Monday, July 29, 2019


THE REAL RATS IN BALTIMORE...Wells Fargo Bank first pushed sub-prime mortgages on thousands of working-class, black families in Baltimore (referred to as "Mud People" by loan officers), then foreclosed on their homes. 

Baltimore Sun Editorial
It was only surprising that there wasn’t room for a few classic phrases like “you people” or “welfare queens” or “crime-ridden ghettos” or a suggestion that the congressman “go back” to where he came from. -- Better to have a few rats than to be one
Jonathan Kinloch, Democratic chairman of MI’s 13th Cong Dist
“We can’t make the same mistake Hillary made in 2016 and assume that because Donald Trump is such a vile candidate, that black people will rise up and just zombie to the polls.” -- Tribune
Simon Moya-Smith
This country has always had the capacity for cruelty, and has often acted on that capacity with the flag in one hand and the Bible in the other. -- Think
Alaina Hampton
“We are witnessing what appears to be the condoning of inappropriate behavior, which will continue to silence victims and perpetuate a culture of sexism. Speaker Madigan's organization’s used to be able to get away with this type of corruption, but this time everyone is watching.” -- IL Playbook

IL Appellate Judge Michael B. Hyman
 “Taking together the text of our constitution and its historical interpretation by our supreme court, we conclude that the Illinois Constitution requires, in the ordinary case, a warrant to issue before an arrest can be made. Arrests based on investigative alerts violate that rule.” -- Injustice Watch

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

But isn't it a crime to threaten the life of a congresswoman? Apparently not in Louisiana.

Gretna, Louisiana Police Chief Arthur Lawson announced Monday that Officer Charlie Rispoli would be fired for posting the comment on the social media platform and Officer Angelo Varisco would be fired for "liking" it. 
In the post, Rispoli said Ocasio-Cortez was a "vile idiot" who "needs a round." 
"And I don't mean the kind she used to serve," Rispoli wrote, apparently referencing the lawmaker's past work as a bartender. 
"This incident, we feel, has been an embarrassment to our department,” Lawson said of the since-deleted post. 
Fired? Is that it.

I thought it was a crime to threaten a government official. So I looked it up. Yep, I was right. 
Threatening government officials of the United States is a felony under federal law. Threatening the President of the United States is a felony under 18 U.S.C. § 871, punishable by up to 5 years of imprisonment, that is investigated by the United States Secret Service. Threatening other officials is a Class C or D felony, usually carrying maximum penalties of 5 or 10 years under 18 U.S.C. § 875, 18 U.S.C. § 876 and other statutes, that is investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 
But the two cops who threatened or publicly encouraged the taking of the life of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were merely fired for "embarrassing the department". What's up with that?

It looks like white racist cops, encouraged by a racist president, are above the law in Louisiana, a state with 540 lynchings to its discredit. This, especially is the case if their victims are people of color, in this case, a sitting congresswoman.

This is a continuing pattern nationwide. I'm thinking particularly of the four Chicago cops finally fired after five years, for filing false statements about Jason Van Dyke's fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald. No criminal charges were ever filed against the conspiring cops or their higher-ups, in the case.

Louisiana's history of lynching
Then there was the decision, by federal prosecutors, affirmed by Trump's hand-picked Attorney General William Barr, not to bring charges against a white N.Y. cop Daniel Pantaleo, after he choked to death Eric Garner on video in broad daylight. Garner's last words, “I can’t breathe” — became a national rallying cry against police brutality.

In stark contrast is the seemingly never-ending saga of black actor, Jussie Smollett, who was charged by Chicago cops with 16 felonies for allegedly filing a false report about a racist assault. The State's Attorney's office decided there wasn't enough of a case against Smollett to move forward. That made State's Attorney Kim Foxx, an African-American woman, the target of vengeful attacks by the racist FOP.

The case has become a rallying cry for the right-wing with even Donald Trump weighing in and calling for Smollett's head. Now a judge is looking to appoint a special prosecutor to pursue the case.

Such is our two-faced legal system carrying on the traditions of American slavery and Jim Crow.

An embarrassment...

Monday, July 22, 2019


Friday we were joined by the Communications Director of the Chicago Federation of Labor, Jake Lewis (second from right) and award winning scientist and union activist Loreen Targos who is with AFGE Local 704, which represents about 1,000 Environmental Protection Employees in the midwest. 

Jake Lewis, Chicago Federation of Labor
"What we've seen from [Mayor Lori Lightfoot] so far, is a willingness to speak up on [labor union] issues and to put herself front and center on big policy issues like Fair Work Week." -- Hitting Left
Loreen Targos, Award-winning EPA scientist, AFGE Local 704
Millennials and Gen Z members (I hear they're great) need to get into the unions and remind maybe some union leaders what it's all about and that's building grassroots power and fighting for what helps membership. -- Hitting Left
Eugene Robinson
 Trump no longer pretends to be the voice of forgotten working-class Americans. He has become the voice of insecure white Americans, whom he encourages to resent foreigners, immigrants and uppity minorities. His border policy — separating babies from their mothers, putting children in cages — is the fulfillment of an ugly revenge fantasy. Cruelty isn’t an unfortunate byproduct of Trump’s crackdown on asylum seekers. It’s the whole point. -- Washington Post

Padma Lakshmi
The president is himself a second-generation American. Two of the women he has married are immigrants, but the only difference between them and Omar — and myself — is skin color. It’s clear that Trump equates being American with being white. But he doesn’t have the right to judge the Americanness of any of us. -- Washington Post
Donald Trump
... told reporters on Friday that his supporters who want him to deport Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) are "incredible patriots." -- Shareblue
Lindsey Graham
 “I don’t think it’s racist to say,” Graham told reporters on Thursday. “I don’t think a Somali refugee embracing Trump would be asked to go back. If you’re racist, you want everybody to go back because they are black or Muslim." -- Think Progress
Megan Rapinoe 
“I think this country was quite literally built on the backs of people who weren’t from here and were forced to come here in slavery.” -- Charlotte Observer

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The power in a word

Response to the R-word, from the right was violent and swift. Trump's former ICE director threatened our congressman, Chuy Garcia with a "beating" after Chuy aggressively questioned him about the horrid conditions in the detention centers. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got in trouble Tuesday for calling President Donald Trump’s racist tweets “racist.” It turns out there’s a congressional rule that lawmakers can’t accuse a sitting president—or any member of the House or Senate—of racism on the floor. Pelosi was even briefly prohibited from speaking at all from the floor after the parliamentarian ruled her remarks criticizing Trump’s tweets were out of order.
-- Slate
I guess I wasn't the only one demanding that Pelosi and the Democrats call out the President and his men for racism. Yesterday, the tide turned, at least on that score, Dems actually began using the R-word to push back on Trump's invitation to The Squad (and to all those who "don't love America") to leave it.

Speaker Pelosi even felt it safe enough, despite the so-called, congressional rule, to use the word in a House Resolution condemning Trump's "xenophobic tweets". Only four House Republicans dared vote for the resolution which won by 240-187 over near-solid GOP opposition.

The rule, as you might have guessed, was handed down from slave-owning English and American politicians.

But one-by-one, Democratic pols around the country seemed liberated when the word was put back in play by Pelosi, and when they were permitted to join-in, at least for the moment, alongside their four women-of-color colleagues in a unified party front.

Be still my beating heart. The secret for victory in 2020 was thereby revealed.

The blowback from the right was immediate and violent. The word itself was enough to pull the hood off the Trumpists. When Congressman Jesus "Chuy" Garcia aggressively questioned Trump's former ICE director, Thomas Homan, about the horrible conditions in the detention centers, even implying racist motives, Fox News talking-head Horan, said, "he broke" let out that he "thought about getting up and throwing that man a beating right there in the middle of the room," thereby confirming Chuy's contention. Even though, Chuy never used it, such is the power in a word.

Also, if he thinks our congressman can be intimidated by threat of a beatdown, Homan must not know where Chuy is from.

This from the Chicago Tribune...
Homan clashed with other Democratic lawmakers while defending the Trump administration policies. When New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Homan recommended family separation at the border, for example, Homan responded by saying he recommended zero tolerance, apparently in reference to migrants who cross the border illegally. He also noted that U.S. citizens who are arrested with children would also be separated from their children.
On Tuesday, Garcia’s office issued a statement saying it wasn’t going to validate comments from an angry man, which they say is how Homan described himself on television.
“Congressman Garcia didn’t call him racist, but it is clear the Congressman got under Mr. Homan’s skin for a reason. If the shoe fits, Mr. Homan should wear it,” according to the statement.
The shoe fits.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The death of irony

Dare Pelosi and the Democrats utter the "R"-word?

It's ironic that Democratic Party leaders are hesitant to use the "R"-word while criticizing Trump and the Republicans. It seems they're afraid of alienating the so-called "moderate" Republicans, who they are counting on to elect Biden in the industrial swing states. They are also leery of giving any credibility to the progressive insurgency within the party, which threatens their positions of power.

So even when DT comes out with his most outrageous, naked white-nationalist diatribes, directed mainly at AOC and "The Squad" of four congresswomen of color, (who he told to "go back" to the countries they came from), the closest they come to calling "racism" is to charge the president with "xenophobia."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday, that Democrats will soon introduce a resolution condemning Trump’s “xenophobic” remarks. OK, but just xenophobic?

I say ironic, because even thick-as-a-brick DT recognizes, in an oblique way, that his MAGA code language is racist to its core. So when Pelosi paraphrases and mocks him, saying MAGA would more accurately be described as "make America white again," DT tells reporters, "Speaker Pelosi said 'make America white again,' that's a very racist statement."

Irony is definitely lost on this man.

"Xenophobia" is now the Dem's saveur du jour. It means dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries, and there's no doubt, DT is a xenophobe. His picture should appear in the dictionary next to the definition. But his attack on the squad is racist, not just xenophobic.

It's a much softer, safer word in white America, one that doesn't have quite the sting of "racist." But it's also inaccurate in the case of the Squad.

Three of the four may come from "broken places," but those places are right here in the U.S. So telling four women of color to leave their country of birth and "go back"to the country they "came from"? Really?

Definitely racist. Let's call it what it is.

Trump claims a 94% approval rating among Republicans... I don't doubt it. It's definitely his party now. So Democrats building their 2020 strategy on hopes that a significant number of disenchanted Republican will swing their way, is likely a losing one.

2016 redux.

They insist that only a right-centrist like Biden can play to conservative swing voters and so, they direct their main blows not at Trump, but leftward at The Squad.

BTW, I don't like the name The Squad. It makes the party insurgency seem small and isolated, which it isn't.

Saving grace may be that Trump's racist attacks on the four are so odious that centrists and leftists will be forced to close ranks in their defense. We'll see how long that lasts.

Also important to note...Today's NBC/WSJ poll shows any one of the top Democratic contenders (not just Biden) beating Trump in a head-to-head race.

I know, it's early in the race and you can't rely on the polls and...blah, blah blah. But my point here is that there's no evidence in any polling to support the claim that Biden is the only one capable of beating Trump or that contenders like Sanders, Warren, or Harris (and the rest of us) should withhold criticism of Biden or the Democratic leadership during the primary.

Monday, July 15, 2019


As Saturday's anti-ICE march in Chicago

Cong. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia 
“It’s about damn time we tell this racist president loud and clear: Stop criminalizing desperation.” -- At Saturday's rally in Chicago.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
"I believe these women. I believed the canker sores that I saw in their mouths because they were only allowed to be fed un-nutritious food. I believe them when they said they were sleeping on concrete floors for two months. I believe them."
"And what was worse about this, Mr. Chairman, was the fact that there were American flags hanging all over these facilities — that children being separated from their parents in front of an American flag — that women were being called these names under an American flag." -- Share Blue Media
Sen. Bernie Sanders
“I support Alexandria’s and the other women’s desire to bring more people, especially younger people, working-class people into the Democratic party," he said. "That is the future of the Democratic party.” -- Fox News
Rep. Ilhan Omar
“There are few things more dreadful than dealing with a man who knows he is going under, in his own eyes, and in the eyes of others. Nothing can help that man. What is left of that man flees from what is left of human attention.” ~James Baldwin -- Twitter
Tara Tidwell Cullen from the National Immigrant Justice Center.  
“This has been an opportunity for communities to come together and learn to understand what their rights are and be able to exercise their rights." -- Tribune
MLL in Little Village
Mayor Lori Lightfoot
... praised activists who are trying to organize against raids by informing people about their rights, which the former federal prosecutor said includes not letting ICE in if they don’t have a warrant signed by a judge. She said it’s important to remind people “that this is a city that for 150 years has been a city of welcome for immigrants (from) all over the world.” -- Tribune
Diana Nayeri, author of The Ungrateful Refugee
[Tucker] Carlson had nothing to do with Omar’s rescue from Somalia. He is just a privileged man who won the lottery of birth. If it were up to him, she would never have been allowed in. -- Slate

Trump tells elected women of color to, "Go back to the countries you came from..."

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Lots of candidates but no real debate on school deseg

Even though I have a lot is issues with Kamala Harris, I thought she was bold in confronting frontrunner Joe Biden and calling him out during the televised debate, for his opposition to "forced" school integration back in the '70s. Actually, as he pointed out, his position hasn't changed. He is still against a federal role in enforcing the Brown Decision.

His opposition to busing and his partnership with avowed "states-rights" segregationists like Eastland and Talmadge, seemed like fair game during the debate. Thanks to Harris, Biden himself was finally forced to apologize for touting his work with the racist senators.

In fact, I was surprised that not one of the other candidates, particularly white progressives like Sanders and Warren, had Harris' back at the time. None would even dare mention Biden's name during either of the two debates. This even though the road to the nomination obviously runs through him and the DNC leadership. If you're not willing to take on Biden, what's the point of running? Unless of course, you're just a stalking horse for Biden, trying to dissipate the opposition or an unprincipled kiss-ass, hoping for a V.P. slot or cabinet appointment if Biden wins.

Such is the intimidating power of the Pelosi party leaders who are really running Biden against young insurgents like Reps Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley, rather than any of the announced primary candidates who were on stage those nights.

Pelosi, it seems, would rather lose the election to Trump than risk losing the leadership of the party to the leftists.

Then yesterday, out comes Tulsi Gabbard (who I liked before this) with a blistering attack on Harris, calling her confrontation with Biden, "a political ploy' to get attention".

Here's my tweet to Sen. Gabbard...
Gabbard also claimed Harris has been "levying this accusation that Joe Biden is a racist — when he's clearly not — as a way to try to smear him."

But Harris never called Biden a racist. In fact, she pointedly prefaced her critical remarks by stating, "I do not believe you are a racist and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground."

In fact, a week later Harris revealed that she has essentially the same position as Biden on deseg being a local issue.

Common ground, indeed.

Monday, July 8, 2019


In some ways, Rapinoe will become synonymous with the fight for pay equality similar to how former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick used his public platform to protest racism. 

Megan Rapinoe quoting Nipsey Hussle
 "Ain't really trip on the credit, I just paid all of my dues. I just respected the game, now my name all in the news. Trippin' on all of my moves, quote me on this, got a lot more to prove." -- Complex
 Columnist Eugene Robinson
Which brings me to another reason those demanding a super-cautious, mealy-mouthed Democratic nominee should spend some time in silent reflection. I believe Trump’s improbable election was possible because the nation is undergoing a political realignment in which the traditional left-to-right spectrum is being shifted in ways not yet fully understood. -- Washington Post
CTU Pres. Jesse Sharkey
 “We need to hear what CPS has to say about staffing, about class size and about other critical issues. ... For every day that goes by where we haven’t gotten an offer that addresses the important issues in our schools, [a strike] becomes a more distinct and realistic possibility." -- Sun-Times
Mayor Lori Lightfoot

...repeated on Thursday that she wants what the Chicago Teachers Union wants when it comes to putting more librarians, counselors and support staff in schools, but she did not detail a specific contract offer.
“We are not going to have a contract that doesn’t include a lot of the things that we also believe in,” she said. “We believe in strengthening our classroom experience.”
However, Lightfoot noted the school district must “work within the framework and the resources we have.” --WBEZ
 Trump in '02 on Jeffrey Epstein
 “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side." -- USA Today

Thursday, July 4, 2019

4th of July Quotables

There are lots of good reasons to oppose and resist Trump's ultra-militarization and ultra-politicization of Independence Day, including the cost. But if cost is your only concern, chill out. It's a drop in the bucket when compared to using these same warplanes and tanks to invade or bomb other countries.

"The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."
-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Beyond Vietnam, 1967

“Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.”
-- Thomas Paine, Common Sense

“Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong.”
– James Bryce

Langston Hughes
O, yes, I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!
-- Langston Hughes

"You can't have a United States if you are telling some folks that they can't get on the train. There is a cracking point where a society collapses."
-- Bruce Springsteen

 “While America bills itself as the land of the free, the receipts show that the U.S. has incarcerated approximately  2.2 million people, the largest prison population in the history of mankind.”
-- Colin Kaepernick

"This flag is drenched with our blood."
--Fannie Lou Hamer

The house I live in, my neighbors white and black,
The people who just came here, or from generations back,
The Town Hall and the soap box, the torch of Liberty,
A place to speak my mind out, that’s America to me.
--Paul Robeson via Earl Robinson

"I think that I'm particularly and uniquely and very deeply American. If we want to talk about the ideals that we stand for, all the songs and the anthem and sort of what we were founded on, I think I'm extremely American."
-- Megan Rapinoe

“Labor in the white skin can never free while in the black skin it is branded.”
--Karl Marx, Das Kapital

"I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us."  
--Frederick Douglass in 1852

Monday, July 1, 2019


Rain-soaked Pride crowds and Chicago's new mayor revel in a historic parade: "Our battles are not over, but today feels particularly sweet" -- Chicago Tribune

Hawaii Rep.Tulsi Gabbard at Rainbow-Push Convention
“We have no time to waste. There is so much at stake. We have too many leaders who have, for so long, been dragging us into these wasteful, regime-change wars one after the other, costing us so many lives, taking trillions of dollars out of our pockets... dollars that belong here in rebuilding our own communities.” -- Sun-Times
Rev. Jesse Jackson on Elizabeth Warren
 “Personality is the conduit through which information gets — she has a personality that’s magnetic, and she’ll be in this race to the end. I don’t know how it’ll end up, but she’ll be a factor in the outcome of this race. ” -- The Hill
Jackson defends Buttigieg...“What happened there is not his fault,” he said, blaming structural problems of longtime segregation in the city’s housing and the fact that most of the city’s police officers live outside the city, making them what he called an “occupying force”.  -- Politico
Van Jones on Kamala Harris
 CNN political analyst Van Jones praised Harris' "masterful" debate performance, saying "a star was born" Thursday night. -- CNN
A 16-year-old mother from El Salvador
“My baby and I slept directly on the cement. Two hours after we crossed, we met Border Patrol and they took us to a very cold house. They took away our baby’s diapers, baby formula, and all of our belongings. -- HuffPost
Tucker Carlson on Trump/Kim DMZ photo-op 
 "You've got to be honest about what it means to lead a country, it means killing people. A lot of countries commit atrocities, including our allies." -- Daily Beast