Friday, June 26, 2020

Besides, sheep don't wear masks.

LEWIS COUNTY, Wash. — The video, shot by the Daily Chronicle newspaper is short. In it, Sheriff Robert Snaza addresses a small crowd through a bullhorn. “In case you guys didn’t hear, Governor Jay Inslee, in his infinite wisdom, had decided after over a hundred some-odd days that we should all wear face masks inside and out. Here’s what I say. Don’t be a sheep,” Snaza said to applause.
Afterward, he shook hands, no one wore a mask and there was no social distancing. On Wednesday, Snaza went into more detail about his statement.
“When I said don’t be a sheep it means you don’t have to be a follower, it’s OK to be a free thinker. It’s OK to ask questions. It’s OK to say why,” Snaza said in an interview in his office in Chehalis, where he wore a protective face mask.

Image may contain: text that says 'The Other 98% 53 mins A mask is not a political statement. It's an IQ test. @johnlundin'

Sunday, June 14, 2020

What liberal means.

Ron Howard

January 24 at 5:41 AM
I'm a liberal, but that doesn't mean what a lot of you apparently think it does. Let's break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I'm getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: not every liberal is the same, though the majority of liberals I know think along roughly these same lines:
1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilized when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. PERIOD.
2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Somehow that's interpreted as "I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all." This is not the case. I'm fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it's impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes "let people die because they can't afford healthcare" a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I'm not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen.
3. I believe education should be affordable. It doesn't necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I'm mystified as to why it can't work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt.
4. I don't believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don't want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can't afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist.
5. I don't throw around "I'm willing to pay higher taxes" lightly. If I'm suggesting something that involves paying more, well, it's because I'm fine with paying my share as long as it's actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare.
6. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion-dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn't have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live.
7. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. (BTW, prayer in school is NOT illegal; *compulsory* prayer in school is - and should be - illegal). All I ask is that Christians recognize *my* right to live according to *my* beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I'm not "offended by Christianity" -- I'm offended that you're trying to force me to live by your religion's rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia law on you? That's how I feel about Christians trying to impose biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don't force it on me or mine.
8. I don't believe LGBT people should have more rights than you. I just believe they should have the *same* rights as you.
9. I don't believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN'T WHAT THEY DO (spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they're supposed to be abusing, and if they're "stealing" your job it's because your employer is hiring illegally). I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc).
10. I don't believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It's not that I want the government's hands in everything -- I just don't trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products/practices/etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they're harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation.
11. I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I can’t get over an election, but because I've spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past.
12. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege -- white, straight, male, economic, etc. -- need to start listening, even if you don't like what you're hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that's causing people to be marginalized.
13. I am not interested in coming after your blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government. What I am interested in is the enforcement of present laws and enacting new, common sense gun regulations. Got another opinion? Put it on your page, not mine.
14. I believe in so-called political correctness. I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If I call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate/less hurtful than the one you're using, you now know better. So why not do better? How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person?
15. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else.
16. I believe that women should not be treated as a separate class of human. They should be paid the same as men who do the same work, should have the same rights as men and should be free from abuse. Why on earth shouldn’t they be?
I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I'm a liberal because I think we should take care of each other. That doesn't mean you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don't believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.
Copy & paste if you want.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Defund the police

John Oliver explains what defund the police means.


r/PoliticalHumor - For the people in the back

Updated 6/10/20:

Image may contain: text that says '#DefundThePolice DOES NOT mean eliminate all police funding. #DefundThePolice means Police Will Be Funded Will Not Overfunded Redistribute City Budget Everyone Gets A Fair Share #DefundThePolice because Police Should Focus On Crimes And Criminals Health Counselors Police Are Not Social Workers Police Medical Professionals Are Not Specialists Police Should Not Responsible For Everything #DefundThePolice emphasizes Reassessing Values Investing In Our Communities In Our Funding Our Schools Funding Our Hospitals Our Funding Our Infrastructure Understand that presenting "defunding the police" as as "eliminating all funding for police" is intentionally misleading and manipulative.'

Copied from Reddit

A post my wife made to her Twitter account. #blacklivesmatter

I am white & female, here is what I know:
If I were suspected of using counterfeit money, chances are I would be asked to leave the store, but in the case that the police were called, I would NOT be thrown to the ground and mounted with knees in my neck. I WOULD STILL BE ALIVE. #GeorgeFloyd #ISTILLcantbreathe #blackwhileshopping
If I were jogging and decided to look around a new construction, I would NOT be chased down by self deputized neighborhood watchmen and shot. I WOULD STILL BE ALIVE. #AhmaudArbery #blackwhilejogging
If a friend who was under investigation sent a package to my house, would the police have entered my home in the middle of the night unannounced with full force and engaged my boyfriend in a firefight that killed me where I lie in my bed? No. It is likely they would have decided to question to me first, and I WOULD STILL BE ALIVE. #BreonnaTaylor #blackwhilesleeping
If I was playing video games with my nephew, and left my door open for some fresh air and a neighbor called the police to come CHECK ON ME, the police would not have shot me through my window and lied about seeing a weapon on me. I WOULD STILL BE ALIVE. #AtatianaJefferson #blackwhileathome
If I were pulled over with my significant other and young child in the car and disclosed to the officer that I had my legal weapon in the vehicle, I would NOT be shot while reaching for my license in front of my child and spouse. I WOULD STILL BE ALIVE. #PhilandroCastile #blackwhiledriving #blackwhilecomplying
If I were accused of selling cigarettes on the sidewalk and there was an escalation leading to my arrest, I would not have been tackled by 5 officers. I would not have been choked to death while repeating that I could not breathe while one officer refused to stop choking me and another pressed my face into the pavement. I WOULD STILL BE ALIVE. #ICANTBREATH #EricGarner #blackwhilestanding
If I was an active duty Marine Sergeant who was just in a car crash with my two daughters, and failed to show my hands to officers while showing a “mean” expression I would NOT have been shot and killed in front of my daughters. In fact, I would have probably received the fastest ambulance response available for myself and my daughters. Regardless, I WOULD STILL BE ALIVE. #ManuelLogginsJr #blackwhileinneed
If my family and I were in search of food and shelter after one of the nations most horrific natural disasters, I would NOT have been shot in the back and killed next while the remaining 5 members of my family were wounded in the gunfire, and one other killed. I WOULD STILL BE ALIVE. #RonaldMaddison #JamesBrisette #blackwhilesurviving
If I was suspected of a crime, and when stopped and asked for identification by police I reached for my wallet, I would not have been shot 19 times as an unarmed person. I WOULD STILL BE ALIVE #AmadouDiallo #blackwhilewalking #blackwhilecomplying
This is not just about good cops and bad cops and poor judgement. Because there are things that lead UP to this.
If I were birdwatching in a public park, and a woman came around the corner with her dog off leash, then refuse to leash him when I asked her to, would she have weaponized calling the police as a means to intimidate me? Would she then have falsely claimed on that call that I was threatening her life and safety? No, she would not have. #ChristianCooper #BlackWhileBirdwatching
Oh, you’re tired of reading? I am TIRED of people of color being senselessly murdered and then vilified afterwards .
I will NEVER know what it is to walk in the shoes of any person of color. But I do know that it is my job to stand beside EVERY person of color and become an activist that helps dismantle the system that has been set up to empower me and people who look like me to get away with acts of hate every single day.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

What Digby said. And then some!

Many presidents have faced moments of chaos and disorder: None has ever handled it worse
Almost every postwar president has faced domestic crisis. None of them have deliberately inflamed it — until now
For all of Donald Trump's alleged branding genius, he never seems to come up with anything original. In business he just slapped his name on any consumer item that would pay him a couple of dollars for the privilege. In politics he's stolen his slogans from previous presidents. His most famous, "Make America Great Again," was Ronald Reagan's campaign slogan in 1980. And he seems to be under the impression that these two, which he's used intermittently before but is rolling out again, are Trump originals. They are actually patented Richard Nixon lines.
On some subconscious level these phrases connect with ideas Trump has heard before, but his narcissism requires that he convince himself he actually thought of them. If only he had a real grasp of history and the same level of competence as even the worst and stupidest of his predecessors, the country might not be in the situation it is in today. His handling of this latest crisis makes all of them look like geniuses by comparison.
After spending the weekend holed up in the White House watching TV and tweeting nonsense, Trump heard that people were saying he was cowardly for reacting to the protests in Washington by rushing down to the White House bunker and turning off the lights, like an old guy avoiding trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. He became upset and worried that would affect his re-election campaign so he projected his own shortcomings by getting the state governors on the phone so he could yell at them, calling them "weak" and insisting they must "dominate" their citizens. He showed them who's boss by threatening to unleash hell by deploying the military on anyone who didn't "get control" of the protests.
Apparently, this made him feel better because he then gathered his advisers together to decide how to calm the unrest by further demonstrating his heroic manliness to the world. According to various reports, either he or his daughter Ivanka came up with the crackerjack idea of giving a Rose Garden statement and then walking to the boarded-up church across the street to pose for a picture holding a Bible.
Apparently, the fearless leader didn't want to walk near any of the protesters who were gathered in the park nearby so Attorney General Bill Barr, apparently under the impression that he directly commands federal police forces, ordered the gathered troops in Robocop uniforms to disperse the protesters so Trump could have his photo shoot. We all saw what happened as they aggressively drove groups of nonviolent protesters away, deploying smoke bombs and pepper balls, and knocking down anyone who stood in their way, including members of the press.
Trump gave his speech, threatening that if the states didn't call in the National Guard and quell disorder he would unilaterally invoke the Insurrection Act — a law that has rarely been used, and never for this purpose — to send in the military. Flanked by the secretary of defense, the attorney general, his national security staff and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs (unaccountably dressed in full battle fatigues) he lumbered over to St. John's Episcopal Church to get his picture.
It was a PR disaster of epic proportions.
The New York Times declared that "when the history of the Trump presidency is written, the clash at Lafayette Square may be remembered as one of its defining moments," an act of unprovoked violence against peaceful protesters for the purpose of "a ham-handed photo opportunity."
On Tuesday, Trump returned to tweeting the usual babbling nonsense, claiming that "My Admin has done more for the Black Community than any President since Abraham Lincoln" and complaining that "Democrat"-run cities were conspiring with Antifa protesters (or whomever) to hurt his re-election chances.
American presidents have often had to deal with protests and civil unrest. It is part of our political culture and the right to express your grievances in public is guaranteed by the Constitution. You'd have to go back quite a way to find a president unilaterally using the military to quell an uprising:
Michael Beschloss
After President Hoover in 1932 ordered US Army to disperse unarmed vets marching in DC to demand their World War I bonuses, Washington Daily News (Republican) said, “If the Army must be called out to make war on unarmed citizens, this is no longer America”:
That operation, led by Trump's favorite general, Douglas MacArthur, included future president Dwight Eisenhower.
As president, Eisenhower too used military troops for a domestic purpose when he sent the 101st Airborne to Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. That was to protect the rights of nine African American students who were being blocked from attending a previously all-white high school, in direct defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court decision. It's hard to think of a reason for doing so that has less in common with Trump's threats and demands for "dominance."
In the following years, there was massive social unrest with large antiwar protests and demonstrations for civil rights. President Lyndon B. Johnson responded to the massive peaceful civil disobedience and protests led by the Rev. Martin Luther King with a commitment to passage of civil rights legislation. Bill Moyers, who was White House press secretary at the time, has said many times that LBJ told King in their private meeting that the threat of civil disorder was necessary to provoke action from Congress.
When the war in Vietnam likewise brought people into the streets, and the "long hot summer" of 1967 followed by the King assassination in 1968 led to the largest wave of urban "rioting" before this week's protests, Johnson was forced to announce he would not run for another term in the 1968 election.
As I mentioned, Richard Nixon then successfully deployed the slogans "Law and order" and "the silent majority." But as historian Rick Perlstein points out in Mother Jones, those slogans didn't help Republicans in the 1970 midterm elections. Voters tend to hold incumbents responsible for whatever social unrest happens on their watch, and Nixon owned plenty of it by that time. Someone might want to give Trump a word to the wise.
George H.W. Bush had the "Rodney King riots" of 1992. Bill Clinton dealt with a wave of right-wing violence. George W. Bush had 9/11 and the massive Iraq war demonstrations. Barack Obama tried with grace and dignity to heal a country torn apart by horrific mass shootings and worsening racial violence.
Those presidents may have dealt with those crises well or poorly. None of them was perfect. But none responded by whining publicly that it was all a conspiracy to damage them politically. Right or wrong, none of them used the crisis as an excuse to stage a photo-op for a campaign ad.
Trump only knows how to put on a show, and that's all he is doing. But it's a dangerous show. He is inciting his own voters with this loose talk about "domination," and deliberately creating an environment that could lead to disaster if someone, somewhere, makes a tragic mistake. Real leaders try to calm the waters in these situations in order to reduce that risk. He is doing the opposite.
You can see people around the country trying to do the right thing in spite of Trump's counterproductive aggression. Police around the country, at least in some instances, are taking a knee and joining protests, seeking to reduce the tension. People on both sides are trying to talk to each other. There is a way forward if everyone can find some common ground.
But don't expect this president to lead the way. Trump doing something like that is as likely as him inviting Colin Kaepernick and Barack Obama to the White House and the three of them taking a knee in the Rose Garden. That photo-op might just mean something. But Donald Trump is much too weak to do anything that strong.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Words of comfort, words of promise

The United States is not on the verge of collapse.
I say this not to minimize the dangers of this moment. They are great.
I say this not to negate the pain. It is deep.
I say this not to normalize the injustices. They are real and have been festering for far too long.
But I have seen this country bend many times. I have seen it face threats from without, and from within. I have seen natural and man-made disasters. I have seen currents of hate. I have seen violence and heartbreak. One of the hallmarks of my time on this planet is I have seen a lot. And what I have also seen is that this country, because of the best spirit of its people, can bend a lot without breaking. And when it rights itself, it often becomes more just, more empathetic, and more resilient.
Is it bad now? Yes. We’re in trouble: a deadly pandemic combined with the worst economic situation since the Great Depression, mixed with a political crisis that has as part of its core a chaotic, dysfunctional, mean-spirited and divisive Presidency. Our free press, the bulwark of our constitutional freedoms, is under great strain from partisan attacks and a crumbling business model. We see our ideals forsaken on issues from immigration to the climate crisis. We see science denied, and expertise in general accosted.
Meanwhile our adversaries - mainly Russia but also China and likely others, are using the tactics of psychological warfare to strike at America's democratic strengths - our diversity, the rule of law, our electoral system. And now, we see violence in our streets ignited by the racial injustices that have undermined our nation since its founding.
To watch all of this unfolding in real time on television screens, Internet platforms and in newspaper and magazine coverage is, in the minds of many people, to know that the United States that they love and thought they knew is falling apart and plunging toward deep decline, if not disintegration. But what we are also seeing is what many already knew, especially people of color and other marginalized groups.
America was in need of fixing. It is always in need of fixing. That is both the perils of promise of its journey towards what we hope will be a destiny of a "more perfect union." Hope, of course, is important but far from sufficient. We also need the energy and ingenuity for action.
As bad as it is now, there are many times that I have felt more fearful for the future. During World War II, I remember when it felt like Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan could win. The death and destruction of that conflict are far beyond the ability of any human mind to fully comprehend. I remember the Red Scare when it seemed the forces of hate were the vast majority of the nation. I remember the fear of the Cold War, when one finger on a button felt like it could end life on the planet as we knew it. I remember 1968, when there were political assassinations and it seemed like the country was really split between Black and White. I remember all of these times, and many more.
So what gives me hope now? I see it in the faces of the peaceful protesters and the fearless reporters telling the story. I see a nation that I know, multi-ethnic and multi-racial. I see mobilization and energy. I see an outpouring of love and support for our fellow citizens. I see many with power and privilege in this country refusing to sit on the sidelines. I see that we are celebrating Pride Month in June, and never would have felt that would have been possible. I see that this nation is being convulsed by structural, systemic, legal, and cultural problems that have long been in need of our collective attention. And I see millions of my fellow Americans saying give me a hammer, give me a bandage, give me a ballot, let's go out there and get to work.