Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bread Bags


~Jim Wright, "State of Disunion," at Stonekettle.com


Jim Wright never ceases to amaze me with his analysis of any issue.  During Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Obama could have read directions about how to assemble an Ikia chair and the result would have been the same.  That is the state of our Union and it has been that way for some time.

Jim calls the State of the Union, the "Golden Globes" of American politics.  Often these addresses are poetic with lofty ideas and ambitions put forth.  There was a lot said about the economy, infrastructure, education, taxes, child care, equal pay, and diplomacy.

...and the GOP and Tea Party didn't applaud for much of it!

Okay.  Maybe they sat on their hands because they felt there were already laws in place to deal with these issues.  Perhaps they greeted these idea with silence because they worried how these ideas were going to be paid for.  Maybe the bitter and bored looks on their faces were due to their belief that government doesn't have a role in any of these things.

Fine.

But they can't support an idea?  Not a bill or a policy--just an idea.  They can't support that?  They can't support the idea of having better infrastructure?  We're all set in the department?  We're good?  How about education?  Republicans can't support the idea of easier access to college?  Not even for a better trained workforce?  They're not on board with that?  Equal pay?  Republicans aren't on board for equal pay for women?  Not even the female Republicans?

A bit of a side note:  One of the more interesting things to come out of Tuesday night's coverage was the fact that the women's caucus--Republicans and Democrats--are finding common ground to tackle issues at a greater rate than their male colleagues.  Y'know...doing their job!  I wonder how female Republican legislators would feel paying a "vagina tax" and losing $20,000-$30,000 in their pay?  

What did Republicans applaud and give a standing ovation for?

Hunting terrorists.

...and anything related to the military.

Maybe this has to do with the idea some Republicans have that the Federal government's only job is to see to our national defense.  That would make sense!  It would explain the bored, grumpy, apathetic looks.  It would explain why the GOP only exhibited a pulse in regards to combating terrorism or the military.  That would be consistent in their thinking.

Of course, that isn't the case and consistency is unknown amongst the GOP.

Joni Ernst (R-IA), Iowa's first female Senator, was tasked with the job of delivering the GOP's rebuttal to the State of the Union.  This had to be a hellish duty, considering Ernst was following the likes of Jindahl and Rubio.  The GOP seems to delight in trying to trot out some perceived minority in a vain attempt to try and distract us to the fact that the very speech being read was written by the same old pasty-faced bitter bastards that have been in government for decades.  Ernst's rebuttal, was not her rebuttal and it is doubtful that the freshman Senator was even up to speed on the positions.  Ernst's only hope in this untenable call to duty was to try and not appear as awkward as Jindahl or Rubio.

She did...okay.  It wasn't as disastrous as Rubio's.

I wasn't alone in my thinking that the first moments of Ernst's rebuttal seemed like the opening number of a Saturday Night Live skit.  Many on Twitter expected her to say, "Live from New York..."  However one commentator who predicted Ernst would end her speech by saying, "Now where is Sarah Connor!" was the best tweet of the night in my opinion.

I can't fault Ernst for the GOP's rebuttal, as I said, it wasn't her speech.  As I listened, I couldn't help but notice that the GOP's rebuttal touched on some of the same ideas, President Obama's own address had mentioned.  The same ideas the GOP sat through with no applause and bored bitter faces.  Hell, some of these thoughts didn't even involve the military or terrorists, even though the rebuttal was given from the Senate Armed Service Committee room--just in case you forgot how much the GOP loves war.

I was content to give Ernst a wide berth in her remarks.  It seemingly has become mandatory that the higher-ups in the GOP who actually sanction these speeches hide behind the newbies, lest they have to take any responsibility for the content.  But where Ernst went with this speech just can't be ignored.

portion of Ernst's response
Bread bags on shoes?  Really?  

Is it true?  According to PolitiFact, not entirely.  Regardless of the veracity of the statement, it was the fondness, ease, and sense of nostalgia Ernst portrayed while relaying this that bothered me.

What defines what it means to be "poor" and "impoverish" is a growing narrative among the GOP.  Ernst is an accomplished woman and she has no reason to be embarrassed of her childhood, as embellished as it seems to be.  

Yet she isn't alone in the GOP's wistful remembrance of poverty.  During the 2012 GOP primary, Rick Santorum fondly remembered his own father's back breaking, high-risk work as a coal miner.  Whether it's bread bags or facing daily death, the GOP truly has an idea of what "acceptably poor" looks like.  


If the GOP position on the poor and poverty could be summed up, it would be that there is just not enough suffering going on.  American poor have more living space than Europen citizens, they have televisions, air conditioning, coffee pots, and refrigerators.  There's just not enough misery.  Parents are not risking their lives!  Where oh where are the bread bags?!?  The standard of living for the poor is just too high in their estimation.  In their mind there is a definite level of acceptable misery the poor must endure for the GOP to choke down their contempt.

If only the poor were content to "live within their means."  What Ernst failed to disclose in her fond retelling of childhood of a modest childhood was the hundreds of thousands of dollars her family has received in farm subsidies, as reported by RawStory and anyone else who found her comments odd.

Bread bags?

We're better than bread bags.

We better be!

The poor better have refrigerators.  

If not, what the hell are we doing?  Why are we spending all this money on defense?  For what?  To protect whom from what?

If we subscribe to the notion that those in need are only "truly" in need if they are living in a rickety shack, with no indoor plumbing or electricity, clothed in burlap sacks, with bread bags on their feet; then everything needs to stop.

Space exploration, medicine, wars on terrorism, research for new planes--it all needs to come to a stop, because what are we doing it for?

If we are so convinced that we are the greatest country on this planet able to dictate our values to others, we damn well better have our own house in check!  

It's okay that our poor aren't stacked four people to a room for sleeping.  We better be better than that.  It's okay our poor have plumbing and access to utilities. They better--especially when we've given so much "concern" for the humanitarian status of others.  It's okay for them to have access to medicine, while we spend millions sending supplies to the next earthquake, tsunami, or drought.

...and yes--the can have access to TVs, VCRs, the internet, air conditioning, the occasional dishwasher and even a refrigerator, because this is the United States of fucking America and not leaving our fellow citizens behind to die of starvation, exposure, or lack of medicine should be a source of pride, not regret.

Some will call that a nanny-state, or "enabling," or even "socialism."  For Joni Ernst, it was called a "farm subsidy."  Just look at her now!  Yesterday, a bread bag wearing Iowan.  Today a veteran and sitting Senator.  

She might have even be "spoiled" with a refrigerator.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: The Year of Race and Fear



The year 2014 was good to me!  It was good to me personally and professionally.  I'm going to miss 2014.  Really, I am.  It's going to be one of those years I look back on as a "good year."  For the first time in a long time I am looking forward to the new year with optimism, confidence, and genuine excitement.  I can't remember ever being excited about a new year.

Our economy is on the way back!  At least the numbers and reports say so.  It was a historic year for Wall Street, consumer confidence, and job creation.  We should be celebrating!  We spent enough time bitching about the recession.  We spent enough time struggling and stressing.  There's finally light at the end of this miserable tunnel.

We haven't heard too much about the economy throughout 2014.  Good news is often overshadowed in lieu of the bad.  For every story and protest over police brutality, there were easily twice as many stories of police officers saving Christmas for families--and that was just in November and December.  We enjoy our bad news.  We enjoy our malaise.  It gives us license to bitch.  We have had a lot of practice at it too!  So much so, one might even say, it has become a habit of ours.  It's even become somewhat ingrained into our culture.


Fear and race seemed to dominate 2014.  The two hot-button issues weren't necessarily exclusive of one another at times.  Diversity had become equated to "white genocide" long before the Ferguson and New York City protests.  Those events quickly conflated into a national argument about "white privilege," race, and "thugs," rather than equality or even common sense.  It's been an almost surreal year watching a public resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and their slick marketing campaigns, with door to door leaflets, and coming off like the Salvation Army.

I honestly don't understand the threat many in white America are feeling.  I'm not even certain they feel threatened.  What I can say with positivity, is give one of these folks enough time to talk and what you hear or read is drooling with racism.  It isn't overt racism.  It may not even be intended to be racist--but it is.  If the basis for racism can be established under the umbrella of inequality--one ethnic group seeing another as unworthy or not deserving of equal treatment--then 2014 was a banner year for racism.

Oh...and hypocrisy too.

The use of force against the likes of Eric Garner in New York City and Michael Brown in Ferguson went unquestioned by many in America.  They didn't question why a man was choked over selling $1.00 cigarettes or why 12 shots were fired.  Garner and Brown were quickly labeled criminals and their fates were largely of their own making because they did not "do as they were told."

That argument may have held water, if--if it had been applied equally.

For everyone.

It hasn't.

It hasn't and it hasn't been applied in cases far more concerning than Brown and certainly Garner.  In the Spring of this year, Clive Bundy didn't do as he was told and he was celebrated.  He wasn't dubbed a criminal, nor were the attendees of the would-be "American Spring," who peacefully--yet armed--sought to unseat our entire government.  They were labeled "patriots."

That folks is inequality.  Plain and simple.

Our fear of Muslims and Islam continues to paralyze us.  As much of conservatives have whined over the years that Obama didn't end the war (in Iraq) as promised, when that event arrived they wanted to turn around and go back in to Iraq.  The rise of Isis provided a new foe for the arm-chair generals of the conservatives.  By September of this year, we were all to be in hand-to-hand combat with Isis Jihadists in the streets of America.

...at least according to Ted Nugent.

Terrorists fear chest pockets!
How much fear was generated over Isis?  Why for less than $500 you can have your very own "Isis Hunting Kit."  It's quite the bargain!  Don't be confused as one of the regular "crazies" in your neighborhood!  Make sure your neighbors know you're completely bat-shit crazy!!  You can even upgrade your kit to include a multi-cam!  Now your exploits of running around the neighborhood--not half cocked--but fully cocked, accosting swarthy people can be shown to your friends, family, and children!

Yeah we did this.  ...ain't capitalism grand?

While you're hunting totalitarian religious groups that seek to enforce their strict code on everyone, might I suggest Michigan?  House bill 5958, the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," allows Christian zealots to exercise their conscience to refuse service, housing, etc... to anyone that doesn't measure up to their standards.  It's the sort of shit Isis is pulling over seas and the same sort of shit that was tried in Arizona.  

Speaking of terrorist groups that might mean harm to this country, in 2014 the FBI noted that hate groups and militia groups reached their highest point--ever.  In particular, the FBI singled out the "Sovereign Citizens" movement.  While mostly known for white collar crimes and frivolous lawsuits, there is ample evidence documenting violent altercations with police when confronted, as seen in June of this year, when a Georgia courthouse was attacked by a lone Sovereign Citizen.

You first!
Fear was constant this year!  Remember the war?  Remember the invasion?  Remember 60,000 children on our border?  Sixty-thousand "godless" Guatemalans--gang members, criminals, some who were even alleged to have been "deliberately infected with deadly diseases" to pollute right-thinking Americans.  (I guess Democrats and Independents were inoculated?)  The fear from this particular threat was enough for Ex-Marine Terry Mocny to state, "I support a minefield along the border" at a meeting to discuss arriving refugee children, on July 9 of this year in Vassar, Michigan.  (Video: here)  Mocny isn't the lone crazy wolf anxious to make the border go "boom."  Using landmines at our border has a long history.

For those that protested giving any succor to the 60,000 at our border, it wasn't racism that drove them into the streets.  It wasn't fear that made that scream at the buses of children.  They certainly didn't have tense altercations with counter protestors because of fear or race.

Maybe because they can spell "citizens" and "illegals?"
Oh no!

It was "concern" for our deficit.  ...oh and their children's future.

Truly we have need of a sarcasm font.

There isn't protest over John McCain's continued desire to intervene--militarily of course--in Syria.  We aren't seeing too many signs over that.  Both Syria and our border were labeled humanitarian crises.  We simply couldn't afford the Guatemalans.  It wasn't anything personal, just sound fiscal thinking!  No word on the projected costs of military intervention in Syria yet.  No concern has yet to be raised about our deficit or our children's future for this "humanitarian endeavor."

Yeah that whole inequality thing once again.

Hey--while we're misty-eyed and shaken to our core over our "children's future;" 2014 continued a legacy of slaughter in classrooms and campuses.  We aren't seeing much protest over that either.  People are not filling the streets.  There are no seas of protests signs with awful grammar or misspelled words.  They're not descending on community centers to "be heard."  Since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, there have been more than 74 school shootings, averaging one every five weeks.  Maybe I'm wrong!  Maybe a classmate with a gun is not as concerning as a Guatemalan, suffering from ring worm, getting a free lunch.

Their "children's future...."

I have to give an honorable mention to ebola, PolitiFact's "Lie of the Year" for 2014.  It's the newest big thing to fear coming across our un-landmined Southern border.  We really weren't afraid of ebola, but goddamn it--some worked really hard to make us afraid!  Were these people not aware we had already triumphed over the "deliberately infected" Guatemalans?!?  Ebola was to be catastrophic--a pandemic.  Some believed that ebola was "Obama's payback for slavery."  (Those people weren't racist though...not one bit.  They had a negro friend back in the fourth grade.)

Ebola was going to be carried over our border by illegal immigrants or "ileagel" immigrants--for all those "English-only" readers--and terrorists.  It didn't matter that the likelihood of terrorist, who intentionally infected themselves, would most likely die before reaching our border.  It was scary stuff!

Just to underscore how race and fear dominated 2014, consider that Americans thought the disease was no concern during March through July, while scores, if not hundreds, died in West Africa.  One white doctor dies and August through October was pandemic apocalypse season.

As 2014 comes to a close, we approach the new year with a Republican lead Senate and House.  Soon, the primary race for the 2016 race will begin.  That will be a wild ride!  Hillary has practically already been anointed for the Democrats, however I don't know any Democrats all that excited about her.  Jeb Bush is running!  Rick "The Vest" Santorum will be back.  Speculation runs wild about Rand, Cruz, Perry, Jindahl, Walker and Rubio running also.

Let me tell ya--when the knives come out on stage during that first GOP debate it's going to make Caeser's assassination look like a hepatitis test!  That is...if they have a debate.  If anything was learned by the GOP in 2012, it was that their candidates should talk a lot less.  Having Michelle Bachmann offering "insightful" commentary on Fox News?  Oh this will just be too much fun.  God's glassy-eyed cheerleader is sure to have her pom-poms at the ready, to explain to us, just how much angry and disappointed God is with us.

The year 2015 is sure to be pivotal for our country.  I would say a great deal of "healing" is needed, but I suspect many of our "wounds" are imaginary.  Maturity--growing the hell up--and realizing that each of us just aren't as special, entitled, or "wonderful" as we think is what is needed.  Our country has rebounded from fiscal disaster and while I can't point to any specific policies of the Obama administration for this rebound, I'm damn certain our recovery didn't come via the hands-in-pockets Republicans.  We did this.  People did this. 

Regular normal people did this.  It wasn't "risky-gutsy-conservative capitalism" or "lovey-dovey liberalism" that brought this country back.  It was bosses, companies, and employees who simply did the right thing.  They invested in people.  They created jobs and the best jobs they could create.  They didn't give in to fear.  Americans in the absence of Federal leadership and with choking gridlock, took care of one another.  Imagine where we'd be if our leadership got their shit together!

Take a moment this New Year's Eve to celebrate that we are overcoming.  Acknowledge that things are getting better and breathe a sigh of relief. 


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Beer Balls: The New Foreign Policy



Have you been following this?  The Interview?

Had some in this country had their way, bombers would have been fueled, missiles launched, and nukes dropped!


It isn't all that surprising.  Any time our nation is not treated with deference, any time our nation is reminded that we are but one country of hundreds of countries, any time that our nation is reminded we are but a fraction of the 7 billion people living on this planet; we act like petulant children.  It really doesn't matter the real or perceived slight that is incurred, the response is the same--war.  Thermal nuclear war.  Bombs dropping, bullets flying, utter annihilation--genocide.  There is no other response.

North Korea's hack of Sony pictures--and who are we kidding, it was North Korea--inflicted the following "wounds" upon this country:
  1. Andrew Garfield may be dumped as Spider-Man in favor of a new actor.
  2. The head of Sony has expressed interest in a black James Bond, Idris Elba.
  3. Alex Trebek, of Jeopardy, once threw a tantrum over having to do a re-shoot.  Who knew?
This is our basis for war.  War or the assassination of Kim Jong-Il.  Millions...Billions of dollars to be spent killing over Andrew Garfield, Idris Elba, Alex Trebek, and Seth Rogan.  That's what it really comes down to.  Oh--we can hide behind the idea that the First Amendment was "assaulted," but any injury to the First Amendment was self-inflicted.

Or so we thought.

Movie theaters initially declined to show "The Interview," due to fears of future terrorism or hacks.  It doesn't do for the industry to have their patrons blown up by a bomb or have their credit card information stolen.  More likely, the threat of attack would come from one of our own.  Americans going on a killing spree to incite some sort of "revolution," or worse--having no reason what so ever, seems more likely.  It wasn't Obama or Sony who halted this movie, it was simple prudence.

The movie is just fine!  So is Seth Rogan.  He already got paid.  "The Interview" will be released to select theaters and just recently, YouTube has announced a deal for the showing of this movie.  Imagine that!  A little patience and thought and not one nuked dropped.

This hasn't quenched the blood-thirst for some.  Bombings, assassinations, starvation--they've all been put on the table as possible pay back for...  I dunno.  What happened to us again?  Oh...Alex Trebek.

It isn't the first time we've seen this blood-thirst.  Months back when the North Koreans announced they were going to show-off the U.S.S. Pueblo, a (now) 40+ year old ship that was captured during the Cold War, the drums of war were beating again.  We weren't harmed by North Korea's propaganda, we were just insulted and for that--war again was the option.

"We like war!  We're a war like people!! "
~ George Carlin

We can't seem to stay out of wars.  It's become a lust for us.  Syria?  We were offended other people were fighting and didn't invite us!  How dare they?  Ukraine?  Before we--hell before Ukraine--knew what was going on, we had lunatics here at home eager to take on Russia.  Why?  Our strength had been questioned.  We weren't harmed, we just have a nation of infants who want to resolve everything through war.  
 























Imagine if these jackals ever get into power?  We'd be at war with Syria, Russia, and North Korea, and I'm damn certain I'm probably leaving a country or two out of the mix.  We'd be at war and for no other reason than our feelings being hurt.  Maybe we're drunk on war.  Maybe after a decade of it the body count doesn't matter.

We've become a nation where instinctively we now howl, cheer, and clap like jack-asses for soldiers in any parade, many ruined shells of their former self.  We cheer their service and show our support for the injuries they may have sustained. Personally, I'd like it to stop.  To hell with yellow ribbons, bumper-stickers, and momentary ovations, that in the end, are relatively meaningless.  We know this country has difficulty taking care of our service people.  We have difficulty equipping them in the field.  We have difficulty feeding them.  We have few supports for their family.  Our V.A. system is messed up and overwhelmed.  We have a growing generation of amputees and soldiers affected by P.T.S.D.

...and for some in this country, there just isn't enough suffering.

 "What?!?  They have bigger dicks than us?  Bomb them!! "

~ George Carlin on his "Bigger Dick" Foreign Policy

We've become oh-so-cavalier suggesting the where and when our troops should go.  It's the important why that we consider less and less.  "The Interview," just isn't "war worthy."  Sure--we can build it up into some over dramatic assault on The First Amendment or we can be adults and answer in kind; say by...disrupting North Korea's internet for an entire day.

There is a sense by some that this nation has lost a step in the world community.  Diplomacy is viewed as weakness.  Our current conflicts will never be resolved to their satisfaction.  Cuba has become a sore point for these arm-chair generals.  The ending of pointless embargo and warming of relations is seen as a communist victory.  While the warming relations with Cuba have been largely hailed as overdue, the nay-sayers are quick to point out reversals in Iraq.  We left too early!  In the next breath, the criticize Afghanistan.  We're staying too long!  Never mind the entire GOP field of 2012, with the exception of Ron Paul, wanted troops to head back into Iraq and stay longer.

Truly--we all need safety helmets and neck braces for the whiplash that is conservative hypocrisy.

We've become a terrible fragile nation constantly fearing boogey-man at our doorstep or border.  The enemies are real--make no mistake of that--but the supposed imminent threats to us just aren't that imminent or evening threatening.  It isn't our panic, justified fears, or even intelligence that drives our talk of bombing, invasions, assassination, or nuclear war; it's our perverted sense of nationalism.

It's a crazy mindset!  It's one that conveys a permission to perform any number of military actions that we, ourselves, would quickly label "terrorism."

We're going to put troops on the ground in Syria and kill people--in the name of humanitarianism.

We're going to go to war with Russia, even if invaded Ukraine isn't.  We've seen "Rocky IV," this should be cinch!

We're going to nuke North Korea over...Seth Rogan?

George Carlin had his "Bigger Dick" foreign policy skit in the '90s, which seemingly has mutated into the "Beer Balls" foreign policy for a new generation.  We're willing to go to war with everyone!  Over anything!  Hell--we'll take 'em all on, all at once!

Some might consider this an amazing feat of the military and industrial complex. It might be...if it wasn't based on the premise of our country be a nation of quivering fearful bitches.

I know...I know..."liberals" something something American might something something don't understand something something weak something un-American.  That's how it goes doesn't it?  It seems to this fearful, blood-thirsty, war-mongering crowd that the epitome of Americanism is sending teenagers off to fight and die.

...and for what?

Fear?

Pride?

Boredom?

Beer balls.

If you reject the idea that we have allowed ourselves to become a terribly fragile nation of quivering fearful blood-thirsty bitches, I offer you Todd Kincannon.

That's right.  The former head of the South Carolina Republican Party and current quivering fearful bitch, was willing to start executing ebola patients.  Oh...and he's "pro-life."  That whole ebola scare--or "Obama's payback for slavery," as some called it--really wasn't as scary or nation-shattering as some hoped.  That didn't stop Todd coming up with--dare I say it--death panels.

Without a doubt, North Korea is a nation that has varsity-lettered in crazy.  They are the in-grown hair on the ass of the world and there may come a time when military action is needed, but not over a movie.  Listen, I saw Rogen's last film, "Neighbors" and I think I can speak for all of us when I say, we could do with a little less of Seth Rogan.  You know we've jumped the shark of nationalism when Mike Meyers, as "Dr. Evil," can put the whole Sony / North Korea issue in perspective.



One final note on our perverted sense of nationalism--we love to sit in judgment!  It's a nasty little habit we have.  If nations and leaders are ripe for assassination, bombings, or war, the U.S. of A, might want to back off.  After all, if we consider every whacky, far out, asinine statement utter to be grounds for assassination, consider that America is ground zero for asinine statements.  (See also:  Todd Kincannon and virtually everything said by Ted Nugent..or Michelle Bachmann...or Allen West...or those trio of morons on Fox & Friends.)  Upset at Russia's annexation of The Crimea?  Don't be.  We, The United States, still hold the gold medal for invasions of foreign soil for the last decade.  Lastly, can we stop getting all weepy-eyed over Isus (whatever they're called this week) decapitating people?  Maybe instead of figuring out how the hell to get some teenagers and twenty-somethings on the ground to fight and die, we can worry how we treat one another, here at home.

I leave you with George Carlin's "Bigger Dick" foreign policy:



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pray for Peshawar



It was one of those stories I almost missed.  There's never any good news that comes out of the Mid-East or any countries that end in "-stan."  Explosions, attacks, protests, car bombs, beheadings, throwing acid on girls...let's just say I've gotten pretty numb to the "shocking news" that comes from afar.  I wasn't even shocked that over 100 children were killed in a school and at least one teacher was set on fire.

Didn't shock me.

Not a bit.

Wasn't surprised.

For four decades I've listed to the endless barbarism that has streamed across my TV and news feeds.  It's hardly new.  What is "new," or relatively new to my own front row seat to barbarism, is the almost instant and world-wide feedback Twitter provides.  "#PrayforPeshawar" trended for many hours on Twitter last night.  As did #PrayforPakistan and #Taliban.  I scrolled through the tweets and read the comments.  The opening tweet was perhaps the most succinct and yet the deepest.

Pakistan, Peshawar, and the 141 children who were killed at their school by the Taliban received the world's prayers, condolences, good will, and thoughts.  These kind words of support, expressions of outrage, and hope for better future came from Christians and Muslims and no doubt some atheists.  They came from blacks and whites, males and females, and young and old.  Although many tweeted, many had no words other than shock and disgust to offer.

I've read plenty of articles about school shootings.  Too many.  There was something different about Peshawar.  I couldn't place my finger on it at first.  It eventually came to me.  There was something missing in the comments--something I have become oh-so-accustomed to seeing.  It simply wasn't there.

What was missing was dissent.

As ugly and unthinkable as it is to consider children losing their lives to any sort of violence, there is something far more ugly and unthinkable--excusing the violence.

The attack on the military school that had killed 141 children aged 9-16 came but two days after the second anniversary of Sandy Hook.  There are eerie similarities.  As in Sandy Hook, parents said good-bye to the children, unknowingly, for the last time and sent them off to school.  Those parents' dreams were killed too.  The death toll for Peshawar is far greater than Sandy Hook's, but the greater tragedy is Sandy Hook.

We've sort have come to expect barbarism from the Mid-East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, but Connecticut?  We weren't ready for that.  It isn't that Sandy Hook holds a special monopoly on school shootings that makes their massacre more tragic; it is what came afterwards.  While the world stands shoulder to shoulder with Peshawar, in America things are much different.

Peshawar won't have the likes of Alex Jones to scream "false flag!"  They'll be no Peshawar deniers.  They'll be no lunatics claiming the entire event was staged or that the children of Peshawar were slaughtered on behalf of some government conspiracy.  The citizens of Pakistan won't dismiss the deaths of these children, holding to the belief that the children's' deaths doesn't trump their rights to have a gun.  They'll be no quotes from 18th century figures found anywhere suggesting government will turn on its people and events like Peshawar should simply be absorbed, in anticipation of some conflict or revolution.  No one will insist that the slaughter of 141 children is "the price" Pakistan "pays for freedom."  No one will dismiss the death of these children by reasoning that it is better to "live in an unsafe freedom than a secure tyranny."  No one will tell the parents of Pakistan to "get over it" and "go to hell."

This is the ugly and unthinkable tragedy to American shootings and it is patently American.

We do this!

Ohhhh yes we do!

We hold our guns close and excuse and rationalize away the death of children.  Second Amendment, Founding Fathers, government round ups, forks kill diabetics, drunks kill with cars; we've found any number of ways to absolve ourselves of any guilt or responsibility when children die from gun violence.  It selfishness and basic want and it is the hallmark of this country.

We have a whole demographic of people who don't live in a country as destitute, barren, desperate, violent, or tyrannical as Pakistan, but they have lied enough to themselves to convince themselves that they do.  The deaths of children by guns triggers fears of "gun grabs" and so any lie, excuse, or rationalization is used to save their gun.  Their toy.  Their toy is more important than the death of children.

Pray for Peshawar?

No.

Peshawar is just fine.  They seem to get it.  They seem to understand and comprehend what a tragedy this is.  For a "third world country" they seem to have their priorities in order.  Or maybe it is just better manners.  Maybe they're just more mature and realize a gun is a gun and not a portion of their soul.  Maybe their identity isn't so wrapped in their toy they don't need to deny shootings like this.  Maybe they're human enough to mourn the loss of life before fearing for their gun.

Pray for us.  Pray for the U.S.

...that is if you're religious.

It seems our reactions to school shootings need to catch up with that of the "third world."

Our immature, petulance, and selfishness is glaring.




Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's Not About Race, It's About Equality

Eric Garner is dead over cigarettes--loose cigarettes, or "loosies."

He was selling loose cigarettes and in turn the State of New York wasn't getting its cut in taxes.

I'm not aware of how much Garner's "loosie" empire was bringing in annually.  It had to be substantial!  It must have been!!  Perhaps the good citizens of New York have missed out on revenue that would restore or replace a bridge!  Why else would such a struggle and death take place?

Eric Garner wasn't murdered.  His death was accidental.  It was also monumentally preventable.  Maybe it was slow day for police of Garner's home town.  A real slow day.  A day where the entire police station was squeaky clean, all cold cases had been resolved, and all the filing had been finished--that kind of slow day.  What could have been resolved with a warning or ticket, ended in violence and death.

Garner died before Michael Brown and the riots in Ferguson.  He died before 12 year old Tamir Rice was shot and killed.  In each of these cases there are variables and different circumstances that led to the unfortunate outcomes.  However Garner's death may have been largely forgotten by this nation were it not for the deaths of Brown and Rice and the controversy surrounding those deaths.

"Controversy" isn't a very good word to use.  It is too civil.  Too restrained.  What has surrounded these deaths is far more primitive than the word "controversy."  Hate, ugliness, absolutism, and a heavy dose of racism overshadow these deaths.

Tamir Rice is every cop's nightmare--a kid with a gun.  True--it was an "air gun," but a gun none the less.  Sadly we live in a day and age where it isn't unknown for 12 year olds to be wielding weapons.  As a boy growing up in Schenectady; my weekends and summers were spent playing "war" with a band of other kids.  We all had our toy guns as well and the more realistic the gun, the "cooler" it was.  Cap guns, rattling machine guns fresh of the shelf of Kay-Bee Toys, or even broken toy guns that didn't even "click" were stuffed into our waistbands and slung over our shoulders.

We were stopped one day by the police.  We weren't drawn on by the police.  I barely remember the cop, for this happened over 30 years ago, but I remember he was kind.  He was a mixture of concern and amusement as he told us about the danger of playing "war" and inspected the tips of our guns to make sure they had a green or yellow tip. We learned a valuable lesson that day and from that day forward we often "bagged" our collective arsenal.

Tamir Rice didn't have a green or yellow tip to his actual gun--an air pistol.  He didn't have the luxury of living in a more simple time, where the idea of a kid and gun didn't conjure thoughts of school shootings or death.  My little "band of brothers" worst offense was trespassing on the grounds of Union College and spending our days running the length and breadth of Jackson's Garden fighting some imaginary war.  Looking back--just now--I realize how so much has changed.  Twenty "armed" juvenile gun man laying siege to a university's botanical garden; in today's world there would've been a lock down and helicopters!

Tamir's death is truly tragic.

I think most people could relate to that.

But Tamir's story isn't singular.  It hasn't been allowed to be singular.  Nor has Brown's or Garner's.

Many in this country are saying that "race" has been injected into these cases.  They claim that there's an "agenda" to all of this.  People are "playing the race card" once again!  Oddly--or perhaps not so oddly--I find the people to be most offended by the idea of race and racism, to be quite racist themselves.  It really is a laugh riot.  I don't believe any of these cases were motivated by race.  Eric Garner wasn't put into a barred choke hold because he was black.  Michael Brown wasn't shot at 12 times because he was black.  Tamir Rice wasn't killed because he was black.

However as this country comments on these cases, it is abundantly clear that racism is far from over.  We may want to lie to ourselves and tell ourselves that this racism only continues to thrive in the deepest corners of the rural South, but that simply isn't true.  Read enough and you'll see a well decided on narrative of who and what black Americans are in this country. 

Blacks are lazy.  They never work!  Only white conservative Christians work!  Everybody else is on welfare.  Blacks never work, they're lazy, waiting on their government checks and dealing drugs.  All black people deal and do drugs.  All of them.  Month to month and check to check all these "monkeys" do is ruin their neighborhoods.  This is the narrative that comes across and the proponents of this narrative are supremely confident in this.

Why?

Because they have FBI data!  In and amongst their "non-racists" posts they can cite to you the exact percentages of black on black crime, black violent crime, the numbers of blacks in prison, black recidivism...why with highlighter in hand, if it's black, they have data on it!

But they're not racist.  They have data.

These very same people might argue climate change with you, or evolution, or the age of the Earth, but on the topics of black criminals; that they have data on.

With this data comes the supposition.

Y'see guys like Brown and Garner "ought to have known."  Translation:  They should have expected rough treatment.  If blacks make up 54% of all crime and 70% of our prison population, Brown, Garner, and Rice should not have expected any civility, patience, or presumed innocence.  After all...there are stats!  The sins of their fellow blacks ought to have haunted their every step. 

You have to love stat-whores like this.  It's doubtful that any of these clods actually researched the data themselves.  More likely they found the data through some far-right web page or some supremest group.  The stats they put into play aren't designed to educate other potential Tamir Rices, they are put into play simply dismiss and gloss over these deaths.  To these folks, these deaths weren't about race.  They had little to do with police brutality, over reach, or even poor judgement.  Why Civil Rights isn't even discussed.

If we accept the narrative that all blacks are non-working, check collecting, drug-dealing, breeders responsible for most of the crime in this country; shouldn't blacks accept the fact that they should be treated differently?

Just a reminder for those out there:  When you characterized a sub-group of humanity based on preconceived notions, believe them to be inferior, and feel they are subject to a differential treatment; that pretty much is the definition of racism.  Oh...and it doesn't matter if you have stats either.

Criminals--and note that word because the people tossing it around are often they ones usually whining about "liberty"--criminals when confronted by the police, should "do as they are told."  Due Process seems to get chucked out the window with the "liberty crowd."  Had Garner done as he was told, he'd be alive.  He didn't.  Therefore he "got what was coming."  Didn't Garner read the stats?  Perhaps not.  He was a "criminal" after all.

As I said in the beginning, we really don't know the extent of Garner's "criminal loosie empire."  What we're told by many is that he was a "cheat."  He shouldn't have "broke the law."  He should have "done what he was told."  He didn't and he died.  For those that dismiss Garner's death so cavalierly, I have to wonder if all "criminals" deserve an impromptu death penalty.

Y'see...Garner isn't the only "criminal" who has cheated us of tax money.

Yeah...'memba him?  Clive Bundy.  Bundy reportedly still owes hundreds of thousands of dollars--if not a million--to the government in grazing fees.  I don't know if Garner's "loosie empire" compared to that at all.  I am certain that Bundy's "tax issue" has been known about far longer than Garner's.  I'm certain that Bundy was given due process through a court of law.  I'm certain that a judgement was issued against Bundy.

And when it came time for Clive Bundy to "do as he was told," well the results were far different from Garner's.  Yes Garner resisted, but so did Bundy.  Garner didn't have a small militia behind him leveling their own rifles at the police, which I'm positive in the world of law enforcement, is a far more perceived danger than an overweight asthmatic.  Clive Bundy not only lives, but his "crime" hasn't even been addressed yet.  Eric Garner is dead.

That is not justice.

Bundy has been anointed "hero status."  How dare the government harass a business man!  How dare they seek to take taxes from him!!  Bundy supporters were not only prepared to resist, they were prepared to fight and kill.  Garner, on the other hand, is a "criminal."

While racism and broad generalizations have clouded the cases of Garner, Brown, and Rice, the real issue is equality--everyone being treated equally.  You won't hear much about "equality" these days.  It's not a hot topic.  Women's equality in the workplace, marriage equality for gays, or even equality during confrontations with the police are brushed aside.  The very same people that would dismiss the deaths of Garner, Brown, and Rice don't want to talk about equality.  It's really inconvenient for them!

Simply because they don't believe in it.

Oh...they'll piss and moan about liberties, but they aren't talking about your liberties.  They are talking about theirs!  Equality isn't even a word they utter.  They're not interested in equality.  Equality affords them no special station or status.  They'll wail about "religious liberty" to argue who they should be able to hire or fire or what prayer should be recited when and where.  However, suggest a Muslim prayer be read at a town council and you'll soon discover it's their "religious liberty" and their faith they were talking about.  Who ever mentioned equality?

The deaths of Garner, Brown, and Rice should bother us all, but not because of race.  There are so many other things to examine: police brutality, use of force, the safety of police, intervention protocols...the list goes on.  These deaths should bother us because no one should die over selling a $1.00 cigarette or be unarmed and riddled with bullets and it would be really nice if police didn't see 12 year olds as a immediate threat to them.  It is what has come after these deaths, this ugliness that has raised its head, that should also concern us.  It isn't about race, it's about equality.




Monday, December 8, 2014

Why Not a Meme?

A friend of mine shared a post on Facebook the other day.  I needed to call him and ask if he had completely lost his goddamn mind.  My friend is ex-military, married, with children, and really doesn't carry many of the idiotic notions many conservatives put forth these days.  So I had to wonder...

If you are one of the many--far too many--who still believe this idiotic idea that the government was or is  still trying to get your stupid gun; you're a moron.  Truly.  A booger-picking, crayon munching, moron.  There's no two ways about it.

The government is perfectly fine with you having your gun!!  There's an abundance of proof to back that up.  Show me a bill!  Show me a law!  Show me a position where a gun is imperiled.  Someone show me this "plot" which has yet to materialize.

You need proof?


Fine.

We near the second anniversary of the Sandy Hook Massacre.  Twenty children and six staff were gunned down and as a nation we did nothing.  Nothing.  Oh we pissed and moaned about it.  We clutched our guns tightly.  Yet in the grand scheme of things, those weren't our children, so...who cares?  We talked about keeping our children safe but did nothing.  We talked about mental illness but did nothing.  We talked about TV, movies, and video games but did nothing.

Our kids still practice lock down drills.  Gun violence still occurs on campuses, at high schools, and I must say 2014 was a banner year for kids and gun related deaths and accidents.

...and we still continue to do nothing.  Your gun is safe.  Even with the continued slaughter, the "big-bad government" hasn't done a thing.

Still need more proof?

After Sandy Hook the peculiar practice of raffling off AK-47s and AR-15s began.  It was almost as if those who clutched their guns close after hearing the news of Sandy Hook, needed to spit on those kids' graves.  Clutching their guns, these maniacs weren't satisfied that our government shrugged and our nation eventually lost interest.  They were offended at the very idea that some might question the wisdom of these fine weapons being in the hands of just anyone.  With childish spite and with a whole lot of adult assholery, they raffled these weapons off in spite and professed fear that the government would come for the guns.

It was popular!

Numerous GOP candidates have raffled of these weapons.  Oregon, Colorado, and Missouri have all seen AR-15 raffles.  South Carolina and Maryland candidates preferred a more exotic flair and raffled of AK-47s.  Why the GOP has even incorporated holidays for these raffles.  An Oregon County GOP group raffled off an AR-15 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day--because what better way to celebrate a man's life who died by gun violence, than by raffling off a gun!

I'll leave it to you to decide if that's racists, stupid, or just in bad taste.

Father's Day is a popular day to raffle off AR-15s as well.

But it's not just the regular crew of crazy of the GOP raffling off these weapons.

It's almost become main stream.  Churches have been routinely raffling off these weapons and effectively bribing people to get them into the pews.  A local Troy pastor was big on this for a while, because "derp..derp...Jesus killed the first born of Egypt with an AR-15...oogie oogie derp" or some silly shit.

Yet even outside of the umbrella of the GOP, we have had loads of access to these weapons.  Barber shops, girl softball groups, Little League Groups, and even high school baseball teams have raffled off these weapons!  College newspapers have raffled off these weapons!!  The police--y'know...the government--have raffled off these weapons!!

Your gun is truly, truly safe.

Hell you might 'luck out' and find yourself a winner in one of these many raffles!  If there is a plot by the government to take these guns, it's the strangest plot ever!  The only conclusion you can come to, is that the government wants to saturate the market and create disinterest.

Your gun is safe.

...and you're still a booger-picking, crayon munching moron if you believe otherwise.

The above meme is courtesy of the dummies at the National Gun Rights Organization.  Groups like this have to keep up the lie and further the myth of some gun grab.  It drives fund-raising!  As an added bonus, gun-owners feel special, as if they are some sort of self-appointed vanguard of our freedoms, that no one asked for.  For some bizarre reason, these dummies give a lot of credence to the Founding Fathers, more so than say, the children of Sandy Hook.  I would submit that the dummies of NGR are giving their attention and allegiance to the wrong group of dead people.

As I promised you that your gun is safe, let me also promise that England or any other 18th Century European Monarchy are not going to invade us.  We're safe.  We really are. In fact you have a better chance of getting gunned down purposefully or accidentally by a fellow American, than by German Hessian mercenaries.  The war is over Minute Men.  Yes...yes...Chicago, Los Angeles, D.C. all have gun violence--but do you live there?  This is hardly a real fear for many gun-owners but it has become a cornerstone of their talking points.  If we are conjuring real fear, gun-owners and proponents are better off admitting they are afraid of many of their idiot brethren shooting up their school, shopping mall or neighborhood. 

If groups like the National Gun Rights Organization are feeling needy and need to stay relevant, I wonder why they use such stupid marketing and memes.  If they really want to empower truly responsible and law-abiding gun owners of this country, why not cull the herd of the obvious, plentiful, and high profile gun nuts in this country?

Why not a meme that recommends not pointing your loaded Glock 27 at your 11 year old nephew's head while demonstrating the laser sight?  Hunter Pederson of New Jersey might still be alive.  How about a meme that shooting your 16 year old grandson for playing hookie from school isn't ok?  Ulysses Hayes, age 72, thought that was keen idea in March of this year.  Or how about meme of "Just Have Your Shit Together if You Own a Gun"?  That might helped diffuse a situation where an 11 year old boy shot his 84 year old grandfather, after dear ol' gramps, shot his own son in July of this year.

I don't know about you, but I'm less and less worried about an invasion of powdered wigged British Regulars or a government gun grab.  In the interest of full disclosure, I was trying to find an article I had read some months ago, where an adult had given a small child a gun, who turned and shot his grandfather in the rocking chair.  You won't believe how many articles there are on grandfathers shooting kids and kids shooting grandfathers.  I couldn't even find the original story I was looking for--it was drowned out by all the others!!  Seriously--Google it.  "Grandfather accidentally shoots grandson."  "Grandfather kills grandson, girlfriend, and self."  "73 year old man kills grandson."  How about meme:  "Stop Giving the ol' fucks' guns!"

For some insane or more likely selfish reason, gun proponents have ignored these growing incidents.  It's not Chicago gangs or D.C. thugs wounding or killing in these stories, it's gun-owners.  Gun-owners who purchased their guns legally and followed the laws of where they lived to have these weapons.  Whether it is an inability or unwillingness to secure their weapon, murderous rage, careless wielding, or incompetent owners, groups like the National Gun Rights remain either oblivious or uncaring about these incidents.  They are consistent in their silence.  While groups like this have come up with every reason to remind us why we have the Right to Bear Arms, they are notoriously silent on the responsibility of bearing arms. 


I can't decide which is more fun in the above video:  watching this dude shit his pants or listening to his half-assed explanation of World War II. 


It isn't gun violence in major cities or some pending invasion from another foreign power that has fostered anti-gun sentiment.  Hell, it isn't even the government.  It's gun-owners.  Their continued silence to the idiocy, immaturity, and incompetence of their idiot brethren sanctions these behaviors and crimes.  These issues are ignored and conveniently forgotten.  Why--because the myth of a gun grab?

We won't see memes like the ones I mentioned.  Hunter Pederson and Ulysses Hayes will be forgotten for a number of reasons.  Firstly....there's no money in it!  The booger-picking, crayon munching morons won't send money if their guns aren't "in danger."  These memes wouldn't be popular!  Gun groups have done a delightful job masturbating the ego of gun owners.  They're patriots!  Warriors!!  America's first, best, and last line of defense!  They are G.I. Joe!!  ...if the requirement for recruitment to G.I. Joe was a Saturday class at the Elk's Club or YMCA.

It wouldn't do for doubt to creep in.  It wouldn't do for gun-owners to wake up from this fantasy gun grab and look about at their brethren.  The only thing that might be more frightening than a gun grab, would be realizing how many stupid people own guns.  Ask a gun owner, any gun owner about the wisdom of pointing .40 caliber handgun at a child to demonstrate its laser sight.

G'on...

I dare you!

If you aren't hit or shoved into the nearest wall, you'll be treated to the harshest and most terse lecture you've perhaps ever heard.  They know this is not only wrong--it's stupid!! Booger-picking, crayon munching stupid ...and they allow it to happen every day, because...y'know--the government and that gun grab.


My buddy doesn't really believe there is a gun grab.  His wife was just giving him hell about his rifle.  More to the point that he's spending a lot of time hunting. The only thing the poor bastard has captured and brought home in two years was a tick, attached to the head of his penis.  (True story!)  He knows how to handle and more importantly secure his weapon.  Still she's of the belief the rifle will come to life and skulk from room to room at 2 AM killing them all.

He's not booger-picking, crayon-munching stupid.

Like many gun owners, he's tired of being "ragged on."  He's tired of being seen as some sort of threat--some villain.  He just wants to put a bullet in a buck and save some poor motorist a trip to the collision center. Is that so bad?

It isn't.  Not really.

I'd like to believe there is a fix to this, but I wonder if it is too late.  Truly, I do.  The loudest, craziest, most violent and most militant of gun owners have come to become the voice of the pro-gun crowd.  They're not "patriots," they're militia nuts aching for war.  They don't dread the day they might have to use their weapon to protect their home, they eagerly await it--and some have already jumped the gun!  There isn't a desire to hunt, target practice, or collect.  No--there's killing to be done and they're arming up.  This has become the voice and face of the gun crowd.

I wonder if sane gun-owners can ever take back the narrative.  Surely they'll be called "liberal" and "commie."  They may even suffer some of the slander and stalking tactics open-carry supporters have used against members of Moms Demand Action.  What if such a group, not only supported the Right to Bear Arms, but reminded their members of that responsibility? That would be a powerful group. 

This Wednesday, at least 26 families will be reminded of their collective loss.  As we approach a season that is supposed to be about love, family, and so much more; these 26 families will be faking it.  These 26 and hundreds more affected by preventable gun violence and death.

Isn't it time the gun organizations and gun owners stopped faking their gun grab memes?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The 'Thing' That Never Should Have Been a 'Thing' in the First Place

I want to have some strong powerful feeling about the Darren Wilson verdict, but I just...don't.  I'm sort of numb at this point.  Worry.  Worried is how I feel.

This was a 'thing' that should have never become a 'thing' in the first place.  I can't help feeling Ferguson, Brown, and Wilson received so much attention because we wanted to make it a thing.  I've written before about Ferguson and I pledged to myself to be objective as this case played out.

That wasn't easy.

By not choosing a side, by default, I was placed in the Darren "I-hate-and-kill-black-people" Wilson camp.  Without comment, without some keen insight of my own, I was suddenly a racist.  I hated black people.  I was 'ok' with the murder of teenagers.

None of which is true.

I did believe that Wilson deserved his day in court.  I didn't like the media prosecution and in many cases media persecution of Wilson.  If cases like this are going to be tried in the press, can we do away with the goddamn lawyers at least?  It's odd that in the "information age," we seem to have so much disinformation.

To many, Wilson wasn't entitled to a defense.  The fact that others raised money for him or even supported him was an abomination.  Guilty or innocent, Wilson needed to be financially broke and his life left in tatters for the sake of public opinion and professed outrage.  The real abomination is being able to accuse someone of a crime and letting the side that shouts the loudest decide justice.  

Michael Brown was no angel.  He wasn't a "teenager," not in the physical sense and certainly wasn't some naive youth peddling his Huffy bike to ask his sweetheart to the Homecoming Dance.  Michael Brown was a grown man, who chronologically was 18 years old I sincerely doubt, Brown thought of himself as a "kid" or a "teen."  I wouldn't describe Brown as "sweet" or "innocent" or a "young man with a long productive life ahead of him."  Based on the surveillance cameras of the store that Brown allegedly robbed, what can be seen clearly is a young, but large man, he had no issue with physical confrontation and throwing his size around.



Brown was thug.

"Thug" has been taken to mean "nigger" these days.  It has been used to underscore the supposed inert racism held by White America.  Let me be clear:  Based on that surveillance video, I'd call Brown a "thug," but not a "nigger."  There is a "thug" mentality in this country and it's held by whites, latinos, and blacks.  

It's an ignorant mentality and it's an equal-opportunity offender.  It's a false sense of bravado, an inflated sense of self-worth, that lends to an unjustified swagger.  It isn't pride--not at all!  It's the self-belief that the entire world revolves around one's existence simply because they are so fucking wonderful.  The rules are different for these people.  The "keep it real."  It's "how they roll."  They're going "to do them."  Rules don't apply to them.  They blaze their own trail.  They hold this ignorance close like some malformed sense of honor.

So when they're "wronged" any and all options are on the table for them.  It doesn't matter how far out of line they are.  It doesn't matter which social graces they've chosen to ignore.  It doesn't matter how inconsiderate and obnoxious they are.  Don't we all realize how fucking wonderful they are?

Brown was a thug.

He smoked pot too.  This laughable offense has been held up by some to underscore Brown's "thuggishness."  Most of our kids in the country are smoking pot and I personally "approve."  Hey it's better than drinking!  You're not going to see a fist-fight or large scale brawl break out amongst a bunch of tokers.  Has anyone ever seen stoned people fight?!?  No one's dying of alcohol poisoning or getting their stomach pumped either; tokers are polite enough to pass the hell out and sleep--wonderfully!  

We need to grow up!

Tom Degan, of "The Rant," noted that if Brown's body had been found in an alley way, police most assuredly would've labeled his death "overkill."

That--that is really the issue here.  It really didn't matter that Brown was unarmed.  It didn't matter that Brown was black.  It didn't matter than Brown was 18.  All the rest of this has been window dressing, theater, and race-baiting for us all.

Brown was perceived to be a threat.  Wilson used his gun.  

Was Brown a threat?  Was the use of the gun justified?  Did Wilson feel his life was jeopardized that he needed to fire 12 shots?  Or is Wilson a panicky idiot?  Or was he angry and just "lost it?"  

These are the issues.

Civil rights was the cornerstone of this incident.

It wasn't about Black America or White America.  

How many shots would you have fired?  Would you have fired a warning shot?  If after the first six shots, would you have wondered if Brown was super human?  Would you have considered what a shitty shot you obviously were?  Was Brown on drugs?  Were you counting the shots?

The questions and true nature of this altercation have been lost to the cloud of racism and mob ideology.  If you didn't climb on the anti-Wilson wagon, you were fine with the murder of black children.  If you believed Wilson over reacted, you were a "liberal thug."  The number of shots and even Brown were largely forgotten.

It's becoming easier to look at the police as being more suspect these days.  As I have written previously, the evidence is mounting.  There are numerous stories of excessive force from throughout the country.  And...yes, there are thugs in this country and as I've said before they come in all colors, shapes, and sizes.

Pro-Wilson supporters, who all seem to be racists, couldn't seem to comment on Brown without painting the entire black populace as "thug animals."  They decried the uprising against "law and order."

What a joke.


Many of these very same people and outlets have whispering or voicing anti-government sentiment since Obama took office.  They've been on board with secession, shutting down the government, and even Civil War.   Now we need to listen to the government?
 
If you're white and standing up to the "jack-booted thugs" of the government, you're a "patriot."  If you're doing so while black, well...you're a thug.

Are we clear on this rule?  Because it's the rule many are using.

When Keene State college students rioted over--of all things--a pumpkin festival, they were "letting of steam."  When residents of Ferguson did it, they were "black animal thugs."

 Are really clear on the rules?  I don't think there is any confusion to them.

If you need any portrait of the stupidity and racism that has clouded Ferguson, I give you Chow so cold.  Really--only in America can a smug white bitch express "buyer's remorse."

Of course--what card carrying racist would resist the urge to use Almighty God as a petty hit man!  Only the Christians...

This "wonderful faith" in devotion to a professed needy, murderous, ego-maniac is a delightful thing.

Apparently the Almighty, creator of the infinite universe, has a special place in his heart for America!  He has too.  It couldn't be our own smug arrogance could it?  Never the less, the Lord Almighty God has given into smitings which come with their own public service announcement.

Only the Christians...

Darren Wilson would eventually not be indicted by a grand jury.  If you missed it, if you haven't been caught up in the double standards and racism, you might have noticed that Darren Wilson wasn't exactly whisked off to face the consequences of his actions.  I can only wonder if you or I will be afforded such courtesies should either of us shoot someone six times.  I doubt it.

Wilson's acquittal, from what I've read, was largely based on the inconsistencies of the supposed eye-witnesses.  This created enough doubt for the grand jury to not indict.  The solution now appears to be body cameras worn by police.  

That didn't seem to work for so well for Eric Garner.  Garner was the 46 year old man, who died being apprehended for selling loose cigarettes or "loosies."  

Garner suffered from ashtma, obesity, and high blood pressure.  Combined with the use of a non-sanctioned choke hold, all of these factors contributed to his death.

The entire incident was captured on a cell phone video.  The officers involved were not indicted.  Eric Garner died over loose cigarettes.  Most likely he was selling them for a quarter of fifty-cents each.  At worst, he was a white collar tax dodging crook.

If you're not one of the many wondering and questioning the use of police force, you're probably of the mindset that we should all "shut up," listen to the police and do as you're told.

I'm going to hold people to that.

Because if you're okay with the mounting evidence of police brutality and shootings, you really don't get to complain about parking tickets, speed traps, zoning fines, or even Obamacare.  Just "shut up," listen, and do as your told.

Since Michael Brown's death, 14 other teens have been killed by police--mistakenly and righteously.   There has also been an assortment of crazed armed gun men publicly wielding their weapons who have been taken alive.

The question of our rights--our civil rights--in regards to police force needs to be asked because the evidence is mounting and the problem is clear.  Until we look at the question honestly, without the distractions and the agitators, the problem will only get worse.

Something is clearly amiss when the KKK sides with the law in Ferguson and the "hacktivist" group Anonymous sides with the people.  If that isn't any indication that things are all muddled, I don't know what is.