The day after the massacre I was asked what the next step was and I said I didn?t know. We?ve been here before and here we are again: black people slain simply for being black; an attack on the black church as a place of spiritual refuge and community organization.
I refuse to be ruled by fear. How can America be free and be ruled by fear? How can anyone be?
So, earlier this week I gathered with a small group of concerned citizens, both black and white, who represented various walks of life, spiritual beliefs, gender identities and sexual orientations. Like millions of others in America and around the world, including South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and President Barack Obama, we felt (and still feel) that the confederate battle flag in South Carolina, hung in 1962 at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, must come down. (Of course, we are not the first to demand the flag?s removal. Civil rights groups in South Carolina and nationwide have been calling for the flag?s removal since the moment it was raised, and I acknowledge their efforts in working to remove the flag over the years via the legislative process.)
We discussed it and decided to remove the flag immediately, both as an act of civil disobedience and as a demonstration of the power people have when we work together. Achieving this would require many roles, including someone who must volunteer to scale the pole and remove the flag. It was decided that this role should go to a black woman and that a white man should be the one to help her over the fence as a sign that our alliance transcended both racial and gender divides. We made this decision because for us, this is not simply about a flag, but rather it is about abolishing the spirit of hatred and oppression in all its forms.
I removed the flag not only in defiance of those who enslaved my ancestors in the southern United States, but also in defiance of the oppression that continues against black people globally in 2015, including the ongoing ethnic cleansing in the Dominican Republic. I did it in solidarity with the South African students who toppled a statue of the white supremacist, colonialist Cecil Rhodes. I did it for all the fierce black women on the front lines of the movement and for all the little black girls who are watching us. I did it because I am free.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2013?Think globally, act locally: The case for paying a lot more attention to state legislative races:It is pretty easy to see why state legislative races get scant attention. For one thing, there are just so damned many of them. At Daily Kos Elections, the traditional focus has been statewide elections (gubernatorial elections, particularly) and the battle for Congress. That's because, weeding out the "some dude" races and the unopposed incumbents, the field of coverage is still quite manageable.
Come November of 2014, we may well be talking about 100-150 contests, at the very most.
How many state legislative seats will be up for grabs between then and now? North of 7,000 seats. We're good, but we're not that good.
But one of my homework assignments over the next several months is to establish a database of state legislative races, in order to winnow the field down to a more reasonable number and keep our community (particularly the DKE community) appraised of what is going on in those races.
After all, a case could be made that not only are the goings-on in the various state legislatures around our nation as important as what is going on in Washington, D.C., they may well be more important.Tweet of the Day
At 10 PM Pacific Time, firefighters were still fighting the blaze at the Zion AME church in Greeleyville, South Carolina. It's the seventh black church set ablaze since nine people were murdered at the historic Emanuel AME church in Charleston. It's not the first time Zion AME has burned. A suspected arsonist torched it in 1995. President Bill Clinton was on hand for the dedication of its replacement, which is still burning tonight.On today's Kagro in the Morning show: Back from a week of camping! Greg Dworkin summarized the top news we missed last week. SC's Confederate flag seems to be on the brink of coming down. Christie's in, but still toast. Trump dumped. Obama bumps up in latest polls. Republicans in disarray. WaPo takes up gun-related data journalism. A closer look at the dynamics of South Carolina's last days of political struggle with the Confederate flag. Armando then joins us in recapping and discussing last week's SCOTUS action. Find us on iTunes | Find us on Stitcher | RSS | Donate to support the show! High Impact Posts ? Top Comments ? The Evening Blues
All elected or appointed officials in Texas must swear this oath:"I, ________, do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will faithfully execute the duties of the office of ________ of the State of Texas, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State, so help me God." Apparently, Paxton does not believe in supremacy, or at least not the kind of supremacy mandated by the U.S. Constitution. As the Supremacy Clause in Article VI makes clear: This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding. Unlike North Carolina, where Republican legislators overrode the governor's veto to allow clerks to refuse to perform all marriages altogether, Paxton instructed judges, justices of the peace, county clerks and their employees that they "retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses." Not too content to rest there, the attorney general proclaimed the Lone Star State was ready to come to their defense: "It is important to note that any clerk who wishes to defend their religious objections and who chooses not to issue licenses may well face litigation and/or a fine. But, numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights." Unfortunately for Paxton and his fellow travelers in other states, Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights explained, "Public officials have no constitutional or statutory right to discriminate in providing public services." Neither the "ministerial exception" for churches, religious schools and groups nor the court's newly discovered religious freedom protections for owners of privately held businesses enable government workers to refuse service to members of the public that pay them.
AG Paxton's guidance should have been simple. Do your job. If you can't, you should resign or you will be fired. In North Carolina last year, Rockingham County magistrate John Kallam Jr. concluded that he could no longer uphold the Tar Heel States oath of office. Believing he "would desecrate a holy Institution established by God Himself," Kallam did the right and noble thing: he resigned.
In the aftermath of the tragic shooting in a Charleston, South Carolina church and the resulting focus on the Confederate flag, with the notable exception of Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and to a lesser extent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the GOP contenders initially avoided taking a firm stand on the flag. That is fine with many in their base but not with moderate and/or independent swing voters, or for that matter, many Republicans. And the gay-marriage decision again put GOP presidential contenders in a position of choosing between their base and being on the wrong side of history?with all but a couple choosing the latter.
Simply put, Republicans are loaded up in a car, racing toward a generational cliff with their eyes focused on the rearview mirror, with many (but notably not all) oblivious to the societal changes taking place all around them and the growing wedge building between their comfort zone and presidential swing voters.It some ways, it's hard to believe that Republicans live in a such a massive bubble of self deception that they haven't caught on yet. Then again, they were convinced based on internal polling that Mittens was going to win in 2012. Perhaps, gerrymandering has misled them into believing that their ideas actually have broad appeal.
Rousseff also announced that Brazil will restore 30 million acres of rain forest as a means of reducing its carbon emissions.
Suzanne Goldenberg and Dan Roberts report:The White House said the initiatives were part of a new US-Brazil climate partnership, loosely modelled on the historic US-China agreement reached during Obama?s visit to Beijing last November, intended to build momentum for a global deal to fight climate change in Paris at the end of the year.
?Following progress during my trips to China and India, this shows that the world?s major economies can begin to transcend some of the old divides and work together to confront the common challenge that we face,? said Obama at a joint press conference with his Brazilian counterpart. [...]
?This is a big deal,? Brian Deese, the White House climate adviser, told a call with reporters.It is a big deal. But the numbers show how very far there is to go. Those 30 million acres of rain forest restoration over the next decade and a half compare with 230 million acres that have been deforested since the end of World War II, 148 million since 1970. The Brazilian rain forest currently covers some 1.3 billion acres, which absorbs up to 25 percent of all human carbon dioxide emissions.
Meanwhile, China formally submitted its pledge Tuesday to the United Nations on reducing greenhouse gases. Known in the jargon as the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, China's pledge is to reach the peak in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, sooner if possible. At $89 billion in 2014, China already is investing more in clean energy projects than any other nation. A recent study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicted that China will invest $3.4 trillion in clean energy projects in the next 25 years. That's more than a fourth of the world total of $12.2 trillion Bloomberg estimates all nations will invest in such projects by 2040.
His overall approval ratings are 50 percent approval to 47 percent disapproval, a positive swing since last month when his approval ratings were upside down (45 percent to 52 percent).
On race relations, Obama receives an approval rating of 55 percent to 42 percent, with blacks overwhelmingly approving (84 percent) and whites almost evenly split (48 percent to 47 percent).
Obama's approval ratings on the economy are 52 percent to 47 percent.
But on gun policy, Obama's numbers are under water, with only 42 percent approval to 53 percent disapproval.
Americans are also much more likely today to see discrimination against blacks as a major problem than they were five years ago. Today, 37 percent say it's a "very serious" problem, up significantly from 16 percent who said the same in July of 2010.How serious a problem do you think racial discrimination against blacks is in this country -- a very serious problem, a somewhat serious problem, not too serious, or not at all serious?
Very serious: 37 percent Somewhat serious: 37 percent Not too serious: 16 percent Not at all serious: 9 percent No opinion: 1 percent
Now the court has said it will hear a similar case involving teachers, with anti-union teachers suing to get out of paying their share of union activities that directly benefit them.Major labor leaders expressed dismay over the court?s decision to hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which challenges a 1977 ruling that had said such fees were constitutional as long as they?re used for ?collective-bargaining, contract administration, and grievance-adjustment purposes.?
The Supreme Court has for years upheld the 1977 case, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. But Justice Samuel Alito said in a 2014 opinion that the reasoning in Abood was ?questionable on several grounds,? essentially inviting new challenges.Opposition to unions is one of Alito's key crusades, and this might be his chance. Making it possible for workers to get the benefits of union membership without paying any of the costs encourages freeloading, which weakens unions financially, which makes it more difficult for them to represent their members or organize workers, which weakens all workers. Which is what Alito wants.
Indonesian police have opened fire on peaceful protesters in Jayapura, with at least four gunshot wounds and one death. West Papuan activists and families have been forced to flee to the jungle for safety. Indonesian security forces are conducting scores of raids, sweeps and offensives against West Papuan civilians. The attacks are happening during the visit of National Police Chief General Sutarman with over 200 people arrested across West Papua. Journalists have also been attacked by Indonesian police according to Amnesty International...Read more at San Fransisco Bay Area Indymedia. The Indonesian Police chief says any plans to free Papua from Indonesia won't be tolerated, including Flag raising ceremonies on the West Papuan national Day, December 1st.
Calls for Independence by West Papuans have been made since the sham "Act of Free Choice in 1969". They have suffered a neglected genocide at the hands of the Indonesian military (2004) with continued Repression (2007). Thousands of Papuans took to the streets in 2010 and in 2011 rejecting special autonomy, demanding a referendum on independence. Indonesia plans to build 1,500 km of new roads in the next two years to accelerate ?development', increase military presence, and open up more illegal logging. Three Papuans highlighted the human rights abuses at the APEC meeting in Bali this year by scaling the Australian Consulate?s fence in the dead of night and hand-delivering a personal plea to open the Indonesian province to world scrutiny.
A new academic law and human rights report A slow-motion genocide: Indonesian rule in West Papua (PDF), details the extent of the genocide and abuse of human rights. (Review by Greenleft) Activists have called for Australia to End pragmatic complicity in West Papua in response to comments by new conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Imprisoned Papuan leader Selpius Bobii also responded saying, "We Live In Terror, Mr Abbott".
Related: Waging Nonviolence: Flotilla unsettles Indonesia?s occupation of West Papua | West Papuan National Day Goes Global | West Papuans to join commemoration of Eureka Rebellion in Ballarat More Information: West Papua media Alerts | Freedom Flotilla
Civil society organisations abandoned the COP19 climate change negotiations in Warsaw on mass. Members from Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, Actionaid, Friends of the Earth, the International Trade Union Confederation (statement) and 350.org all started leaving the conference at 2pm. This is an unprecedented action, the first time several major civil society groups have staged a mass walkout.
Friends of the Earth International highlighted that the Warsaw Climate Change negotiations were failing, with Tension high in Warsaw talks as G77+China walk out. The role of Australia and reduced ambition of Japan have been widely mentioned. Australia and Canada are seen as the major wreckers, but there has been substantial intransigence from much of the developed world to progressing the negotiations forward on finance, ambition, and a loss and damage mechanism. Poland's Coal Summit has shown the fossil fuel corporatism entwined in this COP with widespread dismay at the coal powered negotiations of COP19 and at UNFCCC official Christiania Figueres who gave the keynote speech at the coal summit
Related: Democracy Now: "Nature Does Not Negotiate": Environmentalists Walk Out of U.N. Climate Summit in Warsaw | "Polluters Talk, We Walk": Civil Society Groups Abandon Warsaw Talks over Inaction on Global Warming | "We Have to Consume Less": Scientists Call For Radical Economic Overhaul to Avert Climate CrisisAnalysis: The Warsaw walkout and the Climate Movement
The weekend of 16th and 17th November saw tens of thousands of people in Canada and Australia out in the streets in over 260 protests against the climate policies of these countries. Australia and Canada are seen as the major wreckers in Warsaw at COP19.
The Saturday protests in Canada occurred from coast to coast to Repulse Bay, Nunavut on the Arctic circle, more than 10,000 people gathered in over 180 events co-ordinated by Defend our Climate. Many protests focussed on stopping further expansion of the Alberta tar sands and pipelines to move the bitumenous oil south to Texas, east through Ontario and Quebec, and west through British Columbia. On Sunday, more than 60,000 people attended climate protests across Australia, protesting the attempt to repeal carbon pricing and clean energy programs by the conservative Government lead by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, elected on 7 September this year, who denied any link between climate change and bushfires as unusually early and intense bushfires raged around Sydney.
Civil Society NGO and local Polish activists also staged a Climate Justice march in Warsaw in association with the COP19 climate change negotiations taking place. Super Typhoon Haiyan set the initial mood at the negotiations with Philippines negotiator Naderev Saño (Yeb Saño) saying "time to take action. We need an emergency climate pathway". There is widespread dismay at the coal powered negotiations in Warsaw with Japan and Australia being particularly singled out.
Related: Australia Indymedia - Tens of Thousands rally for Climate Action across Australia
Authorities of Tacloban City with a population of 220,000 and capital of Leyte province, gave an early estimate that perhaps 10,000 people died from this one city. Many people were surprised by the huge storm surge tidal waves that inundated much of the city. Many smaller coastal villages were also devastated with most buildings destroyed or suffering severe damage. According to the UN Reliefweb report on 14 November the number of affected people has increased to 11.8 million. The official death count from Typhoon Haiyan is currently 4,460 but with numbers still increasing. There were 921,200 people displaced and 243,600 houses destroyed. A total of 2.5 million people are in need of food assistance.
Related: Climate IMC: Typhoon Haiyan: This is a climate crime | Time for turning tears into anger says Walden Bello | Philippine groups demand action on climate finance, loss and damage in Warsaw climate talks | Ejected from COP19 for expressing solidarity to the Philippines | Youth observers expelled from UN climate change talks for Philippines Solidarity | Indybay: Super typhoon Haiyan is climate wake-up call | They destroy We suffer Statement on Yolanda?s AftermathNon-corporate Typhoon Haiyan Relief Efforts: Waves for Water | Haiyan NYC Relief Project | Doctors without Borders | Oxfam International
Climate Negotiations are over for another year with little progress in Doha by any one's measure as the scientific statements on climate change and the impacts we are already feeling as evidenced in record Arctic melting, and extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines, and Cyclone Evan in the South Pacific are growing much stronger.
Some of the latest scientific research shows:Sea Level rising 60% faster than IPCC projectionsMethane and CO2 in thawing Arctic permafrost a climate tipping pointCollapse of Siberia's Coastline is Releasing Huge Amounts of CO2Greenland Ice sheet suffers unprecedented surface meltIndian Monsoon more likely to fail as global warming acceleratesSouthern Ocean warming impact on Antarctic Ice Sheet Stability and sea level rise
Photos: Photos by World Resources Institute | Photos by Oxfam | The Verb: Climate March in Doha | The Verb: COP18 Actions Related: Deep emissions cuts urged at climate summit | Towards a Grand Compromise in the Climate Negotiations | COP18, another 'Conference of Polluters' | An open letter to governments and their negotiators | Climate compensation row at Doha | Forest Groups Protest False Solutions | IPCC's Planned Obsolescence: Fifth Assessment Report Will Ignore Crucial Permafrost Carbon Feedback! | Methane and CO2 in thawing Arctic permafrost a climate tipping point