the many. You see, the American dream should not include places where you are more afraid of the people paid to protect you than you are of most anything else or where things are so unfair that your already deranged mind can follow martyrdom to some extreme awful end. I am completely saddened by the deaths of the two Brooklyn Police officers. But, their deaths should not be used as an excuse to give bad policing and bad police officers a pass. Their deaths should also not lead to political chest beating and police state jingoism. What we should realize is that we’ve got a broken criminal justice system and it needs to be fixed so that it turns no one into victims. I’m tired of being afraid of the police which is a place I’ve personally been for over 5 years now. Obama didn’t make me feel this way.
The last time I got called for Jury Duty was the first time I really didn’t think I could do it and not because it inconvenienced me. The first day I got called in to serve I was selected for the voire dire of a case where a public defender who had been a friend of mine for some time was defending a man accused of sexual battery on the minor daughter of his girlfriend. Normally, I would be DA’s dream of a juror. When they got to me and asked I if there was any reason why I shouldn’t sit on the Jury I basically said, well , the defendant’s attorney is a friend but there’s another reason too. That was enough to get me taken off to the Judge’s chambers where they asked if being his friend would distort my ability to be neutral. I laughed and said no. That wasn’t it at all. I know him well but I also know that his job is to provide a decent defense for whomever and that didn’t mean he was character witness for his client at all. Normally, as an older,educated white woman with daughters, I’d probably give any accused child rapist a jaundiced eye. If anything, any friendly feelings I had towards my friend would probably make me be more neutral towards the case. So, what was my problem?
I told the prosecuting attorneys and the Judge that I don’t trust a damned thing any cop says and if you’re going to make your case on their testimony then forget it. I don’t think I could take it at face value at all.
That was a bit of surprise statement to about all concerned up to and after I told them my story. I’d never seen two prosecutors so wide-eyed before. About a year before, I was arrested and charged for being drunk and for fighting. Just being in that courthouse surrounded by uniformed police had me on the verge of tears and panic. What really happened was I was assaulted in front of lots of witnesses by a drug dealer on parole from Federal Prison. The arresting officer was right there watching him beat me up and doing nothing. I wasn’t drunk either and begged cop after cop for a breath test. I had broken ribs in my back and bruises on the back side of my arms from being in the crouched, defensive position taught to any one that’s been trained for any kind’ve protest training. I was jackbooted. The emergency room doctor actually volunteered to tell any one he could that I had been brutally beaten and there were no signs of anything but defensive wounds. I was sent to a neurologist to ensure I didn’t have permanent damage it was so bad. I went straight from the jail to the emergency room to the internal affairs office. The last two entities had plenty of pictures of my damage and I made damned sure they talked to the doctor and had access to the xrays. I did everything I needed to to ensure I could get justice for this. I never did.
At one point during the attack, I had actually managed to escape to a back yard to dial 911 when a visiting Canadian friend tried to get the thug off of me. I was on the 911 phone call for like 15 minutes and when I was told they were there to help me, I went out to flag the patrol car down. The cop flagged them away and arrested me. He threatened to arrest all the folks that were trying to tell him what had really happened too. I was driven around for some time while all the cops in question were trying to figure out how to dump me in jail to teach me a lesson for letting slip to the drug dealer that the cop had been banging his girlfriend for years. This drug creep also used to brag in the bars about beating folks up for the cop too. I have no record. I have privileged status in a lot of ways. I’m white and I’m educated and I had money for a lawyer and bail. But, none of this protected me from the police department that day or from the absolute nonsense “investigation” that followed after I filed a complaint.
I had seen this same cop shake down a local prostitute for blow jobs for rookies on the trunk of a black and white not too long before that. He was well known for shaking down the pros in the area for his own personal pleasure. Nearly everyone in the neighborhood had a story on this cop. I knew that while the drug dealer was in prison and before that his girl friend–a nonstop pot smoker–was banging the cop and had to be smoking nonstop then too. Basically, he picked and chose when to adhere to the law. He was–and probably still is–the very picture of an out of control cop. I filed a complaint that was investigated and it eventually cleared him of any wrongdoing . It stated that he did everything right. He was arrested about six months later in the parish across the canal on domestic battery and for spitting at a Parish Deputy who was trying to arrest him. I told the sergeant who took my interview at the time that the guy was angry, a drunk, and would eventually get into deeper trouble than this. I also told him that he needed help and that it would only get worse if they continued to ignore him. And, ask the parish deputy. It got worse. But, he’s still patrolling the French Quarter now. Heaven help any of you that get in the way of his little schemes.
Those of you that have known me some time know this story and a lot more of the gory details. You also know that I spent one very long night in New Orleans Parish Prison surrounded by lots of people arrested for “black while” and “hispanic while” and that was enough to convince me to never ever believe a police officer again. It didn’t even take the sham of an investigation to do that. I couldn’t even convince one police officer that I wasn’t drunk and that I needed medical attention as I was beaten by a man much larger than myself. The arrest report he wrote eventually came back that I had slugged the girl friend. I’m a Buddhist. I don’t even step on bugs. I would do no such thing. I was jackbooted pure and simple because I had the audacity to ruin his good thing by answering a question drunk and honestly one night.
The NOPD is under the care and tutoring of the Attorney General and the Justice Department for all kinds of violations of civil rights. They deserve to be. I frankly believe the entire lot of them should’ve been brought up on RICO charges because that’s the law that applies to a group of people that conspire to commit crimes. I would like you to know that not one of the “thugs” and the “thug” cop that I dealt with was black so no one reading this can reach conclusions that shouldn’t be there from their little corners of white privilege world. Again, Rudy Giuliani and others need to know that my feelings towards the police have nothing to do with the President or any politician and my guess it that any one that’s seen what I’ve seen, knows what I know, and been through what I’ve been through thinks similarly . You cannot possibly live within the borders of a large city that is populated with diverse peoples and not really feel this way unless you’re gated up with a lot of privileged white people. Not all police officers are rotten but the system and good cops protect the rotten ones. This makes them accessories and under most criminal laws, it makes you guilty of something. If you think all cops are wonderful, you must live in a suburban enclave with mostly white people where police never ever go or where they only show up when the odd little inconvenience happens. You could not possibly live in place where whites are the minority. You could not possibly live in parts of town where they feel they can get away with anything. You’ve probably never ever lived in a place and time where you’ve been dive bombed by black helicopters and drones and felt like you’ve lived in the middle of a war zone for extended periods of time because of the presence of highly militarized police. I’ve lived in both circumstances. If you don’t think being white gives you a big ol’ pass in the world of policing, then you’ve really lived a very sheltered life.
I do know one exception, however, and it’s a doozy. It’s what happened to my daughter when in high school in suburban Omaha right after the Justice department was looking at the cops there for arresting too many black people. They decided to fix their stats and went after white kids. She got picked up once for a curfew violation walking from a friend’s house to the house next door one evening. She also got picked up for minor in possession when a boyfriend got pulled over for speeding in a pick up truck who had a six pack locked up in metal box in the truck bed that she didn’t even know was there. Of course, my charges and my daughter’s charges were dropped. They both were basically for effect. I was not to interfere with whatever scam the cop in the neighborhood had running and she served as a number to prove that Omaha cops really aren’t targeting black people. And, this occurred prior to the Obama presidency. So, in this case, the solution for stopping and frisking black kids was to do the same to white kids. I was relieved when she left that reign of terror and went to LSU, believe me.
I still have panic attacks when I see police officers. I can’t see this ever changing. I can’t say that I’m going to ever go to jury duty and not tell a judge that you do not want me on any jury because my assumption will be that the police are guilty of something.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is condemning President Barack Obama for anti-police “propaganda” in the wake of the murders of two New York City police officers in Brooklyn.
When asked on “Fox News Sunday” if he had ever seen the city he once governed so divided, Giuliani shook his head and said, “I don’t think so.”
Giuliani said blame rests on “four months of propaganda,” which he said started with Obama, “that everybody should hate the police.” He said the nationwide protests against several recent police-involved deaths lead to one conclusion: “The police are bad. The police are racist. They’re wrong.”
Police, Giuliani said, are “the people who do the most for the black people in America, in New York City and elsewhere.”
On Sunday, Obama spoke out against the killing of the police officers Saturday, saying there is no justification for the slayings.
“The officers who serve and protect our communities risk their own safety for ours every single day — and they deserve our respect and gratitude every single day,” Obama said in a statement. “I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal — prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen.”
No one should be calling for dead cops or any kind of blood shedding. As the old cliche goes, two wrongs do not make a right. Most of us who feel negatively towards the police really don’t want to feel that way. Really, who do you think I want to call if I need help? The Ghostbusters? I came to my panic attacks and mistrust through experience. Something is very rotten in the criminal justice system from a county attorney that can purposefully suborn perjury, to a criminal or insane person that can get easy access to powerful guns to use on the rest of society, to a police official that thinks its a bad deal that his Mayor needs to enforce what the court orders and in doing so, accuses him of endangering the lives of police. As long as there is easy access to guns in this country, we all are in danger. Police are not exempt from the actions of the criminally insane.
“There’s blood on many hands tonight,” Patrick Lynch, president of the largest police union, said late Saturday. “Those that incited violence on the street in the guise of protest, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. We tried to warn it must not go on, it shouldn’t be tolerated. That blood on the hands starts at the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor.”
Although New York is a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 6 to 1, de Blasio is its first Democratic mayor in 20 years and his stewardship of the city is being watched nationally as a test of unabashedly liberal leadership. After his landslide victory, he declared, “Make no mistake. The people of this city have chosen a progressive path. And tonight we set forth on it together, as one city.”
But really, how can we expect them to change? They’ve even complained about court ordered changes to the way they operate. This is going to be a long and enduring struggle.
Former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, a champion of NYPD stop-and-frisk tactics that were found unconstitutional, on Tuesday blasted Mayor de Blasio’s decision to drop the city’s appeal of that ruling.
“Every indication is [that] if the appeal were allowed to go forward, it would have been reversed, and it’s a shame Mayor de Blasio did that, because I think people will suffer,” Kelly said on WNYC-FM’s “Brian Lehrer Show” Tuesday.
Stop-and-frisks have since decreased, and Kelly, the top cop under Mayor Mike Bloomberg, suggested the city may now be seeing a negative effect on crime.
What’s going on right now is an indication that the criminal justice system in this country is broke. It is VERY broke. We have extremely high incarceration rates. The patterns of incarceration are telling. The incredible use, manner and patterns of police force against the mentally ill, against unarmed citizenry, and against racial minorities indicates something is very wrong. The number of people–like me–whose stories detail police abuse should tell you something. Instead, we have groups of folks in the media, in government, and in law enforcement that seem put out by exercise of first amendment rights. What do they expect when police are armed and act like an occupying army and focus on protecting their own rather than protecting and serving whatever community is their beat. Which police officer do you trust when it’s obvious the system jumps to defense of its extremely rotten eggs?
So, here I am, and I’m telling judges and prosecuting attorneys that I won’t serve on a jury because I can’t honestly say I’d believe anything brought to the court by the police as evidence. I would be hard pressed to believe any police testimony. This is me; the mother of two daughters. I walked away from sitting on the jury of an accused child rapist because I wouldn’t feel comfortable making any decision based on the criminal justice system and the police investigation. What does that say to you? What should it say to the likes of Rudy Giuliani?
I’ll leave you with something to give you a belly laugh. This is the actual holiday card coming from our governor. It’s not photo-shopped. It’s not from The Onion. Just have a really good belly laugh at the expense of those idiots in the state of Louisiana that voted for this pandering, self-loathing governor of mine who is whoring himself to the Duck Dick enthusiasts wherever they may skulk with their knuckles dragging and their heads up their asses.