Investigative journalist Greg Palast reports on Crosscheck, the GOP's massive and extremely successful voter suppression apparatus - able to disenfranchise minorities for the simple crime of having first and last names, and previews the next stages of Kris Kobach's sophisticated revamp of Jim Crow era repression.
Greg's latest report is Sanders and Jackson join hands to take on Trump’s Vote Thief-in-Chief at his website, and his documentary on voter suppression, which was right all along, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, is available on his website.
In 1523 – (494 years ago) — Johann Esch and Heinrich Voes, two monks from a monastery in Antwerp, were burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church for the crime of adopting religious positions of the German theologian Martin Luther, who had kickstarted the Protestant Reformation six years earlier. Luther had denounced the Catholic authorities for the practice of selling indulgences — basically, taking people’s money for the promise of getting them into heaven after their death. He maintained that the authority of the Bible took precedence over that of the Catholic pope, cardinals, and bishops. Those were dangerous beliefs in medieval Europe, and the Roman Church was so intent on stopping their spread that, contrary to usual practice, the charges against Esch and Voes were not read aloud before their public execution in the main marketplace of Brussels. As the flames rose around them, the two unfortunate monks sang Latin hymns until they fell unconscious. Their monastery was declared to have been defiled, and was demolished.
In 1766 – (251 years ago) — a twenty-year-old French nobleman named François-Jean de la Barre was awakened early in the morning and physically tortured by having his hands cut off and his tongue torn from his mouth. Later that day he was beheaded for crimes against Roman Catholicism, the state religion of France. La Barre been found guilty of failing to remove his hat when a religious procession passed, and also for mocking Catholic hymns by changing the words to include obscenities. Police had searched his bedroom and found prohibited books, including the works of the atheistic philosopher Voltaire. After le Barre was beheaded, his body was burned; his copy of Voltaire’s Philosphical Dictionary was also tossed into the flames. After the fire died, the ashes were swept up and unceremoniously dumped into the nearby Somme River.
In 1916 – (101 years ago) — eighteen British and French divisions attacked the German Second Army in positions along the Somme River, kicking off a major battle of World War I. In some areas, according to some accounts, the British and French soldiers simply marched shoulder-to-shoulder into a barrage of German machine gunfire that mowed them down, filling the battlefield with bloody corpses. In other areas, it was the British and French who had the upper hand, and the... read more
Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
If you don't know about the kerfuffle at the Chicago Dyke March between organizers, pro-Palestinians, and three members of the pro-Israel group A Wider Bridge, please Google it. But be warned, very few details are clear. I've read statements and accounts from people at the march and from representative groups, and none of them agree. Even the Chicago Dyke March's own official statement conflicts on several points with that of core Dyke March Collective member and organizer Alexis Martinez in a Windy City Times interview. Were the Wider Bridge women asked not to display their flags, which resembled the flag of Israel? Were the Wider Bridge women abusive and disruptive? Were they asked to leave? Did they leave? Were pro-Palestinian marchers abusive to the A Wider Bridge women? Was anti-Semitism involved? Who started it?
These questions have no easy answers... except for the one about anti-Semitism, but we'll get to that later.
There had already been friction between A Wider Bridge and the anti-Israel wing of the pro-Palestinian faction. Laurel Grauer, one of the A Wider Bridge marchers who may or may not have been asked to leave the march for flag-waving and/or harassing speech or chanting or behavior, had had a text conversation with a Dyke March organizer before the march asking if they would be protested there. The organizer said no, but made clear the position of the organizers in support of the Palestinian struggle.
In addition to its LGBTQ advocacy on the part of queer Israeli Jews, Arabs and others, A Wider Bridge is an emphatically Zionist organization, if uncritical enthusiasm for Israel is Zionism. A perusal of its website makes this clear. If an anti-Israel stance were part of a stated position of my march, one I didn't want challenged, I would ask an organization that announces, "We see the independent state of Israel as the most important project of Jewish people," not to represent that view at my march. Not that one can't be pro-Israel and anti-Zionist at the same time, or pro-Israel but anti-Occupation, but those positions rarely divide or interweave in any simple way, either on the Palestinian or the Jewish side, and representing ideas of such complexity in a march would require real, concentrated effort on the part of all parties.
Does the complexity of the subject mean it should have been avoided?... read more
Angela is author of Kill All Normies: Online culture wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the alt-right from Zero Books.
Azeezah and S.K. wrote the article The Problem with Liberal Opposition to Islamophobia for ROAR Magazine.
Steve wrote the recent articles Fracked Gas LNG Exports Were Centerpiece In Promotion of Panama Canal Expansion, Documents Reveal and Tillerson Present as Exxon Signed Major Deal with Saudi Arabia During Trump Visit for DeSmog Blog.
Laura and Laura wrote the book “You're in the Wrong Bathroom!” And 20 Other Myths and Misconceptions About Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People for Beacon Press.
Will co-wrote the giant, 5-part series on DAPL surveillance and policing, TigerSwan Tactics for The Intercept.
Almost all of those words in that tease are Jeffy's and I just copy/pasted them, please don't @ me.
Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
Starting about three thousand years ago, in old, old China, there was a tradition called the Tiger Tallies. Every general in charge of an army had a jade tiger figurine. It was pretty cute. The emperor had duplicate figurines, one for each general. When the emperor wanted to go to war, he had to meet with his generals and match up their figurines.
For 800 years this ritual went on. Then, in the mid-Second Century BCE, during the reign of the fifth Han Emperor, something changed. Han Wu Di wanted to go to war, but his paternal grandmother, The Grand Dowager Empress Dou, had the Tiger Tallies. And she didn't want Han to go to war. She was a Taoist and something of an isolationist and anti-imperialist, at least as much an anti- imperialist as someone calling herself Grand Dowager Empress could be.
Han Wu Di woke up one day and said, "Screw this. What's with this Tiger Tallies crap? I'm the Emperor, for Confucius' sakes. I'm going to order my generals to go to war, and no controlling old dowager with an egg-carton full of jade tiger figurines is going to stop me."
Thus ended the 800-year tradition of the Tiger Tallies. Not through trickery, not by coup, not by reasoned argument, not by ethical appeal, not by plebiscite. The guy in charge just decided not to honor it anymore, because it obstructed his desires.
And that's also how our democracy ended. One day the Republican party decided that the quaint tradition of pretending to consider the public good wasn't worth the hassle. It involved too much deception, and they realized the people they needed to deceive weren't such sharp tacks. The Constitutional rituals for the formation, consideration and passing of laws could remain in place, since it was a very useful way to coerce the aristocracy to share its money with the lawmakers. And the Democrats themselves weren't that enthusiastic about forcing the GOP to honor the quaint tradition. The legislative branch became like a repurposed shuffleboard court, one no longer used by people to play shuffleboard, but rather now completely monopolized by two gluttons sliding cheesecakes to each other, bargaining with the various aristocratic cheesecake bakeries for more and better cheesecake.
The GOP had witnessed what a pain in the ass it had been for Obama and the Democratic Congress of 2009/2010 to appease the people while... read more
Massimo is author of Omnia Sunt Communia: On the Commons and the Transformation to Postcapitalism from Zed Books.
Kate is the mastermind behind the indispensable website McMansion Hell.
Black Lives Matter Chicago is part of a class action lawsuit against the City of Chicago and the CPD over police violence.
James is author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America from Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Jacob writes about American politics for Charlie Hebdo.
Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
A lot people I know have been looking at me the last couple days as if to say, "You lucky so-and-so. We've got all these hot takes and jokes in our heads about shooting Republicans, but you actually have a public forum where you can speak yours out loud. We have to keep ours bottled up like an explosive turd pounding insistently at our sphincter. Oh what sweet relief you must feel to let it all out. You must be the only healthy person in the USA right now."
But, look, I do have a sense of the boundaries of good taste. I don't respect them, but I know where they are. I don't respect them because, deep down, I don't understand their purpose. But I know where they are.
And I would never advocate violence. When I say, "Looks like it might be time to roll out the tumbrels and guillotine," I always make sure to put in that conditional "might." Because I'm never sure about the use of violence, unless you're protecting yourself or your family. And yes, one could say violence against the GOP-majority congress is justifiable as a defense of one's family, particularly if one's family likes to drink water or breathe air or eat food or receive medical care, or if perhaps one's family member is a refugee, maybe a Christian refugee at risk of getting sent back to, say, Iraq. One could say violence in that case was defense of one's family, but not me. I could only say that it might be.
I could say, thank goodness the only one killed in the attack on the GOP baseball practice was the shooter. Everyone else escaped with injuries. I understand that, right now, Scalise is in critical condition with internal bleeding and injuries to several organs, but otherwise, no harm, no foul. The shooter made his point and suffered the fatal consequences. And, come on, they're just bullets. Fifty-cent's taken nine of them, and he went on to become a very successful businessman, so lift yourselves up by your bootstraps, whiners!
I could say that, but I won't, because it's insensitive. Like I won't say, "It's too bad Scalise wasn't swinging an automatic rifle in the on-deck circle instead of a bat, because then maybe this wouldn't have happened." You know, the way NRA-supporting Republicans always suggest teachers carry firearms after a psychopath massacres a roomful of schoolchildren. I mean,... read more
In 1843 – (174 years ago) — a land dispute led to a violent clash between British settlers and indigenous Maori people on the South Island of New Zealand. Officials of the British New Zealand Company, claiming to have made a land purchase deal with the Maori, had sent surveyors into the Wairau Valley to mark out parcels. But the Maori, angry at not having been paid for the land, had chased the surveyors away and destroyed their equipment. When a party of armed British men returned to the valley, they were met by some ninety Maori warriors accompanied by women and children. Twenty-two British were killed, along with four Maori, including the wives of two chiefs. White settlers elsewhere in New Zealand were outraged. But an inquiry led by governor Robert FitzRoy later ruled that the settlers had been at fault for trying to settle on land they had no legal right to possess.
In 1953 – (64 years ago) — Soviet tanks rolled into East Berlin to crush a day-old uprising and general strike against the Soviet-backed East German goverment, which had raised work quotas and threatened wage cuts. Sensing the government’s insecurity in the wake of Joseph Stalin’s recent death, workers had taken to the streets, calling for democracy and German reunification, and bringing the country to a standstill. The Soviet Union responded by sending in sixteen army divisions to assist eight thousand East German military police in quashing the revolt. Hundreds of East Germans either died in the ensuing violence or were executed afterward. Several thousand more were injured or arrested, and a dozen or more Soviet soldiers were executed for refusing to shoot protesters. The violence across East Germany continued for more than a week — a dark precursor to the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian revolt of 1956 and the crushing of the Prague Spring in 1968.
In 1987 – (30 years ago) — an elderly sparrow was found dead in his food dish, inside a protected enclosure at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida. He was the last dusky seaside sparrow, and the last survivor of a failed attempt at breeding enough of the sparrows to repopulate their original habitat along Florida’s Atlantic Coast, in the swamps around Merritt Island just south of Cape Canaveral, and along the upper St. John’s River. In the early 1960s, when Merritt Island was chosen as... read more