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2000px DemocraticLogo.svg Steven Braeger/WikiCommons

You don't need 20/ 20 vision to see that the whole world is waiting for the Democratic Party to push back against the tyrannical tendencies of the Trump administration. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting. 

Those of you with weak stomachs need to avert your eyes and keep all children sequestered behind closed doors at least until after the Midterms are over. Because the current state of the American Opposition Party, well, it ain't pretty. 

These pitiable progressives have managed to combine ineffectiveness with indecision. Add a sprinkle of incipient infirmity and a soupcon of both inert and inept, and you end up with a recipe for impotency, irrelevancy and extinction. A message that their candidates are finding increasingly difficult to sell to concerned constituents. "Join the Democrats. Just like you, we're confused too." 

Watching them desperately bumble about these days is scarier than finding scorpions in your underwear. Like a letter from the IRS with a big red "Urgent!" stamped on the outside of the envelope. Or the sound of a gun being cocked in the dark. Nearby. 

 Moore 0709wrpMichael Moore. (Photo: Reza Vaziri / Flickr)


In 1998, on "The Roseanne Show," Donald Trump congratulated fellow guest Michael Moore on his film Roger and Me, Moore's takedown of General Motor's C.E.O. Roger Smith. Trump jokingly commented: "I hope he doesn't make one on me."

Some twenty years later, under circumstances that neither Nostradamus nor Johnny Carson's Carnac the Magnificent -- who could discern unknown answers to unseen questions – could have imagined, Moore is making a film about President Trump. The documentary, titled Fahrenheit 11/9 – a reference to the day in 2016 when Trump was elected -- is due to be released in some 1500 theaters on September 21, just in time for the midterm elections.

On a recent edition of "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," Moore announced the release date of Fahrenheit 11/9, and previewed some footage. According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Veteran film exec Tom Ortenberg, who stepped down as CEO of Open Road Films last November, is in the process of launching a new company, Briarcliff Entertainment, and is partnering with Moore to release" the film.

HR 0709wrp"identity & human right 027." (Photo: kellyjensen99 / Flickr)


In January 1941, with the prospect looming of US involvement in another European war, President Franklin Roosevelt spoke of America's purpose in the world: to protect and promote "four freedoms." FDR drew a clear link between US security and the fulfillment of human rights at home. "Just as our national policy in internal affairs has been based upon a decent respect for the rights and the dignity of all of our fellow men within our gates, so our national policy in foreign affairs has been based on a decent respect for the rights and the dignity of all nations, large and small." In another speech he underscored the point: "unless there is [human] security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world."

Among the extraordinary backward steps Donald Trump is taking America, none is more shameful, than his disregard for—in fact, his calculated trampling on—human rights at home and abroad. To my mind, the two are interrelated:A government that does not respect the human rights of its own citizens will also show no respect for human rights in other countries—and will help other governments that seek to repress their citizens' rights.

Friday, 06 July 2018 07:27

The New York Times Strikes Out

NYT 0706wrpNYT headquarters. (Photo: Miquel C. / Flickr)


For more than a century, The New York Times has unabashedly bragged in a banner slogan that it publishes "All the News That's Fit to Print."

Really? Then why did this prestigious publication waste so much paper and ink on a June 25 front-page article about Bernie Sanders that was demonstrably untrue, not news and clearly unfit to print?

The piece claimed that the formidable presidential contender of 2016 has been a ballot box flop this year, failing to "expand his political base and propel his personal allies to victory in Democratic primaries." Moreover, it took a slap at Our Revolution, the aggressively progressive grassroots political movement that sprang out of Senator Sanders' presidential run. The Times scoffed that "fewer than 50 percent of the more than 80 candidates [OR] has endorsed have won elections this year."

News flash for clueless media cognoscenti: Winning anywhere near half of your campaigns is a stunning achievement for a political organization!


foxshineTrump incorporates Fox News and misogyny into the White House. (mroach)

Donald Trump is a grand conductor of manipulating media coverage on Twitter. His tweets send messages to his base, attack accusers, create contrived controversies, divert attention from personal scandals and missteps, and disseminate his "presidential" statements. On July 4, he even used Twitter to air video remarks on Independence Day that emphasized the victory of George Washington and his army over the British.

For communicating with his base, Trump also mainlines his messaging through Fox News. In fact, Trump almost exclusively does news interviews with Fox anchors. It also is the case that Fox television "personalities" give advice to Trump. Sean Hannity is the most noted "Trump whisperer." A New York Magazine article from May provides some background:

The call to the White House comes after ten o'clock most weeknights, when Hannity is over. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Sean Hannity broadcasts live at 9 p.m. on Fox News, usually from Studio J in midtown, where the network is headquartered, but sometimes from a remote studio on Long Island, where he was raised and now lives....

Their chats begin casually, with How are yous and What’s going ons. On some days, they speak multiple times, with one calling the other to inform him of the latest developments. White House staff are aware that the calls happen, thanks to the president entering a room and announcing, "I just hung up with Hannity," or referring to what Hannity said during their conversations, or even ringing Hannity up from his desk in their presence.

Kids2 0705wrpCentral American migrant children. (Photo: Peter Haden / Flickr)


It's important that so many people were paying attention to the inhumane and criminal treatment that refugee and asylum-seeking immigrant families faced at the hands of the US government. However, we'll continue to see a humanitarian crisis at our border whether or not the Trump administration stops separating families. Why? Because this crisis is still only a symptom of a much-longer blood-soaked legacy of US intervention in Latin America spanning centuries -- and people will continue to flee their homes in droves unless we make drastic changes.

The attention that family separation received is an opportunity to focus on why entire families are risking life and limb (quite literally) to travel 1,500 miles or more by foot to leave everything they know behind. The quick and dirty answer touted countless times: They're fleeing extreme violence and poverty. Yes, that's true. But that's also a lazy response and the conversation must not end there. Why is there so much violence? Why is there such poverty?

Those questions won't be easy to answer, but we should begin by looking at the history of US intervention in the "northern triangle" countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. If you've heard the recent recordings of children screaming out for their parents, those innocent voices are very likely from one of these northern triangle countries.

Cone 0705wrpA melted ice cream cone. (Photo: Steve Snodgrass / Flickr)


The summer of 2018 is shaping up to be one for the record books. Locations across the Northern Hemisphere have recorded their hottest temperatures ever this past week, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. While the Post points out that no single heat record can be linked to climate change, this summer's high temperatures follow a trend of record-setting years and open a window into what will be the new normal if we don't act quickly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Records were set across the U.S. as people prepared to kick off summer with outdoor Fourth of July celebrations. Denver tied its record of 105 degrees Fahrenheit on June 28, but while temperatures soared across the nation, it was the usually mild New England that broke the most records. On July 1, both Mount Washington, New Hampshire and Burlington, Vermont tied and set their highest low temperatures of 60 degrees and 80 degrees respectively, according to the Washington Post.

Thursday, 05 July 2018 05:52

Yes, Trump Is a Racist


trumpracistjpgThe cult leader of a racist backlash. (Gage Skidmore)

Nitpickers may argue that Donald Trump uses race as a strategic political tool to energize his base, but that he is not necessarily racist. However, that is a difficult concept to accept. Trump himself is indignant when he is called out as racist. He has stated, for example, "No, no, I'm not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you."

Nonetheless, when you are president of the United States, if you implement racist policies and make racist statements, you are making a choice to be a racist. Personal denials are not sufficient to scrub away being the ignoble champion of white supremacists. After all, Trump's signature political slogan of "Make America Great Again" is a barely disguised appeal to "Make America White Again." One can interpret this appeal is to assure Trump supporters that he advocates for a time when a white patriarchy was the basis of politics, economics and societal structure in the US.

A July 4 CNN article by Chris Cilizza presents stunning evidence that many Americans agree that Trump is prejudiced:

A new Quinnipiac University poll has a striking result: 49% of people said they believe President Donald Trump to be a racist while 47% believe he is not.


6773079251 f53e06d4f6 z Debra Sweet/Flickr

The US Supreme Court recently ruled in NIFLA v. Becerra that a California law requiring that women who walk into fake reproductive health care clinics be informed of the full range of reproductive medical options and how to access those services violates the First Amendment.

We agree that opponents of abortion have the right to speak out against abortion. However, if they are going to set themselves up as medical clinics, they have an obligation not to deceive their patients, and that is exactly what they do. 

Since the 1960s, anti-choice fake clinics have been luring women seeking reproductive health care at their facilities under a deceptive guise. The sole purpose of these fake clinics, in reality, is to shame women out of having abortions. Today, more than 2,700 fake clinics nationwide far outnumber legitimate women's health clinics providing medically sound reproductive health services.   


293920852 92daf107c2 z [email protected] /Flickr /Flickr

Each day, we are confronted with yet another harrowing story detailing the sufferings and discrimination against the Latino community. Immigrant Central American children seeking asylum, wrenched from their mothers and fathers, are flown thousands of miles away or held at "tender age" facilities in pen-like cages. Even after President Trump signed an executive order to supposedly end family separation, it is unclear if and when these more than 2,300 children will be reunited with their parents. 

Then there is the recent report that found 4,645 Puerto Ricans were killed during Hurricane Maria last year. The report's contrast with the official death toll of 64 exemplifies the Trump administration's horrendous indifference to Puerto Ricans' plight. Let's not forget Trump himself equated Latino people with animals, essentially dehumanizing them. The US has a long history of structural and institutional discrimination against Latinos, African Americans and other marginalized groups -- a history that is now repeating itself. 

As proud American Latinas, we are outraged by this relentless, constant and vicious attacks against nuestra gente (our people), whether they be citizens, green card holders or undocumented immigrants.

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