A Smithsonian Noose and Lynching Threats.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (Facebook).

Yet another noose has been found at The Smithsonian, this time on the floor of an exhibition about segregation.

A noose, a symbol of racial lynching, was found on Wednesday on the floor of an exhibit about segregation at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution officials said.

[…]

“The Smithsonian family stands together in condemning this act of hatred and intolerance, especially repugnant in a museum that affirms and celebrates the American values of inclusion and diversity,” the institution’s secretary, David Skorton, told the staff in an internal email. “We will not be intimidated.”

Full story here.

Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor has been forced to cancel portions of her book tour, thanks to coverage from Fox News, who painted her as an evil anti-Trump person.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor delivered the commencement address last month at Hampshire College, and Fox News aired a portion of the 20-minute speech Sunday that called attention to her criticism of President Donald Trump, reported The Stranger.

Taylor, a Princeton University professor of African-American studies, described the president as a “racist, sexist, megalomaniac,” and the Fox News report suggested that she was encouraging activists to lawlessly thwart the Trump agenda.

After the report on her “Anti-POTUS tirade” aired, Taylor said she has received more than 50 hateful and threatening emails — some of which were issued with such specificity that she canceled portions of a tour to promote her new book, “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation.”

“Shortly after the Fox story and video were published, my work email was inundated with vile and violent statements. I have been repeatedly called ‘n****r,’ ‘b*tch,’ ‘c*nt,’ ‘dyke,’ ‘she-male,’ and ‘coon’ — a clear reminder that racial violence is closely aligned with gender and sexual violence,” Taylor said. “I have been threatened with lynching and having the bullet from a .44 Magnum put in my head.”

She accused the conservative network of airing the report in an attempt to silence her and other Trump critics.

“I am not a newsworthy person,” Taylor said. “Fox did not run this story because it was ‘news,’ but to incite and unleash the mob-like mentality of its fringe audience, anticipating that they would respond with a deluge of hate-filled emails — or worse. The threat of violence, whether it is implied or acted on, is intended to intimidate and to silence.”

This awful reactionary shite on the part of conservatives everywhere is seriously out of hand. Not long ago, PZ had a post up which included a terrifying view of how the GOP thinks, and they think that liberal people are so darn scary, it justifies hiring Three Percenters and Oath Keepers and the like to protect them, because us evil liberals think they are Nazis. Yes, well…if you’re willing to embrace white supremacist ideology and hire Nazis, you should probably expect that sort of thing. People are being murdered; threats are amping up; hate crimes are again spiking. We must carry on fighting, more than ever before.

“Their side uses the threat of violence and intimidation because they cannot compete in the field of politics, ideas, and organizing,” she said. “The true strength of our side has not yet been expressed in its size and breadth, and so they believe they are winning. We have to change this dynamic and begin to build a massive movement against racism, sexism, and bigotry in this country. I remain undaunted in my commitment to that project.”

I stand with Professor Taylor. The right insists that liberals are horrible, violent people, because we do things like criticise, and protest. Oh yes, there are those vicious letter writing campaigns, too. There’s a hell of a lot of projection on the Right Reich’s side, and they are willing to embrace actual violence along with Nazism.

Full story here.

Spite Your Face.

CN: misogyny, violence, rape. Have a care before continuing.

Rachel Maclean:

13 May – 26 November 2017
Chiesa di Santa Caterina, Fondamenta Santa Caterina, 30121, Cannaregio
Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm, free entry (also open Monday 15 May)

Rachel Maclean is representing Scotland at the 57th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale, with major new film commission Spite Your Face – a modern-day, dark Venetian fairytale presented as a large-scale portrait projection at the altar of a deconsecrated church.

Rachel Maclean, Spite Your Face, 2017, digital video (still). Courtesy the artist. Commissioned by Alchemy Film & Arts in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh on behalf of Scotland + Venice.

In Venice’s Chiesa di Santa Caterina, I am sitting in a pew, looking up to where the altar would normally be, watching the distinct yet unfamiliar movements of a gigantic nose being masturbated. A blue, gloved hand runs up and down its glittering gold length, and its owner, a cartoonish young perfume-purveying influencer named Pic, groans with pleasure. “I intended it to be shocking,” says Scottish artist Rachel Maclean, of her contribution to Scotland’s presence in Venice during the Biennale, a 35-minute, looping film with no beginning or end, that follows Pic on a morality tale that pits his conscience against his greed.

[…]

It would be hard not to see the political significance of the piece, in a world where outright lies appear to be de rigeur for anyone in the public eye. “I was disturbed by the ways in which lies had been used in the Trump campaign and the Brexit campaign, in a lazy sense, to substantiate a political narrative or an idea,” Maclean says. “I started writing the script in December last year and it was a scary time…” One narrative that stands out from the film is the idea of a transformation of fortune, a rags-to-riches redemption (or riches-to-rags, depending on which order you watch the film in), that sees a destitute young boy wind up as shill for a perfume brand called “Untruth.” This creates a fake corporate illusion, in comparison to the magic “Truth” one given to him by his fairy godmother.

“I’ve always been interested in perfume because it seems absurd,” says Maclean. “Really, it’s just a bottle of smelly liquid but it’s packaged in this way that not only makes the object into something more valuable, but it also suggests that you spraying it onto yourself transforms you into something more powerful and alluring.” This idea of a transformative solution to society’s problems critiques these myths that we are told about social mobility: lean in, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, it’s the American Dream. “I was interested in the compassionless aspect of it. The narrative suggests, if you work hard enough and if you dream it, you can do it. It’s a convenient way to gloss over the lack of social mobility in our society,” adds Maclean.

Another uncomfortable moment comes right after the unforgettable nose-onanism, where Pic’s guardian angel joins him in the sexual act. Pic becomes enraged at a perceived insult and ends up brutally raping this maternal figure. It’s uncomfortable, in fact, almost unbearable to watch, even though it’s still, absurdly, carried out by the character’s nose, lengthened from all those lies. “I’ve been disturbed by the rise in visible misogyny,” Maclean says, when asked about this scene. “There’s a level of immunity to it—where we’re just not affected by it. I wanted the rape scene to feel palpably violent and difficult to watch, so that it’s able to break through the surface of that a little bit.”

Rachel Maclean, Spite Your Face, 2017, digital video (still). Courtesy the artist. Commissioned by Alchemy Film & Arts in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh on behalf of Scotland + Venice.

The Creators Project has the full story, and more photos. There’s also more at Scotland and Venice.  I have no doubt this is both and impressive and disturbing work; not one I would find easy to sit through, but I would like to see it all the same.

Facebook’s Internal Rulebook.

Facebook’s policy on threats of violence. A tick means something can stay on the site; a cross means it should be deleted. Photograph: Guardian.

The Guardian has an in-depth look at the ongoing problems of Facebook.  If you’re on FB, you’re no doubt already familiar with all these problems and inconsistencies, but you might want to still take the time to do the reading, it’s very interesting, to say the least. As I remarked on this post, the big problem with FB is that they are well aware of the fact that no matter how much people get upset, they won’t kill their account and walk.

As for the above graphic, one of many, “To snap a bitch’s neck, make sure to apply all your pressure to the middle of the throat.” is allowed because it’s not considered to be a credible threat, too generic. Given the sheer amount of women murdered every single. damn. day., I have a whole lot of problems with that, to say the least. Someone, somewhere, will appreciate that information, and put it to use. All I have here is WTF FB?

I had been considering going back to FB, for an Affinity feed, but have been very hesitant to do so. This made up my mind. No. My personal principles won’t stand for it.

*Ob. Disclaimer: Yes, I know most of the effing world is on FB, and that’s fine. I’m making a judgment call for myself, no one else.

Full story at The Guardian.

“…they should be LYNCHED!”

CREDIT: screengrab.

One Karl Oliver, a rethuglican representative, has made an open, unapologetic statement about the removal of monuments to slavery. Specifically, he wrote:

“The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, ‘leadership’ of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State.”

I haven’t heard one thing about these statues being destroyed. Removed from the public square, yes. The state could always put them up for auction, so hateful bigots like Oliver and his pals who approved his statement, could fork over serious money for them, and plant them in their backyard, where they could continue to worship hatred, bigotry, and slavery. The money could go for education, so we end up with fewer ignoramuses of Oliver’s type.

As Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, there is a difference between the memory of history, and the reverence of it, and that sentence says all that is needed. These monuments, like the confederate flag, are not a type of aide-mémoire to history; they are a paean to horrible, blood-soaked, hate-fueled times in our recent past. And while we should certainly remember such times and actions, to remind of us of how easily we hate, and how easily we are willing to kill for that hate, that’s not, and never was, the purpose of these monuments. They were created to have some sort of victory; to bolster a sense of self-righteousness in the fight to keep the right of owning other humans.

Not only do I think it’s past time for these types of monuments to go quietly away, I also think the confederate flag, that handy American version of the swastika, should go as well. People such as Karl Oliver need to walk off into the sunset as well, being little more than bags of puffed up, vitriolic bigotry. We don’t need you anymore, either.

Think Progress has the full story.

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.

Sheriff David Clarke Gets His Trump Appointment.

Sheriff David Clarke Jr. CREDIT: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin.

I’m sure that Dave Clarke is just giddy over being appointed to homeland security. For the rest of us, it’s a walking, talking, nightmare. No one could possibly be less qualified than Clarke, whose hatred knows no bounds. Many times over, this man should have been tried for his crimes, and if there was any justice, he’d be sitting in a prison cell for the rest of his life.  He’s in the midst of a prison deaths scandal right now, but apparently, that doesn’t matter, anymore than his previous crimes. This is just the tip of the Clarke iceberg:

Clarke has called the Black Lives Matter movement “black slime” that “needs to be eradicated from the American society and the American culture,” “garbage” and a “subversive movement” that seeks to overthrow the government, and said that the movement is driven by “an ideology of victimhood with a list of grievances that do not exist.” He has dismissed concerns about police brutality by saying that “black criminal abuse, black criminal brutality” is “the real brutality going on in the United States.” The real problem in “the American ghetto,” he has said, is “modern liberalism.”

Clarke said that Michael Brown, the black teenager shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri, was a “co-conspirator in his own demise” because he “chose thug life.” After Sandra Bland, a black woman who had been thrown to the ground during a traffic stop, died in police custody, Clarke went on Fox News to chastise her. He said that he would have used even more force against a group of black teenagers who were thrown to the ground by police outside a public swimming pool in Ohio, telling people who saw a racial component in the action to “shut up already.”

Clarke has been colorful in his condemnation of President Obama and Hillary Clinton for sympathizing with the Black Lives Matter movement, calling them “straight-up cop haters.” He called Obama a “heartless, soulless bastard” for speaking up about “goons” killed by police and said that the Obama administration’s attempts to address racial disparities in policing were a plot to “emasculate the police” in order to impose dictatorial control.” He accused the president of worsening racial divides in the country by pitting “whites against blacks” and “Hispanics against Americans.”

The sheriff is also happy to throw red meat to his conservative audience on a number of other topics. After the Supreme Court struck down state marriage equality bans, Clarke called for a “revolution” to “get this country back,” complete with “pitchforks and torches,” urging his audience to launch a standoff against the federal government the next time a bakery or the like is fined for refusing business to a same-sex couple.

When Trump caused a national uproar when he attacked a judge because of his Mexican-American heritage, Clarke took to his radio show to defend the candidate.

Clarke first became a conservative hero when, in 2013, he aired radio ads in his county urging citizens not to rely on calling 911 but instead to learn to protect themselves against crime. Speaking at the National Rifle Association’s convention last year, he proposed adding a semi-automatic rifle to the Great Seal of the United States. Appearing on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio program, Clarke warned that a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban would lead to gun confiscations that would spark “the second coming of the American Revolution, the likes of which would make the first revolution pale by comparison.”

While Clarke has no patience for African Americans who have deadly run-ins with the police, he has repeatedly associated himself with anti-government militia groups who have staged armed standoffs with federal government agents or who threaten to defy federal law. Earlier this year, when a group of armed activists took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, Clarke backed their cause, saying that the country had reached a “pitchforks and torches moment” that couldn’t be solved by an election.

In 2013, after he aired his ads discouraging citizens from relying on 911, Clarke accepted the “ Constitutional Sheriff of the Year” award from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, an anti-government group that promotes the idea that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the country and thus have the power to defy federal laws that they believe are unconstitutional. In his acceptance speech , Clarke declared that “government” was the “common enemy” of the “patriots” in the room. In a radio interview that year, he said that “on an everyday basis, to me, federal government is a bigger threat” than terrorism.

Just this year, Clarke spoke at a fundraising event for the New York chapter of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government group aligned with the Constitutional Sheriffs that urges law enforcement officers and military personnel to defy laws they believe are unconstitutional and encourages its members to form militias ready to defy an out-of-control federal government. At that event, Clarke called Black Lives Matter a “hate group” and vowed to do “everything I can” to get Trump elected president.

Via RWW, click on over for the full story.

Also see: Why Sheriff Clarke will be a disaster in his new job, according to his predecessor: ‘Just plain awful’.

Pigs Will Fly 2.

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

Last night, I posted about Flying Pigs on Parade, a great art project, and one which needs help from people! Marcus gave me another reason to spread the word:

Enjoy, and please, if you can, donate to Flying Pigs on Parade, so that pigs will fly in front of Trump everywhere.

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.

“It did not meet our core values,” (Updated.)

CREDIT: Twitter.

Cops brazenly gun down 15 year old Jordan Edwards, and now that their lies have been exposed, we get “it did not meet our core values.” How about you arrest and charge the murderous piece of shit cop who decided a 15 year old just had to die? The fact that you haven’t says plenty to me about your so called “core values”.

Think Progress has the full story. My mood is definitely not better.

UPDATE: The murderer has been fired, but not charged, and not arrested. Full story here.

Copwatch Premieres At Tribeca Film Festival.

Copwatch Documentary still.

Copwatch will be premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, April 23rd to April 28th, if you can grab a ticket and watch!

Copwatch is the true story of We Copwatch, an organization whose mission is to film police activity as a non-violent form of protest and deterrent to police brutality. Around the country, a network of regular people take up cameras to bear witness to police actions and hold law enforcement to accountability. Director Camilla Hall profiles several We Copwatch members, including a young California dad who’s found direction in this activism, and Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed Eric Garner’s fatal Staten Island arrest in the devastating video that has galvanized protestors and activists nationwide. And yet Orta is the only person involved in these incidents who has seen the inside of a jail cell. In her powerful directorial debut, Hall crafts an intriguing and incredibly timely profile of citizen-journalist-activists who are seeking to disrupt the ever-present challenge of police violence.

—Opal Bennett

If you’re unaware of We Copwatch, please become aware, and if you haven’t supported We Copwatch, please consider doing so now. You can get a snazzy T-shirt or hoodie!

The Joy of Housing.

Rick Steves gets a hug.

Ricks Steves, author, and well known television travel guru, has his own idea of investing, and that investment hasn’t just grown over the years, it’s helped a tremendous amount of people.

Travel guide guru Rick Steves just gave a $4 million apartment complex to homeless women and kids who need housing.

Steves realized, early on, the importance of affordable housing, during his travel adventures (how else?) as a young man in Europe.

[…]

Twenty years ago, he devised a scheme where he could put my retirement savings not into a bank to get interest, but into cheap apartments that could house struggling neighbors.

“I would retain my capital, my equity would grow as the apartment complex appreciated,” Steves explained on his travel blog. “Rather than collecting rent, my “income” would be the joy of housing otherwise desperate people. I found this a creative, compassionate and more enlightened way to “invest” while retaining my long-term security.”

The 24-unit apartment complex became began housing single moms who were recovering from drug addiction and were now ready to get custody of their children back.

“Imagine the joy of knowing that I could provide a simple two-bedroom apartment for a mom and her kids as she fought to get her life back on track.”

There’s a nice little glow. Steves has now given the complex over to the Y.

Via Raw Story.