Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women: Michigan Women’s Commission raises awareness
Ypsilanti, Michigan, 4 June 2020 --
Nationally, criminals target Native American women for 34% of all rapes and 61% of all assaults (“Violence Against Women in Indian Country,” Indian Country Today, 2015), yet Native Women are less than 1.7% of the U.S. population (Census Bureau, 2010). In Michigan, there are 4 victims of human trafficking for every 100,000 residents (World Population Review, 2020). Native Americans are 0.6% of the population...
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BY BILL MOYERS | JUNE 5, 2020
At 98, historian Bernard Weisberger has seen it all. Born in 1922, he grew up watching newsreels of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler as they rose to power in Europe. He vividly remembers Mussolini posturing to crowds from his balcony in Rome, chin outthrust, right arm extended. Nor has he forgotten Der Fuehrer’s raspy voice on radio, interrupted by cheers of “Heil Hitler,” full of menace even without pictures.
Fascist bullies and threats anger Bernie, and when America went to war to confront them, he interrupted his study of history to help make history by joining the army. He yearned to be an aviator but his eyesight was too poor. So he took a special course in Japanese at Columbia University and was sent as a translator to the China-Burma-India theater where Japanese warlords were out to conquer Asia. Bernie remembers them, too.
In time, we became colleagues on a series of broadcasts about the 20th century. As we compared the leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler in an episode titled The President and the Dictator, Bernie kept reminding the team that the most cunning demagogues “are never more than a few steps from becoming dictators.” Not surprisingly, the subject came up again when Trump was elected. No, we didn’t think he was Hitler, or the Republicans Nazis, but both of us acknowledged a deep unease over the vulnerabilities of democracy, which had led to Trump’s election in the first place. Inspired by Bernie and unnerved by Trump, I decided to take a deeper look at democracy under stress and began reading what is now more than a dozen books on Europe in the 1930s. The most recent is a compelling and chilling account of Hitler’s First Hundred Days, by the historian Peter Fritzsche – a familiar story revisited by the author with fresh verve and insight.
Hitler was a master of manipulation, using propaganda, violence, intimidation, showmanship, and spectacle — and above all, fear. By demonizing “the other” – Jews, social democrats and communists – Hitler won the hearts and minds of the masses, consolidating his power, and turning Germany into a one-party Nazi state.
I had just finished the book when I received a short email from Bernie, who had been watching on television the events following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. He wrote, “All this open talk by Trump of dominance is pretty undisguised fascism. He’s inciting chaos to set the stage for the strong man to ‘rescue’ the nation.”
There was no doubt who would be Superman riding to America’s rescue. When Trump promised to end what he called “American carnage” – a crisis of “poverty in our inner cities, rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, crime and gangs and drugs” — he did not ask for our help. He did not ask that we put our faith in each other or in our democratic values or even in God. Donald J. Trump would be our savior, the new Messiah — because “I alone can fix it.”
Bernie’s note triggered a recollection, sending me across the room to retrieve from a file drawer an essay written two years ago in The New York Review of Books by the American legal scholar Cass Sunstein. Reviewing three new books about ordinary Germans and the Nazi regime, he concluded: “With our system of checks and balances, full-blown authoritarianism is unlikely to happen here.”
I had admired Sunstein’s work for years and found reassuring his judgment that the rule of law would check a would-be tyrant. But many found that assurance disquieting. One dissenter was Norman Ravitch, emeritus professor of history at the University of California, Riverside. Responding to Sunstein, he wrote: “The normal concern of people of all sorts with their daily lives, family, work, leisure, and so on indicates that only those in certain areas of work and life could possibly notice the slow but relentless advance of authoritarian and totalitarian policies by the government. The Nazis knew how to appeal to people who did not have the ideological concerns but only normal human concerns. They knew how to conceal their real goals and how to make passive individuals active supporters.”
So does Trump. He understands that most Americans are concerned with little more than the economy, health care and jobs. They respond positively to politicians who promise action on these priorities, whether or not they know if those promises will ever be fulfilled. Ravitch pointed out that like Hitler and like Mussolini, Trump knows how to appeal to a variety of concerns with promises that can be both attractive and contradictory. Because no population is educated enough, sensitive enough, or ethical enough to see through the deception, “the danger is very great indeed. It may in fact be one of the chief weaknesses of democracy that democracy can lead to tyranny just as well or perhaps even more than other political systems.”
Two years have passed since that exchange between scholars, and in those two years Trump has doubled down. This president is no friend of democracy.
He has declared himself above the law, preached insurrection by encouraging armed supporters to “liberate” states from the governance of duly elected officials, told police not to be “too nice” while doing their job, and gloated over the ability of the Secret Service to turn “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons” loose on demonstrators — to “come down on them hard” if they get too “frisky.
He has politicized the Department of Justice while remaking the judiciary in his image.
He has stifled investigations into his administration’s corruption, fired officials charged with holding federal agencies accountable to the public, and rewarded his donors and cronies with government contracts, subsidies, deregulations, and tax breaks.
He has maligned and mocked the disadvantaged, the disabled, and people of color.
He has sought to politicize the military, including in his entourage the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs (dressed in combat fatigues), as his orderlies unleashed chemical fumes on peaceful protesters – all so that the president could use them as stage props in a photo op, holding up a Bible in front of a historic church, just to make a dandy ad for his re-election campaign.
He has purged his own party of independent thinkers and turned it into a spineless, mindless cult while demonizing the opposition.
He has purloined religion for state and political ends.
He has desecrated the most revered symbols of Christian faith by converting them to partisan brands.
He has recruited religious zealots for jobs in his administration, rewarding with government favors the electoral loyalty of their followers.
He has relentlessly attacked mainstream media as purveyors of “fake news” and “enemies of the people” while collaborating with a sycophantic right- wing media – including the Murdoch family’s Fox News — to flood the country with lies and propaganda.
He has maneuvered the morally hollow founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, into compromising the integrity of the most powerful media giant in the country by infusing it with partisan bias.
And because truth is the foe he most fears, he has banned it from his administration and his lips.
Yes, Bernie, you are right: the man in the White House has taken all the necessary steps toward achieving the despot’s dream of dominance.
Can it happen here?
It is happening here.
Democracy in America has been a series of narrow escapes. We may be running out of luck, and no one is coming to save us. For that, we have only ourselves.
Dear Michigan Democrat -
I am concerned citizen, a veteran, and an award winning songwriter. For a variety of reasons that are too numerous to mention, it is imperative that our current President be defeated in the coming election. I have written two songs that might be of use to you in your efforts to do this.
"Take Away His Keys" is an anthem type song; the subject matter being clear in the title. "Follow Me" is a satirical song, the opening being a sappy reminiscence of yesterdays "glory days", which at 33 seconds kicks into the meat of the song - the things that existed in those "glory days" that have been changed because of the efforts of progressives through the ages.
Feel free to use the songs in any way you like.
Links to the songs are below.
Follow Me https://youtu.be/Pbjvabc_qWA
Take Away His Keys https://youtu.be/qBnvNVhPadw
May 1, 2020
Authors:Hans von Spakovsky and J. Adams
There is unprecedented pressure being brought to bear on election officials by the media, liberal advocacy organizations, and legislators like Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) to hold an all-mail election in November. Even assuming that COVID-19 will still be an issue six months from now, states will have the funds and resources needed to implement all protective health protocols recommended by experts for polling places. The recent Wisconsin elections and the Liberian elections during the Ebola outbreak are successful examples of how this can be done. We should not put the ballots of all Americans into the hands of the U.S. Postal Service—at least not if we want to have faith in the security and integrity of the outcome.
KEY TAKEAWAYSAmerica and other nations, including Liberia during the Ebola epidemic, have successfully conducted free and fair elections during health crises.
With sufficient resources, states can take the necessary precautions to ensure voters are safe while casting their ballots in the 2020 elections.
We must not put the ballots of all Americans into the hands of the U.S. Postal Service if we are to have faith in the security and integrity of the outcome.
Read the Full Report:
Tom Ridge, “Selfish protests against stay-at-home orders dishonor America's veterans,” USA Today, May 11, 2020.Bennie Adkins died the other day. The retired Army command sergeant major was 86 and had fought a 23-day battle against coronavirus. A little more than 50 years ago, halfway around the world, Bennie’s heroic actions at the battle of Camp A Shau in Vietnam resulted in his being awarded the Medal of Honor.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about my fellow veterans. Honorable men like Bennie Adkins. And John McCain. We carried the weapons of war in defense of our nation and our liberties.
In recent days, we have seen images of Americans carrying weapons as part of their protests to immediately reopen society. What are they planning to do, shoot the virus with their AR-15s?
These self-absorbed and selfish Americans complain they are irritated, anxious, bored, upset — unhappy that their lives have been affected by this temporary restraint on their freedoms. Some have even gotten into confrontations with nurses and other front-line health care workers who believe now is not the time to resume normality.
Every day, there are heartbreaking new reports of nurses and doctors sick or dying because of their service to our country. They find themselves at the tip of the spear as we combat this pandemic. That they have to take precious time from getting desperately needed rest or being with their families to counter these protesters makes my blood boil.
Of course, our First Amendment gives them the right to protest. Our veterans helped ensure it. But let’s make one thing clear: It is impossible to characterize the actions of those who are protesting orders to stay at home as courageous or heroic.
Health care workers on front lines
In this war against the indiscriminate and lethal enemy, nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers and countless other health care workers are serving on the front lines. While wearing a different uniform, they are surely putting their lives at risk just as I did as a young Army staff sergeant 50 years ago.
As a veteran, I look at these protests with a different perspective and believe many veterans would agree. Some may not. That’s OK. This is America.
Apparently these protesters with their weapons and false bravado — many of whom risk spreading the virus further by refusing to wear masks and standing apart from one another — are smarter than the medical experts. They have decided to ignore the public discussions about incrementally turning our economy back on because it doesn’t fit their personal timetables.
Let's consider that while out of work, and I don’t for a minute minimize the real financial pain this is causing, they are generally confined to their homes, with refrigerators, televisions, the internet and the ability to take a walk, go to the store or just talk to a neighbor.
Let’s also focus for a moment on the millions of Americans who have worn the uniform of this great country, put themselves in harm's way in ways most could not comprehend, and protected the right of these protesters to complain.
And let’s remember those whose service resulted in capture, among them my friend John McCain, who spent 5 1/2 years in the Hanoi Hilton.
That’s 66 months. Our social distancing has not yet reached eight weeks.
Those prisoners of war were not able to take a walk or drive to the grocery store for supplies. Now there may be a few Americans who don’t think our POWs were heroes, but most Americans have a deep appreciation of their service and sacrifice.
Nation needs us to sacrifice
The point is this. Your country has asked you to forgo your normal personal and professional routine for a couple of months in the war against COVID-19. No question, it is difficult and sometimes feels unbearable as economic and emotional stress mount each day. But the pandemic in less than three months has taken the lives of more Americans than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in the Vietnam War.
The entire country is under siege, but you are not in the trenches of France, not gaining ground inch by inch in the Pacific, not slogging through the paddies and jungles in Vietnam, and not taking on global terrorists in desert warfare. And you are NOT prisoners of war. You are at home.
We are citizens of the greatest country on planet Earth. As citizens, we are asked to wear temporarily a unique uniform of service decorated with ribbons for patience, understanding and support of the troops on the front lines.
I don’t think that is too much to ask, especially if we check the history books and remind ourselves that we are a resilient country, and that we can prevail in this battle if we work together.
Politics be damned. No time for it now. We can sort it out later. Same team. Same fight. Let’s get on with it.
Tom Ridge, a former Republican Member of Congress and former Governor of Pennsylvania was appointed by President Bush as the first U.S. secretary of Homeland Security. He served as an infantry staff sergeant in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star for Valor.
This wonderful list of talented potentials are going to bat for us in a myriad of positions locally. Check out below as we add photos, bios, and campaign events for them over the next few months.
US Senator- Gary Peters
Rep in Congress (4th District)- Anthony D Feig
Rep in Congress (4th District)- Jerry Hilliard
Representative (70th District)- Karen Garvey
Representative (93rd District)- Salman Rais
County Commissioner (1st District)- Jen Lobdell
County Commissioner (1st District)- David Wier
County Commissioner (2nd District)- Rex Smith
County Commissioner (4th District)- Tim Lambrecht
County Commissioner (5th District)- Eric Cordray
Bethany Township Supervisor- Donald Long
Newark Township Clerk- Tamey Skinner
New Haven Township Clerk- Candy Lynn Smith
Fulton Township Treasurer- Julie Henry
Elba Township Trustee- Thomas J. Bradley
Elba Township Trustee- Connie S. Stehlik
North Star Township Trustee- Brett Fidler
Jennifer Rubin, “NeverTrump becomes NeverRepublican,” Washington Post, 13 May 2020.
Conservative commentator William Kristol explained in an interview for The Post that he finds it impossible to go back to the Republican Party. “Trump’s been renominated, and liberating the party from Trump or Trumpism seems awfully far-fetched,” Kristol said. “Obviously, if he loses in November, things are in more flux. ... But I can’t honestly conceive of working with [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell and [former Senate majority whip] John Cornyn and [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy.” He added: “I’m just disgusted by what they’ve been doing, really, for the last three years, that I don’t much look forward to that.” (Disclosure: I wrote pieces for Kristol when he was editor of the Weekly Standard and consider him a friend.)
There once was a friendly debate among those who used the NeverTrump moniker about whether the GOP could be “saved” or was worth “saving.” Early in the Trump presidency (if not before), I answered no; many who once spoke of reforming or reviving the party now have come around to the view it is hopeless.
I cannot speak for others, but the reason the Republican Party is not worth saving is that with few exceptions (e.g. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker), its members have fully embraced Trump and Trumpism — a noxious brew of nationalism, contempt for truth, xenophobia and an “America First” agenda. Any of these would have sent me fleeing from the party; collectively, they make it impossible to return. Sadly, my feelings toward the spineless Republicans who blindly supported Trump, opposed impeachment, enabled his lies and attacks on institutions, and have not found the nerve — even in a pandemic — to take issue with his lies, impulsive reactions and dangerous preferences can be summed up in a single word: contempt.
The Democrats, to the relief of many NeverTrumpers, made it easy for us in this presidential election. Former vice president Joe Biden is a decent, qualified man who is respectful of objective reality, understands separation of powers and embraces America as a nation founded on a creed (“All men are created equal ...”), not on blood and soil. He is no socialist. We can happily embrace him. I would have been prepared to crawl over broken glass to vote for anyone but Trump — yes, even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — because of my conviction that Trump is a menace to democracy and now a danger to our very lives. It would not have been a pleasant choice, and many NeverTrumpers would not have joined me. Thankfully, we were spared the Sanders-vs.-Trump match-up.
But what does this mean going forward, in (God willing) a Biden presidency?
First and foremost, in the battles against Trump’s lawlessness and assault on democracy, for which we have common cause with Democrats, we made clear our determination to shore up our democracy and reinforce institutions that Trump broke. We must make good on that promise, urging protections against politicization of the Justice Department, putting an end to not-even-thinly disguised efforts to suppress the vote, opposing government by acting secretaries and repopulating government with qualified, ethical people.
Second, Biden will need all the help he can get in developing a short-term response to the pandemic, overseeing development of a vaccine and its fair distribution and managing a sane restoration of the “new normal.” I concur wholeheartedly with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.),
who argues that the pandemic has highlighted gross inequities in our society (manifesting in higher death rates and unemployment for nonwhites) that span many issues (e.g. health care,
broadband access). That, too, demands our attention. The necessity to target resources where they are desperately needed should not be a partisan issue. No decent person, let alone someone who considers himself a small-"d" democrat, should tolerate such inequities that literally result in the deaths of our fellow Americans.
Third, Biden is fortunately an internationalist at heart who supports an active U.S. presence in the world and still believes U.S. leadership is essential. Most NeverTrumpers have enthusiastically embraced that mind-set for decades, but we must now do some serious thinking about how the United States leads, which international institutions need to be reformed and how we meet the challenge of autocratic states and their undermining of democracy. The isolationist temptation is never fully suppressed, but we must do our best to bolster those who share our worldview.
Finally, many people ask: Are you all big-"D" Democrats now? My answer is “it depends.” I am a Pat Moynihan Democrat, a Scoop Jackson Democrat, an Andrew Cuomo Democrat. I’m not a Bernie Sanders Democrat. So where does that leave me? Where I have been for just about four years: a center-right member of the “Resistance,” an advocate for good governance and internationalism (including free trade and robust legal immigration) and a passionate believer in the American creed. The best answer perhaps to the partisan affiliation question is that it is a time for creative policy and civility, so we will focus on that.
One final point: NeverTrumpers, now NeverRepublicans, should keep their eye on the extraordinary class of female freshmen House centrists (Reps. Abigail Spanberger, Mikie Sherrill, Elaine Luria and others). A lot of those ex-Republicans might decide they are Abigail Spanberger Democrats.