“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…]

I approve this tactic. UPDATED: Trump demands apology.


: The Twit in Chief took to Twitter to demand an apology for this unconscionable harassment:

Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing.This should not happen!

And:

The Theater must always be a safe and special place.The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!

“Harassed.” LOL. Sure.

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Vice President-elect Mike Pence (R-eligious Bigot) went to see the Broadway show Hamilton last night, and got booed by the audience. Good.

[Read more…]

And another thing.

Caine’s comment on my last post brought to mind something I wrote on a friend’s Facebook post yesterday:

Sadly, I used to have much more empathy and compassion for conservatives than I do now. When their political orientation comes down to “I got mine, f*ck you and f*ck them” – and yes, it really is that simple, narcissistic, infantile and un-nuanced – I no longer find myself able to give a single, solitary f*ck about them. I can *understand* them, and to a certain limited extent have basic empathy for them as I would any human being. But I can no longer honestly say that I don’t wish for them that they reap exactly what they have sown. And then some. I am not proud of this, BTW. But “be the better person” no longer cuts it for me as a survival mechanism (if it ever really did). Not when conservatives are *by nature* opposed to equality in principle, and indifferent (at best) to unnecessary suffering, except for their own.

And in case you were wondering, that also goes for the conservatives in the Democratic Party Squirrel People.

OWN THAT S#!+.

Somebody commented on my cross-post about the election at my other blog. Well, “commented” isn’t quite the right word—more like “Demsplained.” I’ve been seeing a lot of this, and I am not having it. I’ll spare you the whole self-righteous rant, but I do want to address the overall gist by responding to a few brief excerpts.

Stop blaming Bernie supporters.

Not if they stayed home on election day, no. They absolutely share the blame. (I voted for Sanders in the primary.)

Stop blaming white people.

The ones who overwhelmingly voted for Trump? The ones who stayed home or cast third-party votes in swing states? No.

Stop blaming Black people or Latinos.

Only a Trump-magnitude asshole would ever do that.

Stop blaming people who voted their conscience.

Jeezus Christ. EVERYONE voted their conscience, and even people who stayed home did so because of conscience. Their consciences suck. I can and will hold accountable every single one of them if they had any part in this outcome. Lard knows they’re highly unlikely to ever do it themselves. Especially not with people like you ranting about how blameless they all are.

You’re looking for me to suck it up and sing kumbaya with people who by their own action or inaction threw women, LGBTQs, immigrants, Muslims, Native Americans, the disabled, blacks and Latinxs, the poor, the environment, 20 million people who will lose health insurance etc. under the fucking bus because “They want us fighting among ourselves,” “They want us divided,” and “That’s how they always win.” No. That is an abuser’s tactic, and that shit does not fly with me. Not any more.

I am not the one who did the fucking “dividing” here; YOU are refusing to hold accountable those who are actually responsible. They, and you, need to OWN THAT SHIT.

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If you’re getting a sense of deja vu like I am, I think its because the parallels to Big Tent Atheism™ are only too obvious.

Korryn Gaines #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter

The following is a post by my friend and Freethought Blogs colleague Nathan Hevenstone. Nate requested that it be reposted far and wide. I am happy to oblige.

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Just when I thought I could start posting lighter stuff…

Cops shoot, kill woman barricaded with little boy wounded in Baltimore standoff (I don’t know if the video in the link shows the shooting… I can’t get it to play. I’m sorry. Be wary just in case.)

In a fit of road rage, Anthony Vigilotti pointed a handgun directly at a police officer, but was arrested later that day without incident. From his mugshot, it doesn’t even look like he received a scratch in the process.

Jed Frazier pointed his handgun directly at police, but “officers and medics took shelter and continued to make contact with Frazier. Shortly before 3 a.m. Police say they broke the windows in the truck and extricated Frazier. Frazier was treated for minor injuries before being taken to the Lawrence County Jail.”

In a quick search, I found a dozen similar stories from July alone. White men, be they mass shooters like Dylann Roof (Charleston), James Holmes (Aurora), or Jared Lee Loughner (Tucson) — or men like William Bruce Ray, Anthony Vigilotti, or Jed Frazier — all live to face a jury of their peers.

Korryn Gaines doesn’t have a violent history. She was a cosmetologist and, according to her friends and family, a doting mother. She should’ve received the treatment that all of those armed white men received. Somehow, in each of those cases, police found in their hearts to overcome their fears without unloading their guns on those men.

That’s white privilege.

It should be noted that at least 682 people have been murdered by the police this year.

korryngaines

Korryn Gaines posing with her son over her back. Both look very happy.

I really want to say more. I’d like to say how enraged I am, how every time I post something like this, I do it through tears. And that is 100% true. I’m in tears now.

But so fucking what? What do my rage and my tears accomplish?

For those who are already dead, nothing.

I can support Black Lives Matter, and they are still dead.

I can post about them, and they are still dead.

I can show pictures of them being people, and they are still dead.

I can vote, and they are still dead.

I can donate money, and they are still dead.

I can talk about my white privilege, and they are still dead.

I can get out in the streets, and they are still dead.

These people, whose lives did fucking matter, at least to me, are now dead, never to see their children grow up, never to see or meet their grandchildren, or great grandchildren, never to see how there lives would progress into the future…

Because they were murdered by the damn state. Everything I try to do to make some kind of small change, to support a future where this doesn’t happen, doesn’t help the ones who are already dead.

But it can help those who are still alive, and still in danger. I can at least do something for all of you still breathing because, so far, the cops have seen fit to let you live.

God I’m sorry. It means nothing, but I’m sorry. We white people have to make it stop. Things have to change. And I’ll keep using my privilege and my platform to speak up, for those of you who are still alive, because your lives DO FUCKING MATTER. And until this country accepts that, I won’t stop saying it.

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Thank you, Nate.

blacklivesmatter

Thoughts on Paul Jay interview with Henry Giroux.

Paul Jay of The Real News had an interesting discussion (in two parts) with author and scholar Henry Giroux about a potential Trump presidency and its implications for democracy. In normal times, I would find Giroux laughably hyperbolic when he says, for instance, that under a Trump presidency the world is in serious danger of nuclear war, or that political dissent would be criminalized.

These are not normal times.

[Read more…]

Petition to the president to protect over 100,000 Native American sites.

Via a CREDO* Action email this morning:

save-bears-ears-180

Nearly 1.9 million acres of unprotected, culturally important Native American land in Utah known as Bears Ears have been looted and vandalized for years. Artifacts have been desecrated and stolen – and human remains have even been disturbed.1

While the area is owned by the federal government, only two law enforcement officers patrol this vast swath of land.2

President Obama can easily protect these vulnerable sites by designating Bears Ears a national monument, which would provide the government the resources it needs to protect this land. With more than 100,000 Native American cultural sites at Bears Ears, the Obama Administration must take immediate action to protect Bears Ears before even more damage is done.

Tell President Obama: Designate Bears Ears a national monument.

The movement to protect Bears Ears has overwhelming support. 71% of Utah residents support the creation of a national monument,3 and more than 700 archaeologists4 and a coalition of tribes, including the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute, and Uintah & Ouray Ute, have called on the president to designate the land at Bears Ears a monument.5

However, Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and other anti-conservation, right-wing extremists in Congress are using Bears Ears as their latest example of so-called “federal overreach” of public lands by the Obama Administration.6 This is the same reasoning Cliven Bundy and his extreme, gun-toting supporters have recently used to justify their armed clashes with federal authorities, and threats of an “armed insurrection” over Bears Ears have been reported.7

In the face of the destruction of sacred Native American sites and the desecration of ancient human remains, it’s unconscionable that right-wing extremists want to play politics instead of protecting such an important place.

Before any more Native American sites are destroyed at Bears Ears, the Obama Administration must act to permanently protect this sacred land from further looting and vandalism.

Tell President Obama: Designate Bears Ears a national monument.

Thanks for all you do.

References

  1. Jenny Rowland, “Bears Ears Cultural Area: The Most Vulnerable U.S. Site for Looting, Vandalism, and Grave Robbing,” Center for American Progress, June 13, 2016
  2. Bears Ears deserves national monument designation,” Washington Post, June 8, 2016
  3. Brian Maffly, “New survey finds 71 percent support Bears Ears monument in Utah,” The Salt Lake Tribune, May 17, 2016
  4. Ginger Perales, Hundreds of Archaeologists Sign on to Protect Bears Ears,” New Historian, June 20, 2016
  5. Anne Minard, “Tribes Ask President Obama to Designate Bears Ears as National Monument,” Indian Country Today, October 15, 2015
  6. Orrin Hatch, “Hatch: A Bears Ears monument would be federal overreach,” The Salt Lake Tribune, June 12, 2016
  7. Judith Eilperin, “A major Native American site is being looted. Will Obama risk armed confrontation to save it?,” Washington Post, June 5, 2016

The petition to President Obama reads:

“The nearly 1.9 million acres at Bears Ears contain over 100,000 culturally important Native American sites but are mostly unprotected and have been subject to repeated vandalism and looting. Designate Bears Ears a national monument to protect this land for good.”

I am not normally optimistic about clicktivism accomplishing much of anything, but on rare occasions it does so. And in any event it certainly cannot hurt. Please sign and share the petition.

Thank you, and have a nice day.

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*If you aren’t already a CREDO mobile customer, maybe you should be?

This message is for white people.

policearrestingpeacefulblackprotestorImage via The Love Life Of An Asian Guy.

I am ashamed to admit that in the wake of the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castille, Alva Braziel and the police shootings in Dallas I have felt so overwhelmed, angry, sad, helpless and unable to concentrate long enough to write coherently about them or the larger context surrounding them. I say “ashamed,” because I am aware that my reaction is a speck of dust compared to the universe of pain, rage, injustice and fear in which black people are forced to dwell in this country 24/7/365. No matter how much I may be reeling, I can always check out, post goofy shit for sale on the Internet, cry into my cocktail and generally go along on my merry way. There is no fucking escape for them.

I felt some measure of relief when I read this post by my friend Dana Hunter. It’s a compilation of practical actions that all of us can take to help turn this sorry state of affairs around—and turn it around we must. I don’t know about you, but it helps me to process grief by doing something specific that is asked of me by those more directly affected, even the smallest action, even if I am pessimistic about it making any difference at all. The fact is, it’s worth doing not only because it makes me feel productive and useful, but because all great movements for change require countless small actions by countless people, most of them unseen and unsung. These things add up. Mere drops in the ocean form the great wave.

With Dana’s kind permission, I am sharing her post here in its entirety.

[Read more…]

Buy my $#!+, people.

My little blog adventures (blogventures?) continue to enrich and sustain me in so many ways. However, not one of those ways is “financially.”

Until joining this network, I’ve never blogged in a space that generates revenue by serving up ads. Frankly, the way this whole ad dealio works leads to some comically absurd results. The algorithms that generate ads for a site are based in large part on its content, but apparently the ghosts in the machine are not sophisticated enough to detect satire, mockery, snark or general derision. So for example at Pharyngula (and PZ is nothing if not a fire-breathing atheist and first-rate mocker of religious ridiculousness), we are all regularly treated to ads imploring us to sign up for Christian Mingle, attend Mormon colleges and join the fucking Jehovah’s Witnesses. NOBODY’S CLICKING ON THAT SHIT. I don’t see it because I’m logged in, but I can only imagine what the ad feed looks like here: Crisis Pregnancy Centers, squirrel feeders, Jerry Coyne lecture tours and worst of all, the Democratic National Committee. Christ.

The work I do here—and yes, it is work—is not without its costs, timewise and otherwise. I was recently inspired, thanks to a colleague and a commenter here, to propose a WIN-WIN: I make it easy for you to buy cool stuff, and then you buy it. I get a (small) cut, and you get cool stuff.

All proceeds to fund subverting the status quo, smashing the patriarchy, dismantling white supremacy, waging war on warmongers, obliterating the oligarchy, sustaining struggling friends, monitoring the squirrel menace, mocking conservatives and/or cat food.

BUY MY SHIT.

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Look, I’ve organized it into collections for you.

conservativetearslzstorebanner

conservative tears

Soothe your rabid rage at right-wing blowhards and repel conservatives from your general vicinity!

conservativetearssamples__________

dtszstorebanner

#deathtosquirrels

Do your part to shake the people from their stupor and break the hypnotic spell of the enemy rodents BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! #squirrelpocalypse

dtssamples

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medicareforallzstorebanner

medicare for all

Help drag the USA up to the standards of 20th century civilization by demanding single payer health care NOW!

medicareforallsamples__________

pspzstorebanner

perry street palace™

For my Many Tens of Loyal Readers™ at Perry Street Palace™, now’s your chance to join the Official Palace Army™! Demonstrate devotion to Your Humble Monarch™ while shamelessly shilling for Iris’s other blog! Proudly announce to all the world your support for the senseless overuse of Trademark Symbols™!

pspsamples __________

irisiriszstorebanner

iris iris

Research shows that people tend to behave more ethically when cued that they’re being watched: adorning yourself and your home with this eye-catching (<-hahaha) collection instantly improves the behavior of everyone around you! IRIS SEES YOU. #creepychic

irisirissamples

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But okay, so maybe you don’t want any more actual stuff. I totally get that. (Big shoutout to mah NYC peeps! MY KINGDOM FOR A WALK-IN CLOSET.) In that case you could just, you know, pay me actual money. YES. If you appreciate what I do here, maybe put some money where your infotainment is and PAY ME. :D

payme

Naturally, all of this goes only IF you have a few bucks to spare. Many people do not, and in any event no one should feel obligated to contribute to my cat food fund. Particularly when they’re thisclose to eating cat food themselves.

AGAIN: All proceeds to fund subverting the status quo, smashing the patriarchy, dismantling white supremacy, waging war on warmongers, obliterating the oligarchy, sustaining struggling friends, monitoring the squirrel menace, mocking conservatives and/or cat food.

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Isn’t this fun? This is fun.

Have a nice day.