Facebook knows better. Let’s make it DO better.

Via email from Color of Change (all emphasis in original):

color of change's facebook campaign image: pile of facebook's iconic thumbs-up "like" icons turned upside-down, with text "IT'S BEEN A YEAR. FACEBOOK DO SOMETHING."

Dear Iris:

One year ago, in response to Facebook doubling down on their refusal to remove calls to violence against Black protestors, we launched our “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign. Together, with our partners and Color Of Change members like you, we successfully compelled an unprecedented 1,200 business partners to withdraw millions of dollars in advertising from Facebook for failing to protect Black users and community stakeholders.1 The boycott increased the pressure we placed on Facebook to respond, resulting in them agreeing to some of our long standing demands, including creating a senior role to oversee civil rights at the company and a dedicated team to study algorithmic racial bias.2 Despite these important changes, Facebook continues to fall far short of adequately addressing the harms they cause our communities. [Read more…]

The 99.5 Percent Act.

As I’ve mentioned previously, Roots Action is an activist group I happily allow to gain entrée into my inbox. Even on the rare occasions when I disagree, their messaging is always informative and concise, and their target selection is spot-on. (More on the group here.)

Today’s missive concerns a bill being introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressdude Jimmy Gomez called the 99.5% Act, and provides a link to send a letter to the Goldman Sachs puppets on Capitol Hill who pretend to represent your interests and those of your fellow citizens who reside in your congressional district and state. The letter urges these assholes to get on board with this bill.

Hahaha. Yes, I know.

[Read more…]

Questions for Secretary of State Nominee Antony Blinken.

Roots Action is an online activist groups that I happily allow to exist in my inbox: I find their messaging educational and their activism worthwhile. In case you are unfamiliar with them:

RootsAction is an online initiative dedicated to galvanizing people who are committed to economic fairness, equal rights for all, civil liberties, environmental protection — and defunding endless wars.

(More info at this link.)

Today they sent me an exemplary missive regarding Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. Of course all such nominees are subject to Senate approval, so Roots Action has helpfully drafted questions for Senators to use when they query Mr. Blinken during the vetting process. These are questions that elected officials in any functioning democracy could, should and would demand be answered to the public’s satisfaction before handing over a set of keys to the kingdom. Which means these inquiries are highly unlikely to be asked, or even considered.

But that doesn’t mean that such email campaigns are not worth your click. For one thing, when a sizable enough number of constituents bombards your Senators’ offices with a single concern, some poor staffer is duty-bound to bring it to his or her attention. Unless the Senator in question is, say, Bernie Sanders, this particular collection of emails will have the effect of pissing them off. I mean really irritating the shit out of them.

Now doesn’t that mere thought alone warm your little black heart? Click here, and ruin a Goldman Sachs puppet’s day!

Second, I am a very big fan of taking actions that shift the Overton window. It is certainly in need of a hell of a lot of shifting, especially after conservatives have spent the last several decades on a singular mission to convince us all that people like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are godless communists. There is no question this effort has worked out splendidly for conservatives.

Yet in more recent years we have finally witnessed “fringe” ideas enter the mainstream from both the right and the left. For instance, Medicare for All is not yet seriously on the table, but it no longer gets you laughed out of the room, either. Lowering the Medicare eligibility age, as Biden pretends he wants to do, would certainly be a shift in the same direction. Even more promising, a public option/Medicare buy-in has picked up traction, too. If enacted, I predict this would drag the Overton window toward the single payer point much farther and faster than many now envision. That’s because a Medicare buy-in would never be restricted to individuals: here in ‘Murikka where Corporations ‘R People®, big business buy-in to more affordable employee health coverage could topple the private insurance industry with lightning speed.

Meanwhile, poor Mr. Overton must be nearly dead now from all that punching from the right. Not very long ago the violent overthrow of Congress at the direction of the US president by a bunch of badly dressed mooks sure seemed like a pretty fringe idea. Yet here we are.

The Roots Action email campaign is set up so you can modify the text before it gets routed to your Senators, and I took full advantage of this opportunity. Roots Action’s message is serious and well-documented, though still outside of more mainstream discourse. So is mine, but in the current political environment I’m quite sure I sound like a deranged lefty berserker. Good. Because you know what? It takes an awful lot of little pushes to budge that fucking window.

Why not help kick it a little.

_________

(My added text is right up front; the Roots Action text is below the cut.)

Subject: Questions for Antony Blinken

Dear [Senators Schumer and Gillibrand]:

War profiteering used to be universally reviled as the evil that it patently is. And yet now, it’s in the job description of the Executive Branch to shill for US “defense” companies like a bunch of used car salesmen. Incentivising the spread of war, violence and weapons around the globe for obscene private profits should not be the business of anyone, much less the United States government. Quite the opposite, in fact. Why, one might think the Executive Branch works on commission, rather than remuneration from US taxpayers. And yet here we are, with a man perfectly emblematic of this problem, nominated to head the State Department.

I have some questions for you to ask Mr. Blinken, but perhaps you could start with asking this one of yourself: Wouldn’t it be more accurate to rename the US Department of State the US Department of Sales? And while you’re at it, please think about how you might use your considerable power to dismantle the system that enables war profiteering and all of the evils that flow from it. Here’s a thought, and I’m just spitballing here: if US weapons manufacturers cannot enrich their shareholders without using the US government to ensure they are the preeminent arms dealers for the entire world, perhaps they should all be run as nonprofits?

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[Read more…]

Indigenous Peoples Day 2020.

On Friday, the preferred president of assholes everywhere issued a shitty proclamation declaring that today’s federal holiday is exclusively a celebration of Italian-American contributions to our nation and the exploits of a particular 15th century Italian explorer, said exploits necessarily encompassing the ensuing brutal colonization and genocide of Indigenous people in the Americas. This proclamation is much, much worse than I even imagined. (And I write this as a person with significant Italian-American heritage.) If you choose to read on, you will first want to ensure that your irony meter is in excellent working order and – this is the important part – still under warranty.

For one thing, consider what Pres. Alpha Asshole and his Merry Minions of Masklessness would be saying and doing about Italian immigration a hundred years ago. You know: before Italians suddenly and miraculously became white. I’m pretty sure my grandmother, who happened to be exceptionally dark-skinned even for southern Italy, would have been locked up in a cage along with her sister and all the other Italian immigrant children.

Of course those among us who think we should instead recognize and reckon with the truth of our nation’s history are deemed “radical activists” and “extremists” who “seek to squash any dissent from their orthodoxy” and instead promote a “radical ideology” and “revisionist history” just to “spread hate and division.”

Let us pause for a moment here so that you can recalibrate your irony meter and/or attempt to extinguish the flames emanating therefrom.

Okay now? Good. The preceding was merely setting the stage for what I really want to talk about on this Indigenous Peoples Day. If you guessed that is “Indigenous people,” you win all the internetz! 🏆⭐️🏅

[Read more…]

QUEASHA HARDY #SayHerName: Black Trans Lives Matter.

[CONTENT NOTE: murder of Black transwoman Queasha Hardy; murders of transgender people generally and related statistics; misgendering; deadnaming. Post below the fold, because despite what we atheists like to tell you, HELL IS REAL. It is right here, right now, for far too many of the wrong people, and far too often Made In Amerikkka® by members of our own species.]

[Read more…]

Petition to Manhattan DA: drop charges against Derrick Ingram, and hold NYPD accountable!

This is Derrick Ingram.

photo of Derrick IngramDerrick Ingram
Black Lives Matter Protester and Organizer
Co-Founder,Warriors in the Garden
(photo via Amnesty International USA)

On August 7, dozens of NYPD officers in riot gear swarmed his apartment’s hallways, his fire escape and surrounding locations. They had no warrant. They did have a helicopter hovering overhead, though. They also brought police dogs right to his door and threatened to break it down. They lied to him about his rights and tried to interrogate him without legal counsel.

This siege lasted FIVE HOURS. It ended only after Derrick started livestreaming the incident: in response, a large group of protesters showed up, along with some media types who started asking questions. That is when the NYPD Stormtrooper Squadron™ finally took their toys U.S. military surplus equipment and went home.

[Read more…]

Defund Police FOUNDATIONS.

Are you familiar with Color of Change? If not, check out their web site or just watch this brief recap of 2019 activism.

If you are already familiar with their work, omg how much do you freaking love them?

Color of Change logoOne of my favorite CoC campaigns is the yearly drive in early May to raise bail money for incarcerated Black mothers so they can be reunited with their children in time for Mothers Day. These are women who would otherwise languish behind bars (and as of this year in COVID hot houses) because they are too poor to post bail. And yes, also because they are oversurveilled, overpoliced and oversentenced relative to whites in the first place; those are other columns supporting our criminal injustice system that must be toppled in addition to abolishing cash bail. I love this campaign because it’s something we can do collectively to help these women, along with their families and communities, in a meaningful and tangible way.

Another reason to love Color of Change? Their spot-on messaging.

I am a devotee of the STFU-&-Listen School of Allyship™; it serves the privileged ear very well to be informed directly by the very people one wishes to serve. (In case this needs to be said, we must NOT do this by demanding the less-privileged do the work to educate and inform the more-privileged. The least one can do is one’s own research on such matters. It’s not like any of this information is hidden. Quite the opposite: the oppressed have been trying desperately to get their message through our thick white skulls since forever.) This approach helps guard against our instinctual inclination to support “solutions” that may have great appeal through a privilege-warped lens, but are not in fact the solutions marginalized people and communities need. Just as you know what you need better than I do, they know what they need better than we do.

And that, my friends, is why I read and absorb every word of Color of Change’s content: I learn. SO. MUCH. Which brings us to one of their newest campaigns: the call for defunding police foundations. Here is what I learned – and it’s goooood.

[Read more…]

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Oregon…

…some shit is really pissing me off. And there’s something YOU can do about it.

[CONTENT NOTE: racist police, prosecutor, judicial and parole office malfeasance toward an innocent, mentally ill child, denial of care, unjust sentencing and imprisonment of a child, racist bullying, racist harassment and public violence against black people by other community members with no police action taken, sexual harassment, physical and sexual assault, self-harming…fuuuuuuuuck.]

The following is an email I received this morning from change.org.

change.org

Iris — 14-year-old Saraya Rees battles with mental illness. After being abruptly taken off her antidepressants by a local pediatrician, she suffered a mental health crisis. She poured gasoline on the living room carpet and her parents contacted Coos Health & Wellness for help. But the clinic called the police. Saraya was arrested and sentenced to 11 years in juvenile prison. Kelsey and more than 250,000 signers say this is inhumane. Add your name to demand that Saraya’s case be reopened and the charges reassessed.

painting of a teenage biracial girl (uncredited).268,349 have signed kelsey darragh’s petition. Let’s get to 300,000!

Well that all sounded pretty fucked-up to me, but this was just a summary. Even before my morning coffee, it occurred to my sleepy, chemo-addled brain that there were pieces missing in this story, some of which could be enormously consequential and thus color the true picture, in one way or another. So rather than sign-now-with-a-click and move on in the direction of my coffee pot, I read the rest of the email. And readers? When those gaps were filled in, the picture became so much uglier and far more disturbing than anything I could have imagined.

[Read more…]

Fun petition: Disbar Jeff Sessions!

[CONTENT NOTE: white supremacy.]

No, of course it won’t accomplish much of anything. Does anyone really believe the good ol’ boys of the Alabama Bar see any problems whatsoever with a white supremacist lying liar who lies as attorney general? Hahaha no I think not. But if this petition gathers just enough signatures to make a little noise, it will piss off the rabid racist asshole currently in charge of the U.S. Department of Injustice! FUN!

 

 

Conservatives, and particularly conservative men, are notoriously thin-skinned. If the numbers are big enough, maybe it’ll even yield some hot conservative tears – and, well. You all know how much I looooove those! Let’s doooo eeeet!

[via Color of Change]

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is Too Racist to Be a Lawyer #DisbarSessions

Jeff Sessions is a liar, a racist, and a white supremacist. Last week, Sessions testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and one thing is clear — enough is enough. Sessions’ entire political career has been to undo major progress hard fought and won from decades-long work by Black people and communities of color. And he continues to spread so many untruths just to maintain power that keeps him in close proximity to the ugliest and most dangerous White House administration. Sessions does not represent and never will represent any symbol of fairness and justice.

Jeff Sessions holds a prominent law license from the state of Alabama that gives him the power to be Attorney General. He should not be the Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice and he has no place in this country to practice law.It is long overdue to finally shut down his power and access as well as stop the harm that he continues to inflict. And the way we’re going to do it is by getting him disbarred from the Alabama State Bar. Bar associations are responsible for issuing licenses for lawyers to practice but just as importantly ensuring that the integrity of how lawyers use their role is upheld.

The Alabama State Bar should not allow Jeff Sessions to keep a license to practice law. He is dishonest and corrupt. It’s time to disbar him today.

Jeff Sessions has spearheaded Trump’s entire Law and Order agenda. As Attorney General, Sessions has built a false, racist narrative that crime has exponentially increased across the U.S. Right after being sworn in as Attorney General, Sessions said national crime rates were the highest they’d ever been–but it was a lie. According to FBI data, the national rate was decreasing.1 Sessions is following the eerie and distorted words of Trump who said, “In many of our biggest cities, 2016 brought an increase in the number of homicides, rapes, assaults, and shootings.”2 This in and of itself is a violation of the Alabama Bar Code of Ethics — Sessions is actively engaging in dishonesty as a chief law enforcer. This ignites fears and sets up a big platform for ruthless policies that directly impact Black people and many other marginalized groups.

This white supremacist narrative of Black people and immigrants as violent and dangerous has led to extreme changes and further violates another ethics code of being prejudice and bias. Sessions was determined to bring back the war on Black people by restarting the “War on Drugs.” This includes pushing prosecutors to issue the most severe punishment against people who commit drug offenses, giving local police departments more power to arrest and surveil with access to militarized equipment. He’s against any form of police accountability and has eliminated consent decrees. Sessions even went after Sanctuary cities by threatening to withhold federal funding for refusing to comply with harsh immigration laws. And Jeff Sessions reversed the ban on federal private prisons. Sessions said, “the ban on private prisons hurt the prison system’s ability to meet the future needs for housing.”3 This, of course, is all code for locking up more people for profit. This list goes on and on, and it will continue as long as Sessions has the power to keep his license.

Jeff Sessions does not represent the people. His job is to only target and criminalize our people. Alabama State Bar must take away his license now.

We already know who Jeff Sessions is. It is not just lies — but he is unapologetic in wanting to dismantle democracy and destroy the rights of all our communities. Plain and simple he is a White man with a lot of privilege and power he doesn’t deserve. He is incapable of upholding the integrity of his position in the U.S. Department of Justice. Jeff Sessions has abused his power long enough.

Sign the petition.

Until justice is real,

Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Scott, Anay, Clarise, Enchanta, Malaya, Kristen, Katrese, and the rest of the Color Of Change team

References:

1. “The ACLU says Trump’s executive order on crime aims to “stop national trends that don’t exist”,” Quartz, 02-09-2017 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/9697?t=9&akid=8090%2E2505660%2ErziDSw

2. “Sessions calls rise in crime a ‘dangerous permanent trend,’ but FBI data shows rate consistently falling,” Yahoo News, 02-09-2017 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/9698?t=11&akid=8090%2E2505660%2ErziDSw

3. “Justice Department Keeps For-Profit Prisons, Scrapping an Obama Plan,” New York Times, 02-23-2016 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/7973?t=13&akid=8090%2E2505660%2ErziDSw

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Color Of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

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Sign the petition! Forward it! Blast it on your social media! Share far and wide the joy of imagining Jeff Sessions’ epic CBF* as he reads all about it in his morning paper.

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* Cat Butt Face.