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Reposted from Support the Dream Defenders by 2thanks

My heart goes out to the residents of the areas affected by tornadoes and flooding in Texas, Oklahoma, and Mexico. I have heard some heartbreaking stories of loss of lives and of destruction of property. People have been washed away right in front of the eyes of their loved ones. That's the type of horror from which one cannot ever recover; at least not anytime soon.

Family missing 05/27/2015 after record-breaking Texas floods. At home when house knocked off foundation, carried downriver, struck bridge, shattered apart.  Family ripped away from each other.  Husband swam out, called for help, broken ribs.
Texas family missing after house knocked off foundation, struck bridge and shattered
Mother Nature visiting devastation on communities and families without regard to race, creed, culture, or wealth.
Big 18-wheeler truck lifted and thrown onto its side by tornado just in front of chase vehicle, April 10, 2015.
Rochelle, Illinois, 18-wheeler truck hit by tornado, lifted and knocked onto side in front of chase car
At least 35 people-- 14 in northern Mexico, 15 in Texas plus six in Oklahoma -- have died in the severe weather, both tornadoes and flooding from raging rivers. Another nine people are missing.
RIP to those gone too soon. Condolences to their loved ones. We encourage help to those who are in need.

I watched and listened as CNN - with the inevitable and much-abused "breaking news" banner - covered the unfolding horror in the cities of Wharton, Texas, with their population of  8,756, and Wimberley, Texas, with a population of 2582.

As I watched the frenzied activities surrounding the devastating after-effects of the tornadoes and flooding; the amount of justifiable coverage, it dawned on me that we should have at least the same amount of time, attention, and coverage devoted to the Republican's refusal to accept a program that was designed to prevent deaths. Where was the coverage of the 9000 who died in Texas last year?

According to reputable, peer-reviewed sources, approximately 9,000 people will die this year because Texas Republican Governors have refused to expand the Medicaid Expansion Program (MEP):

Lack of insurance will certainly mean more deaths. How many more? Approximately 9,000 a year, according to Dr. Howard Brody, director of the Institute for Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Brody calculated that figure by extrapolating from a recent Harvard University study published in The New England Journal of Medicine that found that states that expanded Medicaid saw a 6.1 percent reduction in the death rate among adults below 65 who qualified for the program. In a recent op-ed in the Galveston Daily News Brody wrote, “This means that we can predict, with reasonable confidence, if we fail to expand Medicaid . . . 9,000 Texans will die each year for the next several years as a result.”
Wimberley and Wharton have a combined population of 11,338.

Mother nature's fury is visited on the just and the unjust, rich and the poor, Republicans and Democrats; she doesn't discriminate.

Republican governors, on the other hand, single out and victimize the poor and the voiceless. GOP governors have, by their inaction, condemned what amounts to whole towns of people to their premature and preventable deaths. Those who do not die will suffer. Losing eyesight, losing limbs due to complications from diabetes, suffer strokes and heart attacks, or will become bankrupt.

The horror of the consequences of not accepting the MEP should be breaking news all day every day. People are suffering right now. People are dying right now.

So okay, we have been saying this same thing for about four months now.

Why are we doing this FOIA series? Just what do we hope to achieve? Where are we going?

Our simple objective is to get GOP Govenors to accept the Medicaid Expansion Program. We have asked nicely. We have asked angriliy. We begged and pleaded, all to no avail. Do you think these heartless, dishonorable governors can be shamed into doing the right thing? It's worth a try, we say.

We are rapidly coming up on the shaming phase of our project.

Once we have rounded up all the responses, we plan to send press releases to the media. It will be interesting to see how these governors respond once the media begins asking the following questions: How many people are needlessly dying in your state because you will not Expand Medicaid? How many people have had to file for bankruptcy because you will not Expand Medicaid? What have you done to find out the answers to these questions?
We have sent out the FOIA requests and gotten back some responses (see green chart, below). We now know that the Republican governors and legislatures have done Jack Squat to keep keep track of the people who have died or are dying because of their wickedness.

Will you help us build up a media storm on behalf of our poor?

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Reposted from shaunking by mahakali overdrive
Barstow California Police wrestle this pregnant woman to the ground
This is a terrible injustice.

Dropping her daughter off for elementary school, Charlena Cook, eight months pregnant in Barstow, California, ended up being forcibly handcuffed and wrestled to the ground for no reason whatsoever. Not only was this excessive, the entire ordeal was completely uncalled for.The ACLU fought to have the video released and also announced that all charges were dropped against Charlena.

As you will see in that video, an employee of the school called police after she claimed she and the pregnant mother argued over a parking spot—which is not illegal. Nobody was assaulted and no property damage took place.

The police, though, were determined that a crime had been committed that required the use of brute force.

Warning, it's hard to watch.

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Reposted from SpiritSisters by Denise Oliver Velez
Graphic image of multicultural women by artist Michelle Robonson
Graphic by Michelle Robinson.  Used by permission of the artist.
Activist women have walked many different paths, and have come from many different places and life experiences to get to where we are today. We are bound together in a shared spirit that transcends race, ethnicity and class. We are sisters.  

Hear our voices.



SpiritSisters




SpiritSisters: Writing In Women's Voices is a group of women from all walks of life who have come together to tell our stories and discuss women's issues and rights. We come from every ethnic group, from multiple sexual orientations and gender identities, from a broad spectrum of ability status, from a wide array of socioeconomic classes, and from a diversity of traditions and cultures – spiritual, religious, and secular.  

Dominant culture narratives do not represent our lives; they elide, alter, and erase.  We are sisters in spirit, and we are taking back our narratives. We are joining together in a circle of mutual trust and support to share our stories, our histories, our identities, our very selves, as individual women and as members of all of the diverse communities and intersections where we live — and doing so in our own voices.

We discuss the harms women experience when the dominant culture does not accurately consider, believe or hear women's voices.

We will also celebrate and share the strengths of our sisters in struggle, and the stories of women who are making a difference.

 SpiritSisters will be posting Thursday 4:30 pm (Pacific)/7:30 pm (Eastern) each week, and additional postings when members have time available. We are sending email notices (BCC to ensure privacy of email addresses) when diaries are posted. If you would like to join our email list, please kosmail rb137.

If you are interested in hearing our voices and reading our stories, we ask that you click "Follow."

 

SpiritSisters:    

Andrea Spande, Denise Oliver Velez, Diogenes2008, JoanMar, kishik, mixedbag, moviemeister76, nomandates, Onomastic, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, peregrine kate, poco, ramara, rb137, shanikka, TexMex, TrueBlueMajority, Vita Brevis, and Yasuragi.



Daily Kos has always been host to the voices of wide range of women. Many Daily Kos editors and staff members are female. Daily Kos hosts a current series "This Week in the War on Women," which provides a weekly summary of news on women's issues and information on current political actions." Women on Daily Kos are individual diarists, commenters, administrators of community groups, rescue rangers, fund raisers for those in need, and readers.

We feel that we need a space here for you to hear our individual voices, telling our herstories of both joy and pain. We realize that not all women are feminists, and not all women are progressive, but we know the path to making that change is open through education and sharing from the heart. We are also aware that the culture we live in has erected barriers between and among women, and those men who support our struggles.

We SpiritSisters as a group, are resolved to celebrate difference, break through barriers, and to promote and build solidarity with love and respect.

Please join us in this effort.

Discuss
Reposted from chaunceydevega by 2thanks

And who is surprised?

Writing at Salon, Jenny Kutner details how:

A grotesque image recently made public by a Cook County judge shows two former Chicago police officers holding rifles and posing next to an unidentified black man, who is shown wearing fake deer antlers and sticking his tongue out, as if he had been hunted and killed...

Neither the Chicago police bureau nor the FBI have been able to identify the African-American man in the photograph, for whom McDermott and Finnigan never filed an arrest report. Both officers admitted to appearing in the picture, however, with Finnigan describing the decision to take it as “spur of the moment.” He also claimed to have released the man without arresting him, after discovering he had no serious criminal background.

Chicago's cops, like America's cops more generally, treat black people like animals to be hunted and killed.

The badge is a license to kill. America's police culture is both authoritarian and racist. Yet, every video recording, photo, and other evidence of police thuggery is treated by the mainstream news media like a mysterious thing that was just discovered, a unicorn or leprechaun in one's den taking a crap on the floor, when in fact that member of the fae is a welcome house guest for White America.

There are centuries of horrors and humiliations that have been forced on black and brown folks by White America. Unfortunately, much of that foul treatment was dismissed by too many white Americans as black folks' hysterics and histrionics, "urban legends", or other exaggerations.

The "slow" or "elevator" rides given by cops to the black and brown people they arrested were not figments of the Black American collective psyche. They were true. See Freddie Gray in Baltimore.

Secret sites where the cops would "disappear people" and then torture them are not urban legends. See Homan Square in Chicago.

During centuries of white on black chattel slavery (and then Jim and Jane Crow) black babies as alligator bait, selling black human property for medical experiments and other tortures, the skin of black people used for shoes and other types of apparel, and yes, even slave "breeding farms", are myths and folktales only to the White Gaze and a White collective imagination deeply invested in its own innocence and nobility.

Black America knows those stories to be true. Empirical reality and the historical record are evidence of the reality, the hard stuff, of life in a racialized society that has routinely made the bizarre and the "peculiar" into the banal and the quotidian.

From initial Colonial and Imperial encounters, to the later intimacy of slavery and bonded labor, black and brown people, aboriginal and other First Nations brothers and sisters, had to invent language to describe "The White Man" they encountered for the first time and then later came to regret having ever known.

"The White Man" became a ghost or a monster.

[In fact, the robes of the Ku Klux Klan represent the ghosts of the Confederate dead who have returned to avenge themselves on now free black Americans.]

He haunted. He killed. He raped. He destroyed.

"The White Man" swallowed black lives whole, putting them in the bellies of monsters that were living hells afloat on water, and manned by magical creatures for a death laden journey that later came to be known as The Middle Passage:

The first object which saluted my eyes when I arrived on the coast was the sea, and a slave-ship, which was then riding at anchor, and waiting for its cargo. These filled me with astonishment, which was soon converted into terror, which I am yet at a loss to describe, nor the then feelings of my mind. When I was carried on board I was immediately handled, and tossed up, to see if I were sound, by some of the crew; and I was now persuaded that I was got into a world of bad spirits, and that they were going to kill me. Their complexions too differing so much from ours, their long hair, and the language they spoke, which was very different from any I had ever heard, united to confirm me in this belief. Indeed, such were the horrors of my views and fears at the moment, that, if ten thousand worlds had been my own, I would have freely parted with them all to have exchanged my condition with that of the meanest slave in my own country...

In a little time after, amongst the poor chained men, I found some of my own nation, which in a small degree gave ease to my mind. I inquired of these what was to be done with us; they gave me to understand we were to be carried to these white people's country to work for them. I then was a little revived, and thought, if it were no worse than working, my situation was not so desperate: but still I feared I should be put to death, the white people looked and acted, as I thought, in so savage a manner; for I had never seen among any people such instances of brutal cruelty; and this not only shewn towards us blacks, but also to some of the whites themselves. One white man in particular I saw, when we were permitted to be on deck, flogged so unmercifully with a large rope near the foremast, that he died in consequence of it; and they tossed him over the side as they would have done a brute. This made me fear these people the more; and I expected nothing less than to be treated in the same manner.

I could not help expressing my fears and apprehensions to some of my countrymen: I asked them if these people had no country, but lived in this hollow place (the ship): they told me they did not, but came from a distant one. 'Then,' said I, 'how comes it in all our country we never heard of them?' They told me because they lived so very far off. I then asked where were their women? had they any like themselves? I was told they had: 'and why,' said I,'do we not see them?' they answered, because they were left behind. I asked how the vessel could go? they told me they could not tell; but that there were cloths put upon the masts by the help of the ropes I saw, and then the vessel went on; and the white men had some spell or magic they put in the water when they liked in order to stop the vessel. I was exceedingly amazed at this account, and really thought they were spirits.

Tales of "The White Man" would be used to scare children into obedience, and like most folk tales and children's stories they were lessons to prepare those youngsters for life in an unfair world.

"The White Man" is not a chimera. He is real. We see him when cops kill and abuse innocent and defenseless black and brown people in America. "The White Man" choked Eric Garner to death. "The White Man" shot Tamir Rice and stole his childhood and life.

"The White Man" maces and electrocutes black people who are suffering from a stroke while sitting in their car.

America does not want to confront "The White Man" because that would mean reflecting on its own behavior and culture of racialized violence.

The innocence and nobility of Whiteness and "The White Man" are bedrock lies for America and the West that dissolve under even the most minimal levels of critical inquiry.

If America looked in the mirror at "The White Man" looking back, it could be either a moment of catharsis where the violence and meanness of White Privilege and White Racism were owned and internalized with pride (yup! that is us, White America, what a good thing, let's stop pretending we are surprised or ashamed!) or where upon seeing "The White Man" in his full glory a moment of White Fragility would freeze the viewer in stone as though he or she was touched by Medusa.

"The White Man" is real. Will there ever be a champion or hero capable of defeating him for all time?

Or will "The White Man" always linger in the body politic and collective subconscious of the United States because it is a country founded upon the twin sins that are the genocide of millions of First Nations peoples and the enslavement and murders of Black human property?

Discuss
Reposted from Black Kos community by Yasuragi
Black Kos logo
Thoughts about Black Kos, (with a poll)

Commentary by Black Kos Editor Denise Oliver-Velez

After reading and responding to many of the detailed and thoughtful comments, in "How did you begin to unlearn racism?" on Sunday—some from people I've never seen comments from before, and others who I know are regular members or readers of Black Kos—it got me to thinking. We have an excellent resource right here at Daily Kos, for unlearning racism—a Black Kos community in which a majority of readers and members are white (even though assumptions are often made that they are black—just 'cause they are here) who have a real interest in interacting at Daily Kos with black folks and other people of color, and staying on top of news, and views from the black diaspora.

This comment from Black Kos community member joedemocrat touched me, and I thank him for making it.

Hi Denise and everyone (9+ / 0-)

I'll answer your question honestly as I can....

When I came to Daily Kos, I could recognize overt racism, but not the subtle kind. I had never heard the term white privilege or other terms. Also, I did not know how it was embedded or about issues like police brutality, and mass incarceration, etc..

I grew up in a small town in the midwest that was all white. I had high school teachers who were bothered by the idea of interracial marriage. I knew people who were furious there was an organization called NAACP thinking it a reverse form of racism.

People may say they aren't racist. But they support racist policies and racist politicians and political parties.

My mother didn't have those beliefs, so it wasn't taught at home. She was born in the early 1930's in Germany. She knew both poverty and war. She was a strong Democrat -
as strong as they come.

There were WWII Veterans who didn't like us. I was made fun of in school.

Also, unfortunately I had a verbally abusive father.

This has made me want to stick up for the underdog and the oppressed. That probably gave me an open mind to learn.

I feel I am slower to pick up on non-overt racism than you or others who participate in Black Kos are. I try to follow. If you or other Black Kos regulars are bothered by something and I don't understand, instead of thinking you overreacted I try to listen and learn.

We are all who we are politically due to our life experiences. Those experiences will be different. We can all relate best to ourselves and those like us. But sometimes you have to stop and ask yourself "What was it like to walk in these people's shoes?"  And one reason this country is in so much trouble is very few people can do that. Oppression seems normalized in many ways. Anytime a group gets any kind of privileged status, they become disconnected from those who don't.

I think it is important to build bridges too because we are always stronger together than as individuals. And there are so many problems we need to work together.

In that effort to build bridges, and to look at where we've been and where we are today, we'd like to hear from you regulars but also those who "lurk" and read but may not comment.  

It's been several years since I posted "A question for Kossaks (with poll)," which was followed by Black Kos, Tuesday's Chile: roll call and lurker come-out edition, which garnered 615 comments and 127 recommends. I decided it is time to do it again.

We have two new editors, Joan Mar and ChitownKev, (yay!) and new readers too.

First a little history:
For those of you who are not Daily Kos "old timers," Black Kos, was founded by dopper0189, on Tue Jan 02, 2007, as an open thread, which evolved into Black Kos: weekly round up, and then became Black Kos: Week in review.  On Fri Mar 21, 2008 dopper published "My last Black Kos week in review diary," and Black Kos as a UID was born.

As you can see from reading this diary, Black Kos is "going community" on you! Starting next week Black Kos will be a group effort, Robinswing, Sephius1, Terrypinder, and myself will collaborate on writing "Black Kos week in review" diaries. The new home starting next week will be at Black Kos. Thank you Markos and Meteor Blades for giving us permission to do so (and understanding this isn't a "sockpuppet" but a community effort). So in the future please hotlist "Black Kos". Thank you everyone who read and helped make this diary possible, I will still be around as dopper0189, but the week in review will now be done by the group ID Black Kos. Once again thank you everyone!
Black Kos currently has 765 followers, and the Black Kos community, was founded in 2011.

Black Kos has gone through some amazing highs over time, and our most recommended  diary was ***Update: Statement of Opposition to Racist Labels Used by Kossacks to Criticize President Obama, with 2524 comments, 983 recommends, posted on April 16, 2013, followed immediately by Continued: Statement of Opposition to Racist Labels Used by Kossacks to Criticize President Obama, because the first diary became almost impossible to open.

We've been through meta, and pie wars, ups and downs, and each year end dopper0189  (David-who we affectionately call "Chief") publishes a Black Kos Year in Review.

We've covered the earthquake in Haiti, news out of Africa, and the ongoing protests and reactions to the killings of black folks here at home, as well as electoral politics, history, science, medicine, the environment, music, art, poetry, film and television.

Now we would like to hear from you—our readers.  

Please take the poll at the bottom of the diary, and we hope some of you will de-lurk to say hello.  We'd like to hear from regular members too, about when and why you joined.

One of the things we learned in the last poll was that many people don't comment because they feel they "don't want to intrude" in a "black space," not realizing that this is an integrated space with more white than black members.

If you would like an invitation to join, let us know in comments.  You can also check the heart next to Black Kos up top to follow us.

I just want to add yet another thank-you to our Chief—for having sustained this series for so long, to previous editors, and most of all to our readers and members.

See you on the porch.

Poll

How have you been involved with Black Kos?

8%12 votes
27%40 votes
8%13 votes
34%50 votes
12%19 votes
2%3 votes
3%5 votes
1%2 votes
2%3 votes

| 147 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from chaunceydevega by 2thanks

Memorial Day was a tradition inaugurated after the American Civil War by (now) freed black Americans. Black America's history is American history, even while too many of those who are invested in the herrenvolk White dream and past of America in the present are dedicated to erasing such a basic fact from our schools, libraries, and other centers of learning.

Senior historian Dr. David Blight wrote a fine essay on Memorial Day's origins for The New York Times in 2011. It is still worth revisiting on this day.

But, did you know that the Confederacy is also included in Memorial Day celebrations? Moreover, that Barack Obama, the United States' first President who happens to be black has continued with a tradition where the White House sends a wreath to the Confederate Monument in Arlington?

Germany had the good sense to confront its Nazi past. yet, in the United States, the Confederacy, a treasonous rebellion that fought for white supremacy and to keep millions of black people as human property, is still celebrated and honored.

The Confederate flag is the American Swastika, the name of the founder of the KKK, Nathan Bedford Forrest, is still on schools and street signs in the South, and the White Right still embraces the language and iconography of the Confederacy as they bemoan and attempt to usurp Barack Obama's legitimacy and authority.

One of Blight's peers, Dr. James McPherson, along with other prominent historians and academics, sent a letter to Barack Obama in 2009 in which they suggested that he stop honoring the Confederates and their white supremacist cause on Memorial Day:

Early in President Obama’s first term, a group of academics that included prominent Civil War historian James McPherson asked him to end the tradition of sending a Memorial Day wreath to the Confederate Monument in Arlington, which they felt represented “the nadir of American race relations” and “a denial of the wrong committed against African Americans by slave owners, Confederates, and neo-Confederates, through the monument’s denial of slavery as the cause of secession and its holding up of Confederates as heroes.”

Obama opted instead to send wreaths both to the Confederate memorial and to the African American Civil War Memorial in the U Street neighborhood.

The matter of how and if the Confederacy should be honored on Memorial Day remains unresolved.

In Virginia, a group of Confederate sympathizers is upset that a local church will not allow them to fly the American Swastika during this year's Memorial Day celebrations:

John Branson is the current rector of Christ Church Episcopal in Old Town Alexandria, where Robert E. Lee worshipped and where 34 Confederate soldiers are still buried. Every year on May 24, the local branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, wearing their grays and bearing rebel flags, would hold a Confederate Memorial Day service. Branson says the rector before him put an end to the tradition. “The church has suggested that they take their ceremonies elsewhere.”

One member of the Confederate group calls the change of policy “intolerant.”

The parish still permits the group to hold a quiet wreath-laying ceremony in the churchyard but prohibits any display of Confederate regalia. “They have a full, formal color guard that they’d like to use, but they continue to display the Confederate flag, and we find that offensive,” Branson says.

Justice is so askew in America, that white supremacist sympathizers now complain that they are treated in an "intolerant" manner. Oh, I so dream of the day when that is in fact the rule in the United States.

Brother Doctor Martin Luther King Junior famously said that the arc of justice is long. Perhaps the arc of justice also has an ironic sense of humor as a black man who is President of the United States now sends a wreath to "honor" those who fought to keep people who look like him as human property, to be raped, murdered, tortured, and labor and wealth extracted from their bodies and souls in the service of white supremacist capitalist expansion and greed.

The secesh trash are likely rolling over in their graves at the thought of a black man being President of the United States. Alexander Stephen's white supremacist "Cornerstone Speech" is no comfort as their bones rot and they receive honorifics from a black man named Barack Obama, he who is the leader of a multicultural corporate democracy.

Discuss
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 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 DFH Local No 420 by mahakali overdrive

Cops tasers AND pepper-sprays black man who is having a stroke.

Saying he did nothing wrong, a Virginia police officer resigned from the Fredricksburg Police Department after body-cam video showed him using his Taser, and then pepper-spray, on an unresponsive black man sitting in his car.
This makes him a PIG. Whine about it all you want, all you;re doing is supporting a PIG: a cop who abused his power and STUPIDLY and with MALICE AFORETHOUGHT sought to add pain and misery to a black man he, in his infinite stupidity, thought was resisting arrest.

More over the orange thing. If you're interested.

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Reposted from JoanMar by 2thanks

    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:



healthcare58



     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:



healthcare57



     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.      


Continue Reading

Fri May 22, 2015 at 02:25 PM PDT

Black Kos, Week In Review

by Black Kos

Reposted from Black Kos community by Yasuragi

Marijuana - The Playing Field is not Level

Commentary by Black Kos Editor JoanMar

I don't smoke. I have never lit up a joint in my life. But I know a lot about the good ol'  Mary Jane. I can smell it a mile away. My mother smoked like every day; my father, I have been told, smoked; my older brother smokes, my younger sister smokes (or smoked - she claims she no longer does - I have heard that before), I have had boyfriends who smoked, and I had smelled it on my son's breath a couple times.
I was not going to be my mom, so that meant no smoking and no heavy drinking.

Given all of the above, you may wonder why I am so bothered by seeing that documentary by CNN, Cashing in on the 'green rush.'  The series celebrate (the best word to describe what I saw) the "trailblazers" who are making use of the opportunity provided to them in the wake of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado.

I am not merely bothered by what I saw, I found it to be downright obscene. To be fair, those people did not invent the problem. They are merely doing what any true entrepreneur would do. I ain't really mad at them as much as I'm mad at yet another piece of evidence of just how our two-tiered justice system works.

See for yourself:

The idea that these people could be so joyously celebrating their new found wealth, even as hundreds of thousands of people have suffered and continue to suffer for trying to do what they are doing, leaves a nasty taste in my mouth

In talking about their "pioneering" business, the young (white) couple featured in the series, spoke about a conversation they had with their grandmother. Apparently they mischaracterized the nature of their business and then were forced to come clean to grandma. The wife explains that conversation this way:

"She thought we were just your stereotypical drug dealers."  
Stereotypical drug dealers. Who are those, pray tell?
Maybe someone like Vincent Winslow? Let's take a look at his case:
On September 5, 2008, Fate Vincent Winslow watched a plainclothes stranger approach him. Homeless and hungry, on a dark street rife with crime, the 41-year-old African American was anxious to make contact, motivated by one singular need: food.
More:
Police arrested Winslow, drove him to prison, and locked him up. Six months later, a jury found him guilty of distribution of a schedule I substance (marijuana). Three months after that, a judge sentenced him to life imprisonment with hard labor, without the benefit of parole.

For a transaction that involved a whopping $25.00, Mr. Winslow got a life sentence, and with hard labor to boot.
He is just one example of thousands...if not millions. Whether selling or using, African Americans are more likely to be targeted, arrested, and convicted.
Whites and blacks  use marijuana at roughly the same rates; on average, however, blacks are 3.7 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession, according to a comprehensive 2013 report by the A.C.L.U.
In Iowa, blacks are 8.3 times more likely to be arrested, and in the worst-offending counties in the country, they are up to 30 times more likely to be arrested. The war on drugs aims its firepower overwhelmingly at African-Americans on the street, while white users smoke safely behind closed
Another ACLU report details the long lasting, life-changing effect of being arrested for keeping company with mary jane:
When people are arrested for possessing even tiny amounts of marijuana, it can have dire collateral consequences that affect their eligibility for public housing and student financial aid, employment opportunities, child custody determinations, and immigration status.
It seems to me that there is something sad and downright immoral about how the ganja god has chosen to distribute his/her blessings. In the same state, in the same country, in the same world, some people experiencing great fortune while others are  behind bars for doing the exact same thing. If we can't have a level playing field, at least show a little awareness about what's happening around you.

One law for everyone; those in Buk-in-hamm palace, and those standing in the shadows furtively scratching at the edge of the sumptuous pie.


Continue Reading
Reposted from Chitown Kev by mahakali overdrive

And so it goes. Same as it ever was.

And I'm not simply talking about police officers getting away with killing (mostly) young black men but the incessant nitpicking of each and every case searching and not giving a damn about one dead black body piling up after another dead black body.

Of course, I know that each case is individual and argued on its' own merits but the pattern is clear.

American law enforcement seems to have no problem unleashing deadly force on black children and black people.

Samuel Jones at The Grio reminds us that as recently as 2006, The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning that white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan were increasingly seeking to "infiltrate" law enforcement.

The document that Jones refers to is a 7-page unclassified document published by the FBI.

White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement

White supremacists in law enforcement is nothing new of course; in part, the origins of organized police departments in America actually goes back to the slave patrols of colonial times.

One positively chilling aspect of this 2006 FBI report is the description of what white supremacists call "ghost skins."

Since coming to law enforcement attention in late 2004, the term "ghost skins" has gained currency among white supremacists to describe those who avoid overt displays of their beliefs to blend into society and covertly advance white supremacist causes.
I don't know who the white supremacists are in the police departments, DA offices, and judge's chambers of this country.

And neither do you.

They have assimilated.

And many of you--us--will be assimilated, at least if I am reading the comment sections of this supposedly progressive blog correctly.

I certainly do not (or should not) need to detail the history of white American police brutality against African Americans and other people of color.

But I do have to ask:

Is this the 21st century America that we want?

Is this the America that we want?

How about this? (yeah, Jon Burge is as disgusting as ever.)

Former convicted Area 2 Police Commander Jon Burge says he finds it “hard to believe” that Chicago’s “political leadership” could “even contemplate giving reparations to human vermin” like the “guilty vicious criminals” he tried to take off the streets.
Fucking animal.

Is this what America wants? Back to The Grio article.

This year, alone, at least seven San Francisco law enforcement officers were suspended after an investigation revealed they exchanged numerous “White Power” communications laden with remarks about “lynching African-Americans and burning crosses.” Three reputed Klan members that served as correction officers were arrested for conspiring to murder a black inmate. At least four Fort Lauderdale police officers were fired after an investigation found that the officers fantasized about killing black suspects.
Apparently so, if this 2014 Gallup Poll is to be believed.

Or at least that what a majority of white Americans seems to want.

Remember, these are the cases that have simply come to light.

How am I supposed to make distinctions whenever I meet a police officer; assimilation is the goal of the "ghost skins," right (assimilation wasn't always necessary mind you but we are post-racial nowadays, right)?

I would think that a progressive community would be at least as concerned about fast tracking some solutions and legislation to halt the spread of white supremacist "peace officers" and police departments as it is about stopping TPP.

Or maybe not.

So...just remember that the next time you clutch your pearls about the next Shaun King diary or you lament about not able to get working, hard-working class white folks to vote Democratic because of a black President or a burnt out CVS...

Remember that you built this.

Remember that you have been (or will be) assimilated.

Because I won't forget it.

I can't afford to.

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