The Dems in Disarray Media Narrative Continues

I was so exhausted last night that I missed Jeff’s spot-on post. The media is condemning the Democratic Party for putting its shoes on the wrong feet, while turning a blind eye to the Republican Party who is trying to steal others’ shoes, even if it means chopping off their feet! Great post, Jeff! Thanks!

On The Fence Voters

One of the more prevailing narratives over the past several years by the mainstream media is how the Democratic Party is always in disarray. To hear some of them, you’d think Democrats can never agree on anything.

A recent article by Jeff Stein in The Washington Post drives home the idea by pointing out that there are differences in opinion between Senator Bernie Sanders in the Senate and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on how Democrats should move forward on health care.

Sanders has been a vocal advocate of Medicare for all, a government-run health care system where every citizen in the country is covered from birth to death. Pelosi is advocating for an expanded version of The Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Pelosi would like to make the ACA subsidy enhancements included in the American Rescue Act permanent. Sanders, for his part, would like to lower the Medicare eligibility age requirement…

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Same Tune They’ve Been Playin’ Forever

Fox ‘News’ has some of the slimiest people in the industry working for them … ol’ Rupert Murdoch sure does know how to pick ‘em.  The only credible journalist at Fox is Chris Wallace, son of the long-esteemed Mike Wallace, and I often wonder why he doesn’t get a job at a more reputable network.  Among the worst of the lot is Tucker Carlson, a man who would argue with a tin can if it were marked “Democrat” or contained lima beans.

Charles M. Blow has written an editorial for the New York Times that I think bears reading if you want to try to understand the current white supremacist movement by the Republican Party to disenfranchise Black, Hispanic, Asian and immigrant voters.  The current push is nothing new, merely an upgrade of what white supremacists have always tried to do.


Tucker Carlson and White Replacement

This racist theory is rooted in white supremacist panic.

Charles M. Blow

Opinion Columnist

On Thursday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson caused an uproar by promoting the racist, anti-Semitic, patriarchal and conspiratorial “white replacement theory.” Also known as the “great replacement theory,” it stands on the premise that nonwhite immigrants are being imported (sometimes the Jewish community is accused of orchestrating this) to replace white people and white voters. The theory is also an inherent chastisement of white women for having a lower birthrate than nonwhite women.

As Carlson put it:

“I know that the left and all the gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters, from the third world. But, they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening, actually. Let’s just say it: That’s true.”

Carlson continued, “Every time they import a new voter, I become disenfranchised as a current voter.”

The whole statement is problematic. First, what is the third world? This label originated as a way to categorize countries that didn’t align with Western countries or the former Soviet bloc. It’s now often used to describe poor countries, or developing countries, and by extension, mostly nonwhite majority countries.

When Carlson worries about immigrants from the third world, he is talking about Hispanic, Asian and Black people who he worries will outnumber “current” voters. Current voters, in this formulation, are the white people who make up the majority of the American electorate.

Second, and revealingly, he is admitting that Republicans do not and will not appeal to new citizens who are immigrants.

But although white replacement theory is a conspiracy theory, the fact that the percentage of voters who are white in America is shrinking as a percentage of all voters is not. Neither is the fact that white supremacists are panicked about this.

White supremacists in this country have long worried about being replaced by people, specifically voters, who are not white. In the post-Civil War era, before the current immigrant wave from predominantly nonwhite countries, most of that anxiety in America centered on Black people.

Judge Solomon Calhoon of Mississippi wrote in 1890 of the two decades of Black suffrage following the Civil War, “Negro suffrage is an evil.”

Calhoon worried that white voters had been replaced, or outnumbered, by Black ones, writing: “Shall the ballot remain as now adjusted, the whole country in the meantime taking the chances of the rapid increase of the blacks, and leaving, in the meantime, the whites as they now are in those localities where they are outnumbered?”

Calhoon would go on to become the president of the state’s constitutional convention that year, a convention called with the explicit intention of codifying white supremacy and suppressing the Black vote. States across the South would follow the Mississippi example, calling constitutional conventions of their own, until Jim Crow was the law of the South.

The combination of Jim Crow voter suppression laws and the migration of millions of Black people out of the South during the Great Migration diluted the Black vote, distributing it across more states, and virtually guaranteed that white voters would not be outnumbered by Black ones in any state. The fear of “Black domination” dissipated.

Indeed, as extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act was being debated in 1969, The New York Times made note of the fact that Attorney General John Mitchell, a proponent of a competing bill, was well aware that even if all the unregistered Black people in the South were registered, their voting power still couldn’t overcome the “present white conservative tide” in the South. As The Times added, “In fact, Mr. Mitchell is known to believe that Negro registration benefits the Republicans because it drives the Southern whites out of the Democratic Party.”

A reporter at the time asked an aide of a Republican representative, “What has happened to the party of Lincoln?” The aide responded, “It has put on a Confederate uniform.”

But now, in addition to Black voters voting overwhelmingly Democratic, there is a wave of nonwhite immigrants who also lean Democratic. And tremendous energy is being exerted not only by white supremacists in the general population, but also Republican office holders, to attack immigrants, curtail immigration, disenfranchise Black and brown voters and assail abortion rights.

One of the surest ways of preventing a Black person from voting is to prevent them from living. As The Times reported in 1970, Leander Perez, a man who had been a judge and prosecutor and “led the last stand against integration” in Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish, once famously linked Black birth control to racial dominance, stating: “The best way to hate a [expletive] is to hate him before he’s born.”

I would even argue that the bizarre obsession with trans people is also rooted in part in white anxiety over reproduction.

The architects of whiteness in America drew the definition so narrowly that it rendered it fragile, unsustainable, and in constant need of defense. Replacement of the white majority in this country by a more multiracial, multicultural majority is inevitable. So is white supremacist panic over it.

♫ Desiderata ♫

I was working on a new music post … you know, one I haven’t played before … when all of a sudden three things happened all at the same time:  1) I came across a reference to this one in the post I was working on (no, I’m not telling what it was, for I hope to have it finished for tomorrow’s music post); 2) I suddenly felt incredibly exhausted, and 3) a gunshot that sounded like it was right outside my window.  Nothing like #3 to kill #1 & #2, eh?  This song is one for all times, one that carries a message that should be heard over and over again.  Now, if you’ll just go listen to the song, I have some investigating to do regarding the gunshot …


Last night I went with a light-hearted song, “You Can’t Hurry Love”, by the Supremes and also Phil Collins.  Tonight, I’m feeling more solemn, more … I’m looking at this nation, and others … Canada and the UK specifically … and I’m not liking what I see.  A woman posted on Facebook that “We should be better than this … God wants us to be better than this”.  Now, I’m not religious, but I thought her heart was at least in the right place and her comment in no way offended me.  However, she was slammed in comments by people being rude, crass, and obnoxious toward her.  And I started thinking … is this really who we are these days?  Can we not just agree to disagree, can we no longer tolerate those whose views do not match our own?  Whatever happened to “live and let live”?

I typically do not use the music posts to make a statement, though on occasion I do.  Tonight is one such occasion.  Les Crane’s Desiderata is a song that makes a statement … a simple, no-brainer sort of statement, but one that I think maybe we all should hear.

The song is based on a poem by Max Ehrmann that was written in the early 1920s, but not published until 1948, three years after his death.  The poem was about the search for happiness in life. In the 1960s, the poem made its rounds as “anonymous” ancient wisdom – it was widely reprinted because most people assumed it was in the public domain. Crane read the poem on a street poster (which stated the words “Found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore, dated 1692”) and decided to record it.

The song reached either #6 or #7 in the UK, depending on who you believe, #4 in Canada, and #8 in the U.S.

Desiderata
Les Crane

Desiderata. Desiderata. Desiderata.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender,
Be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others –
Even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons – they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
For always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career –
However humble, it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is.
Many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially do not feign affection, neither be cynical about love.
For in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
It is as perenial as the grass.
Take kindly the council of the years,
Gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune,
But do not distress yourself with imaginings –
Many fears are borne of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe.
No less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
Keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Songwriters: Jonathan Douglas / Soren Rasted / M Ehrmanns
Desiderata lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

Thoughts On “Karen” and … Another DAMMIT

Sometime last year, I noticed I was seeing more and more news stories about women named ‘Karen’.  Now, I’ve known a few people named Karen in my live, and in fact even have a niece who is so-named, a former co-worker, and one of my daughter’s bandmates.  But suddenly there is a surge of women with this name.  I wondered if it were a generational thing, or what.  But then one day I read an article that ‘splained it to me.

Apparently ‘Karen’ is the name given to women who act like grade-A jerks, being racist and intolerant in this, the 21st century.  It rather makes me feel sorry for women who were given the name ‘Karen’ at birth and are stuck with it in this, the era of having to name every behaviour.  I have written about a few ‘Karens’ before , but today I have another one for you …

Last June, a woman named Debra Hunter was shopping at a Pier 1 store in Jacksonville, Florida where she was loudly verbally abusing the store’s staff.  Another customer, Heather Sprague, began recording the altercation because …

“I wanted her to know she was being held accountable for her actions. It only took her to decide she was done and to leave the store, which really was the goal.”

But, once Hunter turned and saw that she was being recorded, she flipped Ms. Sprague off and then walked over to her and coughed directly into her face.  This at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.  What Hunter could not have known is that Heather Sprague is a cancer patient, currently undergoing treatment for a brain tumour, but I somehow don’t think it would have made a difference even if she had known.

On Friday, a judge in Jacksonville sentenced Hunter to 30 days in jail and also ordered her to pay a $500 fine, serve six months’ probation and participate in a mental health evaluation along with anger management.  Hunter’s husband pleaded in her defense that they had faced numerous hardships leading up to the incident, including losing everything they had in a house fire …

“It was like air being inflated into a balloon, and it finally got to the point where she couldn’t handle any more air. And then she finally rubbed up against something and just popped.”

Hunter told the judge her family has paid the price for her mistakes, adding that her children continue to lose friends, and that they don’t go out in their community anymore.  It is sad that Mr. Hunter and the children are paying the price, but it doesn’t negate what Ms. Hunter did, and frankly from all I’ve read, there has been no sign or remorse or apology.

Okay, so there are lots of ‘Karens’ in the U.S. today, but … what do we call a guy who acts like a jerk?  Shouldn’t there be some equivalent for males?  Hmmmm … how about a ‘Mitch’ … or a ‘Tucker’ … or a ‘Matt’?

And now I must turn from the topic of Karens to … yep, you got it … another tragedy, another Black man killed by a white cop.


On Sunday there was another tragic shooting death of an unarmed Black man by a white police officer, this time just about ten miles from Minneapolis, where the trial of Derek Chauvin is entering its third week.

The victim’s name was Daunte Wright.  Say his name … SAY HIS NAME!

Duante Wright

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz says he and his wife are ‘praying’ for Duante Wright’s family.  Sorry, guv, but that does not help … it does not help his family and it damn sure does not bring him back to life!  Keep your goddamn prayers and do something useful, like initiate some police reforms in your damn state!  First George Floyd and now Duante Wright.  How can you even sleep at night???

It started as a traffic stop.  Mr. Wright called his mother and told her he expected they had stopped him for the air fresheners he had dangling from his rear-view mirror, which is illegal in Minnesota.  But, when police checked his license they discovered that he had an outstanding warrant or warrants, so they attempted to take him into custody.  Mr. Wright jumped back into his vehicle and as he was attempting to drive off, Officer Kim Potter, a 25-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, shot him through the window of his vehicle.

Mr. Wright managed to drive for several blocks before striking another vehicle.  Mr. Wright was pronounced dead at the scene.  He was 20 years old.

Officer Kim Potter

Yesterday it was reported that Officer Potter shot Mr. Wright “by accident”, that she thought she had fired her taser rather than her gun.  She’s been on the police force for 25 years, she’s president of the Brooklyn Center Police Officer’s Association, and she didn’t know the difference between a gun and a taser???  Oh please, don’t take me for a damn fool!

This community is already stressed, with the trial for Derek Chauvin, the officer who brutally murdered George Floyd, taking place just down the road a piece.  Naturally, protesters gathered ‘round the police department on Sunday night after Mr. Wright’s murder.

Police ordered the protesters to disperse, and when they refused, they were hit with tear gas, some were arrested, and shots were fired, though in honesty I do not know whether the shots were by protesters or police, as details remain sketchy.  Today, the schools are closed in this suburb of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Twins (a Major League baseball team) postponed their game against the Boston Red Sox.

I also do not know what the warrant or warrants against Mr. Wright were, but given the fact he was only 20 years old, I’m guessing they weren’t serious enough to end his life over.

This country has many, many causes for shame, but this … racism in police, the very people we hire and PAY to protect us … is among the biggest reasons that we should all hang our heads.  R.I.P. Mr. Duante Wright … you deserved better.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 4/10

People like Matt Gaetz and Mitch McConnell give the political cartoonists much material to work with these days!  It’s almost impossible not to mock them … it’s almost as if they’re begging us to!  Our friend TokyoSand found some of the very best ones last week, as she always does.  Thank you, TS!

See All The ‘Toons!

PLEASE Just CARE!!!

Another day, another time, I would have been all over the story of what has been happening in Myanmar (aka Burma) over the past several months (decades).  It is important.  It is a matter of human lives.  Instead, I have focused on the political corruption, the racism, the horrific gun problem, and other issues that hit more closely to home.  I learned some time ago that many people in this country are not particularly interested in what happens in North Korea, Yemen, the Ukraine, or Myanmar, for we have our own burdens to bear, our own fights to fight.  But, what has happened in Myanmar, Yemen and other places over the past years is … must be … important to us all, for whether you like it or not, we all share the same planet and its limited resources, and we are all part of the same race — the human race.  What happens to one of us, happens also to the rest.

The story you are about to read is not pretty, it will not lift your spirits, but … you cannot read this and tell me, at the end, that you do not care.  Please, my friends, even if you are powerless to change it … care … at least, just CARE, I beg you … please care.  😭


This is Aye Myat Thu at age 10.

Aye Myat is dead now, killed by an assassin’s bullet …



She Just Fell Down. And She Died.

By Hannah Beech

April 4, 2021

ဤဆောင်းပါးကို မြန်မာဘာသာဖြင့် ဖတ်ပါ။

In the swelter of the hot season, U Soe Oo cracked open the coconut with practiced blows of his machete. Small hands reached out for the first slice, cool and slippery.

His daughter — 10 years old, with dreams of being a makeup artist or a nurse or maybe even a princess with long golden hair like the one in “Maleficent,” which she had watched a zillion times, no joke — ran down a path with her sweet prize.

Just as she reached the trees that marked the perimeter of their property, the girl seemed to stumble, landing flat on her stomach, her father recalled. The piece of coconut slipped from her grasp, falling onto the reddish earth of Mawlamyine, a port town perched on a slender archipelago in southeastern Myanmar.

Mr. Soe Oo put his machete down and ran to tell her it was OK, that she could have another chunk of coconut. He scooped her up, limp in his arms, but it still didn’t register where all the blood was coming from, why she wasn’t saying anything at all.

The bullet had hit the left temple of his daughter, Aye Myat Thu, at about 5:30 in the soft glow of the afternoon of March 27. By the time darkness fell less than an hour later, she was dead.

Since staging a Feb. 1 coup and jailing the nation’s civilian leaders, the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, has murdered, assaulted and arrested with impunity. More than 550 people have been killed on the streets and in their homes by soldiers or police officers, according to a monitoring group.

At least 40 of the dead were children under 18, according to a tally compiled by The New York Times that relies on medical testimony, funeral details and family accounts. A few of the minors were killed for participating in the protests. Many others were bystanders who were seemingly executed, with a single gunshot to the head.

Often the children were killed as they went about their lives, playing or huddling with their families, in cities and towns that have descended into terror. Some had done nothing more threatening in their final moments than seek the comfort of a father’s lap, serve tea, fetch water or run down a lane with a piece of coconut.

“I have no power of revenge against the soldiers who killed my daughter,” said Daw Toe Toe Lwin, Aye Myat Thu’s mother. “All I can do is hope their turn comes soon.”

The slaughter of children has eclipsed the violence of previous military crackdowns, horrifying a nation accustomed to the Tatmadaw’s impulse to use maximum force against peaceful civilians. And it has hardened the resolve of a mass protest and civil disobedience movement that shows little sign of folding in the face of army snipers and grenade launchers.

This past week, a United Nations special envoy for Myanmar warned the Security Council that “a blood bath is imminent” and that “the whole country is on the verge of spiraling into a failed state.”

In Mawlamyine — known for its Buddhist pagodas and fleeting mentions, by its old name of Moulmein, in a Rudyard Kipling poem and a George Orwell essay — the protests began a week after the coup. They have coalesced almost daily since, with protesters occasionally showing up on boats in the harbor or on fleets of motorcycles.

Members of Aye Myat Thu’s family had not been politically active. Four years ago, when others in Mawlamyine protested the naming of a bridge after a general from another state, they kept quiet. A decade before that, when monks led protests against the military junta, they also stayed home. The same was true in 1988, when Myanmar erupted in pro-democracy dissent, only for the military to gun down thousands of people nationwide.

This time was different. Mr. Soe Oo is a furniture polisher. His two oldest daughters — Aye Myat Thu was the fourth of five — are a teacher and a beauty salon owner. There was a sense of upward mobility in a country once trapped by an economically disastrous mix of socialism and numerology, which gave preferential treatment to a former junta chief’s favorite digit. (At one point, when currency notes in multiples of nine replaced conventional ones, some of Myanmar’s savings evaporated.)

Today, the family is neither rich nor poor. But they are clear beneficiaries of the political and economic reforms that began a decade ago, which allowed ordinary citizens to buy cellphones, join Facebook and set up private savings accounts safe from government hands.

The family acquired some of the trappings of middle-class success, including a sound system and a television. Aye Myat Thu used her allowance to buy a bicycle with a blue basket. She discovered TikTok, along with the pleasures of a princess filter with tiaras and pink hearts. She and her sisters would dance with a frenetic jumble of limbs, before erupting in laughs so consuming that they had to stop the video.

For the first time, perhaps, the family had something to lose. Aye Myat Thu’s aunt marched in the anti-coup protests for “the revolution.”

Her niece was full of questions.

“She asked me once what people are doing out on the street, because she saw on Facebook that people are protesting and dying,” said her aunt, Daw Kyu Kyu Lwin. “I explained to her about the coup and why we were protesting. She said nothing but listened as I explained. She was thinking.”

On March 20, with the death toll mounting, some residents of Mawlamyine staged a set of creative rallies, meant to keep them safe. Instead of protesting in person, they lined up rows of stuffed animals, posting photos of them on social media. There were Winnie the Poohs and Piglets, the Japanese robot cat Doraemon and a tiny turtle holding a sign that read, “We want democracy.”

A week later, the mercury rose in Mawlamyine. Tarmac roads shimmered. A hot wind wafted from the Andaman Sea. It was Armed Forces Day in Myanmar, and Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the army chief and coup instigator, presided over a display of Tatmadaw weaponry in the capital, Naypyidaw.

Across the country that day, the security forces shot dead at least 114 people, among them seven children. In Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, a baby girl was half-blinded when a rubber bullet struck her eye.

In Mawlamyine this time, the protesters did not rely on stuffed toys as stand-ins. About 300 people gathered in the unrelenting sun, behind sandbag barricades. Some wore plastic helmets as they faced off with about 100 members of the security forces. The bullets started out as rubber and by afternoon had hardened to live fire. Protesters scattered, but two were killed.

No one quite knew why the soldiers wandered into Aye Myat Thu’s neighborhood of neat wooden houses, each painted a cheerful hue, sprays of bougainvillea adding more splashes of color.

Mr. Soe Oo took a coconut from the family palm tree and hacked at it carefully, lest the sweet water spill out. Sounds like the pop of firecrackers echoed in the hazy heat.

Aye Myat Thu grabbed her slice of coconut. The popping noises drew her down the path from her house. Past the trees, a camouflaged presence stalked, according to other neighborhood residents. No one in the family saw him.

The hole from the bullet was so small that Mr. Soe Oo said he couldn’t understand how it had extinguished the life of his daughter, another random victim of a trigger-happy military.

“She just fell down,” he said. “And she died.”

The funeral was the next day. Buddhist monks chanted, and mourners gathered around the coffin, raising their hands in the three-fingered salute from “The Hunger Games” that has become the protesters’ symbol of defiance. Garlands of jasmine framed the girl’s face, the bullet still lodged somewhere in her skull.

“I want to tear off the soldier’s skin as revenge,” said U Thein Nyunt, her uncle. “She was just an innocent child with a kind heart. She was our angel.”

Around her body, the family placed some of Aye Myat Thu’s favorite belongings: a set of crayons, a few dolls and a purple rabbit, some Fair and Lovely cream, a Monopoly board and a drawing of Hello Kitty she had sketched two days before she was killed. On the paper, next to the cartoon cat, Aye Myat Thu had written out her name in careful English letters.

“I feel empty,” said Ms. Toe Toe Lwin, her mother.

Right after the funeral, Aye Myat Thu was cremated, the flames burning her treasures with her. In other parts of the country, soldiers have stolen corpses of those they killed, perhaps to conceal the evidence of their brutality. In one case, they exhumed a child’s grave.

The family didn’t want the same for their little girl.

Dirty Racist Cops … Again

Caron Nazario is a lieutenant in the U.S. Army medical corp, serving in Norfolk, Virginia.  Lieutenant Nazario also happens to be Black and Hispanic.  In December, Lt. Nazario purchased a new SUV and on December 5th, he was driving home from work in said SUV when he saw flashing lights behind him.  Lt. Nazario drove to the nearest well-lighted place, a service station, before pulling over.  He did not speed up or in any way attempt to evade the police car behind him, but rather he slowed down, activated his turn signals, and drove for less than a mile before reaching the service station.  He merely wanted, understandably, to get to a well-lighted area.

Upon stopping, Officer Daniel Crocker, with his gun pointed at Lt. Nazario, ordered him out of the vehicle, by which time a second police officer, Joe Gutierrez, had arrived and also had a gun pointed at him.  Lt. Nazario put his empty hands outside the window, as ordered, to show that officers that he was unarmed, and asked them why they stopped him.  A perfectly valid question, under the circumstances.  The officer repeated the order to exit the vehicle, and Lt. Nazario replied that he was “honestly afraid to get out” his vehicle.  Who wouldn’t be, with two officers holding guns on him?  One officer replied, “Yeah, you should be.”  Just a minute later, Officer Gutierrez told Lt. Nazario that he was “fixin’ to ride the lightning,” a slang expression referring to an execution by electric chair.

After some back and forth, with the officers yelling at him to get out of the vehicle, but also to keep his hands outside the window (ever try opening the car door from inside, with your hands outside the window?), and Lt. Nazario asking why he was being stopped, why he was being treated in such a manner, one of the officers sprayed pepper spray into his face through the open window, jerked his door open, sprayed more pepper spray, kicked him in the knees, and slammed him to the ground.

The officer’s given reason for initiating the traffic stop was that he could not see Lt. Nazario’s license plate, which was clearly visible in the back window, as 30-day plates for new vehicles are typically displayed.  The Lieutenant was released without charges, but this week he filed a lawsuit accusing the two Windsor, Virginia police officers of violating his constitutional rights by holding him at gunpoint, suggesting he was facing execution, assaulting him, and illegally detaining him.  The lawsuit states …

“These cameras captured footage of behavior consistent with a disgusting nationwide trend of law enforcement officers, who, believing they can operate with complete impunity, engage in unprofessional, discourteous, racially biased, dangerous and sometimes deadly abuses of authority.”

The lawsuit also claims police threatened to end Nazario’s military career if he spoke out about the incident.  The body cam video clearly shows that the temporary license plate was visible through the window of the vehicle.  The body cam video stopped shortly after Lt. Nazario was slammed to the ground.  Gutierrez wrote in his report that his camera stopped recording after it got “compressed” between him and Nazario during a struggle. Nazario also recorded part of the incident from his cellphone.

I watched the video and found it both chilling and sickening.  The beginning is footage from Nazario’s cellphone that he activated when he realized he had guns pointed at him.

I won’t even bother to ask the question, “If Lt. Nazario had been a white man, would the cops have acted similarly?” for we all know the answer to that.  The better question is, “How do we reform policing?  How do we stop these incidents, often leading to murder, from ever happening?”  I wish I knew the answer, but I DO know what’s going to happen if there are many more incidents like this, if there are many more murders of unarmed black men by police, or if Derek Chauvin is let off with naught but a slap on the wrist … there is going to be blood shed in the streets of America.

We the People are sick and tired of having to fear the very group of people whose duty it is to “protect and defend” us.  We the People have made our voices clear … at least those of us who give a damn have … and if our voices alone aren’t enough, then in the words of the great civil rights leader John Lewis …

An International Embarrassment

Most people reading this blog likely drive a car.  In order to do so, you must have a license issued by your state, and in order to obtain said license, you had to pass a written test to prove that you understand the laws that govern all drivers in order to make the roadways as safe as possible.  You also had to pass a road test to prove that you have the skills needed to drive safely.  And after doing all that, you want to know that the other drivers out there are also competent.  Even under the best of circumstances, accidents will sometimes happen, but we all … well, most of us anyway … do our best to avoid them.   A car or truck can be a lethal weapon in the wrong hands.

So, why is it that there is no testing required to own a firearm, another lethal weapon?   Why is there such an uproar among gun owners (likely prodded by the NRA) whenever any form of regulation on guns is proposed?  They don’t want a person stoned on drugs or drunk behind the wheel of a car, yet they are happy for that same person to be behind the trigger of an AR-15?  I’m sorry, folks, but I honestly just don’t get this!

I know that to some I sound like a broken record, but … are we no longer horrified by mass shootings?  Do we no longer care that it’s as safe to walk across an eight-lane expressway as it is to enter a bar or restaurant where somebody almost certainly has a gun in his possession?

This is the 11th day in April, and already there have been 16 mass shootings that caused the deaths of 21 people and injured another 64.  But the mass shootings aren’t even the worst of it.  Thus far this year, 101 days into 2021, there have been 11,671 people killed by guns in the U.S.  Do gun owners, NRA members and congressional Republicans honestly think this is what the Founding Fathers envisioned when they wrote the 2nd Amendment into the U.S. Constitution?

On Thursday, President Biden announced a series of executive actions to curb gun violence, and he pledged to push for sweeping change to the country’s firearms laws — his first substantive response to a pair of mass shootings last month that left 18 dead.  He was spot on when he said …

“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and it’s an international embarrassment.  The idea that we have so many people dying every single day from gun violence in America is a blemish on our character as nation.”

Unfortunately, there is very little that the president can do on his own in this case, but here are the four measures his executive orders call for:

  • Serial numbers for guns made at home from kits. Biden called the homemade weapons “ghost guns” because they’re hard to trace and because kit buyers don’t have to submit to a background check.
  • A new annual report from the Justice Department about gun trafficking. There had previously been a report done by Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, which dated back to 2000.
  • Stricter treatment of handgun stabilizing braces, like the one used recently in a mass shooting at a Colorado grocery store. The change would require the modification be reported to the Justice Department, just like a silencer. There would be a $200 reporting fee.
  • Finally, Biden said he wanted to make it easier for states to enact “red flag laws,” allowing the police or family members to petition for the temporary removal weapons when a person in crisis is a danger to himself or others.

These are a start, but much more is needed and only Congress has the power to enact legislation such as a ban on assault weapons, expanded background checks, competency & skills testing – all things that the NRA and those lovers of their 2nd Amendment “rights” will fight tooth and nail.  And because they fight it, Congress won’t pass it and thousands more people will die needlessly this year … and the next … and the next.

What does it take?  Will Mitch McConnell change his tune when his own grandchild is killed by a man with a gun?  Will Lauren Boebert suddenly become an advocate for gun laws when the life of one of her own children is taken at gunpoint?  I doubt it, for remember Representative Steve Scalise, who was shot and nearly died in 2017 during a congressional baseball practice?  A year later he said …

“I was a strong supporter of the second amendment before the shooting, and frankly, as ardent as ever after the shooting …”

What a guy, eh?

Every year, the number of guns in the hands of civilians increases and predictably, every year the number of people in this country killed by guns also increases.  Even the smallest steps taken toward reducing the number of guns that will, potentially, be used to kill is met with rage and indignation from those who believe their ‘right’ to own a gun is more important than your ‘right’ to live.  President Biden is right … we are an international embarrassment.

Oh Yes … Racism Is Alive And Well In America

Yesterday I read a statement by one of the terrorists who attacked Congress and the Capitol on January 6th that made me want to connect my fist to the man’s nose …

“This is not 1950. I’d say about 95, 96 percent of people are not the least bit racist.”

SAY WHAT????

John Hugo at ‘Straight Pride’ parade

The remark was made by a ‘man’ named John Hugo, president of a group called, believe it or not, Super Happy Fun America (SFHA) that bused some three hundred people to the Capitol on January 6th to create chaos, murder and mayhem, and first earned their claim to fame when they held a “Straight Pride Parade” in Boston in 2019.  I guess this is what they call “Super Happy Fun”, eh?  Let me tell you something, MR. HUGO … racism is alive and well in this nation … and YOU, sir, are part of the problem!

According to a PEW Research study … well, here … take a look for yourself …

Even without the Pew study, we can see with our own eyes that racism surely exists among the majority of people with pale skin in this country!  I’m talking about the sort of racism whereby pale people believe … truly believe in their warped minds … that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

Case in point:  There is overwhelming proof that white people use more illegal drugs. Yet, the only way anyone can explain why Black people are arrested for possession at three times the rate of whites is the racist belief that there is a huge drug use problem in Black communities. Racism is the only way to explain why the largest policing project in world history revealed “Black drivers were searched about 1.5 to 2 times as often as white drivers, while they were less likely to be carrying drugs, guns, or other illegal contraband compared to their white peers.” It is necessary to believe that race is a “fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities” if one wants to understand why Black men receive prison sentences that are, on average, nearly 20 percent longer than white men who commit the same crimes.

I have a Black friend who has been incarcerated for a crime he did not commit, that nobody, not even the police, thought he committed, and now his sons are stopped on average once or twice a month for the crime of “Driving While Black”.  ‘Splain that one, Mr. Hugo!

It isn’t only Black people, it is Hispanics, Asians, and anybody who doesn’t have the physical traits of those pale people.  WHY???  WHY, people … can somebody please explain to me why those pale-skinned people think they are somehow superior???

The PEW study goes on to show that most (65%) white Americans believe it has become more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views since Trump was elected president …

And while I really don’t like tying such things as racism to one political party or the other, the proof, as it were, is in the pudding that overall, Republicans are the ones who think Black people actually have too many r ights!

DAMMIT!!!  Could somebody give these nudniks a bit of education???  Eight-in-ten white Democrats – vs. 40% of white Republicans – say the legacy of slavery continues to have an impact on black people’s position in American society today. And when it comes to views about racial discrimination, 78% of white Democrats say the bigger problem is people not seeing it where it really does exist, while a similar share of white Republicans say people seeing racial discrimination where it really does not exist is the bigger problem.  Tell me again that the Republican Party hasn’t turned into the party of racism and bigotry … go ahead, tell me! 

All my life, since I was a small child, I have believed that someday racism and bigotry would end, that people would come to understand that the colour of a person’s skin, the homeland of his ancestors, do not change the fact that his heart and brain function just the same as anyone else’s and that there is nothing … NOTHING … that makes pale people superior.  All my life … nearly 70 years now … I believed that people would eventually wake up and smell the goddamn coffee.  Today, I no longer believe that.  I have seen the human species as it is and I understand, after all these years, that some people are simply never, ever, going to give up their illusions of superiority and will continue to pass those heinous beliefs on to their children and grandchildren.

It doesn’t mean I will stop fighting, though in truth I am tempted, for I see all too clearly that humans are not going to change, that stupidity and cruelty is ingrained and passed on through the genes.  But, what it does mean is that I have lost hope.  I have lost the belief that people are basically good.  I have stopped caring whether the human species survives or not.

Two Worlds

Of late … well, for the past decade or so … I have wondered how the human species could possibly survive to the end of this century, for we are destroying our home, our world, and each other at an alarming rate. Professor Taboo, aka PT, has written a post that I think should be required reading for every human alive … thoughtful and though-provoking. Thank you, Prof, for your words of wisdom and the eye-opening photos.

The Professor's Convatorium


OF WONDER AND SPLENDOR

Just like as in a nest of boxes round,
Degrees of sizes in each box are found:
So, in this world, may many others be
Thinner and less, and less still by degree:
Although they are not subject to our sense,
A world may be no bigger than two-pence.
Nature is curious, and such works may shape,
Which our dull senses easily escape.Margaret CavendishOf Many Worlds in This World

There are a number of Earth’s animals, great and small, that care for each other. They seem to have feelings for the welfare of another. They demonstrate an innate behavior to protect their own as a whole rather than and possibly at the demise of themselves. In human terms this is called compassion, empathy, courage, altruism, love, and other inspiring virtues. In scientific terms it is known as eusociality and forms of superorganism behavior

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