Tag Archives: religion

Native Americans Pray for the Rivers

Native Americans involved in the Environment. The Potomac River was a full on cesspool up until the early 1970’s. So bad, then President Richard Nixon ordered a cleanup, as the river would be a national embarrassment during he 1976 Bicentennial celebrations in Washington, DC. Between 1970 and 1976 substantial cleanup efforts resulted in a vastly improved river system, and gradually the native fisheries recovered….Until President Raygun loosened the laws on cleaning up sewage being dumped into the river by treatment plants. Which resulted in green algae blooms covering the water from shore to shore, Fortunately residents raising hell caused Congress to act.  Most of the river is cleaner than it’s been for over 100 years now, and all but a few sections are safe to swim in. Water from the river tapped above the city is tapped to provide drinking water.

‘Do it for the water’: Native Americans carry Potomac water on prayerful, 400-mile journey

It’s noon on a Thursday, and Reyna Davila-Day would ordinarily be sitting in her AP Human Geography class, memorizing the rivers of the globe.

Instead she’s stumbling in and out of a gully alongside a busy road, ignoring the cars and trucks that whiz past, walking as fast as her 14-year-old legs can carry her. Instead of memorizing the world’s most important rivers, she’s walking one of them: The mighty Potomac, 405 miles from its source in West Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay.

In a 13-day relay, Davila-Day and dozens of fellow participants in a Native American ritual are walking the entire length of the Potomac, praying for its return to unpolluted health. They will speak to the water, sing to the water, and pray for the water.

And now, on a Thursday afternoon half a continent away from her Human Geography class, Davila-Day is carrying the water.

“It’s us showing that the water needs to be cared for, and that we care about the water,” she says, beads clinking against the copper vessel full of a few precious pints of the river. “At school, they ask why I do it. I tell them that the water has a spirit. They’re like, ‘It does?’”

The Potomac River Water Walk began with a water ceremony — a tradition in the Ojibwe tribe — at Fairfax Stone, the 18th-century marker now located in a West Virginia state park that marks the source of the Potomac River. Participants took water from the clear pool at the start of the river and filled the copper vessel. Starting on Oct. 7, a band of Native Americans and supporters began walking that vessel all the way from the river’s clean source to its significantly more polluted end.

“We want the water to have a taste of itself. This is how you began, and this is how we want you to be again,” explained Sharon Day, the organizer of the walk and Reyna’s great-aunt.

The walkers made plans to pass through the District on Saturday — walking right past the White House — and to reach the Chesapeake Bay on Wednesday, Oct. 19. There, they’ll pour the clean water into the polluted bay.

People tend to ask Day if the walkers’ goal is to raise awareness about water pollution. Sure, awareness is nice, she responds — but that’s a paltry goal. The intent of this walk is to speak to the water’s spirit, not to a human audience.

“All the while, we’re speaking to that water. We’re telling the water how much we care about her,” Day said. “We really do support the work of other environmental groups. We believe what’s missing from most of this work is the idea that the water has a spirit, and we as spiritual people need to speak to that spirit.”…Read the rest Here

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Posted by on October 17, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life


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Alabama Chief Justice Learns 11th Commandment

Thou shall not screw with the law of the land!

This guy has been trying to jam his religion down everyone’s throat since he was selected to office. Long past time for him to go.

Image result for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore

Anti-Gay Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore Suspended for Gross Judicial Misconduct

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended without pay from the state supreme court on Friday—a suspension that will last through the remainder of his term, which ends in 2018. The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Committee found that Moore violated ethics laws and judicial canons by repeatedly attempting to block same-sex marriage in Alabama long after the federal judiciary required it.

Moore’s misconduct regarding same-sex marriage litigation was sweeping and extensive. In January of 2015, a federal judge invalidated the state’s same-sex marriage ban. Moore promptly wrote letters to probate judges insisting that they remained legally prohibited from marrying gay people—in effect, demanding that they violate a federal court order. In May of that year, the judge explicitly held that probate judges must issue marriage licenses to all couples, same-sex or opposite-sex. The next month, the Supreme Court held that same-sex marriage bans violate the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Yet in January of 2016, Moore issued yet another letter ordering probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Then, in March, Moore penned a bizarre opinion calling the Supreme Court’s decision “immoral,” “tyrannical,” and “unconstitutional.” He declared that he would refuse to follow it and urged all other state judges to follow suit. In response to Moore’s repeated defiance of federal court orders, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a judicial ethics complaint against him. Moore secured Mat Staver, Kim Davis’ attorney, to defend him.

Alabama’s judicial ethics committee is not a beacon of progressivism. Its judgment in the Moore case begins with a declaration that many members of the committee do not “personally agree” with the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling or think it was “well reasoned.” But the committee unanimously concluded that Moore had abused his position, violated the integrity of the judiciary, failed to comply with the law and perform his duties impartially, and brought “the judicial office into disrepute.” In addition to suspending Moore, the committee ordered him to pay “the costs of this proceeding.”

Moore has already been removed from the bench once, in 2003, for refusing to comply with a federal court order to remove a massive granite monument of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama State Judicial Building. Alabama voters, however,reelected him in 2012. In response to the Moore proceedings, the Alabama Republican Party is attempting to diminish the ethics’ committee’s independence.


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Stupidty And Racism

One of my favorite saying is “Racism will make you stupid”…

Turns out it is the other way around.

Jeffrey Tindle defends his noose and Confederate flag (screen grab)

Does low intelligence make you prejudiced?

Humans may be prejudiced by nature, but a new study has found that who we choose to hate may depend on our overall intelligence. The finding reconfirms the idea that it may be human nature to dislike those who are different from us — including those who look and think differently.

According to the study, people of lower intelligence, as measured by cognitive ability, tend to be prejudiced against non-conventional or liberal groups, as well as groups that have little choice in their status, such as people defined by their race, gender, or sexual orientation. On the other hand, individuals of higher intelligence were likely to be prejudiced against groups considered conventional and groups perceived to have “high choice” in their associations, such as conservatives.

“People dislike people who are different from them,” study authors Mark Brandt and Jarret Crawford told Broadly. “Derogating people with different worldviews can help people maintain the validity of their own world view.”

The duo’s findings are based on the results of a questionnaire completed by 5,914 volunteers. Brandt and Jarrett measured the volunteers’ intelligence and then asked them whether or not they believed a specific stereotype about a group was justified.

The reason for these differences in stereotypes, however, is more complicated than simply not liking those who are different from you. For example, the researchers explained that less intelligent people often like to view other groups as being distinctly different from them as a way to help see them as distant and therefore less of a threat.

Sadly, people of both high and low intelligence showed the same amount of prejudice, just toward different groups. But all hope is not lost. Another recent study found that prejudice, particularly prejudice against transgender individuals, can be reduced with a simple 10-minute conversation with someone from the marginalized group.


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Ronald Reagan and Religion Billboard

Seems some clever folks have found a way to push back against the right wing extremist “Religious Freedom” laws being passed by Republican dominated legislatures around the country…

Reminding them of what their Saint Raygun said. One would have hoped many other organizations could have found the money, or cleverness to do the same to battle right wing facsism as will be on full display in the Chumph convention.

Freedom from Religion Foundation billboard (Photo via FFRF)

This Ronald Reagan billboard outside the Republican convention is going to infuriate conservatives

Former President Ronald Reagan’s son and namesake Ron Reagan is literally the poster-person against religion. While the younger Reagan has been doing ads on news channels for the Freedom from Religion Foundation, it will be his father’s words that will hover over the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio in July.

“We establish no religion in this country… Church and state are, and must remain, separate,” the billboard will read.

The quote is part of a longer statement Reagan made in 1984 to Temple Hillel and Community Leaders in Valley Stream. “We in the United States, above all, must remember that lesson, for we were founded as a nation of openness to people of all beliefs,” Reagan said. “And so we must remain. Our very unity has been strengthened by our pluralism. We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate. All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to speak of and act on their belief.”
Co-President of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Annie Laurie Gaylor, said in a statement that this particular message was important at this point in history.

“The RNC needs to be reminded that our nation is predicated on a godless and entirely secular Constitution,” she said. “The fate of our Establishment Clause hangs in the balance of the election. We’re not voting for the next president — we’re voting for the next Supreme Court justice.”

The local chapter director, Marni Huebner-Tiborsky, agreed that the message is an important one for Republican leaders to remember. “This billboard couldn’t be any more timely, and is definitely needed to remind our political leaders and the public that political campaigns should stick to a secular platform, where real change can happen,” she says.

Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump met with religious leaders last week and unveiled his evangelical advisory committee with former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Trump does not have an extensive track record with religion other than to attack others for their beliefs. Though this was enough for evangelical James Dobson to call Trump a “baby Christian.”


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Ted Cruz Leads Racist Attack in Congress Against Ellison and Carson

Islamophobic and racist in charge Republican Ted Cruz entertained a bigot to speak before Congress, and attack the only two Muslim members. I think Cruz should be investigated for his ties to domestic terrorism.

Reps. Keith Ellison and Andre Carson, the two Muslim members of Congress, were accused by a witness at a Senate hearing of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Witness At Ted Cruz Hearing Accuses Congress’ Two Muslim Members Of Muslim Brotherhood Ties

In explosive testimony Tuesday, a witness before a Senate panel about Islamic terrorism accused the two Muslim members of Congress of having attended an event organized by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The charge was leveled by Chris Gaubatz, a “national security consultant” who has moonlighted as an undercover agitator of Muslim groups that he accuses of being terrorist outfits, and it was directed at Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and André Carson (D-Ind.). At the heart of his accusation is the attendance by those two members at a 2008 convention hosted by the Islamic Society of North America — a Muslim umbrella group, which Gaubatz claims is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood.

“I attended a convention in Columbus, Ohio, in 2008, organized by Muslim Brotherhood group, ISNA, and both the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons had recruitment and outreach booths,” Gaubatz said in his testimony. “Both Congressman Keith Ellison, MN, and Andre Carson, IN, spoke at the Muslim Brotherhood event.”

Allegations that Ellison and Carson are secret Muslim agents with extremist leanings are usually found among fringe groups online, often discussed in dire tones on poorly designed websites. Rarely, if ever, do such sentiments get read into congressional testimony, with the imprimatur that offers.

Responsibility for this rare instance lies with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who oversaw the hearing as chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts and whose staff likely saw the testimonies of the witnesses.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) later addressed Tuesday’s hearing and defended Ellison.

“He is my congressman. He is a man of great patriotism,” she said, adding that he has advocated for additional funding for efforts to detect what attracts young people to join terrorist groups.

An aide to Ellison confirmed that he did attend the 2008 ISNA convention. He’s gone to a few of the group’s conventions, in fact. Carson’s office didn’t return a request for comment. But news reports show that both he and Carson led a discussion at the 2008 convention on how to mobilize Muslims politically. President Barack Obama has addressed the group as well, though only via a video recording.

Critics of ISNA have insisted that these politicians have either turned a blind eye to — or explicitly embraced — the group’s affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, an affiliation that is based on ties some of the founding ISNA members have allegedly had to the hard-line religious organization. ISNA has long insisted that no such connection has ever existed.

“I can definitely tell you we are not Muslim Brotherhood. We are not affiliated with them at all and never were,” said Faryal Khatri, an official with ISNA. “That much I can reassure you.”

ISNA is not the only group targeted by Gaubatz. In 2009, he told Talking Points Memo that he obtained an internship with the Council on American-Islamic Relations as part of an effort to secretly collect evidence against the group to be used in a book written by his father. The book, “Muslim Mafia,” alleged that CAIR, a Muslim advocacy group that works to combat Islamophobia, was a front for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Cruz’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Gaubatz’s allegations against Ellison and Carson or whether it had given either member a chance to respond. But the senator has displayed a tolerance for these kinds of conspiracy theories in the past.

Before he suspended his presidential campaign, Cruz appointed known Islamophobe Frank Gaffney to his team of national security advisers. Gaffney, now head of the Center for Security Policy, has objected to Ellison and Carson serving on the House Intelligence Committee because he believes their Muslim faith could compel them to leak information to the Muslim Brotherhood. He has also accused Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and conservative heavyweights Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan of being closeted Muslim Brotherhood members.

When asked about his controversial selection, Cruz defended Gaffney as a “serious thinker” focused on “fighting jihadism across the globe.”


Posted by on June 28, 2016 in The Definition of Racism, The New Jim Crow


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RIP, The Greatest

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Posted by on June 4, 2016 in Giant Negros


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How Republicans Have Derailed the New South’s Emergence

North Carolina’s Research Triangle and the Charlotte/Cary area are hotspots for tech an other development. The US Government supplies over $1.5 billion a year in research grants to the state’s public universities, money that has helped drive the growth of the Universities in the state from decidedly mediocre to competitive powerhouses. This has spurred massive growth, as the combination of a realistic cost of living, easy access to recreational activities in the mountains and shore, as well a good school systems have individualized both corporations and employees to flock to the state.

Unfortunately, like Virginia, the back woods redneck religious bigots haven’t quite dissipated yet, and with the election of a Republican majority in the state house – pushing extremist social conservatism which is an anathema to the high-tech and banking industries.That growth roll may be in for a screeching halt.

You want to keep that growing Gov McCrory, you need to cut the “Culture War” bullshit fast.

The fact is, major corporations don’t give a shit about Republican tax breaks, they do about being able to attract the best and brightest as employees, and having a stable government  which isn’t going to do something stupid to hurt their business. They need good schools, which are producing students in the fields that relate to their businesses, who are willing to stay in-state after they graduate. (As an example, the collapse of what was once referred to as “Silicon Valley East” here in northern Virginia, was in good part due to the major University in the area being taken over by conservative donors. The school produces Economists and right wing Federalist Lawyers – but not STEM Graduates needed by the local industries to grow, or to establish the sort of incubators which create the next Google. Instead we have the Antonin Scalia Law School, which is fornicating useless, both as the symbol of higher education in the fields in demand, as well as in attracting students that want to be in a top program in the Sciences, Engineering, or technology.)

They want to be able to attract experienced workers and executives. To get those people, the potential employees need to feel comfortable moving their families into the State. The sort of “Culture Wars” and racism being promulgated by the right, destroys that.

This isn’t just an issue about Transgender people, it is an issue about the future viability of the State as a business center.

Back during the South Carolina confederate flag imbroglio, one of my clients was a foreign auto company looking to put a plant there. Took one of the Senior Staff folks down there behind the proverbial woodshed, and explained to him that foreign companies, unlike their US counterparts are not willing to go into an environment where discrimination and harassment lawsuits chew up 10-15% of their profits. And as such, were looking for a place which supported a harmonious workforce, over cheap rent. The differential between labor costs between Detroit and Charleston disappears really fast paying lawyers at $500/hr over racial bullshit. They got that message apparently from more than one prospective company. American companies have finally started to get a clue about this as well.

Too bad the white winger Tea Baggers haven’t.

This isn’t just an issue about Transgender people, it is an issue about the future viability of the State as a business center.


Monday, two North Carolinians squared off over the state’s controversial House Bill 2, which requires transgender people to use the bathroom matching their “biological sex” in public schools and government buildings and invalidates local laws protecting transgender people from discrimination. Both Pat McCrory, the governor of North Carolina, and Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney General, grew up partly in Greensboro, a site of anti-segregation sit-ins in 1960, and Lynch recalled that history by comparing H.B. 2 to Jim Crow laws. “Let us reflect on the obvious but often neglected lesson that state-sanctioned discrimination never looks good in hindsight,” she said, as she announced that the Department of Justice is suing North Carolina, claiming that H.B. 2 violates federal laws forbidding sex discrimination.

Earlier that day, McCrory’s office had filed its own federal lawsuit, which attempted to protect the state from federal anti-discrimination action against H.B. 2. “North Carolina does not treat transgender employees differently,” according to the lawsuit. “All state employees are required to use the bathroom and changing facilities assigned to persons of their same biological sex, regardless of gender identity, or transgendered status.” Such bland assertions of neutrality have an infamous place in the law. Before the Supreme Court established a right to same-sex marriage, in 2015, North Carolina forbade gay and straight alike to wed members of the same sex. Before the Court invalidated laws against racial intermarriage, in 1967’s Loving v. Virginia, the state forbade both black and white people to marry someone of the other race. All these laws were defended on the grounds that they treated everyone alike. So, for that matter, were the original Jim Crow segregation laws. In 1896, upholding separate-but-equal accommodations, the Supreme Court held that, if “the enforced separation of the races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority,” this was “solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction on it.”

McCrory’s suit looks more like political theatre than a serious attempt to preserve H.B. 2. On April 19th, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes North Carolina, adopted the Obama Administration’s interpretation of federal sex-discrimination law to invalidate a local school-board policy that assigned students to bathrooms by “biological genders.” The court accepted the federal government’s argument that the prohibition on sex discrimination in Titles VII and IX of the Civil Rights Act includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and that “biological” bathroom assignments are just this sort of discrimination. (The Fourth Circuit reported that, in public hearings on school-bathroom assignments, the plaintiff in the case, a transgender boy, had been called a “freak” and “compared to a person who thinks he is a ‘dog’ and wants to urinate on fire hydrants.”)

That McCrory would seek out this wrong-side-of-history position reveals a lot about the fractured and desperate state of the Republican Party. The governor took office in 2013 as the consummate country-club Republican. He had spent fourteen years as the mayor of Charlotte, a banking capital, where he presided over robust growth and—unusual in the South—the construction of a light-rail system. He was a candidate in the “New South” tradition, a political manner that is also a development strategy. In the sixties, as other parts of the white South dug in against desegregation, North Carolina’s politicians found a different formula: accept the national consensus on civil rights and attract employers with low wages, weak unions, and business-friendly laws. The state’s population more than doubled between 1960 and 2010, as a formerly rural, agricultural state developed national centers of technology and finance. The previous New South governors were Democrats, but many saw McCrory as their natural successor in a state that narrowly supported Barack Obama in 2008 but in 2010 handed control of the legislature to Republicans for the first time since Reconstruction.

Since taking office, McCrory has mostly been back on his heels as a Tea Party legislature, installed with decisive support from the activist donor Art Pope (whom Jane Mayer wrote about in 2011), has set the state’s agenda. McCrory has signed laws restricting abortion access, cutting back on early voting and requiring voter identification, slashing unemployment benefits, and repealing the state’s Racial Justice Act, which commuted the death penalty for people sentenced in racially inequitable jurisdictions. North Carolina is one of nineteen states that have refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (and the fourth-largest, after Texas, Florida, and Georgia). The advocacy group Families USA estimates that 593,000 North Carolina residents lack health insurance because of the state’s refusal.

The Tea Party has shared McCrory’s deregulatory, tax-cutting economic agenda, but it has led with culture-war issues. The year McCrory won the governorship, the legislature put forward a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, which passed with sixty per cent of the vote. This blend of tactics defined most state-level Republican parties in the Obama years, when the Republicans took power in statehouses across the country, and McCrory seems to have made his peace with it. Polls showed him lagging in a tight reëlection race when he called North Carolina’s part-time legislature into emergency session in late March. Both houses passed H.B. 2 on March 23rd, and McCrory signed it that night. The only local anti-discrimination statute that it overrode was one passed a month before in Charlotte, where McCrory had served seven terms as mayor.

Now the New South elements of McCrory’s governing style are falling to pieces. H.B. 2 may have seemed an ordinary measure of culture-war politics when the governor signed it, but the consensus position on L.G.B.T.Q. rights has changed so fast that it may secure his place as the Orval Faubus of public bathrooms. McCrory’s Democratic opponent, Roy Cooper, the state’s attorney general, who has announced that his office will not defend H.B. 2 against legal challenge, has led McCrory in every poll since the law was passed. Since H.B. 2 became law, PayPal and Deutsche Bank have scrapped expansion plans for North Carolina, the N.B.A. and N.C.A.A. have suggested that they may not hold future events in the state, and a caravan of entertainers have cancelled shows, including Bruce Springsteen and Cirque du Soleil. New South governors measure themselves by the investments they attract. When the cultural divisiveness of Tea Party politics drives out business and entertainment, it becomes New South kryptonite….More Here

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