Tuesday, July 29, 2014

'I've Become One Of The Shadow People'

"I've become one of the shadow people. And most days, it seems like nothing is going to change." Lisa Millard

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Immigrants Are Us, Thoughts On Immigration And Fear, Past And Future By Kyle Leach

Most of us who now call the continents of North and South America home are immigrants. My family line lay claim and settled on the North American continent very early during the colonial period. I know they committed what I would now consider gross violations of human rights and I assume even if simply by standing by and doing nothing, because it was adventitious for them, they committed gross acts of genocide. Both would now be seen as crimes against humanity and violations of what we now call International Law. I can tell you for certain my family has never been called to task for those crimes.

Those concepts didn't exist then, they barely hold true now and the arc of history is always rewritten by the successful aggressors, the "victors" and the awful truth of their deeds watered down by purposely perpetuated myths to make the aggressors feel better about themselves and so their progeny can do the same and won't grow up to think or feel anything like I do. They spin stories of their own greatness full of vanity and self approval and demonize those who are different by condescendingly casting them as ignorant, child-like, or victims of their own circumstance who need help. When native peoples had enough of the lies and duplicity they fought for their survival and were labeled "savages." Savages to those people, means not white or not Christian or both. Those natives who survived the invasions were left with the monumental task of protecting their distinctive ways of life by relocating to smaller and smaller "approved" lands and trying to rebuild their futures with those people who were left from their former vast nations, with very few resources to start that process. The fact that so many survived is a testament to human spirit.

My soul carries the weight of what has been done. A slight against one is a slight against all. One person embracing darkness dims the soul of all humanity. I know the truth of what happened and that means I carry the great burden of not allowing people to forget what horrors have happened, in this case, over the last four centuries in what we now call the United States of America.. It is too easy for any person to stand in a crowd, point a finger, and cry witch. The "witches" change shape as time passes. One day a different skin tone, different customs, the next different identities or different sexualities.  Atheists are a universal "witch" of the modern age, hated and marginalized by every other group society has created. It is too easy for people to slip into old comfortable patterns and to be honest people will take an easy lie over a difficult truth any day. For a great example, just look at the media today, especially FOX news. Truth is hard to find, even on the information superhighway; you have to sift through a lot of muck to find the gold nuggets of what is really happening in our world. But that's a story for another time.

Immigrants now severely outnumber the native peoples of both continents. Entire languages gone, art and culture crushed into dust, entire histories erased, civilizations pulled apart, enslaved, potential futures torn from the web of life and cast aside like trash. All that wisdom lost. How many great thinkers, how many cultural creatives, how many people with deep empathy and compassion did the world loose over the last four centuries? All due to immigration by disease ridden, land stealing, culture destroying invaders to paraphrase the modern sentiments of the racist, misogynist, exclusive ultra-conservatives of the United States.

When I was very little I learned that the Israelis and Palestinians were fighting with each other. I really don't remember how. It disturbed me. I asked my mom why they were fighting. My mom told me they were at an impasse and explained the situation as best she could to someone so young. By the next morning I came up with a plan to help them stop fighting. Each year one group would live above ground and the other would live below ground supported by those living above ground. At the end of a year cycle they would have to leave where they had been living, working, playing and switch. You see in my mind I was sure that eventually each side would grow tired of this endless feud over a patch of land and find that they were really no different from one another and find that they could all live above ground together. 

I had similar thoughts about native peoples. I first thought all the federal lands and all the national parks should be given back, then over time we would need to give back more and more of the uninhabited land, then finally we would need to give back the rest. It would be a dramatic reversal of our colonial and frontier efforts. It would start out west and work its way back to the east coast where it had all begun. The solution did not correct at the wrongs; it could not bring back all that was lost. In my mind it was the most fitting justice I could imagine. Our fates would be in the hands of the people that our ancestors killed, displaced, and dishonored. As only the mind of a child can, I thought we would both learn along the way and learn to care for each other. I looked at the elders of many of the great indigenous tribes and saw they had embraced light over darkness when darkness had threatened to engulf them all. I looked into their eyes, into there souls; there was nothing to fear. If it could only be that easy.

I had not learned about hate yet, I did not know fear and I did not know about greed and gluttony. Unfortunately, I do understand them now. They are the real problem in this situation, they are the real affliction, they are the malady we need to cure. The descendents of white settlers of our nation need to learn that one day they will be a minority, in fact in most places they already are. If they have anything to fear it is from their own doing; a circumstance of their own creation, holding on to a perverted, twisted past. We saw this when woman and racial "minorities" fought before the beginning and during the middle of the twentieth century. We saw it when Europe was in Hitler's grasp with Jews, Romany and so many others going any place they could, except here. We see it now with the hysterical(as in hysteria) antics directed at LGBTQ. 

Their religious hypocrisy, the picketing full of hate and yelling full of fear, all directed at men, women, and children who have no home is not only unbecoming it is unconscionable; it must be hurtful to anyone truly following the path of modern Christianity, the universal tenant of love. Really when you really get down to it, the only reason his is happening is that the people fleeing to us are not white. How many times have you heard ultra-conservatives as upset with our border to the north? Can't really think of any can you?

The men, woman, and children that are coming to our border are us. They seek refuge from oppression, they are trying to escape extreme poverty, they are looking for religious freedom and political asylum. They want opportunity and a chance to build a life with us. They will help lead us to our future. They will make us diverse, the will make us even more multicultural, they will make us stronger with their experiences and insights.

Those little children, all alone, making it to our border show us how focused and determined human beings can be. They are an infusion of hope and ingenuity. Two things we need disparately right now. All of them will be elders by the time we approach the 22nd century and I want them to tell future generations how we were an open nation of respect and compassion, when they themselves open their arms for the immigrants of the next century and recall our history. I want those children to know we are proud they chose to come here. I wan them to know they are one of us.

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Who Are Refugees?-Refugees And How They Got To NH

A Piece From Every Child Matters:

As a child I remember my mother speaking German when she was upset or frustrated. I guess she thought that swearing in German was better than swearing in English in front of my sister, brother, and I. But we soon caught on to the words and I still use them myself at times.

When I asked her how she knew German, she told me that her father’s family was from Germany and many of her aunts and uncles speak German, having learned it from their parents. I think that was probably the first time that I realized that the United States was not where everyone was born.

My cousin Jim is the genealogy expert on the other side of my family. He has traced the roots of my father’s family from the first steps in America back to Ireland for the Kelly’s (my grandfather) and Germany for the Zulauf’s, (my grandmother). Many of my relatives came here as children. They went on to work in factories, some became farmers, teachers, nurses, while others started new businesses in this country and employed their relatives and neighbors, and many went into the armed services, protecting the country they now called home.

Migrant children have been coming to this country for many years. Back when my relatives made their way to America there were people here who called them the same names that we hear the children from Central America being called today – “invaders,” “disease ridden,” “job stealers.” Some were confronted by signs on shop and factory doors that said, “Irish need not apply.”

I am saddened that my relatives, especially the children, had to endure this name calling and bigotry. But, I am proud that they stayed, worked hard, and educated themselves, and gave me a family history to be proud of.

I am embarrassed that we as Americans, all of us immigrants, have forgotten our own family histories. Seeing grown-ups screaming at terrified children for wanting nothing more than a better life repulses me.

The daughter of Dallas Judge, Clay Jenkins, said to him as he was explaining to her that all the children were being detained at the border for her security and protection, “But daddy, these aren’t people, these are children.”

And this is a humanitarian crisis. I hope we start to address it humanely, for the sake of the children.

New Hampshire has a diverse refugee population. The New Hampshire Refugee Program (NHRP) operates under the New Hampshire Office of Minority Health and Refugee Affairs. Here is information about the program from the DHHS website.

The primary goal of the Refugee Program is to assist refugees in their quest for economic self-sufficiency and successful integration. The NHRP is funded through the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Refugee Program staff work closely with the two New Hampshire voluntary resettlement agencies (volags), Lutheran Social Services and the International Institute of New Hampshire, as well as other area partners to support refugee integration.

These nonprofit voluntary resettlement agencies (volags) receive US Department of State, Bureau of Population and Migration funding and agree to resettle a number of refugees at the start of the fiscal year based on their capacity to provide services for new arrivals and the number of refugees coming into the U.S. Additional money is provided to states by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to provide self-sufficiency services. These services include:
Case Management: Resettlement agencies facilitate and coordinate a variety of services including housing, healthcare, referrals and general support services as refugees transition into their communities.

Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) and Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA): Funds are designed to assist refugees during their 8 month, initial resettlement period. All refugees are entitled to Refugee Medical Assistance for their first eight months in the US. To be eligible for RCA, however, a refugee must be ineligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other cash support programs.

English as a Second Language: voluntary agencies collectively provide over 90 hours a week in English Language Training. Other public and private organizations provide additional ESOL in communities throughout New Hampshire. Classes are designed to help refugees achieve competencies in key linguistic areas, preparing them to meet their everyday language needs at work and in community life.

Employment Services: These include an assessment of vocational skills, job development, job placement and follow up services with local employers. The hard work of refugee employment counselors has made New Hampshire a model state for refugee resettlement. Refugees often find full-time employment within the first two or three months of arrival.

Preventive Health: The primary goal of the Preventive Health Program is to prevent and control problems of public health significance among incoming refugees, with emphasis on those health problems that may create barriers to self-sufficiency. The program ensures that refugees have access to health education, case management and interpreter services.

School Impact: This program targets school-aged refugees to support successful integration and academic achievement. The contractors also work closely with refugee parents and school personnel to discuss/resolve issues relevant to children’s school performance. The program provides a multitude of services that include leadership development, counseling, academic support, after school activities, parent training and cultural competency training for school personnel.

Services for Older Refugees: Older Refugees are often isolated from the mainstream community. The goal of the Services for Older Refugees program is to help older refugees access services available to mainstream older citizens. Contractors work with senior centers to develop culturally appropriate activities and improve cultural competence. Contractors also provide individualized case management to older refugees to resolve barriers to well-being, such as health access, transportation and housing issues. Finally, the project assists older refugees prepare for and achieve citizenship.

Learn more about Refugees and how they got to New Hampshire. experience.

MaryLou Beaver
New Hampshire Director
Every Child Matters Education Fund

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Matt Murray-My Turn: Don’t Fall Into Trap Set By Free Staters

For the Monitor
Saturday, July 19, 2014
We are well into the 2014 election season, and there’s a lot at stake.

Not just control of the U.S. Senate, as newly minted New Hampshire resident Scott Brown ignores his GOP primary opponents in his rush to target incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Not just the perversity quotient of the U.S. House, as primary voters sort through which candidates – representing which wing of the Republican Party? – will challenge Democratic incumbents Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter.

Not just the balance of power in the New Hampshire General Court, as we’re still trying to forget – or at least recover from – the two-year reign of House Speaker “Bully” O’Brien.

I hate to mention this, but there’s also the 2016 presidential campaign right around the corner. And if we’re going to fulfill the responsibility of the “First in the Nation” primary, then New Hampshire needs to have solid – and sane – political parties.

You see, New Hampshire is the focus of a unique political experiment, started in 2001 by then-Yale doctoral student Jason Sorens. His idea was to get 20,000 activists to move to a single state with a small population and an easily accessible government.

“Once we’ve taken over the state government, we can slash state and local budgets, which make up a sizeable proportion of the tax and regulatory burden we face every day. Furthermore, we can eliminate substantial federal interference by refusing to take highway funds and the strings attached to them. Once we’ve accomplished these things, we can bargain with the national government over reducing the role of the national government in our state. We can use the threat of secession as leverage to do this.”

Snowplowing? Bridge safety? An adequately funded judicial system? Public colleges? These things are nowhere on the Free Staters’ priority list.

No, the Free Staters – at least those in Keene – seem to be more interested in marijuana and videotaping the city’s parking enforcement officers.

Here’s where it gets serious: Free Staters don’t care about political parties. That’s how two Free Staters, who lived in the same house, ran for state representative on opposite sides of the ticket. (The Democratic candidate won.) Free State candidates don’t advertise their allegiance to the project, they just join up with a political party and run for office. 

In their 2012 election results roundup, the project outlined the progress they had made: Over the past eight years, FSP participants who have become state representatives went from zero to 1, to four, to 12 to 14 in 2010, to eleven this cycle. Only 1,100 movers are on the ground. With only 5 percent of the goal movers in New Hampshire, political FSP participants held onto the status quo while Republicans got trounced. Baby steps, people. It ain’t called a “project” for nothing!

Twenty-thousand movers could translate into 200 state reps, half the house. Imagine what fun would ensue.

One-fourth of the legislators identified as belonging to FSP ran as Democrats.

And now it’s 2014, election season again. 

Is it going to get even weirder this year? 

Sen. Peter Bragdon is retiring, and “Free State” mover Dan Hynes is running for his seat. Apparently Hynes has offered free room and board to FSPers willing to work for his campaign. 

And here’s what his campaign website says about why he’s running (under “Smaller Gov”): “Dan Hynes opposes government regulations that force people to do things against their will, or that prevents them from doing things that bring them happiness as long as it does not harm other people.” 

But don’t we need rules about which side of the road to drive on? Laws to protect property? What happens when the things that make one person happy conflict with what makes other people happy? What happens when most people want to have our highways plowed, but some people don’t want to pay for it?

People actually think that this kind of chaos is a good idea? And they’re moving to New Hampshire to create it?

Hasn’t New Hampshire already had enough nuttiness from our politicians? Can’t we all agree that we need a functioning government? And rational political parties? And that Granite Staters don’t really want to secede from the United States?

This election year, we need to pay close attention to who we’re voting for, where their allegiance lies and what sort of a government they believe in (if any).

There’s a lot at stake.

(Matt Murray is the creator and editor of the NH Labor News, an online blog that focuses on politics and their effect on working families. He lives in Merrimack.)

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Black-Owned Businesses Are Quietly Powering Detroit's Resurgence, But No One's Talking About It

"During the good times and the bad times, black-owned businesses have been around, primarily serving their community, circulating resources, building wealth [and] opening doors to other opportunities, such as higher education and lifestyle." George Stewart Detroit Developer

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Thoughts On Privilege, Queerness, Gender, Labels, And Non-Conformity By Kyle Leach

Recent commentaries from

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Thursday, July 17, 2014


Austerity Is Poisoning The Economy, In 2 Charts
"Congress has severely damaged the economy with deep spending cuts in a misguided attempt to solve a short-term debt crisis that simply does not exist." CAP economists Harry Stein and Adam Hersh

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John R. White For NH State Senate

John R. White: We Did Badly Under Bradley — And He's Proud Of That

"...I intend to run on the record — Jeb's record. It's a litany of shame that includes opposition to and elimination of a New Hampshire minimum wage, support for continuation of a sub-minimum wage for the disabled, support for elimination of paper payroll checks in favor of electronic credits or debit cards, support for tax credits to support private and religious school scholarships, support for stringent voter ID requirements — he even voted to rescind state park discounts for the elderly and disabled!" John R. White

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Debt Collection 'Factory' Preyed On Broke Americans

"These practices sound so familiar to me when I read this complaint. We're happy to see that the CFPB is going after these abusive practices. This sounds like it could be brought against a lot of collection firms."  Susan Shin of the New Economy Project

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Arizona Charter School Using Book That Says Slavery Was Beneficial To Blacks: Complaint

The 5,000 Year Leap and The Making of America, by Cleon Skousen, “teach debunked ‘Christian nation’ history." Americans United

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Atheist To Open New York Town Meeting After Supreme Court OKs Prayers

"Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer." Madalyn Murray O'Hair

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

10 Supreme Court Rulings That Turned Corporations Into People

Hobby Lobby is just the most recent court decision, in a 200-year-long line of decisions, giving corporate business equivocal rights to humans.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

LGBT Groups Pull Support For ENDA

Gay Rights Groups Pull Support For ENDA Over Sweeping Religious Exemption

The ACLU, GLAD, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Transgender Law Center announced in a joint statement on Tuesday they are dropping support for the Senate ENDA bill.

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Did You Know That Antonin Scalia's Son Is Sabotaging Wall Street Reform?

Scalia "created this sense that we're paralyzed, because if we write a rule we're just going to be reversed," Lisa Donner, executive director of the watchdog group Americans for Financial Reform.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

MYSTERY: Why Haven't Humans Discovered Intelligent Life?

The Fermi Paradox

Some people stick with the traditional, feeling struck by the epic beauty or blown away by the insane scale of the universe. Personally, I go for the old “existential meltdown followed by acting weird for the next half hour.” But everyone feels something. Physicist Enrico Fermi felt something too—”Where is everybody?”

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