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Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

There are quite a few lists out there, and most of them are useful.

What I want to say here is that the decision to act, to be present, is important. The decision to remain active is just as important.

To stand up and be accountable is a daily activity, but it does not mean that the level of activity will always be the same.  Self worthy persons, and, we all have worth, choose every day, even in all their small actions, how to live, in the groceries they buy,  or not, the fripperies of societal needs, the media they absorb and allow to remain unchallenged, whether they can make it to the town halls, support their libraries, write to and support their local paper.

This might mean that the economic and convenience cost of our actions are greater than it would otherwise be, as in the decision to buy or not from a big box store, or to cut the cable cord if it does not provide balanced news. Daily decisions, such as those of noted above, are best served with notice of accountability to that establishment. Tell them why you have chosen to disassociate with them.

We have been at a bipartisan war, that we could have declared officially, with other countries since 2011. We pretended that the war was a military action and never acknowledged the blood and treasure it took from our country. We never acknowledged that more than half the oil we are perpetually fighting over goes to our military. We never saw the caskets, and just barely heard the low moaning of the families of the dead.  When Michelle Obama started the White House garden, we saw the value of feeding our children fresh veggies, but not that we actually all needed victory gardens, or that we were killing our planet with excess brought to us on petroleum wheels.

This election signaled what will be a long war for the future of our country. We are already past the rhetoric and into the actions of a militant dictator. We have witnessed a five year old child handcuffed behind his back because the cuffs were too big for his wrists in the airport. We know that children are being followed by strangers in order to ascertain the homes of their mothers. We have witnessed harassment, killing and bomb threats to minorities and institutions for women. This week brought both the shut down of the NoDAPL site with most of the neutral cameras off,  and the revelation of Immigration tearing a woman out her hospital while she was waiting for a brain tumor operation and being sent to the Alvarado Detention Center, where she was handcuffed and strapped down.

Do not assume these are abarrations.

Bannon, in his address to CPAC, this week, made it quite clear that these are not, but rather the beginning of his new world order. This will not stop unless we stop it.

Which leads me to my point. I was gratified to here that there are elite geometry mathematicians working on the problem of “compactness” in gerrymandered districts, which cause us to perpetuate Republican, mostly, representatives. We desperately need a better districting formula. Folks are being trained as expert witnesses to discuss, in court, the ramifications of these findings. However, redistricting is also performed on the basis of our ten year census. The next one won’t occur until 2021. So, unless the courts find a way to invalidate the current districts now, its very probable that the same political landscape will be present in 2020; the same one that elected Trump this time. It’s more than likely that it will still be in place in 2018.

Trunp is known for rewarding the loyalists. He is also very good at knowing how to “chum” the waters. He will spend infrastructure money on those states he needs. He has already promised road money to Florida. Unless things change dramatically before 2018, expect the same states to be in play.

So, if you don’t do another thing, stand up and be accountable by voting. Around  fifty percent of you didn’t last time. Start planning how you will do it now. I know it’s very hard for some of us in our disctricts get there, or to even stay on the rolls. Some of us are harassed and suffer indignities that we we shouldn’t have to suffer. Indigenous peoples shouldn’t have to drive hundreds of miles in winter, because a Nevadan official decides she doesn’t want to provide a polling place. I don’t know what it will take, volunteer lawyers standing beside you, a new group of Red Berets, or Acorn, or  better taxi service. Maybe that includes volunteering and doing the work for your home to be a polling place.

Whatever it is that will get your vote counted; do it.

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Good Afternoon! It’s just one devastating hit to the constitution, civil rights, global stability, science, women, our allies, our citizens of color, our GLBT citizens, journalists, National …

Source: Friday: Will the US ever be the US again?

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Grieve, get you and yours safe and start. Now.

 

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So, I would like to talk about guns. I know very little about them. I have shot a few, I know folks who have them and I am in proximity to a couple of them. Here is what I know. There is a virulently strong ethic about owning them. The people that I know are enmeshed in their ownership. They clean them, they fondle them, sometimes they shoot them and a few prefer to keep them in the original collectors box.

Because there are so many varieties and ages of guns it takes a great deal of time and energy to understand the nuances of their different capabilities, requirements and maintenance. It also takes a big time investment to understand the various accessories and in particular the ammunition that is required. I know, for example that the AR-15 was designed for civilians, it comes in two different flavors, one that is able to shoot .223 and one that can shoot either .223 Remington or 5.56 mm NATO ammo. The velocity of the bullets coming out of this gun is such that it will penetrate easily the highest rated Kevlar jacket.

I know that the ammo is steel cored and brass covered, and that when first tested by the military the ammo was disliked because it inflicted “ice pick” type wounds rather than expanding in the body. This meant that too many of the enemy would be able to continue wounded rather than succumbing at once. I suspect that is partly why Mateen, even though he hit over a 100 people, only killed 49 and had to keep going back to make sure his victims were dead.

In any event, I also know that there are an estimated 318.9 million people in the US and I know that President Obama has stated that there are currently enough guns in the US for every man, woman and child to own one. Clearly, not everyone owns a gun and there is a heck of a lot of hoarding going on, for those that do. There are a lot of fearful people out there.

In searching the Internet the most common constellation of ideas I find around this fear phenomenon, is the need for self-protection, the sense that our government will not protect us, or worse, that we will have to protect ourselves FROM the government.

Here is what I postulate. It’s about money. Not the NRA’s or the manufacturers directly. First, and foremost, it’s about our money, and the lack of it. I searched the net today to find gun prices; they have gone up since I last looked. The cheapest I could find ran for around $200, naked, with no accessories or ammo. Many were selling for $1500 or more. I’m sure a real gun aficionado could find a better deal, but I thought the average of prices was around $500-600. Add the extras and ammo, and you might get to $1000.

So, $1000 x $318.9 million is $318,900,000,000, or $318.9 BILLION, lying around in peoples homes.

Guns represent more than anything that collectible that you can sell or trade in an emergency. It’s assumed that they will always go up in value, even though we clearly have a glut on the market. Their sale isn’t always easily traced and isn’t usually counted as income by the owners. The gun market has benefited enormously from the collectibles rage. They are things that can be accumulated, and represent, especially to men, valuation of their life’s accomplishments, even when other methods of counting coup have failed. They are fairly portable, they can be hidden, don’t have to be fed, won’t be subject to eminent domain or the banks’ predations. They are the modern version of the gold coin with more cache.

This market is gonna crash. It doesn’t matter how many times guns sales get pumped up by the NRA, gun manufacturers, Republicans or catastrophes. Guns just aren’t worth as much as we are paying, there is too much of a glut. We just don’t need 2 guns for every baby; one was too much.

So, when we discuss possible ways to reduce the number of gun deaths, like requiring liability insurance everywhere and apply the basis of human threat in the tables, additional across the board taxation of gun sales in order to fund the CDC in gun death reporting, and yearly licensing, the cost to own that gun becomes a lot higher and reduces the value. If I were a savvy gun owner, I’d be thinking how to get out while the getting is good. Change is coming. As soon as we decide it’s no longer cool to own one, and I believe that will happen, guns are going to become doorstops.

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From Wapo. For your use:

Transcript: The Post-Univision Democratic debate, annotated

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For your use. May I say, it was quite good tonight and it was wonderful to view it on free TV on PBS. Thank you, KVIE!

Transcript: The Democratic debate in Milwaukee, annotated

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Reblogged from Reality Check:

It’s not a contradiction to believe that gun control is good while abortion restrictions are ineffective violations of basic human rights. Abortion access improves society, whereas the proliferation of guns simply leads to more violence.

Source: Time to Stop Restricting Abortion and Start Restricting Assault Weapons

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