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?

__________

[Read more…]

BREAKING: U.S. Army Coming Soon to a Street Near You! UPDATED.

Multiple notifications popped onto my screen yesterday announcing that the Loser-In-Chief had fired his defense secretary Mark Esper. I was working on something else (and also trying and failing miserably to observe a news blackout for personal reasons*) so I didn’t dig any deeper than the headlines.

But my mind kept on poking at me with a big stick and asking “Why?” “Why?” “Why?” For sure, the reason would be sad, funny, fascist, illegal, counterproductive, enraging, ridiculous or some combination of those. However, this morning as I looked over a few of these notifications before deleting them, our Liberal Media™ informed and enlightened me further only with something about Commander Cheetohead bashing Esper on Twitter. Which, okay, ticked A LOT of those boxes if not all of them but did nothing to shut up my shouty, stabby stick. And It’s not like I was going to click on actual links to read actual stories! I got shit to do, people.

Enter The New York Times to save the day! (Not really.) From this morning’s Times email briefing:

[Read more…]

Men, get to work.

[CONTENT NOTE: gendered violence, murder, suicide.]

OCTOBER 26, 2020
 BREAKING NEWS 

Man shoots girlfriend dead on Manhattan street, then commits suicide in front of shocked onlookers

Bursts of gunfire sent passersby running for cover just before 9:20 a.m. at Morris St. and Trinity Place in the Financial District, where violence is rare.

Read the Latest

[Read more…]

NYPD Beat, Arrest Peaceful Protesters in Planned Assault.

[CONTENT NOTE: police violence against peaceful protesters, lying police liars who lie.]

A new report from Human Rights Watch documents the NYPD’s brutal assaults against peaceful George Floyd protesters at a June 4 rally in the Bronx (via New York Daily News):

NYPD trapped over 300 George Floyd protesters in the Bronx and waited until after curfew to ‘assault and arrest’ them: report

The NYPD trapped over 300 protesters in the Bronx marching for George Floyd and waited until the 8 p.m. citywide curfew to arrest them for breaking the law, a human rights group wrote in a scathing report released Wednesday.

Human Rights Watch said Bronx cops surrounded protesters on June 4 in a tactic known as kettling, refused to let them disperse, then began “whaling their batons, beating people from car tops, shoving them down to the ground and firing pepper spray in their faces” as soon as the curfew hit.

The 8 p.m. shutdown was imposed a few days earlier to stem widespread looting amid marches against the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody.

“As protesters cried out — some with blood dripping down their faces — the police began to arrest them. They forced people to sit on the street with their hands zip-tied behind their backs, at times so tight that their hands went numb,” said Human Rights Watch in their report.

[Human Rights Watch] said they questioned 81 protesters and reviewed 81 videos and police scanner calls for the report. They also released a 12-minute video filled with diagrams of the Mott Haven clash, interviews with witnesses and protesters, and cellphone videos taken at the scene.

Here is video from Human Rights Watch detailing the sequence of events on June 4.

CONTENT NOTE (from the filmmakers):

“This video contains violent and disturbing images and profanity. Viewer discretion is advised.”

[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…]

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.

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AG Barr: Crip Dyke is a “violent rioter and anarchist” hijacking the Portland protests!

[CONTENT NOTE: police violence, white supremacist tropes and victim-blaming (“black-on-black crime”), lethal levels of sarcasm and snark.]

OMG YOU GUYS! The Attorney General of the United States stated in sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee that my friend and FtB colleague Crip Dyke is a “violent rioter and anarchist” hijacking the Portland Black Lives Matter protests! I HAD NO IDEA.

I mean it’s not like anyone connected to the Trump administration would ever lie to Congress or government officials, so obviously AG Barr is telling us the truth! Q.E.D.

Clearly Barr and his merry band of like-minded stable geniuses know how to decrypt and decode the sooper seekrit violent anarchist messages in Crip Dyke’s posts propaganda, including the most recent entry (as of this writing). Therein, Crip Dyke merely pretends to be an incredibly thoughtful, compassionate (white) ally who has gone to Portland to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters, to use her platform and privilege to amplify their voices, and to help counter false and misleading media narratives (and U.S. Attorney General statements) about the protests – and at considerable personal risk. FFS Crip Dyke is disabled and on crutches.

ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR IS ON TO YOU CRIP DYKE!

Now let’s see what other Truth Bombs™ AG Barr dropped on us!

[Read more…]

SIGNAL BOOSTING: More from Crip Dyke in Portland

Further to my last post, here are links to subsequent posts from Crip Dyke in Portland.

Comfy, Cozy BFFs [Oooh. I like the way you think drink.]

Crashing the Fence: Portland Videos, July 22nd

I am a wimp: Portland, July 22 [Whatever the opposite of “wimp” is, that is what you are, CD. JFC!]

Humorous Interlude: I am not saying …

Reality Check: We can do better

What do you need to know about the Portland protests?

Desperate for some Tear Gas Video? I have you covered!

If I Ran the Zoo Left

Warnings

Sunday Night Protests: A wee spot of bother and a chaotic video

Listen to the Flower People

What’s up with the tear gas, Feds?

Sometimes I cannot even believe how freaking amazing my friends and FtB colleagues are.

I also hate The Washington Post, reason #4,208,341

Further to my earlier, exceedingly long-winded and probably pointless rant about why I detest The New York Times, I would be remiss if I did not mention that I also despise The Washington Post, and for exactly the same reasons.

I just received a “news alert” via email from The Post, and once again we find that critical information is missing, with duplicitous drivel in its place. [Read more…]

Bad news day.

[CONTENT NOTE: racist police violence, f-bombs.]

I awoke today, as many did, to news of more widespread protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, a black man, by white police, and the murder of Breonna Taylor, a black woman, by white police, and the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man, by white racist thugs, and, and, and, and…

I want to say this here as unequivocally as I can (and have said before): I stand in solidarity with communities of color around the country and around the world, in opposition to state violence and murder, militarized policing, unprecedented mass imprisonment and surveillance, social and economic and environmental injustice, and imperial wars.

“Until we are all free, we are none of us free.”
Emma Lazarus

I also want to cosign Jacob Frey, the Democratic mayor of Minneapolis, who said this:

[Read more…]