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Op-Ed

NetrootsNation 2016 Wraps Up

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Reminder to everyone that this year and every year, Netroots Nation offers all of the keynote addresses and various workshops, via lifestream and video, for progressives who are unable to attend. I was lucky enough to be here all week, starting with the pre-conference NetrootsConnect LGBT. St. Louis is a troubled city trying to do better in a purple state. It struck me as a very southern city, in pace and overripe hospitality, but with a clearly liberal bent. All of the conference hotels were unionized. Here are some highlights with lots of links to full session videos. Thursday's opening plenary was revolutionary, a ...

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Who would you nominate for a US Truth and Reconciliation Commission?

Photo by Pete Prodoehl Flickr/creativecommons

Nominations for the US Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be needed. A commission like this, used so successfully in South Africa and Germany, is something transactional justice lawyers and activists have been calling for as the only solution to the dilemma of racial unrest we are experiencing. These commissions are made up of stakeholders from all points-of-view who come together in a extra-judicial forum because they are not about punishment, just truth and reconciliation. It is through these commissions, and the whole of society's experience of them, that we can come together as a nation with a set ...

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Barney Frank Nails the First Amendment Defense Act

Former House Rep Barney Frank Schools House Oversight Committee the true nature of the GOP's specious "First Amendment Defense Act."  7/12/16

The suspect "First Amendment Defense Act" (FADA) that is floating through Congress sustained its most damning criticism yesterday from former House Representative Barney Frank. You can read his full statement here; or watch some video. The GOP-sponsored bill attempts, with its ridiculous title, to legislate the protection of executives at any entity receiving taxpayer funding (a business, school, hospital, non-profit organization, etc.) to lawfully discriminate against LGBT people, and unmarried heterosexual couples, based solely on their personally held religious views. Yeah, you read that right. Legalized discrimination. Frank served in Congress (1981-2013) and is openly gay and married. He eviscerated the bill as ...

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Chief Obstacle to Racial Reconciliation is the Religious Right

Flickr/creativecommons

The obstacles to a successful US Truth and Reconciliation Commission in this country can be found everywhere. A commission such as this is an extra-judcial forum available to all stakeholders to face the past and find solutions, together, as one nation, healing the wounds and lasting effects of racism. It's easy to find examples of these obstacles because we don't have to look farther than at the exact same gang of corporate outlaws perverting our Constitution wherever and whenever possible to advance their greed while denying science, equal rights, and, yeah, facts. An apt example is the new Noah's Ark attraction in Tennessee ...

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Our Existential Crisis

Writing for Salon.com, Andrew O'Hehir points with clarity at the escalating stakes in our "existential crisis . . . the new civil war over the nature of reality." Using The Civil War as a corollary, where both sides fought with conviction for "freedom" with completely different definitions of that word, Hehir writes, "We are an intensely divided country — in terms of race, culture and ideology, of course, but also in terms of basic facts and how to understand them." No doubt it’s overstating the case to say that America has a white reality and a black reality, which are ...

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Almost no words

Photo by Grant McDonald
Flickr/creaativecommons

I'm so worried about several of my friends. We're sitting here desperately waiting for the moment to come when an event or set of events will be the fusion of messenger and message necessary to create a multi-racial civilian movement fully intent on fixing what's wrong with the US. Will this horrible week do it? If you've been reading this blog, especially lately, you already know my thoughts on a solution. I posit that the only lasting remedy, and the only tool for transformative justice, is the establishment of a US Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Other countries, such South Africa, ...

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Use your white skin to end racial violence and injustice

Photo by Michelle Robinson
Flickr/creativecommons

. We don't need sensational videotapes to remind us that every day in this country black people are being gunned down and murdered. White folks in general, either through antipathy or chronic disconnect, have dispensed with people of color. Through their inaction, they say it's okay for black communities to devolve into armed neighborhoods and for cops to become street executioners with no accountability. The only form of true privilege is when you give it to someone who has none. This is the motto we lived by. The rest is just bullshyte. Just having white skin is a privilege. And, if you are ...

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More on the racist roots of our founding

Photo by Nick Pezzillo
Flickr/creativecommons

When the Revolutionary War began, the odds of a united, continental effort to resist the British seemed nearly impossible. Few on either side of the Atlantic expected thirteen colonies to stick together in a war against their cultural cousins. In this pathbreaking book, Robert Parkinson argues that to unify the patriot side, political and communications leaders linked British tyranny to colonial prejudices, stereotypes, and fears about insurrectionary slaves and violent Indians. Manipulating newspaper networks, Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, and their fellow agitators broadcast stories of British agents inciting African Americans and Indians to take up arms against the American rebellion. ...

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How To Get To Reconciliation

Reconciliation, a sculpture donated by Richard Branson to symbolize the desire for peace after Hiroshima
Photo by Julie Gibbons 
Flickr/creativecommons

Introduction To commemorate July 4, yesterday, I wrote about the necessity for a US Truth & Reconciliation Commission (USTRC), an obvious concept that could someday "become the center to all the fireworks, BBQs, and white-centric glad-handing that takes place." Included were the threads that promise the inevitability of a  U.S. Reconciliation and Truth Commission (USRTC), articulated most notably by modern icon-philosophers such as MLK, Jr., and Nelson Mandela, particularly his real-world success in reconciling a just as wily South Africa. We have to start making amends somewhere — searching for reconciliation together is the only route out of the bondage of the current insanity ...

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July 4: The Lonely Road of Reconciliation 

Peacekeeping Monument, Ottawa, Canada
Photo by Catherine Bulinski
Flickr/creative commons

July 4 can be a good time for reflection, and it seems that every year, we have had something to say for the holiday, such as: religion, real and fake; an explanation of why sexual freedom is the bedrock of all freedoms; and, a 7-minute video montage of street interviews asking, "What Does Sexual Freedom Mean To You?" Last year, though, I took a different approach, tied in with my life-long search for answers to the cratering of modern civilization that we are witnessing today. While I believe that America may be the world’s best hope for universal human rights ...

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