Fun petition: Disbar Jeff Sessions!

[CONTENT NOTE: white supremacy.]

No, of course it won’t accomplish much of anything. Does anyone really believe the good ol’ boys of the Alabama Bar see any problems whatsoever with a white supremacist lying liar who lies as attorney general? Hahaha no I think not. But if this petition gathers just enough signatures to make a little noise, it will piss off the rabid racist asshole currently in charge of the U.S. Department of Injustice! FUN!

celebrationmojis

Conservatives, and particularly conservative men, are notoriously thin-skinned. If the numbers are big enough, maybe it’ll even yield some hot conservative tears – and, well. You all know how much I looooove those! Let’s doooo eeeet!

[via Color of Change]

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is Too Racist to Be a Lawyer #DisbarSessions

Jeff Sessions is a liar, a racist, and a white supremacist. Last week, Sessions testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and one thing is clear — enough is enough. Sessions’ entire political career has been to undo major progress hard fought and won from decades-long work by Black people and communities of color. And he continues to spread so many untruths just to maintain power that keeps him in close proximity to the ugliest and most dangerous White House administration. Sessions does not represent and never will represent any symbol of fairness and justice.

Jeff Sessions holds a prominent law license from the state of Alabama that gives him the power to be Attorney General. He should not be the Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice and he has no place in this country to practice law.It is long overdue to finally shut down his power and access as well as stop the harm that he continues to inflict. And the way we’re going to do it is by getting him disbarred from the Alabama State Bar. Bar associations are responsible for issuing licenses for lawyers to practice but just as importantly ensuring that the integrity of how lawyers use their role is upheld.

The Alabama State Bar should not allow Jeff Sessions to keep a license to practice law. He is dishonest and corrupt. It’s time to disbar him today.

Jeff Sessions has spearheaded Trump’s entire Law and Order agenda. As Attorney General, Sessions has built a false, racist narrative that crime has exponentially increased across the U.S. Right after being sworn in as Attorney General, Sessions said national crime rates were the highest they’d ever been–but it was a lie. According to FBI data, the national rate was decreasing.1 Sessions is following the eerie and distorted words of Trump who said, “In many of our biggest cities, 2016 brought an increase in the number of homicides, rapes, assaults, and shootings.”2 This in and of itself is a violation of the Alabama Bar Code of Ethics — Sessions is actively engaging in dishonesty as a chief law enforcer. This ignites fears and sets up a big platform for ruthless policies that directly impact Black people and many other marginalized groups.

This white supremacist narrative of Black people and immigrants as violent and dangerous has led to extreme changes and further violates another ethics code of being prejudice and bias. Sessions was determined to bring back the war on Black people by restarting the “War on Drugs.” This includes pushing prosecutors to issue the most severe punishment against people who commit drug offenses, giving local police departments more power to arrest and surveil with access to militarized equipment. He’s against any form of police accountability and has eliminated consent decrees. Sessions even went after Sanctuary cities by threatening to withhold federal funding for refusing to comply with harsh immigration laws. And Jeff Sessions reversed the ban on federal private prisons. Sessions said, “the ban on private prisons hurt the prison system’s ability to meet the future needs for housing.”3 This, of course, is all code for locking up more people for profit. This list goes on and on, and it will continue as long as Sessions has the power to keep his license.

Jeff Sessions does not represent the people. His job is to only target and criminalize our people. Alabama State Bar must take away his license now.

We already know who Jeff Sessions is. It is not just lies — but he is unapologetic in wanting to dismantle democracy and destroy the rights of all our communities. Plain and simple he is a White man with a lot of privilege and power he doesn’t deserve. He is incapable of upholding the integrity of his position in the U.S. Department of Justice. Jeff Sessions has abused his power long enough.

Sign the petition.

Until justice is real,

Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Scott, Anay, Clarise, Enchanta, Malaya, Kristen, Katrese, and the rest of the Color Of Change team

References:

1. “The ACLU says Trump’s executive order on crime aims to “stop national trends that don’t exist”,” Quartz, 02-09-2017 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/9697?t=9&akid=8090%2E2505660%2ErziDSw

2. “Sessions calls rise in crime a ‘dangerous permanent trend,’ but FBI data shows rate consistently falling,” Yahoo News, 02-09-2017 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/9698?t=11&akid=8090%2E2505660%2ErziDSw

3. “Justice Department Keeps For-Profit Prisons, Scrapping an Obama Plan,” New York Times, 02-23-2016 https://act.colorofchange.org/go/7973?t=13&akid=8090%2E2505660%2ErziDSw

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Color Of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

__________

Sign the petition! Forward it! Blast it on your social media! Share far and wide the joy of imagining Jeff Sessions’ epic CBF* as he reads all about it in his morning paper.

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* Cat Butt Face.

Petition to Congress: Stop the militarization of local police.

Please sign and share this petition if you are willing and able (via CREDO* Action):

stoppolicemilitarizationDonald Trump recently rewarded the country’s biggest police union for their endorsement of his dangerous, racist candidacy. He is going to give state and local police military-grade weapons of war.1

In 2014, police in combat gear driving mine-resistant tanks violently confronted people protesting the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The national outrage and organizing, including from more than 100,000 CREDO members, helped force President Obama to dramatically scale back the 1033 program.

Recently, police in St. Louis in full riot gear were chanting “whose streets, our streets” as they violently confronted people protesting yet another not guilty verdict for another police killing of a Black man.3 But Trump, whose racist, xenophobic agenda depends on demonizing communities of color and unleashing law enforcement, wants to bring 1033 back in full force.

Fortunately, there is a bill that would stop Trump’s dangerous escalation and help keep weapons of war out of our communities, the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act. The more of us who speak out, the more pressure on Congress to act.

Tell Congress: Pass the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act and block Donald Trump’s attempt to militarize local police.

Police militarization contributes to the over-policing of communities of color and the erosion of trust between communities and police. When police departments are armed with military-grade weapons and trained to use military tactics, they are more likely to treat the people they are meant to serve as enemy combatants.4 In many communities, fully militarized SWAT teams routinely issue search warrants, terrorizing people in their homes and neighborhoods.5

Police militarization also undermines people’s right to peacefully and safely protest. The hyper-militarized and clearly disproportionate police response to largely peaceful protesters in Ferguson is far from the only example. In the summer of 2016, Baton Rouge, Louisiana police responded to peaceful protests of Alton Sterling’s murder as if they were going to war.6 Last fall in North Dakota, police in riot gear confronted peaceful Standing Rock protesters with armored vehicles, automatic rifles, sonic weapons, concussion grenades, pepper spray and beanbag bullets.7 Surveillance devices like the Stingray, which can secretly download cell data and disrupt cell service, are also part of the 1033 program.8

It is no surprise that Trump, who condoned white supremacist Nazi violence against peaceful protesters last month in Charlottesville, wants to further weaponize police, terrorize communities of color and stifle peaceful dissent to his hateful regime. That is why it is more important than ever to pass the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act now. The bill would shut down the direct pipeline between the Department of Defense and police, ban the transfer of a long list of military equipment, require extensive documentation and reporting, and prohibit the militarization of departments under investigation for civil rights violations.9

Donald Trump’s extreme agenda has already emboldened law enforcement agents across the country, at the local, state and federal level. Making sure that his administration cannot arm police with weapons of war is a powerful way to fight back.

Can you add your name today to tell Congress to pass the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act and block Donald Trump’s attempt to militarize local police?

Thank you for everything you do.

References:

  1. Tom Jackman, “Trump to restore program sending surplus military weapons, equipment to police,” The Washington Post, Aug. 27, 2017.

  2. Matt Apuzzo, “War Gear Flows to Police Departments,” The New York Times, June 8, 2014.

  3. Nicole D. Nelson, “When Will Black Lives Matter in St. Louis?” The New York Times, Sept. 20, 2017.

  4. ACLU Foundation, “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing,” June 2014.

  5. ibid.

  6. Tess Owen, “Baton Rouge cops dressed for war to confront protesters,” Vice News, July 11, 2016.

  7. Standing Rock Special: Dallas Goldtooth on Police Violence & Repression of Movement Against DAPL,” Democracy Now, Nov. 24, 2016.

  8. Jeremy Scahill and Margot Williams, “Stingrays: A Secret Catalogue of Government Gear for Spying on Your Cellphone,” The Intercept, Dec. 17, 2015.

  9. H.R.1556 – Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act

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*CREDO is a lefty activist mobile telecom company: every month it allocates a portion of its revenue to various activist non-profits, as voted and allocated by its customers. CREDO is, for example, Planned Parenthood’s largest corporate donor. Please consider switching to CREDO as your mobile carrier, and stop supporting anti-democratic corporations that fund conservatives like AT&T. Yes it is true that CREDO runs on Verizon’s network and it’s also true that Verizon is a ginormous shitweasel, so some of CREDO’s revenue is indeed funding conservative shitweaselry. But compared to the telecom behemoths CREDO is a tiny company, and yet it still manages to donate $150-200k per month to well-vetted, worthwhile organizations.

Petition to St. Louis Mayor: Protect protesters, investigate cops.

[CONTENT NOTE: white supremacy, racist police violence (no images).]

Please sign and signal boost if you are willing and able. Thank you.

via Color of Change:

Police are out of control in St. Louis, and the Mayor has done nothing to stop them. Over the weekend of protests following the not-guilty verdict absolving Jason Stockley of accountability in the killing of Anthony Lamar Smith, police have taunted protesters saying Ferguson-era chants like “Whose streets? Our streets?”1–in the same manner of neo-nazi terrorists in Charlottesville2–and police even trampled over an older woman and pepper-sprayed the people who tried to help her.3

Mayor Lyda Krewson still has not condemned the rampant excessive force police are using to suppress the peaceful protesters she claims to support. After the verdict came down, Krewson was quick to express her disappointment and also made a statement in support of the peaceful protest.4 And today she said internal affairs division of the St. Louis police would investigate misconduct. But we know we can’t rely on the police to investigate themselves. We need Krewson to take REAL action to protect protesters. That’s why we’re calling on her to widely condemn any use of excessive force against protesters and call an independent commission to investigate the actions of police during this time. She won’t have a choice if enough of us join together in making the demand. Will you sign the petition?

Tell the St. Louis Mayor: Take a stand against police violence. Protect the right to protest in your city.

This weekend’s events are history repeating itself again and again since the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement. When Black people gather to demand an end to state violence, the state doubles down on the violence people were there to protest in the first place. We saw the St. Louis Police Department’s militarized response to protest in Ferguson in 2014, and we’re seeing it again today. St. Louis police department has one of the highest rates of police-involved killings.5 And instead of encouraging peaceful protest, St, Louis police invoked fear and provoked the confrontation. Using tear gas and riot gear, the police in St. Louis have arrested over 100 people since Friday that the police chief called “criminals.”6

In fact, the St. Louis Police Department has been overstating the supposed crime and vandalism to excuse their overly aggressive actions against mostly peaceful protests. Just yesterday, the police department tweeted a picture of a spray bottle filled with apple cider vinegar–a remedy protesters use to alleviate the symptoms of tear gas–and called it a “chemical agent” they confiscated from people trying to use it “against police officers.”7 The truth is that St. Louis police agitated protesters, and none of their actions were centered in de-escalation. They came dressed for a riot. And it’s what they got. Taunting at protesters is not how police officers should be engaging during this time.

It’s unacceptable. Mayor Krewson has said she wants to come together as a united St. Louis–and that means speaking out against behavior that seeks to divide us and push back against the change our communities need. Protest is a right that should be protected. And the actions of St. Louis police need to be investigated by an independent commission immediately.

Sign the petition.

Until justice is real,

— Arisha, Rashad, Scott, Clarise, Anay, Malaya, Enchanta, Katrese, and the Color Of Change team

References:

1. “St. Louis officers chant ‘whose streets, our streets’ while arresting protesters,” Washington Post, 09-18-2017

2. “A new generation of white supremacists emerges,” Louisiana Weekly, 08-21-17

3. “St. Louis cops trample, arrest woman at protest,” New York Post, 09-16-2017

4. “Mayor Krewson’s statement on verdict,” Twitter @LydaKrewson, 09-15-2017

5. “Letter to Mayor Krewson re: Police Conduct at Sunday Night Protest,” ACLU of Missouri, 09-18-2017

6. “St. Louis protests continue, police arrest more than 100 people and vow: ‘This is our city,'” Washington Post, 09-18-2017

7. “St. Louis Police Claim an ‘Unknown Chemical’ Labeled ‘Apple Cider Vinegar’ Maliciously Used Against Them,” The Root, 09-19-2017

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Color Of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

Petition: Tell ABC and Tom Llamas to apologize.

[CONTENT NOTE: Anti-black media reporting, anti-black violence.]

via Color of Change (email):

Dear Iris,

He called the police on them for trying to get food.

ABC News anchor, Tom Llamas, in Houston to report on Hurricane Harvey, spotted Texans who had recently lost everything entering a grocery store. Instead of reporting on the desperate circumstances with compassion, he actually diverted first responder resources that could be used to save stranded families–and called the police.1

That’s right. Houstonians desperately searching for uncontaminated food and water in order to survive were not only shamed and blasted on social media, but confronted with police as they fought for their lives.

And when we asked Tom Llamas to apologize for his biased and possibly dangerous treatment of Hurricane Harvey victims; instead of owning up to it, he blocked us on Twitter.

Tell ABC News and Tom Llamas to issue an apology now!

Tom Llamas didn’t only wrongfully criminalize disaster victims– he put them in harm’s way. Local authorities recently announced that anyone found “looting” will be faced with mandatory jail time.2 And the District Attorney has escalated burglary charges all the way up to life imprisonment–of course this disproportionately affects poor and Black people who may not have had the money to purchase goods in advance, and will be on the hunt for clean water and food.3

In times of emergency and natural disaster, television news is often the only way that bystanders can ascertain what’s happening. News media has the sacred duty of framing tragedies in an honest, unbiased, and compassionate manner. Unfortunately, we saw this same dishonest and biased reporting during Hurricane Katrina, when thousands of Black families were shamed and criminalized as “looters” while trying to feed their families. Meanwhile, white families were simply characterized as searching for food. And and we know that media representations can have a profoundly negative impact on the ways that people in positions of power and privilege interact with Black people. Research has shown that negative media portrayals can engender antagonism toward people of color and lead to higher tolerance for race-based societal disparities.

Tell ABC News, Tom Llamas to apologize now!

The victims of Hurricane Harvey need compassionate and unbiased reporting in the wake of this horrific natural disaster–not criminalization and unnecessary police intervention. It’s time for Tom Llamas and ABC to stop running and apologize.

Sign the petition.

Until justice is real,

— Brandi, Arisha, Rashad, Anika, Jade, Evan, Corina, the rest of the Color Of Change team

References:

  1. “ABC News reporter covering Hurricane Harvey gets slammed online after reporting alleged looters to police.” Business Insider, 28 August 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/8690?t=9&akid=7843%2E2505660%2Eyv_d6J
  2. “In Houston, Authorities Are Toughening Penalties As Warning To Would-Be Looters.” NPR, August 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/8691?t=11&akid=7843%2E2505660%2Eyv_d6J
  3. “Race and class are the biggest issues around Hurricane Harvey.” The Root, 31 August 2017. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/8692?t=13&akid=7843%2E2505660%2Eyv_d6J

Color Of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change. Help keep our movement strong.

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If you want to know why this is so urgent and important, here’s why [h/t Alyssa Gonzalez]:

Armed Fascists Are Roaming Texas Floods Looking For Looters

Armed right-wing paramilitary groups are patrolling parts of Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey under the guise of helping hurricane victims.

A group of “Proud Boys” — a men’s rights group with fascist leanings — photographed themselves wading through flooded neighborhoods with assault weapons and flashing a hand signal associated with extremist militia groups. They refer to themselves as an “anti looting patrol.”

Of course they do. And that headline should read: Armed White Men Are Roaming Texas Floods Looking For Black People To Shoot. See, starving white people are not looters by definition. They’re simply “finding food.” Starving black people? Well, not so much.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold the power of YOUR LIBERAL MEDIA.

Sign the petition.

We suck. Help save the oceans.

seaturtle

(image via Avaaz)

It’s no secret that I have no love for homo sapiens (or for Sciuridae for that matter, but they are not the goddamn problem FOR ONCE). I do, however, harbor deep affection and compassion for our cousins that dwell in the Earth’s seas.

papagayocr

This is a picture of all my aquatic friends in Costa Rica.
I don’t have an underwater camera. But since I snorkeled extensively in these waters, I can assure you they are fucking amazing.

Unfortunately, when it comes to marine habitats all over this planet, humans suck giant walrus balls. Hard. In fact, it invites karmic justice of the highest order that President Cheetohead and his merry band of motherfrackers are busy ensuring Earth’s glaciers and polar ice caps completely melt, covering the entire surface of the globe in water. (BONUS: this would also solve the fucking squirrel problem once and for all. Lard knows future aquatic space alien visitors shouldn’t have to deal with that shit.)

But at least occasionally, we humans attempt to mitigate some of the worst aspects of our lamentable existence. If only momentarily, we will put our violent domination proclivities on hold and shift to a collaborative worldview, as if our very lives depended on it. They actually do, of course. And this is one of those moments.

Continue reading

Conversion therapy: kill it with fire.

equality-180

Feel like exercising your constitutional right (while it lasts…) to click links? GOOD!

Click on over to Freethought Resistance, then click the link to CREDO* Action’s petition to Congress to ban conversion therapy. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA33), sponsor of the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, says of the legislation:

It says it is fraud if you treat someone for a condition that doesn’t exist and there’s no medical condition known as being gay. LGBTQ people were born perfect; there is nothing to treat them for. And by calling this what it should be, which is fraud, it would effectively shut down most of the organizations.

As a California state senator in 2012, Rep. Lieu was also instrumental in enacting a similar law, the first of its kind in the nation. Just last month, the California law withstood a final appeal to the US Supreme Court based on a “religious freedom” argument. In the wake of the high court’s rejection, there is some momentum on which to capitalize here: the national legislation has been referred to committee in both the House and Senate.

Come on, you godless heathens! You know you enjoy trampling the “religious freedom” of bigoted fraudulent assholes at least as much as I do. Get your click on.

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*CREDO Mobile is a lefty activist mobile company: every month it allocates a portion of its revenue to various activist non-profits, as voted and allocated by its customers. (CREDO is, for example, Planned Parenthood’s largest corporate donor.) Consider switching to CREDO as your mobile carrier, and stop funding anti-democratic donors like AT&T that fund conservatives. They offer a lot of the same deals on phones, contract buyouts, incentives, fees, etc.

Hitting them where it hurts.

On Freethought Blogs’ Freethought Resistance page, I posted a new petition (via CREDO Action*) to Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Chair Chris Van Hollen demanding he refuse to allocate campaign funds to any Democratic senator who votes or strikes a deal to advance the confirmation of right-wing extremist Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Directing your activism time, energy and resources toward Democrats, particularly with regard to primary campaigns, is vitally necessary. A primary challenger does not need to win in order to pressure the prevailing candidate to move left on issues that matter. There are far too many corporatist, corrupt conservatives in the party, particularly in leadership positions. If we want to put the pressure on where it counts, we need to take every opportunity to go after wayward conservative Democrats in every way possible. (Yeah I’m looking at you, Chuck Schumer.)

Read the background on the petition and then please sign if you are so inclined.

Because fuck these d00ds, that’s why.

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*CREDO is a lefty activist mobile company: every month it allocates a portion of its revenue to various activist non-profits, as voted and allocated by its customers. (CREDO is, for example, Planned Parenthood’s largest corporate donor.) Consider switching to CREDO as your mobile carrier, and stop funding anti-democratic corporations that fund conservatives like AT&T. They offer pretty much all the same deals on phones, contract buyouts, incentives, fees, etc.

Not Afraid.

notafraidFor those inclined toward clicktivism, here is a petition (via Avaaz) you can e-sign that reads:

We stand united in support of the march for Fraternity, Equality and Liberty. We are not afraid, and we will not be divided.

As of this post there are 626,469 signers. They’re aiming for a million.

Work, life and death in conservative dystopia.

[Cross-posted at The Political Junkies for Progressive Democracy.]

At this writing, the death toll at the site of a collapsed garment factory in Bangladesh has reached 1,127. The pictures are horrific, the scale of pain and grief unfathomable.

It isn’t as though no one could see this coming. Over 1,800 garment workers have been killed in fires and building collapses in Bangladesh since 2005. Workers have long been demanding better working conditions and higher wages, which are among the lowest in the world. After massive protests in 2010 garment workers received an 80 percent raise, which sounds promising until one realizes that it is now up to 3,000 takas — $38US — a month. Still, working conditions remained abysmal in Bangladesh’s garment industry, the world’s third largest after China and Italy.

To crush ongoing street protests by thousands of garment workers, in 2010 the Bangladeshi government unleashed a newly-created “Industrial Police force.” Trade union activists have also faced harsh crackdowns including multiple arrests and the mysterious death last year of one union organizer, Aminul Islam, whose body was found a day after he disappeared from his home. Technically, Bangladesh’s 2006 Labor Act allows garment workers to unionize with permission from their employers. Unsurprisingly, no garment factory owner allowed a union, ever.

There is good news in the wake of this catastrophe: the government recently announced that garment workers can now form unions freely. But activist leaders are hardly sanguine that legalization alone will have any beneficial effect:

“The issue is not really about making a new law or amending the old one,” said Kalpana Akter of the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity, a group campaigning for garment workers’ rights. “In the past whenever workers tried to form associations they were subjected to beatings and harassment,” she said. “The owners did not hesitate to fire such workers.”

Instead of crushing worker protests, perhaps Bangladesh’s “Industrial Police force” could be repurposed to enforce worker rights? Probably not. When one considers the sheer amount of death, destruction and despair required to pressure the Bangladeshi government into merely legalizing unions, it seems highly unlikely. The State acts as a de facto instrument of wealthy business owners in Bangladesh, and elsewhere (*ahem*). Well, at least until the body count rises and the riots get too large: then the working class can look forward to a few scraps tossed their way, even if the action is merely symbolic. It seems Bangladesh’s oligarchs are fortunate that the country’s major export is clothing and not, say, pitchforks. Or automatic weapons.

Or consider the desperate situation in Haiti. Absent a strong tradition of labor rights or any meaningful way to enforce them — truly, a libertarian paradise! — impoverished factory workers are sexually exploited in the worst ways imaginable, with total impunity.

Thankfully, such horrors could never happen in the U.S. — I mean happen again, of course. More than 100 years have passed since the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, where 146 garment workers died. Many were burned alive, others died jumping out of windows to escape the flames, and a handful of others were crushed when a fire escape collapsed. Workers trapped inside found fire hoses with no water, and exits that were locked or blocked. There were no sprinklers, and there had never been a fire drill. The building itself stands to this day: ironically, it was fireproof.

After the tragedy, U.S. labor groups made significant gains for workers and workplace safety. (SIEU has a good interactive graphic here.) For a while, workers saw unprecedented wage growth and the emergence of a flourishing middle class. But every single gain has remained under relentless attack by America’s Owners and their servants in Congress and state houses across the nation. Indeed, for some workers in the U.S. today, it is almost as if nothing was ever gained at all.

I learned recently of worker exploitation in a Third World country I had never heard of before: “Florida.” It turns out that tomato pickers there earn sub-poverty wages, and have not received a significant raise in over 30 years. Worse, many workers are literally enslaved — and no, that is not hyperbole. The Justice Department has prosecuted seven cases of slavery in the Florida agricultural industry and freed more than 1,000 men and women since 1997, but the abuse continues. Growers have resorted to abductions, pistol whippings, confinement at gunpoint, debt bondage and starvation wages to control desperately poor workers.

About a year ago I learned of the horrendous working and living conditions in yet another Third World country called Louisiana:

My name is Ana Rosa Diaz. I’m 40 years old and I have four children. I came to the United States on an H-2B guestworker visa from my home in Tamaulipas, Mexico. I work in a small town in Louisiana with other guestworkers, peeling crawfish for a company called C.J.’s Seafood, which sells 85% of its products to Walmart.

Our boss forces us to work [VIDEO] up to 24 hours at a time with no overtime pay. No matter how fast we work, they scream and curse at us to make us work faster. Our supervisor threatens to beat us with a shovel to stop us from taking breaks.

We live in trailers across from the boss’s house, and we’re under surveillance all the time. The supervisors come into our trailers without warning, and they threaten to fire us if we leave after 9 p.m.

The supervisor also locked us in the plant so we couldn’t take breaks. One worker called 911. After that the boss rounded us up at 2:30 a.m., closed the door to keep the American employees out, and threatened our families.

He said, “As a friend I can be very good, but you don’t want to know me as an enemy. I have contacts with good people and bad people, and I know where all your families live. I can find you no matter where you hide.” We were terrified.

We want to work. We need to support our families. But we also want to be treated like human beings.

There is a reason why corporations bankroll politicians who will work to undermine unions and regulation at every turn: it is in their interest to see the U.S. workforce go back to living and working exactly the way Ms. Diaz does. It can only help the all-important bottom line. In places without strong labor unions, meaningful regulations or enforced worker protections the picture is always this ugly, or worse. For the vast majority of the world’s workers this is just life in the glorious “free market,” wherever and whenever employers can get away with it. Tempting as it may be to believe the bad old days are all in the past, this is the present for Ms. Diaz, for agricultural workers in Florida and for many others in the Land of the Free. It takes unrelenting vigilance and sustained pressure by labor activists and empowered regulators to protect worker rights, especially where the State is a de facto instrument of wealthy business interests. Well, at least until the body count rises and the riots get too large.

One might also be tempted to blame the Republican Party for this state of affairs: after all, its track record on union-busting, massive tax breaks for wealthy corporations, deregulation, and blocking minimum wage increases speaks for itself. But at least Republicans are explicit about serving the interests of America’s Owners. It’s the treacherous New Democrats — economic conservatives serving exactly the same masters while feigning otherwise — who present the serious threat to our economic well-being. Those who bought into Barack Obama’s rhetoric in 2008 still refuse to see that they were wrong about him on matters as far ranging as unions, corporate servitude, U.S. imperialism, civil rights, transparency, warrantless wiretapping, even Iraq. Under the Bush-Cheney regime the same policies merited scathing condemnation from Democrats. Now? *crickets.* Welcome to bipartisan consensus.

No one should want to see the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire or the tragedy in Bangladesh repeated, anywhere. To economic conservatives who remain unmoved, I will just say this: it is well worth considering the implications of your position, for all of us.

Lazing around on the Internetz.

Via the awesome Abby Martin, we learn that as the pernicious CISPA bill stalls in Congress, it turns out that the Obama administration has already secretly authorized and put into effect the worst of the bill:

Well, knock me over with a feather. On the plus side: Abby Martin is a badass.

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Speaking of badasses, Melissa McEwan at Shakesville has written one of the most succinct, well-expressed and devastating takedowns of the “principles” of economic conservatism I have seen anywhere. I was going to quote from it liberally (see what I did there?) but I will just urge you to go read it.

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If you are so inclined, please go sign this petition by navy Veteran and rape survivor Trina MacDonald,  urging Congress to amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice to move the prosecution of military sexual assault out of the chain of command.

According to estimates from the Department of Defense, 19,000 service men and women are sexually assaulted while serving in the United States military every year. But 86% of them never report their assault—too often because seeking justice threatens their safety, their job security, and their future.

One really shouldn’t have to report one’s rape to one’s rapist—or their enablers. Go do your good deed for the day and sign the petition.

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Without endorsing all of it, this is an excellent analysis of Why Things Happen that I mostly agree with. Short version: wars, lies and corruption are not the result of a “conspiracy” per se, at least not in the typical way we think of it. They are the inevitable emergent properties of a system: global capitalism.

Do powerful forces attempt to control events? Yes, they do. But these forces, in this day and age, are political representatives of a class—the capitalist-imperialist class. And they do not have total control.

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Irin Carmon has an interesting and provocative piece at Salon, in which she reflects on the intersection between toxic masculinity and terrorism in the case of the Boston bombings. Does it surprise anyone that friends of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s wife Katherine told NPR that he “flew into rages, calling her a slut and a prostitute and throwing things at her”? Or that he was arrested for domestic violence against another woman in 2009?

“Large public acts of terrorism are very public displays of masculinity, making a statement in the biggest way possible,” says Abby Ferber, a sociologist at the University of Colorado who has studied white supremacist groups and masculinity. In her work, she said, she often encountered a “vulnerability to their sense of masculinity whether it’s their relationship with their father, their culture. And there are a limited number of ways in the culture to show your masculinity.” In the absence of the traditional forms of masculinity — including financial or social power — “you’re more likely to see extreme means. They’re showing that they’re real men, man enough to do something like this.”

This is problem #423,752 with traditional cultures — i.e. conservative cultures: gender roles are distinct and narrowly limited. Where Real Men™ are defined by their status in a hierarchy and dominance over others, masculinity becomes synonymous with power and strength, and femininity with submission and weakness. This dynamic isn’t good for anyone in a healthy and diverse society. It’s a cultural meme that is self-perpetuating. It won’t die easily.

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Last but certainly not least, Glenn Greenwald has a revealing post about the San Francisco Gay Pride parade’s decision to ban any mention of Bradley Manning, while marching under the banner of some of the most corrupt corporations on the planet.

Yes, there will undoubtedly still be exotically-dressed drag queens, lesbian motorcycle clubs, and groups proudly defined by their unusual sexual proclivities participating in the parade, but they’ll be marching under a Bank of America banner and behind flag-waving fans of the National Security State, the US President, and the political party that dominates American politics and its political and military institutions. Yet another edgy, interesting, creative, independent event has been degraded and neutered into a meek and subservient ritual that must pay homage to the nation’s most powerful entities and at all costs avoid offending them in any way.

Budding fascists in the Democratic Party running the San Francisco pride parade: this is what authoritarianism looks like in the age of Obama.

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I think I’ll have a refreshing cocktail. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, you godless heathens.