Friday Reads: What exactly defines a Death Cult?

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Good Day Sky Dancers!

I’m old enough to have a clear memory of Jonestown and the suicide massacre that happened in Guyana in November, 1978. The shocking cult massacre has been documented in movies, books, and periodicals. So what exactly is a Death Cult and can an argument be made that MAGA is exactly that?

This brief history and bit of insight of Jonestown is from The Rolling Stone and was written by David Chiu in 2018. Drinking the Koolaid was then introduced into the American Lexicon as the willingness of people enrapt of a charismatic cult leader to do anything in his name. It is terrifically affiliated with the ideal of the white savior.

People have wondered how Jim Jones, a man who preached racial and social equality, turned evil. But as Tim Reiterman explained in Raven, Jones’ dark qualities – his need to control people, his deceit, and his anger toward people who betray or abandon him – could be traced to his childhood in Indiana. A loner during his youth, Jim would entertain his playmates in the loft of his family’s barn and made them his captive audience (one time, he even locked up his young friends in the barn). He performed experiments on animals and conducted funerals for them.

“I thought Jimmy was a really weird kid,” Jones’ childhood friend Chuck Wilmore recalled in the 2006 documentary Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple. “He was obsessed with religion; he was obsessed with death. A friend of mine told me that he saw Jimmy kill a cat with a knife.” According to Jeff Guinn’s book, The Road to Jonestown, Jones also had an early fascination with Adolf Hitler. “When Hitler committed suicide in April 1945, thwarting enemies who sought to capture and humiliate him, Jimmy was impressed,” he wrote.

TIME Magazine Cover: Jonestown Deaths - Dec. 4, 1978 - Religion ...

Sound like any one we know today?

Remember The Branch Davidians and David Koresh? That was certainly more complex than any one understood at the time. How about Heaven’s Gate? That one was a combination of alien conspiracy theories wrapped up in the doomsday prepper culture. It’s difficult to understand how people get wrapped up in these things but they do and they mostly just taking the lemming path over the cliff eventually. And that’s what worries me today.

This Covid-19 Pandemic has brought the tendency to police other people as well as subscribe to some kind of wild proposition that an unseen magical being will save you and no one else. These people also imbue Trump with some kind of papal infallibility which is again, worrying. The combination of evangelical magical thinking and the white rage accompanying Trumpism during a global pandemic should worry us all.

Take this church and pastor in East Baton Roughe, Louisiana, please! “Member of defiant Central church dies from coronavirus illness, but pastor says it’s a lie”. This is from the Baton Rouge Advocate as reported by staff writer David J. MItchell.

A 78-year-old man who attended a Central church that has bucked state stay-at-home restrictions has died from the illness tied to the novel coronavirus.

The East Baton Rouge Parish coroner said Harold Orillion, a parish resident, died from the COVID-19 respiratory illness on Wednesday. Three sources told The Advocate that Orillion had ties to the Life Tabernacle Church. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss a link between the man and the church.

The Rev. Tony Spell, the church’s pastor, did not return messages left Thursday about Orillion after the coroner released his death information following a public records request from The Advocate. Spell later in the day confirmed to television stations WAFB and WVLA that Orillion was a parishioner in good standing.

Spell also disputed that Orillion’s death was due to the virus, despite the coroner’s determination. “That is a lie,” Spell told WAFB.

The Columbus Dispatch photo of an anti-social-distancing protest went viral this week. (Joshua A. Bickel/AP)

And here’s the kicker:

Spell’s fight against the order, along with a handful of other religious leaders nationally against similar restrictions, has attracted worldwide attention. He has been charged with six misdemeanor counts of violating Edwards’ orders.

Spell, who has faced criticism over his stand, has made several provocative comments about the virus and the resulting controversy, including telling TMZ that true Christians do not mind dying from the virus but from “fear living in fear, cowardice of their convictions.”

While many houses of worship have converted to online services, Spell maintains that in-person services are essential to his congregation’s faith and financial well-being.

C'mon - Drink the Kool aid - Trust me! - Imgflip

And then of course this: “Louisiana pastor holding services during pandemic asks people to donate stimulus checks to evangelists”. (Via The Hill)

A Louisiana pastor who has drawn criticism for holding in-person church services despite coronavirus guidelines is asking people to donate their stimulus checks to evangelists who “haven’t had an offering in a month.”

In a video posted to YouTube on Wednesday, the Rev. Tony Spell called on the public to get behind a new online challenge he is dubbing the #PastorSpellStimulusChallenge.

There are three rules to the challenge, Spell said in the video. The first rule is that it starts on Sunday. The second, he said, is for people to “donate your stimulus money.”

“Rule number three,” he continued, is to “donate it to evangelists, North American evangelists who haven’t had an offering in a month; missionaries, who haven’t had an offering in a month; music ministers, who haven’t had an offering in a month.”

“I’m donating my entire stimulus, $1,200,” Spell added. “My wife is donating her stimulus, $1,200. My son is donating his stimulus, $600.”

Individuals with income under $75,000 and married couples with income less than $150,000 can receive the full amounts of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child under legislation signed into law last month by President Trump.

Spell’s comments come as churches across the country have either closed their doors or moved their services online in efforts to comply with stay-at-home orders issued by states and federal guidelines urging people to avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings exceeding 10 people amid the pandemic.

Baton Rouge area pastor defies governor, welcomes large gathering ...

Yes, he continues to violate the law. (via CNN) This was as of April 1st.

When asked why he will not follow the governor’s mandate, he said, “We have a mandate from the word of the Lord to assemble together. The first amendment says that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the exercise of religion.”

Spell said officers came to him Tuesday and read him his rights, but didn’t arrest him. He said he he was asked to stop having services and he told them that he would not stop.

“We aren’t breaking any laws,” Spell insisted.

Earlier in the day, in a Facebook Live video, after being served the summons at his church by two police officers, he maintained his defiant stance.

“We will continue to have church,” he said. “This is a government overreach. They are asking us as a government to stop practicing our freedom of religion. And we have a mandate from God to assemble and to gather together and to keep doing what we’re doing.”

Fool Aid - Donald Trump - Sticker | TeePublic

But, he let’s not stop with my local example but head straight to the DeVos Death Cult and its relentless support of the Mad King in the Oval office. The wacky white neoconfederate followers of the Orange Koolaid are out there trying to kill us over what they consider government overreach. And of course, they’ve focused on a Woman Governor, Christine Whitmer. (Via NBC News)

Asked about the protests at his press conference Thursday, one in which he unveiled his administration’s guidelines for reopening, President Donald Trump said he believed the demonstrators would listen to him and added there is no daylight between his views and the governors when it comes to reopening.

“I think they’re listening. I think they listen to me,” Trump said of the protestors. “They seem to be protesters that like me and respect this opinion, and my opinion is the same as just about all of the governors. They all want to open. Nobody wants to stay shut but they want to open safely. So do I.”

The protests have had a tea party flavor to them, with demonstrators carrying “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and wearing “Make America Great Again” gear. Some have even waved Confederate flags.

“I’m only surprised they can tear themselves away from Rush Limbaugh long enough to go protest,” Philippe Reines, a former top adviser to 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, told NBC News.

Critics say they’re angry with the shutdowns, which have curtailed business and leisure activity in the name of a deadly virus they say hasn’t hit their neck of the woods. But health experts have warned it won’t take much for a relatively unaffected place to become a hot spot, as just one infected person is able to spread the virus to dozens of others.

Susan J. Demas writing for the Michigan Advance: “Don’t whitewash the GOP’s extremism on full display during Whitmer protest.”

We were promised it wasn’t a Republican protest. We were promised people were just upset they couldn’t golf or buy seeds (in stores) during a pandemic that’s already killed 2,000 of their neighbors.

But the folks trekking to Michigan’s Capitol Wednesday weren’t carrying rakes or watering cans or cute pun-filled signs about the right to garden (which still would have been ironic, since it was snowing). No, they brought Confederate and Donald Trump flags, AR-15s and a Gov. Gretchen Whitmer doll in a noose.

“She’s the reason we need the 2nd amendment!” multiple people shouted from their cars.

The Michigan Militia showed up to do a recruitment push. The Proud Boys were there. A few hundred people left their cars — even though we were repeatedly assured they’d follow social distancing rules — and strolled down the street with misspelled signs like “Heil Witmer” (replete with a backwards swastika) and clustered together on the Capitol steps for photos. Several pushed conspiracy theories that COVID-19 wasn’t real and insisted they couldn’t get it anyway by violating simple federal health guidelines (nobody volunteered any medical credentials to make such claims). Many brought their kids.

Ambulances couldn’t get through traffic. Who knows how many gas station clerks, restaurant workers, police and reporters protestors encountered and possibly spread the virus to.

It’s important to pull back for a moment. The policies Whitmer and 42 other governors have put in place to stop a pandemic have been carefully crafted by public health officials. It’s not that they want to be a buzzkill or kill the economy (seriously, no politician wants that, just out of sheer self-preservation). It’s because the disease has spread so rapidly and killed so many. Drastic times call for drastic measures.

With almost 30,000 COVID-19 cases, Michigan has the fourth-most in the nation. But the protestors didn’t even do a feint to acknowledging the 2,000 people who have lost their lives or the families they left behind. It was just primal screams against the Democratic governor and calls for Trump to make everything great again.

For a party that’s ostensibly dedicated to the sanctity of life, Republicans have repeatedly and flagrantly demonstrated how little they care about their neighbors dying of an excruciating disease that can feel like shards of glass have filled your lungs.

Where is the humanity?

Trump: He's Just Like Us! | The Nib

Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast has an explanation: “Trump’s Culture Warriors Are a Literal Death Cult Now”.

You know where this is headed, right? We all know. Donald Trump and the Republicans are going to turn the election into a red vs. blue culture war battle—not over abortion, not over climate change, not over guns, but this time, over death itself.

Because death is every authoritarian’s last play. An authoritarian leader makes demands of his people. They must cheer more lustily than non-authoritarian people cheer. They must salute in a particular way. They must exonerate him of all error, whether stupidly invading Russia or massively screwing up a pandemic response or shooting someone on Fifth Avenue. And finally, they must prove they are willing to at least flirt with death, if the leader’s hold on power requires it. It’s the final demand on loyalty, and every authoritarian gets there eventually, in one way or another, even those forced to operate within democratic contexts.

Thus, the question of the 2020 election, as Trump and his party attempt to frame it: Are you manly enough to sneer at death, like real men do in the movies (which are fake, of course, but never mind that), or are you one of those pusillanimous patsies who quivers under the bed sheets like some avocado toast-eating intellectual, whining that we have to listen to the experts?

kool-aid

Jason Williams of The Guardian has the details on what shadowy groups and characters are funding this craziness.

On Wednesday in Lansing, Michigan, a protest put together by two Republican-connected not-for-profits was explicitly devised to cause gridlock in the city, and for a time blocked the entrance to a local hospital.

It was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition, which Michigan state corporate filings show has also operated under the name of Michigan Trump Republicans. It was also heavily promoted by the Michigan Freedom Fund, a group linked to the Trump cabinet member Betsy DeVos.

But the protest also attracted far-right protest groups who have been present at pro-Trump and gun rights rallies in Michigan throughout the Trump presidency.

Placards identified the Michigan Proud Boys as participants in the vehicle convoy. Near the state house, local radio interviewed a man who identified himself as “Phil Odinson”.

In fact the man is Phil Robinson, the prime mover in a group called the Michigan Liberty Militia, whose Facebook page features pictures of firearms, warnings of civil war, celebrations of Norse paganism and memes ultimately sourced from white nationalist groups like Patriot Front.

The pattern of rightwing not-for-profits promoting public protests while still more radical groups use lockdown resistance as a platform for extreme rightwing causes looks set to continue in events advertised in other states over coming days.

In Idaho on Friday, protesters plan to gather at the capitol building in Boise to protest anti-virus restrictions put in place by the Republican governor, Brad Little.

The protest has been heavily promoted by the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF), which counts among its donors “dark money” funds linked to the Koch brothers such as Donors Capital Fund, and Castle Rock, a foundation seeded with part of the fortune of Adolph Coors, the rightwing beer magnat

It’s definitely worth the read. The usual list of icky suspects with money an icky suspects with guns and white nationalists tendencies are all there in the list.

So, this isn’t the most pleasant topic to end the week on but I’ll I can say is “the more you know”.

Don’t you know her when you see her?
She grew up in your back yard
Come back to us Barbara Lewis
Hare Krishna Beauregard

Selling bibles at the airports
Buying Quaalude’s on the phone
Hey, you talk about, a paper route
She’s a shut in without a home

Come Back to Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard (1975) lyrics and music by John Prine.

Be safe! Be well! Stay home!!!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday Reads: Why do so many Americans have a Gun Fetish?

Image result for artist woman paintings with gunsGood Morning Sky Dancers!

Sunday greeted New Orleans with 16 shootings including a Mass Shooting on Canal Street early Sunday Morning that injured 10 people with two in critical condition.  Another shooting killed two later that day in the 7th ward, Our City’s crime has seen a downward trend in crime over the last 4 years but this isn’t exactly new to us or anywhere in the country.

Why do we have so many trigger happy Americans?

It’s amazing to me that the NRA can still have so much power after so much controversy surrounding its leadership and actions.  It also amazes me that so many people seem to think they a “well regulated militia” doesn’t mean what they think it means.  They to be a personal militia with no regulation. Hence,the real American Carnage … death by gun.

In a timely coincidence, today’s case at the Supreme Court deals with a Second Amendment Case. Many Republican politicians these days appear to recognize the Constitution only when it deals with this particular amendment and they’ve been busy stacking the court to be pro life except when it comes slaughter by gun.

Woman holding a revolver pistol standing in front of a piano in a burning city's empty street

Watch it burn, Gray Zhao

What may happen today at the Court? This is from today’s NYT.  “After Long Gap, Supreme Court Poised to Break Silence on Gun Rights
Following a change in personnel, the court could expand the scope of Second Amendment rights and chastise lower courts that have upheld gun control laws.”

It has been almost 10 years since the Supreme Court last heard a Second Amendment case. On Monday, a transformed court will return to the subject and take stock of what has happened in the meantime.

The nation has had a spike in gun violence. And lower courts have issued more than 1,000 rulings seeking to apply the justices’ 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which established an individual right to own guns but said almost nothing about the scope of that right.

The new case concerns a New York City ordinance that limited the transport of guns outside an owner’s home. Fearing a loss in the Supreme Court, to say nothing of a broad ruling from the court’s conservative majority on what the Second Amendment protects, the city repealed the ordinance and now argues that the case is moot. But the court may be ready to end its decade of silence, elaborate on the meaning of the Second Amendment and, in the process, tell lower courts whether they have been faithful to the message of the Heller decision.

Proponents of gun rights and some conservative justices say lower courts have been engaged in lawless resistance to the protections afforded under the Second Amendment by sustaining unconstitutional gun-control laws.

Again, what don’t they get about “well regulated” and the 18th century idea of a “militia”?

On Monday the court hears arguments in a case from New York, a city and a state with some of the toughest gun regulations in the country. Several gun owners and the NRA’s New York affiliate challenged the rules for having a handgun at home. They contended the city gun license was so restrictive it was unconstitutional.

Specifically, they said the state law and city regulations violated the right to bear arms because they forbid handgun owners from carrying their pistols anywhere other than seven firing ranges within the city limits. That meant that pistol owners could not carry their guns to a second home, or to shooting ranges or competitions in other states nearby. The lower courts upheld the regulations as justified to protect safety in the most densely populated city in the country.

But when the Supreme Court agreed to hear the gun owners appeal, the state and the city changed the law to allow handgun owners to transport their locked and unloaded guns to second homes or shooting ranges outside the city.

With those changes, the first question Monday will be whether the case is moot and should be thrown out because New York has already given the gun owners everything they asked for in their lawsuit.

“This is an instance where it appears the petitioners won’t say ‘yes’ for an answer,” says James Johnson, counsel for the city of New York.

But former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who represents the gun owners, counters that the amended regulations still give the city too much power to regulate.

“The city of New York never expressed any doubt about the constitutionality of these regulations when they were winning in the district court and the court of appeals,” argues Clement. “And then lo and behold, all of a sudden the city decides you know maybe we don’t need these regulations after all.”

And, he observes, the city is still defending the original regulations.

The city is indeed doing that because the justices refused in October to throw the case out on mootness grounds, opting instead to hear the mootness arguments today, along with the direct challenge to the regulations themselves.

Testing a “moot” law seems odd to me.  New Orleans wasn’t the only city with gun violence yesterday.  Two kids  were wounded in a shoot out in the The Bronx.  Trace.org includes all these stories in it’s gun related news today.

Two kids were wounded in a mass shooting in the Bronx. Five people, including a 10-year-old and 14-year-old boy, were shot on a retail strip in the South Bronx on the afternoon before Thanksgiving. An after-school program was about to start classes when the unknown gunman began firing at a busy intersection. The director of the program was unconsoled by the fact that all the victims survived. “That’s just luck,” he told The New York Times“Every bullet has its own trajectory. We might not be so lucky next time.”

These shootings have also gone into the Gun Violence Archive where you can be horrifed by the list and dots on a map of the USA showing the 2019 shootings for the country.

This hopeful analysis argues the case could “fizzle” but it also explains the politics involved.  The Republicans are as entrenched as ever.

The mootness fight has taken on political dimensions. In August, Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and four colleagues filed an unusually pointed brief that said the court would be undermining its own legitimacy if it ruled in the case.

The Democrats’ brief pointed to the millions of dollars spent by outside groups on recent Supreme Court battles. Trump’s two appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, were confirmed in the Senate on nearly party-line votes.

“To stem the growing public belief that its decisions are motivated mainly by politics, the court should decline invitations like this to engage in ‘projects,’” the Democrats argued, highlighting a word the challengers used in one of their court filings.

Whitehouse’s brief provoked an equally sharp response from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and his Republican colleagues. They told the justices to “stand firm” and “not be cowed by the threats of opportunistic politicians.”

Trump has had strong support from gun owners and the National Rifle Association since his 2016 campaign. He has occasionally stated support for expanded background checks — particularly when mass shootings lead to a public outcry — but later backed off, expressing doubt they would be effective in curbing gun violence.

The administration is urging the Supreme Court to decide the case, telling the justices the dispute is still meaningful because residents could seek damages.

The court has hinted it may want to rule. In October, the justices refused to dismiss the case as moot but said they would revisit the issue at the argument.

Time Magazine has interviewed Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and has this bottom line. ‘I Don’t Trust Anyone at All.’

But he also pushed back on Trump’s recent claims about corruption in Ukraine, and questioned the fairness of Trump’s decision to freeze American aid. “If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us,” he said. “I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo.”

Zelensky’s focus during the interview, as it has been throughout his time in office, was on the effort to end Ukraine’s war against Russia and its proxies, who still control two separatist strongholds in the region of Ukraine known as the Donbass. More than 13,000 Ukrainians have died as a result of that conflict, and more are killed or wounded every week. Yet the European attempts to mediate an end to the fighting have been stalled for over three years.

So much violence, so many lives, and so many power grabs and that’s enough for me today.  I’m pretty sure the judiciary committee’s impeachment hearings will fill up the week shortly.  His lawyers declined to become involved as did the Kremlin Potted Plant who complained that he will be in NATO meetings this week. Obviously this trip will interrupt his Presidential Fox an Friends time so he will be peevish.

President Donald Trump on Monday blasted House Democrats for holding impeachment hearings while he is at a NATO summit in London and claimed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had cleared him of wrongdoing in an interview published earlier in the day.

Speaking to reporters as he departed the White House for the summit, Trump said Democrats had “decided” to hold the upcoming hearings at “the exact time” he’s in London. The president also said Zelenskiy “came out and said very strongly that President Trump did nothing wrong,” adding, “that should end everything, but that will never end it.”

Please go read that quote up there again and see if that’s your take away.  It certainly isn’t mine.

Anyway, let’s get through the month and the year as well we can.  Love to you all!  May peace surround you!

What’s on your reading, blogging, and watching lists today?

 

 


Sunday Reads: “Historic meeting between two dictators…”

 

I think this part of Boston Boomer’s post title from yesterday was spot on: “These Days I Often Cry While Reading News” …yup, I do that too! Only I would take it a step further, and say that lately, I often start to hyperventilate and have anxiety attacks while scrolling through the Twitter feed. (I am not being hyperbolic with that statement either. I do start to hyperventilate.) I can feel my breathing becoming more intense and faster…forward towards out of control. My heart rate increases dramatically. My palms sweat and feel distinctly cold at the same time. I can actually feel my eyebrows becoming one, from the pained expression my face has contorted into…

Yeah, I think we all know that feeling I am describing above…am I right?

That is why this little asteroid of a nugget that passed my way this morning made me cringe:

 

 

And as you will see, no one corrected the “misstatement?” If that is what the fucking thing was…

Fox & Friends host slips: Trump’s North Korea summit is a ‘historic meeting between two dictators’

During an interview with former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, [Abby] Huntsman interrupted to noted that Trump had arrived for the summit in Singapore.

“There is the president of the United States, Donald Trump, about to walk down those [Air Force Once] stairs, stepping foot in Singapore as we wait this historic summit with the North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un.”

“Anthony, talk to us about this moment,” she said, turning to Scaramucci. “This is history. We are living — regardless of what happens in that meeting between the two dictators — what we are seeing right now, this is historic.”

Scaramucci then agreed… adding that Trump is a “disruptive risk taker”…not even missing a beat while continuing to fawn over the tangerine ass mouth, lavishing more praise on his dear leader as the segment went on. Video at the link.

 

The links I bring you today are pretty much things you may already be aware of, I don’t know anymore…War with Canada? I guess things are going as Putin planned?

 

To reiterate:

Trump removes U.S. from G-7 joint statement over escalating feud with Canada’s Trudeau – The Washington Post

President Trump feuded with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and threatened to impose penalties on foreign automobile imports Saturday, capping an acrimonious meeting of the Group of Seven industrial nations that further frayed ties between the United States and its closest allies.

Trump said Saturday evening that he had instructed U.S. officials to withdraw support for a joint statement with other member nations he had backed just hours earlier, saying the United States would not join after Trudeau publicly criticized Trump’s trade policy.

 

European officials described things much differently. Their leaders confronted Trump about how his protectionist policies had given them no choice but to retaliate with tariffs of their own, a person familiar with the encounter said. These tariffs, they told Trump, would hurt everyone. Trump had tried to essentially splinter the European leaders by negotiating some changes with Germany and different ones with France, but those leaders appeared locked together.

They had been careful not to reveal their approach before meeting with Trump, although it appeared very calculated.

“If you have a strategy, do not explain your strategy before the meeting — because if you are explaining your strategy before the meeting, you are losing your strategy,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters.

(I thought that was funny…don’t know why.)

In Trump, some fear the end of the world order – The Washington Post

“What worries me most . . . is the fact that the rules-based international order is being challenged,” European Council President Donald Tusk said as the G-7 summit got underway. What is surprising, Tusk said, is that the challenge is driven not by the “usual suspects, but by its main architect and guarantor, the U.S.”

 

By the way:

Kudlow was on the Sunday shows, fucking things up even more:

Speculation on the Twitter is that Kudlow is drunk.

 

 

I don’t know, that sounds like crazy shit to me….Dak, your thoughts?

 

This is something>>>>

And I think we should revisit this thread:

 

And if all that shit doesn’t scare the shit out of you:

Senators Corker and Kaine Want to Give President Trump the Authority to Wage Worldwide War | American Civil Liberties Union

Over the many years since Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) of 2001, the ACLU has dedicated itself to defending the civil liberties and human rights that have been threatened as a result of this resolution and its successors. The harms have included the drone killings of American citizens, broad surveillance of American citizens, the kidnapping and torture of suspects, and indefinite detention without charge or trial, even of an American citizen apprehended in the United States.

Now, Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) are working on a new AUMF that is even more damaging to our freedoms.

It would be hard to overstate the depth and breadth of the dangers to the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights that the Corker-Kaine AUMF would cause. The Corker-Kaine AUMF would give the current president and all future presidents authority from Congress to engage in worldwide war, sending American troops to countries where we are not now at war and against groups that the president alone decides are enemies.

Uh, yeah…you read that, Kaine.

The Corker-Kaine AUMF would authorize force, without operational limitations, against eight groups in six countries. The president could then add to both lists, as long as the president reports the expansion to Congress. To be clear — the president would have unilateral authority to add additional countries — including the United States itself — to the list of countries where Congress is authorizing war. And the president would have unilateral authority to add additional enemies, including groups in the United States itself and even individual Americans, under its new authority for the president to designate “persons” as enemies.

Their proposal also contains a sleeper provision with the innocuous title, “Sec. 10 Conforming Amendment,” that would create a new legal basis for the military to capture and imprison individuals in indefinite detention without charge or trial. This greatly expands the scope of the infamous indefinite detention provision in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. Like the NDAA, the Corker-Kaine AUMF has no statutory prohibition against locking up American citizens or anyone picked up in the United States itself. While we continue to believe it would still be unlawful for a president to try indefinite detention of an American citizen in the United States (again), there is no reason for Congress to risk it.

About that photo released by Merkel:

 

Let’s look at a few other photos from the G7 Summit:

 

Macron had a couple good ones…he released his own tRump smackdown picture…you can see he is looking exasperated as he jesters toward the tRump asshole below:

 

 

What do you think he was saying to him? What’s a matter with you?

Oh wait, that is more of an Italian thing right?

(tRump has that covered as well, you see, he is already love crazy over Italy’s newly elected right-wing prime minister.)

 

Wow, the hard on tRump gets for these far right assholes is disgusting.

Back to Macron: Did you see the lasting impression he left on tRumps little hand?

Riot!

Just a few other links for y’all:

Update on What Senator Jeff Merkley Saw at an Immigrant Detention Center for Children | The Nation

Can you describe to me what you saw there?

I’ll tell you what was very difficult to see. One room had smaller cyclone fences—they look like the way you construct a dog kennel. They’re larger, but that’s the thought that comes to mind when you see them. Then they have these space blankets [light foil blankets], which is a very strange sight, to see kids using a space blanket as a cushion—but they don’t provide any cushion—or as a cover for privacy. There’re no mattresses in that section.

After they go through interviews, they go into a big warehouse. I called them cages, and the White House said that’s unfair, they aren’t cages. Well, call it a cell, then. It’s a cyclone-fence-constructed area. There were all these boys in this big enclosure, maybe three to four dozen boys, and they lined up, from smallest to largest, to get ready to go eat. The tiniest kid at the front of the line, he was knee-high to a grasshopper; he was 4, maybe 5 years old. They go up to age 16 or 17.

I understand that the McAllen facility operated under the Obama administration, to accommodate the surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America we saw in 2014. Do you know whether the children you saw last weekend are mainly unaccompanied minors, who came here alone, or whether they’re mainly kids who’ve been separated from their parents under this new DOJ policy?

Well, some may have come as unaccompanied minors, but many have not. The 4-year-old, it’s extremely unlikely he did, I suppose an older brother might have brought him across, but he was just so, so tiny. Many of them are kids who were taken away from their parents, in that facility. I asked: “Where are the kids who’ve been separated from their parents?” And they said “Here.”

But here’s the thing—as soon as they take the kids away from their parents, they call them “unaccompanied minors” too! I asked, which are the kids who came alone, and which came with their families, but no one could tell me. We do know that during a 12-day period in May 658 kids were separated from their families. We know that the number of immigrant children detained without parents went up 21 percent from May to June.

Another question is: Where do the kids end up, and can the parents reach them? They told me, “Oh yes, they get an A code,” and I asked, “Well, what’s an A code,” and it turns out it’s an “alien code,” a number where they can be tracked through the system. So it’s really not a difficulty for parents to find their children, they said. But the children are actually in one agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the parents are in another agency, the Department of Homeland Security. And according to immigration advocates I spoke with, they’re saying it’s actually not easy to track down the kids. The younger kids may be in a foster family, where the foster family doesn’t speak Spanish.

Fucking hell.

 

Ugh…I can’t take anymore!

 

This is an open thread.

 

I just want to share one more thing with you.

It is personal, but it is too sweet not to post…

Here is the wedding video from my daughter’s wedding. It is done by Izra Lopez, to the song

L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole.

 

It’s lovely and hopeful. And not just because it is my kid…the video is awesome.

 

Y’all have a better day today, here’s to love and hoping that tRump doesn’t fuck things up beyond repair this week.


Sunday Reads: View from the Photo Booth

Good Morning

Once again…today’s thread will be a short one. Springing ahead…time change, is always a difficult one for me to handle. I wish Georgia would take a leap from Florida and make this latest time spring forward…the last.

Florida lawmakers vote to stay in Daylight Saving Time all year long – CNN

Lawmakers in Florida are tired of the whole “fall back” and “spring forward” rigamarole. So they’ve approved a bill to keep Daylight Saving Time going throughout the year in their state.

It took the state Senate less than a minute Tuesday to pass the “Sunshine Protection Act.” There were only two dissenters. (The House passed it 103-11 on February 14.)
The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott — but it’s far from a done deal after that,
Even if the governor approves, a change like this will literally take an act of Congress.
But if all is approved, Floridians — who’ll set their clocks ahead one hour this Sunday when Daylight Saving Time begins — won’t have to mess with it ever again.

Act of Congress or not…Scott signed a bill last week bringing the legal age to buy a rifle  in Florida up from 18 to 21. And now the NRA is suing.

Florida shooting: NRA sues as Florida enacts gun-control law – BBC News

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is suing Florida after it passed a gun control law in the wake of a school shooting that left 17 people dead.

Governor Rick Scott, a staunch ally of the gun lobby, enacted the bill, which the NRA says violates the constitution.

The law raises the legal age for buying rifles in Florida, but also allows the training and arming of school staff.

It does not ban semi-automatic rifles like the one used in the 14 February massacre in Parkland.

But it does introduce a three-day waiting period on all gun sales and a ban on bump stocks, a device that enables semi-automatic rifles to fire hundreds of rounds a minute.

[…]

What’s in the new law?

  • It raises the minimum age for buying rifles from 18 to 21 in the state – although 18, 19 and 20-year-old police officers and members of the security forces will still be able to buy rifles and shotguns
  • It bans bump stocks – devices that raise the firing speed of semi-automatic rifles
  • It introduces a three-day waiting period on all gun purchases (previously this only applied when people bought handguns)
  • It makes it easier for police to confiscate weapons and ammunition from people who are deemed to pose a threat of violent behaviour (a measure that has been proposed by five other states in the last month, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence)
  • It allows school staff to carry guns, with the agreement of their school district authorities and sheriff’s department. This is already allowed in the states of Wyoming, South Dakota, Tennessee, Georgia, Kansas and Texas

NRA filed a lawsuit within an hour from Scott signing the new law…you would think that the bloody bloodthirsty gun lobby would be ecstatic about that last part of the new legislation. The bit about school staff being able to carry and lock and load.

 

According to this article from The Tampa Bay Times, school districts are too big on arming their staff: Florida’s biggest school districts may skip out on armed ‘guardians’ program, even if Rick Scott signs it | Tampa Bay Times

“I believe the people carrying weapons should be law enforcement officers and not our employees,” said Seminole County school superintendent Walt Griffin, echoing comments of his large-district peers.

The Legislature’s new plan to arm school employees as a last line of defense to an active shooter might never get tested in Florida’s biggest school districts.

Officials in 10 of the state’s largest systems, which educate nearly 60 percent of all Florida school children, said they have no intention of giving teachers or other staff guns to carry into classrooms.

“I believe the people carrying weapons should be law enforcement officers and not our employees,” said Seminole County school superintendent Walt Griffin, echoing comments of his large-district peers. “I do not support our hard-working teachers having the responsibility of carrying a weapon.”

The Broward, Duval and Hillsborough county school boards adopted formal statements Tuesday opposing the idea of arming school personnel, and calling for adequate funding to support sworn officers in the schools instead. A day earlier, Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho made clear his district’s position, saying anyone who thinks arming educators is a solution is “absolutely out of their mind.”

Also this week, a majority of Pasco County board members have signaled their dissent, as have officials in Pinellas County.

“What’s the liability on that?” Pinellas board chairwoman Renee Flowers asked in an interview. “We’re here to educate our students. Everyone has their own area of expertise. Cafeteria workers, maintenance people, librarians. … That’s not what they were hired for.”

This is good to hear…I am glad that question on liability is being brought up.

Remember this victim of gun violence, from Alabama?

That “accidental” shooting?

 

Teen Charged With Manslaughter in Alabama School Shooting via Voice of America

A 17-year-old high school junior was charged Friday with manslaughter and illegal firearms possession in a classroom shooting that killed a fellow student at an Alabama high school.

This photo provided by the Birmingham Police Department shows Michael Jerome Barber, a high school student who was charged March 9, 2018, with manslaughter and illegal firearms possession in a classroom shooting that killed a fellow student.
This photo provided by the Birmingham Police Department shows Michael Jerome Barber, a high school student who was charged March 9, 2018, with manslaughter and illegal firearms possession in a classroom shooting that killed a fellow student.

The charges against Michael Jerome Barber were announced after authorities interviewed witnesses and reviewed video in connection with the shooting at Huffman High School in Birmingham. Courtlin Arrington, 17, a senior who had dreams of becoming a nurse, was killed in the shooting.

Barber recklessly caused Arrington’s death after bringing a gun to school, prosecutors said. They did not release details of the shooting.

“Our hearts go out to the family of Ms. Arrington, all of her friends, and those whose lives would have been changed through her nursing dreams had this event not occurred. This is a parent’s worst nightmare,” Jefferson County District Attorney Mike Anderton said in a statement.

The shooting took place Wednesday as school was dismissing for the day. Police initially said it was possible the shooting was accidental.

It is so disturbing…

Arrington’s mother, Tynesha Tatum, was quoted by al.com as saying that she told her daughter she loved her and to have a “blessed day” as she left for school that morning. The next time she saw her was to identify her body at a Birmingham hospital.

Arrington was a caring and fashion-conscious teen who was determined to become a nurse, her mother said.

“Whatever she put her mind to, that’s what she was going to do,” she told the newspaper.

Her funeral will be held the same weekend as what would have been her senior prom.

Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring this week described Arrington as a bright student “lost to senseless gun violence.”

“She was friendly, energetic and well-liked by peers and teachers alike,” Herring said.

Barber is a junior who plays on Huffman’s football team and has posted recruiting videos online. Court records were not immediately available to show whether Barber had a lawyer to speak for him.

Huffman High School has metal detectors but they were not in use on the day of the shooting, school officials said.

Herring said the school has increased security and is reviewing safety procedures and protocols.

More on Courtlin Arrington here: Mom, family heartbroken after daughter’s promising life ended in shooting at Huffman High | AL.com

 

What a beautiful young woman, such a tragedy.

I am so glad that the students are standing up to the NRA and gun lobby lovers…

The NRA May Underestimate Young People. But We Don’t. – Rewire.News

The survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida, have inspired us with their determination, grit, and relentless courage. We owe those brave students more than awe and admiration; this moment of national outrage must become a moment of national action. Right now, powerful special interests are betting against them and cynically speculating that the urgency will pass and America will return to business as usual. The National Rifle Association (NRA) underestimates the power of young people. In doing so, they are fools.

There is a new “old” language afoot….it is taking some fucked up folks by storm…I should say “stormfront.” Check this article out, By Ryan Lenz at Southern Poverty Law Center: White Nationalists Are Pushing for a ‘Blue-Eyed’ English | Alternet

They call it Anglish.

White nationalists have gone looking for a mothertung. No, that isn’t a misspelling; rather, it’s how the word would look for white nationalists obsessed with seeing Anglish in widespread use.

Anglish? I must mean English, right? Nope.

Derived from “linguistic purism,” an idea that dates to the 16th and 17th centuries, Anglish is the English language either expunged of words with Latinate or Greek origins, or with those words completely reimagined with deference to Germanic roots. In the 19th century, writers such as Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy favored the style, even introducing words like “birdlore” instead of ornithology and “bendsome” in place of flexible.

But in the last year, as the so-called “alt-right” has moved further into the mainstream, this old idea has seen some newfound enthusiasm. (Maybe racists have come to realize that if a white ethnostate can’t be built on a gene pool, grammar will do.)

As early as 2010, Anglish was casually discussed in places such as Stormfront, once the largest white supremacist website in the world. Last summer, someone with the username Hail Britain, lauded Anglish after someone posted a YouTube video exploring the question, “What if English were 100 percent Germanic.”

“Good to see this sort of thing circulating,” a user named Branmakmorn wrote. “Hopefully it’ll spur a few normies to start asking more questions about their white identity.”

More recently, last November, an author revisited the idea of Anglish in the Renegade Tribune, an online anti-Semitic newspaper that has dabbled in Holocaust denial and featured headlines such as, “The jewish [sic] Plans for 2018: Immigrant Invasion, Miscegenation, and White Genocide.”

“How is that White countries with languages derived from Latin fell easier to Jewish universalism than Germany? Of course language is not the main reason but it is certainly related to it, and it had its own contribution,” an author last opined last November for the Renegade Tribune.

He added, in a comment to his own post: “Latin is a slave language because it is intended to be universal, to facilitate the breeding together of different humans.”

While the idea is bizarre, there have been discussions about pushing Anglish into the mainstream on Reddit and online forums elsewhere dedicated to Anglish.

Read the rest at the link above…I doubt the new “anguage???” will take hold…as it is way too difficult for these racist shitasses to learn something new.

Here is something to ponder: Colombia’s Farc: Choosing the ballot box over violence – BBC News

In the Colombian town of Fusagasugá, about two hours from the capital, Bogotá, Senate hopeful Julián Gallo Cubillos is on stage for the close of his campaign.

It is pouring down with rain but for a man used to living in the jungle, it is hardly a problem.

Better known by his nom de guerre, Carlos Antonio Lozada, he fought for three decades with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the left-wing rebel group better known as Farc.

I remember Farc, and Colombia and all the shit that was going down when I was in high school in 85/88 and college in the end of the 80’s and early 90’s and when I was getting my second degree in the mid 90’s.  If any of you have seen the series Narcos…I am sure it will be fresh in your minds.

The Farc started life in the 1960s as a Marxist-inspired rebel group demanding land reform.

The guerrillas soon became a key player in a conflict involving the government, right-wing paramilitaries and other armed groups, which left an estimated 220,000 dead and millions displaced over five decades.

The turning point was the peace agreement signed between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Farc in 2016.

As part of the deal, the Farc were given 10 seats in Congress up until 2026, regardless of how many votes they received.

Same name, different game

After the Farc rebels disarmed last year, the group announced its new party. It kept the acronym Farc but changed what the letters stand for to the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force.

A man holds up a banner urging to vote for the Farc

“We had to maintain our name because it’s linked to our history of struggle and resistance,” explains Mr Lozada.

“It wouldn’t have been ethical to hide behind any other acronym.”

But the new political party is having trouble convincing the general public of its new role.

“How are we going to pardon a group who has spilt so much blood and is now expecting us to put them in power?” asked Alejandro Castañeda, who was walking through Bogotá’s main square, Plaza Bolívar.

It seems there aremany who feel this same way, but to them I would ask…how many deaths can be linked to a corrupt government that continued to propel a drug war and its devastating violence.

Colombians are not against the idea of peace but they are divided about how to go about it.

And for many, it is hard to forget the crimes the Farc committed during more than five decades of armed conflict.

One of the biggest criticisms of the deal was allowing Farc members to run for office without having to serve prison time first.

“They get seats with no votes and they aren’t facing justice,’ says 24-year-old Nicolás Ordoñez Ruiz, who is part of Colombia’s main opposition party, Democratic Centre. “It’s an irresponsible message. It will create more violence in the future.”

That, says conflict expert Jorge Restrepo, will be reflected on voting day. “People won’t want to vote for them because they were not punished,” he says.

“That lack of justice, that need for revengeful justice, has not been satisfied in Colombia.”

More at the link…I don’t know, I just find it all very fascinating.

Coming up to the end of the thread…just a few more links.

These next two video embeds are from Facebook. If you cannot see them, just click the links I’ve provided:

 

She’s a 91-year-old practicing physician, granddaughter of a slave, and one of the first doctors to treat women with opioid addiction. #InternationalWomensDay

 

 

Activist Fraidy Reiss On Ending Forced Marriage In AmericaChild marriage is still legal in all 50 states — but this activist doesn’t want any girl to go through what she experienced

 

 

 

Speaking of Child Marriage. I wanted to share this letter/email I received from Rachana this past week. I am so honored to be connected to this woman. The plans are shaping up for her school for girls…and now they are getting down to the point where they can begin the fund raising.

Dearest JJ

I wish you a happiest day on this beautiful occasion of international women’s day. I wouldn’t lose this moment to think of women whose are special to me and who have potential to change the world. I’m blessed to be in touch with such an amazing, bold, creative, generous women over seas.
I’m very grateful for what I have got and very optimistic for the future that will bring us together to fix things and fight for human rights.
It’s been a long time I was trying to reach you out since my sister in law was in the hospital plans got changed.finally I managed to tell the things i was keeping in my heart.
Hope you’re having good time there.
Here i have a good news to share.
Last week our team members have planed to open a kindergarten in Surkhet from May.
The idea behind of opening a kindergarten
1: provide childcare, good education
2: to raise children in respectful, peaceful and in friendly environment.
3: to generate young mothers, give them life skills, training, parenting skills and income opportunity
4: to make healthy and happy livelihood
5: to give second opportunity to child bride to continue their school and free time to set their carrier.
6: to end violence against women and children.
These are our goals to achieve from the small step towards changing the bad train by educating children and women.
What do you think of It?
I would like to invite you to Nepal someday to help in our plan. We need people to bring different ideas, methodology and strategies.
For this difficult but beautiful missions we need money
• To build the house
• rent for the land
• For furniture
•For teaching materials
• playing toys and children books
• food and nutrition
We also need fund for organizing different events and activities for young mothers.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think can we make this mission as our mission? Can we be a part of this dream project? I feel there is something really connected with you. I get good vibes when I think of you.
Could it be possible to donate us to make our dream come true?
I’m passing this email holding my heart with big hope.
I believe investing in education today will empower our next generation tomorrow.
I wait for your response
Once again happy women’s day.
Cheers for us.😊😍
Warmest thanks regards

 

 

It is thrilling to be a part of this movement in Nepal. I feel like this can be a chance to actually do some good and see it come to fruition. In a small village…for a small group of young girls, women and mothers. It will be an opportunity to give aid and watch the empowerment work through the daughters of this amazing corner in our world.

Photo by Rachana Sunar

This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: A world full of ignorant people is too dangerous…

 

A world full of ignorant people is too dangerous…

-Paul Verrall from Born Yesterday

 

 

Good afternoon…..

Now…

This is frightening:

 

Donald Trump Says He May Want To Be President For Life – News & Guts Media

Speaking at a GOP fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago Saturday afternoon, Donald Trump dropped a bombshell.  First, Trump talked about the 2016 election, which he won but still can’t get past.  He remains distraught over a “rigged system” and wonders why Hillary Clinton hasn’t been prosecuted, among many topics in a free-wheeling speech.

But his off-the-cuff remarks took a bizarre turn when he praised China’s President Xi Jinping for consolidating power and effectively making him president for as long as he wants.  It’s an appealing idea to Trump.

“He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great,” Trump said. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”

Pause and think about that for a second.  What would possess him to say this out loud?  This is scary territory.  The remarks were closed to the press but a recording was obtained by CNN.

What the fuck, right?

 

By the way, Flake: ‘There should be’ Republican challenger to Trump in 2020 – CNNPolitics

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said he thinks President Donald Trump will and should have a Republican challenger in the 2020 presidential election.

“I do think the President will have a challenge from the Republican Party. I think there should be. I also think that there will be an independent challenge,” the Arizona senator said in an interview for David Axelrod’s show…
Uh…a challenger in 2020? How the hell these people still see that tRumphole in office in 2020 is beyond me…(I realize that he will more than likely get away with all this shit, but fucking hell.)

More Tweets of note:

 

I know a lot of you are like me, overwhelmed at all the shit. Who knows, maybe it is just that we are not meant to be up in the morning…Check this out: Can’t get to sleep early? Science is on your side. – Vox

We live in a world that worships the early riser. Think of everything we’re told on the virtues of waking up early:

”The early bird catches the worm.”

”Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man… “ (Ben Franklin’s most famous saying).

”Nice of you to join us today” (snarky dictum of teachers and bosses everywhere).

The message is clear: Starting early is the way to get ahead; lateness is ugly as sin.

In 2016, I reported on the science of chronobiology, which finds we all have an internal clock that keeps us on a consistent sleep and wake cycle. But the key finding is that everyone’s clock is not the same. Most people fall in the middle, preferring to sleep around 11 pm to 7 am. But many — perhaps 40 percent of the population — don’t naturally fit in this schedule.

There are night owls among us — whose whole circadian schedules are shifted later — and morning larks, who are shifted earlier. These traits are determined by genetics and are extremely hard to change. What’s more, the research is finding that if we fight our chronotypes, our health may suffer.

But most striking to me wasn’t the health implications of messing with your clock. It was the stigma late sleepers feel in a society ruled by early risers. Simply put: These late sleepers are tired of being judged for a behavior they cannot easily control. If they can’t change their sleep patterns, maybe society should become more accepting of them.

Then there is a story like this to just get you so pissed off….There’s No Such Thing as ‘Consensual Sex’ When a Person Is in Police Custody | American Civil Liberties Union

On the night of Sept. 15, 2017, Edward Martins and Richard Hall, narcotics detectives with the New York Police Department, pulled over an 18-year-old woman and her two male friends for being in a park after dark. After finding marijuana in the car’s cup holder, they handcuffed the woman and told her friends to leave. The woman says that the detectives then put her in their unmarked police van with tinted windows and raped her as she cried and repeatedly told them “no.” Semen collected in a forensic evidence kit matched the DNA of both men.

In November, Martins and Hall resigned from the NYPD and currently face rape and kidnapping charges. Both pleaded not guilty. Their defense against these allegations is almost as disturbing as the crimes they are accused of. They claim that they had consensual sex with the woman while she was in their custody.

And here’s the thing: This defense might actually work because New York state law allows it.

Read the rest of it at the link…

Tonight is the Oscars…will you be watching?

03/04/2018 Cartoon by MStreeter

“Statuette” (Mark Streeter/Savannah Morning News)

 

 

 

Hope everyone has a good day and evening…this is an open thread.