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Reposted from Meteor Blades by Denise Oliver Velez
The All-Nations Native American Veterans Memorial in Jefferson, Oregon
The All-Nations Native American Veterans Memorial in Jefferson, Oregon
[This is an edited and updated reprise of an essay first written for Memorial Day in 2010.]

My stepfather's brother died with other marines on the beach at Guadalcanal during World War II.

My best high school friend was killed in the early days of the Vietnam War.

These men are being honored today at Memorial Day ceremonies along with nearly a million of their soldier, sailor, marine, coast guard and air force compatriots who gave their lives in military service. No distinction will be made between the hundreds of thousands who died fighting in wars most Americans would consider righteous and the hundreds of thousands who were killed in the furtherance of bad causes or died in vain because their criminal or reckless leaders sent them into harm's way for greed, stupidity or empire. Those who fought in gray uniforms in a war of secession are given the same reverence, the same moments of silence, the same commemoration of sacrifice as those who wore blue into battle.

It doesn’t matter whether they were white soldiers from the First Tennessee Infantry Regiment who fell in the land-grabbing war with Mexico in 1847, or black soldiers of the 93rd Infantry Division fighting Germans in the war to end all wars, or Japanese-Americans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team slugging their way through Italy while their relatives lived incarcerated in camps back home.

It doesn’t matter whether their name was Hernández or Hansen or Hashimoto. Nor whether they caught enemy shrapnel or a bullet from friendly fire. Nor whether they were drafted or volunteered. Nor whether they died fighting for liberty more than 200 years ago at Bunker Hill or crushing it more than 100 years ago in the boondocks of the Philippines. On Memorial Day all American warriors who lost their lives are honored because they did lose their lives.  

With one exception.

My great-great-great-great-great uncle was killed by U.S. soldiers during the Second Seminole War. Other distant relatives were killed during the Third Seminole War. Killed for trying to hold onto freedom, land, the right to self-determination.

Whether they killed warriors and women on the banks of the Pease River in Texas, the Washita River in Kansas, Sand Creek in Colorado, or Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota; whether they fought Shawnee in Indiana, Asakiwaki in Wisconsin, Lakota and Cheyenne in Montana, Chiricahua and Mescalero in Arizona, Nez Perce in Idaho or Modocs in California, the men in blue who were killed in the Indian Wars are among those who will be honored today.

photo of Indian Memorial at Little Big Horn
'Spirit Warriors' honors American Indians who fought at Little Big Horn
~Photo Courtesy of Elly Bookman~
But the thousands of warriors they killed — the ancestors of us "original" Americans — aren’t counted for the ultimately futile but unhesitating sacrifice they made for the freedom of their people. On Memorial Day, they are invisible. Monuments to the Rebel dead can be found in practically every town of the Confederacy. Memorials to Indian resistance are next to non-existent.  

Attempts have been made to correct this. In 2002, the 1909 memorial on the Denver Capitol grounds that honored the 22 soldiers killed as they and their compatriots massacred the southern Arapaho and Cheyenne at Sand Creek got a new plaque to replace the original one which labeled that slaughter a Civil War victory for the Union. Twenty-four years ago, after viciously racist verbal attacks from foes of the move, the Custer Battlefield National Monument was renamed Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Now, intermixed with the 249 white marble 7th Cavalry gravestones are a double handful of red granite gravestones placed at the site since 1999 for fallen Indian warriors. "Peace through Unity" designed the innovative Indian memorial at the site (in photo).

In the courtyard of the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art in Phoenix, Arizona, there is the American Indian Veterans National Memorial with figures sculpted by the late Chiricahua Apache sculptor Allan Houser and Michael Naranjo of the Santa Clara Pueblo. In Jefferson, Oregon, there is the All Nations Native American Veterans Memorial, a statue originally on the Flathead reservation in Montana. It is the only Indian veterans memorial not on a reservation or at a museum.

In 1994, the Native American Veterans' Memorial Establishment Act was passed. It okayed a memorial, but it could only be constructed inside the National Museum of the American Indian instead of on the Washington Mall with the other war memorials. Out of sight, out of mind. Invisible, the way the PTB and society in general likes to keep Indians, except as stereotypes.

In 2013, Sen. Brian Schatz introduced a bill to amend the 1994 act. It altered the law to permit the National Native American Veterans' Memorial to be built outdoors, though still on the property of the Museum. And it made both the Museum and the National Congress of American Indians responsible for raising the money for the monument instead of making it the sole responsibility of NCAI. But so far there's not even a hint of when that D.C. Memorial will break ground.

Whenever that is, it will only honor those Natives who fought for the U.S.—there are about 200,000 such veterans—not those who fought to keep the right to live as they had before the invasion.

The fact is scores of sites throughout America could display memorial statues commemorating events with succinct plaques: From this site in 17-- or 18--, the Anishinaabe (or Comanche, or Alibamu) were removed to reservations in ------- after 50 (or 120, or 350) of their number were killed in a surprise attack by the U.S. soldiers, some of whom cut off breasts or scrotums for use as trophies and tobacco pouches. Their lands were turned over to settlers, miners and railroad builders and the city/town of ------ was built on their burial grounds.

One of about a dozen Indian headstones at Little Big Horn
One of about a dozen red granite headstones of
Lakota and  Cheyenne who died at Little Big Horn
in 1876. These have been added since 1999.
Today, when the nation's war dead are remembered, when we are supposed to put aside political and ethnic divisions for a few moments of introspection, many of our politicians still won’t take a break from the lies—past and current lies—for which too many men and women went prematurely into the ground. Today, we will hear plenty from many politicians about liberty, freedom and sacrifice associated with American wars, but nothing about the plunder, rapine and imperial machinations associated with some of those wars, the Mexican War, the Philippines War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, and, of course, the Indian Wars.

Let me be crystal clear. I'm for moving ahead, for transcendence, Indians and non-Indians alike. We live in the 21st Century, and people alive now bear no responsibility and should carry no guilt for what was done more than a century or two ago.

But today is Memorial Day, memory day, and, just as we do not forget the soldiers who froze at Valley Forge or took bullets at Fort Wagner or were blown up at Khe Sanh, there is no excuse for the nation to retreat into convenient amnesia and forget the deaths of those who resisted the theft and genocide led by leaders masquerading as divinely inspired messengers of freedom in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Until the nation remembers all its dead warriors, you’ll pardon me if my Memorial Day reverence is tempered with rage.

Reposted from Daily Kos by Denise Oliver Velez
United States Army Private First Class William K. Nakamura, Medal of Honor recipient
United States Army Private First Class William K. Nakamura, U.S. Medal of Honor recipient, awarded posthumously.
In "The Memorial Day history forgot: The Martyrs of the Race Course," I wrote last year about the not very well known African-American roots of Memorial Day. In recent years, some media attention has been paid to the long history of Black military service—from the Revolutionary War, including Haitians who fought for us, through the civil war, in films like Glory, and the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II—no matter the racism we faced, and still face in this country.  

We hear less about other soldiers of color—Asian, Native American and Latino who died for us, who also faced, and still face discrimination within our shores.

Pictured above is William Kenzo Nakamura (January 21, 1922-July 4, 1944).

He was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.

Nakamura was born in Seattle to Japanese immigrant parents. He is a Nisei, which means that he is a second generation Japanese-American. His family was interned in Minidoka in Idaho during World War II. Nakamura volunteered to be part of the all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team. This army unit was mostly made up of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland.

On July 4, 1944, Nakamura was serving as a private first class in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. On that day, near Castellina, Italy, he single-handedly destroyed an enemy machine gun emplacement and later volunteered to cover his unit's withdrawal. He was then killed while attacking another machine gun nest which was firing on his platoon

Follow me below the fold for more of this memorial history.
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Reposted from TarheelDem by Yasuragi

I am going to give in to Denise Oliver Velez's request to turn a comment into a diary.  The aversion to length (TL;DR) is a peculiar modern affliction, but I will make it easier for people who suffer from it primarily because this issue is so important.

Southern segregation prior to the 1960s and automobility was different from segregation outside the South in that it was a matter of legal institutions and enforced with occasional violence.  Being institutional, it was a matter of status and not geography.  In fact, having black workers closeby was an advantage.  The geographical segregation then was widely distributed and on a micro-scale instead of being the huge segregated neighborhoods of the big cities or the concentrated black communities of lesser non-Southern cities.

My wife, who is from Michigan experience the black customers of her grand-dad's garage in Benton Harbor as "shadow people"  and first met a black person face-to-face in a church program at the age of 13.   A good number of my earliest friends growing up had black domestic servants (called "maids") who looked after their employers' children all day -- and that included any friends of those children.  I cannot remember a world without black people in it an close by.  So much so that when in the mid-1970s I moved from Atlanta to Green Bay it took me a while to figure out why the city felt so strange.  You never saw black people on the street, but you occasionally saw a black man or a black family driving a Mercedes.  That's a strange awakening to yet another aspect of racism.

My take on how I unlearned the racism that I have so far unlearned is below the orange curlicue.

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Reposted from Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. by a2nite

Americans used to have rights. Primarily the Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Also we supposedly have the the right to be "secure from unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government" -- "without warrant or probable cause."

It seems in some sections of America however, rogue police officers and the one-sided courts, have effectively made these American Rights -- null and void -- with respect to any common sense understanding of these rights.

It's kind of hard to "pursue happiness" -- when you've just been shot 137 times!

When can police use lethal force against a fleeing suspect? -- April 8, 2015


Can police officers shoot at fleeing individuals?

Only in very narrow circumstances. A seminal 1985 Supreme Court case, Tennessee vs. Garner, held that the police may not shoot at a fleeing person unless the officer reasonably believes that the individual poses a significant physical danger to the officer or others in the community. That means officers are expected to take other, less-deadly action during a foot or car pursuit unless the person being chased is seen as an immediate safety risk.

In other words, a police officer who fires at a fleeing man who a moment earlier murdered a convenience store clerk may have reasonable grounds to argue that the shooting was justified. But if that same robber never fired his own weapon, the officer would likely have a much harder argument.

You don’t shoot fleeing felons. You apprehend them unless there are exigent circumstances -- emergencies -- that require urgent police action to safeguard the community as a whole,” said Greg Gilbertson, a police practices expert and criminal justice professor at Centralia College in Washington state.

Am I creating more of a danger by chasing this person than if I let this person stay at large?” Drago said. “Especially in a vehicle pursuit, is it worth risking everyone on the road to catch this guy?”

Good questions.  When do Police in "hot pursuit" -- become a bigger problem, than the one they are supposedly chasing?

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Reposted from Daily Kos by Denise Oliver Velez
Overpass Light Brigade with lights that read
Overpass Light Brigade, "Unlearn Racism"
When the Overpass Light Brigade brought the message of "Unlearn Racism" to Milwaukee, they held up lights on a subject that we are confronted with daily, but are not always sure how to address as individuals. We know that anthropologists and other scientists have made it clear for years that biological "race" exists as only a social construct, but that "racism" is alive and well and none of us are unaffected by the miasma from the racial swamp we breathe in daily.

So many of our efforts are focusing on protesting the more obvious deleterious effects of systemic racism—via protests and legislation—that we don't always have time to have a conversation about what to do about it, person by person. This is what Ricky Sherover-Marcuse called "attitudinal racism."

Because racism is both institutional and attitudinal, effective strategies against it must recognize this dual character. The undoing of institutionalized racism must be accompanied by the unlearning of racists attitudes and beliefs. The unlearning of racists patterns of thought and action must guide the practice of political and social change.

As a black person, I'm always interested in trying to figure out in conversations with my close friends who are not black—what makes them tick? How did they shake off the shackles of ostensible racial superiority and change? What was it in their upbringing, surrounds, faith, ethical teachings, incidents that took place along the road of life that allowed them to scour out racism or at least start the cleansing? Perhaps if more people would talk about how they unlearned racism, it would help direct others onto that path.

Follow me below the fold to begin that conversation.

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Reposted from Steven D by a2nite

Many, many police officers and their supporters are going ape shit very upset at a group of student artists at Westfield High School in New Jersey for daring to exhibit their artwork.  Why?  Because the art in question is based on the theme "Law Enforcement - Police Brutality."  I guess cops can give a punch (or a taser shot, "rough ride" or a bullet) but they can't stand to see any artistic expression of that behavior, symbolic or otherwise.  And so they are lambasting the high school and the student artists whose only crime, as far as I can tell, was using their own life experience of interactions with police to inform what they create.

Artwork depicting scenes of police brutality displayed in a Westfield High School art show has set off a firestorm of comments from police supporters who have called the images "a gross misrepresentation," "ignorant" and "one-sided."

The artwork depicts images of officers with guns drawn, a target on a silhouette with his hands up, a bloodied body stabbed by a police shield and other scenes on a poster board that reads "Law Enforcement - Police Brutality." The silkscreens were part of an annual project where students depict their takes on controversial topics, according to a student.

A storm of protest on social media erupted after the images first appeared on the school's facebook page, with a large number of people calling for the firing of the Superintendent for the school district, Dr. Margaret Dolan.  Here's a screenshot of some of the tamer responses to the exhibit posted on the school's facebook page:

Of course, Fox News couldn't resist covering this story.  Here's Eric Bolling's fair and balanced take on this matter, where he implicitly blamed the teachers at Westfield High for attacking the police, and demanded the exhibit be "taken down."

Superintendent Dolan, as result of this "controversy" posted a response attempting to defuse the criticism from people who posted such comments and attacked the school district for "teaching kids to disrespect the police."  

I am sorry that information that has been passed along via social media and elsewhere has not told the entire story and has led some to believe that we do not respect law enforcement. We do, and we are teaching our students to do the same.
Ironically, it was the kids at the school who chose the subject - not the Superintendent, not their teachers.  They were told that it was their choice to make and that, as one of the students, Kayla related to
"We submitted several different topics of our choice and finally narrowed them down to three - Law Enforcement- Police Brutality, Modern Technology Advances and Gender Equality," said student Kayla McMillan. "The students were allowed to choose either side of the arguments and were told they would not be in trouble for their own opinions."
Welcome to the real world, Kayla, where people will not respect your right to freedom of expression if it upsets their delicate sensibilities.  Obviously, the student artists who created these images didn't do so in a vacuum, nor did their teachers brainwash them to "hate the police."  The reality in America today is that police violence against all citizens, but particularly minority populations, is commonplace, despite falling crime rates.  We've all seen overzealous and violent law enforcement responses to peaceful protest movements such as Occupy Wall Street, and far too many shootings, and other instances of police violence against African Americans and Latinos, many of them unarmed and often while they were already in custody (e.g., Freddy Gray).  

The cops and their supporters can loudly proclaim all they want that these "incidents" are infrequent and represent only a few bad apples.  However, as more stories come out of officially sanctioned abuse and outright torture, such as what occurred in Chicago's infamous Homan Square station, and as more and more people capture video of these brutal outrages (e.g., Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Eric Garner) where innocent people are murdered by cops, the harder it is to defend the police, especially since so many of them remain silent in the face of their fellow officers' open criminality.

Frankly, in this case, the kids got it right.

Reposted from This Week in the War on Women by Denise Oliver Velez
By Christine Gutierrez-Boswell

It has been awhile since I have authored a column here. Fortunately, the news never gets less interesting, and unfortunately gets worse for women.

The top news story this week deals with hypocrisy and “cheap grace”.

First off, let me define the term cheap grace. In his book, “Conservatives Without Conscience,“ John Dean defines “cheap grace” as (and I am paraphrasing) simply seeking forgiveness from the people [God] you have hurt,  after knowingly committing a “sin.” He goes on to elaborate the fact that the acts are done purposely and the perpetrator knows all they have to do is seek forgiveness and all will be well again. They will be accepted by their community once more. It is the cure all from murder to molestation and everything in between. Followers of these teachings therefore cannot understand why there should be backlash at all! “Why should there be punishment when God has forgiven them?” They play victim and turn the blame on the brutal media or “judgmental liberals.” It’s sort of the Ponzi scheme of morality. It’s actually brilliant…if you are a part of this warped world of thinking. (If you would like to know more about this book, read it or go here: ) Does anyone see the correlation between the stories coming out consisting of molestation and these kind of people? “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved…”?? (Mark 16:16).

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Reposted from Onomastic by Onomastic
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
-Lewis Carrol, The Walrus and The Carpenter
The time has come to talk of Cedwyn. The time has come to celebrate our brilliant Flutterby. She will always rest gently on our hearts.

             photo Cedwyn Celebration of her life pink butterfly on a bleeding heart flower_zps7y5zwi2v.jpg

I didn't think it would be this way. None of us did. How could such a vital force leave us? How could someone who would have painted the moon purple if she could, be gone?

         photo Cedwyn paiting the moon purple_zpsg1pa6rno.jpg


                J.R.R. Tolkien
“PIPPIN: I didn't think it would end this way.

GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?

GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

PIPPIN: Well, that isn't so bad.

GANDALF: No. No, it isn't.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

This is not goodby. Love never dies. Cedwyn lives on in all our hearts.
She lives on when we open ourselves to the wonder around us.

          photo Cedwyn bubble in the purple flowers_zpsraxgvfly.jpg

Did you know she loved bubbles? She did, so make some for her. Make a cloud of bubbles for your own heart's joy and memory. People will be making bubbles in her honor at Mt. Tabor Park, in Portland, Oregon this afternoon. Cedwyn would love it.

               photo Cedwyn clour of bubbles_zps3ltkvtty.jpg

Today from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine, from Coast to Coast, and country to country, we are gathering to celebrate the gift that was and will always be our own Chaos Fairy, our lover of all things winged, our Cedwyn.

Today, people are wearing her favorite color, purple, and raising their glasses to her laughter and life.

Today, we gather to share tears, comfort, laughter, and magic. Cedwyn would not have wanted it any other way.

So come on in. There are comfortable chairs amidst the flowers that she loved.

                     photo Cedwyn sitting amidst the purple flowers_zps1gneqipu.jpg

             photo Cedwyn Lilacs_zpsuvnz2u0q.jpg

                         photo Cedwyn Chair in the garden_zpswvzq2uto.jpg

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Reposted from jpmassar by a2nite

OOPS: Someone put an autoplay video embed in the comments. If you hear audio you can go here and stop the video from playing.


 photo Cleveland-RUSSELL-WILLIAMS_zpstwrr7czd.jpg

Two and a half years ago I penned "Wouldn't 136 bullets have been enough?" detailing the egregious and unjustified deaths of two Clevelanders in a hail of police bullets - chased twenty miles through the streets of that city because their car had backfired and officers thought they had fired a weapon (they had no weapon).

Michael Brelo, the officer who fired the last 15 shots from on top of the car they were driving, was put on trial and today, to few people's surprise, was found not guilty of voluntary manslaughter. The judge (who was also the jury) decided that there was no proof that Brelo had fired the fatal shots.

So now we have uncovered yet another way for police to kill and get away with it: a firing squad. And they don't even have to load one of their guns at random with a blank.

There is little more I can say. Having police fire 137 bullets at innocent, unarmed citizens and there be no consequences is absurd, yet that is the world we live in.

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Reposted from VetGrl by a2nite

Judge O'Donnell just announced his verdict in the Michael Brelo trial.

Not Guilty.

Judge O'Donnell also accepted as proved Brelo's claims of justification regarding the lesser included offenses.

The charges were manslaughter and felonious assault in the shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams on November 29, 2012.  Brelo was a Cleveland police officer at the time and was one of 13 officers who shot 137 rounds at Russell and Williams.  Background information is available here.

Like any criminal charge, the prosecution was required to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Judge O'Donnell found that the prosecution did not meet its burden on the manslaughter charges.  

The prosecution did prove felonious assault, but Brelo was nevertheless acquitted because of his successful assertion of justification as a defense.  Brelo bore the burden of proof on this defense by the lower preponderance of the evidence standard.

A few initial observations:

Judge O'Donnell spent an extraordinary amount of time reading the bases for his verdict. He even left the bench to use the visual aids, talking about specific entry wounds, which were fatal, and their angles of entry.

Regarding Timothy Russell, the judge "found beyond a reasonable doubt that fired a shot that by itself would have caused Russell's death."  He added, however, that voluntary manslaughter additionally requires that Brelo's "shot alone actually caused the death or that it was 'the straw that broke the camel's back,'" meaning that Brelo's shot would have to have exacerbated potentially survivable shots, thus causing the death.  (The judge's discussion regarding Malissa Williams is a bit confusing, requiring a closer reading of the verdict.)

The judge also discussed testimony about the unreasonableness of Brelo's jumping on the hood of the car to fire.  He stated that the law requires him to look at the totality of the circumstances and that, even if that one act was unreasonable (which the judge's view on that needs a closer look) the defense of justification isn't defeated by that one aspect.

More to come. I'm going to look for the decision and transcript.

UPDATE:  You can get the written verdict here. The verdict is the entry at the top of the docket entries at that link.  The document opens as a .tif file and I don't know how to include those in a diary.

UPDATE x2:  For way more detail, see jpmasser's diary here.

Update x3:  Because, yes, we've got to find a way:

Reposted from JoanMar by Yasuragi

    Daily Kos' own ObamaCare guru, Brainwrap, has recently highlighted the story of Luis Lang in a number of posts here, here, here, and here, and on his own website. The story is particularly interesting and noteworthy because Luis Lang is losing his sight but gaining some valuable insight. This is Mr. Lang:


     On Wednesday, the Washington Post explained about Luis Lang to everyone who doesn't have an internet:

Lang’s story has gone wild on the internet, turning him into a symbol of a number of intertwined narratives about the law: How Republican opposition to the Medicaid expansion has created a coverage gap claiming many low income people; how justifiable confusion about the complicated law is fueling anger at it; and so on.

It all started when the Charlotte Observer reported that Lang, 49, a self-employed Republican handyman who has never bought insurance, developed “bleeding in his eyes and a partly detached retina caused by diabetes.” The paper reported that subsequent medical bills quickly ate up his savings, whereupon he turned to the Obamacare exchange. He discovered he earns too little to get a subsidy, yet he might not be able to get on Medicaid because South Carolina has not opted into the Medicaid expansion. He risks falling into the “Medicaid gap.”

The paper reported that his family blamed this on Obamacare, prompting criticism from bloggers and others, combined with a crowd-funding drive for his surgery. In a subsequent interview with Think Progress, Lang said he now thinks opposition to the Medicaid expansion is the culprit, is rethinking his GOP affiliation, and is going to try to get coverage from the law, though he still says he has issues with its implementation and blames both parties:

“Now that I’m looking at what each party represents, my wife and I are both saying — hey, we’re not Republicans!” Lang said….

“I put the blame on everyone — Republican and Democrat. But I do mainly blame Republicans for their pigheadedness,” Lang said. “They’re blocking policies that could help everyone. I’m in the situation I’m in because they chose not to expand Medicaid for political reasons. And I know I’m not the only one.”….

    He's right that he's not the only one. In fact, there are approximately 250,000 South Carolinians in the "Medicaid Gap." We at Support the Dream Defenders knew this was going to be a problem, so, back in April, we sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Governor Nikki Haley asking her: What are you doing to find out the extent of the damages you are causing? This was her response:


     As you can see, Governor Nikki Haley has pockets empty of fucks to give about Luis Lang or the other 249,999 or so individuals in South Carolina who are one chicken bone or one drunk driver away from personal bankruptcy (or spending the next 20 to 40 years of their lives going to court to explain to the judge why payments for the hospital's bill couldn't be made that month).

     Besides our surprising new ally, Luis Lang, there are other less surprising entities fighting back. One of those fighters is the South Carolina Hospital Association, which stands to lose billions of dollars because Governor Haley wants to be pure (evil). In fact, at the SCHA website, you can sign a petition about Expanding Medicaid in the state. The petition is kind of fun, in a way, as it goes after other big businesses that have received the Governor's largess:

The choice for our future. For decades, our state has doled-out billions of tax credits to companies like BMW and Boeing to grow our economy and enhance the quality of life in South Carolina. We’ve also offered hundreds of millions of dollars to build highways and deepen our ports to build a better future. By accepting the federal dollars offered to our state, the University of South Carolina Moore School of Business projects that the $11.2 billion in new federal dollars will result in 44,000 new jobs. With the positive economic impact and increased health care coverage, the positive return on investment is clear.
    We urge you to sign the petition, or better still, this one from CREDO.  

     Besides all of the other reasons for Medicaid Expansion, including less DEATH, better health, working population able to work more days, fewer bankruptcies, increased jobs, less need for expensive emergency room care, controlling the previously-skyrocketing effects health care had on state and the national budgets, increased revenue from jobs (South Carolina has a state income tax), the Federal Government pays for 100% of the expense until 2016, when it will gradually lower the percentage over time to 90%.

     Here's the problem: South Carolina has seen a huge increase in people who have signed up for traditional Medicaid--and the federal reimbursement rate for that program varies between approximately 50% to 73.05%. As you can see, those numbers are a lot smaller than 100% or 90%. Additionally, many more children are signing up for the Child Health Insurance Program ("CHIP"). These larger numbers will crush the South Carolina budget. As an aside, if the nearly one million children in Texas who are eligible for CHIP, but have not signed up, ever do, Governor Greg Abbott's state will be in dire financial straits. Of course, this acts as a disincentive for red state governments to aggressively seek out children who could use the health care.      

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Fri May 22, 2015 at 04:48 PM PDT

The prurient god of the Duggars

by Onomastic

Reposted from Onomastic by Yasuragi

Full disclosure. I never watched the Duggar's television show. Heard about it, of course. But the show's entire premise left me feeling nauseous. The focus on fertility and a constant state of pregnancy as some kind of prurient proof of religiosity, as if god has his head up everyone's groin, set alarm bells ringing.

Turns out my alarm bells were working just fine, thank you.

According to the police report, Jim Bob and Michelle, paragons of parenting, hid Josh’s crimes from the police and the public. In Touch reports, based on the police report it obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, that:


Josh Duggar was investigated for multiple sex offenses — including forcible fondling — against five minors. Some of the alleged offenses investigated were felonies. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were interview [sic] by the Springdale Police department on Dec. 12, 2006. The report says that James told police he was alerted in March, 2002 by a female minor that Josh — who turned 14-years-old that month — had been touching her breasts and genitals while she slept. This allegedly happened on multiple occasions. In 2006, Jim Bob told police that in July, 2002 Josh admitted to fondling a minor’s breasts while she slept. “James said that they disciplined (redacted, Josh) after this incident.” The family did not alert authorities.
The police report reveals that Jim Bob Duggar “met with the elders of his church and told them what was going on” rather than contacting law enforcement. Josh was then sent to “Christian counseling” for three months, which, according to his mother’s admission, was not any sort of licensed counseling facility:
Once again, the religious right's obsession with sexuality, and the control there of, is revealed as deeply twisted. No surprise to those of us who have paid attention through the years, and yet far too many typical responses blame or silence the victims of Josh Duggar's molestations, while excusing his actions and his parent's cover up of the same.
In faith communities like the Duggars, abuse victims are encouraged to be filled with grace. It’s not that simple
As usual, the victims of sexual abuse are being called to forgive and forget, to give grace, while none is being given to them. In the Duggar's Biblical Patriarchy, all things masculine have worth and are redeemable, while all things feminine are not.

Girls and women are reduced to property, to things, whose only virtue is in submitting to men, no matter how harmful those men may be.  

   ...God reveals Himself as masculine, not feminine.
    God ordained distinct gender roles for man and woman as part of  the created order.
    A husband and father is the head of his household, a family leader, provider, and protector.
    Male leadership in the home carries over into the church: only men are permitted to hold the ruling office in the church. A God-honoring society will likewise prefer male leadership in civil and other spheres.
    Since the woman was created as a helper to her husband, as the bearer of children, and as a “keeper at home”, the God-ordained and proper sphere of dominion for a wife is the household and that which is connected with the home.....

According to Rachel Held Evans, the biblical patriarchy movement is "committed to preserving as much of the patriarchal structure of Old Testament law as possible."[8]

Apparently the defining characteristic of god and men is the phallus, and the right to wield it. In an act of supreme hubris, the Biblical Patriarchal movement compresses a supposedly infinite god into the size and shape of a penis. That is the supreme definition of God and man. Not empathy. Not insight. Not creativity. Not caring. Not wisdom. Mind boggling, isn't it?

But in the world of the Phallus Cult, anything goes. Including molesting young girls, even one's sisters. Including excusing it all away, because - "God."

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