Friday Reads: So much Outrage so little Time

Georg Tappert. Carnival, 1930

Good Day Sky Dancers!

The headlines today are so outrageous that I had trouble reading even one of them for awhile.  We have to get rid of Mitch McConnell. This greeted me from Salon and I had to go lie down in bed for awhile to pet the dog. Petting my cats and dogs is getting to be such a comfort ritual for me they all take turns jumping up to see if I’m okay.

“Mitch McConnell rams through six Trump judges in 30 hours after blocking coronavirus aid for months. Planned Parenthood warned that “many” of the judges have “hostile records” toward human rights and abortion.”  Republicans are beholden to White Male Supremacy and a very narrow view of Christianity and the rest of us are held hostage.  This was written by Igor Derysh

The Republican-led Senate confirmed six of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees to lifetime appointments over two days this week, even though it has delayed crucial coronavirus relief since May.

The Senate filled four federal vacancies in California and two in Illinois, Bloomberg Law reported. It is also expected to confirm two additional Illinois judges in short order.

“The Senate has confirmed six of Trump’s judicial nominees in the past 30 hours,” tweeted Vanita Gupta, the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “These are lifetime appointments that McConnell’s pushing through instead of the HEROES Act & other crucial legislation.”

Three of the judges were appointed to seats covering Los Angeles, while another was appointed to a seat covering San Diego. There are 11 additional nominees to California courts awaiting Senate confirmation.

The Senate additionally confirmed David Dugan and Stephen McGlynn to the Eastern District of Illinois while ending the debate on the nominations of Iain Johnston to the Northern District. The upper chamber is also expected to end debate on the nomination of Franklin Ulyses Valderrama to the Northern District of Illinois.

Three of the judges were appointed to seats covering Los Angeles, while another was appointed to a seat covering San Diego. There are 11 additional nominees to California courts awaiting Senate confirmation.

The Senate additionally confirmed David Dugan and Stephen McGlynn to the Eastern District of Illinois while ending the debate on the nominations of Iain Johnston to the Northern District. The upper chamber is also expected to end debate on the nomination of Franklin Ulyses Valderrama to the Northern District of Illinois.

Advocacy groups sounded the alarm over the confirmations of Dugan and McGlynn, who received support from anti-abortion organizations and signaled their opposition to abortion rights.

“Today’s vote should never have even happened. People are calling on their senators to provide relief from the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recession and the rampant anti-Black violence occurring around the country,” Anisha Singh, the director of judiciary affairs at Planned Parenthood, said in a statement. “And yet, the Senate majority continues to prioritize confirming judges for lifetime appointments — many with hostile records on reproductive and civil rights, including abortion.”

Singh called on the Senate to “immediately halt” upcoming votes, noting that the two judges’ “records demonstrate they are more likely to be threats to people’s health, rights and bodily autonomy.”

Georg Tappert. Creole, 1911

Today’s Republican Party is a pantheon of anti-democratic values. These judges they appoint are the same kinds of goose steppers you’d expect to find in any Banana Republic. From Vox and Ian Millhiser:  “Chief Justice Roberts’s lifelong crusade against voting rights, explained. He has fought to undermine voting rights his entire career.”

John Roberts was 26 years old, and he was outraged that he’d just been outmaneuvered by older and much more experienced political hands.

It was 1981. Roberts had just completed a prestigious clerkship with Justice William Rehnquist — then the most conservative judge to serve on the Supreme Court in decades — and, as an aide to Attorney General William French Smith, Roberts was tasked with making the case against one of the most consequential voting rights laws in the nation’s history.

The House had recently passed legislation extending the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — a seminal civil rights bill that dismantled much of Jim Crow — and shoring up one of its key provisions after a 1980 Supreme Court decision had severely weakened the law. Meanwhile, a filibuster-proof majority of the Senate had co-sponsored the same bill.

Roberts was distraught.

“Something must be done to educate the Senators on the seriousness of this problem,” Roberts wrote his boss, Smith, just a few days before Christmas. In a subsequent memo, he argued that the rapidly advancing bill — which now forms much of the backbone of American voting rights law — was “not only constitutionally suspect, but also contrary to the most fundamental tenants [sic]of the legislative process on which the laws of this country are based.”

Roberts’s early crusade against voting rights ended in failure. Though President Reagan preferred a weaker voting rights law — he once described the Voting Rights Act as “humiliating to the South” — the conservative president eventually bowed to political pressure and signed the legislation Roberts deemed contrary to many of our nation’s “most fundamental” tenets.

But time was on Roberts’s side. He rose within government and within the legal profession until President George W. Bush made him chief justice of the United States in 2005. Roberts is now the most powerful judge in the country. As Congress has grown more and more dysfunctional, the Supreme Court is increasingly the locus of policymaking within the United States.

Georg Tappert. Fest, 1925

What follows in this long read is a good explanation of what Conservative (sic) Republicans have against voting rights even though the last time it passed it had overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law by Dubya. But, then came Shelby.

Justice Antonin Scalia gave voice to this frustration during oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder (2013), the Roberts Court case that quashed preclearance. The Voting Rights Act, Scalia claimed, was a “perpetuation of racial entitlement,” and “whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.”

“I don’t think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act,” Scalia continued. “And I am fairly confident it will be reenacted in perpetuity unless — unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution.”

Scalia had just turned 76 when his Court heard Shelby County, and he’d watched his fellow Republicans bow over and over again to liberals. That, in Scalia’s mind, was a failure of democracy. His side had won the presidency and, in some cases, control of Congress. And yet the victor did not collect the spoils.

And so the Supreme Court’s Republican majority stepped up to cure this perceived injustice. Chief Justice Roberts led the charge.

There are more whistle blowers coming forward than ever before, including a few in the Justice Department that are testifying in front of Congress.  Here is FBI Director Christopher Wray warning of Russian Interference Redux.

Plus, there’s this: “The FBI director also broke with Trump’s claim that antifa is a terrorist organization.”  from Politico

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday described “very active efforts” by Russia to interfere in the 2020 election, primarily by working to damage former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Wray said Russians have been using social media, as well as “proxies, state media, online journals” and other vehicles to hurt Biden and what it views as anti-Russian factions in U.S. politics.

Wray’s assessment affirms the findings of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which last month described Russia’s efforts to damage Biden and specifically identified Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russian Ukrainian lawmaker who has met with President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as an agent of Russia’s influence operations.

Wray’s testimony to the House Homeland Security Committee affirmed that Russia is continuing to take an active role in the 2020 campaign with less than 50 days until Election Day. He offered no new specifics in the early-going of the hearing, but emphasized that the intelligence community has not seen evidence that Russia is reprising its 2016 attempt to target election infrastructure, such as voter databases.

In testimony to the Homeland Security Committee, Wray also diverged from Trump’s claim that “antifa” is a terrorist organization. Rather, Wray said antifa is “more of an ideology or a movement than an organization” and though there has been violence by some who self-identify as antifa, it has not appeared to be part of a central organization.

“Antifa is a real thing,” Wray said. “But it’s not an organization or a structure.”

Under questioning from Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), Wray indicated that white supremacist violence is the largest portion of what he described as the most significant domestic terrorism threat in the country: “racially motivated violent extremism.”

Oh, look, two groups looking to overthrow the US’s form of government are basically the Trump Base and Trump’s Handler Putin. Which brings to me to the music accompanying my art theme today which is, again, German expressionists painting life during the rise of Hitler.

1917 Max Beckmann Autoportrait au foulard rouge

So, the most stunning thing to me this week is that our Attorney General and Head of Federal Law Enforcement has decided to not even hide his fascist and theocratic tendencies. BB had an entire list of Barr’s crazy notions in yesterday’s post. Grinding through them yesterday was one of the most depressing things I have ever done.  The man should be tossed in a padded cell.

And so, after reading all that, this headline made a lot of sense to me. It’s from WAPO: ” The United States is backsliding into autocracy under Trump, scholars warn.  The weakening of democratic values — a path that’s difficult to reverse — has accelerated, according to hundreds of indicators assessed each year.”  This is by Christopher Ingraham.

Three years into the Trump administration, American democracy has eroded to a point that more often than not leads to full-blown autocracy, according to a project that tracks the health of representative government in nations around the world.

The project, called V-Dem, or Varieties of Democracy, is an effort to precisely quantify global democracy at the country level based on hundreds indicators assessed annually by thousands of individual experts. It’s one of several ongoing projects by political scientists that have registered a weakening of democratic values in the United States in recent years.

V-Dem’s findings are bracing: The United States is undergoing “substantial autocratization” — defined as the loss of democratic traits — that has accelerated precipitously under President Trump. This is particularly alarming in light of what the group’s historic data show: Only 1 in 5 democracies that start down this path are able to reverse the damage before succumbing to full-blown autocracy.

Each year, the V-Dem project asks its experts to rate their respective nations on hundreds of measures of democracy, such as the presence of legislative checks on executive power, freedom of personal expression, the civility of political discourse, free and open elections, and executive branch corruption, among others.

The United States is backsliding on all of those measures. “Executive respect for the Constitution is now at the lowest level since 1865,” said Michael Coppedge, a Notre Dame political scientist and one of the project’s chief investigators. “Corruption in the executive branch is basically the worst since Harding.”

Warren G. Harding, whose administration was tainted by corruption and scandal, is routinely ranked among the nation’s worst chief executives

1914 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Couple de danseur

Keep reading the article. The list is horrifying.

I’m pretty sure Mitchie is off doing his dirty work because already seated judges are busy overturning all kinds of Trumpist things at the state level.  Today, a judge banned a Michigan law making it illegal to drive people to polls which is something churches routinely do for their elderly and homebound down here.  Yesterday, a judge ordered the Post Office to stop and reverse everything it was doing to slow down the mail. 

A federal judge on Thursday blocked controversial changes to the United States postal service, saying they were “a politically motivated attack” that had slowed the nation’s mail and likely would slow the delivery of ballots in the upcoming presidential election.

And, of course we’re back to the time where we just might possibly be purposefully sterilizing women of color in ICE Detention.  This story grows more horrifying by the day too. “AP Exclusive: More migrant women say they didn’t OK surgery”  reported b

Sitting across from her lawyer at an immigration detention center in rural Georgia, Mileidy Cardentey Fernandez unbuttoned her jail jumpsuit to show the scars on her abdomen. There were three small, circular marks.

The 39-year-old woman from Cuba was told only that she would undergo an operation to treat her ovarian cysts, but a month later, she’s still not sure what procedure she got. After Cardentey repeatedly requested her medical records to find out, Irwin County Detention Center gave her more than 100 pages showing a diagnosis of cysts but nothing from the day of the surgery.

“The only thing they told me was: ‘You’re going to go to sleep and when you wake up, we will have finished,’” Cardentey said this week in a phone interview.

Cardentey kept her hospital bracelet. It has the date, Aug. 14, and part of the doctor’s name, Dr. Mahendra Amin, a gynecologist linked this week to allegations of unwanted hysterectomies and other procedures done on detained immigrant women that jeopardize their ability to have children.

An Associated Press review of medical records for four women and interviews with lawyers revealed growing allegations that Amin performed surgeries and other procedures on detained immigrants that they never sought or didn’t fully understand. Although some procedures could be justified based on problems documented in the records, the women’s lack of consent or knowledge raises severe legal and ethical issues, lawyers and medical experts said.

Amin has performed surgery or other gynecological treatment on at least eight women detained at Irwin County Detention Center since 2017, including one hysterectomy, said Andrew Free, an immigration and civil rights lawyer working with other attorneys to investigate medical treatment at the jail. Doctors are helping the attorneys examine new records and more women are coming forward to report their treatment by Amin, Free said.

“The indication is there’s a systemic lack of truly informed and legally valid consent to perform procedures that could ultimately result — intentionally or unintentionally — in sterilization,” he said.

1920 Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Malade dans la nuit

Is this just limited to this one doctor so it is likely fraud of some kind or is it systemic ?

Well, yesterday and today’s news is that the CDC was forced to publish Covid-19 testing guidelines against scientists complaints that were written by the Trumpist Regime and inserted on the site against every one’s advice.  And TWICE now.

The guidance said it was not necessary to test people without symptoms of Covid-19 even if they had been exposed to the virus. It came at a time when public health experts were pushing for more testing rather than less, and administration officials told The Times that the document was a C.D.C. product and had been revised with input from the agency’s director, Dr. Robert Redfield.

But officials told The Times this week that the Department of Health and Human Services did the rewriting and then “dropped” it into the C.D.C.’s public website, flouting the agency’s strict scientific review process.

“That was a doc that came from the top down, from the H.H.S. and the task force,” said a federal official with knowledge of the matter, referring to the White House task force on the coronavirus. “That policy does not reflect what many people at the C.D.C. feel should be the policy.”

And we have Dan Coates and more Generals sounding an alarm..

So with that,  I feel I need to leave you with this:

So, you know the routine!  Be safe!  Be kind and gentle to yourself and others!  Stay home as much as you can!  Check in with us so we know you’re okay!!  We care about you!!!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads: Happiness is a warm pug, bang…

Good morning?

I want to start this post with something warm and cute, be sure to play the video…

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Happiness is a pug ❤❤❤ ☛FOLLOW☛@xavningjingpug for video and pics like this. AND ☛FOLLOW US☛@PugDepot for more cute pics and videos of all PUGS!

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Because the rest of the thread is fucking disturbing and disgusting as hell.

I take it you all are aware of the murder that took place in Minnesota?

The image is graphic, but you need to click on the tweet above to see the powerful statement in full.

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George Floyd was killed by 4 police officers yesterday. Today they were all fired. This is just the beginning of justice, there needs to be a thorough investigation, and measures put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Police violence against Black communities is the result of systemic racism. Eric Garner, Freddy Gray, Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, Michael Brown, and Philando Castille should still be with their loved ones, along with countless others. We know that this systemic racism is blatant because people like Amy Cooper weaponize it against Black folks. Amy Cooper knew exactly what she was doing when she called the police on a Black man and pretended that she was being threatened by him. We have to hold racists accountable until they don’t act like this anymore and address anti-Blackness in all forms, including within our communities.

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As American as apple pie and conflating inconvenience with tyranny. #GeorgeFloyd #sayhisname #kkkops #policebrutality #blacklivesmatter #blm #thedailydon

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For some of us, “big feelings” have come to mean “bad feelings" or "ugly feelings." ⁣ ⁣ when I think about “big feelings,” I think about anger and rage, and frustration, and sadness, and grief. ⁣ ⁣ some of us are not granted the same compassion and safety when feeling these feelings. some of us belong to communities that are perpetually read as “over reactive” and “over sensitive:” black, indigenous and other racialized communities; queer and trans communities; women and non-binary folks; survivors of sexual assault and IPV; Muslim communities; and many others.⁣ ⁣ writers and thinkers like Audre Lorde, Leanne Simpson, bell hooks, and Sara Ahmed have long written about the cultural, racial, gendered, colonial (etc.) politics of emotion –amongst other great thinkers (though they are often conveniently left out of conversations on trauma and healing). about how some of us have been pre-defined as “too much,” “violent,” “aggressive” and “overbearing." how certain folks are not “permitted” to feel their rage, and anger, and sadness without consequence –without becoming ostracized, deported, coded and re-coded as “threatening, ” diminished and silenced (to name a few consequences).⁣ ⁣ we see these narratives show up when survivors of sexual violence describe quieting their anger in order to be viewed as the “good victim,” the “believable” one. when immigrant and refugees are read as “ungrateful” when asking for basic human needs and rights. when indigenous and black communities are deemed “aggressive” and “disruptive” for demanding accountability and justice. and it doesn’t solely happen in the public –these narratives show up in our own lives, our own relationships and spaces, too.⁣ ⁣ some of us see these narratives showing up within ourselves. in the ways in which we feel shame alongside our big feelings. doubt as to whether we are over-reacting, or being over sensitive. deny ourselves space to feel and explore them. ⁣ ⁣ so for anyone who needs this reminder: you are allowed to feel big feelings – – and I'm sorry this world does not always grant you the safety, compassion and care you deserve, to feel and hold space for those feelings.

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Meanwhile:

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Reposting this for George Floyd, murdered by Minneapolis police while saying “I can’t breathe”. Meanwhile, Kyles and Karens everywhere are upset with the tyranny of mask-wearing to keep others safe. #GeorgeFloyd #Merica #blacklivesmatters #kkkops #blm #thedailydon

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In other news:

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Christian Cooper was birdwatching in the woods of Manhattan’s Central Park when he noticed a rogue dog digging up the shrubbery around him. Many of the birds he spots come for the plants, so he approached the dog’s owner early on Monday with a request: Could she leash up the canine, as the park rules required? But when Christian Cooper asked Amy Cooper (the dog's owner) to follow the rules, she refused. He keeps dog treats on hand for noncompliant pet owners, he said, and tried to toss one to the dog. Then he started recording their interaction. Amy Cooper then said she would be calling the police. “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” the white woman told him, pulling out her phone and dialing 911. “Please call the cops,” he said on video. “Please tell them whatever you’d like.” She did, assuming an increasingly loud voice over the phone that to some on social media made her sound as if she was being physically attacked. In the meantime, she wrapped a blue leash around Henry, seemingly choking the yelping dog before clipping it on. Less than 24 hours later after a video of their exchange went online, Amy Cooper has lost her dog, her anonymity, and her job. On local news she offered an apology to Christian Cooper and his family. “It was unacceptable and I humbly and fully apologize to everyone who’s seen that video, everyone that’s been offended,” she said Monday evening. “Everyone who thinks of me in a lower light — I understand why they do.” Read more by clicking the link in our bio.

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Visit link in bio for full story.

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That is it…it’s all got me so pissed off.

What about you?


Sunday’s Choice

Well, I’ve gotten suspended again on the Twitbox, can’t even say a few fuck yous to a couple of dipshits these days:

I’m so sick of all this…so let’s just see a few tweets and call it a day.

Hell yes to that! So click that link and check out the good things people are saying about our Hillary.

In other news:

Please remember…

On a personal note, I have become an Initiate in The Temple of Mary.

The mysteries of the Temple of Mary focus on the spiritual transformation of body, mind and soul. Through the study and understanding of symbol, metaphor and myth, we discover that human consciousness has been evolving through the ages, but the message of Love has always been a part of our sacred stories and even more importantly, that all stories contain the same archetypes, the same challenges and are in many ways, the same story – just with different names and cultures. 

-Hettienne Grobler

I came across Hettienne Ma, during the Walking with Mary month of contemplation. After this time, I started to study with her about the Black Madonna…Divine Femine, Carl Jung, Hindu and Buddhist spiritual stories, tarot, teachings of Anandamayi Ma…and so many others. It is ongoing, and fascinating. Here is some more information about Hettienne and the Order of the Dove:

I have reached a point where Hettienne has given me a spiritual name…Niranjana Maria Devi…and yesterday was my Namadiksha.

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𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐚 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐝… 𝐈 𝐚𝐦, 𝐍𝐢𝐫𝐚𝐣𝐚𝐧𝐚 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐚 𝐃𝐞𝐯𝐢 :: 𝐈𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐅𝐥𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐎𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐃𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐓𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐍𝐢𝐫𝐚𝐣𝐚𝐧𝐚, 𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐃𝐮𝐫𝐠𝐚 𝐌𝐚, 𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐊𝐚𝐥𝐢 𝐌𝐚 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐭 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐧𝐬 ‘𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐮𝐥𝐥 𝐦𝐨𝐨𝐧’… 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐚, 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐇𝐨𝐥𝐲 𝐌𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐲… 𝐃𝐞𝐯𝐢, 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐚𝐧𝐬𝐤𝐫𝐢𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 ‘𝐠𝐨𝐝𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐬’… 𝐁𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐇𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐧𝐞 𝐌𝐚, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐦𝐲 𝐬𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬. 𝐀𝐯𝐚 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐚 #orderofthedove #templeofmary

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𝘎𝘰𝘥…𝘴𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘭𝘭, 𝘴𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘏𝘰𝘭𝘺 𝘔𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳, 𝘈𝘷𝘦 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘢. 𝘕𝘪𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘫𝘢𝘯𝘢 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘢 𝘋𝘦𝘷𝘪, 𝘍𝘭𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘬𝘦𝘦𝘱𝘦𝘳 𝘖𝘳𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘋𝘰𝘷𝘦 🕊𝘛𝘦𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘺

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If you are on Instagram and would like to follow this next 30 days of #walkingwithmary it starts on Monday:

https://instagram.com/walkingwithmary?igshid=8s0c0hco4ber

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Sri Anandamayi Ma says: "Open the door and step out. The path will become visible. Once on the way, you will meet other wayfarers who will advise and guide you as to to the path. Your job is to muster whatever strength you have to get underway. Thereafter, help is assured.". . ( Posted on 2nd February 2020, Sunday, 5:45am, AE/ ) . . . . . #selfrealized #selfrealization #jaijaima #AnandamayiMa #universalmotherhood #light #body #mind #heart #emotions #intellect #tools #to #reach #self #yoga #path #guru #shishya #relation #purify #yourself #by #contemplating #guru #eternal #eternity #India #eternal #love #blissfulmother #stayblessed💙

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Have a wonderful day.

This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: Guess Who?

Actor Max Schreck, of Nosferatu fame….

Yeah…this guy:


Today’s post is complemented with images of famous people when they were young…some may surprise you…others will not. I hope you enjoy the show.

Earlier this week, Pence came to Georgia. One of my fellow Roller Girls showed up to protest:

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I am so proud of Pixie! It takes guts to stand there, by yourself…and she did get harassed by tRump supporters. Video clip of her interview with the local news station at this link.

Channel 9 Lone Protestor Outside Rally

One thing about the WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association), they are proactive when it comes to issues and politics that strike out at causes and the culture Roller Derby stands up for…for instance:

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Condemns Discriminatory Policy in the US – WFTDA

In recent days, the United States executive branch has suggested federal policy changes may be coming that would significantly harm transgender, nonbinary, genderqueer, intersex, and other gender nonconforming members of our communities. As the governing body for the sport of roller derby, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) denounces these proposed changes, which would be in direct opposition to the inclusive spirit of our roller derby community. We ask other sports governing bodies, amateur and professional, as well as organizations and individuals who recognize the value of inclusivity in sport to join us in pushing back on these discriminatory policies.

As a nonprofit proudly based in Austin, Texas, the WFTDA is saddened to hear of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ interest in defining gender as a biological condition. In the eyes of the WFTDA, this is an attack on our core values as an organization.

In 1972, Title IX was introduced as part of the U.S. Education Amendments, to end “discrimination on the basis of sex.” Title IX specifically offered protections and space for women in amateur sports, addressing the collegiate system directly. In recent years, the NCAA has taken steps to begin extending these protections to transgender athletes wishing to compete at the highest level in their chosen sports, pushing Title IX to end discrimination not just on the basis of assigned sex, but also on the basis of gender expression and transgender status.

The WFTDA has also worked throughout its existence to re-evaluate its own gender policies and create its current gender statement, at the encouragement of the WFTDA community as well as our colleagues in the Junior Roller Derby Association, the Men’s Roller Derby Association, and other organizations that have contributed significantly to gender-expansive competition. Together, we recognize that a commitment to inclusivity makes our sport brighter and more competitive. Diversity adds complexity and nuance that would not otherwise exist on eight wheels. It’s our collective obligation to advocate for the human rights of our membership — especially those who have historically faced disproportionately larger barriers to inclusion.

Please, go to the link to read the rest of the statement. There is a lot more there to chew on.

As you can also see, they encourage their teams to participate in the political discussion:

Arizona Roller Derby Announces the New Names of its International Travel Teams – Arizona Roller Derby

In 2004, AZRD agreed to play the Texas Rollergirls (TXRG) in the first interstate-bout of the modern era. As part of creating its first All-Star team, AZRD members selected the name Tent City Terrors, a satirical political statement in reference to Arizona’s notorious outdoor jail. Many of the skaters on the original team selected a second identity separate from that of their home team, such as “Sheriff Shutyerpaio”. When it was formed, it was unclear when or how many more games the team would play; at the time, there was no flat track organization nor rule set. Still, the name and uniform stuck through the first national tournament held in 2006, and has been used by the team since.

Yeah, a team name…plus derby player’s names to make a political statement. Check out a few other examples below:

Here are a few more links on politics and WFTDA and Roller Derby this:

A few articles on gender issues and concentrating on Derby as an LGBTQ inclusive sport.

WFTDA Gender Statement – WFTDA

Making Inclusivity Happen in Roller Derby – The Apex

The WFTDA Challenges ESPN to Improve Their Relationship with Non – NBC2 News

Roller derby is mashing up gender norms in sport – here’s how

Roller Derby and promoting the Indigenous Community:

Celebrating Indigenous Culture and Community in Roller Derby – WFTDA

Team Indigenous Talks Politics – WiSP Sports | conversations from the world of women’s sports-‘MICK SWAGGER’ AND ‘JUMPY MCGEE’ DISCUSS HOT TOPICS AND THE POLITICS OF TEAM INDIGENOUS AND THE WFTDA

Here is a statement back when tRump issued the fucking Muslim travel ban:

WFTDA Issues Statement Against US Travel Ban – WFTDA

It really makes me proud to be a part of the North Georgia Roller Girls ….which is a WFTDA team associated with Peach State Roller Derby; with the WFTDA backing us, we should stand up for the causes that are a part of the movement that is Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby…it is wonderful to see women like Abby/Pixie embracing the Culture of WFTDA. I applaud her efforts. Brava!

As for the NGRG…we start playing our official first games in March of 2019, so I will definitely keep you all up to date with that nugget of derby news from time to time.

Oh, yeah…more young celebrity pictures:

Milton Berle

Kate Winslet

So back to the shit storm that is tRump.

This little Nazi Youth is none other than tRump himself.

Trump’s attack on birthright citizenship betrays his ignorance – and his weakness | Corey Brettschneider | Opinion | The Guardian

The 14th amendment to the constitution confirms that all Americans are born equal. One immigrant-hating lover of dictators cannot change that with a simple stroke of his pen

In an interview that will air in full on Sunday, Donald Trump reveals that he wants to end birthright citizenship through executive order. But he doesn’t have that power. An executive order cannot reverse the guarantee of citizenship to anyone born in the United States that is enshrined in the constitution.

After the civil war, Congress sought to grant full citizenship to African Americans, who had been denied it under the Dred Scottsupreme court decision. Yet when it passed the 14th amendment in 1868, Congress went further. It wrote a rule making it clear that any person, regardless of ethnicity or national origin, had a right to citizenship upon being born in the US.

The relevant portion of the 14th amendment reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The phrase about jurisdiction was meant to exclude the children of ambassadors and tribal Native Americans, who until 1924 were regarded as citizens of separate sovereign nations.

These words about birthright citizenship reflect the wider values of the 14th amendment, which also guarantees “equal protection of the laws” for all persons. Together with the constitution’s ban on royal titles in Article I, Section 9, the document stands for the idea that the US does not condone hereditary hierarchy – or any legal distinction based on birth or parentage, ideas associated with aristocratic societies. In the US, everyone starts on the same plane.

I also think this is yet another form of tRumpian white nationalist intimidation. Considering the past 2013 Scalia Supreme Court decision which removed the Voting Rights portion of Civil Rights Act of 1964. (Remember the Civil Rights Act will again be revisited soon enough.)

This way of sending these outright threats goes far to back the claims of fascism that Boston Boomer discuss in her post from yesterday.

But back to the the op/ed up top. It goes on to discuss the first case that came before the SCOTUS, in 1898… United States v Wong Kim Ark. Please read the rest to learn more…

I’m going to stick with the Guardian for the next few links, I think it will give us a good look from a different perspective.

Julia Roberts

‘This is Georgia’: hate, hope and history in election that shows the clash of two Americas | US news | The Guardian

Hey, what a fucking surprise. Georgia’s election shit is making news over in the UK!

“The consequences of any of us staying home really are profound because America’s at a crossroads,” he warned. “The healthcare of millions of people is on the ballot. Making sure working families get a fair shake is on the ballot. But maybe most of all, the character of our country is on the ballot.”

It was not meant to be like this. America’s first black president hoped to steer the nation on an upward trajectory. Then came Donald Trump, a man endorsed by white supremacists and the breathing embodiment of everything Obama is not. On Tuesday, these two radically opposing visions of “the character of our country” will collide at the ballot box. Georgia is ground zero.

I live in ground zero. I know the crap first hand. Ugh.

From Seinfeld to bagels, it was always easy to be a Jew in America. What changed? | Hadley Freeman | News | The Guardian by Hadley Freeman.

Recently a clutch of American relatives came to visit me in London. I don’t get to see my extended family so much these days, but thanks to the internet they see me all the time, reading my articles and sending messages so supportive they occasionally reject English as insufficiently adoring and opt for Yiddish (“I’m kvelling!”). They ask me about the different things I’ve been writing about: celebrities, feminism, and so on. But when they made the transatlantic trip this time there was a rare consensus: they all wanted to talk about the rise of antisemitism in Europe.

What is going on? It’s just crazy!” one uncle said to me after I wrote about protesting against antisemitism in British politics. We discussed the rise in verbal and physical attacks on Jews in the UK, the election of Viktor Orbán in Hungary, the Law and Justice party in Poland. He was especially horrified by the murder of 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris. “It is just unimaginable,” my cousin said.

Marlene Dietrich

Dietrich was one of many German born actors/entertainers who spoke out and actively campaigned against Hitler during WWII.

‘Vaya con Dios:’ the impossible life of an immigration judge at the US border | US news | The Guardian

Robert Brack, who at one point had the heaviest caseload of any federal judge in the US, pleads for justice for the immigrants he sees every day

One more link for today’s post…

Jon Stewart is right: How long will the media continue to play Trump’s game?

A fleeting moment within the teaser for Axios’s interview with Donald Trump, the centerpiece of Sunday’s “Axios on HBO,” tells all you need to know about how the president truly feels about his relationship to the media.

Moments after Jim VandeHei admits to Trump that his “enemy of the people” rhetoric scares the hell out of him, the reporter (and co-founder of the media site) tells the president, “You are, like, the most powerful man in the world.”

Reflexively Trump looks off-camera and grins, briefly, his face flush with what appears to be self-satisfaction. There was concentrated smugness in that expression, tinged with a pugilist’s cruelty.

In that scene, VandeHei points out the extreme irresponsibility of any leader of the free world using his position and platform to vilify an entire class of people, and using that rhetoric to stoke the emotions of the people who constitute his base.

Ever the attention-hungry reality show star, Trump softly replies, “They like me more because of it,” calling his dangerous hyperbolic term the only way he can fight back. That satisfied grin says he knows he’s winning.

Axios on HBO,” premiering Sunday at 6:30 p.m., is one of many specials the news site will run on the premium cable channel as part of a partnership. HBO has been steadily expanding its news and information footprint. And that in itself indicates how malleable our concept of news has become under Trump’s administration.

This is the interview where tRump announces he is going to snap his fingers…click his heels and poof, no more “14th Amendment.”

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So what are you finding today as we count down to Tuesday’s election?

This is an open thread.


Thursday Reads: Horror Show on the Hill

Good Morning!!

Today beginning at 10AM, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a brief hearing in which one of the women who has accused SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, will tell her story and Kavanaugh will respond by lying and obfuscating.

I can’t imagine anything useful could come out of the hearing, since each questioner will have only 5 minutes to address complex issues. At best, the spectacle of 11 white men hiding behind a woman prosecutor might lead to more public outrage against the GOP and their deeply flawed nominee. It’s not clear what how Democrats will handle the questioning; they’ve kept their plans close to the vest.

I wanted to get this post up early so we can follow the hearing and aftermath together. I hope people will join in. Here are some reads to check out today.

The Daily Beast: ‘Disaster’: Trumpworld Starting to Sweat Over Brett Kavanaugh’s Mounting Sexual Assault Allegations. Excerpt:

Going into this past weekend, the Trump White House was sounding self-assured about Kavanaugh’s prospects, with senior aides saying they felt he could weather the allegations and horrifically bad press. Since then, two other female accusers have come forward, and the swagger from Team Trump has been replaced with, at best, a shaken confidence.

Officials inside the White House, as well as outside advisers, told the The Daily Beast that mood has become less bullish. Senior aides fear delivering Trump a major failure and humiliation that he can—and likely will—pin on those around him and squeamish Republican lawmakers. There is palpable fear that the party’s base will turn on Republicans should the Kavanaugh nomination fail.

Top donors, meanwhile, have said that they will continue writing checks out of a growing fear that the party could lose the Senate in addition to the House this coming fall. But one major contributor warned that lawmakers had to show them that they had put up a sufficient fight to get Kavanaugh on to the Court or else the checks wouldn’t come….

At this point, Trump’s team and Kavanaugh’s camp are publicly maintaining calm and privately encouraging allies to do the same. On a Monday conference call with White House surrogates, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, had insisted that the “president and this White House continue to stand strongly behind Judge Kavanaugh,” according to a person on the line. By Wednesday, a senior West Wing official said that the president’s posture remained unchanged.

But aides also acknowledge that Kavanaugh’s prospects were growing more endangered. “Thursday could be a disaster or it could be…a victory, we don’t know,” one aide said, referencing the planned testimony Kavanaugh and his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford plan to give to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Yesterday during his deranged press conference, Trump seemed to suggest that he could decide to dump Kavanaugh. But he was all over the map in his embarrassing, manic performance. Todd Purdum summarizes Trump’s 81-minute rant at The Atlantic: President Trump’s Surreal News Conference Didn’t Do Kavanaugh Any Favors.

In more than 80 surreal minutes of what seemed less like a news conference than a public free-association session on a therapist’s couch, the president of the United States dismissed accusations of sexual misconduct against Judge Brett Kavanaugh as “all false to me,” then insisted he wanted to hear Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony because “I can be convinced of anything. Maybe she will say something.”

He portrayed Kavanaugh’s Democratic Senate opponents as the organizers of a “big, fat con job,” then acknowledged without missing a beat that he would withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination “if I thought he was guilty of something like this, sure.” He praised Kavanaugh as “one of the highest-quality people that I have ever met,” then suggested that the judge’s life was not so spotless, allowing that even George Washington may have had “a couple of things in his past.” [….]

Who can say whether Trump’s apparently unbridled, even unhinged, display of id amounted to just that? Or to a free-form, last-ditch effort to defend the nomination on the eve of crucial testimony from Ford and Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday? Or to a calculated trial balloon for withdrawing it (“I could pick a woman, and she could have charges made from many years ago also,” he said at one point)? Or to some combination of all of the above? The assessment of Nicolle Wallace, the former George W. Bush and John McCain aide, was succinct, and indisputable.

“I suspect,” she tweeted, “that the 25th Amendment might be discussed more widely if there were daily press conferences.”

Yesterday, Morning Consult released a news poll on the Kavanaugh nomination: Republican Women Lose Faith in Kavanaugh — and Trump — After Week of Accusations.

Public support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat has dropped to its lowest point since President Donald Trump nominated him in July, driven in large part by a sector of the president’s base: Republican women.

new Morning Consult/Politico poll, conducted Sept. 20-23, found support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation is underwater among registered voters for the first time since his nomination, with 37 percent opposing the Senate confirming him and 34 percent supporting it.

The new finding marks a 5-percentage-point drop in net support since a poll conducted last week, after Christine Blasey Ford detailed her allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while the two were in high school, a charge he has repeatedly denied.

Read more at the link above.

Important reads from women writers:

Lili Loofbourow at Slate: Brett Kavanaugh and the Cruelty of Male Bonding.

For what it’s worth, and absent evidence or allegations to the contrary, I believe Brett Kavanaugh’s claim that he was a virgin through his teens. I believe it in part because it squares with some of the oddities I’ve had a hard time understanding about his alleged behavior: namely, that both allegations are strikingly different from other high-profile stories the past year, most of which feature a man and a woman alone. And yet both the Kavanaugh accusations share certain features: There is no penetrative sex, there are always male onlookers, and, most importantly, there’s laughter. In each case the other men—not the woman—seem to be Kavanaugh’s true intended audience. In each story, the cruel and bizarre act the woman describes—restraining Christine Blasey Ford and attempting to remove her clothes in her allegation, and in Deborah Ramirez’s, putting his penis in front of her face—seems to have been done in the clumsy and even manic pursuit of male approval. Even Kavanaugh’s now-notorious yearbook page, with its references to the “100 kegs or bust” and the like, seems less like an honest reflection of a fun guy than a representation of a try-hard willing to say or do anything as long as his bros think he’s cool. In other words: The awful things Kavanaugh allegedly did only imperfectly correlate to the familiar frame of sexual desire run amok; they appear to more easily fit into a different category—a toxic homosociality—that involves males wooing other males over the comedy of being cruel to women.

In both these accounts, Kavanaugh is laughing as he does something to a woman that disturbs or traumatizes her. Ford wrote in her letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, “Kavanaugh was on top of me while laughing with [Mark] Judge, who periodically jumped onto Kavanaugh. They both laughed as Kavanaugh tried to disrobe me in their highly inebriated state. With Kavanaugh’s hand over my mouth, I feared he may inadvertently kill me.”

“Brett was laughing,” Ramirez says in her account to the New Yorker. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.” She recalled another male student shouting about the incident. “Somebody yelled down the hall, ‘Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face,’ ” she said.

If these allegations are true, one of the more shocking things about them is the extent to which the woman being mistreated exists in a room where the men are performing for each other—using the woman to firm up their own bond.

Please read the whole thing if you haven’t already.

Alexandra Lescaze, also at Slate: We Didn’t Call It Rape. Lescase writes that the allegations against Kavanaugh are very familiar to her as a graduate of a DC-area private school.

I wish I were surprised. A week ago Sunday when Ford first shed her anonymity, detailing her sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh to the Washington Post, I wrote a note in the Facebook alumni group of my high school, National Cathedral School. I told my 1988 classmates that Ford’s story was bringing back disturbing high school memories. Apparently, I was not alone. A lot of women now in their 40s and 50s, who went to these single-sex D.C. prep schools in the 1980s, have been reaching out to each other in fraught emails and chats over the past week. Not only did the Holton-Arms alumnae start a petition in support of Ford, their fellow alum; there’s also one for anyone to sign who survived that toxic time and place.

I don’t personally know Ford now, and I didn’t know her in high school. But as the Holton women wrote, what Ford is alleging is “all too consistent with what we heard and lived while attending Holton. Many of us are survivors ourselves.” And what Elizabeth Rasor alleges Mark Judge told her is not foreign to me, either. Whether and how the nation comes to hear more about these specific stories, they have evoked a collective scream.

A large part of my high school experience were the parties at cavernous houses with multiple bedrooms, huge dark basements with enormous sofas and yards, and lots and lots of beer. No parents—thinking back on it now, as a parent myself—were ever around. We traveled in groups and knew never to leave a friend alone at a party, but there was so much drinking that we sometimes lost track of each other. It could be difficult to know where your friends were and—if they were in a room with a boy—what was going on in there.

Every June, we had Beach Week—a tradition also described in a Washington Post piece about Ford—in which teenagers actually rent houses to party at the beach, something I still don’t quite comprehend. I distinctly remember being at a Beach Week party with my then-boyfriend when it dawned on us that there was a drunk girl in a room down the hall, and boys were “lining up” to go in there and, presumably, have their way with her. We didn’t know for sure, but my boyfriend and my friend’s boyfriend went to interrupt it and sent her on her way down the stairs. All I remember about her is that she was in the class above us and had dark hair. My friend has told me she remembers boys saying, “I’m next,” which was why our boyfriends went to stop it.

More to check out, links only:

Emily Jane Fox at The Atlantic: “I Was Ashamed”: After Ford’s Accusation, Holton-Arms Alumnae Wrestle With Their Own Truths—Together.

Jessica Valenti: How Very Bad Men Get Away With Rape. “It takes one person to commit a rape, but a village to let them get away with it over and over.”

Kate Manne at The New York Times: Brett Kavanaugh and America’s ‘Himpathy’ Reckoning.

Amanda Marcotte: GOP will still confirm Brett Kavanaugh — because of allegations, not in spite of them.

If you watch the hearing, I hope you’ll share your reactions in the comment thread below.