Virginia is for Lovers, ‘Aryan’ lovers?

This 2016 video says about itself:

Loving – Official Trailer 1 (Universal Pictures) HD

“Loving” celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, who married and then spent the next nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown. Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry – making their love story an inspiration to couples everywhere.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

In this state, in the 1960s, Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, were sentenced to one year in prison for getting married. With this, they had violated the law against marriage between whites and non-whites. Jeter and Loving challenged the ban up to the US Supreme Court.

“Virginia is for Lovers” is the tourism and travel slogan of the United States commonwealth of Virginia.

Now, 52 years after the prison sentence for Richard and Mildred Loving for marrying was annulled, Virginia is not yet for all lovers.

From the BBC, 9 September 2019:

Virginia couples challenge laws requiring them to declare their race

By Dhruti Shah, BBC News, Washington

In the US state of Virginia, couples must declare their racial background from a long list of options including “Aryan“, “Moor” and “Zoroastrian” before getting married.

Other options include: ‘Arabic’, ‘mulatto’, ‘Jew’. See also here.

A lawsuit is aiming to put a stop to this.

The suit, filed by lawyer Victor M Glasberg on behalf of three couples, describes the statute as “unconstitutional” and “reflective of a racist past“.

Mr Glasberg has also written to Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, urging him to “do what must be done to get on the right side of history”.

One of the couples involved – Brandyn Churchill, 27, and Sophie Rogers, 23, of Lexington, Virginia – is hoping to have won the case by the time they get married next month.

Brandyn Churchill and his fiancee Sophie Rogers

But they have meanwhile asked for an injunction so that they will not be a denied a marriage license by the clerk for refusing to have their race recorded.

The complaint has been brought against the Virginia State Registrar, the Arlington Circuit Court clerk and the Rockbridge Circuit Court clerk. …

The other two couples involved are Ashley Ramkishun and her fiancé Samuel Sarfo and Amelia Spencer and her fiancé Kendall Poole.

In the documentation all state they wish to get married in Virginia but not if they “must label [themselves] with a race in order to get a marriage license”.

Ms Rogers told the BBC: “We got engaged in July 2018. In Virginia, you have 60 days to apply for the license before the registry. We applied for our license in Rockbridge County and went to the clerk’s office on 3 September. The clerk tried to fill out the application without the race question filled for us but the computer wouldn’t let her.”

Mr Churchill added: “Many of the categories were outdated, offensive racist terms which have no place in the 21st century. We said we were uncomfortable and left.”

Virginia is one of eight states in the US with this legal requirement to identify race prior to marriage.

The other seven states: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota and New Hampshire.

Mr Glasberg notes that in Virginia, “this requirement reflects a regulatory scheme embodied in the Virginia Racial Integrity Act of 1924, originally called ‘An Act to Preserve the Integrity of the White Race’.”

He says that the requirement for race on marriage records was grounded in bigotry.

Mr Glasberg, 74, told the BBC that he had been mulling a challenge for many years. When he got married in 1981, he asked if he could put “human” down in the category but was told no.

Ms Ramkishun, 26, said she had decided to join the lawsuit after attempting to register for her marriage at Arlington Circuit Court and discovering that there was no option not to put race.

“We didn’t feel comfortable. We were told we could put ‘other’ down as an option but that’s not what we are. It was either ‘pick other, pick a race or you can’t go ahead’.”

Mr Churchill was positive about his chances of success. “A requirement like this might have been Virginia’s past but it’s not its future”, he said.

“We are not telling people they can’t identify with a certain race. We are saying it’s not the State’s place to compel individuals into certain categories.”

Though Mississippi is not one of the eight states asking racist questions, sometimes it is also not for all lovers.

From the BBC, 3 September 2019:

A US interracial couple was turned away by a wedding venue because the owner said their union went against her Christian beliefs, video shows.

The footage was filmed at Boone’s Camp Event Hall in Booneville, Mississippi, by the groom’s sister who met the woman about the rejection.

During the exchange, the owner says the decision was because we “don’t do gay weddings or mixed race”. …

When asked what passage of the Bible informs that belief, the owner adds: “I don’t want to argue my faith.”


Ex-soldier’s mass murder in Virginia, USA

This 31 May 2019 CBS TV video from the USA says about itself:

At least 11 people were killed and several others hurt in a shooting in Virginia Beach. The suspect was killed by police. Jeff Pegues has the latest.

By Bryan Dyne in the USA:

At least 12 dead in Virginia Beach mass shooting

1 June 2019

On Friday afternoon, a longtime public utilities employee opened fire in the municipal building complex of Virginia Beach, Virginia, just east of Norfolk and Chesapeake. At least twelve people were killed and another six were injured.

The shooter has been identified as 40-year-old DeWayne Craddock, a certified professional engineer in the city’s Public Utilities Department. News reports from the time show that Craddock had enlisted in the Army National Guard shortly after he graduated high school in 1996.

The shooting took place on multiple floors of Building No. 2 of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, which includes offices for planning, public works, the police department and City Hall. It is the largest workplace mass shooting since the Aurora, Illinois warehouse shooting this past February.

The names of the victims have not been released as of this writing.

It has been reported that Craddock was killed, bringing the shooting spree to an end, though it is unclear whether or not it was during an extended shootout with police or the result of a self-inflicted gunshot. A .45 caliber handgun, extended magazines and a silencer were reportedly recovered by the police.

Injuries were being treated at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital or Sentara Princess Anne Hospital. The New York Times reported that one victim had to be airlifted by helicopter to a trauma center at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, though details on the conditions of any of the patients are not yet available.

Local authorities were alerted to the situation by an administrative assistant who works in the building where the shooting happened. According to the available police reports, a “disgruntled” employee began firing indiscriminately, though they have not yet commented on a concrete motive.

As has become common after mass shootings in the United States, politicians including Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam have responded with hypocritical laments about the “unspeakable, senseless violence.” Former Democratic vice-presidential candidate and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine appealed for Congress to address the “daily scourge” of gun violence.

These words can be given no weight. Northam presides over a state with a heavy presence of all four branches of the US military, the greatest instigator of violence in the world. Kaine was Hilary Clinton’s running mate, who, as US Secretary of State, oversaw the destruction of Libya and laughed in response to the brutal killing of former Libyan head of state Muammar Gaddafi by US backed militias.

Nor can this latest mass shooting in the United States be treated as an isolated incident of unimaginable evil. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 150 mass shootings in the country since the start of the year, among a total of nearly 22,000 incidents of gun violence more broadly. To date, there have been 16,846 people killed or injured in shootings, including 1,332 children and teenagers.

These numbers speak to a crisis-ridden society rife with social inequality and they reveal the vast toll a quarter century of unending war has inflicted on American society. The conditions of life for broad masses of people are sharply declining and, in the absence of a mass working class movement, mass shootings are one of the many negative expressions of the overall social situation.

This killing also occurs a month after the 20th anniversary of the Columbine incident. As shown since then, the actual response of the political establishment to mass killings is to call for more heavily armed police, increased surveillance … initiatives which only intensify the repressive apparatus of the state. These repressive efforts will certainly escalate in the wake of the latest, but certainly not the last, mass killing spree in America.

While it cannot be determined at this point whether Craddock’s time in the National Guard had any role in shaping the behavior that would ultimately lead to his murderous outburst, the military plays a large role in the economy and culture of Virginia Beach. The city is part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area in Southeastern Virginia/Northeastern North Carolina, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Hampton Roads is known for its large military presence and is home to about 20 military facilities: here.

Immigrant children abuse in Virginia, USA

This 21 June 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Explosive Lawsuit Alleges Mistreatment Of Young Immigrants In Detention

“Virginia’s governor ordered state officials Thursday to investigate abuse claims by children at an immigration detention facility who said they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the probe in a tweet hours after The Associated Press reported the allegations. They were included in a federal civil rights lawsuit with a half-dozen sworn statements from Latino youths held for months or years at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center.

The AP report also cited an adult who saw bruises and broken bones the children said were caused by guards. Northam, a Democrat, said the allegations were disturbing and directed the state’s secretary of public safety and homeland security and the Department of Juvenile Justice to report back to him “to ensure the safety of every child being held there.” Children as young as 14 said the guards there stripped them of their clothes and strapped them to chairs with bags placed over their heads.”

Read more here.

By Nick Barrickman in the USA:

Virginia’s Democratic governor seeks to whitewash abuse of immigrant youth at state detention facility

21 August 2018

A report issued last week by Virginia state government seeks to whitewash the criminal abuse of unaccompanied immigrant children detained in the United States and held at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center (SVJC) in northwest Virginia from 2014 through 2017.

Governor Ralph Northam, elected last year as part of a wave of Democratic Party victories that were presented in the media as a rebuke to the Trump administration, has effectively provided political cover for the criminal policies of the right-wing president.

The plight of dozens of immigrant youth at the juvenile detention facility first became known in June when a lawsuit detailing the conditions at SVJC and a similar center in Texas emerged. The lawsuit, filed last year by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, accuses detention officials of “excessive, abusive, and irreparably punitive and disciplinary practices and denial of adequate mental health care” that subjects children to “physical, emotional and psychological damage, in violation of fundamental constitutional norms.”

The staff of the two facilities were accused of:

In addition, youth were denied adequate meals, not informed of their rights and often denied the ability to appeal their treatment, which is referred to in the lawsuit as “torture”.

The revelation of brutal treatment of immigrant youth inside state detention centers is an indictment of the policies of both Democratic President Barack Obama as well as Republican President Donald Trump, as well as numerous state and local political figures. The governor of Virginia during the period covered by the lawsuit was Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former chair of the Democratic National Committee, a close ally of Hillary Clinton, and a potential candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

The Virginia state report, overseen by Secretary for Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran and conducted by the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice and Department of Social Services, is a flagrant cover-up. Within the first paragraphs, the “study” states: “The DJJ [Department of Juvenile Justice] team found SVJC in compliance with applicable regulations and certification standards” and thus “no evidence of abuse or neglect” was found.

Using language intended to downplay the actions of officials at the SVJC, the report states: “SVJC operational tenets are geared more toward a correctional philosophy and environment than a therapeutic model”, suggesting the facility hire more staff with backgrounds in “cognitive behavioral interventions and trauma informed care.”

Elsewhere, the review suggests that, “given the concerns raised by the allegations … about physical restraints more generally … DJJ will inform and educate the Board about their use in Virginia in order that the Board may properly consider the current regulations and whether any changes might be necessary.” While the report mentions that several staff members faced discipline for inappropriate use of restraints, it fails to explain the nature of the violations or if they had resulted in any injuries to the minors.

The report reveals that the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which is responsible for the children, refused to allow DJJ investigators to take notes about or copy any case files for children held in the facility at any time. State investigators also could not question current detainees without an “SVJC staff member … present for all interviews.” Unsurprisingly, the report finds: “No residents interviewed had knowledge of the use of the restraint chair” or any other such torture methods.

In addition, the youth who originally had been included in the federal class action lawsuit had been deported or transferred to a different facility prior to the investigation.

Governor Northam praised the findings: “I applaud the quick and comprehensive examination conducted by the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Social Services, and encourage the facility to heed their recommendations … The safety of every child being held there is of the utmost importance.” Spokespeople for SVJC issued a statement praising the conclusions and stating the facility “embraces the recommendations of the report.”

Spokespeople for the Washington Lawyers’ Committee called the report “deeply flawed”, noting that children were interviewed without having lawyers present and that the investigators had declined to contact the children’s legal representatives, despite the “ample evidence produced” by their research and that of expert witnesses.

The whitewashing of abuse and torment of children by state officials occurs as the Democratic Party at the national level has dropped the plight of immigrants trapped inside the government’s illegal dragnet. Despite the Trump administration’s flouting a legal deadline which required that it reunite all immigrant children separated from their families under the “zero tolerance” policy, no Democrats have called for the prosecution of Trump or any members of his cabinet.

Rather, the opposition of Democratic Party officials and liberal commentators has focused on claims that Trump has been colluding with Russia, while denouncing all forms of social opposition to the administration as the product of foreign agents seeking to “sow divisions” in American society.

A recent report in the Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star noted that the state of Virginia plans to admit more immigrant detainees into its detention centers. Referencing comments by ICE’s Richmond sub-office chief, the publication states “detainees will begin arriving at the Caroline Detention Center ‘soon’.” Virginia detention centers have housed at least 19,000 immigrant detainees since 2008.

Donald Trump’s war on children and the Red Hen restaurant

This video from the USA says about itself:

Red Hen Restaurant President Trump Claims Is ‘Filthy’ Has Clean Record

25 June 2018

After President Trump slammed a Virginia restaurant that asked his press secretary to leave, other places with the same name are being unfairly slammed. President Trump took to Twitter and attacked the restaurant that kicked out press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “The Red Hen restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders“, Trump tweeted Monday morning.

Here’s why Trump really shouldn’t call someone else’s restaurant “dirty”.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

In defense of the Red Hen

26 June 2018

On Friday, the owner of the Red Hen, a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave her establishment after employees objected to serving her.

The event followed an incident Tuesday in which a group of demonstrators chanted, “If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace!” as Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was having dinner in a Washington, DC restaurant.

This 18 June 2018 video from the USA is called Listen to children who’ve just been separated from their parents at the border.

Two days later, the right-wing ideologue and White House adviser Stephen Miller was denounced as a fascist by a patron at another restaurant.

These incidents reflect an outpouring of revulsion and horror among millions of Americans at the Trump administration’s policy of separating refugee children from their parents, a practice condemned as torture by the United Nations. Hundreds of thousands of people have donated to a fundraiser in support of the victims, setting a new Facebook record, and demonstrations against the cruel and barbaric practice have been held throughout the country.

No doubt, the employees of the Red Hen, as well as its proprietor, felt genuinely disgusted to be in the presence of Trump’s filthy mouthpiece, who day after day spews lies to justify the president’s criminal policies. They politely told her to get out.

No one would claim that these individual actions represent a strategy for fighting Trump, but they reflect vast and intense social anger, not just over the inhuman treatment of impoverished refugees, but against inequality, war, the militarization of society and attacks on democratic rights.

This is why, amid general sympathy and support for the Red Hen among the American people, the response of the Democratic Party and the corporate media has been to subject its owner and employees to pompous and hypocritical lectures about “civility”.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (Democrat from New York) took to the Senate floor Monday to declare, “No one should call for the harassment of political opponents. That’s not right. That’s not American.”

Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi denounced “harassment” of Trump officials as “unacceptable”, and declared that “we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity.”

The Washington Post likewise weighed in with a reprimand, publishing an editorial stating that while “passions are running high… Ms. Huckabee… should be allowed to eat dinner in peace.” It added, “Those who are insisting that we are in a special moment justifying incivility should think for a moment how many Americans might find their own special moment.”

Another column in the Post complained that Trump cabinet members were being harassed by “mobs”.

What accounts for the Democrats’ sudden concern for the sensibilities of Trump and his associates?

For the past two years, the Democratic Party, the Post and the New York Times have been waging a factional war against Trump centered on allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US election and collusion by the Trump campaign with Moscow. A special counsel has been appointed, Trump’s former campaign manager has been jailed, and his lawyer’s office and home have been raided by the FBI. For good measure, the press has thrown in sex scandals regarding porn stars and call girls. No accusation has been too disgusting to air, in keeping with the nature of the conflict—a palace intrigue centered on disputes over foreign policy within the ruling elite.

This anti-Russia, anti-Trump campaign, while resonating with sections of the political establishment and the affluent upper-middle class, has left the general population cold. But now, the anti-Russian narrative has suddenly been superseded by mounting popular anger over real crimes committed by the Trump government: the torture and imprisonment of children; the construction of concentration camps; threats to dispense with due process.

The Democrats have denounced the protests against Trump’s accomplices because they are instinctively hostile to any form of spontaneous popular anger that cannot be channeled along reactionary lines that are harmless to capitalism. On fundamental policy issues—militarism and war, austerity, attacks on democratic rights—there is little that separates the two parties. In fact, as Trump correctly notes and former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged on Sunday, immigrant children were separated from their families and jailed under Obama.

The Democrats and Trump speak for different factions of the criminal financial oligarchy that dominates American society.

After Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters called for protests against Trump cabinet members and aides, she was denounced by both Pelosi and Schumer. Within 90 minutes of Pelosi’s disavowal of Waters, Trump posted a tweet declaring:

“Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!”

There is no doubt that the Trump administration was taken aback by the visceral public outcry against the separation of children and parents at the border, which led Trump to promise to end the policy. But by denouncing Waters, the Democrats gave Trump the opportunity to go on the offensive once again, rallying his fascistic, extra-parliamentary power base—the “Make America Great Again Movement”—in a threat against a member of Congress.

The entire episode demonstrates certain undeniable realities about American politics. No matter how bitter the divisions between Trump and his factional opponents within the ruling class, they are all involved in what former President Obama called an “intramural scrimmage.” On issues of fundamental class importance, including the ability of the state to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity with impunity, all factions of the ruling elite are united against the working class.

While Trump makes use of every opportunity to whip up his fascistic base, the Democrats live in perpetual fear that a movement will develop from below centered not on their pet issues of … war policy, but on revolutionary issues.

As the World Socialist Web Site explained last June in its statement “Palace coup or class struggle: The political crisis in Washington and the strategy of the working class”, the opposition to Trump within the state and the opposition to Trump within the population are entirely different movements, one from above and the other from below, with radically different methods, aims and intentions.

To the Democrats’ methods of palace coup must be counterposed the methods of the class struggle. The only way to fight the Trump administration’s warmongering and its assault on social and democratic rights is to mobilize the working class on the basis of a socialist strategy aimed at overthrowing the capitalist system, of which Trump is a noxious expression.

‘A CRISIS OF DEMOCRACY, NOT MANNERS’ Read this remarkable piece in The New York Times on Red Hen’s refusal to serve Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “I don’t blame staff members at the Virginia restaurant, the Red Hen, for not wanting to help Sanders unwind after a hard week of lying to the public about mass child abuse.” Vox also has a good line on the incident and the failure of “civility.” [The New York Times]

US assault on immigrants continues as Democrats denounce protests against Trump officials: here.

‘DON’T TALK TO REPORTERS’ Unaccompanied children held by the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy are being told not to speak with reporters about their detainment. [HuffPost]

The independent media outlet Unicorn Riot has published the “Undercover Operations Manual” used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to regulate the use of informants and to infiltrate pro-immigrant organizations. This handbook is the fifth and latest document related to the functioning of ICE that has been published by Unicorn Riot as part of its “Icebreaker” series: here.

Jennifer Carnahan, an Asian-American GOP official, reveals Republican Party members have called her “ch*nk,” and “a stupid Asian not even born in America.”

‘COTTON-PICKING MIND’  Former Trump campaign official David Bossie went on “Fox & Friends” and told a a black panelist, “You’re out of your cotton-picking mind.” [HuffPost]

CALIFORNIA PROSECUTOR ON LEAVE AFTER UNHINGED WATERS RANT A San Bernardino County prosecutor has been placed on leave after posting a vicious attack on social media about Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). It read: “Being a loud-mouthed c**t in the ghetto you would think someone would have shot this b***h by now.” [HuffPost]

Colourful millipede discovery in Virginia, USA

These are Apheloria polychroma colourmorphs. Credit: Virginia Tech

From Virginia Tech in the USA:

Entomologist discovers millipede that comes in more color combinations than any other

January 26, 2018

The new millipede that Paul Marek discovered is as pretty as it is dangerous.

The thumb-sized millipede that crawls around the forest floor of Southwest Virginia’s Cumberland Mountains has more color combinations than any other millipede discovered.

Apheloria polychroma, as the millipede is known, also has an enviable trait in the animal world — it’s covered in cyanide, ensuring any bird that snacks on the colorful but lethal invertebrate won’t do it a second time. Lots of other millipedes that don’t have as much toxic defense mimic Apheloria polychroma’s coloring in hopes of avoiding becoming another link in the food chain.

This is the 10th species that Marek, an assistant professor in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences‘ Department of Entomology, has discovered and named in recent years. Apheloria polychroma was named for its rainbow of colors and was described by Marek; Jackson Means, a graduate student from Keswick, Virginia; and Derek Hennen, a graduate student from Little Hocking, Ohio. Marek runs the only millipede lab in the United States.

The team’s findings were recently published in the journal Zootaxa.

While Marek’s work is focused on small things, his research helps tell the larger story of the quickly changing natural world. By documenting the many living organisms of the planet, he is helping avoid anonymous extinction — a process in which a species goes extinct before its existence, role in the ecosystem, or potential benefit to humanity is known.

“It is imperative to describe and catalog these species so that we know what role they play in the ecosystem — and what impact we are having on them,” said Marek. “This region is ripe with biodiversity and is an excellent living laboratory to do this work.”

The millipedes that copy Apheloria polychroma use what is called Mullerian mimicry, where different species converge on a shared aposematic (warning signal) to defend themselves against a common predator. The more frequently predators encounter what appears to be the same brightly colored unpalatable millipede and memorize its warning colors, the better the collective advertisement of their noxiousness.

In addition to the millipede‘s colorful exoskeleton, it also serves an important role in the ecosystem as a decomposer by breaking down decaying leaves, wood, and other vegetation to unlock and recycle their nutrients for future generations of forest life.

In recent years, Marek also has had a tarantula named for him, explored the origins of bioluminescence, and discovered the leggiest creature on Earth.

South European millipede in Dutch The Hague: here.

Researchers studying near-identical species of millipedes found a new way to tell them apart: shining a blacklight on them. Under the UV light, parts of the different species’ genitals will glow different colors. This discovery has allowed scientists to rewrite this part of the millipede family tree: here.

Charlottesville, USA police and violent racists

This video from the USA says about itself:

Charlottesville Terror: Police and Racists Too Cozy?

17 October 2017

Is there a political alliance between Charlottesville police and local white supremacists? TYT Politics Contributor Ryan Grim talks to Intercept colleague Alex Emmons who recently returned from Charlottesville, VA. Read more here.

See also here.

CHARLOTTESVILLE STUDENTS WALK OUT Students at Charlottesville High School in Charlottesville, Virginia, walked out of classes on Monday, days after they were targeted by a racist threat on 4chan. The walkout, organized by local activist and student Zyahna Bryant and the high school’s Black Student Union, was framed around pushing the school district for cultural reform and increased safety ― particularly salient concerns in a city where white supremacists held a large and deadly rally less than two years ago. [HuffPost]