Archive for December, 2018

Snookered

December 19, 2018

Analysis finds the news of the past week could be likened to some kind of police gazette tabloid of “true crime” and criminals. A couple of deeply significant stories flew under the radar, appearing briefly then to be gone. Was that a UFO? Lisa J. Huriash, writing for the Sun Sentinel, headlines: Judge tosses Parkland shooting lawsuit. Cops and schools had no duty to protect students, she says. (12-17-18) “A federal judge says Broward schools and the Sheriff’s Office had no legal duty to protect students during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom dismissed a suit filed by 15 students who claimed they were traumatized by the crisis in February. The suit named six defendants, including the Broward school district and the Broward Sheriff’s Office, as well as school deputy Scot Peterson and campus monitor Andrew Medina. Bloom ruled that the two agencies had no constitutional duty to protect students who were not in custody.” The judge explained that only those “in custody” warrant the constitutional duty of protection. And students within a public school, or citizens elsewhere, are not in state custody and thus mandate no constitutional obligation of protection as far as bureaucratic officials or safety forces are concerned. Analysis finds parallels with the abortion debate (scourge) preoccupying the nation’s politics. Unlike that “conversation” this one seems to pre-empt any controversy by the shear volume of hype (propaganda) on the part of various “patriotic” icons (like DHS, ICE, various police and safety forces, etc.). Next time you see a spectacle in tribute to those “sworn to serve and protect,” realize “it’s a choice” not an obligation or duty. While on the subject, what kind of obligation or duty, unfulfilled, would cause one to lose one’s job? Audrey McNamara, for the Daily Beast, headlines: Texas Elementary School Speech Pathologist Lost Her Job for Refusing to Sign Pro-Israel Oath (12-18-18). “The Pflugerville Independent School District included new language in their contracts this year requiring that employees “will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract,” and will refrain from any action “that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israeli or in an Israel-controlled territory.”” “The oath was included in [children’s speech pathologist Bahia] Amawi’s contract as the result of an Israel-specific Texas law enacted in May 2017. The same law blocked some victims of Hurricane Harvey from receiving state disaster relief unless they first signed a pledge to never participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Similar laws are on the books in 25 other states—including Democratic-run states such as California and New York—meaning the vast majority of Americans are currently barred from supporting a boycott of Israel without facing some form of legal retribution.” Analysis concludes that more than Russians are working to make over America in their own image and likeness. Who’d a thunk it? McNamara eloquently ends her report with: “Amawi could engage in any political activism against her own country and keep her job. That right seemingly does not apply to her activism on Israel.” Analysis finds that civic obligations and duties turn out to be a little different than we comfortably (and conveniently) imagine. Sigh.

Privatized Truth And Justice Commissions

December 13, 2018

““We are living in an age of historical reckoning,” Dr. Mohler wrote in a letter prefacing the report. “The moral burden of history requires a more direct and far more candid acknowledgment of the legacy of this school in the horrifying realities of American slavery, Jim Crow segregation, racism, and even the avowal of white racial supremacy.”” What report? What school? And who is Dr. Mohler? Turns out the school and the report are “Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, one of oldest and most influential evangelical Christian seminaries in the U.S., [which] released a report Wednesday detailing the school’s extensive historical ties to slavery, the Confederacy and white supremacy.” “Albert Mohler Jr., the longtime president of Southern Seminary, said that although the denomination had acknowledged its slaveholding roots, it was important to look specifically at the role the school had played. He said he took the investigation Princeton University did into its ties to slavery as a model.” This all from a Wall Street Journal article by Ian Lovett entitled Southern Baptist Seminary Acknowledges Past Ties to White Supremacy Internal reports finds influential Christian school has been ‘intertwined with the history of American slavery’ (12-12-18). Reporting is given of the various “baby steps” that preceded this (such as the Southern Baptist Convention apologizing in 1995, electing its first black president in 2012, and denouncing the alt-right in 2017. Analysis must note that the “alt-right” didn’t just burst upon the scene, fully formed like Athena from the forehead of Zeus in 2017 but had been very much in the works throughout the last century leading up to 2017). “Among the report’s findings are that all four founders of Southern Seminary, which was established in 1859, owned slaves and early faculty and trustees defended the practice as “righteous”; during the Civil War, the seminary supported the Confederacy; and, once the War was over, the seminary opposed racial equality well into the 20th century.” NPR’s reporting on this claims the Southern Baptist Convention itself came about in 1845 after the national Baptist convention, located in the north and opposed to slavery, refused to seat delegates from the south. ““The history of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is intertwined with the history of American slavery and the commitment to white supremacy which supported it,” the 71-page report, which was commissioned a year ago by the seminary’s president, says.” “James P. Boyce, one of the seminary’s founders and the school’s first president, served in the Confederate army. Joseph P. Brown, a major donor and chairman of the board of trustees from 1880 to 1894, earned much of his fortune using the labor of black convicts in coal mines. The report found that many of the black men were entrapped by the legal system and cites contemporary accounts that compare conditions in the mines to “hell on earth.”” Analysis finds this to be another iteration of America’s very privatized version of a Truth and Justice Commission. American allegiance to late term, corporate capitalism proscribes any comprehensive national “conversation” on race or class (ironically during a time of “nationalist” politics!). Approval and preference enthusiastically promote dribbles of isolated pockets of privatized truth and justice commission reports. Analysis finds this to be simply a further continuation of the history of America’s micromanaged recognition of rights – not all at once, not all equally, and for sure, just a little at a time. There are those who will allow for change, but only if they control it. Uncontrolled change might be bad for business, or in this case, the business of religion.

Polarity And The Burning Of The Reichstag

December 9, 2018

In the previous posting Analysis looked at the lame duck fever in Ohio, the symptoms of which did not appear until after the midterm election. Ohio is not alone though it differs somewhat from its “rust belt” neighbors, Michigan and Wisconsin. In Ohio, the GOP dominance of the three branches of gov’t continues with the new administrations whereas in Wisconsin and Michigan, there will be newly elected opposition administration to the previous GOP hegemony. In a flurry of last minute activity to cash in on their current trifecta of power, those state legislatures, in co-ordination with the governor, have passed legislation limiting and altering the powers of upcoming executive administration as well as voting rights. Though a last grasping of power for the GOP, it is likewise apparently quite legal for the legislature to act thusly. Meanwhile, in another state with similar GOP dominance, the possibility of a non-GOP win in the midterms could not be left to the chance of democracy. Caught with their pants down, one North Carolina congressional race was not certified due to election “irregularities” so blatant that a fraud investigation ensued. “The head of North Carolina’s Republican Party says he would “not oppose” a new election in the state’s 9th Congressional District if allegations of fraud by a GOP operative prove true. “If they can say with a strong degree of certainty that the outcome of the race was changed or there is a substantial likelihood that it could have been, the law requires that there be a new election, and we would not oppose,” said Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, in an interview with NPR.” (N.C. GOP Leader Open To New Election As Fraud Investigation Continues, Miles Parks, NPR, 12-6-18) A magnanimous gesture? Earlier the same director was quoted as saying “”This is funny business on the part of Democrats, in part to try and steal this race,” Woodhouse told NPR on Monday.” Analysis would like to consider this “funny business” in light of the recent revelations regarding the Bundy’s of “Do Not Tread On Me” fame. Reported variously, Newsweek gives Militia Leader Ammon Bundy Quits ‘Patriot Movement’ After Criticizing Trump’s Rhetoric On Immigrants, Jenni Finks, 12-7-18. Back in the latter part of November Ammon posted disagreement with the GOP policy regarding migrants, the caravan, their treatment as well as perception. His father, also of Don’t Tread On Me Fame, essentially said ditto in support of his son (and received the same response). “On Tuesday, Bundy shut down his social media accounts and said he was stepping out of the public spotlight. After seeing the militia movement’s opposition to the migrant caravan and blind support for Trump, Bundy also decided to leave the “patriot movement” he was once seen as spearheading.” “”It’s like being in a room full of people in here, trying to teach, and no one is listening,” Bundy told BuzzFeed News. “The vast majority seemed to hang on to what seemed like hate, and fear, and almost warmongering, and I don’t want to associate myself with warmongers.” Analysis utilizes Wiki to go way back in the way back machine. “Reichstagsbrand was an arson attack on the Reichstag building (home of the German parliament) in Berlin on 27 February 1933, one month after Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. Hitler’s government stated that Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch council communist, was found near the building and attributed the fire to communist agitators in general—though in 1933, a German court decided that van der Lubbe had acted alone, as he claimed. After the fire, the Reichstag Fire Decree was passed. The Nazi Party used the fire as evidence that communists were plotting against the German government, and the event is considered pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany. The term Reichstag fire has come to refer to false flag actions perpetrated or facilitated by an authority to promote their own interests through popular approval of retribution or retraction of civil rights.” Analysis finds that the voting fraud perpetrated by the GOP operatives in North Carolina could eventually (when the news cycle has passed) become more than adequate justification for even greater voter suppression legislation enacted by GOP dominant state governments. This would be in keeping with what is currently occurring in other states dominated by the GOP (including Ohio). When the opposition (Democrats, etc.) are considered as “the enemy” determined to “try and steal” any election, then is it any wonder that the country is polarized? It becomes no mystery that the GOP legislatures, whether lame duck or recently elected, would pass election law meant to suppress the vote rather than encourage and enable it. Using Ammon Bundy’s words to describe the GOP instead of the Patriot Movement, it appears that “The vast majority seemed to hang on to what seemed like hate, and fear, and almost warmongering.”