Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Gif of the Day

Remember to wash your anger fox regularly.

Listen To The People Who Confronted Chelsea Clinton

Shortly after the New Zealand mosque terrorist attacks, two young students confronted Chelsea Clinton at a vigil for the victims over her criticisms of Representative Ilhan Omar, who has been under fire (mostly racist fire) for going after Israel.

Let me back up.

A couple weeks ago, Omar started publicly criticizing Israel and Israeli lobbies operating in this country. Everybody freaked out because, if you know anything about the U.S., this is just Not Done. Not by politicians, anyway.

Some Jewish Americans said she was engaging in antisemitic tropes in her criticisms. Some said she was not. Many right-wing assholes who constantly engage in antisemitic tropes and support the same white supremacy that absolutely targets Jewish people jumped on the opportunity to attack the Muslim, Somali, hijabi, refugee congresswoman, because they are racist and Islamophobic assholes.

I am not Jewish so it's not for me to say if there was engagement in antisemitic tropes going on in Omar's statements/tweets. But I recognize opportunistic bullshit when I see it, Fox News.

Chelsea Clinton, who is also not Jewish, publicly criticized Omar and tweeted directly at Omar during this time chastising her for the alleged antisemitism. She and Omar had a bit of a discussion on Twitter, which appeared to be friendly. Omar also engaged with multiple Jewish community leaders, apologized, and promised to educate herself on antisemitic language.

Fast forward to last weekend. The terrorist attack happens, and Chelsea Clinton attends a vigil for the victims. Two students, one a Jewish American-Israeli, Rose Asaf, and one a Palestinian Muslim, Leen Dweik, took a video of themselves confronting her for piling onto Omar, saying that the attacks on the congresswoman are part of cultural Islamophobia that leads to shit like mass shootings at mosques.

And everyone flipped out.

I've been on Twitter a lot lately because of work, and due to the nature of my work, I get a lot of liberals on my feed, which is much different from my preferred social media platform, Tumblr. So I saw a lot of outrage toward these students, and particularly toward the Palestinian Muslim woman, with people saying it was ridiculous for them to "blame" Chelsea for the shootings.

My position is this: Every person of an oppressed community has good reason and a right to be sensitive about their own oppression. Are Jewish people hypersensitive about antisemitism? Fucking right they are, and they have earned that sensitivity. Do you know how many times I've paused when a dude says something that would seem completely innocuous to another dude but I'm there scanning for misogyny because I'm sitting on a lifetime of enduring cultural misogyny so I'm hypersensitive to it?

If you're not Muslim, you have no right to say that the Muslim woman who confronted Clinton was overreacting or wrong to confront her about her role in global Islamophobia. All of us who are not Muslim have a role in Islamophobia. We all have a responsibility. It's fucked up to attack a Palestinian Muslim woman for confronting a non-Muslim and non-Jewish white woman who probably should have stayed in her goddamn lane at a vigil to mourn the slaughter of Dweik's people. Even if Dweik was wrong, and I don't think she was, let her take out some of her grief on a rich, famous white woman from a massively powerful political family. Chelsea's very privileged and this confrontation could not possibly have harmed her in any substantial way.

At the very least, you should be reading the words of the students who confronted Chelsea, and I'll repeat that one of them was Jewish because people are conveniently leaving that out, on why they did what they did.

Opinion: We Confronted Chelsea Clinton At The Christchurch Vigil. Here's Why.

I also feel the need to say that Chelsea should know that "I'm sorry you feel that way, that wasn't my intention" is a classic shitty non-apology.

But mostly, every one of us who is not Muslim absolutely needs to FEEL how we contribute to Islamophobia. We need to be thinking about it and watching for it and when Muslim people tell us that we fucked up, we need to listen.

If your first instinct was to jump to the defense of the very privileged white woman at the expense of a Palestinian Muslim woman who now has to endure the assault of every Islamophobic asshole with a Twitter account, you need to think about how you contribute to the very same Islamophobia that killed those 50 people in New Zealand.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Gif of the Day

Minecraft Porygon pre-evolutions. Could it get any nerdier? But it's so cute!

Here's More Fascism!


After I published the last post I found two more articles about appalling fascist shit happening and after this I may turn off the internet. Just kidding, I need Netflix food shows to keep me going.

Here we go.

US government uses several clandestine shelters to detain immigrant children

The federal government is relying on secret shelters to hold unaccompanied minors, in possible violation of the long-standing rules for the care of immigrant children, a Reveal investigation has found. 
The Office of Refugee Resettlement, the government agency that cares for unaccompanied minors, has never made the shelters’ existence public or even disclosed them to the minors’ own attorneys in a landmark class-action case. 
It remains unclear how many total sites are under operation, but there are at least five in Arkansas, Florida, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Virginia, holding at least 16 boys and girls for the refugee agency, some as young as 9 years old.

If I find out they're doing experiments on these kids you'll see me on the news charging the closest child migrant detention center with a pick.


State Department bars press corps from Pompeo briefing, won't release list of attendees

That headline REALLY buries the lede. The real story here is that the only press allowed are those from "faith-based media" outlets.

The afternoon phone briefing was to discuss "international religious freedom" with the secretary -- who rarely participates in such calls -- ahead of his trip to the Middle East. One member of the State Department press corps was invited, only to be un-invited after RSVPing. That reporter was told that the call was for "faith-based media only."
CNN also RSVP'd to organizers, asking to be included, but received no reply.
Despite repeated inquires and complaints from members of the press corps who are based at the department, the State Department on Monday night said they would not be providing a transcript of the call, a list of faith-based media outlets who were allowed to participate or the criteria to be invited.
Officials would not answer questions about whether a range of faiths was included.

100% chance that "faith-based" here means "Christian" with the possibility of some pro-Zionist Jewish media being included but probably not. And I say pro-Zionist specifically because Jewish =/= Zionist.

This meeting is definitely about how to further fuck over Muslims and promote Christian supremacy. Religious zealotry and fascism often go hand-in-hand.

I don't even know anymore.

Here's Fascism!

So, human beings are still being detained at the border and fucked with by ICE all the live long day. Remember all that? That's still happening. Kids, too. Yeah.

And now, the two-Trump-judge Supreme Court has ruled that the U.S. government can arrest and detain indefinitely without a bond hearing even months or years AFTER they were already released. So, at any time, even if they've already been through ICE fuckery and been released because they're clearly not fucking MS-13, they can again be arrested and detained at any time and are still not subjected to a right to a speedy trial. They can be scooped up and locked away for basically forever. So, undocumented immigrants have to also deal with that now, on top of everything else.

This is another Supreme Court decision denying basic rights to undocumented migrants. And bigots will argue that they don't get constitutional rights because they're not from the U.S. I say that indefinite detention is widely recognized as a practice of a fascist/authoritarian nation, a key step in the path to genocide, is the kind of thing condemned by the U.N., and also that if we consider the Bill of Rights to be "inalienable" and really believe in them as good things essential to democracy and justice, then we should believe in them enough to extend them to those who enter our country, especially desperate people fleeing their war-torn, poverty-stricken home countries which are that way BECAUSE OF THE U.S.

How close do we need to creep toward the genocide of our nation's immigrants? Before something real is done?

Release all immigrants and then burn down every immigrant detention center.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Gif of the Day


2020 Challenger Lineup: Kamala Harris


I've been waiting to profile Kamala Harris. The former California Attorney General has plenty of experience under her belt and is a multi-ethnic woman of color. However, she is weighed down (in the view of myself and people close to as far left as I am) for basically being a cop. She's been labeled a "top cop" by those who like cops. Others have attempted to label her a "progressive prosecutor." Other others have looked at her history and been like "um... not so progressive."

Time after time, when progressives urged her to embrace criminal justice reforms as a district attorney and then the state’s attorney general, Ms. Harris opposed them or stayed silent. Most troubling, Ms. Harris fought tooth and nail to uphold wrongful convictions that had been secured through official misconduct that included evidence tampering, false testimony and the suppression of crucial information by prosecutors.

Let's look at her record.

Harris announced her campaign in late January on the platform of implementing the "largest middle class tax cut in a generation." I don't even know what the middle class is anymore but it's better than an upper class tax cut I guess.

As attorney general, Harris implemented the California Homeowner's Bill of Rights in response to the mortgage bubble burst that led to the Great Recession. She was able to get "$12 billion of debt reduction for the state's homeowners." She was also a force against predatory lending and created California's "Mortgage Fraud Strike Force," which manages to simultaneously sound boring and exciting. BUT she later declined to prosecute Steve Mnuchin's bank, and in 2016 received a $2000 campaign donation from Mnuchin. Hmmmmmmmm.

At the same time, there was a Supreme Court ruling that found California's prisons to be so overcrowded that they violated the 8th Amendment of the Constitution. The one about cruel and unusual punishment. Harris' handling of this was quite poor. She "fought federal court supervision" and generally resisted reform efforts until California had to be ordered to implement new parole programs. Then comes the worst part.

"Lawyers for Attorney General Kamala Harris had argued in court that if forced to release these inmates early, prisons would lose an important labor pool."

Ouch. OUCH. At the time, California's prisoners were being paid eight to 37 cents per hour for their work - a wage that definitely qualifies for the term "slave wage." In 2011, Harris fought prison reforms because the state of California would have lost a chunk of its slave labor and they didn't want to have to pay people minimum wage to make DMV furniture and fight California's wildfires. She also fought to criminalize truancy in schools. Literally making truancy a crime. This is what we call the school-to-prison pipeline.

In 2012 and 2014, Harris refused to take any position on criminal justice reform legislation.

Also in 2014, Harris fought efforts to secure gender affirmation surgery for a trans inmate until she was released on parole and it wasn't the state's responsibility anymore.

As California Attorney General, Harris also had a history of fighting for prosecutors accused of using false confessions and other shenanigans, by which I mean crimes, like perjury and withholding evidence.

On the positive side, Harris directed her office to investigate oil companies after an oil pipeline spill off the California coast. In 2016, she again went after oil companies for price fixing.

Back to the bad, let's talk about FOSTA/SESTA. Harris co-sponsored these bills and repeatedly went after Backpage, the shutting down of which has forced full service sex workers back onto the streets where they are far more likely to be assaulted and/or killed.

In the wake of the Harris announcement, more sex workers have spoken up in the media about the consequences of the legislation she sponsored. “It’s forcing me to go back the streets, walking up and down trying to find clients,” Melissa, an escort from Phoenix, told the Huffington Post. “Now I not only have to deal with the police, but now I’m forced to deal with tricks that know this bill is in effect, and trust me, they are taking full advantage of it by being more aggressive.” 
Another sex worker interviewed, Dii, said that people they know were “getting contacted by pimps and abusers more because they know we are desperate” due to the elimination of sites like CraigslistPersonals and Backpage that allowed sex workers to self-advertise.

I'm pretty sure all 2020 presidential candidates currently support and voted for FOSTA/SESTA. But as a co-sponsor, Harris seems less likely to ever be convinced that these bills were disasters for some of the most vulnerable people in our country.

As a U.S. Senator, Harris has been a force in fighting Trump's bullshit. No complaints in that respect.

Now let's look at her official positions as a presidential candidate.

Harris is pro-choice, pro-cannabis, pro-gun control, and against the death penalty. She supports the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and sanctuary cities. She is good on queer issues, aside from fighting against giving trans inmates necessary healthcare. She has committed to rejecting most PAC money, and she has fought for net neutrality. She has been critical of ICE but has not declared any desire to abolish it. She was a co-sponsor of the bill to withdraw U.S. troops from Yemen, though it appears she initially voted against this? She recently supported a bill that ends the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners.

She is also very much on the side of the Israeli government in the Israel/Palestine "conflict," opposing BDS and objecting to U.N. condemnation of Israel building settlements on Palestinian land, also known as ongoing genocidal efforts/apartheid. She even claimed that there is "anti-Israel bias" in the U.N.

As always, here is Kamala Harris' full voting record as a U.S. Senator. Most of it is literally her voting against Trump nominees. One thing that stands out to me is that she does not automatically vote in favor of defense authorizations acts like some politicians do. Her record appears consistent with her stated positions. Her official campaign website does not appear to have a section actually stating her positions on things, which seems ridiculous to me but whatever.

Overall, I suppose I give Kamala Harris a B-. She has some serious marks against her in the past which makes me not trust her. I mean, you all know that on principle, I don't trust cops. I really want to support this black woman running for president, but she has such a bad record on criminal justice. Black activists and scholars have argued that she has put far too many of her fellow black people in prison to be trusted. Others have said that she catches more criticism than other candidates because she is a black woman, which is almost certainly true.

My gut feeling is that she is another "tough on crime" Democrat who will pander to progressives and leftists for votes but if she made it into office, things like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal would soon become too complicated and get shelved because Harris is too busy dropping more drone bombs on children with severe PTSD.

What sucks is that it feels like we have to choose between white male progressive or black female centrist/neoliberal, or something in between. Because a black woman as progressive as Bernie Sanders would be attacked, well, about as much as people are attacking Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez right now. People already target Harris for being a black and Indian woman. Taking "risky" political positions just piles onto that.

I really hope we can have President AOC one day.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Gif of the Day

Because this is needed today.

Fuck white supremacy.

Donate To Your Local Mosque Today

Today is the day of worship for your Muslim friends and neighbors. It's also likely a terrible day for them. They may be afraid to go to their mosque and worship peacefully as is their right. I think one of the best things non-Muslims, and particularly we white people, can do is to send a donation to our neighborhood mosques with a message of support, explaining that you are not Muslim but you are happy to have them in your community and you will defend their right to be there, because they are a part of your community. They are the neighbors who are out there doing so much charity work and raising money for other parts of the community when they need it. Let them know they are not alone.

You can also donate to the global fund to raise money for the families impacted by the shooting. It's already almost at its goal, though, so if they don't need money anymore by the time you get there, your local mosques are always doing great things and helping people, so your donation will be well-used.

As always, stand up against Islamophobia. Demand an end to hateful rhetoric that inspires white supremacist terrorists to murder. Shout back against those who promote and spread that hateful rhetoric (yes, I'm talking about PewDiePie because yes, this is partly his fault).

Don't be tricked into silence by the idea that this hateful, murderous monster did what he did to promote a "culture war" and therefore we should stop criticizing people like PewDiePie. There is already a war. So much blood has already been spilled. Allowing the spread of poisonous rhetoric is what got us here.

Don't try to interpret the impossible web of irony and meta shit in that monster's "manifesto." It's not worth it. Continue with what you know to be true - white supremacy and Islamophobia kills and therefore must be ended.

My Muslim neighbors, siblings, and friends have a right to be here and have a right to exist anywhere they want. They are an essential and wonderful part of my community and I will fight anyone who tries to hurt them.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Gif of the Day

I'm a little upset that in all my years as a pro-choice feminist, I never thought of this burn.

What Rape Culture?


You ever read a headline so awful it just takes the life right out of you? I feel like I could take a breath and unleash a sigh that lasted for an eternity and echoed into the corners of the universe and the vibration of it would shake loose the bonds of reality and all life would simply shatter at the atoms and I'd be glad for it.

Protests in Italy after men cleared of rape because woman ‘too masculine’ to be attractive

What exactly do we need to do to get it through the thick fucking skulls of assholes who for some reason get to have important jobs that rape has nothing to do with attraction? Why is the myth that rapists are just men who were overcome with desire so it's totally not their fault and they're the real victims of Hot Ladies still so pervasive? Do I need to crack open your actual skull, pry it apart and scream it directly into your brains?

In written notes on the case, they said they had drawn their conclusions from a photograph of the woman, and had taken into account the fact one of the defendants had registered her in his mobile under the nickname “Viking”.

And people still want to tell me that rape culture doesn't exist.

The only good news here is that this bullshit ruling was thrown out by a higher court and a retrial was ordered. But the rape culture ruling was made in 2017. For over a year, the victim had to live worrying that she would get no justice because some judges think she's ugly. What's even more baffling is that the three judges who made that shit ruling were all women. Never forget that women, especially privileged ones, are often eager to uphold rape culture as well. It's kind of sad but also can those judges be fucking fired right now? Immediately?

Rape culture is also pretty strong in Italy. And yes, it is because of the Catholic church. I'm not anti-religion but the Catholic church is s fucking disaster that Jesus would hate.

Jacob Wohl, Certified Twitter Asshole, Sent Death Threats To Himself


This is another thing you might have already heard about but how can I not blog about this? Well-known right-wing white supremacist, misogynist, and all-around big opinion-haver Jacob Wohl was recently kicked the fuck off Twitter for running fake accounts that he used to argue with himself. But that wasn't the best news.

Jacob Wohl Faked Death Threats Against Himself

Wohl and fellow provocateur Laura Loomer went to Minneapolis last month to “investigate” whether their quest to prove that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) married her own brother—a charge based on flimsy blog comments that has been disproven. 
Wohl’s videos to his fans were premised on the idea that Minneapolis is an incredibly dangerous place, and often featured him wearing a bulletproof vest. At one point in a new video about their trip, Wohl goes to a Minneapolis police station to report death threats he says he and his team have received since being in the city.

First of all, that is some rank Islamophobia. Second, really? Minneapolis? You were so scared going to Minneapolis that you wore a fucking bulletproof vest? What a wuss.

Thirdly, it turns out this "death threat" was sent by one of the fake accounts Wohl was banned for. So, he's going to get charged for filing a fake police report, right?

I can't tell you how vindicating this is as a vocal woman on the internet who has been sent real harassing and threatening messages and read countless accounts from other women about the most frightening and disgusting messages including explicit and detail rape and death threats only to be told by asshole dudes without evidence that they're definitely faked. First they demand evidence from us, and when we do oblige and provide screenshots of the messages, guess what they say next?

We must have sent those to ourselves. You know, for attention.

Have you ever heard about the defense mechanism known as projection? It's rampant among the right.

Any time I see some misogynistic fuck try to claim that a woman sent harassing messages to herself, I'm bringing this right up. It's also going to be so much nicer on Twitter without Jacob Wohl stinking it up with his shitty opinions.

Now ban Trump.