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Twitter: @SteveAhlquist

Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

His photos and video are usable under the Creative Commons license. Free to share with credit.

"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu

"There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame." - David Brooks

7 responses to “Gina Raimondo: Don’t move to Canada, move to Rhode Island!”

  1. Johnnie

    “Raimondo, speaking at a vigil for those lost to gun violence at the First Unitarian Church of Providence, finally seemed to have found the right words and the right tone in response to the surprising and dangerous presidential election win of Donald Trump. She did so by recalling the values upon which our state was founded.”

    What are those values? Religious tolerance; for whom? Did she mean the values of rapacity, exploitation, theft and plunder, the near-genocide and enslavement of Native Americans (see: The Other Slavery, Resendez); the theft of land from Mexico and indigenous people, and the “peculiar institution” of commodifying millions of human beings and subjecting them to inhuman terror, degradation, rape, torture, lynchings and the lash — which continues in another form to this day?

    What are the values that Raimondo is recalling and alluding to? I’m having trouble understanding exactly what she means and who she is speaking to. I see a country that has only known war and gun violence throughout its entire history. Why would Americans be expected to act any differently from those they model? Just as mafioso, Americans are always calling for or “taking out” one “dictator” or another — and making the world safe for the pillaging and plunder by US finance and industrial capital, here and abroad. Honestly, have any of these christians ever read a book.

    It is amazing to me how people deceive themselves and actually believe this feel-good summation of reality and life in America, and the supposed beneficence of what is in actuality a blood-thirsty, callous and mostly indifferent populace to the suffering of others. Spare me.

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  2. Johnnie

    Lofty ideals, if only they were true. Let’s look back at the “founding fathers,” who fashioned a democracy and a constitution for themselves. They created a dictatorship of an aristocratic class, and organized society in their class interests, which we still have today. They were rich, literate white property-owning males — TO THE EXCLUSION OF ALL OTHERS. Anything that came after we have had to fight them for — and continue to fight them for to this day. It is their society and it is organized to serve the owners of capital, we just work for them — if we can find a job. We do not impact the direction of or have any control over society unless we fight them for it.

    Their system is cooking the planet and waging wars all over the world. Does anyone have the temerity to even suggest that this has anything to do with us or the people of the world?
    Whose interests are being served? That is who owns this society.

    The exercise of these lofty ideals or values mean nothing, it is their state, military, courts and Congress. If these “freedoms” meant anything they would take them away.

    You say it serves no purpose to ‘knock’ politicians. I’m not knocking them, I’m saying they are full of shit.

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  3. cailin rua

    “This was a glimpse of Raimondo’s inner progressive, fighting to emerge from the unyielding neoliberal chrysalis she’s built around herself.”

    The world for a song . . .

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  4. Johnnie

    More on US ‘core beliefs’ and ‘values’— and debunking myths:

    The US has the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country in the world. Of 35 countries recently studied by the UN, the US ranked 34th in childhood poverty, just ahead of Romania. The US is LITERALLY the only country in the world that has not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The US ranks behind 25 other developed countries in infant mortality.

    The US Gross National Income is 18.8 trillion dollars.

    In the US, 42 million are food insecure— including 6.4 million children.

    Even with Obamacare, 29 million people have no health insurance. As of 2009, 58 countries in the world have universal healthcare.

    The US has the highest per capita incarceration rate of any country, bar none. Thousands of prisoners have spent years in solitary confinement, many of them mentally ill. On any given day 80,000 are in solitary; the UN considers anything over 15 days as torture. What monster designed Pelican Bay, and what kind of society would even consider using it to dehumanize and warehouse human beings? And this is from a country whose people continually point their finger at the incivility of others.

    101 countries have abolished the death penalty. The US continues to rank within the top 10 for the number of prisoners executed.

    According to the author William Blum: the US has bombed 32 countries and “seriously intervened” in 70, with at least 20 million deaths since WW ll. These are countries that posed no threat to the US or its people.

    According to The Guardian, the police in the US have killed 1,023 people so far this year — and this number doesn’t even begin to touch upon those brutalized at the hands of “law enforcement.”
    It is legal to carry weapons in Iceland. About one-third of the population owns one or more firearms. The Icelandic police have shot and killed one person since 1944, and apologized to the victim’s family.

    I repeat: What exactly are America’s core beliefs and values?

    Ms. Raimondo and others can run these thoroughly reactionary and enduring myths of “American exceptionalism” and the “Shining City upon the Hill,” past the East Side doyens and other seriously deluded privileged strata, but I am going to call them on it.

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  5. cailin rua

    I can’t help myself from coming to these pages. I want to write about Stefan Pryor’s interview on Channel 6 W/ Joe Paolino, where such “progressive” topics as clearing Kennedy Plaza of people smoking cigarettes along with the elimination of the estate tax while sprucing up the address next door to Paolino in order to raise the value of his building at taxpayer expense were the subjects. All these things were discussed with an effervescence that would instill a revulsion that anyone with a heart and half a brain would be consumed with. Then I come to this site and find Bela Robinson’s insightful analysis of the implications and injustices the marginalized wake up to each morning and realize I shouldn’t beat myself up too much for coming here.

    But the problem for me is that this place bills itself as a progressive blog. It’s a place where the people who write what they do find inspiration in the words of David Brooks? The words of Bruce Dixon, re: Keith Ellison have been ringing in my ears for the past couple of days:

    “In a decade on the House Financial Services Committee, Ellison managed not to deeply offend the banksters who flooded the market with predatory housing and student loans, or the payday lenders and credit card racketeers, and he didn’t embarrass or insult the colleagues who openly shill for them. In that target rich environment Ellison managed not just to keep from hitting anything, but not even to take aim.”

    R I Future is not the place anyone is going to hear harsh denunciations of those responsible for the neoliberal policy that is overtaking this state by our governor and Corey Booker’s former deputy mayor, who was run out of Connecticut and who left Ras Baraka with the problems he’s stuck with sorting out in Newark. I don’t think it’s right for you to bill yourselves as progressive. David Brooks is not a progressive. Alan Hassenfeld is not a progressive, neither is Whitehouse or Raimondo or Pryor.

    There was another news show interview today with Sheldon Whitehouse, the godfather of the R I Democratic Party, on another t v station, who is given a lot of space on these pages. So interesting to hear how he’ll work with Trump on infrastructure, probably the same way Pryor worked with Chris Christie on the egregiously misnamed subject of “school reform”. So interesting to hear him say he’s against the repeal of cannabis prohibition, which has been framed by neoliberals as “legalization of recreational marijuana”.

    I guess it’s not unbelievable how badly we’re being sold down the river. Truth in advertising is a huge issue at R I Future. Omitting the name of Dixon above, one has to take note of the fact all of the above mentioned are “Democrats”. Then, there is the relationship involving the blog owner and the local Sinclair Group t v station, once owned by one of the grandfathers of neoliberalism, Curtis LeMay’s former partner, Bruce Sundlun, that made a deal w/ Donald Trump to get favorable news coverage for him.

    I don’t think anyone should be surprised that Steve Ahlquist would present such a glowing presentation of our governor’s remarks at this Church gathering. “Guns belong in the military, not on the streets”, until the surplus is sold to police departments, I guess. When someone in the military shoots you dead with their guns, or the police do with the guns they got from the military one is not quite as dead as when some lunatic from South Carolina shoots you dead, one would have to suppose according to such logic.

    Tell me you don’t “have to know a guy”, now that these people are in power. Tell me Stefan Pryor is not “the guy” one has to know. I’m sure he has a bridge to nowhere to sell you. One wonders whether he’ll be given space here to make his sales pitch.

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  6. 6 key quotes you should read from Gov. Raimondo’s State of the State | WPRI 12 Eyewitness News

    […] she was partly trying to contrast Rhode Island’s values with what happened in Washington, as she has before. It was the closest she came to acknowledging the new political reality at the federal […]

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