Nel's New Day

October 31, 2014

It’s Halloween! Be Afraid of the GOP

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 8:21 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

With four days until the 2014 election results start to trickle in, the polls are up and down. A week ago, carpet-bagger Scott Brown and former Massachusetts GOP senator, was even with New Hampshire’s Democratic incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. Now he’s down by 8 points. The robotic creature for the New York Times, assigned with determine winners, reported that its conclusions were 3 percent accurate. The GOP is chortling—at least publicly–that it’s taking over the senate. This is what we can expect if Republicans have a majority by January 1, 2015:

Agenda control through the budget process: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “We’re going to pass spending bills, and they’re going to have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy.” It will be a return to 2011 when Congress threatened to not raise the debt limit to pay for what they had already spent as well as 13 months ago when the GOP shut down the government 13 months ago in an attempt to get their own way and cost the economy at least $24 billion.

More tax cuts for the wealthy and further spending cuts for middle- and working-class families: Although the senate needs 60 votes to break a filibuster, congressional budget resolutions can squeak through with an ordinary majority of 51 votes and cannot be filibustered. Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) 2015 budget bill sent to the senate gives those making over $1 million another $200,000 in tax cuts while cutting nondefense spending by $4.8 trillion. Almost 70 percent of that money takes from programs helping low-income and middle-class families—Medicaid, Pell Grants for college, etc. The GOP also wants to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. Right now, the reality is an average U.S. corporate tax rate at 27 percent with small businesses paying a disproportionately large percentage because of loopholes and subsidies for the big companies. GOP leaders claim that they will close these loopholes, but they can’t afford to do this because they’ll lose campaign funding. GOP austerity cost the economy 2.4 million jobs from December 2010 to October 2013.

Obstruction of well-qualified judicial nominees, leaving vacancies on federal courts: The record shows continued filibustering of the president’s judicial nominees. Only 16 judicial nominees were filibustered during George W. Bush’s eight years compared to the 77 nominees from President Obama filibustered in a six and a half years. There would have been more than 77 if the senate had not changed its rules to require a simple majority vote for reasonable debate times for these nominees. A GOP senate means the return of the filibuster for judicial confirmations. Currently federal courts have 63 vacancies and 32 judicial nominees.

Another vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act: The GOP has promised that the first vote would be to repeal the ACA if they control the senate. The vote would take place at a time that the uninsured rate is at a record low: 7.3 million enrolled and paying premiums through the marketplaces; 8 million with health coverage through Medicaid; and 5 million signed up for ACA-compliant plans outside the marketplace. And that’s with almost half the states refusing to participate in the ACA. Insurers also cannot deny coverage with a pre-existing condition or put lifetime and annual coverage limits on their care. They have to spend at least of the premiums on health care and cover young people up to the age of 26 on their parents’ policies.

Greater rollback of women’s health needs: McConnell says he will push for narrower exemptions on abortions after 20 weeks than the Supreme Court has allowed. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) has a bill to allow businesses the ability to refuse contraceptive coverage for their employees. Before the ACA required equal insurance charges for both genders, women were charged up to 150 percent more than men for the same coverage. Over 48 million women receive preventive care without deductibles or co-payments and saved $483 million on just birth control pills, $269 per woman, because of ACA.

Use of the Congressional Review Act to weaken environmental rules, jeopardizing public health: Congress can pass a joint resolution stopping a major rule submitted to the legislative branch. The senate can accomplish this in 60 days without any possibility of a filibuster. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said that he will challenge every EPA rule under the current administration, including the proposal to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants by up to 30 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. The rule would curb dangerous pollution, save money on energy bills, and improve public health by avoiding 6,600 premature deaths and 150,000 asthma attacks in children every year. Full implementation would save $93 billion in 2030. For every dollar, people will see $7 in benefits.

Expansion of carrying concealed and loaded guns: The NRA wants the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, allowing people to get gun permits in states that have the weakest gun safety laws and carry them all over the United States. This is a race to the bottom as states with the weakest standards set national standards for these permits. People like George Zimmerman, who killed a teenage boy and has a history of violence including assaulting a police officer and domestic violence, would have permission to carry his gun everywhere instead of in only those states with weaker gun safety laws. Local law enforcement would have no recourse. This legislation failed by only two votes in 2009 and was included in the compromise measure developed by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). Fortunately, it was three votes short of breaking the filibuster because it could have passed with 57 votes.

Legislation removing any LGBT rights: At this time, 33 states recognize marriage equality with another three that may soon marry same-sex couples after courts release rulings. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has announced that he will be “introducing a constitutional amendment to prevent the federal government or the courts from attacking or striking down state marriage laws.” Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, reiterated the party’s support for a constitutional amendment that would unmarry loving and committed same-sex couples. The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act currently pending in Congress would, if passed, allow for government-sanctioned discrimination against the LGBT community and gut existing workplace protections for the now thousands of legally married same-sex couples employed by the federal government or its contractors. For example, this Act would permit federal workers to ignore paperwork from same-sex couples for processing tax returns, approving visa applications, or reviewing Social Security applications and allow a federally funded homeless shelter or substance abuse treatment program to turn away LGBT people.

Legislation to deport DREAMers: Children who were brought to the United States and who meet strict criteria may currently stay in the U.S. and work legally. A senate bipartisan bill that passed 68 to 32 would have made this administrative rule into law as part of immigration reform for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants, but the House refused to consider the bill. A GOP senate would most likely reverse its former position on immigration reform. Cruz said he would “use any and all means necessary” to prevent the administration from allowing undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to stay in the place they know as home.

More cuts to programs and rules that increase college access, affordability, and readiness:  Ryan’s budget cuts Pell Grants by $90 billion, makes monthly student loan payments higher, and eliminates $107 billion from early education and K-12 education programs over the next decade. A GOP senate would most likely block regulations on for-profit colleges with a history of predatory practices that saddle students with higher rates of debt and low-quality degrees and charge 3.5 times as much as public institutions for the same degree.

On the other hand, the GOP may suffer if it wins the senate. The Tea Party will put more leverage on the GOP establishment to toe the far-right line. Their unwillingness to compromise and move to the right will cause them to lose more voters in 2016, including those for the president. Repealing health care, rejecting minorities, and taking more rights from women will lose the party a huge constituency.

The GOP may win some seats this year because they keep minorities and low-income people from voting, but these people will have the next two years to get the necessary ID. In addition, the courts may overturn the discrimination of the new voter suppression laws. Judicial rulings during the past few weeks to keep these laws have cited only an excuse that they can’t be changed this close to the election. During the next year, there will be many lawsuits from people denied their constitutional right to vote in next week’s election.

Advertisements

October 30, 2014

Apple’s Cook, Openly Gay

Filed under: LGBT Issues — trp2011 @ 7:45 PM
Tags: , ,

When Tim Cook officially came out as gay this morning, he became the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Rumors of his sexual identity had been swirling, but Cook clarified it in an essay in Bloomberg Business Week. It ranks high as a gracious acknowledgement of an important part of his private life. This is his essay:

“Throughout my professional life, I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy. I come from humble roots, and I don’t seek to draw attention to myself. Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world, and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them.

“At the same time, I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” ’ I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today.

“For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky.

“While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.

“Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple.

“The world has changed so much since I was a kid. America is moving toward marriage equality, and the public figures who have bravely come out have helped change perceptions and made our culture more tolerant. Still, there are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow employers to fire people based solely on their sexual orientation. There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay, or where we can be barred from visiting sick partners and sharing in their legacies. Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation.

“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.

“I’ll admit that this wasn’t an easy choice. Privacy remains important to me, and I’d like to hold on to a small amount of it. I’ve made Apple my life’s work, and I will continue to spend virtually all of my waking time focused on being the best CEO I can be. That’s what our employees deserve—and our customers, developers, shareholders, and supplier partners deserve it, too. Part of social progress is understanding that a person is not defined only by one’s sexuality, race, or gender. I’m an engineer, an uncle, a nature lover, a fitness nut, a son of the South, a sports fanatic, and many other things. I hope that people will respect my desire to focus on the things I’m best suited for and the work that brings me joy.

“The company I am so fortunate to lead has long advocated for human rights and equality for all. We’ve taken a strong stand in support of a workplace equality bill before Congress, just as we stood for marriage equality in our home state of California. And we spoke up in Arizona when that state’s legislature passed a discriminatory bill targeting the gay community. We’ll continue to fight for our values, and I believe that any CEO of this incredible company, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, would do the same. And I will personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up.

“When I arrive in my office each morning, I’m greeted by framed photos of Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. I don’t pretend that writing this puts me in their league. All it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I’m doing my part, however small, to help others. We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.”

Many powerful people responded to Cook’s essay, calling him inspirational (Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella and Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson ) and courageous (Mark Zuckerberg). On CNBC, former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the first person in Congress to come out as gay, said:

“When the man who has been the leader for several years with great success of one of the most important … businesses in America, says, ‘Oh by the way, you know those people about whom you have these negative feelings, well I’m one of them.’ That does such an enormous amount to diminish the negative feelings. I am very grateful for him doing it.”

On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), both homophobic and heterosexual evidently by choice, said:

“Those are his personal choices. I’ll tell you, I love my iPhone. Listen, Tim Cook makes his personal decisions, and that is his life.”

Other than Cruz’ comment and a bit of whining from far-right fundamentalist Christian leaders, the conservatives pretty much ignored Cook’s statements. Apple’s stock went down 0.6 percent recently, not a big homophobic reaction. People like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) haven’t called for a boycott of Apple. Maybe conservatives can’t protest when they’re wedded to their iPhone.

We’ll wait to see if Cook has started a trend toward personal honesty. And what the GOP will do now that it’s caught between big money and controlling far-right Christians.

October 28, 2014

Cats Not Republicans; Fox Bemoans Cheap Gas

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 6:41 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

If you’re ready for a little political humor, Messaging Matters has 12 reasons why cats are not Republicans.

  1. catCats are curious about what you do in your bedroom, but they don’t try to legislate away your freedom to do it.
  2. Cats may take away your cushion, but they’ll give it back to you with a gentle push.
  3. Cats give you attention and sympathy when you’re sick.
  4. Females are treated with importance in the cat world.
  5. Cats make use of solar power, often all day long.
  6. Cats lick their own problems and take care of other cats too.
  7. Cats don’t blame black and brown cats for their troubles.
  8. Cats know how to ration their resources.
  9. Fat cats are not at the top of the cat hierarchy, are not cat role models, and have more trouble surviving and thriving, not less.
  10. While Republicans blindly follow authority, it is said that getting Democrats to act in unison is like herding cats.
  11. Cats don’t foul their own nest.
  12. Cats are popular and well-liked on the Internet and elsewhere.

And one more: cats believe in diversity.

cat_dog

mouse_cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

More photos here. Photos: top right by Crazy Ivory; above with dog by Szilvia Pap-Kutasi; above with mouse by Frank Hinsberger.

My favorite Fox network story this week:

During President Obama’s two terms, he has been blamed for high gas prices despite the shifts in these being caused by global market conditions, demand of seasonal changes, and other factors under the president’s control. The Associated Press, which tends to lean right in its reporting, has a study of 36 years that compares monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and domestic oil production. The result: “No statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump.” Over two years ago, 92 percent of economists surveyed by the Chicago Booth School of Business agreed that “changes in U.S. gasoline prices over the past 10 years have predominantly been due to market factors rather than U.S. federal economic or energy policies.” More experts here. Even Fox’s far-right John Stossel admitted that U.S. energy policy “doesn’t make that much of a difference” in gas prices.

In the first two months of 2012, Fox network blamed high gas prices on the president more than three times than the other major news outlets combined, as well as distorting charts and claiming that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to move oil across the United States for export would lower gas prices. One of the network’s “experts” was Eric Bolling, former minor league baseball player and major Wall Street oil and energy futures trader.

Gas prices went up the next summer, as they always do, and Fox gleefully reported on how Mitt Romney’s energy plan was the solution. They used former Shell Oil executive John Hofmeister as an expert to explain why gas prices are high although he didn’t point out that it was because his own company jacked up the prices to make more money and elect Republicans. Bill O’Reilly told the Romney campaign to use these prices for an attack on Barack Obama, a reversal from his position in the last year of the Bush administration that if “you hear a politicians say he or she will bring down oil prices, understand it’s complete BS.”

Fox now warns that cheap gas is bad–maybe “a sign of a weakening economy” (that didn’t happen) or “a sign of a looming global economic crisis.”

cheap gas

October 26, 2014

Religious Beliefs ‘Not Reasonable’

scalia425x320“Religious beliefs aren’t reasonable.” That’s what Justice Antonin Scalia said in court on October 7, 2014 during oral arguments for Holt v. Hobbs. Mark that date! Of course, the man who ruled that businesses can have religious beliefs (Hobby Lobby) wasn’t dealing with Christianity. The case concerned whether a Muslim prison inmate in Arkansas would be allowed to keep his beard because of his religious beliefs.  [Photo by Pete Marovich, Zuma Press]

In context, Scalia’s statement came from asking the plaintiff to believe that a half-inch beard would fulfill his religious requirement for a full beard. Before October 7, the justice had claimed that religious beliefs are beliefs and therefore don’t need justification with facts. The four drugs in the Hobby Lobby case didn’t actually produce abortions, but the Supreme Court determined that this didn’t matter. What mattered was that the plaintiffs believed that the drugs would result in abortions. No need for facts. The Court got so carried away that they extended the original decision that satisfied Hobby Lobby owners to all forms of contraception with no religious justification.

Arkansas’ argument is that an inmate can hide something in a beard, even in a one-half inch medical beard permitted in 44 other states. Some of those states have no length requirement for beards, and the state’s attorney could not cite any security problems with beards in other states’ prisons. Arkansas has no limit on the length of hair on inmates’ heads. Then the state claimed that the ban on beards was to “keep prisoners from disguising themselves.”

Hobby Lobby plaintiffs suffered little questioning about the “sincerity” of the corporation’s beliefs. The company even provided birth control coverage to their employees before the Affordable Care Act mandate. In the case about a Muslim prisoner wanting to grow a beard, Scalia was intent on forcing the plaintiff to justify his religious beliefs.

For the first time, I agree with Scalia: religious beliefs aren’t reasonable. Here are some examples of the bigoted hypocrisy of “Christians.”

After Jan Morgan, owner of an Arkansas firing range in Arkansas, declared that her business is a “Muslim-free zone” because they are all killers, Larry Pratt, director of Gun Owners of America, plans to give her award for her action. It’s his opinion that “the Quran … is an instruction to go kill people.” On the other hand, the bible is far more violent than the Quran.

Dan Patrick, the GOP nominee for Texas lieutenant governor, follows the Texas School Board’s desire to require the teaching of creationism in public schools. His rationale is that children become confused because they learn about creationism in Sunday School and then about evolution on week days. This position follows his belief that “there is no such thing as separation of church and state.” As a newly-elected state senator, Patrick walked out of the chamber because a Muslim delivered the opening prayer. Patrick believes in tolerance but thought that remaining during the prayer would signify endorsement. He recently praised Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty) for his leadership in bigotry toward LGBT people, minorities, and women.

According to the Christian bible, Jesus would have tried to heal the people faced with the current Ebola epidemic.  The “Christian” far right, however, wants to close the border and stop people from going to fight the disease in West African. At the same time, they spread fears about undocumented immigrants from Central America although there are no cases of Ebola among them and oppose the free treatment that the few people in the U.S. have received if they are infected with the disease. Ebola could be stopped at the source with millions from the United States, but the far-right prefers to spend trillions of dollars to kill hundreds of thousands of Arabs.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has ratcheted up his rants against gays, cohabators, and divorced people after Pope Francis stated that the Catholic Church should be welcoming to these groups. If King gets his way, these people won’t find eternal salvation in heaven. Asked if divorce and cohabitation are sins, he said:

“What was a sin 2,000 years ago is a sin today, and people that were condemned to hell 2,000 years ago, I don’t expect to meet them should I make it to heaven.”

King did mitigate his remarks by saying that he needed to read the pope’s document carefully before “passing judgment” on it.

Last spring, King said that entrepreneurs have “God-given rights that our founding fathers defined in the Declaration,” but LGBT people have no rights because being gay and lesbian is a “self-professed behavior” and can’t be “independently verified.” Two years earlier, he said that LGBT people should just lie about the sexual and gender identity to avoid being fired. Three years before that he wanted the name of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill changed to the “Local Law Enforcement Thought Crimes Prevention Act of 2009″ because he doesn’t believe in hate crimes.

Douglas MacKinnon, a former aide to Ronald Reagan and speech-writer for him and George H.W. Bush, doesn’t want to wait for heaven in order to avoid LGBT people: he wants the South to secede and form an ultraconservative independent state named Reagan. As author of The Secessionist States of America: The Blueprint for Creating a Traditional Values Country … Now, MacKinnon has everything planned for this achievement. His focus is on Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, leaving out Texas because of the “incursions … from some of the folks in Mexico.” He claims to have the help of a military veteran friend and a group that includes “a constitutional law expert, two former military officers, two former diplomats, a minister, another special operator, and experts on banking, energy, farming, and infrastructure.”

MacKinnon is disturbed with “our leaders” who want:

“… to erase our borders, do away with the rule-of-law, expand the nanny state into a theology, bankrupt or punish American companies in the name of fighting climate change, do away with the Second Amendment, censor or demonize the history of Western civilization and replace it with multiculturalism, give every kid a trophy and turn them into wimps, continue to support the completely unfunded public-employee pensions which are destroying the financial solvency of cities, counties, and states across our nation, add billions every day to our $17 trillion in debt, destroy our health-care system to substitute socialized medicine, vilify fossil fuels, and attack all faith in God with a particular and unhinged bias against the Christian faith.”

Because all the Southern states except Texas take more money from the federal government than they pay into it with their taxes, Reagan–the country–could save the rest of the country lots of money!

Fox and Friends co-host, Ainsley Earhardt, has an argument against separation of church and state in public schools: everyone should accept the “culture” of Christianity instead of requesting the removal of Christian plaques from taxpayer-funded Texas schools. As a representative of the 77 percent of U.S. population declaring themselves to be “Christian,” Earhardt asked two people involved in the debate to talk with her on the show—both of them supporting the plaques. As Pastor Justin Coffman said:

“We’re all about wanting to see the cause of Christ go further. We want to see the cause of Christ in more public arenas in the American culture. We don’t want to take things away from. We want to see Christ in our schools.”

Tiffany Davlin complained that a secular group could “come into a community, which is a strong Christian-majority community, and say what we can or cannot have.”

“Attempt to bully us,” Coffman echoed.

“Yeah,” Earhardt agreed. “Yeah, Justin, you touched on it: the War on Christianity.”

Fox needs a war while waiting for the War on Christmas.

A Texas Justice of the Peace subscribes to the “culture” of Christianity in the South by beginning court sessions with bible readings, followed by a prayer. He promises that the case of anyone who is offended “will not be affected.” Too bad MacKinnon doesn’t want Texas in his new country of Texas.

“Religious beliefs aren’t reasonable.” Justice Antonin Scalia said that on October 7, 2014.

October 23, 2014

Conservatives Want to Stop Votes from Minorities, Women

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 8:54 PM
Tags: , , ,

Delivering absentee ballots in Arizona is legal, but A.J. LaFaro, chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Committee, became highly incensed that Ben Marine brought in a number of them into a polling station. LaFaro complained that Marine was “a vulgar, disrespectful, violent thug that has no respect for our laws. I would have followed him to the parking lot to take down his tag number but I feared for my life.” Maybe it was because Marine was wearing a Citizens for a Better Arizona (CBA) shirt. Or maybe it was because he is brown? LaFaro posted a video of Marine on YouTube, and comments read:

 “This is a high crime, it is treason to this country and a betrayal of democracy. This should be a crime punishable by death.”

“I am going to find this illegal-loving scumbag and kill him.”

James-OKeefe-638x425Because voter fraud is almost nonexistent, James O’Keefe, the undercover pimp who targeted the community organizing group ACORN, is trying to create it in Colorado that will vote by mail for the first time this year. Several times, he and his associates have asked Sen. Mark Udall’s staffers, offering to fill out ballots for other people. One of O’Keefe’s people is masquerading as a member of a nonexistent LGBT activist group called Rocky Mountain Vote Pride. Turned away after his offer of filling out mail-in ballots for college student who had moved away but still got mail on a Boulder campus, he came back with a “civics professor” who was, in fact, O’Keefe. One might question if these people should be arrested themselves for voter fraud.

Women don’t need males on the Fox network to declare war on them when Fox has women paid to denigrate those of their own gender. After Fox’s The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld said that young women aren’t smart enough to vote as conservatives, co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle said that they should be excused from jury duty because they lack life experience and just “don’t get it.” Tucker Carlson has voiced the same opinion earlier when he criticized a GOP campaign that encouraged young women to vote. On Outnumbered, he said , “You want your government run by people … whose favorite show is Say Yes To The Dress?”

Kevin D. Williamson echoed the sentiment on National Review Online:

“I would like to suggest, as gently as I can, that if you are voting as an act of self-gratification, if you do not understand the role that voting in fact plays in a constitutional republic…, you should not vote. If you get your politics from actors and your news from television comedians — you should not vote. There’s no shame in it, your vote is statistically unlikely to affect the outcome of an election, and there are many much more meaningful ways to serve your country and your fellow man: Volunteer at a homeless shelter; join the Marine Corps; become a nun; start a business.”

When a Wisconsin citizen, Heba Mohammad, wrote her alderman, Chris Wery, if the city could provide busing for poor and elderly people to vote, he said that he needed proof that she wasn’t a terrorist before he could answer her. Word got out that he was bullying Mohammad, and he—sort-of—apologized in the Green Bay newspaper, the Press-Gazette: “I phrased it wrong. It was the wrong setting. And I apologized for that.” He then sent a follow-up email to Mohammad saying that he didn’t want people to get a “free day” of busing.

As chairman of the Republican Governors Association, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is back on the campaign trail with compelling reasons why GOP governors should be elected: they need to control “voting mechanisms” in order to win the White House in 2016. That’s what he told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The GOP is very afraid that a fair voting system might result in majority votes against their party.

When a Michigan citizen told a representative of a state GOP House candidate, Todd Courser, that she was voting for his opponent, she got a surprising response. The caller said, “Would you change your vote if you knew that Margaret Guerrero DeLuca had faggots and blacks working for her?” According to Courser, his goal is to take over the Michigan GOP. He’s also under investigation by state police, county prosecutors, and Michigan election officials for allegations of violating the state election law, representing himself as an incumbent on campaign signs, misuse of campaign resources.

Running for U.S. senator in Nevada two years ago, Sharon Angle said, “If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.” Iowa now has its “Second Amendment” candidate for U.S. senate: Joni Ernst. Two years ago, she also said that she would use a gun to defend herself from the government. As Paul Waldman wrote in the Washington Post:

“I don’t care how many times you praise the Founding Fathers or talk about your love of the Constitution, if you think that the way to resolve policy differences or personal arguments with the government is not just by trying to get different people elected or waging a campaign to change the laws or filing suits in court, but through the use of violence against the government, you have announced that you have no commitment to democracy. In the American system, we don’t say that if the government enacts policies we don’t like, we’ll start killing people.”

Many GOP elected officials and candidates like Ernst describe the president’s two elections, the Affordable Care Act, and anything else that they don’t like as “tyranny” and “facism.” They do this at the same time that they work to rig elections in their favor–and threaten to kill anyone who gets in their way. It’s the Cliven Bundy approach.

After Wisconsin’s voter ID law was delayed until after the November 4 election, conservatives in Wisconsin have a new intimidation ploy. Milwaukee County’s Republican Elections Commissioner Rick Baas urged his crowd of supporters to take an “extra step of vigilance.” State law allows anyone to go within three feet of voters and then challenge the validity of their votes. They also have to swear under oath that they have firsthand knowledge that the person is not qualified, but that probably won’t slow down some of the fanatics.

The New Georgia Project, an officially nonpartisan group, reported that it registered 86,000 new voters, but many of these registrations are nowhere to be found because the state’s GOP Secretary of State Brian Kemp failed to process as many as 40,000 of these. Unable to settle the situation otherwise, the group filed a lawsuit against Kemp and five county boards of elections. One of five counties was settled, but a hearing is set for tomorrow in Fulton County Superior Court.

Last July, Kemp, who is supposed to be in charge of a bi-partisan election, commented on the registration of these voters:

“The Democrats are working hard, and all these stories about them, you know, registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines, if they can do that, they can win these elections in November.”

He added that a higher level of scrutiny was necessary for these registration. “We don’t know who these people are or where they come from.” With 25 of the 80,000 registrations proven to be fraudulent, Kemp started a much deeper investigation into the group’s registration drive. The 0.03 percentage of problems is far lower than the national average of 13.9 percent problems.

In Hong Kong, top official, Chun-ying Leung, said that open elections would result in the poor of the territory in control. For that reason, he thinks that free elections are impossible. “If it’s entirely a numbers game and numeric representation, then obviously you’d be talking to the half of the people in Hong Kong who earn less than US$1,800 a month,” he said in an interview.

Leung’s comments shouldn’t be surprising because his opinion prevails in the U.S. Republican party.

October 21, 2014

GOP Presidents Have Dismal Records

Filed under: Elections,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:42 PM
Tags: , ,

My favorite letter to the editor this week from the Register-Guard in Eugene (OR):

Regarding Charles Krauthammer’s Oct. 6 column (“Voters will say yes to party of no for Senate”), anyone who agrees with the policies of the last four Republican administrations should support having a Republican-controlled Congress.

To help refresh our memories, here are synopses of those administrations:

George W. Bush, 2001-09 — Two wars; national budget changed from a surplus in 2000 to a deficit by 2008; worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, with worldwide impact; housing market collapses; sub-prime mortgage crisis; soaring oil prices; loss of 2.6 million jobs; Wall Street bailed out.

George H. W. Bush, 1989-93 — Gulf War; recession; $160-billion savings and loan bailout; taxes raised after “no new taxes” pledge.

Ronald Reagan, 1981-89 — Largest peacetime deficit in history increased national debt to $2.85 trillion from $997 billion in 1980; froze minimum wage at $3.35 an hour; lowered top income tax rate to 50 percent from 70 percent; Iran-Contra scandal.

Gerald Ford 1974-77 — Replaced Richard Nixon (1969-74) after Nixon’s resignation due to Watergate scandal; worst recession since the Great Depression; 9 percent unemployment; $53-billion deficit in 1975 increased to $73 billion in 1976; pardoned Nixon.

Anyone who wants that kind of government should, by all means, vote Republican on Nov. 4.

BONNIE C. SMITH

Springfield

Thank you, Bonnie Smith!

October 20, 2014

Take Action: Over 400,000 Rape Kits Still Untested

Filed under: Rape,Women's issues — trp2011 @ 4:01 PM
Tags: ,

Memphis (TN) is the latest city to discover untested rape kits on police shelves. The recent discovery of 200 untested kits brings the city’s total backlog to over 12,000 and contributes to the other 400,000+ untested ones in the United States. The DNA identified from skin, hair, bodily fluids, etc. left on sexual assault victims is invaluable in finding and convicting rapists, but only 3 percent of rapists ever serve one day in prison. An estimated 91 to 95 percent of rapes are committed by serial rapists, and serial offenders commit an average of six rapes each.

Because the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, the FBI’s criminal forensic database, was not available until the mid-1990s, police didn’t bother to have most rape kits tested from the 1970s and 1980s, leaving a tremendous backlog. The cost of between $500 and $1,500 to test just one rape kit also keeps police from testing all the ones that they receive. If the victim knows the attacker, police tend not to follow through with the testing. In the current climate, however, DNA is vital in prosecuting a case.

Sarah Tofte, vice president of policy and advocacy for The Joyful Heart Foundation (JHF), a nonprofit founded by actress and activist Mariska Hargitay, explained another reason for the backlog. She said that kits aren’t tested in order of receipt because of the overwhelming workload in labs. Police and DAs ask for what they consider the most deserving to be put at the top of the list.

Law enforcement choices in which kits are tested first–or at all–come from opinions about whether a victim seems untrustworthy or a victim has been identified, according to the National Institute of Justice. Priority is also given to cases in which the victim is visibly injured and the suspect is a stranger. In eight in ten rape cases, however, the attack is by someone who the victim knows at least slightly, and most rape cases lack signs of violence. According to David Lisak, a clinical psychologist, acquaintance rapists are often chronic offenders.

Testing the backlog of rape kits would cost Memphis $6.5 million, but its efforts thus far have led to 162 new investigations, 22 indictments, and 16 identifications of people previously convicted of rape. Detroit has tested 1,600 of its 11,000 untested rape kits and identified 100 serial rapists linked to rapes in at least 12 states with 10 of them already convicted. Cleveland’s clearing of 3,985 rape kits led to the indictment of 170 men. New York’s program to clear the backlog has raised the rape arrest rate from 40 percent to 70 percent. Ohio’s testing of more than half its 8,000 kit backlog led to more than 135 indictments; a third of those charged are linked to more than one rape.

One rape victim, Natasha Alexenko, founded Natasha’s Justice Project, a nonprofit focused on testing all the rape kits in the backlog. There could be far more than 400,000 untested kits because most jurisdictions do not have systems for tracking or counting rape kits. The GOP has blocked a bill to even audit untested rape kits for three years.

Before Congress left Washington for two months last month, it gave final approval to The Debbie Smith Act, a program that provides federal grants to law enforcement agencies to work through the backlog of DNA evidence. Without this five-year renewal, the program would have expired on the first day of October. Advocacy groups are requesting an additional $41 million in the FY15 spending bill.

Although Congress has appropriated $1.5 billion over the past decade to clear overdue DNA tests, states are not required to spend this money on rape kits and have little oversight. For example, Los Angeles County had 12,600 untested rape kits in 2009, yet its federal grant money was not used until public attention forced leaders to take action.

At this time, no federal law mandates testing or tracking rape kits, and only five states—California, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, and Texas—have legal requirements to count, track, and test rape kits. California’s requirement that all law enforcement submit rape kits to a lab within 20 days was signed at the end of last month. Labs need to test kits within 120 days or send it along to another lab within a month. The backlog can remain for over a year, though, because the law doesn’t go into effect until 2016.

In Oregon, rape kits are performed by certified SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) nurses within 84 hours of the rape. State law requires employing or contracting with a SANE nurse, but 14 of 36 counties don’t have any of the 132 certified nurses in the state. The state does not require certification, only 40 hours training. Only six SANE nurses in the state are certified to work with children younger than 15, meaning that raped children may have to travel a distance to have a rape kit performed on them.

Different areas are using a variety of solutions. Lawyer Robert Spence filed a federal class action lawsuit against Memphis because of its untested rape kits. Wayne County (MI) Prosecutor Kym Worthy got $1.5 million in federal funding to get Detroit rape kits processed. With 1,600 completed, she estimates that her office needs another $15 million to test, investigate, and prosecute outstanding cases. Through the Detroit Crime Commission on the Detroit Rape Kit Initiative, she is asking the public for donations.

Tofte said:

“We seek to change attitudes about sexual violence and abuse by removing the stigma around these crimes and shifting the focus from survivors to perpetrators. We seek to do so by educating the public, holding law enforcement accountable for treating sexual assault cases just as seriously as any other crime, and improving systems to lessen the trauma survivors experience and ensure greater access to justice.”

It’s time to audit and test kits, keep them up-to-date, track the results through CODIS, and mandate that federal monies allotted to these tasks be given oversight so that the money goes where the law directs.

October 19, 2014

Vatican Shifts Left, Backtracks to Right

Pope Francis  seemed to lead the Catholic Church away from the former narrow bigotry last week when an assembly of Roman Catholic bishops called for the church to welcome and accept LGBT people, unmarried couples and divorced individuals as well as the children of these families. In past interviews, the pope has criticized his own church for putting moral doctrines above serving the poor and marginalized and said that the church is “obsessed” with gays, abortion, and birth control. His move was a moved to the Second Vatican Council convened over a half-century ago which brought great changes in church liturgy, relations with other faiths, and the roles of priests and laypeople.

A Vatican official said the church should “respect the dignity” of every person, and a 12-page report stated that pastors should recognize that there are “positive aspects of civil unions and cohabitation.” LGBT people have “gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community,” and some gay and lesbian couples provide each other “mutual aid to the point of sacrifice” and “precious support in the life of the partners,” according to the report.

The report led to discussion and modification by bishops within the next week with a final report issued for worldwide discussion. Sandro Magister, a Vatican expert with the Italian newsmagazine L’espresso, said that the “progressives” who want change in the church “are in positions of strength, put there by Pope Francis.” The Rev. James Martin, editor at large of the Jesuit magazine America, that “even though this is an interim document, it represents a revolution in the way the church speaks about our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”

That was all last week. Now the Vatican has released another statement that removed welcoming language toward LGBT people from the message after Timothy Dolan, New York City’s homophobic archbishop cardinal, vowed that he would fight with fellow conservative Catholics against the language until it was taken out of the document. On CBS This Morning, Dolan gave this message:

“All of this is almost like antipasto to help the holy father arrive at a fresh new way to teach the timeless teaching on marriage and family…I know there is remarkable unanimity and enthusiasm in backing the holy father’s attempt to present the teachings of the church in fresh, exciting and engaging new ways, but there might be some good, deep discussion on the way that is being expressed.”

Instead of the subtitle “Welcoming homosexual persons,” the document, formally known as the Relatio of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, uses these words, “The pastoral care of people with homosexual orientation.” The new language:

“55. Some families live the experience of having members who are of homosexual orientation. In this regard, questions have been raised on pastoral care which is appropriate to deal with this situation by referring to what the Church teaches: ‘There is no basis whatsoever to assimilate or to draw even remote analogies between same-sex unions and the plan of God for marriage and the family.’ Nevertheless, men and women with homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect and sensitivity. ‘In their regard should be avoided every sign of unjust discrimination. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons , 4).

“56. It is totally unacceptable that the Pastors of the Church pressures in this matter and that international bodies condition financial aid to poor countries, on the institution of laws that establish the ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex.”

All the following has disappeared:

“50. Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?

“51. The question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension: it appears therefore as an important educative challenge. The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.

“52. Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.”

Gone is any respect. No “mutual aid” among couples. And certainly no indication of accepting “civil unions.”

The elders of the Catholic Church, a description aptly fitting the older men who lead the religion, are in direct contrast to 85 percent of young Catholics in the U.S. who express support for gays and lesbians.

Acceptance of those who have divorced and remarried also got knocked out of the report because of lack of votes.

Despite the loss of acceptance for the pope’s report, he managed to demote U.S. anti-LGBT Cardinal Raymond Burke to a figurehead position as the Patron of the Knights of Malta which works among the sick. Almost a year ago, the pope dropped Burke from an important Vatican bureau. As the head of the Roman Catholic Church’s version of the U.S. Supreme Court, he had been the second most-powerful man in the Vatican.

Burke recently said that legally-married gay and lesbian family members should be shunned from family celebrations during the upcoming holidays, asking “what would it mean to grandchildren to have present at a family gathering a family member who is living [in] a disordered relationship with another person?” As a member of the Congregation of Bishops, Burke had led the group in such controversial positions as moving Salvatore Cordileone, the church’s leader in California’s Prop 8 movement that reversed marriage equality in the state, to San Francisco. Burke also wants the Latin Mass and prefers the clerical clothing popular before Vatican II in the 1960s modernized the Catholic Church.

Francis has also replaced outspoken Chicago Cardinal Francis George with Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane (WA). Although Cupich opposes same-sex marriage, he rejected attempts “to incite hostility towards homosexual persons or promote an agenda that is hateful and disrespectful of their human dignity.” In a pastoral letter that was read in all Catholic parishes in the diocese, he wrote, “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs.”

The most telling parts of the changes in the Vatican report is that they are only in English. The other versions stay the same.

October 18, 2014

Supreme Court Decision on Texas Voting Rewards GOP Candidates

About 600,000 Texans won’t be voting in Texas on November 4, thanks to today’s Supreme Court ruling. At least five nine justices voted to permit the voter photo ID law to be in effect on that day. A federal judge had struck down the law last week, but the 5th Circuit Court put the lower ruling on hold, leaving the law in effect. After an appeal, the highest court ruled, without comment and indication of how justices voted, to agree with the circuit court. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented, saying they would have left the district court decision in place allowing people to vote.

Ginsburg wrote:

“The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.”

In her 143-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos called the law an “unconstitutional burden on the right to vote.” She found the law a deliberate discrimination against the state’s minority voters and described the requirement an equivalent to a poll tax. Ginsburg said that a full trial in district court found that the law was “enacted with a racially discriminatory purpose and would yield a prohibited discriminatory result.”

Ramos also wrote:

“Based on the testimony and numerous statistical analyses provided at trial, this Court finds that approximately 608,470 registered voters in Texas, representing approximately 4.5% of all registered voters, lack qualified SB 14 ID and of these, 534,512 voters do not qualify for a disability exemption.”

The rationale from the majority of the Supreme Court for leaving the law is that it would inconvenience those running the election because it is so close to Election Day. According to the current majority of the Supreme Court, it’s better to stop a minor inconvenience than allow over one-half million people to vote.

Regarding the majority opinion, Ginsburg wrote:

“There is little risk that the District Court’s injunction will in fact disrupt Texas’ electoral process. Texas need only reinstate the voter identification procedures it employed for ten years [from 2003 to 2013] and in five federal general elections.”

Ginsburg echoed Ramos’ findings:

“The potential magnitude of racially discriminatory voter disenfranchisement counseled hesitation before disturbing the District Court’s findings and final judgment. Bill 14 may prevent more than 600,000 registered Texas voters (about 4.5% of all registered voters) from voting in person for lack of compliant identification. A sharply disproportionate percentage of those voters are African-American or Hispanic.”

She added that “racial discrimination in elections in Texas is no mere historical artifact. To the contrary, Texas has been found in violation of the Voting Rights Act in every redistricting cycle from and after 1970.”

Texas officials tried to justify their actions by claiming that all eligible voters are able to get a photo ID. Ginsburg, however, pointed out that any cost of getting the mandated ID, even $2, is an unconstitutional barrier to voting. She wrote in her dissent:

“For some voters, the imposition is not small. A voter whose birth certificate lists her maiden name or misstates her date of birth may be charged $37 for the amended certificate she needs to obtain a qualifying ID. Texas voters born in other States may be required to pay substantially more than that.”

Over two-thirds of eligible voters may have to travel three hours or more round-trip to the nearest government office where they can get photo IDs and need a certified birth certificate costing $22, according to Ginsburg. Although the state offers one for $2 or $3 that is used only for election purposes, it has not publicized this option on election or birth certificate websites.

Ginsburg pointedly added:

“Racial discrimination in elections in Texas is no mere historical artifact. To the contrary, Texas has been found in violation of the Voting Rights Act in every redistricting cycle from and after 1970.”

Attorney General for Texas, Greg Abbott, has vigorously fought for the photo ID law that keeps minorities, largely assumed to be Democrats from voting in this year’s election. Abbott is also the GOP candidate for governor.

This was the first time in over 30 years that the Court has allowed enforcement of a law restricting voters’ rights after a federal court ruled it to be unconstitutional because it intentionally discriminated against minorities.

A new study by two University of Delaware professors and a Pennsylvania high school student found that white people are more likely to support photo IDs laws after being shown a picture of a black voter than when they see a picture of a white voter. Black and Hispanic respondents were about equal in their support or opposition to a photo ID law no matter what person was in the picture. This research matches studies showing that whites are more likely to support harsh criminal justice policies if they see pictures of or hear statistics about black prisoners. In 2012, the Brennan Center for Justice found that blacks and Hispanics are less likely to have photo IDs than a cross-section of people in the United States.

None of the courts ruling on photo ID this month has addressed the issue on a constitutional basis. That will happen after this year’s federal election. The question is whether courts will permit the laws if there is no basis for them. With cases of voter fraud being one in every 14.6 million people in the U.S., there is no reason for such draconian laws. The question is whether legislatures can pass laws to cover problems that don’t exist. If the Wisconsin legislature says witches are a problem, shall Wisconsin courts be permitted to conduct witch trials?” asked Judge Richard Posner, who wrote the dissent in the 5-5 decision for the 7th Circuit Court. After a three-judge panel held that the Wisconsin photo IDs for voting could go into effect, Posner asked for the entire court to hear the case. The court ruled 5-5, meaning that the panel’s decision, which the Supreme Court later overturned, stayed in effect.

Posner also pointed that the Supreme Court had once ruled in favor of photo ID for voters because they supposedly increased voters’ confidence in elections. Studies, including a Harvard Law Review study, refutes the idea that photo ID laws promote public confidence. It revealed that “perceptions of voter-impersonation fraud are unrelated to the strictness of a state’s voter ID.” When Commonwealth Judge Bernard L. McGinley struck down Pennsylvania’s photo ID law, he determined that “implementation of the voter ID law in a manner that disenfranchises qualified electors will undermine the integrity of elections.” In short, these oppressive laws erode confidence in the voting system.

Voting laws across the nation vary greatly. Ohio’s constitution prohibits “idiots” from voting. Casting your ballot in Alabama can’t take longer than five minutes. Texas will let you vote with a gun license but not a student ID. Some people in Arizona can vote for federal candidates but not state ones if they lack the appropriate ID. Thirty-three states have restrictions on voting with new ones in 22 of these. Almost half the country will have a much harder time in trying to carry out their constitutional right in 17 days than four years ago.

Four years ago, when the Tea Party took over the House, it was seen as a mandate from the people. This year, any conservative votes can be seen as the control of GOP legislators and GOP-leaning judges. And the control of the white people.

October 17, 2014

White Privilege in the U.S.

Bill O’Reilly appeared on Jon Stewart this week in an attempt to get people to buy the latest book in his killing series, Killing Patton. The book got short shrift in the discussion, however, as Stewart said all he wanted from O’Reilly was an admission that white privilege exists. O’Reilly denied that it existed and then moved on to say that Asian privilege exists in the country because they make more money than other groups. Then he admitted that slavery and Jim Crow were bad, but “that was then, this was now.” Unfortunately, Stewart didn’t ask O’Reilly about the Jim Crow voting laws passed within the past few years.

Stewart explained that far more blacks are disproportionately arrested and imprisoned for drugs although whites use drugs in far higher numbers. O’Reilly agreed and then said, “America is now a place where if you work hard, get educated and are an honest person, you can succeed.”

o'reilly Stewart said, “You are carrying more of a burden as a black person in this country than a white person in this country.” O’Reilly responded, “Collectively, yes,” O’Reilly responded. “But not –”

“Individually,” Stewart said, completing the thought. “They don’t stop and frisk Wall Street bankers, even though they’ve done far more damage to the economy.” Not letting up on the pressure, Stewart got O’Reilly to admit that white privilege—racism—is “a factor.”

Dialog about “white privilege” came front and center after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson (MO) opened a discussion. As black men tried to explain the problems caused by their color, many white men declared that they had no prejudice and didn’t understand why blacks thought that bigotry existed. The privileged cannot understand the concept of entitlement because the advantages are largely unacknowledged and thus invisible. Peggy McIntosh, a women’s-studies scholar at Wellesley, wrote an amazing essay in the 1980s in which she listed 49 areas of entitlement:

  1. I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.
  2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
  3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
  4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
  5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
  6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
  7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
  8. If I want, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
  9. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.
  10. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person’s voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.
  11. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
  12. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.
  13. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
  14. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.
  15. I can be pretty sure that my children’s teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others’ attitudes toward their race.
  16. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.
  17. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.
  18. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
  19. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
  20. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
  21. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
  22. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
  23. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the “person in charge”, I will be facing a person of my race.
  24. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.
  25. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
  26. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.
  27. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.
  28. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.
  29. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn’t a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.
  30. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.
  31. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.
  32. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.
  33. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.
  34. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.
  35. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.
  36. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.
  37. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.
  38. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.
  39. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
  40. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
  41. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.
  42. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.
  43. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.
  44. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.
  45. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.
  46. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.
  47. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.
  48. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.
  49. I will feel welcomed and “normal” in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.

McIntosh’s list was published over 25 years ago. Two years ago, Ernestine Hayes added to the list.

  1. Beauty, handsomeness, masculinity and femininity are personified by people who do not look like me.
  2. Authority most often rests in people who do not look like me.
  3. My children and grandchildren are taught by white teachers.
  4. People who are not of my culture are acknowledged experts of my culture.
  5. People appropriate my identity and profit from describing their versions of my experience.
  6. My children and grandchildren are likely to drop out of school.
  7. My children and grandchildren are likely to be victims of violence.
  8. My children and grandchildren are likely to suffer from tuberculosis, alcoholism, diabetes, incarceration and poverty.

After the publicity of police brutality since Michael Brown’s killing, I’ll add one more:

I can be stopped by the police without the fear that they will steal my money, beat me up, or kill me.

Next Page »

AGR Daily 60 Second News Bites

Transformational News In 60 Seconds; What Works For Seven Future Generations Without Causing Harm?

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur ("The thing itself speaks")

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and adventurers.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

GLBT News

Official news outlet for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of ALA

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Central Oregon Coast NOW

The Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: