Tag Archives: women

Thursday Open Thread | Willie Nelson: “I don’t care” if my fans get angry that I support Beto O’Rourke

Musician Willie Nelson said Tuesday that he’s not bothered by the fact that many of his fans are boycotting him because he’s headlining a rally for Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) later this month.

“I don’t care,” Nelson said on ABC’s “The View. “You know, they’re entitled to their opinions and I’m entitled to mine.”

Nelson added the he’s been supporting Democratic lawmakers his entire life and that he didn’t know why this latest event sparked outrage from a contingent of his fans.

“Everybody has an opinion,” he said. “Everybody has a right to an opinion.”

O’Rourke, who is running to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) this November, announced last week that Nelson would headline a rally in Austin, Texas on Sept. 29.

Rolling Stone reported that the appearance from Nelson would mark his first-ever public performance on behalf of a political candidate.

Fans quickly took issue with the announcement, with many posting angry comments on the singer’s Facebook page, where he had shared a post on his plans to headline an event for the Democratic Senate candidate.

“Open your eyes Willie!” one user said on his Facebook. “Beto is a Socialist who probably has lied to you. This is a real shame you support him.”

“I am no longer willing to watch that hippie guitarist who supports that … socialist running for Senate,” another user said on Twitter.

Nelson in a statement said he and his wife “share [O’Rourke’s] concern for the direction things are headed” in the U.S.

While Texas has not elected a Democrat to the Senate in three decades, polls have continued to show that Cruz and O’Rourke are in a tight race.

Why do the cops keep protecting white supremacists?

Racism runs deep and so does protecting those who keep the POC and poor people of all colors down.

This past weekend in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, dozens of police assaulted and arrested community members holding an anti-racist canned food drive and potluck on the campus of the University of North Carolina.

The community potluck was a response to the wave of right-wing backlash since a racist Jim Crow-era confederate statue on the campus was finally toppled three weeks ago. In response, white supremacists have gathered at the pedestal of the former “Silent Sam” statue with heavy police protection – while police have pepper-sprayed, beaten and arrested UNC students and community who came out to oppose them.

Police providing special protection to Nazis, the KKK, and other right-wing groups is far from a new trend. But the pattern feels especially stark this summer given the way police have responded to a series of rallies meant to continue the racist terror spree of Charlottesville. At a Portland alt-right rally in August, police attacked anti-fascist protesters with flash grenades, giving one protestor third-degree chemical burns and nearly killing another. At the main Unite the Right 2 rally in Washington, D.C., police provided an escort and private train to a group that included Charlottesville architect and “white civil rights activist” Jason Kessler.

I saw this firsthand at a rally hosted by Nazi front group Resist Marxism in Boston last month. Police were laughing and palling around with Nazis while they shoved and harassed anti-fascist protesters. Boston police provided a barricade of protection and private escort to the train station for the white supremacists once it became clear that the hundreds of us counterprotesting were not going away.

“Cops and Klan go hand in hand” is more than just a protest chant. U.S. police departments have assisted white supremacists in doxxing leftist activists and arrested the people of color that Nazis and KKK members attack. Whether or not individual cops are members of white supremacist groups (although there are many who are), the institution of police serves the same  goal: protect white property and white power by violently suppressing and controlling black people. The police’s job is to crush protests using the full might of the state to assault, imprison, and murder—and they do so based not on whether protests are peaceful or legal, but on how threatening the state finds them.

The violent police response to the anti-racist activism in Charlotte is evidence that the police’s allegiance is first and foremost to white supremacy. As UNC activist Maya Little said, “The symbols we put in our public square reflects what happens on the ground. They reflect our law, our politics and our culture.”

Like the statues they protect, the police are a symbol and a tool of a white supremacist society.

Image credit: Jonathan Drake via The San Diego Union-Tribune

Friday Open Thread | Meet Beto O’Rourke

If there’s a candidate that I sooooo want to be triumphant in November, it’s Beto O’Rourke.

Beto is a the man who has Ted Cruz running scared in Texas.

As always, Beto could use your help. Texas is an expensive place to run.

About Beto:

Beto O’Rourke is a fourth-generation Texan, born and raised in El Paso. After graduating from Columbia University, Beto worked in New York for a few years before deciding to move back to his hometown and start a small technology company. El Paso wasn’t the most likely place to start a company like this, but thanks to the work of some really talented El Pasoans, the company was a success. Over the years Stanton Street hired dozens of people in high skill, high-wage jobs that one might not expect to see in a border community.

Outside of work, Beto became deeply involved in the civic, business and community efforts in El Paso. He ran for El Paso City Council in 2005 and served for two terms before running for U.S. Congress in 2012, taking on an eight-term incumbent and winning. He knocked on thousands of doors and had real conversations, face-to-face, with the voters in El Paso.

In Congress, Beto serves on the House Committees for Armed Services and Veterans Affairs. He has made it a priority to work across the aisle to secure bipartisan support for his legislation, because Beto knows our country is at its best when we can put party aside to work together, build consensus and find common ground.

Much of Beto’s focus has been on improving the ability for veterans to get the health care — and other earned benefits — that they need. He’s also been focused on curbing the influence of corporate money in Congress. He helped introduce the “No PAC Act,” which would stop candidates for federal office from relying on PACs to bankroll their campaigns.

 

Accountability and responsiveness are critical to excellence in public service. Beto has made it a priority to host monthly town halls in El Paso to hear directly from his constituents. For nearly five years he hasn’t missed a single one. And that’s exactly how he’s running his campaign for U.S. Senate.

Beto is traveling to every part of Texas to meet with Texans in their communities. Whether they’re Democrats, Republicans, Independents or even non-voters, all Texans deserve an accountable, full-time, full-service Senator who’s committed to working tirelessly for our state. Now is the time for Texas to step up and lead.

Beto and his wife, Amy, are raising their three children, Ulysses, Molly and Henry, in El Paso.

Wednesday Open Thread | Meet Ben Jealous

Meet Ben Jealous – the Democratic Nominee for Governor of Maryland.

If you can give, please do. Even if you can’t, pass this info onto others.

Meet Ben.

Ben Jealous is a civil rights leader, community organizer, investor in startups for good, educator, former investigative journalist and a Rhodes Scholar who has spent his life bringing people together to get big things done.

He specializes in building diverse coalitions for change and holding government leaders accountable to the needs of everyday people.

Ben’s Maryland roots go back generations. His grandparents lived in Baltimore, where Ben’s grandfather worked on the B&O Railroad and his grandmother at Planned Parenthood. Ben’s mother grew up in the McCulloh Homes public housing complex in West Baltimore and helped to integrate Western High School in 1954 as a member of the NAACP’s Youth and College Division. Ben’s father was one of a small number of white men jailed during the Congress of Racial Equality’s efforts to desegregate Baltimore’s downtown business district.

Ben grew up spending summers in West Baltimore and has lived in Maryland throughout his career as a civil rights leader and businessman.

Ben has extensive experience as a non-profit executive, serving as the past president of the Rosenberg Foundation, and the founding director of Amnesty International’s U.S. Domestic Human Rights Program.

At age 35, Ben was named the youngest ever National President and CEO of the NAACP. During the depths of a national recession, Ben guided the NAACP through an unprecedented era of growth, nearly doubling the organization’s revenue in just five years. Online activists grew from 175,000 to more than 600,000 while donors increased from 16,000 individuals per year to more than 120,000. The NAACP’s membership increased three years consecutively for the first time in 20 years under Ben’s leadership.

 

Ben used his background as a community organizer and executive to press the NAACP forward in expanding and protecting the civil rights of all Americans. The NAACP opened national programs focused on education, health and environmental justice and worked on issues related to the economy and voting rights.

In 2013, Ben was named Marylander of the Year by the Baltimore Sun because of the role he played in leading the effort to abolish the death penalty, helping assure the effort to pass marriage equality was successful, chairing the effort to pass the DREAM Act, and expand voting rights.

Ben JealousThroughout his NAACP tenure, Ben worked with governors from California to Iowa, developing plans to help end mass incarceration and expand civil rights, and helped to pass numerous landmark pieces of legislation during President Obama’s first term in office.

As a community organizer Ben helped lead successful campaigns to abolish the death penalty for children, stop Mississippi’s governor from turning a public historically black university into a prison, and pass federal legislation against prison rape.

While working as a journalist in Mississippi, Ben’s investigations were credited with helping save the life of a white inmate who was being threatened for helping convict corrupt prison guards, free a black small farmer who was being framed for arson, and spur official investigations into law enforcement corruption.

Ben JealousBen currently works as an investor for Kapor Capital, an investment firm that invests in companies working to create progressive social change. At Kapor, Ben manages the firm’s Baltimore office where he has invested in several Maryland companies working to make our state stronger.

Ben is a graduate of Columbia and Oxford University and comes from a long line of activists. He is also the proud father of two children who attend public schools.

Tuesday Open Thread | Meet Stacey Abrams

Meet the woman who could become America’s First Black Female Governor.

Democratic Nominee Stacey Abrams of Georgia.

As always, if you can spare anything, please give. If you can’t, spread the word about Abrams to others.

Meet Stacey

Stacey knows our beginnings do not have to dictate who we will become. She has a boundless belief in Georgians’ capacity to prosper; and she has the courage, commitment to service, and experience to make this vision a reality.

Stacey’s Foundation

Stacey Abrams and her five siblings grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi with three tenets: go to school, go to church, and take care of each other. Despite struggling to make ends meet for their family, her parents made service a way of life for their children – if someone was less fortunate, it was their job to serve that person. This ethic – and her parents’ unwavering commitment to providing educational opportunity for their children – led the family to Georgia.

Stacey’s Childhood

Stacey’s parents attended Emory University to pursue graduate studies in Divinity and become United Methodist ministers. Stacey and her younger siblings attended DeKalb County Schools, and she graduated from Avondale High School. Stacey received degrees from Spelman College, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and Yale Law School.

Stacey’s Work

She put her education to work to better the lives of Georgians through the government, nonprofit, and business sectors. Dedicated to civic engagement, she founded the New Georgia Project, which submitted more than 200,000 registrations for voters of color between 2014 and 2016. Under the pen name Selena Montgomery, Stacey is the award-winning author of eight romantic suspense novels, which have sold more than 100,000 copies. As co-founder of NOW Account – a financial services firm that helps small businesses grow – Stacey has helped create and retain jobs in Georgia. And through her various business ventures, Stacey has helped employ even more Georgians, including hundreds of young people starting out.

Stacey’s Leadership

In 2010, Stacey became the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly and the first African American to lead in the House of Representatives. As House Minority Leader, she has worked strategically to recruit, train, elect, and defend Democrats to prevent a Republican supermajority in the House, and has worked across the aisle on behalf of all Georgians. During her tenure, she has stopped legislation to raise taxes on the poor and middle class and to roll back reproductive healthcare. She has brokered compromises that led to progress on transportation, infrastructure, and education. Most recently, she passed legislation to improve the welfare of grandparents and other kin raising children and secured increased funding to support these families.

Stacey’s Achievements

Stacey has worked hard to harness the extraordinary opportunities available to our state. She understands that if we have the vision to strive – and the courage to confront our challenges – our potential is boundless. She has met with families and small businesses in more than 150 counties, and she has proven her ability to find solutions across divides. Stacey has received the Friend of Labor award for her staunch support of working families and an A-rating from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce in the same year. She is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and she is the proud 2012 Grand Champion of the Georgia National Fair Legislative Livestock Roundup. Stacey has received recognition from the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Georgia), the National Urban League, EMILY’s List, and Planned Parenthood.

Monday Open Thread | Meet Andrew Gillum

It’s Labor Day. The beginning of ‘Election Season’.

Well, let’s meet some candidates this week.

He came out of nowhere last week to win the Democratic Nomination for Governor in Florida.

His name is Andrew Gillum.

If you like what you see, why don’t you tell others, and we can give him a collective financial boost. We know the power of small donations.

Meet Andrew

Andrew Gillum is running for Governor to rebuild Florida into a state that works for all of us. He knows everyone deserves good-paying jobs so they can support their families. He wants to protect and expand Floridians’ access to quality, affordable healthcare, especially people with pre-existing conditions. He knows we need to strengthen our public schools and end the culture of high-stakes testing.

As Governor, he will fight against the special interests that are standing in the way of taking real action on climate change, and he will always ensure Florida is a welcoming and safe place for everyone, no matter where they come from, who they love or how they identify.

Andrew was born in Miami where his mother drove a school bus and his father was a construction worker. He was the first in his family to graduate college and he went on to become the youngest person in history elected to the Tallahassee City Commission, before later becoming Mayor. He has a proud record of 15 years in public service.

As Mayor, Andrew developed a thriving innovation economy, beat the gun lobby in court to protect commonsense reform and stood up to President Trump and Governor Rick Scott to defend immigrants.

Under Andrew’s leadership, Tallahassee advanced workforce training programs for underrepresented workers as one of only 50 cities in the nation included in President Obama’s TechHire program. Andrew also helped lower violent crime in the City by more than 8 percent through increased investments in law enforcement, community policing, re-entry programs, and an expansion of social service funding.

Mayor Gillum is now running for Governor because we need a fresh approach to solving the problems of our state and get our government back on track. He lives with his wife R. Jai and their three children in Tallahassee, Florida.

 

I went looking for information about him, and found this wonderful page about his wife- R. Jai.

Found these videos.

They were on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. Now, play the video in the tweet, and tell me if you don’t observe what I do about Mayor Gillum. I think the women here will get what I mean.

Getting our day started with Tom Joyner @TJMShow in Orlando talking about how we fight for a Florida that lifts up our families & pays teachers what they’re worth. pic.twitter.com/S7mzIfhO3f

— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) August 31, 2018

Aretha Franklin: THE QUEEN OF SOUL

The Queen of Soul is gone.

As long as I’ve been alive, Aretha Franklin was here.

I have heard so many folks say that they felt like Aretha Franklin was family.

I understand that. To me, like so many others, she’s Auntie Re. The Aunt that kept it real. The Aunt that could throw down. The Aunt that would tell you the truth – and, Auntie Re told you the truth through her songs.

Aretha Franklin was the soundtrack for Black woman. Didn’t matter what kind of Black woman you were, Aretha Franklin had a song, and an album for you. After all, she’s had a career that spanned 6 decades. She has sung with pretty much everyone who was anyone for the past 60 years in music, in front of the microphone and in the recording studio. She has known everyone in the music business.

Someone on the radio while I was going home said something so true…

As long as Aretha Franklin has been in music, did we ever hear negative stories about her? All we heard was about her graciousness, her professionalism, her realness. I think a lot of that has to do with her being from Detroit and never growing away from Detroit. Through good times, and bad, Aretha Franklin was Rev. Franklin’s daughter from Detroit.

There are so many moments that you can recall from her life. Being raised in the church, and who her father was, she was right in the middle of all the action of the Civil Rights Movement. She was an activist, and a Citizen of the World before that was a ‘thing’.

Your mother, grandmother, Aunties got you listening to Aretha Franklin. You listen to her music…but, it took getting older to understand what Aretha Franklin was telling you. As you got older, you understood the meaning of the lyrics. As you got older, your soul connected with her voice. I can remember when she first touched my soul…the song that made you play it over and over because you thought that Aretha Franklin was singing just to you.

I have loved to see the tributes to her. The stories. The pictures of her over the years. Aretha Franklin defined Black Beauty….the history of Black women and beauty can be seen through Aretha Franklin.

One hundred years…two hundred years from now…they will study Aretha Franklin…they will be listening to her music.

There is a reason why Rolling Stone named her the #1 Singer – period.

I’m not a writer. Just a fan. A fan who weeps. A fan who is so happy to have lived during her time.

Please share your favorite videos. Stories. Memories. Ways she touched you. How she spoke to you.

 

Tuesday Open Thread | Did You Know That 3 Non-Government Employees Are Running the Veterans Administration?

Yes.

Three people who ARE NOT Government Employees are running one of the largest parts of the Government – The Veterans Administration.

We have Pro Publica to thank for informing us of this absolutely outrageous situation.

You know a veteran?

You know a veteran that gets their healthcare from the VA?

Maybe you should let them know that the decisions for their healthcare are being made by three people that they’ve never heard of. Three people whose only qualifications is that they pay dues at Mar-a-Lago.

Yeah, you read right.

 

The Shadow Rulers of the VA

How Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter and two other Mar-a-Lago cronies are secretly shaping the Trump administration’s veterans policies.

by Isaac Arnsdorf

Aug. 7, 6:29 p.m. EDT

Last February, shortly after Peter O’Rourke became chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs, he received an email from Bruce Moskowitz with his input on a new mental health initiative for the VA. “Received,” O’Rourke replied. “I will begin a project plan and develop a timeline for action.”

O’Rourke treated the email as an order, but Moskowitz is not his boss. In fact, he is not even a government official. Moskowitz is a Palm Beach doctor who helps wealthy people obtain high-service “concierge” medical care.

More to the point, he is one-third of an informal council that is exerting sweeping influence on the VA from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida. The troika is led by Ike Perlmutter, the reclusive chairman of Marvel Entertainment, who is a longtime acquaintance of President Trump’s. The third member is a lawyer named Marc Sherman. None of them has ever served in the U.S. military or government.

Yet from a thousand miles away, they have leaned on VA officials and steered policies affecting millions of Americans. They have remained hidden except to a few VA insiders, who have come to call them “the Mar-a-Lago Crowd.”

Perlmutter, Moskowitz and Sherman declined to be interviewed and fielded questions through a crisis-communications consultant. In a statement, they downplayed their influence, insisting that nobody is obligated to act on their counsel. “At all times, we offered our help and advice on a voluntary basis, seeking nothing at all in return,” they said. “While we were always willing to share our thoughts, we did not make or implement any type of policy, possess any authority over agency decisions, or direct government officials to take any actions… To the extent anyone thought our role was anything other than that, we don’t believe it was the result of anything we said or did.”

VA spokesman Curt Cashour did not answer specific questions but said a “broad range of input from individuals both inside and outside VA has helped us immensely over the last year and a half.” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters also did not answer specific questions and said Perlmutter, Sherman and Moskowitz “have no direct influence over the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

But hundreds of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with former administration officials tell a different story — of a previously unknown triumvirate that hovered over public servants without any transparency, accountability or oversight. The Mar-a-Lago Crowd spoke with VA officials daily, the documents show, reviewing all manner of policy and personnel decisions. They prodded the VA to start new programs, and officials travelled to Mar-a-Lago at taxpayer expense to hear their views. “Everyone has to go down and kiss the ring,” a former administration official said.

Kiss the ring?

WHAT THE PHUCK?

Three people, with no experience whatsoever, outside of being able to sign a check for dues at a PRIVATE CLUB, have say over what happens to the largest medical service in the country? The VA directly serves more people than any other healthcare system in the government.

Like with Jared, and Ivanka, once again, we have people who are unaccountable running policy for this country.

How many veterans have been hurt because of their policy decisions?

How many have been killed?

Why aren’t their policy plans being discussed? Being debated?

Why aren’t these men being called before Congress to justify what they’re doing?

Once again, here is ANOTHER point for why you should vote in November.

MILLIONS of Veterans are having their healthcare affected, and NOTHING from Congressional Republicans.

We MUST have accountability.

VOTE IN NOVEMBER 2018.

TAKE BACK CONGRESS.

Paul Manafort on Trial – Day 10

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – Said in earlier testimony to have helped Paul Manafort fraudulently secure loans, the next and potentially last witness slated to testify Monday is bank officer James Brennan.

On the stand last week, Federal Savings Bank senior vice president Dennis Raico told the jury that Brennan knowingly helped Manafort secure loans, even when it was evident that he lacked the assets to back them up.

Manafort’s control over the process was something he and other bank employees had never “seen [done] before,” Raico said.

At the Chicago-based bank, Brennan worked as a construction and commercial loan officer. Raico testified that he once urged Brennan in an email to “take a deep breath” before reviewing restructured terms for a $9.5 million loan that Manafort, their client, drew up himself.

The deal was being struck, Raico said, so that the bank’s chairman, Steve Calk, could land a spot inside the Trump administration, either as secretary of the Department of the Treasury or as secretary of the Army. Though Manafort resigned as chair of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign ahead of the election, his influence over the inaugural committee was addressed on the stand by Rick Gates, the government’s star witness.

In a brief this morning, prosecutors responded to a question by Judge Ellis about the materiality of any fraudulent representations that Manafort may have made to the Federal Savings Bank.

Ellis questioned specifically whether Calk’s intent to grant Manafort the loans in exchange for a spot in the Trump administration meant that Manafort could not have committed fraud.

Prosecutors say he could. “Even if Calk intended to approve Manafort’s loans for reasons relating to his personal interests, that would have no bearing on the materiality of Manafort’s false and fraudulent representations to the bank,” the brief states.

It is expected Brennan will testify on the nature of Manafort’s alleged tit-for-tat relationship with Calk, in addition to his role in the loan machinations. The witness is one of several whom Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team gave immunity to testify.

Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, is gravely ill

This is exclusive, and heart breaking for me and for the family and friends of the great Aretha Franklin. She is gravely ill in Detroit. The family is asking for prayers and privacy.

Originally diagnosed with cancer in 2010, Aretha, who turned 76 in March, bravely battled back and refused to be knocked out by illness. Her last performance as on November 2, 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York. Her final public performance was at Philadelphia’s Mann Center in August 2017. It was a miraculous show as Aretha was already then fighting exhaustion and dehydration.

Aretha is surrounded by family and people close to her. She will be so missed as a mother, sister, friend, cousin. But her legacy is larger than life. It’s not just that Rolling Stone called her the number 1 singer of all time, or that she is the Queen of Soul.

Long live the Queen…