Sarah McBride, first transgender speaker at major political convention, addresses DNC 2016

I think Sarah McBride is a far better spokeswoman for Trans-folks than Reality TV Star Caitlyn Jenner.

Older Ladies by Donnalou Stevens

If Trump wins, a coup isn’t impossible here in the U.S.

From The LA Times:  http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-kirchick-trump-coup-20160719-snap-story.html

James Kirchick
July 19, 2016

Americans viewing the recent failed coup attempt in Turkey as some exotic foreign news story — the latest, violent yet hardly unusual political development to occur in a region constantly beset by turmoil — should pause to consider that the prospect of similar instability would not be unfathomable in this country if Donald Trump were to win the presidency.

Trump is the most brazenly authoritarian figure to secure the nomination of a major American political party. He expresses his support for all manner of strongmen, and his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has actually worked for one: former Ukrainian president and Vladimir Putin ally Viktor Yanukovich. At the Republican National Convention here Monday, Manafort put some of the tricks he learned overseas as a dictator whisperer to good use, employing underhanded tactics to avoid a roll call vote on the convention’s rules package and quietly removing language from the party platform expressing support for Ukraine’s democratic aspirations.

Throughout the campaign, Trump has repeatedly bragged about ordering soldiers to commit war crimes, and has dismissed the possibility that he would face any resistance. “They won’t refuse,” he told Fox News’ Bret Baierearlier this year. “They’re not gonna refuse me. Believe me.”  When Baier insisted that such orders are “illegal,” Trump replied, “I’m a leader. I’ve always been a leader. I’ve never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they’re going to do it.”

Oh really? Blimpish swagger might fly within the patriarchal confines of a family business, a criminal operation (the distinction is sometimes blurred) or a dictatorship. It does not, however, work in a liberal democracy, legally grounded by a written constitution, each branch restrained by separation of powers.

Try to imagine, then, a situation in which Trump commanded our military to do something stupid, illegal or irrational. Something so dangerous that it put the lives of Americans and the security of the country at stake. (Trump’s former rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Marco Rubio, said the United States could not trust “the nuclear codes” to an “erratic individual.”) Faced with opposition from his military brass, Trump would perhaps reconsider and back down. But what if he didn’t?

In that case, our military men and women, who swear to uphold the Constitution and a civilian chain of command, would be forced to choose between obeying the law and serving the wishes of someone who has explicitly expressed his utter lack of respect for it.

They might well choose the former.

“I would be incredibly concerned if a President Trump governed in a way that was consistent with the language that candidate Trump expressed during the campaign,” retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, who served as head of the CIA and the National Security Agency under President George W. Bush, said in response to Trump’s autocratic ruminations. Asked by TV host Bill Maher what would happen if Trump told American soldiers to kill the families of terrorists, as he has promised to do, Hayden replied, “If he were to order that once in government, the American armed forces would refuse to act.”

“You are required not to follow an unlawful order,” Hayden added. “That would be in violation of all the international laws of armed conflict.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-kirchick-trump-coup-20160719-snap-story.html

A Short Note to Bernie Supporters Who Equate Hillary Clinton With Donald Trump

From Robert Reich:  http://robertreich.org/post/147656776905

Robert Reich
Tuesday, July 19, 2016

May I have a word with those of you Bernie supporters who consider Donald Trump to be no worse than Hillary Clinton?

You’re dead wrong.

As I said when I endorsed Bernie for president, I view Hillary as enormously qualified to be president of the political system we now have. She is smart, capable, and experienced. I endorsed Bernie because I thought he would help create the political system we need. But Bernie will not be the Democratic nominee.

This does not mean the end of the movement Bernie advanced. That movement was never about Bernie; it was about reclaiming our democracy and our economy. And that movement will live on, and it will grow. It needs your continuing activism and your tenacity.

You are, of course, entitled to support anyone you wish to. But if you don’t get behind Hillary you increase the odds that Donald Trump will be president.

That would be a disaster for America and the world. Trump is a menace. He is not just unsuited to being the president of the United States – a bigoted narcissist who incites and excuses violence – but his presidency would threaten everything this nation stands for: tolerance, inclusion, freedom of the press, equal justice, and equal opportunity.

A Trump presidency would make it far more difficult ever to achieve the progressive goals you and I share.

Black Zionist Slams Pro-Palestinian Group — Cites Arab Slave Trade

From Forward:  http://forward.com/news/344932/watch-black-zionist-slams-pro-palestinian-group-cites-arab-slave-trade/

A prominent African-American Zionist used social media to ‏blast a campus group for drawing parallels between racial violence in this country and the occupation of Palestinian lands by the Israeli military.

“I’m just like, wait a minute SJP. Let’s be real,” Chloé Simone Valdary said in the brief video, posted on both her Facebook and Twitter feeds on July 12. “The majority of people in your organization are Arabs. Let’s be real. Today Arabs still engaged in the African slave trade. I’m just putting it out there.”

“You want to exploit my people’s history?” Valdary said. “You want to exploit Jewish people’s history and twist and turn it to use towards your political gains?”

“Don’t act like you have solidarity with my people,” Valdery said, adding: “You need to stay in your lane.”

In recent years pro-Israel groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee have intensified outreach to non-Jewish and African American communities, in an effort to built a wider base of support. Valdery has collaborated with both AIPAC and the Zionist Organization of America. In 2014, Tablet Magazine heralded Valdary as an “African American firebrand” who “wants to ignite a Zionist renaissance.”

The Arab slave trade across the Sahara is among the oldest slave trades in history. Forms of slavery continue today in countries like Mauritania and Sudan; in Sudan, for example, following the 1983 civil war large numbers of ethnic Dinka, Nuer and Nuba were captured, enslaved or exploited in other ways by Afro-Arabs from the north.

Valdary also mentioned Hamas and an Ethiopian Israeli who has been held hostage by the Palestinian political group for two years.

“Legitimately, there are Ethiopian Israelis in Gaza today that are still held by Hamas. Where you at, fam? You going to talk about that? That doesn’t really fit into your narrative?” Valdary said.

Complete article at:  http://forward.com/news/344932/watch-black-zionist-slams-pro-palestinian-group-cites-arab-slave-trade/

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Pakistani model strangled by brother in ‘honor killing’ after offending Islamic conservatives, police say

From The Los Angeles Times:  http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-pakistan-model-20160716-snap-story.html

By Associated Press
July 16, 2016

Pakistani fashion model Qandeel Baloch, who recently stirred controversy by posting pictures of herself with a Muslim cleric on social media, was strangled by her brother, police said Saturday.

Her parents told police one of her six brothers strangled her as she slept in the family’s home in Multan, police spokeswoman Nabila Ghazanfar told the Associated Press. She said police are searching for the suspect.

Baloch, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem, was little-known until recently, when she offended many conservatives by posting pictures of herself with Mufti Qavi, a prominent cleric. She said they enjoyed soft drinks and cigarettes during the daylight hours in the holy month of Ramadan, when practicing Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.

The pictures and allegations caused a scandal in conservative Pakistan, and the government removed Qavi from the official moon-sighting committee that determines when Ramadan starts and ends in accordance with the Islamic lunar calendar.

Baloch had said Qavi told her he wanted to see her face before the committee met to determine the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan, which was observed earlier this month.

Qavi denied the allegations, saying he met with her only to discuss the teachings of Islam.

Earlier this month, Baloch sought protection from the government, saying she was receiving anonymous death threats.

Hundreds of Pakistani women are killed by family members each year in so-called honor killings, which are seen as punishment for violating conservative norms.

Complete article at:  http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-pakistan-model-20160716-snap-story.html

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A Tough Choice for Feminist Black Lives Matter Activists

Being a feminist means putting women first. It doesn’t mean excusing rape.

From Yes Magazine:  http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/when-police-kill-a-black-man-with-a-rape-conviction-should-women-still-protest-20160627

Protesting a police killing and marching in support of a man convicted of rape can pose a real dilemma when one in five women nationwide has suffered a sexual assault.


Jun 27, 2016

The circumstance was all too familiar: public outrage concentrated on yet another Black victim killed by a bullet from a police officer’s gun.

“Whose life matters? Che’s life matters!” Hundreds of voices roared in unison along Seattle’s Fifth Avenue that February day.

Marchers thundered through downtown Seattle, protesting the killing, just days before, of 47-year-old Che Taylor. Two Seattle police officers had fatally shot Taylor after claiming he stood beside a car and reached for what they thought was a holstered gun.

However, some voices were absent from the chorus decrying Taylor’s killing. Some used their voices to denounce Taylor instead.

The reason: Taylor had been convicted of rape in 1992.

For some female organizers, that alone was enough to not only boycott the Taylor march but also to mount their own mini-protest against him, holding signs denouncing rapists outside a separate community meeting focused on his death.

Na’Quel Walker, a Seattle-based organizer, summarized in a public Facebook post what many who withheld their support for Taylor were thinking. She didn’t justify his death, nor did she justify his criminal history, but she did defend his family. “His family DOES deserve justice,” the post read.

F— the cop that murdered him.
F— the police in general.
AND, ALSO, f— rapists.”

Walker’s words highlighted dueling strands of thought within Seattle’s Black Lives Matter movement between those who believe Black solidarity should trump someone’s past sexual transgressions and those who believe those transgressions can never be overshadowed for the sake of that solidarity.

The divide has played out nationally, as some women in the movement have been faced with the difficult task of choosing either Blackness or womanhood when they’re asked to support justice for a Black male killed by police who was once accused or convicted of sexual assault.

Many are left to ask, what’s a woman to do?

What’s an organizer to do? Womanhood or Blackness?

Continue reading at:  http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/when-police-kill-a-black-man-with-a-rape-conviction-should-women-still-protest-20160627

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