Godwinning for the good.

In case you missed it: a few weeks ago revolutionary badass Sunsara Taylor of RefuseFascism.org, with whom PZ and I are acquainted, appeared on the odious Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox. Because Carlson is an ass-cactus of the first order, he constantly interrupted her, spoke over her and eventually cut her feed. Nevertheless, when the smarmy blowhard shut his lie-hole for a moment and she managed to get a few words in, she stated the rather obvious fact that the fascist Trump/Pence regime is more dangerous than Hitler’s. On account of, you know, having nuclear weapons and an apparent enthusiasm for using them (among other things).

According to Taylor: [Read more…]

Honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It has become my tradition on this day of remembrance to post the text of a speech delivered by Dr. King on April 4, 1967 at Manhattan’s Riverside Church entitled Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence (audio recording here), along with a short commentary about why I believe these words are so important. The speech is truly magnificent, yet it tends to be given short shrift relative to other works of the slain civil rights leader.

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Tragedy in Ft. Lauderdale.

As of this writing, five people are dead and eight remain hospitalized after a gunman fired a barrage of bullets in a baggage claim area at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida. The alleged shooter was taken into custody, and the airport was (and still is) on lockdown.

When the news first broke earlier today, my heart did too. My first thoughts went to the survivors, and to the loved ones of those who were killed and injured. I hope they get all the support and assistance they need after a(nother) senseless tragedy. Especially those with medical expenses that our wonderful society likes to charge to hapless victims of injury and illness.

My next thoughts were not quite so empathetic.

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So what’s the problem?

[CONTENT NOTE: worker exploitation and abuse, nativism.]

Whenever immigration policy lands on the front burner we are all treated to “news” stories noting the inevitability of food costs soaring and the nation’s agricultural economy collapsing when undocumented farm workers suddenly become scarce. Here is one such article from The Nation in 2011 reporting on the eminently foreseeable catastrophes after Georgia and Alabama enacted draconian anti-immigrant statutes. Among other shitty fascist provisions, the laws required employers to confirm their worker’s legal status via the federal government’s E-Verify system. Any worker who used false documents to secure a job could be subject to fifteen years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

In perhaps the most utterly predictable chain of events in the universe ever, undocumented farm workers fled Georgia and Alabama in droves, leaving watermelons, peaches, blackberries and cucumbers rotting in the fields and businesses collapsing in their wake. The estimated loss for Georgia’s agricultural sector alone was $1 billion—for one season.

How on Earth could such a senseless situation come to pass? [SPOILER ALERT! Because conservatives.]

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“Forget Plymouth Rock. Stand with Standing Rock.”

The Thanksgiving fairytale is so pervasive that people across the country blindly teach and celebrate a 400-year-old mythic “friendship” between the pilgrims and Indians while turning their backs on real and systemic violence happening now to Native people and allies at the hands of authorities protecting oil interests over the interests of future generations of water drinkers. Forget Plymouth Rock. Stand with Standing Rock.
-Mniconjou Lakota journalist and citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Taté Walker

My friend Sincere Kirabo has a pithy piece up at The Humanist about the myths surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday. The money quote: [Read more…]

The invisible victims of Trumpism.

blackupsidedownusflag

[CONTENT NOTE: harassment, abuse, assault.]

I’m sure you’ve seen some of the various online accounts (like this one) of violence, harassment, assault and abuse, after the worst elements of our society were emboldened by the election of perhaps the most despicable human being I have known of in my lifetime. Not all of these stories make it to a hashtag much less a news story, and I have a sickening feeling there are orders of magnitude more of them that don’t than do. Here is one from a dear friend of mine, posted here with permission (names and other identifying details have been altered):

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So sorry, world.

flagdown

We the People suck. The deadly contagion of right-wing conservatism in the US will no longer be restrained, however tenuously and imperfectly. It has been unleashed to destroy the earth like flesh-eating bacteria. It will start, as it always does, with more death and harm to the bodies of the most marginalized among us, and eventually work its way to harming the very people who enable it—which is to say, harming almost everyone.

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Nine Eleven.

I wasn’t going to write anything today about September 11, 2001. I haven’t done so for the last few years, and before that I never said much about it anyway.

But just so you know: I watched the towers burn and then fall that day. I helped my work colleagues evacuate 30 Rockefeller Center that morning, when we still weren’t sure how many hijacked planes were still flying or what landmarks they might still target. I breathed the acrid, yellow air that hung over Manhattan for days. I brought flowers and candles to my local fire station in Hell’s Kitchen, and I wrote sad and grateful messages in a big book they kept there on the sidewalk.

From a high floor at 30 Rock, I heard bagpipes day after day after day after day. The funerals at St. Patrick’s cathedral—so, so many goddamn funerals— could only be seen from the north side of the building, but it seemed no matter where you were, you could always hear those bagpipes. I still recall those days vividly whenever I hear bagpipes.

I find this subject very, very difficult to write about, talk about or think about, and I’m pretty sure I know why. It’s that I am still processing the events of that day, and the wars, opportunistic power grabs and unconscionable greed unleashed over the last fifteen years. It was and still is traumatic.

But it’s a different kind of trauma than any I’ve every experienced, before or since. All of the others were strictly personal. September 11, 2001, and my government’s actions since that day, have profoundly affected not just me, but my city, my country and much of the world. And I have come to realize that the way I am dealing with the grief, the rage, the insights and revelations that come later whether you want them to or not, is much the same: I make art. I make a life. I write.

It is not lost on me that when I write about abortion rights and feminism and rape and abuse, I am also saying something about my own life. And when I write about politics, war, religious conservatives and conservative Democrats, I am also saying something about September 11, 2001.

If I have learned anything on my journey that I can share with you, it’s this: find joy in your day. Today and every day. Bring joy to others where you can. Otherwise, the terrorists really do win.

__________

Justice is the only worship.
Love is the only priest.

Ignorance is the only slavery.
Happiness is the only good.
The time to be happy is now,
The place to be happy is here,
The way to be happy is to make others so.
Robert Green Ingersoll

peacesign

PEACE.

#muschniwogdowis of the day.

Remember that time I invented the exciting new acronym #muschniwogdowis? You know the one: it stands for Most US Citizens Have No Idea What Our Government Does Or Who It Serves? Of course you remember. It’s unforgettable! And it just rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?*

All right, so it didn’t exactly trend on Twitter as much as I had predicted. Or at all, really—as in, not even a single retweet. But that’s okay! When it comes to humanity’s most breathtakingly brilliant, paradigm-shifting creations (like #muschniwogdowis for example), the inventor is often far, far ahead of her time, and it just takes the rest of the world a while to catch up. Typically after she dies penniless and alone…

:o

Anyway!

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