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Mon, 01 Mar 2021
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"Morsi must go" chant thousands of Egyptians

Mass Protests Across Egypt demand President Morsi reverse power grabbing decree and many call for his resignation.


Chipping away at the bully: Walmart Black Friday protests were 'historic'

walmart black friday
© @ForRespect
The competition to frame the Black Friday Walmart protests continues. Walmart, of course, has every reason to minimize the protests and OUR Walmart, the group organizing the protests, has every reason to exaggerate them. Since protests were basically crowd-sourced and ranged from tiny to big, it's probably impossible to determine the truth. No one is claiming that anything but a small fraction of Walmart's massive number of employees took part; on the other hand, it's a new thing that any Walmart employees are protesting, and these terribly underpaid workers do so at the risk of their jobs.

Walmart says it had the most awesomest Black Friday ever (we'll wait for revised sales figures in a couple months to find out the truth there), and there weren't very many protests at all and almost no actual Walmart employees took part: "Wal-Mart said roughly 50 employees participated in the events Thursday and a 'few dozen' took part Friday." (Except that that's not actually a small number in the history of Walmart worker activism - even if we take the company's low-ball number, it's probably the most Walmart workers ever to strike in a 24-hour period prior to 2012.)

But we know Walmart is engaging in serious understatement. A protest in Dallas reportedly involved 40 workers; one in Miami involved 70 workers. Already that's the number Walmart wants you to believe participated across the entire country. Add to that the 17 in Paramount, California. Diarist Bobbosphere says that in Chicago, "only a few [media] outlets actually quoted Walmart employees who were present," making it harder to know how many turned out. But he found at least four Chicago workers quoted, like:
WGN TV: "They retaliate by black listing us, telling other associates not to associate with us, shortening our working hours, all the way up to termination." - Walmart employee Charmaine Gibens Thomas.
There were strikers in Duarte, California, and in the Washington, DC, area, and even one guy in Oklahoma who hadn't planned to strike until a captive audience meeting held by his store's management to scare workers out of protesting changed his mind. Small numbers of workers, but more than Walmart wants us to believe existed, and each one of them an act of courage unimaginable for most of us. These are people who can't afford to lose their jobs, but they risked that for justice.


Transparently bad religious arguments against contraception

As this Daily Show clip amply demonstrates, right wing media has abandoned any pretense that they object to contraception coverage for noble reasons, and have instead just moved on to talking about women who use contraception (aka, nearly all women at some point in their lives) as if they're oversexed morons who contribute nothing of value to society.

But if you'll recall, the initial objections to classifying contraception as preventive medicine, qualifying it as one of the many services that insurance plans must cover without a copay, were framed as religious objections. Religion, after all, is the go-to excuse conservatives whip out when they know they don't actually have an argument. Well, while the conservative media has dropped that somewhat in favor of just whipping up hysteria about those sexy young single women that you, the Fox viewer, will never get to fuck, the lawsuits trying to block the mandate are still being argued about on religious grounds. But, let's be clear, they are not being argued well.

Bad Guys

Taming the bullying tactics of Walmart

Nationwide walkout emboldens America's labor movement.

In the radical spirit of Buy Nothing Day, thousands of Walmart workers are staging a nationwide walkout on Black Friday . . .

Walmart is notorious for forcing small retailers out of business, pushing suppliers to bankruptcy, depressing labor conditions and paying employees the barest minimum wage. And Walmart is a committed union buster - when workers in the USA and Canada tried to organize, Walmart closed entire stores to avoid setting a precedent. Now . . . finally . . . there's some blowback across the country, inspired by the workers at Walmart warehouses in southern California. "The warehouse workers did it," Walmart associate Dan Hindman explains, "if they can, we all can do it. We're protected by the law. We're doing it for our rights and to get the company to follow their own policies that they've broken."

Comment: It is past time for Walmart to face the consequences of its predatory behaviour!
Walmart's Human Trafficking Problem
Is Wal-Mart Destroying America? 20 Facts About Wal-Mart That Will Absolutely Shock You
US: Six Waltons (Wal-Mart) Have More Wealth Than the Bottom 30% of Americans
U.S. lawmakers accuse Walmart of tax evasion and money laundering
Wal-Mart: 50 Years of Gutting America's Middle Class

Heart - Black

Mallory Owens, Alabama lesbian, allegedly attacked by girlfriend's brother during Thanksgiving dinner

mallory owens
© Facebook
An Alabama woman is recovering after allegedly being attacked by her girlfriend's brother over Thanksgiving weekend.

Though details of the case are continuing to emerge, NBC affiliate Local 15 reports that 23-year-old Mallory Owens is being treated for injuries following a Nov. 22 assault by Travis Hawkins Jr. Owens, who was reportedly attending Thanksgiving dinner at the family home of girlfriend Ally Hawkins (Travis' sister) at the time of the attack, suffered multiple skull fractures and crushed bones, and had metal plates put under her eyes because of her injuries, according to reports.

Hawkins, Local 15's report notes, has been charged with second degree assault, though it remains unclear what may have prompted the attack.


Religious freedom? Expanding the power to impose beliefs on others

One of the most upsetting and disturbing developments in the past few years of wingnut propaganda is the attempt to define "religious freedom" as expanding the powers of the already-powerful over others, specifically with an eye towards coercing others to live by your religious rules. Even though the courts correctly (usually) see religious freedom being best protected by eliminating coercive prayer in schools, for instance, your average wingnut believes these rulings attack their religious freedom. After all, what's the point of religion if you can't impose it on others? Thus, the only way they can see to protect religious freedom is to give, say, schoolteachers the right to lead their class in prayer (as long as it's the correct Christian prayer, of course).

Same story with hollering "religious freedom" to justify giving your boss the right to impose his religious beliefs on your medical decision-making. Your insurance benefits you earn through work are yours, and no more belong to your boss than your paycheck does. Giving your boss a right to veto coverage of your contraception because he thinks vaginas are only for baby-making is a direct imposition on your religious freedom, a clear-cut example of your boss declaring he has a right to impose his religious values on you, even in a realm as private as your medical and sexual decision-making. (And since cost considerations exert a great deal of influence on how many women - say, someone making $10 an hour working the counter at Hobby Lobby - choose contraception, this boss's veto of coverage will actually change her choices.) But conservatives don't see employees as rights-bearing people. Just as with the "states rights" blather, the only rights they recognize are the "right" to exert power over those down the hierarchy from you.


Military suicides 'out of control'

Callaway - Libby Busbee pounded on the window of her son's maroon Dodge Charger as he sat in the driveway of their home on earlier this year. Locked inside his car, U.S. Army Spc. William Busbee sat with a .45-caliber gun pointed to the side of his head.

"Look at me," his mother cried out as she to tried and get her son's attention. "Look at me."

He wouldn't look.

He stared out the front windshield, distant, said Libby Busbee, relating the story from an apartment complex in Callaway.

"I kept yelling, 'Don't you do this. Don't do it.' He wouldn't turn his head to look at me," she said, looking down at the burning cigarette in her hand.

A 911 call was made. The police pulled her away from the car.

William, Libby Busbee's 23-year-old son, was talking with a police officer when he fired a shot through the front windshield of his car, according to the police report.

The police recoiled. William rapped on the window in apparent frustration, the report indicated.

Then the second shot was heard.

"I knew that was the one," said Libby Busbee.

William Busbee took his life in March with his mother and sisters looking on.


Vendetta masks in UAE colours declared illegal

Product being sold online declared illegal as National Day draws closer

© Gulf News
Police officials have warned that wearing Guy Fawkes masks is illegal in the UAE.
Dubai: Police officials in Dubai have warned against wearing a mask that symbolises opposition to state authority during any celebrations connected to National Day and declared it illegal.

Any person found wearing Guy Fawkes masks, also known as 'Vendetta masks', risks police questioning as any object or action deemed to be instigating unrest or insulting the UAE is illegal, police officials said.

The masks are a stylised depiction of a man who was behind the failed Gunpowder Plot to blow up the British House of Lords in London in 1605. The plot is commemorated with a fireworks displays in the UK on November 5 each year in an event that has come to be known as Guy Fawkes night.

The masks being targeted at people in the UAE have mainly shown up on some online stores and are emblazoned with the colours of the UAE flag - red, white, green and black. They also feature the number 41 prominently - a reference to the 41st National Day on December 2.

Snow Globe Xmas

Pat Robertson's annual: 'Miserable' atheists are trying to 'steal' Christmas

The "War on Christmas" has already begun.

At least, this seems to be true for 700 Club host Pat Robertson, who recently warned his viewers that "the Grinch" is attempting to ruin the impending holiday.

As Right Wing Watch notes, Robertson used the iconic Seussian anti-holiday deviant as a metaphor for those "miserable atheists" who "want to steal [Christmas] away from you."


Supreme Court rejects plea to ban taping of police in Illinois

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from the Cook County state's attorney to allow enforcement of a law prohibiting people from recording police officers on the job.

The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that found that the state's anti-eavesdropping law violates free speech rights when used against people who tape law enforcement officers.

The law set out a maximum prison term of 15 years.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in 2010 against Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez to block prosecution of ACLU staff for recording police officers performing their duties in public places, one of the group's long-standing monitoring missions.

Opponents of the law say the right to record police is vital to guard against abuses.

Last May, a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled that the law "likely violates" the First Amendment and ordered that authorities be banned from enforcing it.

The appeals court agreed with the ACLU that the "Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests."

The appeals court ruling came weeks before the NATO summit when thousands of people armed with smart phones and video cameras demonstrated in the city. Officials had already announced that they would not enforce the law against summit protesters.