Monday Reads: Controlling womenPosted: November 30, 2015 Filed under: just because | Tags: abortion rights, religious extremism, right wing religious fananticism, stochastic terrorism, women's health 41 Comments
Hope your weekend was great!
It’s been a depressing and sad few days as we continue to watch the world’s fundamentalist religions–based in so much Iron Age Mythology–continue to assert the need to control and dominate women. Saudi Arabia has sentenced a maid to death by stoning for adultery while giving the man a few symbolic lashes. Here in the US, Republican candidates for the US presidency appease a similarly addicted religious minority by skirting the real issues surrounding the shooting at Colorado’s Planned Parenthood. What we are seeing is the same poison fruit from the same poison tree.
There are so many mass shootings in this country—in a school or a church, a movie theatre or a mall—and so little is expected of American politicians in regard to them that, in the two days since Robert Dear began firing his gun at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, the Republican Presidential contenders have largely been able to hide from the tragedy. At midday on Friday, Dear initiated a gun battle that lasted five hours and took the lives of three people, including a police officer, and wounded nine others. Dear’s motives, and his mental state, are not yet fully known. But, of all the places he could have walked into, he chose a Planned Parenthood clinic, and, of all the fragments of deranged rhetoric he could have repeated, he chose, according to the Times and other press reports, to say something about “no more baby parts.” This is a reference to the false charge that Planned Parenthood has illegally trafficked in the sale of fetal organs—and that is the mildest way of framing the allegations that anyone listening to a Republican debate or rally would likely have heard. The loudness of the slurs against the organization is in telling contrast to the cautious silence that descended when it became a target of gun violence.
I remember my work in high school and university on modernizing state laws so that crimes against women and children were moved from the areas of property crimes to crimes against people. I was appalled to find that state law required three witnesses to a rape as evidence a crime had happened. I worked at a nascent rape and domestic violence crisis center back in the early 70s that was started by the Junior League and still continues as a major operation at the local YWCA.
I also remember a panel discussion at my Presbyterian church when SCOTUS was deciding Roe v. Wade. It was my first experience seeing so many ignorant and angry people expressing the need to control other people’s bodies and lives. I thought that the progress we had made would continue. Then, came the 1980s and a backlash from the pews of what my family used to refer to as “holy rollers”.
I have two grown daughters now and I never thought that they’d face so many of the same issues that I faced at their age. When they were very young, I saw those same angry, ignorant faces of my youth beginning to coordinate and organize to target women. We’ve gone so far back since the early 1980’s and we’ve endured so much harassment from radical religionists that it’s sometimes difficult for me to believe we live in a developed country. But, here in many parts of the United States, folks take Iron Age Mythology as seriously as they do in the hills and tribes of Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Women and children have always been at the forefront of the suffering inflicted by the hyperreligious. Vigilance and action is required continually and today like never before.
We are going backwards.
We are losing many battles in a war fought to take away women’s rights and autonomy. I spent some time reading this MoJo article on the last few years of Republican control of many local legislatures. Again, I cannot believe my daughters face challenges that no modern, civilized nation should create.
This is what 2015 looks like: Abortion providers struggle against overwhelming odds to stay open, while women “turn themselves into pretzels” to get to them, as one researcher put it. Activists have been calling it the “war on women.” But the onslaught of new abortion restrictions has been so successful, so strategically designed, and so well coordinated that the war in many places has essentially been lost.
Most abortions today involve some combination of endless wait, interminable journey, military-level coordination, and lots of money. Roe v. Wade was supposed to put an end to women crossing state lines for their abortions. But while reporting this story, I learned of women who drove from Kentucky to New Jersey, or flew from Texas to Washington, DC, because it was the only way they could have the procedure. Even where laws can’t quite make it impossible for abortion clinics to stay open—they are closing down at a rate of 1.5 every single week—they can make it exhausting to operate one. In every corner of America, four years of unrelenting assaults on reproductive rights have transformed all facets of giving an abortion or getting one—possibly for good.
“Every day is just frightening,” Chelian said. “I think things are bad, and then they get worse somewhere else. And you go, ‘Oh my God, it could be worse.’ And I go to sleep with that. I wake up with that.”
It’s gotten so bad that women are going back to the days of hangers. It’s been estimated that up to 240,000 women in Texas alone have try to give themselves abortions.
Ever since Texas passed HB2 in 2013, the omnibus abortion law at the heart of a pivotal case the Supreme Court will review early next year, more than half of the state’s 41 abortion clinics have been forced to close. As these closures have mounted, advocates in the state have worried that the decline in abortion access could lead to a rise in the number of women trying to terminate pregnancies by themselves.
A new study quantifies some of those fears: At least 100,000 Texas women—and as many as 240,000—between the ages of 18 and 49 have attempted to self-induce abortions, according to a report released today by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP). The study also found that it is possible that the rate of women attempting to self-induce abortions is rising in Texas as a result of the state’s additional restrictions on abortion care. The report points to previous studies that have explored the correlation between a rise in abortion restrictions and the prevalence of self-induced abortions. A 2008 national study found that about 2 percent of women reported that they tried to terminate pregnancies on their own. In 2012, a year after Texas passed several new abortion restrictions, a study of Texas women seeking care at an abortion clinic found that about 7 percent reported attempting to end their pregnancies without medical assistance before seeking clinic care.
“This is the latest body of evidence demonstrating the negative implications of laws like HB2 that pretend to protect women but in reality place them, and particularly women of color and economically disadvantaged women, at significant risk,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman, one of the study’s co-authors and a professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of California-San Francisco, in a press call Tuesday morning.
None of us that have been active in the women’s right movement for decades were surprised at the most recent attack and murders at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood. We anticipated it happening some where and we are not surprised by the deflection of the enablers of violence against women and those who help women. There has been a long, well-funded and organized racket supported by media outlets and capitalized on by the Republican party to reinstate witch hunts and burnings. We also know this is not about life. It’s about controlling women. Amanda Marcotte–writing for Salon–explains this well.
Victim-blaming and avoiding responsibility was the norm on the right, with Rep. Adam Kinzinger going on CNN while Dear was still holding the clinic hostage and ranting about “these barbaric videos,” in reference to the hoax videos falsely accusing Planned Parenthood of “selling” fetal tissue that were released over the summer and that all Republicans are apparently duty-bound to pretend are somehow meaningful despite being thoroughly debunked. He also pushed the idea that there’s a chance that Dear’s choice of a target is random and not rooted in anti-choice ideology.
Since then, of course, conservatives’ slim hope that Dear was somehow just a random psycho instead of an anti-choice nut has grown slimmer. Sources spoke about the “baby parts” line and that Dear mentioned Obama in his statements to police.
Ever since the Paris attacks, we’ve been hearing from the right how there is no excuse for religious fundamentalists using violence to terrorize people for the making life choices the fundamentalists don’t approve of. I do wish they would take their own advice on this front.
This whole display is especially bizarre when you consider that there is nothing new about anti-choice terrorism, which has taken the lives of eight clinic workers prior to this attack. That this would happen was entirely predictable. Since the release of those hoax videos, there’s been a rash of arsons and bombings of Planned Parenthood clinics across the country, a story which has received a surprisingly small amount of media coverage.
In other words, this is what everyone in pro-choice circles has been dreading would happen any day now. As recently as October 29, an abortion provider in Washington, D.C., penned an op-ed in the Washington Post about how her life is being rather unsubtly threatened by anti-choicers who put her picture and address online. You know, for “information.” Answers about who would need that, except someone who was intending to harm her, are not offered.
Anti-choice demagoguery is fruitful politics for the right. There’s a lot of fear out there about women’s changing social roles and increasing independence, coupled with a ton of resentment over other people’s sex lives. The anti-choice movement has created a perfect cover story—it’s about “life” and “babies”!—that allows conservatives to indulge these ugly urges while pretending to have noble intentions.
This combination has been so successful at inciting the masses, raising money, and turning out the vote that the anti-choice movement has become increasingly bold in recent years, expanding the legal attacks beyond abortion and looking for ways to undermine access to contraception as well. The increased outrage at Planned Parenthood in recent months, while ostensibly about abortion, is in actuality a lot more about contraception. None of the money that Republicans are cutting from Planned Parenthood is for abortion, but for contraception and STI prevention and treatment. Or even prenatal care, in some cases.
You cannot relentlessly stoke people’s sexual resentments, day in and day out, while calling it “moral” without some of those people (mostly men) tipping over into outright violence. Anti-choice extremism is a logical home for angry, bitter men who want to blame women and women’s sexuality for their own personal failings and frustrations. And there are a lot of angry men out there, furious at women for not being what they want us to be, using “baby killer” as a cover for resentments that have nothing to do with actual babies.
There’s so much evidence and history that’s it’s very hard to deny that this is a well orchestrated and well funded movement. We have only to go back and remind ourselves of the murder of the late Dr. Tiller and the words of Bill O’Reilly to see how the right lights the fires of fanaticism and violence.
O’Reilly said that liberal groups were targeting him unfairly.
“Even though I reported on the doctor honestly, the loons asserted that my analysis of him was ‘hateful,'” O’Reilly wrote. “Chief of among the complaints was the doctor’s nickname, ‘Tiller the baby killer.’ Some prolifers branded him with that, and I reported it. So did hundreds of other news sources.”
O’Reilly went on to criticize media outlets for glorifying Tiller in order to silence those who oppose abortion, especially late-term abortion.
We wanted to see what O’Reilly had said about Tiller, to see if O’Reilly was indeed being criticized for his reporting on other groups’ characterization of Tiller as he said.
We searched transcripts of The O’Reilly Factor , his show that appears on the Fox News Channel.
We found at least 42 instances of O’Reilly mentioning Tiller by name, going back to 2005. In 24 instances, we found that O’Reilly referred to Tiller specifically as a “baby killer.”
Most of the time, O’Reilly would simply refer to the Tiller as “Tiller the baby killer” or as “Dr. George Tiller, known as Tiller the baby killer” without attributing it to anyone. We found four times when O’Reilly said that “some” called him Tiller the baby killer. We did not find any instance where O’Reilly named an individual or a particular antiabortion group that referred to Tiller that way.
Here is how O’Reilly has discussed Tiller in 2009, prior to Tiller’s death:
• May 15: O’Reilly discussed President Barack Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame University, saying he was troubled that a Catholic school would allow Obama to speak. “Barack Obama throughout his political career has enabled abortion. There’s no doubt that he has. All right? He has recently appointed Gov. (Kathleen) Sebelius to (Secretary of) Health and Human Services. Gov. Sebelius is the most proabortion governor in the United States. Based upon Dr. Tiller, the baby killer in her state and all of that, all right.”
• May 11: O’Reilly wondered whom Obama would nominate to the Supreme Court, saying that he thought Obama was “callous” when it came to abortion. “I mean, the guy puts Sebelius in as the health — you can’t get a more fanatically — and that woman is proabortion,” O’Reilly said. “She wants the babies done for. She supported Tiller the Baby Killer out there. So, enough with her.”
• April 27: O’Reilly discussed Sebelius’ nomination as secretary of Health and Human Services. O’Reilly said that Sebelius “recently vetoed a bill that placed restrictions on late-term abortions in Kansas. The bill was introduced because of the notorious Tiller the Baby Killer case, where Dr. George Tiller destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000. There’s no question Ms. Sebelius is one of the most proabortion politicians in America.”
• March 27: Tiller was charged with misdemeanor offenses for violating Kansas law on late-term abortions. Tiller was acquitted. O’Reilly said, “Now, we have bad news to report that Tiller the baby killer out in Kansas, acquitted. Acquitted today of murdering babies. I wasn’t in the courtroom. I didn’t sit on the jury. But this, there’s got to be a special place in hell for this guy.”
• March 26: O’Reilly talked about the ongoing trial: “Another revolting situation is Dr. George Tiller in Kansas, known as Tiller the Baby Killer, who’s on trial for killing babies who are about to be born, late-term abortions.” O’Reilly also said, “If you want to kill a baby, you hire Tiller, you’ve got to pay him 5,000 up front, and he’ll kill the baby. … You should know, his best friend is the governor of Kansas, Sebelius. … She has taken specific steps to carve out the law so that it will protect Tiller the baby killer.”
• March 17: Still on the Tiller trial, O’Reilly said, “You know this George Tiller, called Tiller the baby killer, is charged with 19 misdemeanors. And what this guy does, and we have proven it beyond a reasonable doubt, Kelly, is that he kills babies in late term. He aborts them in late term. They’re no longer fetuses. They’re viable babies. He aborts them for any and all reasons if you pay him $5,000.”
• March 2: O’Reilly said Sebelius took “campaign money from George Tiller, known as Tiller, the baby killer. He’s currently charged with a variety of crimes centering on his abortion practice. He aborts babies at any time for just about any reason if you pay him $5,000.”
• Jan. 26: O’Reilly discussed an executive order Obama signed allowing federal money to go to international family planning groups that provide abortions. O’Reilly complained that Obama quietly signed the order rather than publicizing it. “I wanted George Tiller the baby killer going, ‘Yeah, can I make more money killing babies now,'” O’Reilly said.
That’s just from 2009. There were many other examples in previous years.
There is so much history between the inflammatory and false propaganda from radical christianists that we actually have a term for it. This is an example of “stochastic terrorism”. Republicans and radical christianists systematically incite violence against women and organizations designed to give them rights.
Republican members of the Religious Right incited violence as predictably as if they had issued a call for Christian abortion foes to take up arms. Inciting violence this way is called stochastic terrorism:
“Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. In short, remote-control murder by lone wolf.”
In an incident of stochastic terrorism, the person who pulls the trigger gets the blame. He—I use the male pronoun deliberately because the triggerman is almost always male—may go to jail or even be killed during his act of violence. Meanwhile, the person or persons who have triggered the triggerman, in other words, the actual stochastic terrorists, often go free, protected by plausible deniability. The formula is perversely brilliant:
- A public figure with access to the airwaves or pulpit demonizes a person or group of persons.
- With repetition, the targeted person or group is gradually dehumanized, depicted as loathsome and dangerous—arousing a combustible combination of fear and moral disgust.
- Violent images and metaphors, jokes about violence, analogies to past “purges” against reviled groups, use of righteous religious language—all of these typically stop just short of an explicit call to arms.
- When violence erupts, the public figures who have incited the violence condemn it—claiming no one could possibly have foreseen the “tragedy.”
Stochastic terrorism is not a fringe concept. It is a terrorist modality that has been described at length by analysts. It produces terrorism patterns that should be known to any member of Congress or any presidential candidate who has ever thought deeply about national or domestic security issues, which one might hope, is all of them.
We can be confident that communications teams for Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and others are scrambling at this very moment to figure out the nuances of plausible deniability—weighing how best to distance themselves from the violence that killed a police officer and two others without making their protestations of surprised dismay sound as hollow as they actually are—without actually denouncing the disgust and dehumanization of women who have abortions and those who provide them.
The FBI warned about the uptick in terrorist threats against Women’s Health Clinics and specifically Planned Parenthood months ago. There have been firebombings and other acts of vandalism. It was only a matter of time before that video and the rhetoric of the Republican Presidential candidates turned into direct violence against people.
For several months now, law enforcement has been concerned about people targeting reproductive health facilities — specifically Planned Parenthood locations across the country.
As CBS News first reported in September, an FBI intelligence bulletin went out to law enforcement agencies nationwide with that warning. It came asCongress was debating Planned Parenthood funding and on the heels of the release of a series of videos by Center for Medical Progress that purported to show Planned Parenthood doctors discussing the harvesting of fetal tissue from abortions.
The intelligence bulletin warned of “lone offenders using tactics of arsons and threats all of which are typical of the pro-life extremist movement.”
At that time there had already been nine criminal or suspicious incidents in seven states and the District of Columbia.
In one incident in August, someone poured gasoline on a New Orleans Planned Parenthood security guard’s car and set the vehicle on fire. According to the FBI, there was another incident in July in Aurora, Colorado in which someone poured gasoline around the entrance of a Planned Parenthood facility, also causing a fire.
The public faces of these fanatics are quick to pray the one day they aren’t harassing women at clinics. You can read JJ’s and BB’s last post over the weekend for many examples of the reaction of the right to the attack on the clinic and the murder of three people. All you have to do is volunteer to be a clinic escort or watch the antics of “protestors” to see the roots of the violence and know that it’s not about life or love.
I was the first appointment that day and noticed a few men, all in their 50s or 60s, milling around the parking lot when we pulled in. Once we got out of the car, one made a beeline for us with a fistful of pamphlets. My aunt said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and he got irate, screaming, “How can you do this? You’re killing your baby to continue on your whore lifestyle, you jezebel!’ Suddenly we were surrounded by five other men — that’s when the baby-doll parts starting hitting us.
They had a box filled with torn apart baby dolls covered with red paint. All three of us were hit — in the head, chest, torso. As they were pelting us, they yelled, “This is what you’re doing to your baby! Look at the street! It’s strewn with the blood of your baby. That’s your baby scattered across the street!” It was surreal and terrifying at once. And we still had to cross a wide street to enter the clinic. Then they shouted at my aunt, “Grandma, why are you letting her do this? Tell her to give her baby up for adoption!” My aunt responded, “First of all, I’m not old enough to be a grandma. Second, come talk to me when you have a uterus and a vagina.”
It’s a systemic attack on women’s autonomy. We know that it’s nationwide, well-funded, well-organized and it’s basically a syndicate like organized crimes. We know this because many of the law suits against these people involve Civil RICCO.
I’m not sure what it’s going to take to get the majority of this country to realize that we have a huge issue with homegrown white male, christianist terrorism. We can’t get sensible gun regulation because of the NRA syndicate. We also see systemic demonization of Black Lives Matter and Planned Parenthood. One of the major political parties and its small but vocal and voting minority are the problem.
What’s on your voting and blogging list today?
Sunday Reads: “Passing prejudice off as faith” and other thoughts from the “internets” and shi…stuff.Posted: November 29, 2015 Filed under: 2016 elections, abortion rights, Africa, American Gun Fetish, Austerity, Discrimination against women, Domestic terrorism, fetus fetishists, Foreign Affairs, fundamentalist Christians, GLBT Rights, Hillary Clinton, History, Human Rights, hunger, Migrant and Refugee Crisis in Europe and Mediterranean, morning reads, Planned Parenthood, PLUB Pro-Life-Until-Birth, poverty, Rape Culture, Real Life Horror, Refugees, religious extremists, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, Republican politics, right wing hate grouups, Syria, the GOP, The Right Wing, Turkey, Violence against women, War on Women, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights | Tags: colorado springs planned parenthood, EU/Turkey Refugee Agreement, vikings and muslim arabs trade during the middle ages 8 Comments
Since When Did Scapegoating and Taking Revenge Become American and Christian Principles?
I know I am beating a dead horse here, albeit a corn-fed…free-range horse at that…but this piece from David Mochel at HuffPo is coming from the direction I have been speaking of the past few weeks.
I do not consider myself religious in any traditional sense, nor would I say that I am deeply patriotic, but I am tired of “American” and “Christian” being used as descriptors of what is happening in the popular discourse.
I am tired of letting the loudest among us be those who call for un-American behavior in the name of patriotism. I am tired of letting the dialogue be monopolized by those who pass off prejudice as faith. Compassion matters. Dignity matters. Exercising self-discipline when we are scared and angry matters.
Human beings are biological creatures with lots of biological impulses. But we also have the capacity to see beyond our temporary urges for violence and oppression. We have the ability to anchor ourselves in, and act out of, enduring and inspiring principles. If we do not use the wisdom we have access to, then what exactly makes us human?
This feels like a moment in time when we are collectively trying to decide how to move forward. In the face of terrorist attacks, racial tension and conflicting world views, where shall we go for guidance? Shall we just go with what we feel and call it what we want? Shall we lash out and call it Christian? Shall we segregate and call it American? Or shall we consult some principles that were written down precisely so that we would remember them in times such as these?
The second paragraph of the Declaration of the Independence begins with these words:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The Constitution of the United States begins with these words:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity
A plaque mounted on the base of the Statue of Liberty carries these lines from a poem by Emma Lazarus:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Every morning my son stands up in his public high school classroom and recites The Pledge of Allegiance, which ends with the words: “with liberty and justice for all.”
He also goes on to quote from the prayer of St. Francis and New Testament, only to ask…
What am I missing? Where is written that we should block access, imprison, blame and malign those who we do not understand, who look different, or who live outside our borders? Does being American or Christian represent any fundamental principles or are these nothing more than titles that we get simply by living in this country and going to a fancy building on Sunday?
I propose that these words which are thrown around quite a lot lately actually do stand for something. I propose that the privileges of living in this country come with the responsibilities of being inclusive, of speaking for those without a voice and representing the rights of those who are denied access. I propose that the privileges of being Christian come with the responsibilities of showing compassion and generosity for those in need and mercy toward those who have offended.
Uncertainty can trigger anxiety and self-defensiveness. We can respond by being reactionary, rigid, and exclusive. But this is not our only choice. We also have the choice of compassion, inclusivity, and peaceful resistance.
Of course, it is challenging to make this choice in the face of senseless violence and vehement disagreement. Standing for something worthwhile is rarely easy.
No it isn’t easy, and to quote someone who seems a bit strange to quote in this discussion…as “Dubya” said so often, “It’s hard work!”
I will get to the Planned Parenthood Shooting in a few moments, but in response to the link above, remember, these people are fleeing…the murder and terror. They are refugees. Six children drown as refugee boats sink off Turkey – Al Jazeera English
More than 4,700 people arrived on the Greek islands on average each day in November [AP Photo/Santi Palacios]
At least six children have drowned in two separate incidents when boats carrying refugees to Greece sank off Turkey’s coast, Turkish state media has said.
A vessel carrying 55 Syrians and Afghans capsized due to bad weather off the town of Ayvacik, a main crossing point for refugees trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos, the Anatolia news agency reported on Friday.
Turkish coastguards have so far recovered the bodies of four Afghan children, it added.
Two more children, two sisters aged four and one, drowned early on Friday when their wooden boat carrying some 20 people to the island of Kos sank because of heavy rains and stormy weather, the agency said.
Turkey, which is hosting 2.2 million refugees from the conflict in neighbouring Syria, has become the main transit point for people fleeing war.
The European Union and Turkey have agreed in principle to a refugee action plan, which is expected to be finalised at a summit on Sunday.
I will put up some links in the comments on the details of this summit, but take a look at that link for a little info on it, there is also more discussion here:
EU, Turkey driving hard bargain before migration summit | Reuters
Turkey and the EU: Old Routine and New Tensions – Carnegie Europe – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Our View: Cyprus will not be able to call the shots in Brussels – Cyprus Mail Cyprus Mail
And two links from Irish Times:
EU-Turkey summit aims to tackle refugee crisis
Give Me a Crash Course In . . . Turkish-Russian-Syrian relations
For a video look into the refugee experience via Al Jazeera English: Why on earth would anyone do this?
Follow the journeys of three refugees who are risking everything in hopes of reaching Europe.
That title alone is sufficient enough to give you a picture of what the video is about.
Meanwhile back in the United States:
The question of Life is back in the news…
I think it must be said again:
Life begins at arousal!!!!
And to hell with fluoridation in water systems!
Who needs the “guvment” anyway?
As of Saturday evening: 2016 Republican Contenders Silent On Planned Parenthood Shooting
Republican presidential hopefuls were noticeably silent about a fatal shooting that took place at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.
All three of their Democratic counterparts tweeted in support of the organization during and after Friday’s attack, which left three people dead and nine others injured.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was the only one of the major GOP candidates to comment:
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul instead tweeted about his own Black Friday sales:
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush published an opinion piece about Obama’s foreign policy:
Donald Trump spent the evening (and Saturday morning) touting upcoming campaign eventsand complaining about a New York Times reporter.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted about his campaign’s new cold-weather gear:
Ben Carson was off Twitter and in Jordan visiting a refugee camp.
All of the major 2016 Republican hopefuls describe themselves as anti-abortion. Some, like Paul, Rubio and Cruz, have attempted to strip federal funding for Planned Parenthood, citing heavily edited videos that emerged earlier this year claiming to show the nonprofit’s employees selling fetal tissue for profit. A congressional inquiry into the videos did not find any evidence of wrongdoing.
Earlier this year, Rubio wondered why more Americans don’t get “fired up” about Planned Parenthood’s “dead babies.”
Ted Cruz breaks silence on ‘horrific’ Planned Parenthood attack | US news | The Guardian
Speaking in Lamoni, Iowa, Cruz said that while the motives behind Friday’s attack were not clear “it was unacceptable, horrific and wrong”.
“We know that police officers and civilians have been targeted and lost their lives and our prayers are right now are with the families,” Cruz said.
Many of the party’s candidates have come out strongly against Planned Parenthood on the campaign trail as they seek to secure conservative votes.
No More Mister Nice Blog: REPUBLICANS HATE WHAT THEY HATE MUCH MORE THAN THEY LOVE WHAT THEY LOVE
Republican presidential candidates still haven’t said anything about the Colorado Planned Parenthood shootings, with the exception of Ted Cruz (in a tweet, as I noted in my last post) and now John Kasich:
Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the other GOP contender to discuss the attacks, offering his prayers for the affected families and saying “senseless violence has brought tragedy to Colorado Springs.”
This seems odd:
Republicans hate abortion and hate Planned Parenthood. They hate gun control, and the shooting has already led to another call for new gun laws by President Obama. These hatreds are much more important to the right than love of the police, even when the dead police officer was also a Christian minister. In this case, blue lives don’t matter, and this wasn’t part of the war on Christianity. The killer wasn’t a member of any group conservatives hate, and his main target was a group conservatives absolutely hate.
So hate wins. Therefore, the right is never going to denounce this incident with any enthusiasm.
The Democrats did tweet there thoughts: 2016 Democrats React To Planned Parenthood Shooting
As usual, Hillary is on top of it…check out the time of her post.
I wonder…what was tweeted after the news of this: Man Kills Waffle House Worker Over Smoking Ban, Cops Say
Johnny Max Mount, 45, was allegedly smoking in a Biloxi Waffle House when the 52-year-old employee asked him to put it out, according to the Sun Herald. Mount is accused of refusing and instead removing a 9mm handgun hidden under his shirt, WMC reports. Police allege he shot the woman, who has not yet been identified, once in the head early Friday morning. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Mount was arrested for first degree murder, and is in jail on 2 million bond.
Back to the Planned Parenthood Shooting:
Siege highlights security used in abortion clinics | Tampa Bay Times
‘No More Baby Parts’: Shooter’s Words Prove Right-Wing Rhetoric Incited PP Attack « Addicting Info
Investigators: Shooter ‘politically motivated’ – Business Insider
Colorado shooting suspect said ‘no more baby parts’: reports | Reuters
TBogg at Raw Story: Domestic terrorism and the evil that men do
at happened at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on the Friday after Thanksgiving was inevitable. After the deceptively-named Center for Medical Progress released the equally deceptively-edited videos accusing Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of fetal parts, someone had to die in the end.
Of all the phony attacks and accusations made against Planned Parenthood by a new generation of anti-choice activists like James O’ Keefe and Lila Grace Rose, the videos created by former O’Keefe confederate David Daleiden raised the bar — or lowered it depending on how you view them — on over the top accusations intended to fire up Christian conservatives and embolden lawmakers to do all they can to destroy Planned Parenthood.
Images of fetal tissue being sorted by technicians became a bloody flag to be waved by people who seem to believe that medical procedures are magically free of the kind of things most people are unfamiliar with because they’re not medical professionals who are undeterred by the sight of body fluids, viscera and bones. Those who view abortions as a repellent medical procedure became even more appalled by seeing people who deal with such matters on a daily basis act like … people who deal with such matters on a daily basis.
Where Daleiden really hit one out of the park for the anti-choice crowd was when he accused Planned Parenthood of selling fetal tissue — used by researchers looking for cures for Alzheimer’s, among other things — and making a profit off of it.
Which turned out to be a lie.
On a certain level — with the aid of the media which uncritically ran with his narrative — Daleiden was more than modestly successful. Republican lawmakers in conservative states were able to cut some funding for Planned Parenthood, while GOP presidential candidates had yet something else to grandstand about in order to woo the evangelical base.
With so much heat thrown off by Daleiden’s anti-abortion project, it is no surprise — and it absolutely cannot be to him — that someone somewhere would take his lies to the extreme and try and do something about it. With extreme prejudice.
According to NBC, Robert Lewis Dear — who killed three people including a cop,making him a hero to these “pro-life” folks while shooting up a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood — reportedly told investigators “no more baby parts” after he was arrested.
As they say: Who could have predicted that?
There is nothing anyone here can say, we all saw this shit coming.
To all appearances, Dear appears to be either mentally unstable or an anti-social kook who, despite a history of run-ins with the law including domestic violence, was able to easily obtain a gun or guns. For that you can thank the NRA later.
There is no indication that Dear was or is religious, but a predisposition to being either anti-choice or anti-woman certainly was a factor.
Unlike Scott Roeder, who murdered Dr. George Tiller in a Wichita church, one needn’t act as the hand of God taking holy vengeance to “save the children.” You just need a motive –imagined or not — to pull the trigger.
So it appears that Robert Lewis Dear shot up a Planned Parenthood because he was familiar with David Daleiden’s videotape lies. This is not to say that this is something that Daleiden was hoping for. But when Daleiden published his videos with great fanfare, he primed more than a few future domestic terrorists to take the law — God’s or their own — into their own hands.
David Dalieden didn’t pull the trigger — he just showed Robert Lewis Dear where he needed to aim the gun.
Robert Dear, Suspect in Colorado Killings, ‘Preferred to Be Left Alone’ – The New York Times
Robert L. Dear Jr. was a man who lived off the grid.
On this lonely, snow-covered patch of land in a hamlet ringed by the Rocky Mountains, his home was a white trailer, with a forest-green four-wheeler by the front door and a modest black cross painted on one end.
As police officers surrounded it on Saturday, looking for clues to what they said had sent its owner on a rampage at a Planned Parenthood center that left three dead and nine wounded, neighbors said they barely knew him, beyond one man’s memory of his handing out anti-Obama political pamphlets.
Van Wands, 58, whose wife owns a local saloon, said there were two types of people in the area: the old-timers who put in time getting to know their neighbors, and newcomers who wished to be left alone. Mr. Dear, he said, fell solidly into the second category.
That article has lots of background on Dear…
In Black Mountain, N.C., Mr. Dear had lived in a small yellow house reachable only after miles of driving on mountain roads and, ultimately, along an unpaved and winding street. Two sticks, forming a cross, were attached to a padlocked shed that was filled with bedding, gas canisters and worn boxes of beer. He bought it without running water.
More at the link.
As Dak said yesterday in the comment section of Boston Boomer’s post:
Colorado Springs, Site Of Planned Parenthood Attack, Is A Hub For Conservative Christians
Cannonfire-A brief discourse on faulty logic — or: Meet the Fukers!
The right-wing media has spent years demonizing Planned Parenthood, one of the most useful and virtuous institutions in this country. A white maniac from a Deep Red state shoots up a Planned Parenthood clinic, and what happens? The right-wing press instantly politicizes the situation, while simultaneously accusing the left of politicizing.
During Shooting, GOP Congressman Says He Expects Apology From Planned Parenthood | Mediaite
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 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’sthat statement in full:
Statement from Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains:
“Our top priority is the safety of our patients and staff. Our hearts go out to everyone involved in this tragic situation. Planned Parenthood has strong security measures in place, works closely with law enforcement agencies, and has a very strong safety record. We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack. We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country. We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust.”
As with every tragedy, there will be lots of virtual ink devoted to chronicling the many stupid, crass, offensive things that people did and said as this tragedy was unfolding, but this one deserves a special mention, and here’s why.
Kinzinger, a “pro-life” Republican, has demanded an apology from Planned Parenthood if it turns outthat the women’s health organization was not the target of this apparent terrorist murderer. Therefore, if by some magical confluence of events it turns out that Planned Parenthood was the target, then Planned Parenthood does not owe Kinzinger an apology. Kinzinger has conditionally accepted the blame for this violence on behalf of the unhinged anti-abortion right. If he’s allowed back on CNN after that, it should be to ask him if he’s ready to apologize to Planned Parenthood.
The response: GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger Gets Shredded On Facebook After Planned Parenthood Shooting Comments (IMAGES) «
This past week, my cousin David visited us…he meets with the head Bishop of the Florida Archdiocese tomorrow…and finds out in January if he has been accepted into the seminary to become a priest. He mentioned the Pope calling this mess of a world…World War III in “piecemeal”.
Pope Francis warns on ‘piecemeal World War III’ – BBC News – 13 September 2014
Pope Francis warns ‘piecemeal’ World War III has begun-NBC.news- Saturday, 13 Sep 2014 | 7:06 AM ET
Because according to CNN: How is this not World War III? – CNN.com-Updated 3:16 PM ET, Wed November 25, 2015
…it’s getting hard to avoid analogies to World War I — strange bedfellows, conflicting agendas, alliances of convenience
Remember this…because in a related op/ed on CNN: No, it’s not ‘World War 3’ – CNN.com-Updated 9:03 AM ET, Tue November 17, 2015
Note the dates on those links.
Okay, this is getting long, even for a Sunday Reads. So the rest of the links are in Dump Fashion.
Donald Trump Rally Features Circus Elephant Owned by Man Who Was Repeatedly Arrested for Animal Cruelty
Ben Carson, visiting Syrian refugees in Jordan, says he ‘saw pain on faces’ – LA Times
‘Brave? Really?’: Demonstrators blast armed bigots who surrounded peaceful Muslims at mosque last week
Mom Refuses To Let A Gay Man Teach Her Kids – His Response Is LEGENDARY (IMAGE) «
Burger King manager says police erased video of Chicago shooting | Tampa Bay Times
Russian lawmaker killed by husband detonating hand grenade – NY Daily News
The jealous husband of a young Russian lawmaker killed himself and his wife after detonating a hand grenade as he forced her to have sex in the backseat of their car Thursday, according to local reports.
Dammit, that is, ugh…no words, but there are some assholes out there think there is no way to force sex when you are married to the woman. I wonder what that person feels about hand grenade murder/suicide? (Although I am sure because the woman was very modern and working as a law maker…he would find some way to justify it…to far? Possibly.)
But let’s move on to the poor, another one of said asshole’s champions: It’s simply harder to eat well when you are poor | Barbara Ellen | Comment is free | The Guardian
You can read about the austerity factor at the link.
And we will end it with history:
From Raiders to Traders: The Viking-Arab Trade Exchange
The Viking raids across Europe brought them into contact with other cultures, including Muslim Arabs. Although there are no known Viking settlements in the Arab lands, both cultures interacted with each other through their respective exploration of Europe. Contact between Vikings and Arabs occurred mainly in the area of what would become Russia. While there is scarce evidence that Arabs visited the homelands of the Vikings, or as they called them, the “people of the North,” artifacts found across Scandinavia, and especially in Sweden, point to an extensive long-distance trade exchange between the two very different cultures. It was the promise of access to much needed and coveted silver that set off the Viking exploration into Europe, and brought Viking raiders into contact with the Arabs. In their quest for silver, the Vikings discovered and accessed valuable trade routes to Constantinople that led to an extensive trade exchange with the Arab world. Seizing upon the opportunity to enrich themselves, the Vikings came into contact with Arabic wealth and treasures through their raids, and soon realized the potential of a peaceful trade exchange.
The Vikings came into contact with Muslim Arabs during their exploration of the Iberian Peninsula. One of the first contacts occurred with Muslim Spain in 844 when a Viking fleet of fifty-four ships sailed from their base in Brittany to Spain in order to raid the Caliphate’s treasures. The raiding campaign was successful, as the Vikings conquered Lisbon and Seville, destroyed numerous other towns, and even threatened the capital of al-Andalus, Córdoba. However, the Muslims were able to drive back the Viking invaders and built “an effective coastal defence against new attacks.” Having seen the riches of the Caliphate, the Vikings were determined to return, and embarked on a second raiding campaign in 859, this time with a much bigger fleet of sixty-two ships. Again, the raiding campaign itself was a success, as their ships were “so fully laden with plunder that they sat low in the water.”
However, on the Vikings’ journey back to their home base in Brittany, the Muslim naval fleet attacked and destroyed the majority of the Vikings’ ships. With that, Viking exploration of and interaction with Muslim Spain ended. The two raids gave both cultures a first glimpse at each other’s military capabilities and characteristics. Prior to the Vikings’ invasion of the Caliphate, the Arabs had no interaction with the “people of the North.” To the Muslim Arabs, the Vikings appeared “as a sudden, mysterious, military threat.” The Vikings for the first time were confronted with an enemy that was well organized on land as well as on the sea, where Vikings were used to supremacy.
Well, what are you all up to today? I will post those updates on the EU/Turkey Refugee Agreement below as they become available.
Refugee images from Pinterest: J.J. Lopez Minkoff on Pinterest
Otherwise, please post some of your thoughts today.
Lazy Saturday Reads: Another Domestic Terrorist AttackPosted: November 28, 2015 Filed under: abortion rights, Barack Obama, Civil Liberties, Crime, fetus fetishists, morning reads, U.S. Politics, Women's Rights | Tags: abortion clinic attacks, Colorado Springs, domestic terrorism, Garrett Swasey, Planned Parenthood, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Robert L. Dear, Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, Vicki Coward 36 Comments
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.
Business Insider: ‘This is not normal’: Obama releases emotional statement on Planned Parenthood shooting.
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.
USA Today: Gunman’s motive in Planned Parenthood shootings unclear.
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.
Friday Reads: How do you solve a problem like The Donald?Posted: November 27, 2015 Filed under: 2016 elections, morning reads | Tags: bigotry, Donald Trump, fascism, intolerance, Racism, Republican Party, Trump mania, xenophobia 26 Comments
It’s the Friday after Thanksgiving and hopefully, you’re able to rest and relax!
It’s the official start of Crass Consumerism Season so the throngs of the junk-driven are out buying cheap worthless stuff today that will undoubtedly fill up landfills some time next year.
There are many things about US Society that are downright shameful. Our history of slavery, mass genocide of indigenous peoples, destruction of old growth forests, treatment of ethnic and religious minorities and women just are parts of the darkest parts of our history that we cannot deny and should not forget. Today we seem doomed to repeat bad behavior.
We live in a society where police mercilessly attack and kill unarmed citizens and the leading Republican Candidate stands before an enthralled audience making fun of disabled Americans and arguing that deeply harmed minority citizens get what they have coming to them. Meanwhile, they’ll spend this weekend being thankful for Murica! and exercising their right to trample others into the ground for the chance of getting a cheap shiny object. Some will probably be toting guns in full view because Murica! too.
And yet, many of us persevere in the basic values that established our country’s form of governance. That would be things like rule of law which is established by the people’s representatives, the nonestablishment of a government supported and enforced religion, and the rights of all of our citizens to life, liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness. These are our ongoing presents to ourselves and to humankind even though we tend to get lost in a mountain of shiny objects.
Why do we continue to bring out both the worst and the best of humanity?
One of the most horrifying thing about the cold-blooded shooting of LaQuan McDonald in Chicago last year is that it took a good-hearted, fair-minded public servant whistle blower to bring this atrocity of justice to the attention of the courts and the public. We could not catch nor fact check–let alone hold accountable–public servants without camera technology, cell phones, and the internet. Now, there is a call that cameras be omnipresent. It has always been their word against ours and they win because law and order Murica!. Believe me, I know this intimately. The police intimidate witnesses and manufacture evidence. The system believes them. But now, we have cameras and they have cameras. We are a nation of Big Brothers.
In other words, it took a highly non-standard series of events—a whistleblower and many lawsuits—for Chicagoans to learn of, and then get to see, the incident. (As recently as November 13, Rahm Emanuel, the city’s mayor, refused to put a hard date on the video’s release.) If a similar incident were to happen, and it was captured on a body cam, what would it take to make it public—another whistleblower?
It’s more than an academic question. The city of Chicago will soon spend $1 million in federal funds to purchase body cameras for its force. As I wrote last December, the campaign which got dashboard cameras installed in most American police cars last decade looks a lot like the one that currently seeks to get body cameras placed on most American police. Then, as now, a coalition of local chiefs and anti-police-violence activists rallied to support the technology. Then, as now, millions in federal funding soon followed.
But then, the story of police dash cams ground to a halt. There has never been a widespread study of whether dash cams reduced racial profiling or police abuse, though some smaller studies have found they they did not. (It’s highly likely that body-worn cameras will be better studied.) And as various cities limited access to dash-cam footage, it became difficult for citizens and activists to obtain video.
Will the story be the same with body cameras?
Similarly, Donald Trump has been caught on camera saying facist, outrageous, bigoted, and hateful things about people. He’s definitely one of those cheap, shiny objects chased by those easily distracted by cheap shiny objects. His latest attack included a mimicking the illness and related handicap of a NYT reporter whose only crime was providing evidence that he’s a big fat liar. This too was captured on camera and the evidence of his denial stands debunked by fact-checking and documentation also. However, the press follows leading presidential contenders and documents their every move and word. Have we arrived at the point where we have to similarly ensure that every elected official and public servant in a position of power is similarly hounded? Are most of our officials so corruptible that they can’t be trusted to freely move with out a public eye on them as suggested by Orwell in 1984? Think what it took to capture David Vitter’s calls to the DC Madam from the floor of the Senate or Anthony Weiner’s dick pix? Do we have to continually babysit them with cameras to ensure they don’t tap their toes in public restrooms, harass teenage pages, and threaten reporters with bodily harm?
A day after he was widely rebuked for mocking a reporter with a physical disability, business mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump on Thursday denied that he had done so and accused the reporter of “using his disability to grandstand.”
Trump also demanded an apology from the New York Times, the reporter’s employer, which earlier in the week issued a statement condemning Trump for ridiculing “the appearance of one of our reporters.”
The incident occurred Tuesday at a rally in South Carolina, as Trump was defending his recent claim that he had witnessed thousands of Muslims cheering in New Jersey on Sept. 11, 2001, as the World Trade Center towers collapsed. On stage, Trump berated Times investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski for his recent recollection of an article he wrote a few days after the attacks, which Trump has been citing to defend his claim.
Trump appeared to mock Kovaleski’s physical condition; the reporter has arthrogryposis, which visibly limits flexibility in his arms.
“Now, the poor guy — you’ve got to see this guy, ‘Ah, I don’t know what I said! I don’t remember!’ ” Trump said as he jerked his arms in front of his body.
Trump’s assertions about Muslims celebrating in 2001 have been fact-checked and discredited by law enforcement and government officials who were in New Jersey in the days and weeks after the terrorist attacks.
Trump has defended his recollections by citing a 2001 article by Kovaleski, who worked for The Washington Post at the time and wrote that “authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.”
Those allegations were never corroborated but have persisted in online rumors in the 14 years since the attacks. In an interview on CNN this week, Kovaleski said he did not recall “anyone saying there were thousands, or even hundreds, of people celebrating.”
My friend and fellow Louisiana Blogger Lamar White Jr. does a great job of tearing into The Donald’s excuse.
He launched his campaign by claiming the majority of undocumented immigrants from Mexico were rapists and drug dealers sent to the United States by the Mexican government. He believes it’s possible that Barack Obama forged his own birth certificate and lied about the identity of his own mother in order to eventually run for president (note: The only way Obama would not be eligible for office is if his mother wasn’t who he said she was; it doesn’t matter where he was born). He said that an American prisoner of war who spent five and a half years being tortured and has spent the rest of his life in public service was not a “war hero.” He suggested that Megyn Kelly of Fox News was critical of him at a debate because she was on her period. He thinks the United States should consider building a database of all Muslims in the country and an enormous wall on our border with Mexico. Apparently, he is the only person in the world who saw footage of “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in Jersey City, New Jersey cheering on the streets as the Twin Towers collapsed on September 11, 2001.
Amazingly, sadly, pathetically, none of this has made a dent in Donald Trump’s xenophobic, fascistic, and bigoted campaign to become the next President of the United States. But on Tuesday, at a rally in South Carolina, he unwittingly hit the detonate button on his campaign. This time, finally, Donald Trump can run but he can’t hide.
This time, he picked on the wrong person.
It’s funny, but several things converged to get me to the title of the post today. The first was thinking how do we get rid of this man? How far is too far? The second, was hearing a friend saying she was ashamed of that our country had so many people that could support him. What kind of person does that? The perfect storm happened when I’d already found the title, starting writing, and then up popped an update on Memorandum with this article in the Washington Monthly: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Trump-Mania?. Nancy LeTourneau and I must be seeking guidance from the same greater universal vibe.
When Republicans lost that race to Barack Obama, they tapped into all the energy Palin had stirred up in their base in an attempt to delegitimize the election and fuel their obstruction. Those are the same flames Donald Trump is exploiting today.
Greg Sargent expressed his skepticism that any of the attacks currently being planned or implemented against Trump will have an effect on his supporters. To demonstrate how right he is about that, take a look at this post one of them wroterecently. Obviously the writer has heard about the reports that some members of theGOP establishment are planning to launch a coordinated attack against Trump.
You truly Mr. GOP whatever, underestimated the voter here. In voter, I am speaking of the TRUMP VOTER . The one who knows the games, the drills, and will never vote for any other GOP candidate no matter what you do. I, myself will vote for Micky Mouse before I vote for any other than Trump!
You have just ruined the club you call a party. You are a private entity and it is now obvious what you all do. So puppet controllers for the puppet masters. Go to ….your elections on your own. I am done with you and America wants Trump and we will vote for Donald Trump either third party or on your lousy ticket. You, however, are done. Broken, and over. You have had your last party, enjoy it!Her commenters obviously agree. Here’s just the first one:
I knew the GOP wasn’t to be trusted, they hate Trump, they can’t control him because he is his own man. I know I am not the only one that will vote for him and no one else, whether he runs GOP or 3rd Party. He has the vision, the intelligence and the guts to do what is right for America and its people, he owes no one and he will make the tough decisions. He’s not interested in being PC he’s interested in saving this Nation. The GOP should be ashamed, they should be backing Trump all the way, but that would be against everything they believe in….their own self interests. Go Trump will be heard loud and clear across the land and this will backfire on you establishment GOP’rs!!!!!Nothing anyone says about Trump is going to change these people’s mind. Attacks on him only reinforce what they already believe – which is that the Republican Party has abandoned them and is terminally broken. The Grand Old Party created an insurgency that is now turning on them. That’s what Trump-mania is coming down to.
I was looking around for similar articles and came up with this analysis by Molly Ball writing at The Atlantic.
“I have got my mind made up, pretty much so,” says Michael Barnhill, a 67-year-old factory supervisor with a leathery complexion and yellow teeth. “The fact is, politicians have not done anything for our country in a lot of years.”
These people are not confused. They are sticking with Trump, the only candidate who gets it, who is man enough to show the enemy who’s boss.
Barnhill is wearing a button he just bought from a vender outside the convention center. It says “TRUMP 2016: FINALLY SOMEONE WITH BALLS.”
They seem so nice, your friends and neighbors. Your fellow Americans.
“In today’s time, if I’m a white person who’s proud to be white, I’m a racist,” says 44-year-old Kevin Stubbs, a land surveyor who shared his Marlboro Reds with an African American T-shirt vender on the way in. “Yet a minority can say that.”
“I do not feel safe,” says his fiancee, Loree Ballenberger, 42. “People are coming in across the border, and we have no idea where they are coming from.” She recently called her congressman to urge him to vote for a bill limiting Syrian refugees.
“I remember seeing Muslims around the world celebrating after 9/11,” says Chip Matthews, a 63-year-old retired carpentry teacher in glasses with tinted lenses. So what if it was the Mideast and not New Jersey? “The basic point, I think, is true,” he says.
“I look at the pictures of those refugees and they all look like able-bodied young men, 18 to 30 years old,” says his wife, Patrice Matthews, a 62-year-old retired school-district worker. Matthews doesn’t see why we have to be the ones to help these people. “It’s their country—they need to take it back,” she says.
I hear versions of the point about able-bodied young men from five different people. I hear, over and over again, that illegal immigration is the biggest problem we face. Almost everyone says their second-choice candidate is Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas; many express a wish that he and Trump would run on the same ticket.
Barnhill, the man with the “balls” button, says, “Like he says, people have got to abide by the law. And unfortunately, a lot of minorities don’t.”
The deal is that it really does take balls to to tap your foot in a stall in a Minneapolis Airport to signal you’re up for sex, or post a profile on Tinder when you’re a values politician with a wife and family at home, or
sext out a dick pick. It takes balls to call the DC madam during a Senate vote from the floor of the US Senate. It certainly takes balls to send a bunch of aides off to steal papers from some one’s therapist or the office of the other party who opposes you. It takes balls to send investigators to spy on your political enemies and stalk a private blogger whose only sin was to interview one of your hookers. It takes balls to sexually harass teen pages and to suppress the findings of a police report that shows the cold blooded murder of citizen until after your re-election.
Most of our elected officials have plenty of that.
What’s the difference between that and the false bravado of The Donald whose exploits are basically that of a trust fund bully well versed in prep school mean?
Well, that appears to be the appeal bigotry. This is what really separates the ballsy from the fascist. That is also why we now see the move to remove coming from the Republicans themselves. The Donald’s brand is exposing the underlying bigotry of conservatism and the game they play with their base. It’s okay to play footsy, but we can’t have any cameras or it becomes as obvious as the Donald mimicking the hands of a man with a chronic muscle ailment.
Many say the populist crazy talk is typical of the White House primaries, but Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s increasingly incendiary remarks are leading some conservatives to brand him a “fascist” and party rivals to ramp up attacks against him.
Most spectacularly, the real estate tycoon recently said he would support registering Muslims in a database, and insisted — despite lacking any evidence — he saw Arabs in New Jersey cheer when the Twin Towers fell on 9/11.
His stance has become so belligerent that voices are asking, even inside his party, whether he is committed to democratic values.
Republican experts are warning that Trump could do lasting damage to the GOP, and that his nomination in the party primaries would essentially hand the presidency to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Several campaign teams in the primary race now appear to be coalescing around the need to oppose the celebrity billionaire’s candidacy.
Establishment conservatives even took the unfathomable step of using the F-word against a member of their own party.
“Trump is a fascist. And that’s not a term I use loosely or often. But he’s earned it,” Max Boot, a military historian and foreign policy advisor to Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio, posted on Twitter.
“Forced federal registration of US citizens, based on religious identity, is fascism. Period,” added John Noonan, a national security advisor to former Florida governor Jeb Bush.
In its Tuesday editorial the New York Times said the past week of the campaign had been “dominated by Donald Trump’s racist lies.”
The Seattle Times used similarly strong language in a Wednesday editorial that denounced Trump’s “button-pushing lie after button-pushing lie.”
“Trump’s campaign message reflects a kind of creeping fascism,” the paper said. “It needs to be rejected.”
Frankly, I think if you dress this shit up and code words–like Ronald Reagan announcing his presidency while hinting that he’ll go after ‘welfare queens’ by carefully choosing the location of the announcement–you’ll do just fine. The deal is that you can’t get caught. The problem is that the world of the internet, cameras, and citizen journalists make this all very difficult.
The problem is this. When do we see that people like Trump and officers that shoot unarmed black men are not really outliers in US society. There’s a bunch of them out there and they do find refuge in the Republican party and the nation’s press who portrays white, male, christian terrorists as “lone wolves” or dismisses the hard bigotry of a preacher politicians like Huckabee or Santorum simply because they don’t have the money to go far enough?
When do look at ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves why we tolerate this craziness? Why do we insist that all lives matter instead of recognizing the institutional murder of unarmed black citizens? Why do we shrug when Christians announce their persecuted then go after planned parenthood on religious grounds all while screaming Muslims want unAmerican sharia law? We’re a society who likes shiny things and we’re willing to trample a kid to get at a vegetable steamer all in the name of a holiday supposedly for the prince of peace.
Riddle me how so many of us can be that bigoted and that dumb and we can solve a problem like the Donald and the accompanying Trump mania some day. Yeah, what exactly do we do with stupid white people?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Thanksgiving Day ReadsPosted: November 26, 2015 Filed under: Foreign Affairs, morning reads, Republican politics, U.S. Politics | Tags: Thanksgiving Day 6 Comments
I hope everyone has a wonderful, relaxing day with family, friends, or by yourself–whatever works for you. I’m not a big fan of “the holidays,” and I’ve spent many of them by myself in the course of my life. In recent years, I’ve mellowed and come to be more appreciative of the joys of getting together with family and friends. However you spend this day of thanks, I hope you nurture yourself as you join with or reach out to those closest to you.
There is actually quite a bit of news today, so I’m going to share some of the stories I’ve been reading this morning. Please comment and share your own recommended reads if you find the time, and have a lovely day.
Sadly, some people cannot stop themselves from spreading their hatred and rage–at the moment much of it is directed at Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism or terror plots.
In Irving, Texas, armed anti-Muslim extremists have been trolling a local mosque and following individual Muslims in a threatening manner. One of these horrible people posted the names and addresses of members of the mosque on line. From The Houston Chronicle: Armed group publishes home addresses of Muslims in North Texas.
David Wright III, who organized a protest at the Irving Islamic Center last Saturday, posted the list on Facebook. Members of the group believe a Paris-style terrorist attack is imminent in the U.S. Before publishing the list, according to the Morning News, Wright posted on Facebook, “We should stop being afraid to be who we are! We like to have guns designed to kill people that pose a threat in a very efficient manner.”
The list includes the names and addresses of local Muslims who opposed a bill that sprung up after fabricated rumors accused the mosque of practicing Sharia law. The Sharia court rumors – spread partially by Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne –have repeatedly been proven false.
I guess we should be grateful no one has been killed–yet. But shouldn’t these “protesters” be reined in by authorities? Apparently the police there aren’t particularly concerned, according to a post by Avi Selk at The Irving Blog:
Anthony Bond, an Irving activist who spoke against the state bill before the City Council, said he was shocked to find his name on the Facebook list.
“We have a right to disagree, but we do not have the right to target and cause … harm just because we differ in our beliefs,” he said. “That is the goal of this post: to put a bulls-eye on the back of all the people that stood up against the so-called anti-Shariah law bill.”
Bond said he had reported his concerns to Irving police.
Irving police spokesman James McLellan said he was unaware of any complaints about the list.
“If we do receive any contacts or concerns from anyone involved, then of course we will respond appropriately,” he said.
Um . . . Anthony Bond says he complained to police. Does that not count? A number of other Irving residents are quoted in the post as expressing concerns.
You may recall that Irving is the town in which a young boy was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school. From The Guardian: Family of Texas boy arrested over clock demands $15m in damages.
The family of a Texas Muslim teenager arrested for bringing a homemade clock that was mistaken for a bomb to school demanded $15m in damages and an apology from the city of Irving and its schools to avoid a lawsuit, lawyers said on Monday.
The lawyers represent the family of Ahmed Mohamed, 14, a student who dabbles in robotics and attended a Dallas-area high school. His arrest in September sparked controversy, with many saying he was taken into custody because of his religion.
In separate letters to the city of Irving, located west of Dallas, and the Irving independent school district, lawyers said the ninth grader was wrongfully arrested, illegally detained and questioned without his parents.
The Mohamed family is asking for $10m from the city and $5m from the school district or they will file civil lawsuits within 60 days, the letter said.
“Understandably, Mr Mohamed was furious at the treatment of his son – and at the rancid, openly discriminatory intent that motivated it,” attorneys said in one of the letters.
Ahmed’s family subsequently moved from Texas to Qatar where he accepted an offer from the Qatar Foundation to study at its Young Innovators Program.
Muslims are being targeted in Belgium too, CNN reports: Suspicious powder packages found at Brussels mosque.
Suspicious packages with white powder were discovered Thursday at a prominent mosque in Brussels, a spokesman for the Brussels Fire Brigade and Emergency Medical Service said.
The news comes amid heightened security in Brussels in the wake of the November 13 terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.
Brussels remains at the highest terror alert level, and much of the city has been shut down for the last several days.
Police in Belgium have conducted several raids connected to the terror attacks. Investigators have focused particular attention on a Brussels suburb, Molenbeek, witha history of links to terrorism.
Additional information about the suspicious packages at the mosque was not immediately available.
Reuters: Chemical teams attend Brussels mosque after powder found.
Firecrews and decontamination teams attended a major mosque in Brussels close to the European Union headquarters on Thursday after a suspect powder was found that the fire service said was feared to be anthrax.
Reuters journalists saw about a dozen emergency vehicles, including police, outside the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium, a large Saudi-established institution including a mosque situated 200 meters from the European Commission.
A spokeswoman for the fire service said it had taken a call from the mosque from a person saying they believed that they had found anthrax powder, prompting the deployment of specialist crews. There was no immediate word on what the substance was.
The GOP candidates are continuing to spread hate. Marco Rubio actually claimed that the Supreme Court should have nothing to say about anti-gay discrimination because “God” can overrule them. From The Hill: Rubio: ‘God’s rules’ trump Supreme Court decisions.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says religious believers are called to “ignore” laws that violate their faith.
“In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that,” Rubio said in an interview with CBN on Tuesday.
“So when those two come into conflict, God’s rules always win,” he added.
“God’s rules” apply to discrimination against women too, according to Rubio. (But only the Christion version of god, of course.)
Rubio said Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision creating a constitutional right to abortion, is open to revision.
“It’s current law; it’s not settled law,” he said. “No law is settled. Roe v. Wade is current law, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to aspire to fix it, because we think it’s wrong.”
The Republican presidential candidate, who is rising in the polls, encouraged the faithful to work within the political process to change laws that violate their conscience.
And of course there’s Donald Trump. The media folks are starting to complain now that he’s targeting them.
The Hill: Reporter: Trump camp requiring bathroom escorts for press.
“Trump campaign now requiring media to have bathroom escorts at his rallies when leaving ‘the pen,’ ” NBC News reporter Katy Tur tweeted late Tuesday alongside the hashtag “#watchthemedia.”
“Media told they aren’t allowed to leave ‘the pen’ while Trump is in the room,” she continued. “It’s now official policy that the secret service is enforcing.
“Let’s be clear — this is even happening after the event,” Tur added.
Trump’s campaign has regularly clashed with the press, but the latest report comes amid growing tension between the media and the GOP front-runner.
The five leading U.S. television networks arebanding together in the hopes of changing the Trump campaign’s press guidelines, according to reports.
Senior managers from ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News and NBC
News spoke with Trump aides last Monday to address their grievances.
Good luck with that.
Also from The Hill: Trump: Report your neighbors for suspicious activities.
GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump said late Tuesday that everyday Americans should monitor their neighbors for questionable behavior.
“The real greatest resource is all of you, because you have all those eyes and you see what’s happening,” he told listeners in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“People move into a house a block down the road, you know who’s going in,” Trump continued. “You can see and you report them to the local police.
“You’re pretty smart, right?” he asked his audience. “We know if there’s something going on, report them. Most likely you’ll be wrong, but that’s OK.
“That’s the best way. Everybody’s their own cop in a way. You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to do it.”
Wow. This is the kind of talk that is leading more and more people to accused Trump of creeping fascism.
Sorry about all the negative news. I’ll give you the rest links only.
Associated Press via ABC News: Federal Authorities Still on McDonald Case.
The Atlantic: How to Beat Donald Trump.
Politico: New York Times slams Trump’s mocking of reporter as ‘outrageous.’
Ezra Klein: Donald Trump beats Marco Rubio in a head-to-head matchup among Republicans.
Los Angeles Times: Sanders’ pledge illustrates how plans to curtail mass incarceration fall short.
Sky News: Suspects Named In Minneapolis Rally Shooting.
USA Today: Cop in Chicago shooting had history of complaints.
New York Times: Pope Says ‘Catastrophic’ if Interests Derail Climate Talks.
Los Angeles Times: Turkey releases recording of ‘warnings’ to Russian plane
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Again, Have a great Thanksgiving Day, and I hope you get and give lots of hugs!