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Let’s Be Honest. Anti-Abortion Doesn’t Make You Pro-Life | Crooks and Liars

Excellent essay by Ramona Grigg on the difference between being anti-abortion and being truly pro-life. Being pro-birth is a fairly easy distinction that leaves out consideration of many important aspects to an extremely complex issue overall. Being pro-life does not end with the birth of an infant, but also addresses issues that only begin at that point. – RJC

 

If you force a woman to bear a child she doesn’t want, it should be on you to insure health, wealth, and happiness to both. The real sin is in turning your back on her once your interference brings about the outcome you were hoping for.

Source: Let’s Be Honest. Anti-Abortion Doesn’t Make You Pro-Life | Crooks and Liars

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The Haymarket Riot: “It is a Subterranean Fire” by Elizabeth Schulte

An excellent argument could be made from an historical perspective for moving Labor Day in this country to May 1st. Momentous events have occurred in the past regarding labor and workers’ rights on that date. The Haymarket Riot in 1886 occurred in the aftermath of protests urging the institution of an eight hour workday. Other such events have also occurred on May 1st – both here and abroad. – RJC

 

via The Haymarket Riot: “It is a Subterranean Fire” by Elizabeth Schulte

Debunking the Myth of American Exceptionalism + The Day DC Was Bombed

Reblogged from Dandelion Salad and written by David Swanson, The absurdity of some of the justifications made for the mass murder known as war. How would we be reacting if the tables were turned? Someday, they most likely will be. – RJC

via David Swanson: Debunking the Myth of American Exceptionalism + The Day DC Was Bombed

President Trump: Can We Have Our Government Back Now?

The rapidly spinning maelstrom which has become the abnormal normal of the Administration of Donald Trump over the year plus that has elapsed since his inauguration has seemed to accelerate in recent weeks. Whether the news concerns primarily new developments in the Special Investigation led by Robert Mueller, more self-inflicted turmoil in terms of hiring, firing and/or otherwise dealing with turnover in his cabinet and other key White House staffers, or using his inimitable style to either create or deal with chaos on the international scene, the 24 hour news cycle seems to be covering our President almost to the exclusion of anyone or anything else.

As a week began with a ratcheting up of the Mueller investigation with a related warranted search of a key Trump lawyer’s home, office and hotel gave the vaunted Trump twitter feed a not-unexpected jolt. Speculation continues unabated as to how he will react to new allegations, revelations and other developments concerning potential impeachable offenses such as obstruction of justice or campaign irregularities which could create legal difficulties for himself and/or his campaign, transition and now White House staff members. Who will he fire next via Tweet after weeks of publicly denying his victim was in danger of losing their job? Who will resign next? Who will be indicted next or plea bargain with promises to testify for the Special Prosecutor? Can he do what he wants to do to fight for his own job without breaking any laws or violating the very Constitution he swore to uphold and defend?

Often, when speaking publicly on another topic, he will venture into totally unrelated topics and say things that catch even his closest advisors by surprise – like when he recently stated flat out that American troops would soon be leaving Syria, since ISIS seems to have just about been eradicated there. Surprised the heck out of the military leaders on the ground, at the Pentagon and including the Secretary of Defense. As also often happens, President Trump then managed to use outrage at the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian ruler Assad against his own people to totally reverse his position and engineer the massive missile attack on suspected Syrian chemical weapons facilities last Friday night. This attack was reminiscent of a similar attack conducted about a year ago for the same purported reason after a previous instance of alleged chemical weapons use by Assad’s forces.

President Trump, in his bold posturing and massive use of military force in Syria, seems to be willing to take big risks in order to capture the spotlight from other activities playing out back home. The expression “wagging the dog”, meaning to use some spectacular military stunt to distract people from noticing other pressing issues that do not shed a favorable light on their conduct, has been mentioned in this regard by various TV pundits. Indeed, there was a risk involved in this sort of attack in Syria. Russian and Iranian forces have been actively aiding the Assad regime in its brutal civil war which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and created millions of refugees.

Likewise, President Trump has spent much effort publicly lambasting, deriding and threatening the dictator of North Korea, as well as the peace and stability of that region of the world, before more recently agreeing to meet with him to hold talks of a more diplomatic nature. The penchant he has displayed for blunt, threatening talk, followed by unilateral military action without consulting with Congress before acting stretches provisions of the War Powers Act as well as the Constitution itself. Refusing to put together either a foreign policy or national security team which is either stable over more than a few months or immune from being thrown under the bus at the President’s whim seems to be hurting our foreign policy, as has his public insults towards longtime allies and actions he has taken or threatened that could have catastrophic implications to the citizens of allied nations without so much as consulting with them in advance. South Korea, Japan and the entire Middle East come to mind in this regard.

Congress needs to wake up and start calling the President on these practices. I’d use the word stunts if the consequences of his behavior were not potentially so deadly serious for so many millions of people worldwide. Mr. Trump is President of the United States of America, not its king or dictator (much as he seems to seek to emulate so many of those ruling other countries with iron fists). The President needs to be held accountable for his actions and not offered unwavering allegiance by the rest of the government regardless of what he proposes to do. Congress and the Courts are supposed to be in place to share power and provide checks and balances to prevent unwise and precipitous conduct of each other and an Executive who may be hell-bent on abusing the authority granted the President by the Constitution, the voters and election laws that placed him or her in office. Bowing to Trump’s apparent penchant for an authoritarian leadership style (Though that’s probably a contradiction in terms – there is a distinct difference between ruling and leading) is neither wise nor democratic, in my opinion. While the Courts seem to be willing to pull their weight in this regard of late, Congress seems to have feet of clay when it comes to standing up to his rash behavior.

The only GOP members of Congress who seem willing to call for reining in Trump have been those who either already have or soon thereafter declared the end of their attempts to retain their seats in the House or Senate. There’s a difference between supporting the President’s agenda and going to the extreme of asking “how high” when he tells you to jump even if the command is issued at the edge of a cliff. Democrats have expressed many disagreements with and arguments against what the President has done, whether it pertains to missile strikes, other forms of armed intervention, or  on numerous domestic issues. That is to be expected. It is not expected for members of the President’s own party in Congress or even his own cabinet to bow to his wishes even when the results will be disastrous if followed through to their logical conclusion. As far as I have seen to this point, GOP leadership in the House and Senate has either done its best to accomplish nothing in many areas which have long needed legislative attention (immigration law being among the most prominent) or to just go along with what the President wants regardless of how the changes will affect most of the people they are responsible for representing (taxes, health care, labor rights, social safety net programs – to name a few).

Foreign policy by tweet is unacceptable. Personnel management by tweet is an insult to our intelligence and intentionally demeaning to those it is practiced on. If this Congress is unwilling or unable to perform its Constitutional responsibilities with regard to warfare and providing necessary checks and balances to the President in our government, thereby allowing him or her to take unto himself the kind of powers usually reserved for dictators or monarchs, both the President and the enabling members of Congress need to be replaced, preferably by peaceful, Constitutional means. Finishing up this special investigation in an unobstructed and cooperative manner, along with a good start at house cleaning in the midterm election in November could be good steps in the right direction. Letting Trump continue to rule by rants, insults, bullying and missile strikes is unacceptable.

Suggested Further Readings:

In ‘Clear Violation of Domestic and International Law,’ Trump Bombs Syria

International Law Experts Warn Trump That Attack on Syria Would Be ‘Crime of Aggression’

Trump Bombs Syria Hours After 88 Lawmakers Urged Him To First Consult Congress

Kucinich, CodePink: Trump Violates Constitution

Yesterday’s Syria Bombing: Exactly the Same Story As One Year Ago This Month!

There Is No Crime Larger Than War + Trump Has Just Committed A Murderous Immoral Criminal Action by David Swanson

Fascism Scholar Explains Why Trump’s ‘Desert Stormy’ Airstrike Is Totally Bogus

Mystery: How Wealth Creates Poverty in the World – by Michael Parenti

Is this what Donald Trump means when he promises to “Make America Great Again”? No, thanks. – RJC

via Mystery: How Wealth Creates Poverty in the World by Michael Parenti

‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’: The Final Speech

Needless to say, I’ll not be holding my breath waiting for President Trump to come anywhere near King’s eloquence in this speech. – RJC

 

The following is the transcribed text of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final speech, delivered on April 3, 1968 at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. | By Martin Luther King, Jr

Source: ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’: The Final Speech

Inhumane Treatment of Prospective Immigrants Is Unacceptable

U.S. immigration policy as projected by the Trump Administration is often equivalent to a hate crime where treatment of those wishing to come and live in this country is concerned. Perhaps application of the Golden Rule, or at least a more humane approximation thereof than currently is all too prevalent, would be a good place to start in making our treatment of immigrants more closely mirror our professed values as a society.

That current immigration law needs reform is widely accepted. Merely claiming that the Administration is simply doing its best to enforce the laws in place may help to explain why mass deportations are taking place says nothing of the morality of doing so on the scale it is being conducted or the apparent blindness to the circumstances behind what is causing so many to risk so much in attempting to come here to live and work. The Trump Administration inherited much of this mess, as did previous administrations. The Obama Administration deported more individuals and families than did its predecessor. The issue has been allowed to fester for decades without clear and decisive legislative changes being agreed to which could facilitate improvement.

The demagoguery which has come to the fore of late has done more to heighten tensions between those who see, rightly or wrongly, problems being caused by a large influx of people looking to come to this country on a permanent basis – with the ability to participate fully in this society as citizens. Opponents of allowing more liberal immigration to take place vary in the reasons for their opposition. Some feel the newcomers are flooding the economy with too many new workers – resulted in higher unemployment among those who were here before, lower wages, or both. This was a major thread to Trump’s campaign rhetoric, including his pledge to build a wall on the Mexican border to keep foreign nationals from crossing over and entering the country unimpeded. Others (Trump included) point to national security, terrorism and drug trafficking as being problems exacerbated by lax immigration policy.

While there are calls in some quarters to reduce legal immigration for the reasons stated above, there are others – including many employers – who have traditionally gained economically by importing foreign labor to work in unskilled or low skilled jobs for low wages. Some have even used such ruses to subvert labor laws by using the fact that such workers do not have legal status to work here in order to scare them into working for extremely low wages with few if any benefits. Overall, there is a concerted effort involved to pit US born workers against immigrant workers to the ultimate benefit of their bosses. Trump played this card better than just about any politician in recent history, helping ultimately to win him the Presidency.

The longtime GOP position advocating family values somehow seems contradictory when compared to an immigration policy which leads to the splitting up of families some members of which are allowed to stay here while others are prevented from doing so. Mothers and fathers separated from children. Dependent children brought here to grow up as Americans in every way except for the geographic location of their birth. Parents of children who are born here and hence allowed to stay, but who themselves are subject to deportation because they were born elsewhere. Indefinite detention separating family members from each other. Remember here – we’re often talking about individuals whose only crime is often overstaying a visa, crossing into this country without legal documentation permitting them to do so, not violent crimes, smuggling of drugs or other illicit acts that would make American citizens criminals as well.

Humanitarian concerns that also need to be taken into account are the circumstances under which people are fleeing their homes to come here. Often, natural disasters make the homes and even the cities and towns the people come from uninhabitable for indeterminate time periods. Wars leave innocent men, women and children homeless and with little or no means to provide themselves with food, clothing, shelter or personal safety from the ravages of war. Past waves of immigration to this country have been caused by famines devastating entire countries or regions. While there is often pushback against the newcomers from those already here, these groups have eventually assimilated and become valued parts of a society that becomes greater by becoming welcoming rather than exclusive in nature.

The vast majority of people who come to this country and want to stay do not come here to destroy us, spy on us, commit terrorist acts, commit violent acts and deprive us of our human and civil rights in order to steal our hard-earned wealth and live off the fruits of our labor. Indeed, it’s often the case that our society takes more from them than it gives back to them in return. The current Administration, and particularly its chief executive, while truthfully pointing out that Congress needs to come up with acceptable legislative solutions to the problems which plague our current immigration laws, has chosen to deal with its enforcement role in a manner which causes unnecessarily cruel treatment which is deserved by none of the people subjected to it.

An end must come to the racial, religious, ethnic and sexual bigotry and scapegoating that has become all too prevalent in dealing with real human beings who have already been traumatized beyond belief by the tyrannies of war, repressive governments, harsh economic conditions, extreme weather or other environmental dangers. Our government creates many of these situations directly either by bombing their countries to smithereens, providing others with the means for doing so and/or supporting repressive regimes under which they suffer. We have a responsibility to stop our government from contributing to the harming of other people. Likewise, we have a responsibility to fix what we break ourselves. Congress needs to actually do something to fix the immigration mess and the Trump Administration needs to not treat victims of the current world situation as horrid criminals deserving of imprisonment, indefinite limbo when it comes to their living situations and/or being forcibly returned to the untenable living conditions they fled to begin with.

Congress needs to work on a long-term solution to the immigration problems that have gone untended for far too long and President Trump needs to stop referring to human beings as subhuman creatures undeserving of simple human decency. The bully needs to stop being a bully.

Further Suggest Readings:

The U.S. separates a mother and daughter fleeing violence in Congo

ACLU Sues Trump Administration to Stop Family Separation

It Has Been 210 Days Since Amanda Morales Last Saw the Sun

For Trump, Cruelty Is the Point

‘You have to be more careful than the rest’: A day in the life of a teenage DACA recipient

Using Fake Facts to Make Us Afraid

Children’s Advocacy Organizations File Amicus Brief In Support Of Asylum-Seeker Separated From Daughter

‘It is a death sentence’: ICE to deport dad with incurable heart condition today

Democrats Have Reportedly Decided That DACA Recipients Can Wait

‘Dreamers’ angry as Trump blames Democrats over immigration

‘You can hug your wife, you can hug your kids’: Dad back home after months in immigration detention

US Army veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan has been deported to Mexico

Immigration Enforcement: Just as Bad for Americans as it is for Immigrants

Further ‘Exposing Cruelty of Trump,’ ICE Ends Policy Limiting Detention of Pregnant Women

How Democrats can wipe out the GOP and fix America

Some thoughtful proposals for what should happen if the GOP were to lose their Congressional majorities this fall and the Presidency in 2020. We need to make sure both come to pass, but these steps would help reclaim ground lost during the Trump years and make progress toward a more just and equitable society for us all in the not-too-distant future. The results stand in sharp contrast to the direction that Trump and his Congressional enablers seem bound and determined to achieve should they maintain or strengthen their hold on political power in this country.

I, for one, find unacceptable the notion that the GOP vision (as expressed by the various legislative proposals put forward by them in recent years and even decades) is worth achieving. This is not a vision which would make America Great, but would exacerbate inequalities which already exist while strengthening the economic and political power of the oligarchs who currently hold sway in Washington and way too many state capitals. We need to do this. – RJC

 

Official site of The Week Magazine, offering commentary and analysis of the day’s breaking news and current events as well as arts, entertainment, people and gossip, and political cartoons.

Source: How Democrats can wipe out the GOP and fix America

Gun Control or Gun Nut Control?

In the wake of yet another gun massacre involving students at their own school, debate has been taking place regarding how best to prevent future such occurrences from taking place and making our students safe while attending their places of education   without constant fear for their own personal safety. The usual back and forth between those advocating for stricter gun control and those defending a strict interpretation of Second Amendment rights of Americans to own and bear arms. One apparent difference in the most recent rendition of this hamster wheel-like argument is that the students themselves have become energized to effect the change needed to improve their own situation.

High school students, many of whom will be eligible to vote this coming November in elections of local, regional, state and federal interest, have begun to vocalize their disgust at a failure of their elected officials to basically do anything other than cringe and do nothing to raise the ire of the National Rifle Association and other groups lobbying for the interests of the gun manufacturers in this country. They have begun protests at their local schools, as well as at state legislatures and Congress, to stop the steady drip, drip, drip of hand-wringing and praying which always follows such events and ends with virtually no change in legislation at any level that will prevent the next massacre.

In this instance, President Trump himself (a major beneficiary of NRA campaign cash in the 2016 election which propelled him to his current position) conducted a highly publicized forum for students, parents and others who have been victimized by such events to voice their concerns and calls for effective action to take place to make sure they and others will not have to continue to live in fear just to go to school, church or anywhere else that has seen mass killing sprees involving guns attacking unsuspecting innocent people in the course of carrying out their everyday lives. As is his wont, the President deplored such activity and expressed sadness for the losses suffered by the friends and families of the deceased, while proposing a path forward to ameliorate the problem.

At times, President Trump has proposed fixes that include banning bump stocks (which were used to devastating effect last October in the Las Vegas concert slaughter, but not in Lakeland, FL), raising the legal age for purchasing an assault weapon from 18 to 21, and training and arming teachers and other school employees to act more quickly in responding to these situations than local police and other first responders can ordinarily provide. In Florida, the initial state legislative response to the crisis involved refusing to even discuss proposals to curtail availability of assault weapons or strengthen controls over their purchase and possession. Since then, further action has resulted in a somewhat more appropriate response in the form of new laws which at least show that they are hearing the outrage at their refusal to address the concerns of their own constituents. That’s a far cry from an adequate response to the issues involved, but a start.

As far as Congress is concerned – it isn’t. Mitch McConnell came straight out and said the Senate wouldn’t be in any hurry to do anything at all to do with guns. Priority lays with deregulating Wall Street so they can ripoff consumers and tank the economy like they did under George W. Bush, raking in record profits and then getting bailed out  at taxpayer expense when their house of cards come crashing down again. Some Democrats seem to like that idea, too, so the GOP don’t get to take all the blame. As for the House, they don’t want to take on the NRA, either, and there are still budget issues to be ironed out. The media appear to oblige this penchant for inaction by focusing in on whatever new distraction the President feels the need to foist upon them in rapid succession, be it the firing of another cabinet secretary or other White House staffer, claims of willingness to arrange meetings with a long-time enemy nation’s leader for the purpose of historic negotiations to establish a lasting peace, or ____ (fill in the blank with your own favorite story of the day or week which involves as little actual doing as possible).

Most of the proposals made by the President to date are window dressing which will accomplish little. Raising the legal age for purchase of a semi-automatic military assault weapon (such as the AR-15 used in the Florida attack) to anything younger that the buyer’s age at death will do little or nothing to eliminate their easy availability. Ban them for civilian use. The NRA will scream and yell and throw money at legal suits and politicians to reverse this, just like they did before. Repealing the assault weapons ban did not make us any safer. The guns themselves do not discriminate in who uses them for what purpose – nor do the bullets discriminate as to whom or what they kill, maim, deface, destroy or otherwise negatively affect.

The broad-based movement in many state legislatures to allow for easier acquisition of concealed-carry permits and allow weapons to be carried in such a manner in more and more places legally, which has wide support among the leadership of the NRA and gun nuts like Ted Nugent, seems to operate under the assumption that the solution to gun violence is to arm everyone – or at least enough that if some bad guy starts shooting at innocent people, a good guy (or woman) will be nearby. armed and willing to act to stop them. We should all go to the mall, school, church, ballpark, grocery store, bank, etc. armed to defend ourselves? Some of these people obviously watch too many action movies.

There need to be gun-free zones, contrary to Donald Trump’s parroting of the NRA talking point. There is a valid reason for having these. Hypocrites like the NRA (which doesn’t allow guns at their conventions, to the best of my knowledge), 2nd Amendment absolutist Congress-critters (ever see an angry Senator or Rep wave their six shooter in a pique of anger during a debate on the floor of the House or Senate?) and others who favor open or concealed carry in public venues such as schools, churches, hospitals, bars and basically anywhere else you can think of are just plain wrong.

Arming teachers is one of the most ridiculous proposals Trump has made since becoming President. Schools are supposed to be places for learning, not armed camps. As much as the actual architecture often looks like they have a similar purpose, schools are also not meant to be prisons with armed guards keeping the inmates under control. The way to curtail gun usage in schools, places of worship and places for commerce or recreation is NOT to increase the number of guns in attendance, but to reduce that number – to as close to zero as possible. As far as I know, I attended numerous primary, secondary and university classes with absolutely no guns in them. Ever. I was not even born before the invention of gunpowder. Same goes for churches and most stores. Because I haven’t flown anywhere since 9/11/01, I’ve never even had to remove my shoes and socks to board a plane.

Perhaps the times have changed too much to expect such sanity to prevail in schools these days, but it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to imagine a country capable of reducing the amount of gun violence its citizens are subject to a level more easily tolerable than what we have now. Maybe a trip to Australia or the UK? I’m not talking about a totalitarian police state like North Korea or whatever country you choose to pick as an example of why we have the right to bear arms in the name of freedom and liberty. Heck some of the people living in countries with sensible gun control laws actually profess to be happier than most Americans. They certainly don’t have to participate in lockdown drills in the course of their education.

Ban the guns that are doing the most harm and use thorough background checks to limit who may purchase weapons for personal defense or hunting, if they feel they must – and do a better job of making them use them responsibly. That would include ensuring that someone other than the owner has access to the guns, the guns can’t be used to emulate Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo in JFK Elementary School and people are legally prevented from venturing armed into places where guns are prohibited.

The students spearheading these current protests are to be commended, not punished. We all need to stand up to the NRA and any other force that seeks to put our lives in lower regard than the rights of those who wish to be allowed easy access to the most lethal means yet invented to end them. We must encourage them and join in their efforts to do everything in our power to change the status quo by electing people who will likewise stand up to the NRA and other gun industry lobbyists and win against opponents who depend so heavily on campaign contributions from the pro-gun lobby that they cannot maintain their positions without killing legislation which would keep more of us alive.

Further Suggested Readings:

#NeverAgain: Parkland Students Lead Thousands in Rally to Demand Gun Control Legislation

Can students be the voice for change in gun debate?

Students head to Florida State Capitol to meet lawmakers and protest

Australia Has Not Had a Mass Murder Since 1996: Will We Learn from Their Example?

The NRA’s plan to “harden” schools is terrifying

Heeding Calls By Gun Control Advocates, National Companies Cut Ties With NRA

Parents are buying these gadgets to protect their kids from school shooters

‘I Was Almost a School Shooter’ Writes ‘Family Man’ Following Parkland Shooting—Lack of Access to a Gun Stopped Him

Teacher: I Signed Up to Teach Art History, Not to Carry Weapons or Die

Tikkun Daily Blog » Blog Archive » Gun Violence as State Sponsored Domestic Terrorism

Ten Reasons Arming Teachers is a Bad Idea

Getting Real About School Safety

I’d Elect the People on My Facebook Page Over Any Weapons-Funded Hack

A Revolution By Any Other Name – Dandelion Salad

Thoughts to ponder while trying to deal with the day-to-day chaos of the Trump Administration as presented through the lens of mass media these days. – RJC

 

The Essays of The Man From the North by Rivera Sun Writer, Dandelion Salad March 9, 2018 There are some who mince their steps and words, who hush the bold and outspoken, who advise moderation. But, a revolution by any other name does not smell as sweet. Reform does not cut it. Resistance is not…

Source: A Revolution By Any Other Name – Dandelion Salad

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