What If He Had Been White?

It happened over a week ago, on March 1st, in Boulder, Colorado.  Zayd Atkinson was minding his own business, picking up trash on his own property.  Suddenly a police officer approached him to ask who he was, why he was there, what he was doing, as if he were an interloper or a suspect in some crime.  The officer pulls his gun, although he doesn’t point it directly at Zayd, and soon the officer is joined by seven other officers.  Did I mention that Mr. Atkinson is African-American?  Did I even need to mention that?

At couple of Zayd’s neighbors were in the area, saw what was happening, and tried to tell the officer that he was only picking up trash, that he lived there.  One even happened to film the incident.  The officers ultimately walked away, after checking his identification and were finally convinced that Mr. Atkinson did, indeed live there, and that he was not holding a lethal weapon, but one of those trash-picking-up-stick-thingies.  The video Mr. Atkinson’s neighbor filmed went viral and public outrage was fierce.

According to Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa …

“This is a very concerning issue, and one we’re taking very seriously.  All aspects of this incident, specifically the actions of the initial officer, are being investigated.”

Okay, so there you have the facts.  I am glad that the police department is taking the matter seriously, if in fact they are, but will withhold judgment on that until their investigation is complete and we see what, if any, action they take.  But I do have a couple of questions.

First, if the officer had noticed Mr. Atkinson in the yard with the long stick and a bucket, and if Mr. Atkinson had been pale-skinned, would the officer have even given it a second thought?  Would he have walked over to Mr. Atkinson, pulling his pistol out of its holster?  Folks, we can all answer this question without even thinking about it.  It was a nice neighborhood and Mr. Atkinson is black.  In the officer’s mind, no doubt that did not add up, Mr. Atkinson could not possibly have belonged there, and holding a stick, too!

Second question I have is, if the video filmed by Mr. Atkinson’s neighbor had not quickly been seen nationwide, would the Boulder Police Department be investigating now?  Was the investigation launched, not as a matter of due process or justice for Mr. Atkinson, but as a result of coverage by both local and nationwide (CNN, The Washington Post) media outlets?  I think we probably know the answer to that one, too.

Chief Testa said the investigation could take months.  Why?  He says the officers were all wearing body cams, plus there is the ‘unofficial’ video by the neighbor.  The incident only lasted sixteen minutes.  Why should the investigation take ‘months’?  The officer who initiated the contact and drew his weapon has been “placed on administrative leave”, almost certainly with pay.

Racist incidents take place in every state in this nation, but coincidentally, there was yet another in Colorado the same week the officer harassed Mr. Atkinson.  This time, a home in Denver, owned by Ken Jenkins, an African-American man, was sprayed with racist graffiti, including an image of a lynching scene and the N-word, that was scrawled all over the front of the home.

Mr. Jenkins said he is leaving it up for a little while …

“I felt like if I painted over this, it makes everything go quiet and it just kinda fades out like everything else does. We will have this removed at some point, but we wanted the community to be able to have a conversation about it and leave it up for a little while.” 

Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks said …

“This isn’t an isolated incident. This is the world we’re living in.”

These two incidents are just another in a long string of such incidents by both law enforcement and private citizens, but unless we shine a bright light on these incidents every time they happen, then they fade into the background and before we know it, will become the norm, “just one of those things” that everybody accepts as “the way things are”.  I’m not willing to allow that to happen, which is why I wrote this today.  Awareness is key.  Protesting such atrocities is key.  We will not turn away or bury our heads in the sand, but we will speak up and speak out whenever we can and as loudly as we can.bigotry

Warren Davidson’s Newsletter

Yesterday, I received a routine newsletter from my representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, Warren Davidson.  I have little or no respect for this man or his policies, did not vote for him and would not vote for him if he were the only candidate on the ballot.  However, I receive his newsletter because a) one needs to keep tabs on what one’s elected officials are doing, not that you can believe a word they say, and b) I like to annoy the heck out of him by responding to each one.  Below is his latest newsletter …

Warren DavidsonDear Friends,

Congressman Davidson voted against H.R. 1, the For the People Act, as this deceptively labeled legislation would put our free and fair elections system under federal control, infringing on several Constitutional rights. H.R. 1 is the top item on Speaker Pelosi and House Democrat’s policy agenda for the 116th Congress. Congressman Davidson introduced several amendments to H.R. 1 that would protect free speech, uphold states’ rights, and defend nonprofits from political targeting by the IRS. He led a debate on these amendments this past Thursday on the floor of the House.

Addressing anti-Semitic Comments

On Fox News Radio Congressman Davidson also reacted to anti-Semitic remarks recently made by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar this week. He told host Todd Starnes that America is not an anti-Semitic country, yet Congresswoman Omar has continued to make anti-Semitic remarks. Congressman Davidson said that if there is any place where these comments would be out-of-line, it would most certainly be the Foreign Affairs Committee, of which Congresswoman Omar is a member.

New Executive Order Aimed at Lowering Veterans’ Suicide

President Trump recently signed an executive order aimed at decreasing the number of veteran suicides and creating a task force of state and local groups to raise awareness of the crisis. The new task force created by the executive order will create a grant system like the Housing and Urban Development VA Supportive Housing program, which provides funding for state and local programs that help homeless veterans and their families find permanent housing.

Davidson Receives Defender of Economic Freedom Award

The Club for Growth recognized Congressman Davidson this week for his consistent defense of economic freedom and pro-growth policies in Washington. This year, only 25 Members of Congress (20 House members and 5 Senators) will receive the Award.

Second Amendment Visit

Congressman Davidson met with a group of gun owners in West Chester this past week where he discussed two gun control bills, which he opposed in the House. He spoke with the group about how these bills would have made it harder for law-abiding citizens to purchase, own, carry and use a firearm.

Thank you for taking the time to keep up with the work I am doing on your behalf in Washington and at home in Ohio. I encourage you to stay connected with our office through my website , Facebook , Instagram , and Twitter pages. It is an honor to represent you.

Sincerely,

Warren Davidson

Member of Congress

Don’t you hate it when someone refers to themself in the third person? So much more I could have said, would have liked to say, but short, sweet and to the point is always best … these guys have short attention spans.

Davidson won in a special election in June 2016 to replace John Boehner after Boehner resigned. He then won again in 2018 by a 68.76% margin … obviously my neighbors have no sense.  He is a member of the ignoble House Freedom Caucus, that most radical of all conservative elements in Congress.  They aren’t even well-liked or respected by their own fellow republicans.

Predictably, Davidson is anti-women’s rights, anti-LGBT rights, opposes the use of renewable energy, has an “A” rating from the NRA, wishes to repeal ACA (Obamacare), supports maintaining a “numerically superior” nuclear arsenal, supports Trump’s border wall and a ban on Syrian refugees, supports a “Judeo-Christian” national code of morality, and more.  In other words, he is against We the People and for a Christian/military complex.  To put it kindly, he is a fool of the most dangerous sort.

I responded briefly, touching only on two of the issues raised in his newsletter …

Mr. Davidson,

I just read your latest newsletter and I have a few questions.  Are we, the people you are elected and paid to represent, supposed to applaud you for voting against legislation that would serve a number of purposes, including taking some of the corruption out of the election process?  And are we to applaud you for opposing sensible gun legislation that might … just might save some lives?  Thus far, you are the antithesis of what this nation needs and what the majority of We the People want.  You’ve licked the boots of Trump and of the NRA for long enough, Mr. Davidson.  Unless you show some accountability and responsibility, I will work as hard as I can to see that you are voted OUT of Congress next year.

Jill Dennison, tax payer, citizen, VOTER

Do you get periodic newsletters via email from your senators and representatives?  If not, you should sign up for them, if for no other reason than to let them know you are watching, you are aware, and you will not tolerate any b.s.

Elizabeth Warren: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I present to you the fourth in the series by TokyoSand titled The 7 Issues Guide. This time she introduces us to Senator Elizabeth Warren. I’ve always thought that Warren has sound ideas, that she is more about the people of this nation than some. However, I would note that the Senator has a few issues that I believe will make her candidacy very difficult. One of those is the same issue that Hillary Clinton had, that she is not considered to be particularly “personable”. However, she has a solid platform, and that should matter more than personality. Thank you, TokyoSand and your diligent volunteers, for this excellent series, and for your generous permission to share!

Political⚡Charge

Screen Shot 2019-03-03 at 8.29.43 PM

The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. To briefly use a sports analogy, I see our candidates as the starting players on the Blue team, each bringing their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the Democratic candidates, I’ve enlisted the help of a team of terrific volunteers who have helped gather quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified as the most important. I hope…

View original post 1,798 more words

It’s Snarky Snippet Time!!!

It seems about time for some snarky snippets, don’t you think?


Rules were made to be … rescinded?

If you don’t like a rule, you can just ignore it.  If that doesn’t work, you can just re-write the rule.  At least, if you are Donald Trump, that seems to be the way it works.  I’m reasonably certain that it would not work that way for most of us.

Case in point …

Back in 2016, President Obama signed an executive order, part of which mandated an annual accounting of how many civilians have died in military and CIA strikes.  The goal was to increase transparency in an effort to limit the number of civilian deaths as a result of drone strikes in countries like Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan.  The deadline for that annual accounting by U.S. intelligence officials passed last week with no report issued.  And so, Trump merely rescinded that part of the executive order with an executive order of his own.  As I said at the beginning, if you don’t like the rule, or miss the deadline, just get rid of the rule!

The number of drone strikes abroad has dramatically increased since Trump took office.  For example, during President Obama’s entire eight years in office, 154 strikes were carried out in the war-torn country of Yemen.  Comparatively, during Trump’s two years, 176 have been conducted.  Extrapolating the data, more than 4.5 times as many per year under Trump.  And yet, he has decided it is not important for that data to be made public.  I beg to differ.


Freedom???

I have frequently compared the Trump administration to George Orwell’s book, 1984, and with good reason.  One of those reasons is what Orwell dubbed ‘newspeak’, and what the Trump administration has termed, ‘alternative facts’.  Either term works.  It is the means Trump & Co. use to justify the unjustifiable.  I have also said that somebody needs to write an “Alternative Facts Dictionary”, for it becomes confusing to those of us who grew up with Merriam-Webster as our guide.  Here’s a new one for you:  Freedom = deprivation of rights.  That’s funny, for I thought it was the opposite.

Specifically, ‘religious freedom’ has become a buzzword for “anything the Christians don’t like is bad and will not be tolerated”.  But would somebody please explain to me what problem Christians have with LGBT people?  Mind you, before somebody takes umbrage, I am not referring to all Christians, but the group of them that agree with Mr. Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple and ended up costing much money and causing much angst as a result of his homophobia.  Though not Christian myself, I have many friends who are Christians, but who are not homophobes. In fact, I have a number of friends who are both gay and Christian.  But then there are those others …

Nebraska State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks introduced LB 627 in January this year, a bill that would have updated all relevant state statutes to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  No-brainer, right?  But did you know there are more than two dozen states that have no LGBT nondiscrimination protections at the state level?  Long story short, the bill failed to garner the votes needed to pass. Opponents of the bill claimed that it would be used to target religious business owners in the state and punish them for their beliefs.  Bullsh*t!  People in this nation are not punished for their beliefs, but for their discriminatory actions!

Senator Robert Clements suggested that LGBT people didn’t deserve protections because he wasn’t aware of any science suggesting they were “born at birth that way.”  By a grammar book, Mr. Clements!  And perhaps re-read that bible you claim to be spouting from.

This, as well as anything, epitomizes why I eschew religion … far too often it is used as justification to promote bigotry and hate.  Michael Pence, Donald Trump, the televangelists, and all those who would enforce the “Christian point of view” on the rest of us are bigots, plain and simple.  Believe as you wish, but don’t punish those of us who do not think as you do.


Take THAT, Fox ‘News’!

Three cheers for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) who today announced that they will bar Fox ‘News’ from sponsoring the 2020 Democratic Primary Debate.  The reason they cite is an article in The New Yorker titled “The Making of the Fox News White House”.  According to DNC Chairman Tom Perez …

“Recent reporting in the New Yorker on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and Fox News has led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates. Therefore, Fox News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates.”

Among other things, the article reported allegations that late Fox News founder Roger Ailes passed along questions to Trump prior to a 2016 Republican primary debate and noted that former Fox executive Bill Shine is now the White House communications director. Several other former Fox News employees and contributors work in the Trump administration.

I have referred to Fox as state t.v. more than once, and while that may be somewhat of a stretch, it most certainly is not an arms-length relationship as it ought to be.

Trump is none too happy about the DNC decision, it would appear.

baby-trump“Democrats just blocked @FoxNews from holding a debate. Good, then I think I’ll do the same thing with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats in the General Election debates!”

Such is not, contrary to what he may believe, within his power.  But wait!  There are executive orders!  Oh, but it’s going to be a fun twenty months.  Define ‘fun’ as ulcer-inducing in this case.  Shoot me now.


I end this morning’s snarkiness with a cartoon …Mitch-hunt

Who … Or WHAT … is Jacob Wohl?

Meet the new Alex Jones.  His name is Jacob Wohl, he is 21-years-old, and calls himself a “corporate and political intel consultant”.  In truth, he is a scammer and a conspiracy theorist who has been banned from Twitter and was barred from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week.  By himself, he is a joke … laughable.  The danger lies in that some people are actually falling for his multiple hoaxes.

So, who … or what … is Jacob Wohl?  He first came onto the scene in the middle of 2017, when he posted a lovey-dovey tweet about how ‘wonderful’ Donald Trump was and Trump, naturally, re-tweeted it for it fed his very hungry ego.  At that time, he billed himself as a ‘financial manager’, or a hedge-fund manager (at 20 years old???), and had already gained a reputation “for defrauded investors, various boffo shenanigans and a batch of regulators on his trail”, according to TalkingPointsMemo.    According to his website at the time, which is no longer in existence, he “launched his first ‘hedge fund’ at age 16 while still in high school and ‘received attention from around the world for being the youngest hedge fund manager of all time.’”

After a 2017 investigation into fraudulent practices and complaints about thievery, the National Futures Association (NFA), a non-governmental industry watchdog, banned Wohl for life from the NFA or operating as a principal for any NFA member.  The State of Arizona has banned him from all business activities in their state.  There are numerous instances of his dishonesty, nay … thievery … but that is not my purpose today … my purpose today is his present scam.  Not even ‘of age’ yet, and one career already shot to heck.

You’ll remember the unsubstantiated and false rumour that Donald Trump started in 2011 where he posited that President Obama was not, in fact, born in the U.S.?  Well, Wohl started his own ‘birther’ rumour …

“Kamala Harris is NOT eligible to be President. Her father arrived from Jamaica in 1961—mother from India arrived in 1960.  Neither parent was a legal resident for 5 years prior to Harris’s birth, a requirement for naturalization.  Kamala was raised in Canada.” — Jacob Wohl (@JacobAWohl) January 22, 2019

The facts:  Ms. Harris was born in Oakland, California, in 1964, thereby making her a citizen of the U.S.  When she was twelve years old, her parents had been divorced for five years, and her mother took the children and moved to Canada.  In 1981, Mr. Harris moved to Washington, D.C., to attend Howard University where she majored in Political Science and Economics.  After graduation from Howard, she returned to California where she earned her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in 1989.  She meets every criteria for the office of president, contrary to Wohl’s suggestion, and is, in fact, far more qualified than the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Wohl also set his sights on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg after her recent cancer diagnosis, claiming she was either secretly dead, or in a vegetative state from which she would never return.  I wonder how silly he feels now, seeing that she has returned to the bench?

He also claimed that the pipe bombs sent to a number of democrats last year were a ‘false flag’ operation.  I wonder how he explains the arrest of Cesar Sayoc last October and the 30 charges against him for making and sending the bombs?

And just before the mid-term elections last year, he claimed to have ‘proof’ that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had been credibly accused of sexual assault.  Another blatant falsehood, the product of Wohl’s imagination, as even the woman he claimed had accused Mueller, one Carolyne Cass, said that Wohl “made it up,” deceived her with a false identity and tried to coerce her to appear at a news conference against her will. That one put him on the radar of the FBI.  And one of his most infamous tweets was his claim that Donald Trump should be made “president for life” … oh, the horror!!! 😱

Wohl-Trump-Wohl

David Wohl, Donald Trump, Jacob Wohl

His latest conspiracy theory centers around the freshman representative from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar.  He claims that Omar’s ex-husband Ahmed Elmi is actually her brother and that she married him to help him get US citizenship.  There is absolutely no evidence to support his claim, and it wouldn’t make sense anyway, for she could have just as easily petitioned US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to bring her brother to the U.S. without marrying him!  But, Ms. Omar is the target of a number of conspiracy theories, including one that she has some connection to the 9/11 terrorists.  Again, there is no evidence at all to support this, but she is an easy target because … she is a Muslim, one of the first two Muslim representatives in Congress, and Trump’s supporters believe his lies that all Muslims are terrorists.

Wohl has gone so far as to connect with right-wing activist Laura Loomer, solicit funds equal to $25,000 to travel to Minneapolis to attempt to prove his claims.Wohl-solicitationHe and Laura claim they are being targeted, wear bullet-proof vests, and claim they need an armoured car for their protection.  More likely, nobody recognizes nor cares overly much about them.

But by far the most concerning thing he has done is that which got him banned from Twitter.  According to an article in USA Today

Wohl disclosed a raft of schemes he says are in the works that he hopes will resonate in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. 

He says he plans to create “enormous left-wing online properties” – such as deceptive Facebook and Twitter accounts – “and use those to steer the left-wing votes in the primaries to what we feel are weaker candidates compared with Trump.” It’s a plot similar to what Mueller has charged in indictments that the Russians crafted in an effort to boost the 2016 campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein and hobble Hillary Clinton. 

Another stated scheme: seeking to collect damaging information on left-leaning non-profits including Media Matters for America, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Right Wing Watch by offering their insiders “moral reconciliation,” and if that doesn’t work, “things of worth” – such as money.

Wohl said he planned to create “enormous left-wing online properties” in a bid to steer voters “to what we feel are weaker candidates compared with Trump.”  Twitter’s investigation found Wohl already had created some of those accounts, including @women_4_schultz, which sought to advance the early candidacy of Howard Schultz, former Starbucks CEO who has threatened to run as an independent in 2020.

While Twitter has permanently suspended Wohl’s account, there are other social media platforms, such as Facebook.  I understand that he is a large presence on Instagram.  I found his response to his lifetime ban a bit chilling …

“It’s all fun, man. You gotta have fun with this. I had fun with Twitter. They banned me? Oh well — it’s not the end of the world.”

We need not fear people crossing the southern border seeking asylum.  We need not fear Muslim refugees from the Middle East.  We need to fear the likes of Jacob Wohl who have set out to tamper with our elections, who are filling empty minds with conspiracy theories against good people, and who are seriously trying to bring about the fall of this nation.  This, then, is the face of ugly …face-of-ugly-wohl

Just A Snarky Snippet Sunday … BAH!

We had plans to go to out to dinner, then a trip to the Fresh Market, and then perhaps the bookstore today.  Instead, I am sitting here watching it snow.  Bah, humbug.  Thus, I am feeling an urge to write a few little snarky snippets …


From ostrich to orange …

This jacket belongs to Paul Manafort. ostrich-jacketIt is made of ostrich skin … an ostrich died so that Mr. Manafort could have this jacket.

ostrich

Ostrich

This jacket cost Mr. Manafort $15,000. Yes, folks, fifteen thousand U.S. dollars to kill an ostrich or two and stitch them together for a jacket for a narcissistic crook.  Manafort spent more than $400,000 … nearly a half-million dollars … on his personal wardrobe in one single year!  I spend, on average, $60 per year on mine!  Other items included a $9,500 vest made from ostrich and a $18,500 jacket made from python skin.  Seems he liked to go about wearing the skin of animals that were killed for no other reason than for his pleasure, though I cannot see what pleasure anyone gets from wearing the skin of an animal, for knowing that they are responsible for an innocent critter being murdered.  At any rate … here is what Mr. Manafort’s wardrobe looks like now …prison-garb

And no animals had to be killed for this one.


Dumb, dumber and dumbest …

Roger Stone is not too bright, but then, anybody who has a life-size tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back cannot be said to be among the best and brightest. stone-angryStone is in a heap of trouble, but either he is truly too stupid to realize that he may well spend the rest of his life in prison wearing an outfit to match Manafort’s, or he honestly believes that Trump will pardon him and he can get on with his merry little life of crime.  You may remember that he was under a partial gag order by Judge Amy Berman Jackson to keep him from discussing his case in public venues, but then he posted this picture …berman… on Instagram and earned himself a full gag order with the judge stating in no uncertain terms that Stone “is prohibited from making statements to the media or in public settings about the Special Counsel’s investigation or this case or any of the participants in the investigation or the case.”

Apparently, though, Stone either does not understand what this means, or thinks himself to be above the law, it came to the attention of Judge Jackson that Stone has written a book that is ready for “imminent general release”, and that he had failed to inform the Judge of this minor little detail.  Judge Jackson has now issued a new order requiring Stone’s lawyers to identify “the specific date of the ‘imminent general release’ of the book,” and to explain “why this matter — which was known to the defendant — was not brought to the Court’s attention” during previous filings of during the hearing regarding the Instagram post.”

Stone-orange-suit

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.


Bad taste?  Or reality?

Donald Trump didn’t invent bad taste, but he is about the biggest offender of the 20th and 21st centuries.  His bad taste and really lousy judgment have opened the door, and people are streaming through that door at an unprecedented rate, as you can see every day on any of the media sites.  So, is it any wonder that artist Jim Denomie painted this …

Denomie-Standing-Rock

Standing Rock 2016

Denomie says his painting “Standing Rock 2016” is an imagined landscape inspired by protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“I have a history of painting about history. And I saw this as history in the making. I’ve learned over my experience making paintings especially about important events that I receive information from the spirit world. It comes to me from somewhere, I don’t know exactly where — but I often come away from these paintings with a better understanding of the story or the events.”

In the painting, the Missouri River glows Technicolor orange and pink. The attack dogs have been given two heads — an allusion to Cerberus, the dog in Greek mythology that guards the gates of Hades. President Trump is seen groping Lady Justice, while former President Barack Obama is portrayed as a sitting duck. Men in suits clink martini glasses and smoke cigars. Brightly colored frogs emerge from the river, and what appear to be spirit creatures float in the sky above. It’s as though both the natural and spiritual worlds are joining the protestors in the fight to protect the land.

Minnesota State Representative, Josh Heintzeman, took umbrage with the painting, saying …

“On public display today, funded by your Legacy Art’s board, at a cost of $10,000. There’s a number of very controversial depictions but President Trump’s is especially offencive [sic]. If “artists” create this kind of thing on their own time fine, but not on my dime.”

First, Mr. Heintzeman, it isn’t “on your dime”, second Trump brought this very image upon himself with his own words and actions.  Nobody, not even the most slavish of Trump’s supporters, can possibly deny that.  Go get a life, Heintzeman … personally I think this painting is quite representative of the world we live in today, thanks in part to you and your ilk.


And with that, I need to step back for a few minutes before I throw something, for my computer has re-booted itself twice while I was writing this short piece!  I think somebody has cast a spell on it!  Have a great rest-of-Sunday!

Presumed Innocent Until Proven Guilty …

On January 29th, I wrote a piece titled An Almost Lynching about the hate crime that had been perpetrated upon a black, gay actor named Jussie Smollett.  I was appalled that he had been beaten, had racial and homophobic epithets thrown at him, and a rope had been placed around his neck in what appeared to be a threat of lynching.

Since then, there is considerable doubt surrounding Mr. Smollett’s version of the events and a possibility that he himself staged the event.  The jury is still out, and while Mr. Smollett has been charged by Chicago police, he has not been tried and convicted.  In this country, at least last I knew, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and Jussie Smollett has not been proven guilty.  His legal team released a statement saying …

“Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.”

The Chicago police claim to have evidence, Mr. Smollett denies it.  I make no judgment at this point, but I will say that if it turns out this ‘crime’ was in fact a hoax in order to increase Mr. Smollett’s star power, as his accusers claim, then I, along with the mainstream media, jumped the gun.  For now, however, I have a more important point to make.

Whether Mr. Smollett is innocent, or guilty as charged, this incident has done significant damage to both blacks and the LGBT community.  If it turns out that Smollett did, in fact, stage the attack, that it was naught more than a publicity stunt to focus attention on him, to give him a career boost as the Chicago police claim, then the next black person … and the next and the next and the next … will be doubted, rather than taken at their word.  Remember the story of the little boy who cried wolf?  Well, this is the same, and not only will Smollett be called a liar, but so will those who come after him.

Take it a step further … as blacks and gays who are truly attacked are taken less seriously, their credibility challenged, those haters will feel more emboldened, freer to perpetuate hate crimes, knowing that the burden of proof will fall on the victim.  And thus, the train will pick up speed as it goes downhill and soon, a crime against a black or gay person will be like sexual assaults against women where the victim most often remains silent, knowing what will happen if she comes forward.  In 2017, hate crimes in the U.S. increased by 17%.  The numbers are not out yet for 2018, but I would bet it was even higher than 17%.  WHY????????  In 2018, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) tracked 1,020 hate groups in the U.S. – white supremacists, neo-Nazis and others – compared to under 500 in 1999.

Conversely, if the Chicago police are mis-reading the evidence and not doing their due diligence to uncover all the facts of the matter, if they are willing to blame Mr. Smollett and make the evidence fit their preconceived notion, then this sets a dangerous precedent.  We already have police departments across the nation whose members often display a racist animosity toward blacks.  I lost count a few years ago of how many unarmed black men had been killed by police.  And I have friends who have personally experienced police harassment that no white man would be exposed to.

Our society has, over the past few years, become more bigoted, more racist, and more violent.  As I’ve read news story after news story, blogs, comments and social media posts in the past few days, the thing I’ve noticed is that most seem ready, even eager, to assume that Mr. Smollett is guilty of perpetuating a hoax for personal gain.  No benefit of the doubt.  No ‘wait and see’.  He is black and he is gay, so … he must be guilty, right?  What if it had happened to … Justin Bieber?

I cannot possibly address all the issues in a single post, but if I have a point (sometimes I wonder) it is that we must not rush to judgment.  Jussie Smollett is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  The presumption of guilt goes against the Constitution and it goes against being a humanitarian.  If Mr. Smollett is proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt in a court of law, then so be it, but until that time, let us not rush to judgment.  There is enough widespread bigotry in this country … let us not add to it.

‘Bout Time For … Snarky Snippets!

It occurs to me that I haven’t done a Snarky Snippets post for nearly two weeks!  Whatever is wrong with me?  Well, let me make up for that oversight now, okay?


A “new direction” …

Earlier this week I wrote about Goodloe Sutton, the editor of the Democrat-Reporter, a newspaper based in Linden, Alabama, and his call for KKK night riders to ride again and for mass lynchings to “clean up” Washington.  Well, sometimes things work out for the best, and Mr. Sutton, who inherited the newspaper from his father in the 1980s, has stepped down from his position as editor and turned the job over to Elecia Dexter — an African-American woman from Chicago who had served as the paper’s front office clerk.

Ms. Dexter, a graduate of Eastern Illinois University, has worked for the paper only six weeks, and began making plans to leave when she saw the brutally offensive editorial written by Sutton.  Instead, she says she and Mr. Sutton had a long talk, and on Thursday he told Dexter she could carry on the legacy of his family, which has operated the Democrat-Reporter for decades, by taking the paper in a “new direction.”  Will wonders never cease?

On a related note, a couple of letters to the editor in response to Mr. Sutton’s editorial made my blood boil …goodloe-sutton-letters


A change of heart?

Ron Highland is a republican representative in the Kansas state legislature.  Highland is one of seven sponsors of Kansas House Bill 2320 which, in a nutshell, is a 9-page document  with more “Whereas” than I can count, that is as scathingly anti-LGBT as anything I have ever seen!  A few excerpts …

WHEREAS, Instead of having a cross, the ten commandments icon, or star and crescent, the LGBTQ secular humanist community has the gay pride rainbow colored flag to symbolize its faith-based worldview …

WHEREAS, The government’s endorsement of LGBTQ ideology has amounted to the greatest sham since the inception of American jurisprudence …

WHEREAS, There are no ex-blacks but there are thousands of ex-gays …

WHEREAS, All forms of parody marriage equally erode community standards of decency …

WHEREAS, Marriage between a man and a woman arose out of the nature of things, and marriage between a man and a woman is natural, neutral and non-controversial, unlike parody forms of marriage that do not involve a man and a woman …

Well, you get the idea, right?  It concludes by saying that only marriages between members of opposite sexes will be recognized.  Since the Supreme Court has ruled differently, the bill is against the law.  Simple.  States have certain rights, but in this case, federal law trumps state law (no pun intended).  The bill hasn’t a snowball’s chance of becoming law, thankfully, and the Kansas legislature wasted massive amounts of time writing a piece of garbage legislation.

But to the point … Mr. Highland helped draft the bill, but his daughter, Christel, was disappointed that her beloved dad would even participate in such an abomination.  Christel, according to her Facebook page, is “a proud member of Kansas City’s LGBTQ+ community, a Mother, a Partner to the love of my life …”  She wrote her dad this letter …christel-letter-e1550992350539.png

Wow, huh?  Shortly thereafter Mr. Highland asked that his name be removed from the bill, saying …

“The bill that I should not have signed on to cosponsor contained some hateful language which I do not condone, and it is against our Lord’s command to love our neighbors.”

While Mr. Highland should never have condoned, let alone co-sponsored the bill in the first place, you have to give him credit that he listened to his daughter, and that he admitted he was wrong.  Not many would have done so, I think.


Another billionaire donor gets a reward … ho hum.

So what’s new in Trumplandia?  Not much.  Oh yeah, another one of Trump’s billionaire friends got her early (or late, whichever way you choose to look at it) Christmas present in the form of a nomination for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, replacing Nikki Haley who left last year.  Why am I not ranting, you ask?  Because it’s the same ol’ story … only the name and the face have changed.

Kelly-Knight-Craft

Kelly Knight Craft

Kelly Knight Craft is the most recent nominee for the position, after Heather Nauert withdrew because she had hired a nanny who hadn’t the proper working papers, and had failed to file timely tax papers.  But let’s take a quick look at Ms. Craft’s ‘qualifications’ for the ambassadorship …

Ms. Craft is married to Joe Craft, president and chief executive of coal producer Alliance Resource Partners. The couple are major Republican donors, having given about $1.5 million to GOP candidates in 2016, including $270,800 to Trump’s campaign committee or his joint fundraising committee with the Republican National Committee.

Joe Craft was also tight with former EPA head Scott Pruitt, to whom he provided certain ‘perks’ in exchange for special considerations for his coal company. (See June post titled Enough!!!!)  And … the Crafts also have been repeat, high-paying customers at Trump’s hotel in Washington.  In fact, the Crafts were listed as gold-level members of the Trump Card rewards program and have stayed at Trump’s hotel a minimum of 20 times.

So, there you have the qualifications for the position.  No, it isn’t necessary that she have an understanding of world politics and alliances, or some of the important issues that are dealt with at the United Nations, such as climate change. You will remember that it was the UN that sponsored the Paris Climate Accords that Trump so stupidly disavowed.  But, when asked for her thoughts on climate change, she had a great answer!

“I believe there are sciences on both sides that are accurate. Both sides have their own results from their studies, and I appreciate and respect both sides of the science.”

Oh yeah, she’ll be great … not a hint of a brain in her air-filled head!  Will the Senate confirm her?  I imagine so, for they have rubber-stamped almost all his nominees so far, and this one has high praise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a fellow-Kentuckian.  Need I say more?


And with that, I have run out of steam, though not out of topics!  Fear not, I shall return with renewed vigor and more snark in the near future!

Amy Klobuchar: The 7 Issues Guide

Today I present the second of TokyoSand’s excellent posts introducing us to the democratic candidates for the office of president in 2020. Last time we met Senator Kamala Harris who is one of 4 or 5 on my own shortlist, and this week we are introduced to Senator Amy Klobuchar, another on my short list. This is an excellent series providing valuable information about the candidates all in one place, so I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read it. Thank you again, TokyoSand, for this post and permission to share it!

Political⚡Charge

Election 2018 Senate Klobuchar Amy Klobuchar (AP Photo/Hannah Foslien)

The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. To briefly use a sports analogy, I see our candidates as the starting players on the Blue team, each bringing their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the Democratic candidates, I’ve enlisted the help of a team of terrific volunteers who have helped gather quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified as the…

View original post 2,123 more words

A Child … Just A Child

It seems to me that this nation places too much value on rites and rituals and not enough on substantive issues.  When an eleven-year-old child is arrested … yes, arrested by police … for exercising his right to free speech by refusing to recite the pledge of allegiance, something has gone awry with our values as a nation.

It all began on the morning of February 4th, when a young boy at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Polk County, Florida, refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance.  The boy had refused to stand for the pledge for the entire school year, and had written permission from his mother to do so. But on this day there was a substitute teacher, Ana Alvarez.  When Ms. Alvarez asked the boy why he didn’t stand, he told her he believes the pledge represents racism.  Ms. Alvarez’ responded …

“Why if it was so bad here you do not go to another place to live.”

And when the boy replied, “They brought me here,” Alvarez said …

“Well you can always go back, because I came here from Cuba and the day I feel I’m not welcome here anymore I would find another place to live.”

Perhaps Ms. Alvarez forgot she was talking to an 11-year-old child who has neither the autonomy nor the means to choose his own place to live?

“Then I had to call the office because I did not want to continue dealing with him.”

A school resource officer with the Lakeland Police Department eventually responded to the classroom and arrested the boy.  Arrested a child.  An African-American child who did not break any law.  According to a statement by Polk County Public Schools, the child “became disruptive” and “refused to follow instructions.”  Excuse me, but the boy is eleven years old!  He was no doubt frightened and felt threatened!  He was not an adult who might have been able to understand and deal with the situation in a moderated voice!

This case, naturally, brings to mind that of Colin Kaepernick who was unduly ostracized and penalized for exercising his first amendment right to refuse to stand for the national anthem.  If Colin Kaepernick had been Caucasian, would the results have been different?  If this 11-year-old boy had been Caucasian, would the results have been different?  We will never know for sure, but my best guess is that yes, in both cases the refusal to stand would have been largely overlooked.

On Tuesday, Brian Haas, the state attorney for the 10th Judicial Circuit in Florida, said that his office would not prosecute the boy despite statements by the police that he had made threats after disrupting class. “The case is closed,” Mr. Haas said.

However, the boy’s mother, understandably, is not satisfied, nor is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  Dhakira Talbot, the lad’s mother, declined an offer from prosecutors on Monday to drop the case if the boy completed a so-called diversion program, which could include a fine and community service.  She has obtained an attorney who plans to file a civil-rights complaint with the federal Department of Education this week.

A personal note here.  Throughout my childhood I refused steadfastly to stand for the pledge or to engage in the morning prayer that was requisite in the Catholic schools I attended.  The nuns did not like it and more than a few times I was smacked on the hands and even the head with the metal edge of a ruler (Catholic schools in the 1950s were notorious for corporal punishment).  But, being the stubborn girl I was even back then, I did not give in.  AND … I did not get arrested.  I seriously doubt that calling the police ever crossed their minds!

According to the New York Times article from February 19th

Across the country, black students are disciplined more often and face harsher consequences than their white peers. At Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, black students made up 17 percent of the student body last school year but represented 39 percent of disciplinary actions, according to data from the Florida Department of Education.

Systemic racism.  Perhaps the biggest shame of this nation.  And an 11-year-old boy has suffered an experience he will never forget.  He has been shown, first-hand, that black people are treated with less respect, less dignity than those with pale skin.  What lasting effect will this incident have on a young child’s life?  There is no way to know, but we can rest assured that it will colour his views for the rest of his life.