OF ALL THE PERSONAL FREEDOMS THAT NEED TO BE PROTECTED, IT’S THE NEED TO THREATEN INNOCENT PEOPLE WITH HATE SPEECH AND KNIVES THAT WE SHOULD HOLD MOST DEAR: “I went alone, I had no support, and the first time I could have real feelings about my choice in front of someone was at the clinic. I could speak freely, and without judgment. I was professionally counseled; I was asked questions that did not have an agenda attached, it was only to evaluate my decision. It reaffirmed what I knew about myself, not as I had experienced days before at a Crisis Pregnancy center, what a stranger tried to impose upon me. I felt safe, I felt heard and – as I say almost every time I have written about this subject – I felt relief. I made a promise to myself that I would always be there to advocate in anyway I could. And when the violence at abortion clinics started escalating in the 1980s, I tried to help. Doctors were being gunned down at their clinics and in their homes. Their children were followed to school, taunted by dangerous pied vipers shouting, “Your mommy (or daddy) is a murderer.” There wasn’t organized clinic escorting yet so some activists would do things like stay overnight to protect clinic entrances before the most rabid of the protesters arrived. These people would do ANYTHING to gain access and even chain themselves to the clinic door, disrupting women’s access to health care for the day. There often was swarming between camps and chaotic pushing and shouting. We were without training so we made up rules as we went along. First rule we learned quickly was always wear thick jeans. No matter how hot it is. Why? Because in order to protect access, we would link arms and make a human chain to block protestors from getting to the door. They would rush the chain and then either with an, “Oops! I didn’t realize the stick of my terrifying sign still had an old nail in it” or an “accidental” jab from a Swiss Army tool, someone in the chain would be stabbed and have to break the chain. Then a scary land-grab would ensue, often times winding up with the anti-abortion foes gaining ground and shutting a clinic down for an entire day. They are smart: because they didn’t use “weapons” it was all just “an accident” so it wasn’t “assault.” It was terrifying.” (via Lizz Winstead/Blue Nation Review)
WALKING ON BROKEN GLASS
DETROIT CONTINUES ITS SWIFT DECLINE INTO A THIRD WORLD NATION UNTO ITSELF; DRIES UP, LITERALLY: “Detroit's been shutting off water to customers who reportedly can't afford to pay their bills, and United Nations experts said Wednesday it's a violation of human rights. The UN responded after a coalition of activist groups submitted a report to its Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner last week, detailing water shutoffs and extreme consequences for families in the city who can't afford to pay their bills and have had to go without water. Detroit's Water and Sewerage Department began shutting off water to customers who were behind on payments this spring, cutting service for 3,000 in April and 4,500 in May. Around 45,000 shutoff warnings were sent each month. Three UN experts criticized the department's aggressive practice Wednesday, saying in a press release that stopping access to water for those who can't afford to pay "constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights." “Disconnections due to non-payment are only permissible if it can be shown that the resident is able to pay but is not paying," said Catarina de Albuquerque, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation. "In other words, when there is genuine inability to pay, human rights simply forbids disconnections." A water department official told MLive the effort is meant to collect debts and get people onto payment plans, not turn people's water off. According to the Associated Press, spokeswoman Curtrise Garner said more than half of those affected by shutoffs paid their accounts in full within several days.” (via Huffington Post)
AS YOU READ THIS, THE ORANGE COUNTY COMMISSION IS TRYING TO DEVISE A SCHEME TO SHUT DOWN 50,000 VOTERS ONCE AGAIN: “An Orange County referendum campaign to make all countywide races partisan has secured enough voter petition signatures to get on the Nov. 4 ballot. The group behind it, Citizens for Informed Elections, turned in its final batch of voter signatures Wednesday. It needed 45,564 to qualify, but the group ended up turning in 52,333 verified petitions, election records show. Currently some countywide offices carry party affiliations next to candidate names on the ballot: the sheriff, clerk of court, election supervisor, comptroller, property appraiser, tax collector. These races are also settled in the general election cycle. But the County Commission and mayor's races are currently nonpartisan and often settled in the primary election period. The Democratic-leaning group pushing the charter measure says that giving voters the party identification of candidates will better arm them to make an informed choice in the voting booth. And moving the races to November ends up giving more voters a chance to weigh in, since they draw larger turnouts.” (via Orlando Sentinel)
IN WHICH OBAMA CHANNELS HIS INNER NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: “The sarcastic bear is loose, and he’s loving every minute of it. President Barack Obama is letting his inner Don Rickles run free, mocking climate deniers as the crowd who used to think the moon was made out of cheese or spineless dopes who can’t or won’t listen to science even though the science is all overwhelmingly pointing in one direction. Their heads are in the sand. They are members of the Flat Earth Society. For the White House it’s about getting the liberal base excited for the midterms. It’s a confidence that climate change has shifted in voters’ minds. It’s a broader play against congressional Republicans as obstructionists. And for Obama, it’s a good time. Wednesday night, Obama ripped into his opponents in front of a League of Conservation Voters crowd so friendly that some were pumping their arms in the air as he spoke. “It’s pretty rare that you encounter people who say that the problem of carbon pollution is not a problem,” Obama said. “In most communities and workplaces, they may not know how big a problem it is, they may not know exactly how it works, they may doubt they can do something about it. Generally they don’t just say, ‘No I don’t believe anything scientists say.’ Except, where?” he said, waiting for the more than accommodating crowd to call back, “Congress!” Obama smiled — not his big toothy self-satisfied grin, but his stick-it-in-the-ribs smirk. “In Congress,” he said. “Folks will tell you climate change is hoax or a fad or a plot. A liberal plot.’” (via Politico)
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