Help us, Kentucky voters, you are our only hope

I just finished writing a post about Mitch McConnell on the Daily Kos.  In it, I implore the voters of Kentucky to vote out the current Senate Majority Leader. I hope you will check it out. The caption that you cannot read says, “I would love to do more but I want to be reelected and I have to do what President Trump wants. It is impossible to know what he wants so I do nothing.”

While we do need to get rid of McConnell, it would also help for some GOP Senators to grow a spine. If you live in a state with a GOP senator, you can call 202-224-3121 or text “resist” to 50409.

It is time to take back Congress from the Trumpers.

This is how genocide starts

This was reprinted from Firebrand Left. As that website is no longer up and running, I found it on the Way Back Machine. I think we are past three and have reached five.

Over the past few days, I have been spending some time over at a pro-Donald Trump Facebook group. While I have found a lot of things I have heard Donald Trump say to be upsetting, frightening or just plain confusing, nothing I have heard him say comes even close to what his supporters say. They say the United States Constitution is “outdated.” They do, support the Second Amendment but the rest was written by people who did not have to deal with modern-day terrorism. This is how they justify hating Muslims. Islam, they say, is not a religion but a political ideology.

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-11-13-03-am

This is not helpful for any real conversation but that is not the real problem. While I do not think it is appropriate to define 1.6 billion people this way but that is not the real problem either. The problem is not even that anti-Muslim rhetoric makes gives the extremists more ammunition to use against us or that it makes it harder to fight terrorism. The problem is that when you start defining this way, we are taking the first step towards genocide. That’s not the America I think we want to live in.

You may be thinking, “That’s pretty extreme.” It is but there is something that people do not realize about genocide. If you look at the phenomenon across centuries and continents, you will see genocide follows a predictable pattern. From Armenia and Germany to Rwanda and Sudan and then to Cambodia, there are ten steps all of these genocides follow. They are (per Genocide Watch):

  1. Classification
  2. Symbolization
  3. Discrimination
  4. Dehumanization
  5. Organization
  6. Polarization
  7. Preparation
  8. Persecution
  9. Extermination
  10. Denial

We are hovering somewhere between step one and three. We have not quite gotten to the point of actual discrimination but there are measures that have passed or considered to ban Sharia law in all but 16 American states. Who is behind all of this? A number of high profile Republicans such as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann have spearheaded the “anti-Sharia” movement.

This belief, that Americans need to be protected from Muslims, has been advanced by the Trump campaign. HIs famous promises to build walls along the Mexican but not Canadian border and to ban entry by Muslims advance the cause of racism and Islamophobia. We need to be protected from what we see as “them.” Americans are Christian (and sometimes Jewish). That’s the ‘us.” Muslims are not true Americans who pay their taxes, love their families and serve in our military, they are outsiders to be feared and demonized.

Trump and his supporters point out the recent attacks throughout Europe, in Orlando and in New York and New Jersey. They do not mention the fact that the gunman in Orlando was born in New York nor do they talk about the Oklahoma City bombing by a United States born terrorist or the multitudes of shootings by Americans. No one was talking about religion when they looked at the massacres in Sandy Hook, Columbine or at 101 California Street. We are not being killed in mass numbers by Muslims coming into the country. We are too busy killing ourselves.

The problem with the people who think, and my feeling is that they really believe the things they are saying, that we are facing an existential threat. Adolph Hitler really believed that the world was engaged in an epic battle for survival against the Jews.  When people say things like, “there are no good Muslims and bad Muslims…” they are reading right out of the Nazi Germany playbook:

This is not what this country is all about. We cannot become complicit to the mentality that is promoted by the Trump supporters. We are better than that. I hope.

Photo by Gage Skidmore 

When did I join the Empire?

I am watching you. Stop using the airwaves to promote panic.

I was reading a Stephen King book this evening and a strange thing happened. In his introduction to Everything’s Eventual, he recounts a story about a radio station stunt he wanted to do to bring in my advertising dollars (he and his wife, Tabitha, own two radio stations in Bangor, Maine). It was going to be along the lines of the War of the Worlds. He says he never did it, to which I thought:

Thats a good thing because that would be a terrible misuse of government authorized air waves, it could incite panic, as it did with the War of the Worlds, and is shortsighted, selfish and myopic thing to do.

Of course, King’s reasoning had nothing to do with a concern for the public welfare, nor was it because he didn’t want to incur the wrath of the FCC. He failed in his PR mission because he just didn’t think what he wrote for the stunt was good enough.

Now, I stand by my thoughts about his stunt (seriously, in a country so paranoid that people try to shoot up pizza places because they read crap on Four Chan and Alex Jones exists, this would cause way too much havoc) but this is not a new response for me.

Not too long ago, I was out and people were watching a movie. It matters not what movie it was nor where it was being shown but it was a bootleg version of the movie and I had to leave because I felt badly about the copyright issues around watching stolen art.

I am not sure what the two really have to do with each other but while intellectually, I stand by both positions, I see that I am no longer the rebel I thought I once was. Then again, maybe I never was. Who knew I would one day join the Empire?

WTF, Florida?

If you are upset about a 10 year old boy with Autism being arrested, hauled away in handcuffs and forced to spend a night in juvie, well, you should be.

If you don’t know about it, you can read about it here.

The mother has asked people to write or call (be respectful) Okeechobee officials. If you do not live in Okeechobee but live in Florida, you should reach out to the people who represent you in the state House & Senate. I would say to contact Governor Voldemort but well, he’s evil.

If you do not live in Florida but still want to call someone, call your Congressperson and Senators. This school district gets federal funding, too. I think they do.

You can reach all three at 202-225-2131. Now, that is officially the House number but it is easier to get through and you can get both sides of the Hill. You can look here as well: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/ or you can text your zip code to 520-200-2223 and get everyone who represents you.

If you live in Okeechobee:

Okeechobee City

Mayor: dwatford@cityofokeechobee.com

City Council

dwatford@cityofokeechobee.com

moconnor@cityofokeechobee.com

nchandler@cityofokeechobee.com

mclark@cityofokeechobee.com

Okeechobee County

Okeechobee County Commission

http://www.co.okeechobee.fl.us/government/board-of-county-commissioners

Go here to find your commissioner:

http://www.co.okeechobee.fl.us/government/who-is-my-commissioner

District 1: http://www.co.okeechobee.fl.us/government/who-is-my-commissioner

District 2: http://www.co.okeechobee.fl.us/government/who-is-my-commissioner

District 3: bgoodbread@co.okeechobee.fl.us

District 4: bgoodbread@co.okeechobee.fl.us

District 5: bgoodbread@co.okeechobee.fl.us

Florida State Senator for Okeechobee County: https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s26

U.S. House of Representative Rooney: https://rooney.house.gov/

This is a link for a number of your reps. FL House & Senate, US House and US Senate:

https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/districtdetails.aspx?housedistrict=55&senatedistrict=26&SenateMemberID=4587&MemberId=4551&SessionId=83&CongressionalDistrictID=17&LAT=27.24334&LONG=-80.827&houseDistrictId=55&senateDistrictId=26&congressDistrictId=17

PS. to this story. I just received this:

“Good Evening, I recently saw Luanne Haygood story on your page and wanted to share that this also happened to another kid last month in Florida. Only it was Orange County and the kid is a 14yr old Autistic teen with no history of behavioral problem who was also assaulted by the school VP and school resource officers. https://sso.cmgdigital.com/static/server.html?origin=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wftv.com%2Fnews%2Flocal%2Fparents-of-orange-county-student-with-aspergers-question-schools-handling-of-sons-outburst%2F499498721