Joanne Dixon

Everyday Erinyes #84

 Posted by at 10:41 am  Politics
Jul 222017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

This case leaves me a little speechless, so I’ll be doing some quoting.  “A Pennsylvania police officer will be sentenced this week after accepting a plea deal in a child rape case — three years after his father was sentenced for abusing one of the same boys

That sentence (the verbal one, not the court one) is accurate, as far as it goes, but it gives the impression this – individual – was following in his father’s footsteps over time.  From all of the dates, it appears more likely that the father and sone were sharing the boys.  The abuse started in 2001, when one of the boys was seven.  The perp was 28 or so and at that time a police officer in Dupont, PA.  It doesn’t appear this case which terminated his employment – he started amassing his criminal record (and I assume that terminology means there was at least one convicton for something) in 2008.

This is 2017, and the boy who was seven is noww 23 and able to stand up for himself.

The 44-year-old Turkos, a former Dupont police officer, threatened to hurt their mother and pets or take away their toys if they revealed the abuse.

One of the boys told police that Turkos choked him and used zip ties to restrain him during the abuse, and investigators said the former police officer held a hand over his mouth to muffle his screams.

“I hope you die — you’re a piece of crap,” Turkos told one of the boys, according to police.

(Is that what’s called adding insult to injury?)

This – individual – has been allowed to plea bargain down to two misdemeanor charges, but at least each of those charges can carry up to five years in prison.  (The father of this – individual – was sentenced to between three months and five years in state prison, BTW.)  It appears hat he has been skating with minimumm penalties, deferred penalties, and victim blaming for a good long time.  He strikes me as one of those who needs to be locked up permanently, and if he becomes a human being, to make a new life in prison.  But that is not going to happen with the current charges.  In fact, he is currently out on $50,000 bond.

But enough about the done deal.  This case, ladies and gentlemen, is why there should never be a statute of limitations on rape, any rape, but especially child rape.  The Victorians had something when they referred to it as “a fate worse than death.”  Like murder, it is life changing forever, and it is irreversible.  And if grown women have trouble standing up to our legal system to even establish that a crime has been committed, how is a young child supposed to accomplish that?  Andrew Vachss is amazing, but he is not omnipresent, and there are not enough of him.  While changing rape culture seems overwhelming, changing states of limitations is something which can be worked on.  Alecto, maybe you would do that.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, one Congressman put up a post (back in June) on Facebook about which there can be NO doubt that it is intended to incite violence.  Evidently, he is still defending it, and so is Facebook.

Here’s what he said:

“The free world… all of Christendom… is at war with Islamic horror. Not one penny of American treasure should be granted to any nation who harbors these heathen animals. Not a single radicalized Islamic suspect should be granted any measure of quarter. Their intended entry to the American homeland should be summarily denied. Every conceivable measure should be engaged to hunt them down. Hunt them, identify them, and kill them. Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.”

I am working from an email here, from MoveOn, soliciting signatures on one of their petitions.  What makes this current when it happened in June is that another elected official, this one in norther Michigan, a Village President (which I assume is like a mayor?) has gotten into the action with a post of his own, and has said he owes no one an apology for calling for the killing of “every last Muslim.”  So I don’t have a single source.

But MoveOn has provided links to their sources, and I’ll share those.

Tisiphone, perhaps you might want to explain to these First Amendment idiots that, while the First Amendment doesn’t protect incitements to violence, it certainly does protect verbal responses to incitements to violence which do not incite violence themselves.

And in Florida – do I have to say any more?  Well, yes, I guess I do.  A video surfaced – well.

Apparently five kids aged 14 to 16 were in a park smoking marijuana when a disabled man walked into a retention pool and got out of his depth.  He started struggling, and screaming for help.  Ultimately he fell under the surface of the water, where he died.  None of the teens called 911.  None of the teens rushed to help.  Instead, they laughed and joked.  And uploaded the video.  THEN someone called the police.

Florida doesn’t have a “Good Samaritan” law that would both protect and demand people help when lives are threatened. As a result, it is unlikely that any of the teens will be charged with a crime.

“While the incident depicted on the recording does not give rise to sufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution under Florida statutes, we can find no moral justification for either the behavior of persons heard on the recording or the deliberate decision not to render aid to Mr. Dunn,” a statement said from the Brevard-Seminole State Attorney’s Office.

Living as I do in a state where recreational marijuana is legal (for adults – but not for 14-16 year olds even here), I find it difficult to believe those brats could not be prosecuted in Florida for possession.  If that is published as a fact, I assume there is some evidence that that is what they were doing.  But I am not a lawyer, nor in law enforcement.

I do find it noteworthy that, when investigators went to the homes of the teens to interview them, they found no smidgen of remorse or grief.  “Only a smirk.”

Megaera, I doubt whether you can get through to them.  But I wish you would try.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 here.

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Everyday Erinyes #83

 Posted by at 8:55 am  Politics
Jul 152017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

I had better start with this story and get it off my chest.  The title is ‘I come from a rich and white family’: White dad denies responsibility for abused 5-year-old black stepson, and there is not too much more about it you need to know.  I am not a big fan of lookism, particularly turned onto people under 50 (Coco Chanel: “Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve.”)  But this guy is almost 30, and it appears to me that “life” has given him some pretty dead eyes in that face.

The child, a little boy, whose name is (wisely, IMO) not provided, is five years old.  He cannot speak or walk.  He weighed, when taken into the hospital, 24.9 pounds – so low the weight did not register on the growth charts for a five year old.  When found, he was reaching into the carpet for cereal to eat.

His hands and feet were orange and blistered, apparently from chewing at them — an action his mother said let him know he was hungry because he is nonverbal. She also told police she often would not feed the boy for days at a time, and that he was not on his required medication for some developmental issues he has.

There are two other children in the home which the – father? stepfather? what do I call this PoS? – claims are his.  A different source said the other two children are younger, so infidelity doesn’t appear to be a factor.  Not wanting to support “some other guy’s kid,” however, apparently looms large.

Tisiphone, revenge here is definitely appropriate.  But my heart wants you to put on your Eumenides hat and find this child a home where he can receive care and love.  Good luck.  You’ll need it.

Back on the third of April, a group of 31 county sheriffs, representing every county across the border between the US and Mexico, took a meeting and unanimously voted to adopt face (specifically eye) recognition hardware and software as a new enforcement tool.  You see, it can happen that unauthorized immigrants’ “fingerprints can be disfigured through manual labor or self-inflicted wounds.”

Well, we can’t have that, can we.  If an immigrant has worked at manual labor so long and hard that his (or her) fingerprints have become disfigured, or has become so desperae as to attempt to disfigure his or her fingerprints through self-inflicted wounds (not as easy as it sounds, BTW), well, we just have to find another way to kick him or her out.

Didn’t that use to be called “kicking a man when he’s down”?  Oh, wait – law enforcement now does that literally and routinely.

Well, I’m sure that is not the point for the company, Biometric Imformation and Identification Technologies, affectionally nicknamed BI2, which is giving the sheriffs a FREE three-year trial of their stuff.  No, I’m betting it’s much more important that the company will add – “a huge influx” – of biometric information to its existing national iris database.

From the company’s senior vice president (John Leonard, pictured):

The frustration law enforcement has is this: ‘Alright, I got this criminal, the guy raped three kids. He’s back in my community again. I don’t even know who he is, and the federal government has never given me what I need….’

You get all these people that say, ‘Well Trump is going after all these illegals, these immigrants, who have made America great.’ Well there’s a lot of immigrants that have made it great, but there’s a lot of assholes, too.  So BI2 is stepping up to the plate and donating this.

Personally, I think that anyone who believes this will have any impact on immigration, legal or not, might be interested in a bridge that TomCat has for sale.  Alecto, can you – I know it’s a long border – but kind of watch out for the innocents and give them some protection from the abuses this will lead to?

For the third story here (out of SIX I bookmarked on Monday alone), I want to issue some warnings about a group known as the ACRU.  We all know about the ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union.  Well, the ACRU is the American Civil Rights Union, designed essentially to oppose everything the ACLU dies or wants to do.  R for Right, L for Left, I suppose.

In June 2014, the five Election Commissioners of Noxubee County, Mississippi, received a letter threatening legal action if they did not purge their election rolls, legal action would be taken.  Because, the ACRU claimed, “there were more people registered than there were voting age citizens on the county.”

Noxubee County could not afford to lawyer up; however, the Board pushed back as best they could.  They ignored the letter.  In November 2015, the threatened lawsuit was filed.  The ACRU was pushing for a consent decree which would agree to remove voters.  After some time, the commissioners were being leaned on to sign that consent decree.  Three caved.  Two didn’t.  As one commissioner said, “We are not gonna get those [voter] cards back.  I promised my voters I would look out for them, and to me, that’s not looking out for them.”

Now the ACRU is pushing the court for a default judgement.

Mother Jones mentions three lawyers who are purging voter rolls.  The first is J. Christian Adams.

[Adams is] a former staff attorney in the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Adams joined the department in 2005, when high-ranking official Bradley Schlozman was found by the department’s inspector general to be illegally using political ideology to fill the Civil Rights Division with conservative lawyers. Adams, a conservative attorney from South Carolina, was “exhibit A” of Schlozman’s hiring practices.

The other two are Chris Coates and Robert Popper.  Both are bio’ed on the site – the backgrounds are similar.

Much attention has been paid to voter ID laws, which heaven knows are bad enough.  this goes deeper, and is intended simply to prevent anyone not a Republican from voting.  These attorneys speak about “election integrity.”  But in reality, integrity has nothing to do with it.  The battle is just moving from ID card to voter rolls.

Megaera, if this is not grudging, I don’t know what is.  Have at it!

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4061508

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Everyday Erinyes #82

 Posted by at 9:03 am  Politics
Jul 082017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

Now, I don’t want to be picking on Canada to start here.  In fact, I have to doubt whether, if this had happened in the US, the family could have gotten anywhere near as quick action as this gentleman’s family did.  But it is horrifying nonetheless.

Georges Karam, 89, a resident in the Garry A. Armstrong long term care home for the last two years or so, kept suffering unexplained injuries, which concerned the family.  So his grandson, an attorney, obtained permission to install a video monitor camera in his room.  it was not a secret; besides being perfectly obvious and installed openly, the staff of the home was notified of it.  And then the video in this story was captured.

I admit I haven’t watched it.  The screen captures were more than enough for me.  And I won’t embed it, for that reason, and for copyright reasons (it is the property of DNG Nassrallah Law Offices.)  And I haven’t used a screen capture here, but instead, a picture from a happier occasion.  But those who have seen the video say that it shows the support worker, Jie Xiao, yanking Mr. Karam back and forth while removing his diaper.  Mr. Karam, apparently agitated, is seen taking “a couple of swipes” at Xiao while the diaper is being changed.

A third swipe, which came near Xiao’s face, apparently moved Xiao to grab one of Mr. Karam’s arm with his right hand, while, with his gloved left hand, he began to punch Mr. Karam’s face.  The sound of the fist making contact with the face is clearly audible.  “Gloved,” of course, refers to a disposable medical glove, not a padded glove which might protect a patient’s face.

Eleven punches were recorded in a period of 28 seconds.

Karam’s grandson, Daniel Nassrallah, an Ottawa lawyer who set up the camera, said he couldn’t believe what he was seeing when he first viewed the video just after 10 p.m. on the day of the assault. Nassrallah had set up the camera — which is about the size of a baseball, lights up in the dark and had wires running from it — on the wall so he could watch the video remotely over the internet.

“I literally stood up and fell down, my legs gave way because I didn’t know how to respond to this,” he said.

“We have a camera on him, and even that doesn’t deter him. To me, that’s mind blowing.”

Incidentally, Xiao has been arraigned and entered a guilty plea.

(In the States, our battle over healthcare in general has screened the fact that a rule change adopted in October 2016 designed to prevent Medicare and Medicaid residence providers from requiring agreement to arbitration as a condition of admission, which was being contested in court, has now been dropped by the current regime and will not go into effect.)

Megaera, I’m sure that the families of long-term-care residents in city-run homes (of whom there are about 700 in Ottowa) would appreciate any help you can give them.  Not to mention the roughly 6,800 who are in homes not run by the city, and the 3,500 more on waiting lists.

Meanwhile, in Florida, someone (probably several someones, and I’d go out on a limb and guess they wear a lot of sheets) is out to get the president of the Alachua County chapter of the NAACP.

The head of a Florida chapter of the NAACP found a Confederate flag on her lawn after receiving a series of late-night death threats from callers claiming ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

Evelyn Foxx woke up Monday morning to go for a walk with her friend, and found the flag lying outside in front of her home, reported The Gainesville Sun.

The 66-year-old Foxx, chapter president of the Alachua County NAACP, and her friend at first thought it was an American flag and walked over to pick it up — but they called police after realizing it was a Confederate battle flag.

While a piece of cloth may seem tame next to guns and bombs and even ropes, we should consider this in the context of the phone calls she has been receiving since November  – in fact, since the election.  They usually come around one or two in the morning, and the callers say they are members of the KKK – and the calls are death threats.

I’d call the police too.  And the FBI, which she also did.  But I’m not sure I’d have much faith in them, in Florida, even if my BFF was married to a County Commissioner, as is the case with Ms. Foxx.  Commissioner Robert Hutchinson ised his Facebook page to call attention to the incident and to state, “There should be no doubt about the Confederate battle flag’s usage as a symbol of divisiveness, bigotry, and hatred, or that racists live among us who still cling nostalgically to their culture of tyranny and intimidation.”

Tisiphone, Please help.  Let us know what you need from us.

Living as we are under a regime such that many of us say at least daily, “How the he** did we get HERE?”, it may help to pay a bit of attention to others who are asking more specific questions designed to elicit essentially the same information.  Such a one is Ernest A. Canning, who writes for The BRAD BLOG, and one of whose articles has been picked up by truthout.  The title of the article is “What Will It Take for Americans to Understand the Basics of Election Integrity?”  Seems to me a darned good question.

Here’s a brief list:

1.  ALL electronically stored and/or processed data are vulnerable to malicious cyber intrusions.

2.  Vulnerability is not confined to external hackers.  Election insider manipulation is a separate vulnerability.

3.  Paper registration forms, poll books, and hand marked paper ballots are not vulnerable to electronic manipulation.

4.  The only way to ensure a transparent and verifiable count is to deploy hand-marked paper ballots, publicly hand counted.

5.  The core issue of election integrity is not fraud, but whether election officials have complied with procedures designed to ensure integrity.

He goes on to discuss some court cases in disputed elections, and how, in his opinion, the court have not just been looking at the evidence wrongly, but have been looking at the wrong kind of evidence.  I won’t go into detail on this, except to say in passing that it helps no one to discuss what went wrong with a candidate’s platform or personability and how a different plank, or a different candidate, might have changed the result, when the fact is we really don’t even know the result.

As a former election judge (poll worker) who has actually counted paper ballots (including once a judge of absentee votes – that was interesting), and a resident of a state which now has all mail balloting, I would point out that all-mail balloting IS done with paper ballots which are hand marked.  They present custody issues, but so do ballots which are voted at a polling place, and all mail ballots are IMO superior from a privacy standpoint.

Alecto, you have been familiar with elections since the ballots were ὄστρακα.  Please hang around to be helping those who want elections fair and with large participation, and hauling off to Hades those who want the opposite.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4060701

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Pithy Progressive #6

 Posted by at 1:04 pm  Politics
Jul 042017
 

Back in the day when Democrats could actually run as Democrats, we never had to ask questions like the ones we are looking at today:  How can we get Democrats elected to offices since a Teflon President has apparently passed on that mantle (now usually referred to as IOKIYAR) to an entire guilty party, for whom people CONTINUE TO VOTE?

It’s the Fourth of July, and therefore a great day to feature a Progressive who has just published a (co-written with Sam Ulschneider) essay on the Declaration of Independence.  First published to Blue Virginia, it was also re-posted to Daily Kos by the candidate.  I’m not going to quote it for intellectual property reasons, but it is well worth the read.  Instead, I am going to quote Schuyler VanValkenburg’s platform from his campaign website – still his own words, but more freely share-able.  He is running to be the delegate from Virginia’s 72nd District.

Economic opportunity

I believe in creating an economic environment that creates opportunity for all.

Our legislature has spent the past eight years pursuing policies which promote the economic livelihood of the few here in Virginia, and the interest of key campaign contributors.  We need to – and can – fix our tax and infrastructure policies to support middle-class families instead.
•Updating the tax code.  Due to a dysfunctional General Assembly tax breaks for special interests are costing the state $2.3 billion a year.
•Promote infrastructure spending, in tandem with the national government to help bring quality jobs to all Virginians.

Improved Healthcare

Virginia has done very little in recent years to ensure the ongoing health of our citizens, squandering important opportunities to extend coverage and services.
•Virginia needs to expand Medicaid under the opportunities available under the Affordable Care Act.  Medicaid expansion will fix the devastating coverage gap in Virginia, improve children’s health, and even give more options to our veterans.
•We need to treat addiction as a disease rather than criminalizing it.  Embracing modern techniques for recovery, financial help for recovery programs, and smarter legal structures and systems will keep Virginia from enduring the most devastating consequences of the opiate addiction crisis.

Democracy and Civic Engagement

As a teacher, I have seen the transformative power of knowledge and democratic engagement.  One of the core values of my campaign is broadening the dialogue and encouraging more members of our community to have a voice in the political process at every level.  This includes lowering barriers to voting, ending gerrymandering to create competitive districts where candidates must really pay attention to their constituents, and reigning in abuses of the campaign finance system,
•End all barriers to voting, including discriminatory Voter ID laws, extending voting times, and easing precinct lines.
•Create a campaign finance system that emphasizes fairness and transparency while also being actively enforced.

Education

I believe in extending access to high quality education through student loans and tuition price freezes, an expansion of pre-K access, strengthening our standards and professional resources in K-12, and lowering class sizes.
•The creation of a Student Loan Authority to help ease our citizen’s student loan crisis
•Provide the funding and programs to create a ten-year plan to gradually increase pre-K education for all Virginians
•Promoting a k-12 budget that prioritizes small class sizes, professional and well-paid teachers, and a curriculum suited for the 21st century.

Equality

I believe that Virginia has been and should be a bold symbol of American values of egalitarianism – every person, regardless of religion, sexuality, gender, or race should have the same legal rights, opportunities, and social status as everyone else.
•Fight any attempt to pass “bathroom bills” or “religious freedom bills” that attempt to discriminate against the LGTBQ community.
•Fight for reform in the criminal justice system.
•Push back against any attempt to infringe on women’s health programs while fighting to end the gender pay gap.
•Promote child leave policies that allow mothers and fathers to balance family and work.

Community Development

Virginia’s state government can do more to help its counties and cities build infrastructure, fund crucial projects, and strengthen local programs on the ground.
•Fight to ensure that the state lives up to its budgetary promises.  There is currently a $600,000,000 shortfall in the education budget for localities.
•Work to ensure that the Richmond metropolitan region has the funding and communication necessary to promote our economy.  This includes local projects like revitalizing Lakeside Avenue and fixing the traffic on Sadler Road.

I wish Mr. VanValkenburg a decisive victory.  (I hope his practically-New-Amsterdam name doesn’t hurt him.)  He has lived in Virginia since 2001, so he is no carpetbagger, though he may be considered an immigrant to Virginia.  But, as Lin-Manuel Miranda has said, “Immigrants – We Get the Job Done!”

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4060312

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Everyday Erinyes #81

 Posted by at 9:21 am  Politics
Jul 012017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

Kris Kobach is not a name new to Politics Plus readers.  Probably his major claim to fame is the invention of “Crosscheck” –  which is now suspeced of having disenfranchised more voters in several red states than Trump’s margin of “victory” in those states.  It should come as a surprise to no one that such an achievement brought him to the attention of Trump, and resulted in an appointment to Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

He has now sent letters to all fifty states “requesting”

all publicly available voter roll data, including the full names of all registered voters along with their addresses, dates of birth, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, voting history and other personal information. 

There are, thankfully, SOME states whose elected officials have a clue about Democratic government, truth, and falsehood.  Connecticut reported the letter it received to news agencies, resulting in my source article in the Kansas City Star.  However, that appears to be the extent of it for Connecticut – or else, they have quite a sense of humor.  Maybe both.

Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, a Democrat, said in a statement that her office plans to share “publicly-available information with the Kobach commission while ensuring that the privacy of voters is honored by withholding protected data.” 

“In the same spirit of transparency, we will request that the commission share any memos, meeting minutes or additional information as state officials have not been told precisely what the commission is looking for,” she said. “This lack of openness is all the more concerning, considering that the vice chair of the commission, Kris Kobach, has a lengthy record of illegally disenfranchising eligible voters in Kansas.” 

Missouri is going right along with the plan, and “looks forward” to working with Kobach.

California has the Secretary of State I would like to have (and, I’m sure, don’t.)  Alex Padilla

said in a statement that he will “not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally.”

“California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the President, the Vice President, and Mr. Kobach. The President’s Commission is a waste of taxpayer money and a distraction from the real threats to the integrity of our elections today: aging voting systems and documented Russian interference in our elections.”

It might be a good idea for everyone in the US to contact his or her State Secretary of State and find out where he or she stands on this – “request.”  [Afterwards you can try saying “State Secretary of State” five times fast.]  Let us know.  Megaera and Tisiphone will be standing by.

Moving briefly to Right Wing Watch, a service of People for the American Way, Rick Wiles was recently picked up praising Russia for banning “cults,” such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Who is Rick Wiles, you may (if you are lucky) wonder.  Well, Rick Wiles, founder and host of the TruNews [sic] radio program and trunews dot com, as well as a frequent guest on the Jum Bakker Show (yes, that Jim Bakker), can in my opinion probably be well described as Alex Jones on Prozac.  He is every bit as crazy as Jones.  But he keeps a lower profile, and, unlike Jones, keeps his personal life out of the news.  He does, however, say crazy things (Pokemon are from Satan, Democrats are Satanic, Barack Obama is a devil from hell – gee, I am starting to see a pattern here) on a regular basis, and I only bring him up today as an example for Separation of Church and State 101.

  • Praising Russia for banning “cults,” such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Praising Ireland for banning “cults,” such as the Southern Baptists.
  • Praising South Afric for banning “cults,” such as the Unitarian Universalists.
  • Praising India for banning “cults,” such as the Catholic Chirch.

See how that works?

If you accept the first one, you are stuck with, not only the other three, but many others I can’t even imagine.  And, pretty soon, some one, some country is going to get around to banning YOU.  Because there is no religion or religious group, including atheism and agnosticism, that isn’t perceived as a cult by SOMEONE.

Alecto, I doubt if even the Erinyes can get any sense into what Wiles calls his head.  But for sure, if you can’t, no one can.  good luck.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4059982

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Everyday Erinyes #80

 Posted by at 12:27 pm  Politics
Jun 242017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as “unceasing,” “grudging,” and “vengeful destruction.”

I am running late today, and short-handed, since I really needed to ask Tisiphone to do a favor for a friend (who has an ex-spouse who needs to be – explained – the meaning of “restraining order.”)  But – as I point out every week – no one knows the true total number of the Furies, and I need to ask them if any of them are children.  Because what is really needed for the first situation this week is about 400 baby Eumenides, primed to comfort children who need it.

We probably all cringed this week when the murderer of Philando Castile was acquitted of all charges (He is no longer a police officer, but now, what’s to prevent him from becoming one again?), and many of us re-lived that horrible night, particularly since, with the trial over, the dashcam video was now available and shocking.  Castile’s death, happening as it did in front of his girl friend and right before the eyes of her little girl, was devastating even to those of us who follow such killings, and was covered here at Politics Plus as well in all the mainstream media.

What went under the radar then, and which I only realized this week, was that Philando Castile had in life worked as the nutrition services supervisor at J.J. Hill, “a small bastion of diversity, a Montessori school that draws from surrounding progressive neighborhoods.”

It was a few weeks after his death in July 2016 when Sakki Selznick learned that her daughter had been giving imaginary high-fives to Philando Castile.

Castile ― or Mr. Phil, as students at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School would call him ― often greeted students with high-fives while they waited on line to get breakfast in the cafeteria. Now that Mr. Phil was gone, Selznick’s young daughter worried she’d never get one of his famous high-fives again. One evening, she explained, she was thinking about it and she’d started high-fiving the air, hoping Mr. Phil would respond somehow.

A magical high-five didn’t arrive. Through tears, Selznick explained to her daughter that she would not be getting one. 

Ten-year old Miss Selznick is far from alone.  “395 adoring students … have spent the past year mourning Castile, a loss that was felt anew last week with the news that Yanez had been acquitted of any wrongdoing.

When the students returned to school last fall, they had been visibly changed.  The school has been doing its best to deal with the grief head on.  Teachers got special training, counselors had extended availabilty, visible memorials were created.  But  when adults cannot work through and make sense of a catastrophe. children really cannot be expected to do so.  400 or so baby Eumenides probably cannot resolve this either, but it couldn’t hurt, could it?

As one parent said, “It has been a hard year.  I don’t imagine the next year will be easier.”

Grief like this is immobilizing.  But the right is not immobilized right now.  It is invigorated.  And, while I would hesitate to call anyone on the right “intelligent,” you don’t gain as much power as they have without having something.  Call it low cunning if you will.  Shrewdness works for me.  And I am seeing a trend.  Some one, or some group, possibly not even organized, on the right, is is combining our grief and their projection to use against us.  They don’t need to immobilize us forever.  They just need to immobilize us long enough to destroy us.  From AlterNet

 You may have mocked claims about the existence of paid protesters as just another lie from the right. As it turns out, at least on this one issue, they’re actually telling the truth. The problem is, the right neglected to mention those paid protesters are part of the right-wing apparatus….  If it seemed incongruous that the “new right”—whose members have declared themselves the defenders of free speech and conservationists of Western culture—claimed to be so outraged by the recent staging of a Shakespeare play, this might explain why. And when the right talks about “paid protesters,” just assume they personally know whence they speak. 

If sending out paid protestors isn’t enough, consider how the right is complaining about left-wing violence – and using that as an excuse to knock a few heads themselves.  From Mother Jones:

“Did anybody get to bash a commie yet?” [Kyle] Chapman asked, addressing a group of “Western chauvinist” street brawlers known as the Proud Boys, who flashed “OK” hand signs as a videographer livestreamed the event for Chapman’s 34,000 Facebook followers. “Well, let me know when the time is right because I’m not going to miss out on any fun.”

Mike Cernovich, who has a lot of monty to spend on paid protesting, made it into this story too –

“These [left/right] labels are changing,” insists internet troll, vlogger, and self-proclaimed “national security reporter” Mike Cernovich, who is among the most prominent pro-Trump voices online and now works for Infowars. “Whether the liberals agree with us or not, we view the left as being the establishment now. The counterculture, the dissident thinking is now coming from the right.”

Of course where there are right wingers there will be money, and money pervades all of this activity.  Chapman is now looking to publish comic books.  Partly because:

“Marvel, DC have really let their readership down because they’ve moved so far to the left,” he told me. “They’ve gone and changed white characters to black characters. They’ve taken straight characters and made ’em gay. It’s not what people wanted. They want superheroes.”

May I digress a little bit here?  I am straight, and so white that I can’t spend more than five minutes in the sun without sunscreen.  But I can recognize a superhero when I see one – and it mostly ain’t white guys.  Anyone who is black or brown or gay or Muslim or any one of a thousand pther things these guys just can’t stand, IS a superhero.  They HAVE to be super heroes just to survive.  To not only survive but to stay positive, to stay away from hate (like the survivors at Mother Emanuel in Charleston) – these are the superest of superheroes.  Anyone who can’t see that is blind.  The blindness may or may not be deliberate.

The Nation also has an article on why political violence is necessarily on the right and of the right.  The Nation has a pretty fierce paywall, and when I see something there I might want to refer to again not in the same month, I “print” it to a pdf or an xps file to save on my computer, so as not to keep spending that same “view” over and over.  I did that with this one.

In the wake of the mass shooting in suburban Virginia last week that left House majority whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and three others wounded, conservatives have been furiously waving the bloody shirt. With LEFT-WINGHATE filling half the screen, Sean Hannity blamed Democrats, saying they “dehumanize Republicans and paint them as monsters.” Tucker Carlson claimed that “some on the hard left” support political violence because it “could lead to the dissolution of a country they despise.” Others have blamed seemingly anything even vaguely identified with liberalism for inciting the violence—from Madonna to MSNBC to Shakespeare in the Park.

This is all a truly remarkable example of projection. In the wake of the shooting, Erick Erickson wrote a piece titled, “The Violence is Only Getting Started,” as if three innocent people hadn’t been brutally murdered by white supremacists in two separate incidents in just the past month.

All of these articles are strong on what the right is in fact doing.  Unfortunately, they are weak on ideas about how to combat what the right is doing.  Because, unfortunately, just saying “Oh, they’re projecting,” is not going to work.  One either sees that or one doesn’t.  And they don’t.

But maybe Megaera and Alecto can come up with something. And, when she gets back, Tisiphone.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4059167

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