Adopt-a-Nazi (Not Really)!

In this Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 file photo, white nationalist demonstrators walk into the entrance of Lee Park surrounded by counter demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va. (Credit: AP Photo/Steve Helber).

Leave it to lawyers to figure out a brilliant troll, which will help to fight hate and bigotry.

A group of Jewish lawyers in San Francisco has discovered a clever new way to fight white supremacy: adoption.

Of course, the Jewish Bar Association isn’t actually encouraging anyone to adopt or sponsor white supremacists. Instead, the group is asking the public to donate to its “Adopt-a-Nazi (Not Really)” GoFundMe campaign, which is being used to raise funds for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit legal advocacy organization that monitors hate groups across the country and litigates on behalf of marginalized groups. So far, the campaign has raised more than $92,000—far beyond its original goal of $10,000.

The strategy is simple: according to the GoFundMe page, donors are encouraged to give some amount of money for each of the 300 expected attendees at an upcoming “free speech” rally put on by the right-wing Patriot Prayer group at Crissy Field on August 26. Many of the attendees will likely be white nationalists or members of similar hate groups.

According to the Adopt-a-Nazi campaign, no donation is too small.

“Two cents per attendee is a $6 donation,” organizers wrote. “A dime is $30. Why not a quarter? That’s only $75.”

You can read more about this at Think Progress, or just head over to the fund to donate or share. Yep, I donated, and now I’m sharing. :)

Undoubtedly An Idiot.

Naomi Klein photographed in Toronto for the Observer New Review. Photograph: Christopher Wahl for the Observer.

For those of us who can’t help looking at those events without turning lines from WB Yeats’s The Second Coming over in our heads (“what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”), Klein’s new book – which examines in detail both the phenomenon of Trump and how liberal and progressive forces might counter his reality – is a brilliant articulation of restless anxiety.

Speaking at her home in Toronto last week, Klein suggested to me that Trump’s novelty was to take the shock doctrine and make it a personal superpower. “He keeps everyone all the time in a reactive state,” she said. “It is not like he is taking advantage of an external shock, he is the shock.

[…]

The daughter of American parents, Klein lives in Toronto with dual citizenship. When she thought about putting her book together, her original plan was for an anthology of articles threaded together with interviews, but once she started analysing the presidency she kept writing in a kind of frenzy. One of the benefits of having a deadline and an all-consuming project was that it meant she was forced to use the blocking app Freedom to protect her from the distraction of the internet. “I think if I hadn’t written this book I just would have stared at Twitter like many others for months on end, watching it unfold, and writing snippy things at people.”

That tendency among Trump’s critics, she says, is a symptom of his banal influence. She devotes one section of her book to the notion that through Twitter Trump is making the political sphere in his own image and that “we all have to kill our inner Trump”. Among other things, she says, the president “is the embodiment of our splintered attention spans”. One essential ingredient of resistance, she suggests, is to retain a belief in telling and understanding complex stories, keeping faith with narrative.

One of the questions that Klein’s book does not reach a conclusion about is how conscious Trump is of his shock doctrine tactics. Is he a demagogue in the scheming manner of Putin and Erdoğan, or just a useful idiot for the forces around him?

“I think he is a showman and that he is aware of the way that shows can distract people,” she says. “That is the story of his business. He has always understood that he could distract his investors and bankers, his tenants, his clients from the underlying unsoundness of his business, just by putting on the Trump show. That is the core of Trump. He is undoubtedly an idiot, but do not underestimate how good he is at that.”

The Guardian has the full story on Klein’s new book.

Sunday Facepalm.

Yesterday, I posted about The Tiny Evangelical Tyrant, and that’s a serious problem.  Today, we visit some of the Religious Reich who fervently back the Tiny Tyrant. It is so very easy to roll the eyes over what seems to be, and is, such irrationality, and it’s okay to have the eyerolls and facepalms. After that, though, there’s a need to realize how serious these people are, and what they want to do. The longer the Tiny Tyrant stays in office, the more he’ll give them what they want, and what they want is damn scary. These people never shut up about how awful Islam is, sharia this, sharia that, sharia everything, and so on. What they want, however, is no different. They talk of demons and witchcraft. They talk of the slightest shake of the head against authoritarianism. They talk of degeneracy, of a woeful lack of modesty, looking at women, of course. They decry all the harlotry of the modern age.

The Religious Reich thinks this is time for the crusades again, literally. They are screaming and praying for blood, in an orgy of self righteous lust. They think only in terms of enemies. They wouldn’t have a problem with reinstating an Inquisition, or witch trials. They don’t see that type of thing as bad, and yes, they do believe in witchcraft. So do their congregations. This is what they’d like as the law of the land, along with belief in their psychopathic Jehovah to be the rule of the day everywhere, in schools and the public square. And yes, I know, there’s a tendency to dismiss it all as simply too fantastic to actually happen, but we’re half way there already. Most women are already all too aware of that. Same goes for most of the queer community, as well.

So, take a little delight in the silly, but remember that the Religious Reich is deadly serious about all this, and we must stand as a great wall of resistance and open opposition to their idea of America.

Lance Wallnau is indulging in imprecatory prayer.

“I pray that the words they have spoken even turn back upon them,” he continued, “and that you will cause everyone who dishonors the office of the president, who disrespects the authority of this government, who mocks the president—who is, in effect, mocking you, Lord—I pray now that you are going to turn upon those that are ministering a spirit of strife and contention and dishonor and disrespect and sowing rebellion and witchcraft in the nation, I pray that you cast them out of their position!”

“Those people that are falsely prophesying impeachment, falsely prophesying the destruction of this administration, it’s time this stopped!” Wallnau ranted. “Deliver us from evil.”

Wallnau said that this “warfare prayer” must spread across the nation because “when you’re nervous and worried about the president of America, go on the offense. Just don’t pray for peace; kick that demon! Bam!”

Goodness, I do believe he’s talking about all of us Resistance types. Of course, we’re small potatoes. Wallnau would like that ugly god of his to curse all media outside Fox and christian channels. Fortunately for us, Jehovah/Yahweh/El Shaddai/Adonai doesn’t seem to be the most motivated entity. I guess all that energy expended on tantrums, genocide, wars, murders, rapes, and so on, detailed in the old testament, must have really tuckered him out. Unfortunately, that won’t stop those who adore that mythical psychopath from trying to do “his will”.

Via RWW.

David Whitney, a very nasty piece of work coated in the slime of deep bigotry, has been preaching the evil of … Ariana Grande. Yep.

“Everything she stands for is quite eye opening,” Whitney said. “She is an open advocate for sodomy. She frequently speaks of her interaction with demons. That’s right, demons. She was raised, actually, in a Christian household but now clearly rejects everything that Christianity stands for and she states that she did so for a particular reason—because her brother is a sodomite and so, Christianity she threw out lock, stock and barrel for that reason. She has embraced not only sodomy, but a satanic cult religion … that is called Kabbalah, it is a Jewish cult belief system that is the opposite, in a sense, of our Christian faith.”

No one is as obsessed with sex as much as religious fanatics. They never shut up about it, and they cannot stand the idea of anyone, anywhere having any type of sex they don’t approve of, which is pretty much all of it. As for the whole Kabbalah business, I have no idea, but this goes back to yesterday’s post, and the insistence of christian thought that they are being horribly persecuted if other people believe differently than they do.

“It appears this Ariana is like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, leading a whole generation of young people, and indeed some very young people, to a very dangerous place,” he said, adding that Grande is “indeed a dangerous woman.”

Yeah, yeah, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. We’ve heard this nonsense before. Pretty sure this particular type of idiocy has been heard since the second generation of humans. What was the particular plaint in 200 BCE? In the 10th century? And so on. Every generation of young people are always immersed in the most dangerous of behaviours, and that music, whatever it was or is, is very, very bad!

“What is not surprising,” he continued, “is that she is wildly successful, famous and rich because people who make a pact with the devil and sell themselves to Satan, he often rewards them with riches and fame and power.”

Well, no. It has to do with talent, first and foremost, a little luck, and a fucktonne of hard work. I have no idea what Lucifer is up to these days, but he doesn’t seem to do much either. Perhaps he and Jehovah/Yahweh/El Shaddai/Adonai are busy playing poker or something.

“This dangerous woman is promoting every form of immorality and indeed she is promoting satanism by her music and by her lyrics and by her gyrations,” Whitney said.

Oooh, evil gyrations! I don’t know how old Whitney is, but he sounds like he’s about 200 years old. And promoting love and acceptance! Oh, yes, you don’t get more satanist than that. FFS.

“So while we can measure accurately the damage that the suicide bomber accomplished—we can count the body bags, we can read the list of those in the hospital recovering from their injuries that the suicide bomber caused—it is far more difficult to measure the damage done by this dangerous woman. Exactly how many souls has she led down the path of destruction?”

And there we have it. Religious fanatics, even those on the enemy side, well, they’re just doing what they think is right. A woman singing and dancing? There’s an evil which must be stomped on immediately!

Via RWW.

The Tiny Evangelical Tyrant.

Donald Trump in Cleveland prayer huddle -- (YouTube screen grab)

Donald Trump in Cleveland prayer huddle — (YouTube screen grab).

While the Tiny Tyrant is embroiled in scandals, and the senate is busy doing all manner of evil and nefarious things while people are distracted, Donny found himself in need of people willing to shovel endless amounts of praise into the black void of his ego. He found them in the Road to Majority, an annual evangelical meet up.

While millions of Americans spent Thursday glued to television coverage of former FBI director James Comey’s testimony, Donald Trump took time to bask in the adulation of Religious Right activists who gathered in D.C. for Road to Majority, the annual conference hosted by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Amid these conservative Christians, Trump didn’t need to worry about hearing a discouraging word or being challenged about his habitual lying. “We love him because he is our friend,” said Reed. Trump returned the sentiment, saying, “You didn’t let me down and I will never, ever let you down, you know that.”

And he hasn’t. About the only group Trump hasn’t screwed into the ground is the Religious Reich. As will be made clear as we go on, this is the reason I have no use for the ‘president Pence would be worse!’ excuse to keep Trump in place. No, he wouldn’t be. He’d be the same as far as all the christian crap is concerned. These hateful zealots are Donny’s über faithful, the core of his cult which has actual power.

Reed and Trump both cited the overwhelming support Trump received from white evangelical voters. Trump recalled that he had appeared at the conference last year asking for their support and prayers, and “boy did you deliver.” Reed praised Trump for focusing “like a laser beam” on winning evangelical support “and that’s why he’s the president of the United States today.”

Trump touted his accomplishments: the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, filling the Cabinet with people who “share our values,” withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and his proposed “historic” tax cut. And, of course, he bragged about having signed an executive order “to protect religious liberty in America” and to “stop the Johnson Amendment from interfering with your First Amendment rights.” Perhaps in a nod to those Religious Right activists who were disappointed that his order did not include sweeping exemptions for LGBT discrimination in the name of religion, Trump assured the audience, “Believe me, we’re not finished yet.”

And there you have it. Not finished yet, not by a long shot, and unless this catastrophe masquerading as a human being is ousted, the theocracy will continue marching in, with brutal oppression for everyone.

Trump cited the Bible, reading from a verse in Isaiah, as well as more vaguely stating:

[A]s the Bible tells us, we know that the truth will prevail, that God’s glorious wisdom will shine through, and that the good and decent people of this country will get the change they voted for and that they so richly deserve.

That’s pro forma for Trump, a bunch of shit wrapped in shiny gold foil, but if there’s one thing the Religious Reich is good at, it’s reading into things, deciding “ooh, he meant ____” and then applying pressure for whatever filled the blank.

Trump seemingly, but vaguely, endorsed Christian-nation activists’ goal of returning official prayer and religious instruction into the nation’s schools, saying schools “should not be a place that drive out faith and religion, but that should welcome faith and religion with wide-open beautiful arms.”

Oh goody, shades of Bush Jr with his faith based initiatives and abstinence only crap. This promises to be worse.

Trump also endorsed Religious Right fearmongering about the religious freedom of conservative Christians being under attack in America, saying “It is time to put a stop to the attacks on religion.” He promised, “As long as I’m president, no one is going to stop you from practicing your faith or preaching what is in your heart.”

I am beyond sick to death of this shit. No one stops anyone from practicing your faith (as long as you’re christian, or profess to be) or standing on a street corner screaming yourself hoarse. I don’t care what religion you might be, however, I appreciate it if you keep it in your pocket. I can handle my own affairs, thanks. You aren’t being fucking crucified if someone isn’t interested in your brand of psychopathic salvation, and you aren’t being oppressed if there are people who believe differently from yourself. It’s a free market – a marketplace of ideas, yeah? If people find what you’re selling to be nasty, stale, cruel, and stupid, time to change your product, not insist that everyone else get shut down, so shut the fuck up already.

And in a line recycled from his speech at Liberty University last month, Trump said, “In America we don’t worship government, we worship God.”

And, I repeat, In America, we don’t all worship “god”.  Sure as shit, theists certainly don’t all worship the same “god”. Christians don’t worship the same fucking “god”, for fuck’s sake. First, catch your god. Then define it.

Trump trashed Democrats as “obstructionists” and urged the activists to give him bigger Republican majorities in the House and Senate in the 2018 elections.

There’s something which needs to be fought, tooth and nail.

Reed had kicked off the luncheon by bragging about conservative electoral victories since his coalition was formed in 2010, and mocking mainstream media predictions about the Religious Right’s demise. Among the speakers who preceded Trump were Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Senator Ted Cruz.

Paxton bragged about how many times Texas had sued the federal government during his tenure. Among the cases he cited was a challenge to federal Department of Education rules on transgender students’ access to bathrooms; he said the state’s legal challenge to the Obama administration rules had delayed their implementation until the Trump administration dropped them. Paxton said that if Hillary Clinton had been elected and was able to name a Supreme Court justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia, “we were likely going to be in a post-constitutional America.” That didn’t happen, he said, thanks to the prayers and political work of Christian conservatives, “Praise God.”

We all know that prayer is utterly useless, but the Religious Reich will work harder than ever on the political front, and that has to be met with an overwhelming wall of resistance. I know I’m feeling burnt out, burnt crispy, but we cannot afford to stop, we cannot afford to stop countering this evil everywhere.

…Perdue praised Trump for doing what he said he’d do on the Supreme Court, regulation, and immigration and praised his trip to the Middle East. “Look, this president is nobody’s choir boy, right?” said Perdue to chuckles from the audience, “But he is a man of action.”

“No choir boy.” They know exactly what the Tiny Tyrant is, and they are perfectly okay with that, because he’s the instrument by which they think they can bring about the Theocalypse™. This is their one chance to see that hatred and evil win. This is a fight we cannot afford to lose.

Full story at RWW.

Taco Power!

Steven Georges/Orange County Register.

This is nice, I get to say Hey, that’s my hometown! Go Santa Ana! Any native SoCalian can tell you the wonder and pure mmmmmffff oh gods so good, can I have more of Mexican run food trucks. Some of the best food in the world, that. Back when I worked in Costa Mesa, the only time you took your life in your hands was the rush to the food trucks at lunch.

Good food has a way of bringing people together around a table. You could say food trucks do the same thing, but on the street and sidewalk.

That’s part of the idea behind an ongoing campaign in Southern California called Taco Trucks at Every Mosque, timed to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. And it has caught on fast in the parking lot outside the Islamic Center of Santa Ana, California, which largely serves the area’s Indo-Chinese community (Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim populations).

“It was so exciting to see people that have that have fasted … break their fast — many of them for the first time in our lives  to tacos,” says community activist Rida Hamida. She co-organized the campaign with Ben Vazquez, a history teacher in Santa Ana, and Resilience Orange County, a community non-profit. The campaign launched on Twitter as #TacoTrucksAtEveryMosque.

With fasting during daylight hours being one of the demands of the celebration of Ramadan, they arranged for the community’s iftar meal to arrive in a brightly painted, green taco truck.

This is wonderful and warm story, full of wonderful and warm people. A lot of Americans might want to note that it’s those brown peoples who are making inroads at community, peace, acceptance, and togetherness. Lots of pasty types could take a lesson. Full story here.

The Dept. of Just Us: Cease and Desist!

Volunteer lawyers wait at the international arrival area for travelers detained at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Friday, March 10, 2017. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast).

The Department of Justice is now insisting that lawyers helping immigrants shut down, and stop offering their services, because helping people, well, that’s a bad thing to do. This all hangs on a technicality, but one which is being exploited by the DOJ to remove legal help which is already scant on the ground for immigration matters. Immigrants do not have the right to legal representation here, which means that legal teams reaching out and offering help are doing it on their own time and dime. This is a devastating attack, yet another one which undermines one of those supposedly great pillars of America. It’s also outright white nationalism.

While the country has been fixated on President Trump’s firings, leaks and outbursts involving the Department of Justice, that agency has itself been stealthily attacking our democracy by telling good lawyers to stop representing people. Four weeks ago, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP)—a respected nonprofit in Seattle that represents immigrants in deportation proceedings—received a “cease and desist” letter from the DOJ threatening disciplinary action. The letter demanded that NWIRP drop representation of its clients and close down its asylum advisory program. The reason: a technicality, perversely applied. NWIRP is accused of breaking a rule that was put in place to protect people from lawyers or “notarios” who take their money and then drop their case.

Last week, NWIRP filed a lawsuit to defend itself against the DoJ’s order. What’s at stake extends far beyond NWIRP and the 5,000 people it serves every year. The outcome of this legal battle will profoundly impact access to legal representation for the tens of thousands of immigrants who apply for asylum in the United States every year and the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants whose cases are currently in front of an immigration judge.

Before I explain more, let’s step back for the context: You have no right to counsel in immigration proceedings. If you are not a citizen—or if the government merely alleges you aren’t—you can be taken from your home, jailed, and permanently deported without ever seeing a lawyer. This is perfectly legal. It happened to more than a million people under the Obama administration, which vastly expanded the machinery of deportation. (If you want this to be an “Obama was good, Trump is bad” story, sorry to disappoint.)

[…]

When lawyers rushed to airports this winter to protect our friends, our neighbors, and our Constitution, people cheered. The Trump administration took offense, and now those lawyers are in their cross hairs. The president is taking a sledgehammer to the pillars of our government: the FBI, the Justice Department, the federal courts. America, we are under attack.

The full story is here.

15 Million Dollars.

Chemical warfare, Turtle Island, Oceti Sakowin Camp, November, 2016. © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

New York Daily News writer Shaun King obtained audio where Energy Transfer Partners freely admitted that they worked closely with the Sheriff’s Association, and wow, did they ever. They became one and the same.

Water protectors who lived at camp can attest to ETP and law enforcement’s collusion and fraternization, but the record speaks for itself.

The Sheriffs’ Association has a $3.46 million dollar budget, according to tax forms. Some of this funding comes from corporate sources, like TigerSwan. TigerSwan maintains offices in Iraq and Afghanistan. TigerSwan’s CEO is a former adviser to the multinational private security firm, Blackwater. Blackwater was founded by Erik Prince, a Trump campaign donor and the brother of Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education. Besides funding the Sheriff’s Association, TigerSwan is in charge of Dakota Access intelligence and supervising overall security for the company. Tigerswan works for Dakota Access, while funding and partnering with the Sheriffs’ Association.

The Sheriff’s Association purchased military gear from the U.S. Department’s Defense Logistics Agency thanks to the Defense Department’s 1033 program. Think corporate welfare for the defense industry.

Wait, there’s more. Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren offered to reimburse North Dakota and Morton County for costs due to defending the Dakota Access Pipeline.

So why are U.S. taxpayers forking over $15 million dollars to North Dakota?

Despite the fossil fuel industry’s wishes, America is not an oil company with an army. We should not be bankrolling our own oppression.

Incidentally, the Dakota Access Pipeline is not even operational yet, and it’s already sprung a leak in South Dakota, just southwest of the Lake Traverse Reservation. End this foolishness.

Ruth Hopkins at Indian Country Today has the full story.

“What The Fuck Is That?”

© Getty Images.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has also responded to the idiocy of Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID).

“Like this guy, this congressman, you might as well say, ‘People don’t starve because they don’t have food.’ What the f— is that? What are you saying? How can you say that?” Harris asked during an interview with Pod Save America, a podcast run by former Obama staffers.

Harris, a freshman Democrat, appeared to be referring to Rep. Raul Labrador’s (R-Idaho) statement that “nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”

[…]

Asked what Democrats could do to slow the bill down now that it’s reached the Senate, Harris said its critics should “just speak the truth.”

“The truth is that these folks are playing politics with public health,” she said during the interview. “If Republicans want people to lose their healthcare, then the Republicans need to lose their job.”

She added that “[Republicans are] engaged in all this happy talk that is bull — not truth.”

Loud cheers for Sen. Harris being unafraid to speak up and out. The Hill has the full story.

Pink Floyd’s Pigs Will Fly!

Artist’s rendering – Flying Pigs on Parade over the Chicago River.

“Flying Pigs on Parade” is a visual response to the loud, illogical and frequently hateful expressions that polluted the presidential elections and that now define the actions of our U.S. leadership. 

One hundred years ago the Russian Revolution launched a series of events that would drastically alter the world. George Orwell used these events as the basis for his 1946 novella Animal Farm. The poignancy of the text has reverberated with many generations. We feel the message, once again, seems sadly relevant.

In 1977 Pink Floyd rendered their musical interpretation of the allegory into the concept album Animals in response to social-political conditions in late-70’s Britain. Like Orwell’s book, the interpretive messages of Animals have unfortunately become highly relevant again.

[…]

Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) has given us approval to replicate the original iconic Battersea pig in gold. Since we will have invested in the balloons, we intend to deploy the folly in other cities.

Flying Pigs on Parade is intended to first deploy in Chicago as a single day art installation. Most of the technical bits have been resolved. We are currently progressing through requirements for municipal approval, negotiating a float date in late summer.

We will need financial assistance in implementing the project.

(please see “DONATE” at top of page or our GoFundMe.com page)

If you can, help to spread the pigs all over! Flying Pigs On Parade. Donate!

Raw story has this also.