Thursday, July 30, 2020

Now it is your turn to let freedom ring

Mr. Lewis, the civil rights leader who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death, to be published upon the day of his funeral.
July 30, 2020
"While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.
That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.
Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.
Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.
Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.
Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.
You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.
Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.
When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.

Monday, July 20, 2020

The dismantling of the US.

I'm increasingly pessimistic. I went through the Post, the Guardian and the Times, as is my habit, and didn't find anything that says anything new,. So I'll say it myself, and apologize for going on at length. I've said all this before, and so have many of you:
1. The federal intervention in Portland, against the wishes of the people, the mayor and the governor, employing entirely extrajudicial, unconstitutional and illegal methods, is equivalent, quite literally, to the Brown Shirts of 1930s Germany, a clear and present danger to what passes for democracy in this country. I cannot imagine better grounds for impeachment. We have Barr's word that such interventions will expand. There's nothing to stop them from interfering with exercise of the franchise. Wait for it.
2. Trump et al.'s handling of the covid-19 epidemic is political, scientific and medical malpractice of the worst sort. Trump is in fact decreasing the amount of data available at a time when it is crucially necessary, and undermining scientific and medical expertise at every turn. He and his acolytes--every Republican who fails to object--will kill people by perhaps hundreds of thousands, further destroy the economy, and further divide a country desperately needing to be reunited before a common enemy.
3. Trump is dividing the country at a time when guns are everywhere, conspiracy theories abound and are gaining traction, where racism is being defended and challenged. It is only a matter of time before lives are lost, worsening the division, at a time when unity of purpose is crucial.
4. Trump has systematically undermined American alliances and relations with its allies abroad, at precisely the time when defense against a common enemy, covid-19, should provoke a unified response, He has courted one repressive regime after another, undermining the cause of human rights.
5. Trump et al. have systematically been looting the government, rearranging the government and the economy to serve the fantastically rich at the expense of the lower and middle classes, at a time when the covid-19 epidemic requires, again, a unified program for relief of those most impacted,.
6. Trump et al. have been putting children in cages., They have caused untold anxiety and worse in even legal, much less undocumented, immigrants, many of whom are crucial to American economic health from farm workers to computer scientists, and have done their best to shut the USA to immigration.
7. Trump et al. have denied and actively worsen perhaps the single greatest problem faced by the human race, climate change.
8. Trump et al. will do everything possible to disenfranchise those opposing them in the November elections. Everything possible. They are capable of anything.
I could go on. Racism, anti-intellectualism, differential treatment of red and blue states, anti-environmental actions, court packing, more. It's only going to get worse. Trump must be defeated in November,. Millions of lives are at stake.

It's true.

Image may contain: text that says 'A cartoon from a British newspaper. This is how the world sees us. δΈ»'

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Trump always wanted a Secret State Police Force like his hero's Gestapo

You have laws regarding probable cause that can lead to arrests,” he said. “It sounds more like abduction. It sounds like they’re kidnapping people off the streets.”
Ashlee Albies, a civil rights attorney with the National Lawyers Guild, said Pettibone’s detention is an example of intimidation by federal law enforcement, and noted that people have a First Amendment right to demonstrate. She also said law enforcement officials have to follow procedures when they detain someone. 
“I would be surprised to see that pulling up in an unmarked van, grabbing people off the street is an acceptable policy for a criminal investigation,” Albines said.

Monday, July 13, 2020

A few questions for Betty DeVos

Good Questions for School Openings:
• If a teacher tests positive for COVID-19 are they required to quarantine for 2-3 weeks? Is their sick leave covered, paid?
• If that teacher has 5 classes a day with 30 students each, do all 150 of those students need to then stay home and quarantine for 14 days?
• Do all 150 of those students now have to get tested? Who pays for those tests? Are they happening at school? How are the parents being notified? Does everyone in each of those kids' families need to get tested? Who pays for that?
• What if someone who lives in the same house as a teacher tests positive? Does that teacher now need to take 14 days off of work to quarantine? Is that time off covered? Paid?
• Where is the district going to find a substitute teacher who will work in a classroom full of exposed, possibly infected students for substitute pay?
• Substitutes teach in multiple schools. What if they are diagnosed with COVID-19? Do all the kids in each school now have to quarantine and get tested? Who is going to pay for that?
• What if a student in your kid's class tests positive? What if your kid tests positive? Does every other student and teacher they have been around quarantine? Do we all get notified who is infected and when? Or because of HIPAA regulations are parents and teachers just going to get mysterious “may have been in contact” emails all year long?
• What is this stress going to do to our teachers? How does it affect their health and well-being? How does it affect their ability to teach? How does it affect the quality of education they are able to provide? What is it going to do to our kids? What are the long-term effects of consistently being stressed out?
• How will it affect students and faculty when the first teacher in their school dies from this? The first parent of a student who brought it home? The first kid?
• How many more people are going to die, that otherwise would not have if we had stayed home longer?
30% of the teachers in the US are over 50. About 16% of the total deaths in the US are people between the ages of 45-65.
We are choosing to put our teachers in danger.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Teachers hold our society together

Society: In the richest country in the world, between 11 and 13 million children live in food insecure homes.
Schools: We can help..... Kids can eat breakfast and lunch at school, and in many places, teachers will spend their own money on snacks. For the most needy, we will send food home for dinner and weekends.
Society: Over 4 million children in the US do not have health insurance or adequate healthcare.
Schools: We can help..... we will bring doctors to do free physicals, eye exams, and dental treatments right at school. In many places, school nurses will spend their own money on sanitary supplies for girls.
Society: Over 17% of US children live without basic necessities.
Schools: We can help.... we will install washers and dryers in schools. We will hand out clothes, school supplies, shoes, and winter coats for free. Many of these items are purchased by school nurses and teachers.
Society: There are 5.5 million reports annually of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect of minors.
Schools: We can help.... schools will be safe places and teachers will be safe people. We will have some counselors, but not enough.... some therapists, but not enough, right in the schools. Teachers with minimal training in trauma will come to school early and stay late to mentor these children. Teachers will spend more time with their students than with their own children. Teachers will cry and sometimes crumble at the thought of not being able to do more for the innocent children in their care.
Society: Almost 25% of US children have parents that work past school hours.
Schools: We can help.... we will install before and after school programs in thousands of schools where kids can get another meal, get help with their homework, and participate in organized activities.
Society: Almost 14 million children in the US are obese.
Schools: we can help... Physical Education classes will be mandatory and we will incorporate lessons about healthy food choices.
Society: The US averages one school shooting every 77 days.
School: We can help... we will do lock down drills and train our students to hide and be quiet. And if need be, teachers will literally die for their students.
Society: We are in the midst of a global pandemic which our government has failed to control. Almost 130,000 Americans are dead and the numbers are rising, not declining, in many places. Because we have chosen to ignore, for decades, the racism, inequality, and discrimination that is at the root of all the aforementioned problems, we now need schools to reopen so that kids can eat, get healthcare, get clothes, shoes, and school supplies, be safe, be healthy, and be supervised. Oh, and so that they can get an education. It appears that COVID doesn’t affect children, so let’s go back to school.
Teachers: We can help.... of course we will help, that’s what we do. We miss our students and want to be back at school with them.... but what about the 25-30% of us that are over the age of 50? What about those of us who are immunocompromised or live with someone who is? What about those of us who are pregnant... we still have very limited data on what COVID does to unborn children. Will you have PPE for us? Will you have hand sanitizer for us? What if we get sick, and don’t have enough sick days to cover the time that we are out? What if a family member gets sick and we need to care for them?
Society: Wow, why are you suddenly being a bunch of crybabies? Before you were always willing to sacrifice your time, your money, your mental health.... and now when we need you, you aren’t willing to sacrifice your health and possibly your life? But 75% of you are women.... and that’s what we, as a society, expect women to do... sacrifice yourself for others.
*For decades, schools and teachers have been the band-aid on society’s failings, because we care about children.... because we know that in society’s failings, it is almost always the children that suffer the most. Schools and teachers are not responsible for, or capable of, the repair of our broken America. Make no mistake that going back to school has very little to do with education and much more to do with the other social services that schools provide... we need children’s to return to school so that they are fed, cared for, and supervised... so that their parents can go back to work and participate in the economy. While it literally breaks the heart of every teacher in America to think of all of the children that they know who are not eating enough, not being well cared for, and not safe in their home, teachers will not be the lambs sent to slaughter because no one else cared enough to actually address the racism, discrimination, and inequality that is at the root of our problems, while schools and teachers were picking up all the slack and holding it all together with a band-aid that is growing very thin.

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Trump and DeVos almost literally throwing children under the bus to save Trump's reelection

Tom Sibley
Via friends:..So, if you didn’t catch this mornings shitshow, it went basically like this:
The CDC put out its official recommendations and requirements states should meet before reopening schools.
Trump went to twitter, shitted on the CDC recommendations, demanding that k-12 schools fully open up in the fall. He threatened to cut federal funding if they do not.
Then the coronavirus task force held a press conference, minus Fauci, because he’s on the President’s shit list.
Betsy Devos said they really really really wants kids back in school. She does not know how to do this, offered no suggestions. Just that they need to open, and leaves it up to local officials to figure it out.
Vice President Pence said children are resilient. Basically made out of cartilage with healthy lungs. They probably won’t get sick, so we shouldn’t worry about them. There is also no disagreement between the CDC and Trump. Trump wants schools to open, and just doesn’t want the CDC’s guidelines to be the reason for schools not opening?
Yes, he actually said he doesn’t want states to keep their schools closed just because their own CDC says it is not safe to open.
So the VP says, don’t worry, let’s bring up the Director of the CDC to clarify. -And I could‘ve sworn I heard this guy gulp off camera.
But the director of the CDC comes up and says he also wants schools to open safely. He said he likes his job and wants to keep it, therefore, he is also in full agreement with Trump, despite the guidelines they released hours before.
So then Dr. Birx comes on and says half the country has seen a surge of new cases. The country is worse off than it was back at the start of all this. She said they should return to phase 1 and start all over.
Now, an astute reader may wonder how do half the states return to phase 1, and still expect to open by fall? Good question. ..... And while you were thinking about it, Birx tries to leave the podium.
But before she gets away, Pence stops her, suggests she ‘talk about that other thing about the children’. She hesitates, then agrees.
She comes back up to the mic, says most children probably won’t die. Maybe 0.02%. And usually the ones who die were already sick, so you parents at home may want to keep an eye on them. Oh- and we have virtually no data on how transmissible the virus is in children because we’ve barely tested any of them, but let me get out of your hair.
Pence comes back and says, see, we’re good here.
So while all that is going Cuomo is holding his own press conference.
He says I don’t even give a shit what Trump is saying. It’s not worth responding to the clown. States control school openings, and we will do it as safely as possible, end of discussion.
Other states blew off our warnings, and now they are paying the price. You want to fix your states? Pull your heads out of your asses and follow our example.
And Fauci has gone total rogue. He has been giving interviews across the media spectrum, politely telling anyone who will listen that following trump’s orders regarding the Coronavirus will lead to certain doom. Death and economic disaster on a scale never seen before. Please turn back while you still can.
And now you are filled in.
*feel free to copy/paste*

Thursday, July 02, 2020

A one-ply president

I’ve realized something while sheltering in place: Trump is just like one-ply toilet paper. 

He may look like he can do the job but it’s all a facade, his lies are transparent and thin, and when it comes to dealing with shit, he’s totally useless. 

Hopefully, when he's flushed, he'll disappear into the rest of the sewage.