Everyday Erinyes #75

 Posted by at 12:19 pm  Politics
May 192017
 

(AKA Friday Furies – today)

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."

After last week's focus on the Bradley Foundation (more fully, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation), I wanted to follow up a little, with articles that focus on specific things that the Foundation is doing, and articles that show that it is now getting attention from local media where it is getting most active.

Of course the Foundation is located in Milwaukee, WI, so it makes sense that Wisconsin media would be interested.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has zoomed in upon the Foundation's activities, including its ties to Scott Walker (gee, thanks, Bradley /S)

When Gov. Scott Walker laid out a plan in his state budget address urging people to take steps to avoid welfare, it mirrored a platform of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which has pushed for greater personal responsibility and more stringent welfare requirements.

Documents hacked from the Bradley Foundation's computer server show the connection is not just philosophical — it's financial….

The foundation even awarded a $100,000 grant to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families to underwrite the commission itself — an unusual, if not unique, step in government. Neither the source of the commission's money nor the foundation's stake in the outcome was disclosed. The state spent about $62,000 of the grant before making its recommendation to the governor.

This excellent piece of reporting follows the money to show how deep the Bradley Foundation's tentacles go, and how they spread out into multiple areas of Winsoncin government.  Or maybe we should say "Fitzwalkerstan" government.  Personally, I think it's a pity Scotty didn't take a post with the Trump Administration before now, so that he could be taken down with it.  But, if he was too cunning to do so before, he's definitely too cunning to do so now.  Sad.

The Journal Sentinel is very much on the whole story; there are two other articles just this week on the Foundation.  One focuses on its funding of groups opposing climate regulation, and the other includes an interview with Marcus S. Owens, who ran the IRS's tax-exempt organizations division during the 1990's; he shows how closely they are skating to the exempt-non exempt line, and indeed going over it.

Other Wisconsin media are also discussing the Foundation, including the Wisconsin Independent and Urban Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, it has comne to the attention of Colorado Politics that the Bradley Foundation is putting a lot of money into Colorado, with a focus on union-busting.  Citing the CMD report, the article says:

Bradley has given the Colorado-based Independence Institute $1.45 million between 2004-2016, the documents indicate, including multiple grants some years. With the assistance of the Independence Institute, the right-wing Douglas County school board enacted a series of measures, including countywide school vouchers for private and religious schools (later struck down by the courts), plus an end to collective bargaining, teacher tenure, and automatic dues deductions for teachers unions. In 2013, the battle resulted in a high-dollar school board race where unions and the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity group spent heavily.

Bradley has been a big funder of this agenda. In 2015, Bradley gave a grant of $100,000 to Independence Institute for “aggressive education reform,” which Bradley says included “neutralizing the power of Colorado’s teachers’ unions by defunding them at the local school district level” (Independence Institute, Grant Proposal Record, 11/10/15).

The Independence Institute's response:

It’s no secret that the Independence Institute, the Denver-based libertarian-leaning think tank, takes on unions at every turn, and it depends on anonymous donors to do it.

“We never talk about our donors,” Independence Institute president and CEO Jon Caldara said in an e-mail. “But if Bradley gave us that much money to fight unions, I’d be living on some small island with that cash right now instead."

Oh my.  Well, it certainly is refreshing for a right wing/Libertarian operative admit he is an embezzler, even if only at heart.

Over in the State of Washington, The Stand ("News About Working People Standing Together in Washington State") also picked up the informmation about union-busting.

In Washington state, the Bradley Foundation granted $1.5 million over three years to the Freedom Foundation with the purpose of “defund[ing] Big Labor,” because “Washington State’s liberal labor laws have long allowed it to be a net exporter of union dollars to other parts of the country,” according to proposals regarding the grant.

Examples of the Freedom Foundation’s anti-union activities in Washington include canvassing, mailing, and phone banking union members to get them to opt out of their unions. They also hired a Santa Claus to leaflet state workers as they walked in and out of their workplace, encouraging them to stop paying full union dues.

The Stand also noted that, besides Wisconsin, Colorado, and Washington, the two states the Foundation targets most aggressively are North Carolina and Oregon.

Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO said:

We’re not going to let the Bradley Foundation, the Freedom Foundation, or the other groups they fund get us down. More than ever, working people are coming together to raise wages, protect workers’ rights, and expand the right to organize in our state. We will continue to spotlight and expose the negative, destabilizing outside pressure from anti-union groups on state and local governments. We must ensure Washington politics put the priorities of Washington’s working families first.

Dear Furies, fighting this thing is like fighting the nine-headed Lernean Hydra, which grew two new heads every time one was cut off, at least until the immortal head in the middle was found.  Perhaps you need to enlist Heracles to deal with this – thing.  One version of the myth says that cauterizing the necks with a torch prevented their regeneration; if you are too busy to hold the torches, perhaps Iolaos, who originally served that function, would come along.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4053330

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Everyday Erinyes #74

 Posted by at 11:41 am  Politics
May 132017
 

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."

What a week.  WHAT. A. WEEK.  Well, at least the big story is SO big that the crumbs I have come up with, important though they may be (one probably isn't), will largely have gone under everyone's radar.  So maybe we can learn something.  Although, maybe we will wish we hadn't.

All of us are familiar to the point of contempt with the infamous Koch Brothers, including their connection to ALEC.  What we may not be so vividly aware of is thet they are not alone.  I'd like to introduce you to the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

Documents regarding this Foundation first became available in October 2016, when references showed up in two Twitter accounts linked to the Russiand who hackec the DNC (yes, I should say "alleged," but please assume that a lot of this is "alleged" for now.)  Turns out the Bradley Foundation is a little bigger than the three Koch family foundations combined ($835 mill as of June 2016).  Well, that's interesting.  So where is this money going?

CMD has examined thousands of these documents, including Bradley board documents between 2013-2016. The documents indicate that Bradley has a new stream of funding to build this “conservative infrastructure” and is using a metric to assess the strength and depth of that infrastructure in individual states — including “receptive” politicians, right-wing “think tanks,” symbiotic “grassroots” groups, friendly media, litigation centers, and opposition research — to guide Bradley’s strategic funding initiatives.

Dismantling unions is high on their list of priorities, and ais considered by them to be an important key to turning blue states red.  States like Wisconsin and Michigan.  Incidentally, the Foundation is organized as a 501(c)(3), though from its activities it appears it ought to be a 501(c)(4).  Rich donors, therefore, are receiving tax breaks – as if they needed any more of those – from their contributions.

Two specific examples of uses of Bradley money raise red flags:

1.  Training Republican Candidates and Operatives.

This section follows the money from Bradley to American Majority [sic] to the former Media Trackers, now called Greenhouse Solutons.  “American Majority has trained 3,853 pro-freedom individuals at more than 100 training events. 208 trained candidates have run for state or local office, 181 advanced out of their primaries to the general election. 104 went on to win their elections. These include state legislators, 45 county board supervisors, 27 municipal office holders, 22 school board members and 5 judges.”

2.  Bradley Infrastructure and the "Barder Fund."

“In effectuating its mission, by necessity, Bradley’s grantmaking program has always emphasized the importance of what’s now being called “infrastructure.” Historically, Bradley used to be known and was lauded for providing ongoing, general-operating support to the national think tanks that laid the foundation for and then helped sustain the conservative ascendance beginning in the 1980s.”

The Bradley files contain a list of 20 Bradley-funded national organizations that support this state-based infrastructure (Barder Fund, August 18, 2015).

These include:
America’s Future Foundation
American Legislative Exchange Council  (note:  we know this one well)
American Transparency
Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Americans for Tax Reform Foundation
Center for Consumer Freedom [Berman and Co.]
Employment Policies Institute [Berman and Co.]
Interstate Policy Alliance [Berman and Co.]
Foundation for Government Accountability
FreedomWorks Foundation
Illinois Policy Institute
Leadership Program of the Rockies
Liberty Foundation of America
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
Mercatus Center
National Review Institute
Sagamore Institute
State Policy Network
Texas Public Policy Foundation
Think Freely Media

It's a long, fact-filled article, but it does have a link to a much shorter, sharable video on Facebook 9I am not on Facebook myself, sorry.)  Alecto, there's a very long time buildup here.  Can you work on it?

Meanwhile, in Arizona, Republican ambition and goals have come to this:
"Arizona legislator: 'One thing I would like to repeal is the law on compulsory education'"

Yes, you read that right.  “Education used to be a privilege… People used to believe getting an education was something you had to be privileged to get, that you had to work hard to get. Now we basically force it down everybody’s throats.”

As the "diarist" says:

Those of you who don’t want to be in school, which was about 95% of my friends in 3rd grade, shouldn’t be forced to be learnin’ stuff (and you should know this when you’re eight). Why do you need algebra, chemistry, history, literature or other useless information in order to be Walmart greeters, convenience store clerks, burger flippers or good fundy wives. Or Republican voters. Nor do you need pesky critical thinking classes that might tell you how much you’re getting screwed.

Arizona Democrats regularly point out that the legislature and Gov. Ducey are trying to destroy public education. Rep. Mosley has a solution: Why bother? There aren't enough facepalms left.

Megaera, I would say this qualifies as "grudging."

Finally, this last revelation doesn't really qualify as important.  It's noteworthy only as additional evidence of how delusional people can be – and, unfortunately, that includes people who have equally delusional followers.  You thought Pizzagate was farfetched?  I swear, I am NOT making this up.  I couldn't.

End Times radio host Rick Wiles interviewed “financial analyst” Jim Willie of GoldenJackass.com on his “Trunews” radio program on Friday, where Willie asserted that Queen Elizabeth is a child-killing satanist lizard who is literally inhuman and that Bill and Hillary Clinton are both cannibals.

Right Wing Watch has an audio of the radio program, but here's an excerpt of what Jim Willie had to say:

Hillary Clinton has the same cannibalism brain disease [that Bill CLinton has], Willie said, before adding that she actually already died due to some “very serious incident” that happened on 9/11 from which she never recovered.

“That woman on the third [presidential] debate, if you think that was Hillary, you got rocks in your head, you got nothing in your head,” Willie declared. “That was a 45 to 50 year-old woman posing as a wrinkled 70 year-old Hillary? Are you kidding me? I’m not stupid!”

Tisiphone, I hardly know what to say after that.  Good luck.
 
The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4052383

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Everyday Erinyes #73

 Posted by at 11:23 am  Politics
May 062017
 

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."

It has been a rough week, only slightly alleviated by the news that two law enforcement murderers (out of how many hundred?) will be facing, one a possible penalty (after a plea bargain), the other charges (and what else remains to be seen), for their crimes.  The passage of the AHCA (Abysmal Horrible Crap Act) has dominated the news, and, as fury-worthy as it is, there is really nothing to say about it that hasn't already been said, and that multiple times.

Although, perhaps I can come up with some words that have not been seen – at least not nationally – the lamebrain in question probably sent them to the local papers, but I don't know whether anyone bothered to publish them, as predictable and vapid as they are.  The Congressman for CO-05, Douglas Lamborn, my Congressman, sent out this statement in an email:

"I have kept my promise to replace Obamacare with a patient-centered plan that reduces government control, lowers costs, and increases the health care choices available to the American people. The AHCA has improved over the last month. The Freedom Caucus has worked with the moderate Tuesday Group to forge a compromise that will lower premiums and increase the flexibility of individual states to manage their health care decisions. Additionally, I personally negotiated with House Leadership to fix an error that locked veterans into the VA health system and prevented them from accessing the benefits of the AHCA. Securing this important victory for our veterans allowed me to support the bill.

With this vote, we have ended the individual mandate, blocked federal funding from going to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, phased out Medicaid expansion, reduced regulations and taxes, and gutted Obamacare. I hope that the Senate is able to build upon the good work done by the House and deliver a strong bill to the President. By standing with President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Health and Human Services Secretary Price, I have voted to move us forward to a future of improved health care access and affordability for all Americans."

(It is also on his website, but we don't link to websites of this nature here.)  I am sure it is now obvious to everyone here, if it wasn't already, why I make a point of remaining on good terms with Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone.

Just for good measure, though, on the National Day of Prayer this week, Shouty McShoutface signed an executive order regarding "Religious Liberty."  Naturally it was one of those documents that promulgate and support making it legal for those calling themselves "Christians" to discriminate against anyone not calling him or herself Christian – or, calling him or herself Christian, but not looking exactly like the "Christian" doing the discriminating.  And, of course, Congressman CO-05 had on opinion on that too:

"I want to commend President Trump for signing today's Executive Order on Religious Liberty, defending the liberties enshrined in our founding documents, and making good on campaign promises to preserve and protect religious freedom. Along with other Members of Congress, I urged the President to act quickly on this order, to restore to people of faith the freedoms that have been being encroached upon in recent years. Under the Obama Administration, men and women faced crippling penalties for simply living out their faith in everyday lives.

The United States of America has a long and rich history of being a bastion of freedom for those persecuted for living out their religious beliefs. I am grateful for the efforts of this administration to return to those values by reining in the culture of government intimidation and unfair punishments of those seeking to faithfully live out their deeply held convictions. No one should ever be forced to decide between giving up their deeply held convictions or facing the threat of unfair government punishment through crippling fines. Religious liberty takes nothing away from American citizens, but merely underscores the value and right of religious expression for the many millions of Americans who hold to a particular faith."

(The picture shows him accepting the "True Blue" arard from the Family Research Council.  No comment.) Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone, dealing, as you generally do, directly with prime movers of evil, you may think I want you to go after this guy, and, in a way, you would not be wrong.  However, this Congressional District is laid out in such a way that if you took him out, he would most likely be replaced by someone worse.  I can't even call that a gerrymander.  It became like this when far right Christianist and Dominionist groups all more or less simultaneously decided that Colorado Springs was a wonderful place to headquarter. 

So what I really would like to happen is a change to the hearts and minds of the voters of CO-05 so that we can elect an actual human being to Congress.  I know that's a tall order.  And timeconsuming.  It might not happen in my lifetime.  It may not happen before the earth burns to a crisp.  But I do think it is worth attempting.  Dear ladies, thanks.  And good luck.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4051167

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Everyday Erinyes #72

 Posted by at 11:47 am  Politics
Apr 292017
 

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 may not be the most heinous thing that became public this week, but I want to lead off with it becausee it is so darned dangerous.

A new fight-club “fraternity” of young white, pro-Trump men is being formed, its organizers claim, to defend free-speech rights by “Alt-Right” leaders and engage in street fighting.

There's already the DIY Division of neo-Nazis with an agenda to turn protests by reasonable people (as the right calls them, "anti-Fascists," which is accurate but incomplete) into "street threatre."  But the arrival of this new group concerns me that this is becoming "a thing."

FOAK (Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights), now an affiliiate of the Proud Boys, and the Proud Boys itself, may seem to border on self-satire, especially if you read the initiation rituals.

The Proud Boys reportedly have a four-step initiation process. It starts with a prospect declaring himself a “Proud Boy,” suiting up in Fred Perry polo shirts with yellow stripes—similar to those worn by skinheads.

The second degree is a “cereal beat-in” during which the new member is punched and beaten by current members until the plebe can rattle off the names of five cereals (you know, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Cheerios!)

The third degree reported involves “adhering to the masturbation regimen and getting a tattoo,” blogger Will Sommer wrote in a recent post.

Since then, a fourth-degree has been added to the initiation ritual – brawling with antifascists at public rallies.

However, injuries received by protestors are going to be real.  This from the FOAK founder is chilling:

“Our emphasis will be on street activism, preparation, defense and confrontation,” he said. “We will protect and defend our right wing brethren when the police and government fail to do so.”

Tisiphone, and Megaera, please, form a squad of unnamed Furies if necessary, to protect rational people involved in rational demonstrations.  Such as today's Climate march.  And the demonstrations planned to support workers on May Day.

Probably we are, if not already there, at least becoming far too accustomed to seeing videos involving police stops, apparently based on suspicion of breathing while black or the like, to the point that there are too many for all to appear in this column.  This article, however, is so well written and makes such good points, so that I thought it needed to be brought up.

The traffic stop, in Gwinnett County, Georgia, involved the stopping of Demetrius Hollins, 21, by Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni.  Bongiovanni was standing by the sedan, Hollins emerged with hands up, and Bongiovanni slugged Hollins in the head.  Then, after Hollins was lying on the ground handcuffed, another officer was called to the scene – Robert McDonald – who exited his vehicle, ran up to Hollins and kicked him in the head.

(Parentheticasl thought: is slugging and kicking in the head [or, alternatively, poisoning young brains with leaded water] the only way white supremacists can make people of color brain-damaged enough to satisfy their need to think themselves superior?)

The author says,

What do you think is more likely, that this traffic stop just happened to bring together the only two bad apples on the Gwinnett County police force? Or that there is a larger problem in its culture, illustrated by the fact that a young officer hired four years ago expected no consequences for needlessly kicking a handcuffed guy in the head in front of a sergeant?

And goes on to point out that

the Black Lives Matter movement is portrayed wildly inaccurately in conservative media outlets,  which focus on the most extreme, unrepresentative rhetoric from the coalition, and all but ignore the actual policy demands that it has put forth….

Dubbed Campaign Zero, it draws its strength largely from the fact that many of the policies that it recommends are “best practices” taken from existing police agencies.

“They’re practical, well-thought out, and in most cases, achievable,” wrote Radley Balko, one of the country’s most knowledgeable law-enforcement-policy journalists. “These are proposals that will almost certainly have an impact, even if only some of them are implemented. The ideas here are well-researched, supported with real-world evidence and ought to be seriously considered by policymakers.”

Professor Harold Pollack, a policy expert at the University of Chicago, concluded in his assessment that, “One does not need to embrace every element to recognize that this well-crafted document provides a useful basis of discussion between grassroots activists, elected officials, law enforcement professionals, and policy analysts … And based on my own research on urban crime and policing, which has included the implementation of randomized-violence-prevention trials, interviews with incarcerated offenders, and collaboration with public-health and criminal-justice authorities, several proposals in Campaign Zero struck me as particularly smart."

Alecto, The problem of people with closed minds thinking that people who look like them can do no wrong is a longstanding one,maybe forever – which makes you the one to be working on this.  I know it's difficult. 

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4050021

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Everyday Erinyes #71

 Posted by at 12:17 am  Politics
Apr 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."

I want to start with this article about governmental responses to protesting.  Now, I certainly do not want to dissuade anyone from protesting.  I suspect that anyone who reads this blog would be only to happy to spend a day or two in a jail in connection with a protest, if it would do any good.  In fact, the owner of this blog HAS done so during his lifetime, and I expect there are others.  But that is different from what is happening to 214 people who took part in the insuguration day protest in Washington, DC.

More than 214, of course, were picked up in the mass arrest, which seems to have been oddly timed, by the way.  But the handful who have established themselves as professional journalists, medics, and legal observers have mostly had charges against them dropped.  Also, of the 214, there is "a handful" against who there is some evidence that they smashed windows or threw a rpck at a police officer, and I'm sure no one here approves of that.  But the nature of the evidence of identification is a little foggy, and no one believes all 214 people smashed or threw anything at all – in fact, there must be at least 200 whose only "crime" was being there.

Nonetheless, every one of the 214 is being charged with "rioting and inciting," a charge associated with up to a $25,000.00 fine and up to ten years behind bars.  A felony charge.  A hefty charge for just being present.

"In my over thirty years of practicing law, I've never seen anything like this," said veteran D.C. attorney Mark Goldstone, of the charges. Goldstone, who has defended dozens of activist cases and is representing six of the J20 defendants, called the charges "unprecedented territory."

Peaceful protesting has been for quite some time a First Amendment protected activity.  Washington, DC, appears to be doing its best to change that.  I don't think one has to be a legal expert to foresee long-term negative consequences.  Alecto, can you help out?

Now for a small diversion, a little light humor, to gove us a chance to catch our breath here. 

In Missouri, restrictions on abortion providers are so strict that only one clinic in the state can perform abortions: a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis. But on the State Senate floor Wednesday, two Republican lawmakers joked that women seeking abortions should go to the St. Louis Zoo because it’s “safer” and more regulated than abortion clinics.

“The St. Louis Zoo gets inspected once a year,” said State Senator Bob Onder to his colleague, State Senator Wayne Wallingford, who added, “Maybe we should send the people that want an abortion to the St. Louis Zoo, because we know it’ll be safer.”

OH.  Joke.  Ha.  Ha.

We are not amused.

The Senator took to Twitter to "explain" his remarks.  I am not on Twitter, but I almost wished I were when I came to a comment that said "Could you possibly be more offensive?"  I surely wanted to say, "Don't make it sound like a challenge!"

I want to be very clear that this Senator in no way reflects on SoINeedAName.  The Senator's district, Saint Charles County, is all the way across the state.  Unfortunately, that also means there is not much he could possibly do about him.  So, Megaera, perhaps you could put a minion out there to follow him up amd make sure he loses his next election.

Before moving on to one piece of good news, I want to mention a piece of very old news indeed.  A hundred and forty-four years old.  Have you ever heard of the Colfax Massacre?  No?  Neither have I – or I hadn't until now. 

In Colfax, La., on Easter Sunday 1873, a mob of white insurgents, including ex-Confederate and Union soldiers, led an assault on the Grant Parish Courthouse, the center of civic life in the community, which was occupied and surrounded — and defended — by black citizens determined to safeguard the results of the state's most recent election. They, too, were armed, but they did not have the ammunition to outlast their foes, who, outflanking them, proceeded to mow down dozens of the courthouse's black defenders, even when they surrendered their weapons. The legal ramifications were as horrifying as the violence — and certainly more enduring; in an altogether different kind of massacre, United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the U.S. Supreme Court tossed prosecutors' charges against the killers in favor of severely limiting the federal government's role in protecting the emancipated from racial targeting, especially at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan.  (emphasis mine)

How in God's name, and I don't say that lightly, are we ever supposed to overcome racism if we keep denying our past, never speaking of it, except, occasionally to blame the victims by calling it the "Colfax Riot"?  Tisiphone – this needs to be in history books, in schools, all over the nation.  Yes, I realize that in a nation where some refer to abducted and transported slaves as "immigrants" that may take some doing.  Good luck.

Now, one story with – well, I can't say a happy ending, but at least a bending in the direction of justice.  Even so, it comes almost four years later than it should, and certainly too late for some.

In what may be the single largest dismissal of wrongful convictions in US history, Massachusetts prosecutors announced Tuesday they would throw out 21,587 criminal drug cases. The cases were all prosecuted based on evidence or testimony supplied by a former state chemist who admitted to faking tests and identifying evidence as illegal narcotics without even testing it. The chemist, Annie Dookhan, pleaded guilty in 2013 to tampering with evidence during her nine years working at a state crime lab in Boston. During that time, thousands of people were convicted based on her false statements.

You ladies can flip a coin (if you have a three sided one) on this if you like.  But I do ask that someone follow up on this.  For one thing, our nation has a long and dishonorable history of keeping exonerated people locked up because the authorities cannot be bothered with the paperwork to let them go.  For another, those who are already free, having served their time, need their records cleansed.  Even for a state with 6.475 million people, 21,587 cases is a lot of paperwork.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4048688

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Everyday Erinyes #70

 Posted by at 12:29 am  Politics
Apr 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."

This week I have one story, and I hope how it posted works for Alternet, because I followed instructions and got one paragraph, so had to fill in.

The Trump White House Even Managed to Screw Up the Annual Easter Party @alternet

The ineptitude of this administration stretches from top to bottom. After almost 100 days of scandals, leaks and chaos, the Trump administration has become notorious for its sui generis mix of arrogance, ineptitude and inexperience. These defining character traits are on display again in the runup to Easter Sunday.

The New York Times reports that for the first time in nearly 140 years, the White House Easter Egg Roll almost didn’t happen because the president’s team could barely get it together in time to pull it off. This year’s event will apparently take place on a far smaller scale than in the past, and that’s only because Trump staffers got some help with the basics.

According to the Times, the White House had to be reminded to order eggs, which are fairly crucial for an event with “Egg Roll” in the title. Wells Wood Turning, the Maine-based manufacturer of the commemorative eggs that decorate the White House lawn every year, noticed in February that the Trump team had failed to place the order. Fearing the deadline would pass, the company took to Twitter to blare a word of warning to Trump, his wife Melania, and first lady Ivanka.

A rush order on the eggs was ultimately placed. But this year’s event will lack the star-power of past celebrations, which have drawn up to 35,000 attendees and featured performers including Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. Just as the Trump inauguration had a conspicuous lack of big names, the Times suggests A-Listers will be absent from next Monday’s party. The lack of preparedness also means fewer children, families and staff will be involved in what’s normally the White House’s biggest and most popular public affair.

“It’s the single most high-profile event that takes place at the White House each year, and the White House and the first lady are judged on how well they put it on,” Melinda Bates, former director of the White House Visitors Office under President Clinton, told the Times. “I’m really concerned for the Trump people, because they have failed to fill some really vital posts, and this thing is all hands on deck.”

The lack of organization that hampered planning efforts also extends to invitations, the Times reports:

Washington-area public schools that normally receive blocks of tickets for as many as 4,000 children have yet to hear from the White House, according to representatives for school systems in the District of Columbia; Arlington, Va.; and Alexandria, Va. Several groups representing military families, who have accounted for as many as 3,000 guests in recent years, also said they had yet to be contacted.

Among those who haven’t received the tickets they normally expect each year is the American Military Partner Association, an advocacy organization for families of LGBT service members.

PBS Kids and the Children’s Television Workshop were asked, at the last minute, if they could send characters from beloved children’s shows such as Sesame Street. Normally, several muppets and actors from PBS shows are on hand, but this year, characters will be scarcer. That’s fitting since Trump has proposed scrapping the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and pretty much all public arts funding. That way, the U.S. can stop wasting money educating children and pour those funds into Trump’s already massive vacation kitty.

Members of Congress are normally provided tickets to the annual event to give to constituents, but the Times reports the Trump White House still hasn’t gotten around to that. An aide to a Republican legislator noted that Trump’s party planners “seem to be a bit behind schedule.”

One consistent attendee of the Easter Egg Roll who’s skipping the event this year is Natalie Rebetsky, a Maryland high school educator who’s become a staple at the annual party. The Washington Post reports Rebetsky has attended nearly two-dozen Egg Rolls, regardess of which party was in the White House.

“I didn’t care who was president when I went on the White House lawn. You just always knew the person in the White House is looking out for us and our children,” Rebetsky told the Post. “I just don’t feel that with this administration. Donald Trump has broken that trust with families and children.”

Instead, she bought 1,000 eggs from Wells Wood Turning (she got her order in before the White House) decorated with the message “Protect Our Children’s Future 2017,” meant to push back against Trump’s anti-family agenda. Rebetsky is selling the wooden “alt-eggs” for $15 via her GoFundMe page. One hundred percent of the profits will go to PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“It’s really hard for all of us to jump out of our armchairs and be activists,” Rebetsky told the Post. “I can’t stand to imagine a world where there is no federal support of the arts. It’s a first for me to put myself out on this issue.”

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

Source: The Trump White House Even Managed to Screw Up the Annual Easter Party @alternet

This is mighty short notice, ladies, but – whatever you can do.

Actually, the article I really wanted to use was this one – but I couldn't afford it (I did price it).  Posting the link, however, is free.  (Update to make the URL visible as the one generated by the Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2017/04/12/crucified-man-had-prior-run-in-with-authorities/?utm_term=.090f24e4cae3)

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4047528

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