Protest ICE & CBP

I was part of our local protest against the unmitigated evil of ICE yesterday. Several people spoke out with testimonials about people they know who are being deported, or of local raids. About two dozen people showed up.

It wasn’t enough. We’ve got crimes against humanity going on in our country right now, and do you really want to tell your grandchildren someday that you just stayed home and did nothing?

How the repulsive have fallen

Poor Milo Yiannopoulos is struggling. He’s been whining on the few social media sites left to him that he’s not getting enough love money.

Tragic. Also revealing.

All he had was social capital acquired not by talent or knowledge or intelligence or wit, but by being an obnoxious provocateur. Take that away, and he’s got nothing. The entire foundation for his existence collapses.

I have this feeling that much of the internet is working this way, as a kind of pyramid scheme. You produce nothing, you have no discernable skills, but you recruit a massive downline on promises and illusions, you reap the benefits as long as you can, and eventually, your acolytes move on to the next big thing, or turn on you, and you’ve got nothing but a collection of pretty instagram pictures and an unsavory reputation. This is how religions (and atheist evangelists, sorry to say) work, gathering followers with noise and promises, and hoping no one discovers the hollow space where your brain should be.

A suggestion to everyone who aspires to social media fame and fortune: have a backup skill. If you don’t, salt away as much cash as you can at the height of your glory, because this too shall pass, and there will come a day when you cry on the internet that the money you feel entitled to isn’t flowing as it once did.

And you will look pathetic.

Spearheads of revolution!

I love the awesome badassery of this woman. Pia Klemp has been rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean, and on one side she faces a trial and possibly 20 years in prison for her gallant work, and on the other side people are praising her courage. Paris wants to award her a medal for her work. She turned it down!

THE CITY OF PARIS IS AWARDING PIA KLEMP THE MEDAILLE GRAND VERMEIL

Paris, I love you. I love you for all the free and solidarian people that live in you. Fighting for their freedom everyday, standing shoulder to shoulder, distributing blankets, friendship and solidarity. I love you for those who are sharing their homes, love and struggles everyday – regardless of their nationality, regardless if they have papers or not.

Madame Hidalgo, you want to award me a medal for my solidarian action in the Mediterranean Sea, because our crews ‘work to rescue migrants from difficult conditions on a daily basis’. At the same time your police is stealing blankets from people that you force to live on the streets, while you raid protests and criminalize people that are standing up for rights of migrants and asylum seekers. You want to give me a medal for actions that you fight in your own ramparts. I am sure you won’t be surprised that I decline the medaille Grand Vermeil.

Paris, I’m not a humanitarian. I am not there to ‘aid’. I stand with you in solidarity. We do not need medals. We do not need authorities deciding about who is a ‘hero’ and who is ‘illegal’. In fact they are in no position to make this call, because we are all equal.

What we need are freedom and rights. It is time we call out hypocrite honorings and fill the void with social justice. It is time we cast all medals into spearheads of revolution!

Documents and housing for all!
Freedom of movement and residence!

Wow. Now that is living up to your principles, and is something we all need to do. More spearheads for social justice!

Oh, dear. Daniel Povey has been fired.

Earlier this spring, there was a major protest at Johns Hopkins University — students actually occupied the administration building to protest the formation of a private police force on campus. It warmed my heart to see such classic action.

Some professors didn’t like it at all. Daniel Povey gathered a group of like-minded conservative thinkers who weren’t affiliated with the university, grabbed some big ol’ boltcutters, and assaulted the protesters late one night. Punches were thrown. Povey and his friends were thrown back. He’s calling it a “counter-protest”, but protest movements don’t involve planned violence, and usually involve peaceful non-violence training, rather than angry mobs.

Daniel Povey has now been fired from his non-tenured position at Johns Hopkins. I find that interesting in itself, in that the institution he pretended to have been defending wants nothing to do with him.

According to Povey’s termination letter, he was suspended and banned from campus in May over allegations that he “engaged in violent and aggressive behavior when attempting forcibly to enter Garland Hall,” and his conduct “was motivated by racially discriminatory animus and created a hostile environment.”

Povey has admitted leading a group of people to the campus building around midnight on May 8, carrying bolt cutters. “You believed the group of nonaffiliates you brought with you could become violent,” the termination letter also says. As a faculty member, “you created a dangerous situation that could have ended in serious harm to our students, yourself and others in the community.”

Povey was repeatedly told not enter Garland Hall prior to the exchange, despite his requests to enter the building to access computer servers there, according to the letter.

“These actions by a member of our faculty are entirely unacceptable. The safety, security and protection of our students and others are of paramount importance to the university,” wrote Andrew S. Douglas, vice dean for faculty. While the university will continue its investigation until it reaches its conclusion, “your own account of events based on your oral and written statements provides more than sufficient grounds for immediate termination, and we are hereby terminating your appointment with the university.”

Even more fascinating, though, is his rant about his firing. It’s as if he felt compelled to provide independent verification of everything he was accused of in the administration’s letter.

“My feeling is that this mostly has to do with underrepresented minorities, specifically black people (and trans people). There seems to be nothing that Americans, or American institutions, fear more than being accused of racism (or similar isms), which leads to ridiculous spectacles like what we’re seeing here, where such a huge organization can be paralyzed by a handful of deluded kids.”

If Povey had known in advance “that everyone inside the building was black (that was what I saw; although from media coverage it seems that there may have been a white trans person in the core group) — I wouldn’t have gone ahead with the counterprotest,” he said. “I’m not an idiot; I know that as a person who demographically ticks all the ‘oppressor boxes,’ I would have to be severely punished for opposing such a group.”

White men in “this environment seem to be expected to constantly atone for their existence by telegraphing their exclusive concern for every demographic group but their own, like a neutered puppy dog or some Justin Trudeau man child,” he said. “It’s pathetic, in my opinion, and I don’t accept it at all. I am not prepared to apologize for being who I am. I don’t think that empathy should preclude critical thinking or basic self-respect.”

Povey goes on to criticize critiques of “toxic masculinity,” compare current discourses on gender and race to Animal Farm and Nazism, discusses animus toward market-dominant minorities, and ends with some Bob Dylan: “I ain’t sorry for nothing I’ve done/I’m glad I fought, I only wish we’d won.” He at one point uses the word — widely considered a slur — “retarded.”

I’ll spare you all the long defense of Nazi Germany in which he argues that Hitler might have been “a little bit triggered” by all those rich Jews. You can read it if you want. You probably don’t want to, not recommended.

As you might have guessed, Povey is a white man, and he thinks he was fired because he is a white man, rather than for being an insensitive bigot who used violence to attack students.

He deserved to be fired, although as you might expect, he’s failing upwards. He brags about getting a better job in industry, in Seattle. Sorry, Seattle. I won’t be surprised if he gets enlisted in the Intellectual Dork Web, since he fits the bigoted profile perfectly, or gets a writing gig for Quillette.

All right, Daniel. You know what we say.

Eat Less Chikin — it’s made from the blood of labor

In one accounting, Joseph Grendys is worth $2.9 billion. In a more accurate accounting, he ain’t worth shit.

He’s the underserving owner of big chicken processing plants, an enterprise desperate for cheap labor and loaded with terrible working conditions. One of the reasons they hire undocumented workers is because they can be paid little and compelled to work under inhumane, dangerous connections, so that people like Grendys can make more money; because this country is caught up in anti-immigrant fervor, ICE can carry out massive raids on his plants and arrest workers, not bosses, and no one complains…at least no one with any influence.

You might be wondering, though…doesn’t this disrupt the work, costing Mr Grandys money? Sure, but he’d rather pay it out as a little loss in output than to, for instance, pay workers a living wage, or upgrade the processing plant to be cleaner and safer. And, as it turns out, this raid occurred after the plant was penalized for harrassment, and after efforts to unionize. We here in America have a fine tradition of brutal union-busting, how convenient that the federal government provides thugs at no cost to the owner.

The unusually large size of the raids is unheard of, but in this instance, there were extenuating circumstances. A raid that took in an estimated 680 immigrants of various statuses was allegedly planned 11 months in advance. In this case, the circumstances include a $3.75-million-dollar lawsuit settlement. This lawsuit, brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a Morton, Mississippi, plant included accusations of physical and sexual assaults against its workers. There were also accusations of intimidation, labor violations, exploitation, and harassment of its labor force, with immigrants making up a huge portion of that labor. Some people believe that the raids may be part of a larger intimidation. According to the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, “ICE field office’s actions will fuel labor abuses, human trafficking, and a race to the bottom for workers’ rights.”

It’s not just brown-skinned people who feel the hammer, though. Have you ever heard of Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery, also called “The Chicken Farm”? It’s a program operating in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Missouri which purports to provide an alternative to prison for anyone convicted of drug crimes, although they’re apparently willing to accept anyone, whether they’re addicted to anything or not. You can sort of guess where this is going by the word “Christian” in the name.

About 280 men are sent to CAAIR each year by courts throughout Oklahoma, as well as Arkansas, Texas and Missouri. Instead of paychecks, the men get bunk beds, meals and Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. If there’s time between work shifts, they can meet with a counselor or attend classes on anger management and parenting. Weekly Bible study is mandatory. For the first four months, so is church. Most days revolve around the work.

“Money is an obstacle for so many of these men,” said Janet Wilkerson, CAAIR’s founder and CEO. “We’re not going to charge them to come here, but they’re going to have to work. That’s a part of recovery, getting up like you and I do every day and going to a job.”

The program has become an invaluable labor source. Over the years, Simmons Foods repeatedly has laid off paid employees while expanding its use of CAAIR. Simmons now is so reliant on the program for some shifts that the plants likely would shut down if the men didn’t show up, according to former staff members and plant supervisors.

Translate “Money is an obstacle for so many of these men” to “We make them work for free.”

Jim Lovell, CAAIR’s vice president of program management, said there’s dignity in work.

“If working 40 hours a week is a slave camp, then all of America is a slave camp,” he said.

“Dignity in work”. There’s also dignity in earning a just and fair return on one’s labor. Is there dignity in being a parasite who lives on the dangerous, back-breaking work of others?

I’m going to have to agree with that last statement, though. The rich are doing their best to turn the country into a slave camp, to their benefit.

Just to put more frosting on the grift, here’s a cute trick the parasites can pull. Chicken processing is dangerous work — all kinds of machines that shred birds can also do terrible things to worker’s limbs. And when someone’s hands are shattered in a machine? CHA-CHING, CAAIR gets the benefits.

Men who were injured while at CAAIR rarely receive long-term help for their injuries. That’s because the program requires all men to sign a form stating that they are clients, not employees, and therefore have no right to workers’ comp. Reveal found that when men got hurt, CAAIR filed workers’ comp claims and kept the payouts. Injured men and their families never saw a dime.

Wait! There’s more! Remember, CAAIR is advertising itself as a tool for therapy and recovery of addicted individuals. So why don’t they employ therapists and experts in drug treatment?

In addition to injuries, some men at CAAIR experience serious drug withdrawal, seizures and mental health crises, according to former employees. But the program doesn’t employ trained medical staff and prohibits psychiatric medicine.

Poultry processing has become a sinkhole of unfair, criminal labor practices. All I can say is…stop eating chicken. It’s cheap protein where the filthy rich can degrade worker’s lives in its production, because it is poorly regulated.

Maybe you can start eating KFC again when the profits of their labor is shifted to the pockets of the workers someday.

Awesome band becomes awesomer

This is how you do it.

Last week when the Dropkick Murphys played Termianl 5 for two nights, things were going according to plan. It was St Patty’s Day week, the shows were packed, and people were getting drunk. And rowdy. Really rowdy. As has become tradition the band invited the ladies to come onto the stage for their encore of “Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced” 50+ ladies made it past the barricade and onto the stage and danced the song away. The band then kicked into “Skinhead on the MBTA” and a ton of dudes were getting past security and the stage ended up being packed tighter than the underside of a real man’s kilt. As the band kicked into T.N.T. by AC/DC some moron started seig heiling (the nazi salute) in time to the beat.

Dropkicks singer / bassist Ken Casey noticed this and ran right over to the guy, smashed him in the face, took off his bass and hit him with that and then jumped on him and all out chaos ensued. We could only assume from our vantage point that said nazi got his ass kicked. About 30 seconds later Ken emerged from the pileup with his shirt torn and made his way back to the front of the stage. He strapped on his bass and said into the microphone “Nazis are NOT FUCKING WELCOME at a Dropkick Murphys show.”

Yes! Before the usual pearl-clutching centrists start whimpering about free speech and violence, I’ll just point out that kicking the ass of some vicious maniac who supports genocide and mass deportations and racism is a perfect example of an appropriate, tempered reaction.

Racist and stupid

Wow. Case in point that racists have been emboldened by the current culture: Parker Mustian. He’s a high school student who made hate videos and shared them with his classmates. He happily expresses racist views, brandishes a rifle, and threatens to shoot up his school.

“Howdy, I’m Parker Mustian and I hate black people,” the teen begins in the first clip. “They’re the worst. They’re stinky and they just suck. They’re just bad people.”

Mustian proceeds to fire a weapon at what he claims are “a box of Jordans – the favorite pair of shoes for a black man.”

“I’m going to show you what I think of a black man,” Mustian says, unloading his weapon at the box of shoes.

“F*ck all n*ggers,” he says after firing.

Mustian is in South Carolina, which may contribute to his attitude…but he’s also wealthy and connected, so he apparently thought he was immune to all consequences.

Mustian is the grandson of Richard Quinn, the prominent South Carolina political strategist whose empire recently collapsed as part of a multi-year corruption probe. That probe is ongoing, in fact, as Quinn was arrested earlier this year and charged with eleven counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation.

Mustian is the son of prominent Columbia, S.C. attorney Ben Mustian, who is Quinn’s son-in-law.

Nice family you got there, Parker. It must be a strain to have to live up to their reputation.

The one good thing is that it used to be that people would think these same horrible thoughts, but they’d be reticent about announcing them in public. Not any more! Now we get to see shit for brains on display all the time.

Here be monsters, and we’re lacking in heroes

I remember being a young couple in our 20s, with wee little babies. We would have done anything — we would have willingly died — to save those kids, but we didn’t have to. Jordan and Andre Anchondo did.

Jordan, 24 and Andre, 23, were among 20 victims killed in Saturday’s mass shooting at a Walmart and shopping center in El Paso, leaving their infant son without parents as they died protecting him, their family told The Post. Jordan’s death was confirmed Saturday. Family members confirmed Andre’s death to The Post late Sunday night, after waiting more than 24 hours to find out what happened to him.

Tito and other family members said they believe Andre died trying to shield his wife and son from the gunfire.

Jordan’s sister, Leta Jamrowski, told the Associated Press that based on the baby’s injuries, Jordan died shielding their baby.

“He pretty much lived because she gave her life,” Jamrowski, 19, told the AP.

Jordan was holding him in her arms when she died, Jamrowski said. She fell on him as she collapsed onto the floor, breaking some of his bones but keeping him alive, her sister said.

They left behind two other kids who are asking where their parents are now. This is a horror story beyond my imagining, but it’s happening for real. People are killing other people over an imaginary threat. The reason Jordan and Andre died defending their child is racism, plain and simple.

John F. Bash, U.S. attorney in the Western District of Texas, said the case is being treated as domestic terrorism. A manifesto that authorities believe Crusius posted on the Internet forum 8chan includes attacks against Latino immigrants and rants about a “Hispanic invasion.”

“This Anglo man came here to kill Hispanics,” El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles wrote in a statement. “I’m outraged and you should be too. This entire nation should be outraged. In this day and age, with all the serious issues we face, we are still confronted with people who will kill another for the sole reason of the color of their skin.”

Why is this crisis coming to a head now? The answer is plain and simple: Donald Trump. People have been warning of the danger of our racist president before this weekend’s massacres.

A white-nationalist presidency is untenable. Having to endure one while the man in the office has committed obvious crimes, such as obstruction of justice, is even worse. Add on the ever-increasing threat of white-supremacist domestic terrorism — which the FBI director warned about just last week and the administration’s anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric fuels like gasoline — and it is impossible not to conclude that the presidency is too powerful for someone as racist as Donald Trump.

In recent weeks, the president has again launched nakedly racist and demagogic attacks on a number of black and brown members of Congress, not to mention the black-majority city of Baltimore. When his cultish supporters responded to his attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., with chants of “send her back,” Trump stood and watched and later referred to them as “patriots.”

So we’re supposed to be surprised or shocked that white nationalist violence is rising on his watch? That hate crimes against almost every minority group have increased since his election to the White House in 2016?

We are in an intolerable situation. The president is a white nationalist bigot, and the senate is controlled by another greedy bigot. The Democrats are in denial and are avoiding doing anything about the putrid, rotting elephant in the room — impeachment proceedings are vital at this point.

Since taking over the House, the Democrats have not sat idly, passing several bills that have signified where they stand as a party. However, the semantic Twister the House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler is playing right now in order to avoid simply launching an impeachment inquiry when the number of House members in favor of one is now in triple digits is an insult to African American voters in particular, the Democrats’ most faithful and consistent constituency.

People will say it’s futile as long as Moscow Mitch cracks the whip in the senate, but I don’t care. The fight has to be made, and every delay undermines the fading moral authority of the opposition party. If you’re not going to fight against racism and murder, what were you elected for?

Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans will never allow a conviction, I know. However, the other main Democratic arguments against impeachment are bunk: the effort against Richard Nixon united the country, they currently enjoy sufficient public support, and they can do all the business that the people require in Congress while putting Trump on trial for the crimes that they crow on Twitter all day that he committed. Again, what was the point of bringing Robert Mueller to testify before the American people if you weren’t going to do a single thing with his report other than tell us to go vote our conscience once we read it? What if we live in a state where Republicans take that vote away? What if Trump does something else even more disastrous before the election that makes all of this moot? And don’t tell me that it isn’t possible, because, please.

It seems to me that telling the electorate to have the conscience our representatives lack is the “thoughts and prayers” of the Democratic party.

The Republican party has always been the racist party

Not to claim the Democrats are flawless, but these newly released tapes of Ronald Reagan and Nixon are revealing. Also unsurprising.

“Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,” Reagan said in newly unearthed tapes published by The Atlantic.

Nixon replied, “Yeah.”

And Reagan went on to say, “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries — damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!”

In a subsequent conversation with Secretary of State William Rogers, Nixon echoed Reagan’s sentiments in his description of the African delegates: “Reagan called me last night, and I didn’t talk to him until this morning, but he is, of course, outraged. And I found out what outraged him, and I find this is typical of a lot of people: They saw it on television and, he said, ‘These cannibals jumping up and down and all that.’ And apparently it was a pretty grotesque picture.”

Jesus. Nixon was terrible. Reagan was terrible. I’m skipping over a few more Republican presidents, but Trump is terrible. That these people got elected also tells us that the electorate is terrible.

Devious racists are experts at hiding

Angela Saini, whose book Superior: The Return of Race Science does an effective job trashing racist pseudoscience, has an article in Scientific American summarizing the problem. A lot of it has to do with the poisonous crap on the Internet.

As the media landscape flattens, drawing audiences away from traditional outlets to a plethora of online ones, those with outdated views have found themselves elevated from the lonely shadows into the light. They have moved on from letters in green ink and pulled up a seat alongside reputable writers and academics. The internet has opened the door to racists and sexists, and they have happily walked in. They’re trampling over our carpets with their grubby shoes even as we offer them a drink. They have normalized extremism, pseudoscience and crackpottery.

The blame can be spread widely. Social media corporations, such as Twitter and Facebook, have allowed racist networks to proliferate. Recent research from Western Sydney University, looking at a decade of cyber-racism, has shown that race-hate groups are sophisticated and creative in disseminating racist propaganda to their followers online. The Gab social network and the journal Psych seem to have been set up expressly to give these elements their own unfiltered space. Online magazines such as Breitbart, and the companies that advertise through them, are complicit in presenting a glossy front to bigotry. And then comes the second tier of publicity when, even if only in outrage and disbelief, this content is shared online. This, in turn, has infected mainstream political discourse, lowering the tone a little further every day.

This stuff has been around for ages — a hundred years ago it was in the form of eugenics, it morphed into The Pioneer Fund (established in 1937, a rather telling decade), in the 60s I was exposed to it via the John Birch Society and William Buckley, and we’re still battling it now. It’s just metastasized into a thousand little online outlets, all vying to put up a veneer of respectability over a dungheap of bad ideas.

I feel like Saini could have just said “Quillette!” in 144 point bold Impact font, it’s the same thing. They try desperately to pretend that they hold a legitimate scientific position, when they’re just the Daily Stormer with a facade to shield them from hate crime status.