Tag: terrorist attack

Republicans in Wisconsin and Missouri disrespect the American flag

On June 14, 1777, exactly two years to the day of the founding of what is now known as U.S. Army, the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the first version of the national flag of the United States of America. In 1916, then-President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring June 14 to be Flag Day.

Sadly, some politicians have used Flag Day to disgrace the American flag.

First off, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a Republican, sent out a Flag Day tweet featuring a 48-star flag, which hasn’t been in official use since July 3, 1959:

The U.S. flag has officially featured 50 stars since July 4, 1960, the first Independence Day since Hawaii became the most recent state to join the Union.

Even more disgraceful, in my opinion, was a decision by two of the three members of the Republican-controlled Cole County, Missouri commission to not lower the U.S. flag on county grounds to half-mast, as ordered by the president to commemorate the terrorist attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Cole County, Missouri includes Jefferson City, which is Missouri’s state capital:

Following this weekend’s shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, President Obama ordered that, “as a mark of respect for the victims,” the United States flag be flown at half-staff “upon all public buildings and grounds” through the end of the day Thursday. Officials in Cole County, Missouri decided this didn’t apply to them.

The three-member commission that governs the county voted 2-1 against lowering the flag. “We (the commission) still have control over how the flags are displayed,” Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher (R) told the Jefferson City News Tribune. “Lowering it too much takes away from the honor. I feel for these victims and for their families, but I don’t feel this was a time for the flag to be lowered.”

Commissioner Kris Scheperle (R) similarly suggested that the Orlando shooting just doesn’t rise to the occasion. “I want to honor those who have served our country,” he said, “but we can’t lower it for every event like this that occurs. I do feel for those who were gunned down, but I don’t think it warrants lowering the flag.”

After public outcry, the Cole County commissioners decided to reverse their original decision and obey the president’s orders to lower the U.S. flag to half-staff after all.

While America celebrates our national flag, Republicans are busy disgracing our flag.

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The First Annual Order of The Progressive Midwesterner Awards

For the first time ever, this blog will be awarding end-of-the-year awards to several individuals who I consider to be effective at advancing progressive causes during the year, regardless of whether or not one meets the typical criteria of being politically progressive or not. This is the first annual awarding of the Order of The Progressive Midwestern Awards, for the year 2015. All ProgMid Award winners for this year and years in the future are automatically inducted into the Order of The Progressive Midwesterner.

The award categories for the first ProgMid Awards are as follows:

  • Person of the Year
  • Man of the Year
  • Woman of the Year
  • American of the Year
  • International Person of the Year
  • Group of the Year
  • Athlete of the Year
  • Blogger of the Year
  • Activist of the Year
  • Elected Official of the Year
  • Entertainer of the Year
  • Young Person of the Year

There are two important notes regarding the awards:

  • Many award recipients will receive multiple awards. For example, if the Person of the Year in a given year is a female athlete from Canada, she would win Person of the Year, Woman of the Year, International Person of the Year, and Athlete of the Year.
  • Should multiple people or a group of people win award(s) other than Group of the Year, the plural form of the name(s) of the other award(s) will be used (People, Men, Women, Americans, International People, Athletes, Bloggers, Activists, Elected Officials, Entertainers, and/or Young People).

With that said, I hereby present the First Annual Order of The Progressive Midwestern Awards, for the year 2015!

Person of the Year – Bernie Sanders

Person of the Year is the only open ProgMid Award category.

No person has made a bigger impact on advancing progressive causes in the year 2015 than Bernie Sanders. Bernie, the junior U.S. Senator from Vermont, is currently seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in the 2016 elections, and he has made improving America’s economy a key part of his campaign. Bernie has publicly championed raising the U.S. minimum wage to $15/hour, guaranteeing paid family leave, making college in America truly affordable, breaking up large financial institutions, and many other progressive ideals. Bernie is the ProgMid Person of the Year for 2015.

Man of the Year – Bernie Sanders

Men are eligible for the Man of the Year Award.

Since the Person of the Year, Bernie Sanders, is male, Bernie is also the ProgMid Man of the Year for 2015.

Woman of the Year – Rachel Notley

Women are eligible for the Woman of the Year Award.

In Alberta, Canada’s most conservative province, Rachel Notley led the Alberta New Democratic Party to a landslide victory in the Alberta legislative general election in May of 2015, and, as a result of the election, Notley became Premier of Alberta. Notley and her party ran on a progressive platform that championed good government, Alberta’s environment, economic justice, and common sense, and they won in a very conservative part of Canada. Notley is the ProgMid Woman of the Year for 2015.

American of the Year – Bernie Sanders

In order for one to be eligible for the American of the Year Award, one must be a United States citizen, United States national, resident of the United States, or some combination thereof.

Since the Person of the Year, Bernie Sanders, is an American, Bernie is also the ProgMid American of the Year for 2015.

International Person of the Year – Rachel Notley

Those who are not eligible for the American of the Year Award are eligible for the International Person of the Year Award.

Since the Woman of the Year, Rachel Notley, is a Canadian, Notley is also the ProgMid International Person of the Year for 2015.

Group of the Year – The Black Lives Matter Movement

The Group of the Year Award is the only ProgMid Award that is required to be awarded to a group of people.

In response to racism, police brutality, and police shootings of black people in America, the Black Lives Matter movement, a group of progressive activists seeking reform of the criminal justice system and increased accountability of law enforcement in America, has brought the issues of criminal justice reform and law enforcement accountability to the forefront of American politics. Black Lives Matter is the ProgMid Group of the Year for 2015.

Athlete of the Year – Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Professional athletes and individuals primarily known for being amateur athletes (including, but not limited to, collegiate athletes and amateur Olympic athletes) are eligible for the Athlete of the Year Award.

Although one would usually not think of a NASCAR driver as advancing a progressive cause, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. played an important role in building public support for taking down the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina State House in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. When asked about his thoughts about the Confederate flag, Dale Jr. called the Confederate flag “offensive to an entire race” and said that the Confederate flag “belongs in the history books, and that’s about it”. For his condemnation of the Confederate flag, Dale Jr. is the ProgMid Athlete of the Year for 2015.

Blogger of the Year – Kelly Wilz

Those who are an administrator of, editor of, author of, and/or contributor to a blog are eligible for the Blogger of the Year Award.

One of the newest members of the progressive blogosphere is Kelly Wilz, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County. Wilz is also the author of the progressive political blog Dissent and Cookies, which launched in May of 2015. As a blogger, Wilz has primarily focused on ending rape culture in America and supporting tenure protections for college professors, both of which are very important causes. Wilz is the 2015 ProgMid Blogger of the Year.

Activists of the Year – The Black Lives Matter Movement

Those who are largely or primarily known for being a political activist are eligible for the Activist of the Year Award.

Since the Group of the Year, the Black Lives Matter movement, is a group of political activists, members of the Black Lives Matter movement are also the 2015 ProgMid Activists of the Year.

Elected Official of the Year – Bernie Sanders

Those who were a public official elected either directly by the people or elected by a body elected by the people (such as the U.S. Electoral College) at any point in the year in which the award is given are eligible for the Elected Official of the Year Award.

Since the Person of the Year, Bernie Sanders, is an incumbent elected official, Bernie is also the 2015 ProgMid Elected Official of the Year.

Entertainer of the Year – Jon Stewart

Those who are entertainers (actors/actresses, comedians/comediennes, musicians, sports announcers, radio show hosts, television show hosts, etc.) are eligible for the Entertainer of the Year Award.

While Jon Stewart left the anchor desk of the Comedy Central news satire program The Daily Show in August of this year, Stewart has not abandoned the first responders who responded to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Stewart passionately advocated for, and won, renewal of federally-funded health care for 9/11 first responders. Stewart is the 2015 ProgMid Entertainer of the Year.

Young Person of the Year – Keanan Sargent

In order to be eligible for the Young Person of the Year Award, one must be less than 18 years of age on December 31 of the year in which the award is given.

At an August 2015 LGBT pride parade and rally in Madison, Wisconsin, Keanan Sargent, the then-nine-year-old son of Wisconsin State Representative Melissa Sargent, did something incredibly creative when confronted by homophobia. Keanan used balloons to obscure a sign that anti-LGBT protesters were displaying at the pride parade and rally. For his creativity and progressive values, Keanan Sargent is the 2015 ProgMid Young Person of the Year.

Right-wing extremists are the biggest threat to America

It’s become inherently clear to me that right-wing extremists are the biggest threat to America today.

Last night, President Barack Obama gave a rare speech from the Oval Office about ISIS, national security, gun control, and the recent San Bernardino shooting. In his speech, Obama said that letting the right define America’s fight against ISIS and other Islamic fundamentalist terror groups as a fight between America and Islam is exactly what ISIS wants. He’s right.

Republicans running for president, such as Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, as well as Republican elected officials and right-wing blowhards, support launching a full-scale war against ISIS, spying on American Muslims, and other extreme measures. The truth of the matter is that those type of measures would do little more than play into the ISIS narrative that America is at war with Islam, thus emboldening ISIS and leading to U.S. involvement in yet another long, drawn-out war in the Middle East. Furthermore, Republican and NRA opposition to efforts to ban those on U.S. no-fly lists encourages terrorists to buy guns in order to carry out terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

It’s not Islamic fundamentalists that pose the biggest threat to America today. It’s our own country’s right-wing extremists, who want to aid and abet ISIS and other similar terror groups.

Anti-abortion politicians and activists are fueling right-wing domestic terrorism in America

Republican politicians and right-wing political activists have, by constantly railing against the idea that women should be able to control their own bodies and releasing heavily-edited videos as part of a political smear campaign, have encouraged terrorist attacks against the reproductive health care provider Planned Parenthood, two of which have occurred within the last month and a half.

The recent terror attack against Planned Parenthood that has received the most media attention was the recent shooting and siege of the Colorado Springs, Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic, in which perpetrator Robert Lewis Dear killed three people, Jennifer Markovsky, Ke’Arre Stewart, and Garrett Swasey, and wounded several others before surrendering to police.

However, another recent terror attack against Planned Parenthood that hasn’t gotten anywhere near as much media attention was an attack that occurred a little more than a month ago. That attack involved a hatchet attack at the Claremont, New Hampshire Planned Parenthood clinic, and the attack resulted in extensive property damage to the clinic, as well as water damage to an adjacent business:

A minor was arrested early on Wednesday after allegedly vandalizing a Planned Parenthood clinic in Claremont, New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

“Today’s damage was particularly extensive including the use of a hatchet to destroy computers, furniture, plumbing fixtures, office equipment, medical equipment, phone lines, windows and walls,” Police Chief Alexander Scott said in a statement.

Officers spotted the suspect while checking the building. Scott added that the suspect also defaced the office’s walls with spray paint, and that his actions also caused flooding that affected a business adjacent to the office. As a result, the clinic was closed as of Wednesday afternoon.

By my definition of terrorism, any act intended to kill, maim, injure, and/or stoke fear in a large group of people in the name of a political ideology is an act of terrorism.

In the same way that ISIS is inspiring Islamic fundamentalist terrorists who aren’t officially affiliated with ISIS to carry out “lone wolf”-style terrorist attacks, Republican elected officials and presidential candidates are inspiring anti-abortion terrorists to carry out “lone wolf”-style attacks at women’s health clinics right here in America. In fact, it’s not proper to call these types of terrorists “lone wolves”, as some in the media have described the Colorado Springs terrorist. I prefer to use the term “stoked wolves” to describe terrorists who don’t have any known affiliation with a terrorist group or other entity, but are inspired by a terrorist group or other entity to carry out a terrorist attack.

 

GOP Congressman Adam Kinzinger owes Planned Parenthood an apology

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of the 16th Congressional District of Illinois (much of north-central and parts of east-central Illinois, stretching from South Beloit in Winnebago County to Sheldon in Iroquois County) falsely claimed that Planned Parenthood was wrong to claim that its Colorado Springs, Colorado office was the target of a terrorist attack that started earlier today:

The truth of the matter is that the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic was (apparently) the target of the Colorado Springs shooting (which is still an ongoing situation as I write this blog post), as ABC News is reporting that, according to law enforcement, the shooting began at the clinic. Planned Parenthood has every right to claim that they were the target of a terrorist attack, and Adam Kinzinger owes Planned Parenthood and the American people an apology.

Former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh publicly calls for terrorists to behead members of the media

Former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois, who represented a district in the Chicago suburbs for only one term before losing re-election in the November 2012 elections after voters found out how much of a nutjob he is, took to Twitter and publicly called for Islamic fundamentalists to behead CNN and MSNBC employees:

In case you’re wondering what cartoons Walsh is referring to, he’s referring to the cartoons published by the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo which depict the Prophet Muhammad. Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad are considered offensive by Muslims.

That kind of rhetoric by Joe Walsh is highly unacceptable. What Walsh did was cheer terrorists who want to destroy the United States of America and take away our freedoms and rights. While I’m not a big fan of the corporate news media in this country, publicly cheering for members of the media to be beheaded by Islamic fundamentalists like the ones who are members of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram has no place whatsoever in our country’s discourse.

Walsh is a disgrace to the people he represented for two years, this state, and this country. I’m glad he’s no longer in Congress.

Charlie Hebdo shooting in France gets more American media attention than Colorado Springs NAACP bombing here in America

The corporate media has turned a blind eye to domestic terrorism here in the United States.

Yesterday, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) office in Colorado Springs, Colorado was firebombed by a person described as a white male who is believed to be approximately 40 years of age and is believed to be balding. While the motive behind the terrorist attack is unknown, it is apparent, but not confirmed, that the attack was motivated by white hatred towards black people.

Earlier today, a mass shooting took place at the headquarters of the Paris, France-based satire newspaper Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people were killed, and, as of this update, two of the attackers are still at large. One of the attackers reportedly bragged that he was part of and/or trained by the Islamic fundamentalist terror group al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Both of these are senseless terrorist attacks that are either apparently or confirmed to have been motivated by hatred by one group of people towards another group of people, yet the terrorist attack that took place in France got far more media attention than the terrorist attack that took place right here in America. The NAACP bombing has received very little coverage by the national news media here in the United States (in fact, I’ve yet to see a single mention of the NAACP bombing on CNN, and the only mention of the NAACP bombing by the media that I know of has been by left-leaning or left-wing internet websites and the traditional local news media in Colorado), yet CNN and other traditional news outlets here in the U.S. have provided extensive coverage of the Charlie Hebdo shooting. I firmly believe that this is because of systematic media bias in the corporate media in this country, specifically, the corporate media in this country is trying to cover-up instances of terrorism perpetrated by white people with far-right political views.