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Member since: Wed Jul 16, 2008, 07:35 PM
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Journal Archives

Yazidi activist Nadia Murad to appear on 'The Daily Show'

Nobel Peace Prize Winner and survivor of Islamic State (IS) captivity Nadia Murad will appear on "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" Thursday, providing the activist with an opportunity to bring her message on sexual violence and the Yazidi genocide to a new and larger audience.

Murad is an activist and prominent member of Iraq’s Yazidi community. In 2014, she and thousands of other women from the ethnoreligious group were captured by IS when its militants swept through northern Iraq. Murad spent several weeks in IS captivity, where she was subject to severe physical and sexual abuse before escaping. IS targeted Yazidis in particular in part due to their non-Islamic religious beliefs. The killing and enslaving of Yazidis by IS in Sinjar, Iraq, has been described as a “genocide.”

Since fleeing IS, Murad has sought to highlight the plight of genocide and trafficking victims. Thousands of Yazidi, Turkmen, Christian and other women are still missing after being taken by IS. In 2018, Murad received a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts.

Murad announced she would be on the show on her Twitter account today. She will discuss "my work to fight for human rights, end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, and honor survivors on the 6th anniversary of the Yazidi Genocide,” she said in the tweet.


Baghdad, Iraq hits 125 degrees, shattering all- record

On Wednesday, Baghdad followed up with a temperature of 124 degrees, its second highest temperature on record. On Monday, it had reached 123 degrees.

The crippling heat forced many residents indoors, and street sellers had to seek whatever shade they could find. With the state electricity grid failing, many households were relying on generators to power fridges, fans or air conditioning units, the machines adding a guttural hum to the city’s already-noisy streets.

Two protesters were shot dead by security forces Monday during demonstrations over a lack of electricity and basic services amid the heatwave.

In nearby Lebanon, where a nationwide electricity crisis has left much of the country with less than three hours of state-provided power per day, the cost of a generator had doubled, leaving many households to go without.


Kaepernick, Fauci to receive Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award

Former NFL star Colin Kaepernick and Anthony Fauci, the country's leading infectious disease expert, are slated to be among this year's recipients of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award.

Other leaders expected to receive the award this year include Dolores Huerta, founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and co-founder of United Farm Workers of America; Dan Schulman, president and chief executive officer of PayPal; and Dan Springer, chief executive officer of DocuSign.

"At a time when the courageous pursuit of equality and justice has become political and riddled with adversity, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights stands with these modern-day human rights defenders in their inspirational fight for progress," the organization said in an announcement on Monday.

In a statement thanking the organization for the honor, Kaepernick recalled his experience watching musician and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte receive the same award in 2017.


Donald Trump's suburban horror show

If current numbers hold, the Republican Party will suffer its worst defeat in the suburbs in decades — with implications reaching far beyond November.


It is the same story in suburbs everywhere. In a Fox News poll last weekend, Trump was trailing Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, by 11 percentage points in the suburbs. An ABC News/Washington Post poll had Trump down 9 percentage points there — larger margins in the suburbs than exit polls have recorded since the 1980s, when Republicans were winning there by double digits.

That polling reflects a dramatic swing from 2016, when Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the suburbs by 4 percentage points. Trump’s erosion in the suburbs is a major reason the electoral map this year has expanded for Democrats in recent weeks — with Trump in danger not only of losing, but of taking the Senate down with him. And demographic shifts are only becoming more favorable to Democrats. The suburbs are rapidly growing, and by 2018, according to Pew, people of color made up nearly a third of suburban population.

“The movement of suburban voters, particularly educated women and millennials being so progressive in their politics, increased voting participating among Latinos, African Americans,” said Bill Carrick, a Democratic strategist who managed Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt’s 1988 presidential campaign. “That all contributes to this geography: Suddenly, we’ve got Georgia and Texas and Florida and Arizona, Iowa. There’s a lot of places in play.”

Trump’s damage in the suburbs has come primarily, as it has elsewhere, from his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. But Trump’s response to the George Floyd protests also appears to have hurt him in the suburbs — his militant reaction crashing into an electorate that is less white and insular than it was half a century ago, when Richard Nixon made “law and order” rhetoric work.


Poll Shows Most Voters Agree Black, Hispanic Americans Face Discrimination

Voters in growing numbers believe that Black and Hispanic Americans are discriminated against, and a majority of 56% holds the view that American society is racist, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.

The poll finds that Americans of all races and age groups share significant concerns about discrimination nearly two months after George Floyd, a Black man, was killed in police custody in Minneapolis. Nearly three-quarters of Americans, 71%, believe that race relations are either very or fairly bad, a 16-point increase since February.

In other signs of substantial shifts in views on race, more voters see racial bias as a feature of American society and support protests aimed at addressing it. Nearly 60% in the survey said that Black people face discrimination, and just over half said so of Hispanics, about double the shares from 2008. Support has also grown for two of the public responses to concerns about inequality: the Black Lives Matter movement and professional athletes’ practice of kneeling during the national anthem.

“Americans are concerned about issues of inequality, and George Floyd’s death helped contribute to that,” said Brenda Lee, a pollster who worked on the survey with Democrat Jeff Horwitt and Republican Bill McInturff. “We’ve moved the needle a great deal in terms of just clearly identifying that we, as Americans, have an issue with racism in this society.”


CDC employees take on another pandemic: racism COMMENTARY

More than 1,200 Centers for Disease Control employees recently signed a letter imploring Director Robert Redfield to declare racism a public health crisis and for the CDC to “clean its own house” by instituting what they’re calling seven acts of change. Among the demands is an acknowledgment that the CDC has a “toxic culture of exclusion and racial discrimination” and an increase to Black representation among top leadership. The letter notes that out of 30 senior officials at the CDC, only three are Black, and two out of the three are in leadership roles related to race.

“At CDC, we have a powerful platform from which to create real change,” they wrote. “By declaring racism a public health crisis, the agency has an unprecedented opportunity to leverage the power of science to confront this insidious threat that undermines the health and strength of our entire nation.”

The employees make a powerful point: Racism is a pandemic that’s been raging for centuries, and it’s deadly. In the Black community, it takes lives through police brutality, inadequate health care and unequal economic opportunities. We saw it this spring, when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd, an African American man, for nearly 9 minutes, until he was dead. And we see it daily in our own communities, as COVID-19 disproportionately affects people of color — something the primarily white CDC leadership clearly didn’t want to admit, seeing as The New York Times had to sue them to gather data related to the pandemic’s racial breakdown. It shows that Black and Latinx Americans are three times as likely to contract coronavirus as whites, and twice as likely to die from it.

Unsurprisingly, when the White House Coronavirus Task Force was initially announced, there was not a single Black or Latinx expert on the list, and though several people of color have since joined, the group is still overwhelmingly white (and male). In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan’s Coronavirus Response Team, convened in March, included only one African American person out of a dozen people named.


Once Upon A Time In Iraq

This is the story of the Iraq war, told by Iraqis who lived through it. They share their personal accounts and lasting memories of life under Saddam Hussein, the U.S.-led invasion of their country and the 17 years of chaos that followed — from the sectarian violence to the rise and brutal reign of ISIS.


These States' Leaders Claim to Be 'Pro-Life.' So Why Are So Many of Their Citizens Dying of COVID-19

As the coronavirus surges across the U.S., states across the South and West have reported sharp increases in their daily number of new cases. While the initial outbreaks in New York and Seattle reflected where community spread of the disease began in the U.S., these more recent surges in Florida, Texas, Arizona and some two dozen other states reveal more about our capacity to respond. Many Asian and European countries that experienced their first cases and initial outbreaks at the same time we did have successfully suppressed the virus and returned to semi-normal life. Meanwhile, COVID spreads across the U.S. like contrast dye on an MRI, highlighting a malignancy in our body politic.

When we look closely at the data, the regions where the coronavirus is currently surging are precisely the places where white people have been manipulated by a distorted moral narrative for decades. Ironically, the governors who are most willing to watch their citizens die are the ones who have used “pro-life” rhetoric to compel people of faith to support the narrow interests of corporate greed and white political power. COVID has revealed how the “pro-life” movement is killing us.

Beginning in the late 1970s, Republican politicians who wanted to unite a white electorate in the South, the suburbs and across the Sunbelt knew they could no longer directly appeal to white cultural values in the wake of the civil rights movement. So they began using the language of traditional values and religious liberty to persuade white voters that the real problem in America is moral decline and cultural corruption. By framing women’s rights as an assault on traditional values, this movement mobilized white people who felt threatened by civil rights, women’s rights and the anti-war movement of the 1960s and ‘70s to assert their values as “pro-life.” They opposed abortion while promoting a narrative that blamed poor people for their problems and glorified the “opportunities” corporate profits afford to the industrious.

For the past 40 years, this narrative has been reinforced through a coordinated network of independent media, private school curricula, pulpits and political operatives. As investigative journalist Anne Nelson describes in her book Shadow Network, conservative Christians have increasingly come to live in a self-reinforcing wraparound culture of propaganda. When that network of information demonized efforts to address the current pandemic by staying at home, even from church, they resisted public health advice in the name of religious liberty.


The Police Have Been Spying on Black Reporters and Activists for Years. I Know Because I'm One of

The Police Have Been Spying on Black Reporters and Activists for Years. I Know Because I’m One of Them.

Wendi C. Thomas is a black journalist who has covered police in Memphis. One officer admitted to spying on her. She’s on a long list of prominent black journalists and activists who have been subjected to police surveillance over decades.

by Wendi C. Thomas, MLK50: Justice Through Journalism June 9, 6 a.m. EDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On Aug. 20, 2018, the first day of a federal police surveillance trial, I discovered that the Memphis Police Department was spying on me.

The ACLU of Tennessee had sued the MPD, alleging that the department was in violation of a 1978 consent decree barring surveillance of residents for political purposes.


One of the first witnesses called to the stand: Sgt. Timothy Reynolds, who is white. To get intel on activists and organizers, including those in the Black Lives Matter movement, he’d posed on Facebook as a “man of color,” befriending people and trying to infiltrate closed circles.


Carmelo Anthony calls on 6 teams to drop Native American names, including Warriors

Former Syracuse basketball star Carmelo Anthony is calling on six major sports teams to drop Native American mascots and nicknames, including the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

“We are not equal until all our communities are equal. In support of our Native American communities, the use of Native mascot names needs to end,” Melo wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

He tagged the Washington Redskins and the NFL’s official Twitter accounts in the tweet, which included a photo of six names crossed out representing two MLB teams (Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians); two NFL teams (”R*dsk*ns,” Kansas City Chiefs); one NHL team (Chicago Blackhawks); and one NBA team (Warriors).

“Eliminate all native mascots,” the image said.


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