Proud to Be A Democrat: John Dingell’s Last Warning

In my life and career, I have often heard it said that so-and-so has real power — as in, “the powerful Wile E. Coyote, chairman of the Capture the Road Runner Committee.”

It’s an expression that has always grated on me. In democratic government, elected officials do not have power. They hold power — in trust for the people who elected them. If they misuse or abuse that public trust, it is quite properly revoked (the quicker the better)…

Zack Stanton, in Politico, “You’re Living in the America John Dingell Made”:

He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1955, a year after the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education deemed “separate but equal” unconstitutional; he remained in office into the second term of the nation’s first black president. His 59 years in Congress are the most of anyone in American history and span more than a quarter of the time since the Constitution created the legislative branch. He was sworn in at 29, the same age Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is today. She would have to remain in the House until 2078 to match his tenure. He was there for the administrations of 11 of the nation’s 45 presidents. “Presidents come and presidents go,” Bill Clinton said at a 2005 celebration of Dingell’s 50th year in Congress. “John Dingell goes on forever.”…

Modern America is as much a creation of John Dingell’s life work as anyone’s. If you or a parent or grandparent have relied on Medicare or Medicaid; if you’ve seethed about the lack of gun control; if you’ve cheered that segregation of public places is illegal and employment discrimination is banned; if you’re thankful for the continued existence of the U.S. auto industry; if you’ve raged about gas-guzzling cars contributing to climate change; if your health insurance is purchased on the Obamacare exchanges; if you’ve swum in lakes or rivers or oceans free from toxic pollution; if you’ve drunk a glass of or bathed your children in tap water with confidence that it’s free from contamination; then John Dingell played a role in your life…
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Today’s Reads

Some good ones today:

A Tidal Wave of Mud- A mining dam collapsed and buried more than 150 people. Now Brazil is casting an anxious eye on dozens of dams like it.

Not a long read- a rather quick one, but notable for its clarity: Is Religious Freedom for Christians Only?

We were covering the Iranian revolution. A single gunshot still haunts me.

Amazon’s Home Security Company Is Turning Everyone Into Cops

The Young and the Reckless (about teens hacking the XBOX network)

The Case for Transmissible Alzheimer’s Grows

The Trump Administration Is Trying to Make It Easier for Doctors to Deny Care to LGBTQ People

OPINION: By Simply Repairing Infrastructure, We’re Missing Huge Opportunities to Make Cities More Resilient and Responsive to Citizens’ Needs

Tainted water: the scientists tracing thousands of fluorinated chemicals in our environment

America’s Original Identity Politics

Imperial Exceptionalism

BTW- When I say these are today’s reads, they aren’t necessarily from today or even recent. They’re just things that stood out as interesting or well-written among the tidal wave of bullshit I subject myself to voluntarily every day.








All-Too-Thrilling Adventures Read: Crypto-Anarchists, Anarcho-Capitalists, and Old-Fashioned Drug Cartels

I’m surprised there hasn’t been more written about this incident, although it may just be that my dark-web access skillz are less than subpar. As reported here, it sure sounds like an example of the old truism: Just because ‘the cops’ are your enemies doesn’t make ‘the crooks’ your friends. From the Washington Post, last Monday, “An American ‘crypto-anarchist’ fled the country. He was just killed in Mexico’s ‘murder capital’”:

Bathed in the sunlight of Mexico’s dry season, his dreadlocks tumbling down his back, a man who went by the name “John Galton,” an apparent nod to the hero of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” observed almost two years ago, “There’s pockets of freedom all over the world if you’re willing to live in freedom.”

Galton paid a high price for that freedom. He was gunned down Friday by a band of men who stormed his home in Acapulco, where he and his girlfriend had found safe haven from drug charges in the United States, as they explained in a March 2017 video interview with the conspiracy site Press for Truth.

Joining a community of like-minded expatriates, Galton had sought to build a life as a self-made man. He advocated drug liberalization and taught classes on cryptocurrencies. He was set to be featured in a documentary called “Stateless.”…

His girlfriend, Lily Forester, nodded. Defending the once-glamorous Pacific Coast city now considered Mexico’s “murder capital,” she said, “It’s not perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than anything I’ve experienced in the States.”

On Friday, she was left pleading for help after the rampage left her boyfriend dead and another man, Jason Henza, injured…

Guerrero State police said in a statement Saturday that the survivors reported armed men showing up at a “cannabis greenhouse” and targeting Galton. The attorney’s office, which confirmed that Galton had been killed, said in a statement Sunday that it had found a marijuana laboratory on the premises, including white lights and gas tanks. No suspects had been named, and a motive for the killing remained unknown.
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Saturday Morning Open Thread: On Valid Atonement

The Reverend Dr. Barber is a wise man, and an expert on this topic, so I figured it was worth front-paging his latest from the Washington Post, “How Ralph Northam and others can repent of America’s original sin”:

If Northam, or any politician who has worn blackface, used the n-word or voted for the agenda of white supremacy, wants to repent, the first question they must ask is “How are the people who have been harmed by my actions asking to change the policies and practices of our society?” In political life, this means committing to expand voting rights, stand with immigrant neighbors, and provide health care and living wages for all people. In Virginia, it means stopping the environmental racism of the pipeline and natural gas compressor station Dominion Energy intends to build in Union Hill, a neighborhood founded by emancipated slaves and other free African Americans.

Scapegoating politicians who are caught in the act of interpersonal racism will not address the fundamental issue of systemic racism. We have to talk about policy. But we also have to talk about trust and power. If white people in political leadership are truly repentant, they will listen to black and other marginalized people in our society. They will confess that they have sinned and demonstrate their willingness to listen and learn by following and supporting the leadership of others. To confess past mistakes while continuing to insist that you are still best suited to lead because of your experience is itself a subtle form of white supremacy.

At the same time, we cannot allow political enemies of Virginia’s governor to call for his resignation over a photo when they continue themselves to vote for the policies of white supremacy. If anyone wants to call for the governor’s resignation, they should also call for the resignation of anyone who has supported racist voter suppression or policies that have a disparate impact on communities of color…

In our present moral crisis, we must remember that real repentance is possible — and it looks like working together to build the multiethnic democracy we’ve never yet been.

Read the whole thing, please.

Initiatives like this seem like a worthy start — “Democratic group to spend $30M on voting rights effort”:

With the 2020 presidential election on the horizon, one of the largest outside Democratic groups announced on Thursday a $30 million effort to register voters, push ballot measures that expand voter rights and fight Republican-backed laws in court that restrict ballot access.

“At every stage of the game, Republican and conservative state legislatures around the country, when they are given the opportunity, make it more difficult for people to vote,” Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, told The Associated Press. “Essentially what you have are the descendants of Jim Crow who are trying to make it difficult for people to reach the ballot box.”…



Excellent (Mind-Boggling) Read: Turning Points USA Takes Its Grift Across the Pond

You could make this stuff up, but no self-respecting editor would accept it. Big props to Buzzfeed for alerting the rest of us to Charlie “Diaper Boy” Kirk’s latest brand expansion — “Days After Its Disastrous British Launch, Turning Point Has Already Lost One Of Its Star Recruits”:

They were here to start a culture war, and Charlie Kirk was looking forward to the backlash.

“There will be retaliation, there will be protest,” the 25-year-old founder of Turning Point USA, a right-wing student organisation with close links to Donald Trump, said in London recently as he described plans for an assault on British university campuses. “You will see that it takes individuals to go straight into the fire to start a movement.”

But already some of the Tory activists Kirk recruited to launch Turning Point in the UK are having second thoughts about its war on “cultural marxism”, according to several people familiar with their internal discussions. Within days of the launch, one of the “influencers” tapped to front the campaign has distanced himself from the group, BuzzFeed News has learned.

“There was a sense of people realising, ‘Who are these cranks?’,” one source said.

Kirk, with his business partner, Candace Owens, is a rising star on the American conservative scene — a smooth-talking, telegenic salesman pitching Trump’s “Make America Great Again” agenda to a young audience. Now he has radical ambitions to import its confrontational brand of activism to the UK.
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