Category Archives: Politics

Trump’s Muslim Ban Unconstitutional, Irrational, Counter-Productive

Dear America,

Since half of this country seems to be confused, allow me to explain a few things about this Muslim travel ban.

Yes, it’s a ban. Trump promised a Muslim ban repeatedly as a candidate, yet now that he’s doing it, you want us to not believe our lying eyes. (I thought y’all were the straight-talkers who weren’t worried about being “politically correct”) Trump isn’t even bright enough to keep up the charade, as he calls it a ban everyday on twitter. Spicer has called it a ban numerous times. Giuliani bragged on Faux News that Trump went to him for the framework of a Muslim travel ban. Trump assured the Christian Broadcasting Network that his Executive Order includes a special carve-out for religious minorities (Christians & Jews) coming from the seven applicable countries.

It doesn’t apply to India or Indonesia – counties with the largest Muslim populations. It doesn’t apply to Saudi Arabia – where people are beheaded every Friday as a matter of course, and where the vast majority of 9/11 hijackers, cited in Trump’s EO, came from.

Instead, it applies to poor Muslims countries where there aren’t any Trump Hotels, but plenty of “Made in America” bombs being dropped on the heads of innocent civilians.

This ban has nothing to do with terrorism. It is about fear-mongering, xenophobia, and nativism. Immigrants and refugees are not a threat to us. Trump doesn’t even know the difference – he keeps calling the Syrian refugees in Australia “undocumented immigrants” because he is in intellectually incurious imbecile. He often says that we let people that we don’t know come here without paperwork. In fact, we have the most stringent refugee process in the entire world – taking upward of 18-24 months. And natural-born citizens are far more likely to commit crime than those who come here. Probably because they are people who had the courage, gumption, and wherewithal to make it here in one piece. Their economic and cultural contributions are immeasurable.

If we were truly concerned about terrorism we would be scrutinizing white Christian males, not immigrants and refugees. Trump simply wants to equate terrorism with Islam. He is doing ISIS’ job of characterizing this as a religious war between Christianity and Islam. Trump is forcing Muslims across the world to choose between their cultural identity and ours. We cannot win that battle with bans and bombs, but with blue jeans and hip-hop. They don’t need our form of government forced upon them if they don’t want it. They don’t need to hand over their natural resources at whatever price we demand. They need education. They need jobs. They need investments in infrastructure. They are aunts and uncles and brothers and sisters who have the same wants and needs as everyone else in the world. Instead, we invade their countries, kill innocent civilians who we refer to as collateral damage, lock them away and torture them without charge for decades, and claim that they hate us simply because they hate us.

Email Leaks Prompt Hillary to Ratchet Up Cold War Rhetoric

Hillary Clinton is dangerous.

kissinger-pinochet
Pinochet & Kissinger

She was the leading Democratic advocate for the Iraq War. Yet that alone did not compel war criminals Henry Kissinger & John Negroponte to endorse her candidacy for president:

She supported the 2009 Honduras coup which caused enough violence to result in a refugee crisis we shamefully & simultaneously ignored & fear-mongered. Libya is a shambles since the assassination of Gaddafi, which Hillary supported and defiantly insists is a success story. She supports opposing sides of the civil war in Syria. She threatened to attack Iran. Her position on Israel/Palestine is to the right of every single current and former US president.

mccarthy
Senator Joseph McCarthy

Rather than confront the substance of leaked emails, Hillary, her campaign, and much of a parroting corporate media are employing McCarthy-ite, Red Scare antics. They are waving the contents off as Russian propaganda unworthy of dissemination. Those reporting on the damning leaks have been castigated as complicit agents of the Kremlin.

David Sirota
David Sirota

Just the New York Times, the Intercept, The Young Turks, the International Business Times, and a few others are reporting the leaks without caveat.

Despite Wikileaks’ 100% record of authenticity – and Clinton’s own admission of the emails’ authenticity during a presidential debate – the Podesta leaks have been brushed off by Clinton surrogates as Kremlin-doctored fakes.

Worse, Cold War flames are being fanned for partisan & personal political gain. Without providing a single bit of evidence, Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama have accused Russia of meddling in our presidential election. They are claiming that Donald Trump, Vladamir Putin, and Julian Assange are in cahoots to undermine Hillary’s ascent to power. And that Russia is behind all of the hacks –Hillary’s campaign staff emails, the DNC, and dozens of state voter databases.

Here’s their case: Guccifer 2.0, who claimed responsibility, is Romanian (Russia-adjacent?). The hacker(s) utilized tactics used by Russian hackers in the past. Ex-KGB Agent Putin is the marionette of dimwitted Trump, who is vulnerably indebted to Russian banks, having been black-balled for defrauding many in the US. Trump-henchman Roger Stone has ties to Julian Assange of Wikileaks, who clearly has disdain for Hillary.

Julian Assange
Julian Assange

Also, Assange lost journalistic free speech rights when he conspired to hold onto the emails for maximum impact on the presidential election, and thus should face extradition (or worse). John Kerry didn’t pressure Ecuador to cut his internet. John Podesta is a private citizen whose privacy was violated. And Russia committed a cyber attack against the US.

Whether any or all of that is accurate – given WMDs & the Gulf of Tonkin their claims deserve scrutiny – is completely separate from the substance of the emails. No one cares that the Pentagon Papers were stolen. Or Donald Trump’s tax returns.

john_podesta_before_the_u-s-_senateJohn Podesta – of the Podesta Group, the third most influential lobbying group in the world – is one of the most powerful men in the world.

Hillary Clinton is on the verge of becoming the Leader of the Free World.

While I personally disagree with Wikileaks’ publishing of everything up to and including Podesta’s risotto recipe, many revelations in the emails are of great public import and very much need daylight.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Source: CC-BY, US Congress
Debbie Wasserman Schultz

After all, former-DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was pressured to resign as result of the DNC hack. She used her political position to tilt the primary election against Senator Bernie Sanders (before going back to work for Hillary’s campaign).

The American public were shown proof that Hillary’s State Department gave political favors, such as ambassadorships and approval of arms deals, to Clinton Foundation donors.

donna_brazile_1
Donna Brazile

The Podesta leaks continue to roll out by the thousands. We’ve thus far learned that Hillary was provided, in advance, a primary debate question by CNN contributor and now-interim DNC Chair Donna Brazile.

We see the Clinton camp feeding stories to friendly journos and being given final approval of stories in advance; and given interview questions in advance with final approval.

There is evidence of illegal coordination between the Clinton campaign and pro-Hillary super PACs Correct the Record and Priorities USA Action.

Hillary assured Wall Street executives that her public stances do not necessarily reflect her real, private positions which she shares with her fellow monied elites.

Hillary, along with her surrogates in the media and her online army of mercenary trolls, do not wish to deal with uncomfortable truths about their favored candidate. Rather, they obfuscate and saber-rattle.

This is extremely dangerous and will have effects long outlasting this particular political campaign. An adversarial relationship with Russia is the path toward mutually assured destruction. We’ve been (rightly) accusing each other of human rights abuses and war crimes. Our plutonium reprocessing deal was cancelled. Our Syrian cease-fire was broken.

Ronald Reagan promised Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not move an inch toward Russia. In a bold move of aggression, we offered NATO membership to Russia’s neighbor Ukraine. Estonia and Latvia are already NATO aligned. We essentially occupy the Russian border. We are in a constant state of reverse-Cuban Missile Crisis and most Americans don’t seem to know or care.

trump Tronald_DumpDonald Trump is a fascist mad-man. He says Japan & Saudi Arabia should have nukes. He may be a belligerent bumbler, but he is not actively pushing for WWIII. Trump says he wants to work with Putin to defeat ISIS (Daesh). We cannot work with them while busily fear-mongering and threatening retaliation. Let them burn their money bombing peace into the Middle East for a while – we could use a break.

Hillary wants a no-fly zone in Syria, enforcement of which would require boots on the ground. Besides, Daesh doesn’t have any planes in Syria – they don’t have any planes at all. Russia does. Would Hillary have us shoot down a Russian pilot and instigate Word War III for inevitably violating a nonsensical no-fly zone in Syria?

Hillary Clinton has called for a military response to a cyber attack. They are calling these leaks a cyber attack and blaming Russia! Thanks to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, we are closer to nuclear war than at any time in at least a generation.

The Cold War is resurrected. For political expediency.

Sorry Bernie, but I’m Still #NeverHillary

Closing out the first night of the Democratic National Convention, Senator Bernie Sanders gave a full-throated endorsement of Secretary Hillary Clinton for president.

Though slightly abbreviated (a mere half-hour), Bernie gave his usual policy-filled stump speech that supporters had grown accustomed. Cameras cut to teary-eyed delegates, realizing this was the last time they would hear those powerful words from that wonderful man during this historic campaign. Bernie punctuated each familiar, progressive point with the promise that Hillary Clinton would fight to make it reality as president.

Image by Ali Shaker via http://m.voanews.com/a/democrats-celebrate-republicans-criticize-clinton-speech/3439780.html
Image by Ali Shaker via http://m.voanews.com/a/democrats-celebrate-republicans-criticize-clinton-speech/3439780.html

He stressed the importance of the times and the courts and anger and the danger of the cheeto-fascist. He implored his followers to actively support Hillary Clinton in the coming months.

Image by DarrellNance via wikimediacommons
Image by DarrellNance via wikimediacommons

But I just can’t do it. I fully understand and accept that Bernie had little choice but to endorse. After all, Nina Turner was supposed to introduce Bernie at the convention, but withheld her endorsement and coincidentally wasn’t allowed. Bernie wanted to give that speech espousing those values on the national stage of the convention, so he did it.

He also wanted the DNC to adopt the “most progressive” party platform in decades. So he forged ahead despite establishment Democrats and media berating him for months on end for hurting Hillary and helping the orange man and he had to drop out of the race.

Image by Qqqqqqvia wikimediacommons
Image by Qqqqqqvia wikimediacommons

Bernie is smarter than me. He was doing the right thing before I was born. And he’s doing the right thing now – from his perspective. After all, he’s headed back to the senate where he’ll be working with establishment Democrats he’s been calling corrupt for the past year. He’ll return as ranking Budget Committee member, and by smoothing things over it’ll be easier whip his progressive budget.

Image by GageSkidmore via flickr
Image by GageSkidmore via flickr

Also, he likely believes that in the short-term, with the current system, co-opting one of our two major-parties makes more sense than trying to lift a third party to prominence (see, Tea Party). That’s why he ran as a Democrat when he had been an Independent for decades prior. (And why Trump = R.)

The government gives funds to parties that reach certain thresholds – which only Ds and Rs meet. Same goes for news network and political party requirements for getting free media and a national spotlight on the presidential debate stage. Bernie understands intricacies and rules that most people don’t. That’s why he’s the Amendment King. He knows exactly what he is doing.

Image by Becker1999 via https://www.flickr.com/photos/becker271/27930236823/
Image by Becker1999 via https://www.flickr.com/photos/becker271/27930236823/
Image by Hanksey via instagram
Image by Hanksey via instagram

But I can’t get down. I’ll shame and belittle the toddler-tyrant, but I won’t support Hillary Clinton. I can’t support a candidate who supports fracking and the TPP (ask Terry McAuliffe) and the death penalty and prohibition and settlements and private prisons… Who thinks the banks aren’t too big, just misunderstood; and that US foreign policy should be more muscular.

Dr. Jill Stein Source: CC-BY, RAHurd
Dr. Jill Stein Source: CC-BY, RAHurd*

Also, I’m not a Democrat. I am a progressive – far more Jill Stein than Chuck Schumer. And instead of trying to woo my vote, Democrats spit in my face. They had the opportunity to nominate the most progressive candidate in memory and invite a generation of enthusiastic  voters into the party. Democrat leaders instead – despite poll after poll showing the progressive champion was far more electable – chose to rig the election and collude with mainstream media in order to coronate the most unpopular candidate in the history of the party. They scoffed and ridiculed, they accused and demeaned. Then they demanded we fall in line. If Democrats want millennials and progressives in their party, they need to stop condescending and start listening.

Image via DonkeyHotey via filckr
Image via DonkeyHotey via filckr

Admittedly, I have the privilege of not being a white racist terrified of demographics. And I am not an immigrant or a Muslim, or black or brown or native or queer or disabled. So an oompa-loopma-in-chief might only mean accelerated trickle-down for me, personally. Besides, you know, a fascist takeover of the country with an authoritarian police state locking away journalists and political dissidents; perhaps nuclear Armageddon.

Image by Ali Shaker via voanews.com
Image by Ali Shaker via voanews.com

That said, I won’t be frightened into actively violating my conscience. Even though I admit that Bernie is correct. Because I can hold more than one thought in my head at a time.

#Demexit looks fun. I would have stormed out of that convention and holed up in that media tent in Philly if I could have been there. But if I were a politician I would say that we have to be productive, and reform the system from within – that only then can there be legitimate challengers to the two-party system.

Image by DarrellNance via wikimediacommons
Image by DarrellNance via wikimediacommons

That’s the difference between the politician and the revolutionary. They may be on the same side, but they play different roles. Activists and revolutionaries will always be fighting to make the world a better, more just place. Politicians have to make strategic maneuvers along the way. The job of the revolutionary, the activist, the protester is to inconvenience – to get in the way, when necessary, as a means of communicating frustration. The job of politician is to leverage that frustration to push the opposition toward legislation.

Image by Becker1999 via flickr
Image by Becker1999 via flickr

The politician is the example. The opposition are identified, pressured, and, when necessary, removed via ballot box. Allies are rewarded with grassroots organization, voter enthusiasm, and high-volume small donations.

Populist turned sellout super-delegate Gov. Howard Dean, Source: CC-BY, Elliot Munoz
Populist-turned sellout super-delegate Gov. Howard Dean, Source: CC-BY, Elliot Munoz

Howard Dean was a great voice of the people a decade ago. Then he sold out. I used to like Barney Frank. But he sold out to Wall Street, and he’s mighty proud of himself, too. Obama sold us hope and change, but turned out to be a pragmatic corporatist who bombed seven majority-Muslim nations. I had an Elizabeth Warren 2016 bumper sticker on my car. Then Bernie Sanders picked up the mantle.

Bernie represents the best of politicians. He gives voice to the people. He helped spark a political revolution. His progressive bona fides cannot be questioned. He’s been in politics for forty years, and he never cashed out – he’s one of the few non-millionaires in congress. He only ran for president when it became clear that no one else would step forward and challenge Hillary from the left. He could’ve leveraged his delegates for a VP bid or a cabinet appointment+, but he’s in it for the good of the people, not personal gain.

Image by DarrellNance via wikimedia
Image by DarrellNance via wikimedia

So it hurt to see him twist the last stump speech of this whirl-wind of a campaign into a check-list of promises that Hillary would supposedly keep as president. As if he believes that. As if I’m supposed to believe that. But again, he’s a politician. Hopefully he only said those things for the future when she fails to show much effort.

Image by Becker1999 via flickr
Image by Becker1999 via flickr

I am not a politician. My values needn’t be compromised. I won’t support lesser-evilism, and accept this neo-liberal false-binary. Not even for Bernie.

When politicians know that they only have to convince us to be afraid of the other candidate, they only have to be slightly less frightening than their bogey man.

The more liberals shun the labor class and embrace the chamber, the further right conservatives are forced to go for contrast. The more liberals agree with them on fiscal issues, the more conservatives are forced into social issues to please their base.

Image by Rachel Troyer via wiki
Image by Rachel Troyer via wiki

And the country slides further and further to the right. Further toward corporatism and austerity and trickle-down. Further toward culture wars and apocalyptic foreign policy.

Image by GageSkidmore via wikimediacommons
Image by GageSkidmore via wikimediacommons

Voting again and again for the lesser-evil has come to its only logical conclusion: both options are roughly as evil. Both running on fear. Fear of the other. Fear of each other.

I cannot, in good conscience, reward either of them for lesser-evilism. I will not be frightened into enthusiasm. I will not be condescended only to bow my head.

Black Lives Matter & the War on Cops

The war on cops is about as legitimate as the war on Christmas. If there were such a war, there is no question whom is winning.

Oscar GrantRoughly one thousand people are killed by police every year in America (there’s currently no federal database). In contrast, about 100 cops (unfortunately) die on the job each year. Of those hundred unfortunate deaths, the majority are result of vehicle collisions – not targeted killings.

riotgearblackguyIt is far more dangerous to be a garbage man, or a roofer, a trucker, or basically anyone who deals with heavy machinery, than it is to be a cop in America. We live in literally the safest time to have a career in law enforcement in US history – yet 58% of us believe there is a war being waged against them.ferguson12

mlkarrestTo most of us: Cops killing scores of unarmed black people + black people protesting = war on cops.

Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore_4Ted_Cruz_(7004284762)

James Comey
James Comey

Self-described wacko bird Ted Cruz has accused Black Lives Matter of celebrating the murder of cops. Potential fascist-in-chief Donald Trump has condoned the beating of BLM protesters at his rallies (his campaign compared the first incident to Trump supporters interrupting a black church service).

FBI Director James Comey has blamed BLM protesters for frightening law enforcement so thoroughly that they are incapable of doing their jobs, resulting in a (non-existent) spike in inner-city violent crime – dubbed the Ferguson Effect. This is a thinly-veiled threat of violence against the populace. If cops aren’t allowed to violate the civil rights of citizens without criticism, let alone consequence – then they will do all they can to unleash anarchy. Nice little city you have there… Pasty bureaucrats & AM howlers have labeled BLM a domestic terrorist group.

We live in a country where the mere suggestion that perhaps black lives matter as well somehow requires not only a rebuttal, in all lives matter, but an outright counter-movement in blue lives matter.

George_WallaceKKKDuluth-lynching-postcardWe are a terribly racist people. It’s historically been our default. Sure, we don’t keep blacks as pets anymore, as they are equal citizens in theory. But all we’ve really done is introduce subtlety into our racist practices. We don’t lock our blacks in chains anymore. We keep them locked away in cages. We don’t have slave patrols or lynch mobs anymore; we have hung-juries, justifiable homicide-by-cop, and an ever-expanding interpretation of the castle doctrine. It is no longer in good taste to use the n-word in public. So we instead call them thugs and we speak of urban culture. We’ve replaced literacy tests & poll-taxes with Voter ID laws, felon disenfranchisement, and shuttering & shortening hours of voter precincts. (Forty percent of black males in Virginia, and 25% in FLA, cannot vote.)

Landscape Occupy_Chicago_protestors_(23)The city of Chicago has a multi-million dollar restitution fund for the years of physical torture levied against young black males in the city. Not during the 1960’s – this century. Chicago police still use a literal black site to disappear suspects, specifically (unofficially, of course) used to violate the civil rights of its citizens. The Homan Square site has been used for torture (including anal assault), and is generally used to keep suspects from having a lawyer present during questioning, or from making phone calls.

Rahm_Emanuel_news_conferencesAnita_Alvarez_2008Police reports show that Laquan  McDonald stabbed the tire of a police cruiser, and lunged at officers with a knife. He never stabbed the tire. He was shot twice while standing, and fourteen more times on the pavement. His murder by Chicago police was covered up by the entire corrupt system.  From the terrified & poorly trained Jason Van Dyke, who murdered Laquan in cold blood. To the other eight cops on the scene who not only remained silent, but went back and erased video  evidence from a nearby Burger King. To internal review, the police union, the chief of police – all the way up to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and State Attorney Anita Alvarez. Officer Van Dyke was allowed to keep his tax-payer-funded job (on desk duty) for 13 months. Alvarez finally filed charges, hours before dash cam evidence was released. Unwillingly of course, it took thirteen months, repeated judicial orders, and numerous FOIA requests.

ferguson21Mike Brown punched an officer seated in his cruiser, was shot, and ran. We were led to believe that he suddenly morphed into super negro, and decided to charge the officer after fleeing over 150 ft. The prosecutor blatantly threw the case, forcing the grand jury to let Darren Wilson walk.

justiceTwelve-year old Tamir Rice was murdered in cold blood by Cleveland police. He had a toy gun in an open-carry state. They claimed he refused repeated commands to drop the gun. Video evidence shows was shot within two seconds of officers arriving. His sister was handcuffed, and thrown into the back of the cruiser as he died. A year later, still no charges.

Eric Garner was choked to death on video. His crime was breaking up a fight, and being known for selling un-taxed loosies. Officers escalated and escalated, until he was choked him to death as he pleaded for air. The only person charged has been the guy who captured the video.

8230656_f1024John Crawford was killed for having a toy gun slung over his back while talking on his cell phone to his mother in an (again, open-carry) Ohio Walmart. Cops say he was pointing the gun at customers, and refused commands to drop the weapon. They interrogated his girlfriend, and attempted to get her to say that he brought the gun with them to the store. Video once again proved they were lying. Once again, no consequences.

Time after time we are assured in contemporaneous reports that officers were justified because of this or that. We are assured that they will investigate themselves, that we must simply be patient. Then it’s the silent treatment. Ongoing investigation.

ferguson13If people are upset, the media go about demonizing the deceased, who can no longer defend themselves. They must have smoked weed that one time. We found a picture where he looked scary. He was wearing a hoodie. She should have followed directions better. Or faster. Why did he do this? Why did he say that?

Why is he dead! Why is he dead?

SWATMounting video evidence supports the claim that we do not simply have a few bad-apples with a callous indifference to life. It is, in fact,the bunch.

It is true that a relatively small percentage of officers are responsible for the majority of complaints. However, those bad-apples are rarely, if ever, charged.  They rarely even lose their jobs! Even then, they usually are allowed to resign and find a job in another precinct (like the priests). Internal investigators are considered snitches. Good cops in bad neighborhoods are weeded out – harassed & left without backup until they (if their lucky) find work in a nice white neighborhood where they don’t have to worry about moral decisions on the job.

swatposingIt’s the culture. The thin blue line. It’s the system. The entire system. Thanks to the SCOTUS, cops are legally justified in using lethal force so long as they claim within reason that they got scared. When local judges who are elected are confronted with police brutality cases, they can’t afford to have police unions in opposition for holding their members accountable. Same goes for prosecutors, who have symbiotic relationships with the cops, who are often star-witnesses & evidence gatherers. When all of the stars align, and a particularly blatant case finally does make it to trial, overwhelmingly-white juries simply take the word of cops as bond and rarely find them guilty.
Landscape

Bill Bratton
Bill Bratton

Blacks are far more likely to be stopped & searched by the cops. Being comparatively random, searches of blacks are far less likely to turn up contraband. When drugs are found, blacks are far more likely to be charged than whites. Blacks are given stiffer charges for the same offenses. They are more likely to be found guilty at trial. They are given harsher sentences when found guilty of the same crimes. They serve longer time in prison, even when receiving the same sentences. They are more likely to receive a death sentence.

Many states won’t let felons vote, or let them qualify for a Pell Grant, or live with someone receiving food stamps (SNAP) or living in public housing. We make them check a box on applications so they can’t even get an interview. We assign exorbitant fees for post-release supervision. We make them feel like second class citizens, and make it as tough as possible to make money legally. We push them right back into jail.

scalia

UNDATED: This undated photo provided by the U.S. Court of Appeals shows Judge John G. Roberts. President George W. Bush nominated Roberts on July 19, 2005 to fill the vacancy that will be created by Justice Sandra Day O'Conner when she retires from the U.S. Supreme Court. (Photo by R. Strauss/Smithsonian via Getty Images)
UNDATED: This undated photo provided by the U.S. Court of Appeals shows Judge John G. Roberts. President George W. Bush nominated Roberts on July 19, 2005 to fill the vacancy that will be created by Justice Sandra Day O’Conner when she retires from the U.S. Supreme Court. (Photo by R. Strauss/Smithsonian via Getty Images)

We have a supreme court which has said that racism is both a thing of the past, and has spread throughout the country. They’ve gutted the Voting Rights Act – crown jewel of Civil Rights Era legislation. In the process of eliminating race as a standard for Affirmative Action, Justice Scalia suggested that blacks don’t belong in good colleges because they learn slower.

Racism is like a liquid. It’s amorphic. It accumulates at the bottom. Worst of all, it makes up part of all of us. We are all bombarded with the same stereotypical portrayals of people of color (POC) by a melanin-deficient entertainment industry. We all see a similarly-pasty news media describe & depict black victims as drug/gang adjacent ne’er-do-wells; and white murders as troubled formerly –adorable adolescents, or head-cases who are in no way reflective at worst.

uncle samoccupy wake upWe all have implicit biases & in-group favoritism. In simulations where we shoot armed individuals, blacks are shot much quicker than whites, both when armed and unarmed. It takes longer for us to associate positive terms with black faces. Ebay auctions with items held by black hands receive lower bids. AirB&B requests by

black sounding names are more likely to be denied. Job applications with black sounding names get fewer responses. Beginning at the age of 11, black children are perceived as 4.5 years older, and assigned more culpability. occupy fuck apathy

Oprah_Winfrey_receives_2013_Presidential_Medal_of_FreedomBlack people are far more likely to be in unemployed or in jail. They are far less likely to be a politician, a CEO, a professor, or an engineer. They have far less wealth/lower incomes. They even live shorter lives.

Yet some of us look at all of this and say, What’s wrong with the blacks? We point to Oprah & Obama, and ask why they don’t all simply lift themselves by their bootstraps. We blame the culture. We blame the fathers. We blame the music. We blame them for drugs. We blame their work ethic (ever since they stopped working for free).

We blame black-on-black crime. Why isn’t Jessie Jackson in Chicago!?! As though every ethnic group (aside from Native Americans) aren’t victimized by their own. As though we have a problem with Tyrone getting the benefit of doubt all along the way, and eventually going free, after admittedly killing someone.

Andy_Griffith_Don_Knotts_1960In rich white neighborhoods, the police provide customer service. They’re a bunch of Andy Griffiths, and that is how rich white folks view the cops. Stands to reason. They aren’t likely to be harassed for trivial actions such as grilling meat or catching a bus. Their kids aren’t harassed for looking suspicious. When white kids in nice neighborhoods are caught doing something wrong – well, that could be a judge’s kid, or the mayor’s nephew. Roughing them up, or even holding them accountable for their actions, could be a big mistake. White kids in small towns – well their uncle could be the local pastor, or on the town council.

If rich white people know any blacks, they are likely to also be wealthy, and thus more likely to share their conservative views of those people. Poor, rural white people  want to hold onto the antiquated notion that everything right with America is sepia toned. We want to hold believe that we are superior to someone, anyone. We go to great lengths to deny racism, to deny white privilege. We take it as an attack- an attack on our personal accomplishments, an attack on our ability to sense the world around us. We see a zero-sum game. The ascendance of anyone else toward realized equality must inherently require a decline of whites. The decline of America. We can’t let it happen. We want our country back.  ferguson rioters

In recent polling, seventy-eight percent of voters chose all lives matter, to eleven prevent identifying with black lives matter.

Wigger_bling
What we fail to recognize, is that all lives do not face the same threats that black lives are forced to endure in America. Specifically, when dealing with interactions with the police, blacks are far more likely to die than whites.

Do we think black people have simply been lying all of this time? They’ve all been brain-washed by Al Sharpton?

Consider how we treat protest & civil rights movements the same manner in which we did in the 1960’s. We still monitor their communications. We still infiltrate them undercover agents (both for intel, and to incite riots during protests). We still rough-up & arrest peaceful protesters for inhabiting public spaces. We still call them agitators. We still blame anyone movement-adjacent for a handful of vandals, footage of whom is played on a loop in the media.

The current situation is untenable.

Moral Mondays
Moral Mondays
Captain Johnson
Captain Johnson

Respect is something which our police forces require. Trustworthiness is something we must require of them. We give them a gun, and with it the ultimate authority to end a person’s life. Those responsibilities must be taken seriously. The police literally work for us. They must be trained to protect the lives of civilians at all cost, not protect their own hind-quarters at all cost. They need to be trained to deal with sometimes difficult mentally ill people. They need to jettison the view of disrespect as the ultimate crime.

They need to stop killing us. This is not normal. This is not acceptable.

Cops must no longer be used to wage a racially charged war on drugs, ensnaring black and brown people into a system which is difficult to escape.

Loretta_LynchbedsdnotjailsLaw enforcement must have proper civilian oversight, not simply internal investigators. We need to incorporate more cooperation with community watch programs – not simply more money for more cops – in urban communities. The majority of cops should be required to live where they work. They should see the same community they serve at the grocery  store, in church on Sunday, and at the football game on Friday night. They should have both dash & lapel cams, which they should not be allowed to simply & unilaterally disable  on a whim (same goes for the audio).

TAG_Garner_Protest_03Black_Lives_Matter_Black_Friday_(15305650544)

Troy Davisferguson7Officers are trained in deescalation roughly 5% of the time that they are trained on firearms & defensive maneuvers. They use simulators in which citizens jump from cars immediately shooting. They are trained that anyone within 21 feet is a danger.

They apparently need to be trained not to shoot people in the back, shoot people who are hand-cuffed, people who are in the fetal position, people with their hands in the air, people who are naked and obviously unarmed, people with butter knives, et cetera.

Unfortunately, poorly-trained cops are given military equipment & quotas and unleashed upon the community, who are seen as potential threats, as the enemy, and cops the occupying force.
There is no war on cops. There is a demand for better trained cops, and for accountability to the people. For justice.

Obama’s ISIS Gamble





In the summer of 2014, a group known as ISIS was reported to have acquired, either by force or payment, roughly forty Western journalists & aid workers.
Daash flag ISIS (Daash, Dulat al-Islam fi al-Iraq wal-Sham) was also reported to be threatening genocide against a group known as the Yazidi. Daash believed the Yazidi to be devil worshippers, and were forcing them to convert or die. Tens of thousands of Yazidi fled atop Mount Sinjar, and were dying from lack of sustenance.

Yazidi refugees
Yazidi refugees

And whom emerged from the sky to answer the prayers of the Yazidi? Good ole Uncle Sam, that’s who. Uncle Sam came to air-drop aid for a dying people. Unfortunately, food and water didn’t change their being trapped on a mountain, with certain death lurking below. So, President Obama announced that the US would begin air attacks on the Daash fighters at the foot of the mountain, so that the Yazidi could flee to safety in neighboring Syria.
And that, folks, is what it means to be a superpower. This is what superiority is supposed to look like.

Alas, Obama thwarted any goodwill earned by helping the Yazidi, by using their plight as cover for his broader mission. In the very same speech Obama said ‘America is coming to help’ the Yazidi, he also announced that the US would be launching additional strikes against Daash apart from the mission to save the Yazidi.
We attacked them. Not just to save the Yazidi, we attacked them under the guise of helping the Yazidi. They were but a pawn.
In response, American journalist James Foley was executed. Daash wanted a $132 million ransom for Foley. The US does not negotiate with terrorists*, and the Foley family was advised that paying ransom equates to funding terrorism. So he was beheaded, and the US was warned that there would be further beheadings should the US continue air strikes against them. Which we did. And they did. Steven Sotloff was beheaded next.
At which point, the US media went into a state of hysteria from which they‘ve yet to escape.

Fear sells. War sells. War equals ratings. Ratings equal ad revenue. US media, from television networks and newspapers, from movie studios to books and magazines – it’s all owned by six mega-media conglomerates. And they’re hungry. They get fed when we get scared. And boy are we good at being scared. (We have an entire political party in this country that is based upon a perpetual state of fear.)
So, on September 10th, 2014, Obama gave address which had the distinct look and feel of a war declaration. We would be launching attacks against Daash, in an effort to ‘degrade and destroy’ them. However, he also assured us that Daash posed no imminent threat, and that there would be no boots-on-the-ground.

Why the obfuscation? (Obamafuscation?) As a constitutional scholar, Obama was well aware that an official declaration of war would put him on the clock. The War Powers Act authorizes the executive to deploy military force on an emergency basis, but demands the Congress formally & affirmatively approve and deployment beyond 60 days. Sixty days from September 10th is roughly a week after the midterm elections.
Obama doesn’t want to be on that clock. He was turned down last time he asked Congress for permission to go into Syria. Not all Congressfolk are nincompoops, some of them remember that Hillary lost to Obama because of how she voted on Iraq.

Hillary Clinton & Lindsey Graham, Hawks of a Feather
Boehner

Speaker Boehner has said that the House doesn’t plan to vote until next year. In fact, Boehner called upon Obama to call upon Boehner to call for a vote. Leader Reid neither seems to have any inclination to hold a vote any time soon. Those 60 days will be long-passed come 2015.
What’s a president to do? Lie and obfuscate.
There’s no immediate threat, and there won’t be ground troops. We’re going to war, but not call it war.
For two days. Day-and-a-half. On September 12, White House surrogates were sat in front of cameras and microphones to drone on the brand new talking point: We’re at war with ISIL, in the same way that we are at war with al-Qaeda.

Al-Qaeda? The president said ISIL. Apparently, Obama and his legal team have determined that the 2001,3 Authorization(s) for Use of Military Force in Iraq and Afghanistan respectively, were broad enough to authorize force in Syria over a decade later. Oh by the way, the same AUMF this same President said just last year should be repealed. Funny that.
And more importantly, since when do underlings get to declare war? Especially against a group that the president himself poses no immediate threat to the homeland?
Oh, don’t worry your pretty little head about the Constitution. There was yet another twist: Khorasan. Dun-dun-dun.

Al-Qaeda

A group which no one had ever heard of. A group which no one in Syria had ever heard of. Khorasan was the new worst of the worst. Even more worse that the other worst of the worst: ISIS. Which was even worse than the previous worst of the worst: Al-Qaeda.
Khorasan was supposedly an elite offshoot whom were plotting an imminent attack on the homeland.
Of course they were. Hindquarters legally covered.

Muhsin al-Fadhli

Then miraculously, the leader of Khorasan was killed seemingly the next day. Threat averted. Phew, that was a close one. Thanks Obama!
In the weeks following, we learned that Khorasan is an ancient term, which US intelligence used generically. We also heard that if there was an actual Khorasan group, their threat was simply aspirational, they had no imminent plans on the homeland. Other reports told of a rogue French agent, whose name was found on a list of 13 individuals, under the heading of Khorasan. Regardless, either the bad, bad boogeymen simply didn’t like us, or a single rogue agent was on the loose, hence legal basis for war in Syria. See how that works?
Maybe Obama doesn’t care about traveling to Switzerland, but he needs to be concerned about his job security.

The ICC

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) lost his primary. He won’t be returning to Congress in 2015. He can finally afford to tell the truth.
“A lot of people would like to stay on the sideline and say, ‘Just bomb the place and tell us about it later.’ It’s an election year. A lot of Democrats don’t know how it would play in their party, and Republicans don’t want to change anything. We like the path we’re on now. We can denounce it if it goes bad, and praise it if it goes well and ask what took him so long.”
Hear that Obama?
Those 60 days will pass. The election will pass. More specifically, those 60 days will be up a week after the mid-term elections. Those in the know expect Mitch McConnell will be Majority Leader come January. Sending us to war on shaky legal grounds, with the prospect of the GOP controlling both the Upper and Lower Chambers in a few months? The moment anything goes awry in Syria, the Republicans will pounce. Democrats will want Hillary to come fund-raise for them on the campaign trail, and Hillary will be running against Obama nearly as much as against the republican nominee. The democrats won’t save him.
Obama is playing a dangerous game.