Sunday, November 11, 2018

#Dump45Now

 
Item: The U.S. is in full Constitutional Crisis. #45 waited till just after the election to dump Sessions whose southern accent apparently got on his imperial nerves. Immediately after 45, Jr. signaled he might be indicted, #45 plopped Matthew Whitaker in his place as the new acting AG. Who is Whitaker? Formerly Sessions’ chief of staff, after Mueller’s appointment, Whitaker called his investigation a witch hunt. No wonder: he’s loyal to #45, and he takes over the DOJ at a critical point in the investigation. He’s made it clear he intends to satisfy #45’s desire to knock the teeth out of it, including the misdeeds of the Don’s family, and the corruption of the 2016 election by Russian interference.  Now Mueller will have to run any major decisions by Whitaker, including all indictments or a report on his findings. As a result, #45 aided and abetted by Whitaker has the maximum amount of time between taking control of the investigation and the new Democrats are seated (and subpoenas fly) on January 3. 
 

Item: The Border has become #45’s racist dog whistle and election ad. But before the administration ordered 5239 troops to head there to encounter a migrant caravan due weeks from now, it already knew that very few of the migrants would make it to the border, perhaps only 1,500 desperate people asking for asylum from death-squad-plagued Honduras, whose democratically leader, Zelaya was kidnapped by the U.S. under Secretary of State’s Hillary Clinton’s watch, throwing the country into chaos.  #45 promises to send 10,000 more troops in the next few weeks, matching the troop level that now occupies Afghanistan.  And new rules give #45 the discretion of who gets asylum and who doesn’t.

 


Item: Concentration Camps. The Administration is quietly converting military installations along the Southern United States into concentration camps designed to hold immigrants. (First they came for the immigrants. I was not an immigrant…you know the drill). Targeted camps include Tornillo Port of Entry, Texas; Goodfellow AFB, Texas, Fort Bliss, Texas, Dyess AFB, Texas, Little Rock AFB, AK; Pendleton Marine Corps Air Station, CA; Navy Outlying Field Wild and Silverhill, AL; and Yuma Marine Corps Air Station, AZ, for a total capacity of 135,000 inmates, including 3,800 children. Plans for Concord Weapons Depot (formerly Port Chicago) in CA have been cancelled after local authorities and the community voiced its opposition. My source: Courage to Resist.

 
Item: Voting “irregularities.”  Florida and Georgia are still in play as “ballot submission deadlines, candidate lawsuits and preparations for recounts or runoffs all converged,” according to Laura Clawson writing for Alternet. Many other races are still too close to call. Republicans are already trying to impede vote recounts in a number of states. But election integrity in the U.S. is on the banana level: there were missing voting machines in a Detroit precinct, which turned voters away who may not have been allowed to return. In an Indiana precinct voting machines weren’t plugged in and only one volunteer was present to oversee the voting; In Arizona three polling places were unable to function, in one case because the building in which it was housed was in foreclosure! Long lines were reported caused by technical problems, forcing the use of paper ballots in three Georgia precincts, in another Georgia precinct with only three machines, and in some precincts in New York City which reported broken scanners where voters stood in line for hours.

But outright voting manipulations occurred, among other states, in Texas where at least one voting machine had wi-fi connectivity, impacting Beto O’Rourke’s race. In one Texas precinct, 133,412 ballots were cast but the list of voters who voted shows only 133,041, showing a discrepancy of 371 more ballots cast than voters who voted. And in one precinct, 55 voters cast 119 votes! In Texas and Georgia voters reported instances of voting machines blatantly flipping votes. In Florida hundreds of thousands of mail in ballots are stuck in a post office that had to be locked down because #45 devotee Cesar Sayoc sent a bomb through that facility. And after former Senator Patrick Murphy discovered that his absentee ballot wasn’t counted, Senator Nelson (Dem) of Florida with only a 15,000 vote difference as of right now, is filing a lawsuit seeking to revisit the “invalid signature” rejections and get these votes counted.  

Most egregious of all, North Dakota demanded identification of Native Americans based on street addresses, whereas everyone residing on a reservation has a P.O. Box, thereby disenfranchising thousands of Native American voters.  Said Chase Iron Eyes: “when they called on us to enlist and defend our country, they didn’t need street addresses, why now? That story has a happy ending. For that, please see the schadenfreude express below!

Already there are four good reasons to #Dump45Now when the new House of Representatives is seated in January. How many more will we have by then?

 
  
Schadenfreude department:

Democratic activists crowdfunded a massive effort to get street address IDs for all the disenfranchised Native Americans so successfully that the turnout was even higher than in 2012, and Republican Randy Boehning, whose idea this was, was unseated by Democrat Ruth Buffalo, a Native American.

After Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Secretary of State, purged over a million votes, his maneuvers bit him in the butt election day when he went to the polls to discover he was ineligible to receive a ballot.


 

Please sign and send Daily Kos petition to your U.S. senator(s): support legislation to protect the Mueller investigation before it’s too late.

Sign the petition to House Democrats to impeach #45 if Mueller is fired.

Please donate to Stacey Abram’s campaign not to concede her candidature for Governor of Alabama.


If you can spare the time, please phone your representatives in Congress.  Tell them this is a Constitutional Crisis, and that you demand that Whitaker recuse himself.

In California:
Kamala Harris  415   981-9369
Diane Feinstein   415   393-0707

In the East Bay:
Barbara Lee  510  763-0370

To qualify for the California November Ballot the measure to restore funding to schools needs to be on the ballot, requiring 900,000 signatures. Please go here to collect signatures.


The elections

Best rose of all: Florida restores voting rights to 1.4 million ex-felons who’ve served their time.

The House gains a Democratic majority, giving it subpoena power.

Florida Secretary of State orders a full machine recount.

Georgia’s Stacey Abrams plans legal action to insure all votes are counted.

For the first time ever, 100 women were elected to the U.S. House:

Two Muslim women Ilhan Omar (MN) and Rashidda Tlaib (MI).

Two Native American women, Deb Haaland (NM) and Sharice Davids (KS). 

Two more African American women, Ayanna Pressley (MA) and Jahana Hayes, (CT).

The first Latina members from Texas, Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia.

The youngest African American woman, Lauren Underwood (IL).

And  Lucy McBath in Georgia, Kendra Horn in Oklahoma, and Lizzie Fletcher in Texas.

N.Y. 14th district will have the very youngest woman ever elected to Congress to represent them, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

The first Latina Democratic governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham (N.M).

The first African American woman to serve as AG of New York, Tish James.

The first African American from Colorado Joe Neguse was elected.

Colorado elected Jared Lois an open gay governor.

First ever Medicare for All PAC established by Rep.  Pramila Jayapal (D. Wash.). By issuing ID cards, Medicare for All has the power to end GOP voting violations.

Darrell Issa (Rep-CA) concedes even before polls close.

Older voters, a GOP mainstay, abandon the party in droves, a win for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Activists crowdfund an initiative procuring street addressed IDs for thousands of Native Americans otherwise denied the vote.

Students behind Everytown for Gun Safety organize a campaign to get everyone to vote.

Iowa students back campaign to send two Dem women and one man (in a  state where all representatives but one were Republicans) to Congress.

Across the country voters reject ICE loving Sheriffs.

Texas elects 19 black women judges.

Progressive attorneys general were elected: Xavier Becerra (CA), Phil Weiser (CO), William Tong (CT), Kathy Jennings (DE), Karl Racine (D.C.), Kwame Raoul (IL), Tom Iller (IO), Brian Frosh (MD), Maura Healey (MA), Dana Nessell (MI), Keith Ellison (MN), Hector Balderas (NM), Tish James (NY), Peter Neronha (RI), T.J. Donovan (VT), and Josh Kaul (WI).Aaron Ford (NV),

And more than 240 LGBTQ candidates won their primaries, with at least 14 elected. 

Throughout the U.S., activist groups such as unions, DACA, and folks in Georgia work to get out the midterm vote.

California passes Proposition 12, the world’s strongest animal welfare law for farmed animals.

Baltimore voters stand up to water privatization.


The climate

Florida amendment 9 passes banning any drilling offshore in state waters.

Peat soils, thick deposits of decomposed plant matter, as a breakthrough conservation strategy for combatting change have  been pioneered by The Nature Conservancy.

Two states launch investigations into responsibility of Exxon in causing climate change, and nine cities and counties actually sue major fossil fuel companies, seeking climate-related compensation.

In Washington State, carbon pricing initiative gains traction.

Sempervirens Fund restores redwood forests in California’s Sta. Cruz mountains.

The Nature Conservancy announces successful efforts to reforest bottomlands of the Lower Mississippi River Valley, sequestering millions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere.


Labor

In Boston, the Ujima Project works to create economic equity for artists.

Woman activist aims to get 50 million Americans into the worker-owned economy.

The Courts

Ponca Nation of Oklahoma becomes first U.S. tribe to recognize the Rights of Nature in tribal law.

Judge Peter Messitte of the U.S. District Court for Maryland dismissed 45’s interlocutory appeal attempting to delay his trial for violation of the emoluments clause.

7 to 2 the Supreme Court denies an administration motion to stop a constitutional lawsuit filed by 21 young plaintiffs, Juliana vs. the U.S., perhaps because demonstrations upholding the lawsuit were staged in cities nationwide.

Supreme Court denies net neutrality challenges brought by the telecom industry.

Nye County, Nevada prosecutors and Sheriff’s deputies end 60 year policy of arresting protesters at the Nevada National Security Site (the Nevada test site.)

Another federal court rules 45’s decision to end DACA is wrong.

Judge Brian Morris of the U.S. District Ct. for Montana rules the administration ignored climate change and blocks Keystone XL pipelines from going forward, ruling that the administration violated key laws when it approved the pipeline.

Peace

Russia and the U.S. announce they seek negotiations to uphold the general prohibition of intermediate range nuclear missiles in Europe, now and in future. 

Secretary of State Pompeo, never known for peace activism, calls for an end to fighting in Yemen.

And General Mattis sets a 30-day deadline for a Yemen ceasefire.

In Iraq, oil takes an independent step for the benefit of all Iraqis, but maybe not exactly for the planet.

The two Koreas halt military exercises and close gunports once aimed at each other.

The UN votes the 127th time to end the U.S. blockade which has caused Cuba untold suffering, with 189 for, and two objections. Guess who?

Because of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, five U.S. lawmakers, led by Rubio urge 45 to suspend any related negotiations for a U.S.-Saudi nuclear agreement.

Resistance

Nationwide protests break out as Whitaker, the new AG, poses serious threat to Mueller’s investigation.

Data for Democracy harnesses powers of Big Data for civic good, tracking (for example) data on migration and family separation.

Demonstrating against the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines, Richmond residents stage a Halloween parade in full costume outside Virginia Governor’s office.

The Mexican way: as the refugee caravan travels through Mexico, it is welcomed with food, festivity, care, and clothing! Huipils and huaraches, anyone?

Marriott hotel workers stage a strike in ten cities in the U.S. and Canada. Note the transnational strike.

Undocumented black migrants build informal organizing network.

Veterans issue open letter to all active duty fully armed soldiers deploying to the border, urging them to disobey orders threatening defenseless migrants legally seeking asylum.

Eleven Honduran migrant caravan members sue 45 for violating their Constitutional rights to demand asylum.

Student groups push ‘Justice for Jordan’ at the University of Maryland.

Nuclear

Walkatjurrra walkabout opposes uranium mining in Australia.

Toshiba abandons new nuclear project at Moorside, UK.

Grand Canyon uranium ban upheld as Supreme Court declines to hear government’s challenge.

Civil  Rights

California’s Gov. Brown signs law granting parolees right to apply for licenses and certifications to support themselves using the skills they’ve learned before and during incarceration.

California passes AB 2845 setting more careful parameters for parole board hearings, and making it unlawful for employers to consider convictions for which applicants have received pardons.

Wyoming strikes down another Ag-Gag law.

Over 80 civil society organizations object to NPS “Pay to Protest” proposal.

Over 90,000 citizen comments submitted in response to NPS “Pay to Protest” proposal.

UN adopts new general comment on the Right to Life, referencing nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

Nine more Wisconsin communities vote to amend the Constitution, clarifying that only human beings (and not corporations) should have  human rights, and that money is not the same thing as free speech.

Suspected BuzzFeed leaker released on $100K bond.

Portugal launches world’s first ever national participatory budget.

Law Enforcement

FBI policy guide notes that ‘domestic’ terrorism’ is connected to ‘white supremacy.’ Duh. Errata: read fascism throughout.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

In a Fix no 'Fix' Can Fix

 
Michael Moore’s most recent film, Fahrenheit 11/9 refers to the day following the  elections of 2016, which he equates with 9/11 as a comparable assault on the U.S. I’ve watched the film twice in less than a week. What stands out earlier, and in the most recent viewing is that the images speak even louder than its words. The first frames show you a rogues gallery of suited male heads, alongside statistics reporting how many times women have accused each of predation. But these words take on an entirely different level of meaning in the heart of the film, when we see the current White House imposter haranguing the Detroit Economic Club where the protocols forbid any questions from the floor. One by one, women protesters in the audience stand up to object to the proceedings only to be manhandled by stone-faced goons who whip them around and force them from the room. Those shots tell you infinitely more about the way women in this society are treated than any statistics can.

Through much of the film we see footage of National Conventions, and political rallies, with their abundance of flags big as aircraft carriers, five-story-high amplified images of political figures, balloons, confetti, strobe lights, cascades of water, etc. which preview the concluding shots of Hitler’s rallies with their display of flags, screaming people, and which document the autocratic body language of the presiding demagogue.  We even see the image of his U.S. counterpart projected on the Empire State Building. And by comparison, it dawns on us how subversive rock concerts can be and how they mock all our political posturings, much as the feast of the Saturnalia, with its idiot-king-for-a-day satirized the Roman empire in its day.

 

Coming to a City Near You


We see the moment when the black children of Flint Michigan are deemed dispensable as a politician presses his finger to the water gage which will shut off the waters of Lake Huron and divert the Flint River and its contamination to fill the taps of Flint, consigning everyone of its children to the lead poisoning which will  devastate their bodies and minds, and condemn each one of them to being less than human—the moment when Rick Snyder, the devil’s spawn Governor of Michigan, destroys a whole city more effectively than any so-called terrorist ever could.  But Moore doesn’t stop there. He shows a triumphant Air Force One flying Obama to the rescue. And as the people who voted for him with their whole hearts watch, he drinks or pretends to drink the contaminated water of Flint—twice—in a PR stunt Madison Avenue could only dream of. And not satisfied with his twice betrayal, he allows Flint Michigan to be bombed, strafed, and terrorized by the Army which uses the city for target practice without any forewarning to its terrified inhabitants.

At first viewing, the separate strands of Moore’s film seem like something of a hodge podge, the poisoning of Flint, the student anti-gun resistance movement originated by the students of Parkland High School in Florida, but the point Moore is making is that from Clinton on, each American president has paved the way for the Walpurgisnacht of the current Ozministration. Yes, dear children, we are in a fix. The taps of hatred have been turned on, and they can’t be turned off because the pipes are corroded, Flint’s black children’s lives have been forever blunted, and nothing can wash the stain off these lily white hands. We are in a fix, and no ’fix’  can fix it. Not even an electoral upset.



Donate so hundreds of black Georgians can cast their ballots.


Sign to demand Brian Kemp who scrubbed more than 300,000 Georgia voters from the rolls take his marbles and go home.

Donate to resist GOP voter suppression of native Americans in North Dakota.

Veto troops to the border to ‘repel’ desperate men, women, and children.

Please tell San Mateo district attorney that the Okobi family deserves justice NOW.


Women

Catholic synod declares women’s inclusion in Catholic leadership is a ‘duty of justice.’

Must watch: Maggie Doyne changes lives of 200 children starting with this one thought: forget the 80 million, start with one.

Physicians for Social Responsibility honor visionary leaders, Beatrice Fihn and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Nuns on the Bus logs 5600 miles for tax justice.

A record number of women poised to win elections.

Voting rights

Florida fighting to restore voting rights to individuals with minor felony convictions.

NAACP issues dire warning about Texas voting machines that like to flip for Cruz.

U.S. Supreme Court paves way for state supreme courts to strike down GOP gerrymanders.

After GOP tries to stop one bus of elderly black voters in Georgia, ten more buses join in the fight.

In victory over GOP suppression scheme, court rules thousands of Georgians must be allowed to vote.

San Francisco grants non-citizen residents voting rights in local election.

The Courts

Free Press raises funds to sue Ajit Pai.

Mom and four-year-old sue DHS to reunite after seven months of separation under administration border policy.

U.S. citizen wrongfully detained and mocked by ICE awarded $55,000 settlement.

UK fracking protesters freed after convictions are overturned.

In the UK, hundreds are ready to go to jail over climate crisis.

Peasants’ rights declaration presented before the UN general assembly.

Puerto Rico tribunal verdict: U.S. guilty of crimes against humanity.

Lawsuit depicts First Crime Family as a ‘racketeering enterprise that defrauded thousands of people.

Gabby Gifford’s organization  sues the administration.

Tenth Circuit panel grants summary judgment bars Wyoming from enforcing Ag-Gag laws.

The Climate

Swiss philanthropist donates $1 billion to conservation efforts.

Oakland City Council adopts resolution declaring climate emergency.

San Jose, CA wins award to fight climate change.

Resistance

FedEx finally cuts ties with the NRA.

Google workers worldwide leave desks demanding end to sexual harassment and improvements to workplace culture.

Demonstrators block the White House Impostor during march for love and solidarity in Pittsburgh.

Supreme Court halt to Juliana vs. U.S. youth climate lawsuit inspires nationwide resistance.

With Mattis’ call for Yemen ceasefire, congress getting closer to forcing military to withdraw, according to Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Foremost Farms, U.S.A. and Aria Food, a European dairy coop are forming a strategic partnership.