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Joe Manchin comes out against DC statehood — critics explain why his view is 'deeply ironic'

April 30, 2021 in Blogs

By Raw Story

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was blasted on social media on Saturday over his stance on DC statehood.

“Sen. Joe Manchin III told reporters in his home state of West Virginia on Friday morning that he does not support the bill to make D.C. the nation’s 51st state, according to audio provided by the Democrat’s office and a report from WVNews. Manchin, a key swing vote in the closely divided Senate, said he believes a constitutional amendment, rather than legislation, would be required to admit D.C. as a state. His stance deals a major blow to statehood advocates who were hoping for his support after the bill passed the House last week,” The Washington Post reported Friday.

Manchin believes that a Constitutional Amendment is required for DC statehood, a position that did not go over well online. Here’s some of what people were saying:

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Psychiatrist says Trump's 'glaring psychological problems' were misinterpreted and led us to disaster

April 30, 2021 in Blogs

By Bandy X. Lee

Dr. Bandy X. Lee was interviewed by Prof. Johanna Fernández, author of The Young Lords: A Radical History (UNC Press, 2020), a history of the Puerto Rican counterpart of the Black Panther Party. She is the editor of Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal (City Lights, 2015) and with Abu-Jamal a special issue of the journal Socialism and Democracy, titled The Roots of Mass Incarceration in the US: Locking Up Black Dissidents and Punishing the Poor(Routledge, 2014). She teaches 20th Century U.S. history and the history of social movements at Baruch College (CUNY) and hosts “A New Day” on WBAI. She interviewed Dr. Lee, forensic psychiatrist and author of Profile of a Nation, for her “Race, Class, and Revolution” class at MayDay Space in New York. This is a two-part series. The first part of the interview series can be read here.

Where does politics begin and psychiatry end in assessing social problems?

As you know, we just experienced hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths, the near-loss of our democracy, and traumatization of a nation as a result of a president’s mental unfitness, and so we cannot say the two areas are always separate. If the psychological dangers and unfitness were addressed earlier on, as would have been routine for any other job, we may have avoided these predictable consequences. Mental health issues do not stop at the political realm, and a high political office does not make one immune from mental problems.

At the same time, just as political matters should not be labeled as psychiatric, psychiatric issues should not be labeled as political. Politicians are supposed to consult with experts in areas that exceed their ability to handle—and not pretend that it is politics as usual—just as mental health experts should not comment on areas outside their expertise. Mislabeling can lead to catastrophes, as we have seen under Donald Trump, when glaring psychological problems were interpreted as political strategy or “3-D chess.”

We associate Nazism or Stalinism with certain countries, while portraying Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, or Pol Pot as such exceptional “monsters” that they would never be replicated on our soil, when the psychological characteristics they display are quite common—and it was handing them power that was exceptional. If we fail to understand the personality types that relentlessly seek but cannot handle power, which transforms them …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Reporter catches a Republican who allegedly went to the Capitol riot counting ballots in the shady AZ audit

April 30, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

This week, Arizona has had a blatantly partisan, Republican-inspired ‘audit’ of Maricopa County’s votes in the 2020 presidential election. And one of the people seen counting ballots, according to reporter Brahm Resnik, was former Arizona State Rep. Anthony Kern — a far-right Republican who was in Washington, D.C. on January 6 for former President Donald Trump’s infamous “Stop the Steal” rally.

The recount in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, was ordered by Republicans in the Arizona State Senate and has been conducted by the Florida-based firm Cyber Ninjas — with One America News, a cable channel that prides itself on being to the right of Fox News, handling the livestream. Arizona Democrats have been slamming the recount as a pointless farce, noting that the election results in that state were certified by conservative Republican Gov. Doug Ducey last year and were already verified repeatedly.

In other words, now-President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in Arizona was thoroughly vetted and settled. Regardless, Republicans in the Arizona State Senate wanted another audit more than five months after Biden won the state.

On Friday, Resnik — who is with KPNX-TV, the NBC affiliate in Phoenix — tweeted:

AZ Central previously reported Kern’s appearance at the steps of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Trump is not the only Republican who was voted out of office in November 2020: Democrat Judy Schwiebert defeated Kern and has been serving in the Arizona House of Representatives since January 11.

Here are some reactions to Resnik’s reporting:

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Biden's biggest threat is sabotage from his own allies

April 30, 2021 in Blogs

By Heather Digby Parton

President Joe Biden gave his first speech to a joint session of Congress this week and by most accounts, it was a successful event. The TV ratings weren’t high but according to snap polls, those that did watch liked what he had to say and the media were complimentary about his delivery and presentation — which is half the battle.

Biden introduced a new piece of legislation called the American Family Act which features items such as paid family leave, universal daycare and preschool, free community college, elder care, and a number of other initiatives that other developed countries have had for years but which Americans have been staring at longingly from afar. It’s obvious that if we want a 21st Century economy, we’re going to have to at least catch up to what other countries have been doing since the middle of the 20th.

His initiative comes on the heels of the previously announced American Jobs Act (aka Biden’s infrastructure plan) and the already passed American Rescue Plan Act, as well as his administration’s very successful vaccine roll-out. Considering that Biden had virtually no transition and came into office on the heels of an insurrection and in the middle of a global pandemic, that’s not a bad first 100 days.

But the hard work is really just beginning.

The government has responded well to the pandemic crisis, which is a refreshing change from the previous administration. And the big COVID relief package has given the economy the boost it needed to recover (and it is recovering smartly). But Biden’s platform is much more ambitious. Taking office at a time of great turmoil in the country after years of unnecessary wars, economic and social stagnation, as well as pent-up demand for racial justice, he and the Democrats have decided to try to enact a truly transformative agenda.

Of course, that is a very tall order. As we are all well aware, the Democrats have a very narrow majority in the upper chamber and there are a few senators who seem to be determined to pare down these ambitious goals in the name of “bipartisanship” and “fiscal responsibility.” If that sounds familiar, it should. Centrist Democrats have been wringing their hands over deficits and taxes for the past 40 years, a form of inherited political PTSD from the Reagan Revolution. But there are fewer of them …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Mike Pence wants a comeback — but it's already looking rocky

April 30, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

After months of keeping a relatively low profile, former Vice President Mike Pence has started making himself more visible — and on Friday, Politico published two separate articles on him: a piece by Alex Isenstadt discussing Pence’s recent public appearances, and a Meridith McGraw article stressing that Trumpworld has left Pence behind. Meanwhile, Pence is being slammed on Twitter for a thread in which he accused President Joe Biden of promoting a “radical left” assault on “American traditional values.”

Pence has been mentioned as a possible GOP presidential candidate for 2024. And Isenstadt notes that Pence is making an effort to “increase his public profile.”

“Pence has spent several months out of the spotlight following a fallout with former President Donald Trump over the former vice president’s decision to certify the 2020 election results,” Isenstadt explains. “But Pence’s uptick in activity — including stops in a key early primary state and a planned appearance at a traditional GOP cattle call — underscores how he’s beginning to lay the groundwork for a possible future run.”

If Pence did run for president in 2024, the competition in the Republican primary — depending on who else decides to run — could include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Trump himself.

Isenstadt reports, “According to a person familiar with the plans, (Pence’s) schedule includes a pair of stops in Texas next week. Pence is to speak at a fundraiser hosted by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and on May 7, he is slated to appear at a donor appreciation event hosted by former George W. Bush political adviser Karl Rove. The former vice president will be interviewed onstage by Republican Sen. John Cornyn, according to a copy of the schedule.”

According to Isenstadt, Pence’s itinerary also includes fundraising for Rep. Nancy Mace, a South Carolina Republican, and a Heritage Foundation donor summit in North Carolina. But McGraw, in her article, points out that some people in MAGA World have turned against the former vice president — or are, at best, lukewarm.

“The final weeks of the Donald Trump-Mike Pence partnership were an unmitigated disaster,” McGraw notes. “Pence, the fiercely loyal vice president, was ushered to safety in the halls of Congress after he refused his boss’ wishes to not certify the election results. For …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The first Freedom Ride departs from Washington, D.C.

April 30, 2021 in History

By History.com Editors

On May 4, 1961, a group of thirteen young people departs Washington, D.C.’s Greyhound Bus terminal, bound for the South. Their journey is peaceful at first, but the riders will meet with shocking violence on their way to New Orleans, eventually being forced to evacuate from Jackson, Mississippi but earning a place in history as the first Freedom Riders.

Two Supreme Court rulings, Morgan v. Virginia and Boynton v. Virginia, forbade the racial segregation of bus lines, and a 1955 ruling by the Interstate Commerce Commission outlawed the practice of using “separate but equal” buses. Nonetheless, bus lines in the South continued to abide by Jim Crow laws, ignoring the federal mandate to desegregate, for years. The Congress of Racial Equality, with assistance from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, decided to protest this practice by sending white and Black riders together into the South, drawing inspiration both from recent sit-ins and the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, in which activists attempting to desegregate buses were imprisoned in North Carolina for violating Jim Crow laws.

READ MORE: Mapping the Freedom Riders’ Journey Against Segregation

The riders who boarded the buses on May 4 were mostly students, and several were teenagers. Among them was 21-year-old John Lewis, who would go on to co-organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and represent a Georgia district containing most of Atlanta in Congress for 33 years. Trained in nonviolence, they sat in mixed-race pairs on the buses in order to make a statement about integration while deterring violence. When they reached Rock Hill, South Carolina, however, Lewis was badly beaten, and things got worse as they approached Birmingham, Alabama. In Anniston, outside of Birmingham, a crowd of local Klansmen attacked one of the buses, setting it ablaze and sending several riders to the hospital. Local police fired warning shots in the air to dispel the riot, although it has since been revealed that they had privately assured the Klan they would give them time to carry out an attack before intervening. In Birmingham, more Klansmen beat the riders with baseball bats and bicycle chains as the local police, led by the notorious Bull Connor, stood down.

The original Freedom Riders finally abandoned their plan to reach New Orleans and were evacuated from Jackson, Mississippi, but even as the first ride came to an end more Freedom Riders were …read more

Source: HISTORY

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A British lawmaker, referencing "Star Wars," delivers first recorded instance of the pun “May the Fourth be with you”

April 30, 2021 in History

By History.com Editors

On May 4, 1994, a groan-inducing moment on the floor of U.K. Parliament includes the first recorded use of a pun that will spawn its own holiday. Harry Cohen, Member of Parliament from Leyton, quotes his researcher as saying, “May the Fourth be with you,” a play on the date and the tagline “May the Force be with you” from the Star Wars series. The pun has been repeated countless times since, to the extent that May 4 is now recognized as Star Wars day by Lucasfilm, Disney and fans around the world.

A likely apocryphal story holds that the first use of the phrase in British politics came in 1979, in a congratulatory advertisement that the Conservative Party took out in a paper to honor Margaret Thatcher as she took office on May 4. The first recorded instance, however, came from Cohen, who rose to speak about a defense bill and made the following joke in reference to former U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s infamous “Star Wars” initiative:

“May the 4th is an appropriate date for a defense debate. My researcher, who is a bit of a wit, said that it should be called ‘National Star Wars Day.’ He was talking about the film Star Wars rather than President Reagan’s defense fantasy, and he added, ‘May the fourth be with you.’ That is a very bad joke. He deserves the sack for making it, but he is a good researcher.”

Cohen’s researcher escaped persecution for the pun, and a few decades later, his facetious suggestion had become a global phenomenon. With the advent of the internet, the pun rose in popularity and became a recurring meme, and fans began organizing “Star Wars Day” events in the 2010s—the first appears to have been at the Toronto Underground Cinema in 2011. Having acquired the rights to the Star Wars franchise in 2012, Disney began observing Star Wars Day the following year, with special events and releases marking the occasion. 2015 marked the first known celebration of Star Wars Day in space, when astronauts aboard the International Space Station watched Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Rather than limit their celebration to just one day, fans may choose to observe “Revenge of the Fifth” the day after Star Wars Day, although many hold that “Revenge of the Sixth” is a better pun.

READ MORE: The Real History That Inspired …read more

Source: HISTORY

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When 20,000 Asian Americans Demanded Garment Workers' Rights—And Won

April 30, 2021 in History

By Rachel Chang

The 1982 strike led by immigrant women earned better working conditions and benefits for New York City’s garment workers.

It was an unlikely group to storm the streets of New York City’s Chinatown in the summer of 1982: Nearly 20,000 garment workers—mostly Asian American women—marched together in solidarity for better benefits. Clad in matching union caps, they carried signs in both English and Chinese, reading, “In union, there is strength,” and “Support the union contract.”

“The mood was so exciting!” says May Chen, a labor organizer who worked for the hotel union at the time and was “borrowed” to help with the picket lines and logistics. “Chinatown’s hierarchy was so male-dominated, and here came the women standing together and speaking out.”

The walkout succeeded in retaining critical benefits for garment workers who toiled long work days in often harsh conditions. The strike’ success also showed that Asian American women—even those with a language barrier—could amplify their voices, take action and be heard.

Conditions in Chinatown’s Garment Shops

A garment factory in Chinatown, New York, pictured August 6, 1981.

In 1980, about 430 garment shops employed a total of 25,000 workers—80 percent of whom were female. Many had come to the United States when the discriminatory Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was overturned by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, eliminating racial quotas. Some had come to reunite with their husbands, while others had fled turmoil in their home countries. Securing a job that didn’t require speaking English had provided these women with career independence, as well as a community of fellow immigrants.

But conditions in the packed factories were not always humane. The buildings were often decrepit and the workspaces packed together tightly, according to an account in the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. Being pricked by needles was so common, Katie Quan writes in Amerasia Journal, that some bosses checked for needle fragments in workers’ fingers and then congratulated them for reaching that right of passage.

On top of that, poor airflow and crowded quarters led to tuberculosis, as well as kidney and gastric issues. Works days commonly stretched on for more than 10 hours—in low-light conditions. And pay was earned …read more

Source: HISTORY

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The COVID crisis in India declare a 'crime against humanity'

April 29, 2021 in Blogs

By Common Dreams

With Covid-19 cases soaring in India, acclaimed author and activist Arundhati Roy wrote Wednesday that her country is witnessing “an outright crime against humanity” as outside observers fear the crisis could hamper global efforts to rein in the pandemic.

As of Thursday, India now has the second highest number of total cases in the world—over 18 million—since the pandemic began, but a surge in recent weeks has made it into a global hot spot for daily infections and deaths.

So far, there have been over 204,000 official Covid-19 related deaths, but the true toll is likely far higher.

“I do not know of a single family that has not seen at least one of its members infected. We are seeing hundreds of thousands of new cases every day and many more deaths,” Pankaj Anand, humanitarian and program director with Oxfam India, said in a statement Thursday.

“The health infrastructure in India is bursting at the seams,” said Anand, “and there are widespread reports of shortages of oxygen and other medical supplies in large cities.”

According to the Associated Press: “India has set a daily global record for seven of the past eight days, with a seven-day moving average of nearly 350,000 infections. Daily deaths have nearly tripled in the past three weeks, reflecting the intensity of the latest surge.”

Headlines over the past few days—like “Round-the-clock mass cremations” and “Covid cases cross 18 million, gravediggers work round the clock“—put the crisis in bleak terms.

The crisis is clear to Jyot Jeet, chairperson of the Delhi-based organization Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, which provides free medical care and has been providing cremation services amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Day in and day out, we are surrounded by the smell of burning flesh, and the sounds of crying families,” he told NBC News.

The far-right government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come under fire for its response to the pandemic.

In an op-ed published Wednesday at the Guardian, Roy wryly described Modi as being “busy, busy, busy” with other matters like “Destroying the last vestiges of democracy,” construction of “massive prison complexes,” and watching as “hundreds of thousands of farmers [were] beaten and teargassed.”

“The crisis-generating machine that we call our government is incapable of leading us out …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Meghan McCain fumes after Biden's speech and warns he'll be the 'most progressive president of my lifetime'

April 29, 2021 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

36-year-old Meghan McCain shared with “The View” watchers on Thursday her anger that President Joe Biden “is going to be the most progressive president of my lifetime.” McCain, born in 1984, has lived through seven presidents before Biden – four Republican and now four Democratic, so it’s not surprising that the most recent Democratic president would be the most progressive.

But she wasn’t only furious that Biden will be the most progressive president, which she said was “very disappointing to the people who had faith in him for running as a centrist,” she was furious that he delivered what she called “the most progressive speech of any modern president since LBJ,” referring to President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

McCain went on to complain that “the answer to every single problem in the United States of America is to write a check and bankrupt my generation in the process, and if you don’t believe me because I’m conservative believe The New York Times,” McCain said.

“They said, ‘Biden, a lifelong centrist has moved leftward and moved the biggest expansion of American government in decades.’ And he’s getting praise from people like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.”

Watch:

…read more

Source: ALTERNET