Filosofa Is Grrrrrrrrowling

Some days, you look at the news and you just want to punch something.  The ‘grrrrrrrrrr’ started this morning when I read that we the taxpayers are paying $3,000 per month for the Secret Service people protecting Ivanka and Jared to rent a bathroom in the house next door, because Jared & Ivanka don’t want them dirtying their house!  My first thought was that then they don’t deserve the protection of the Secret Service … and they don’t, for they are a couple of entitled snobs.  And then, the ‘grrrrrrrrrrr’ got louder as the day progressed.


Has he learned nothing?

rittenhouse-3You remember Kyle Rittenhouse, right?  He’s the young white supremacist punk who killed two and wounded a third with a gun at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  As I wrote a while back, some influential people with more money than sense posted Rittenhouse’s $2 million bail last November.  Rittenhouse was arraigned January 5th on two felony charges of homicide in the deaths of two men and a felony attempted homicide charge in the wounding of another man.  Pretty serious stuff, yes?  You’d think a 17-year-old kid would be on his best behaviour, quaking in his boots at the thought of what could happen to him.  But not Kyle!

rittenhouse-2

Just 90 minutes after leaving the arraignment, Kyle and his mother were seen in a bar where he was drinking beer (the legal age limit in his home state of Illinois is 21) and flashing white supremacist hand signals to other people in the bar. What kind of mother takes her underage kid who has murdered two people to a damn bar???  Prosecutors have asked the Kenosha County Circuit Court to modify Rittenhouse’s bond conditions. 

rittenhouse-1The office is requesting that Rittenhouse be prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol or being in any establishment that serves it; be prohibited from making any public display of any “white power” or “white supremacy” signs, symbols, or hand gestures; and not have any contact with any known militia members or members of any violent white power/white supremacist groups including the group identified as the “Proud Boys.”

This kid needs to be locked up for life, and his mother along with him!  And yet, to some he is considered a ‘hero’ … oh yeah, folks, don’t tell me racism isn’t alive and well in the United States … you need look no further than this little punk and those who applaud him.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


Franklin Graham once again proves his lunacy

More than a few times, I have criticized (that’s putting it mildly) various evangelical leaders, and Franklin Graham is the one who seems to cross my radar most often.  Now, let me state in advance that I am not a Christian, not religious at all, however I respect other people’s right to their beliefs as long as they don’t try to inflict them on others.  Franklin Graham is an idiot extraordinaire, and once again he seems intent on proving my point.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Graham wrote, in part …

graham“Shame, shame on the ten Republicans who joined with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in impeaching President Trump yesterday. After all that he has done for our country, you would turn your back and betray him so quickly? We have never had a president like him in my lifetime. He gave us lower taxes, a strong economy, and low unemployment. He made NATO take notice and pay their own way. He had the guts to take on North Korea and meet with their leader personally. He didn’t let China walk all over us. Just his Mideast peace initiatives in the last couple of months deserve a Nobel Peace Prize. He has defended religious liberty like no president before him, and that matters to all people of faith. He has worked to bring prison reform and secured our southern border. He defeated the ISIS caliphate in Syria, and he strengthened our military. He was also the most pro-life president we have ever had. But the House Democrats impeached him because they hate him and want to do as much damage as they can. And these ten, from his own party, joined in the feeding frenzy. It makes you wonder what the thirty pieces of silver were that Speaker Pelosi promised for this betrayal.”

Well, I wonder if Mr. Franklin has been living in some alternative universe?  The hell of it is, though, that with over 9.5 million followers on Facebook, some will undoubtedly buy into his trash talk and some will no doubt join the planned insurrection next week, fully believing that they are doing ‘god’s work’.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


And speaking of religious freaks …

brandon-burdonBrandon Burdon, pastor of Kingdom Life church in Frisco, Texas is less well-known that Franklin Graham, but no less a lunatic.

During a long rambling sermon just days after the Capitol coup, he told his (maskless) congregation to stock up on weapons, celebrated a God-ordained siege of Washington, spoke in tongues to give his statements added oomph, claimed Apple would create a national blackout, railed against FOX News and Mitch McConnell for not being conservative enough, urged everyone to stock up on generators and food, and said with absolutely certainty that Donald Trump would be president for eight straight years.

“We are locked and loaded at the Burden house.  We have an executive order — not from Congress or D.C., but from the desk of the CEO of heaven, the boss of the planet. He said from his desk in heaven, this is my will; Trump will be in for eight years.”

Is it any wonder that I often say religion is the cause of most wars and most hatred in the world?  I wonder how many people from Frisco, Texas will be among the gun-toting nuts planning to converge on D.C. next week?

Another One Walks Free …

SheskeyTake a long hard look at this picture.  What do you see?  Looks like a nice clean-cut kid, barely out of high school, right?  You’d be wrong … dead wrong.  This is the face of evil, this is a ‘man’ who does not deserve to walk among us!  His name is Rusten Sheskey and he is the police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, who attempted to murder Jacob Blake, a Black man, last August.

On August 23, 2020, Jacob S. Blake, a 29-year-old black man, was shot by police officer Rusten Sheskey in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  Sheskey shot Blake … in the back … not once, not twice, not even three, but seven times!  This young punk who calls himself an officer of the law was so intimidated by Mr. Blake only because he was a Black man, that he literally unloaded his entire magazine into poor Mr. Blake’s body in order to protect himself … from what???

Video shows Blake walking to the driver-side door of an SUV as officers follow him with guns drawn, shouting. As Blake opens the door and leans into the SUV, Sheskey grabs his shirt from behind and opens fire.  While the Kenosha police union and Sheskey’s attorney, Brendan Matthews, claim that Mr. Blake had a knife, state investigators determined only that officers saw a knife on the floor of Mr. Blake’s SUV.  Three of Blake’s sons were in the backseat at the time.  Can you imagine the trauma that will haunt those children for the rest of their lives?

At age 29, Mr. Blake, the father of three, is left paralyzed from the waist down, and if Mr. Sheskey’s marksmanship had been more accurate, those three children would now be fatherless.  All because a white man thought himself better than a Black man.

jacob-blakeSheskey, 31, has been the subject of five internal investigations since he joined the Kenosha department in 2013, including three reprimands for crashing his squad car three times over three years.

But wait … last evening as I was writing an email, the headlines began popping across my ‘breaking news’ screen …

  • Jacob Blake Shooting: No Charges Against Officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Officer who shot Jacob Blake will not face charges, district attorney says
  • No charges against Wisconsin officer who shot Jacob Blake

No.  Charges.  For attempted murder. Because Jacob Blake has Black skin and the killer has white … it’s that damn simple, my friends.  If Sheskey had shot an unarmed white man seven times in the back, he would be in a prison cell today!

And so, yesterday,  Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said that he …

“… would have to disprove the clear expression of these officers that they had to fire a weapon to defend themselves.  I do not believe the state … would be able to prove that the privilege of self-defense is not available.”

SELF-DEFENSE???  He shot the man in the f*cking backseven damn times!!!  No way in hell is that self-defense.  Gravely is also white … I wonder if a Black District Attorney might have seen it differently?

Y’know … I really want to believe in the integrity of our police, really want to be able to trust the very people whose salary I pay to protect the people living in this nation, but … sadly, I don’t.  With every one of these incidents, murders and attempted murders of Black people by police, I have less and less confidence in the law enforcement people in this country.  Defund the police?  No, that isn’t the answer and we all know it.  There are bad people out there who would murder others over not much more than a cigarette, so we need laws and people to enforce the laws.  But dammit … we do not need racist, cowardly pigs populating our police departments!  We need officers of compassion, decency, and integrity.  Rusten Sheskey is NOT one of those.

I remember that as a child, my parents always cautioned that if I were ever anywhere and needed help, I should seek the nearest police officer, that the police officer was my friend.  Today, I would not tell a child that.  Granted, I know that there are good cops, but until we start holding the bad ones accountable, all police will be painted with a broad brush.  WHY do prosecutors find it so hard to charge a police officer?  Because of uber-powerful police unions who will lie, cheat, and steal to ensure that officers who break the law are protected.

Police are rarely charged in on-duty shootings. Since 2015, more than half of the murder or manslaughter cases brought against officers nationwide have ended in acquittals or deadlocked juries. Police officers invoke self-defense in shooting cases and they typically have been deemed justified in using deadly force if they reasonably believe that a suspect has the ability to cause death or great bodily harm, or if the suspect could put the officer or someone else in imminent danger.  That term … reasonable … is highly subjective.  Even if it later turns out there was no real threat, a self-defense claim could still be viable if a person actually believed … or claimed to have believed … he or she was in danger and any “reasonable” person in the same situation would have believed the same thing.

Not surprisingly, Kenosha’s city leaders are scared, and have imposed a curfew for the next eight days, as well as calling in the National Guard.  Yes, assholes, you let a cop get by with ruining a man’s life and damn near killing him … you better believe We the People are going to be mad!

In many Western nations, your average police officer is not armed with a gun.  Here in the U.S., fools have taken the 2nd Amendment to the nth degree and thus there are more guns floating around in the populace than there are citizens in this nation, so naturally the police must be armed.  Call them to account for their actions … don’t just give them a pass because they wear a badge!  DAMMIT … I’ve had enough of renegade cops killing people … Black people … with impunity!  Is it any wonder that I so distrust police that I will leave a store if an armed cop is in that store?


‘Good People Doing Good Things’ will return next Wednesday … I didn’t lack for good people, I only have so much anger over a variety of injustices that I could not switch mental gears this morning.  Thank you for your patience.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 9/5

I always look forward to TokyoSand’s Saturday cartoonfest. A truly great editorial cartoon should be the “knife-twist of accountability.” While reported articles keep the powers-that-be in check, and opinion and editorial sections help readers make sense of that reporting, editorial cartoons are the jolt that shocks you into caring. These days, there is ample material to keep the cartoonists working overtime, and they have become even more relevant in this age of social media where people’s attention is pulled in so many directions. Thank you for once again giving us a few chuckles on a Saturday afternoon, T.S.!

Political⚡Charge

ByLalo Alcaraz

As a lifelong admirer of editorial cartoonists, I love looking for the cartoons that grab my attention throughout the week and compiling my favorites for all of you. This week, the cartoonists covered the reporting about Trump disrespecting fallen soldiers when he was overseas, the Black Lives Matter movement, the latest with COVID and schools opening, as well as Election 2020.

Trump Disrespects Fallen Soldiers

ByBill Bramhall, New York Daily News

ByClay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

ByMichael de Adder

ByMike Peters, Mother Goose and Grimm

Black Lives Matter

ByMatt Davies, Newsday

ByClay Jones

ByPat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

ByMarc Murphy, Louisville Courier-Journal

ByClay Jones

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ByMichael de Adder

ByMatt Wuerker, Politico

COVID

ByMatt Davies, Newsday

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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No Sympathy For A Cold-Blooded Killer

A 17-year-old punk leaves his home in Illinois, travels to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where there are protests against the police brutality that left Jacob Blake paralyzed from the waist down, and walks up and down the street carrying an assault rifle.  Seventeen years old.  He should be home studying, or working at the local McDonald’s to save for college, but instead he is about to become a cold-blooded killer.  He did not have a permit for the gun, and in fact was too young to obtain one … he was not legally allowed to have that weapon in his possession.

As Kyle Rittenhouse walked down the streets of Kenosha with another armed man, a police officer in an armoured vehicle asked him if he needed some water, then tossed him a bottle of water, saying, “We appreciate you guys, we really do.”  A short time later, Kyle Rittenhouse used his AR-15 to shoot three people, two of whom died.  Since police were all over the place, it only makes sense that he was arrested on the spot, right?  But no … even though at this point, people were shouting to the police that he was the shooter, and even though he walked right up to the police, police officers simply waved him away and told him to get off the streets!  He returned to his home in Antioch, Illinois, a short time later, without any interference from law enforcement in Wisconsin.  He was arrested by Antioch police the following afternoon.

Kyle Rittenhouse would have been shot dead on the spot by police if he had been a black teenager instead of a white one.  But wait … for it gets even worse.

It may have started with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson when, rather than condemning a 17-year-old killer, he attempted to justify it …

“So, are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder? How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would? Everyone could see what was happening in Kenosha. It was getting crazier by the hour.”

Or perhaps it started with the Facebook post by Arthur Love, a member of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s staff, sympathizing with Rittenhouse, saying in one post …

“I’m grateful that conservatives are rallying behind this kid. He genuinely seems like a good person.”

A “good person”???  Good people do not even own assault weapons, let alone go looking for an excuse to kill!!!  Mr. Love was fired on Saturday, and rightly so.

Wherever and however it started, there is growing support for this 17-year-old murderer, and funds have even been started to help pay his legal fees!  One fundraiser, on a Christian crowdfunding website called Give Send Go, raised more than $65,000 as of last Thursday evening. People have donated $7,460 to the teen through a site called Free Kyle Rittenhouse.

GoFundMe, one of the most popular and widely used crowdfunding websites, has taken down multiple fundraisers for Rittenhouse. GoFundMe spokesperson Angelique McNaughton said Thursday the platform removed the fundraisers because they violated GoFundMe’s terms of service which specifically forbids people from using the platform to raise money for “the implicit or explicit purpose of or involving for the legal defense of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, serious disabilities or diseases, financial crimes or crimes of deception.”

And, according to an article in The Guardian

“Fundraisers, messages of support and celebratory memes for the alleged Kenosha, Wisconsin, mass shooter are being shared widely on Facebook and Instagram, despite the company’s assurance on Wednesday that it was working to enforce its policy banning content that “praises, supports, or represents” mass shooters.

One fundraiser for Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was shared more than 17,700 times on Facebook, including by 291 public groups and pages with more than 3.9m aggregate followers, according to data from CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned data analytics tool. A second fundraiser garnered 1,698 shares on the platform, including by an additional 17 pages and groups with nearly 400,000 followers.”

I encourage you to read the entire article, for it is truly shocking.

This, perhaps more than anything else, defines what is wrong in this nation today.  That people have empathy for a young punk using an assault weapon to kill people is … well, it just blows my mind.  Personally, I would like to see him tried, convicted, and spend the rest of his life in prison.  I would also like to see his parents pay a price, for it is obvious to me that they failed miserably in raising this child.  Since he was only seventeen, he was legally still under their guardianship, and it seems to me they must share some of the blame.

Rittenhouse claims it was self-defense, but he went there looking for trouble, so the self-defense argument simply does not fly.  How can people support this punk?  How can anyone justify what he did?  Those who can, it seems obvious to me, are people who value their guns more than human life, people who believe in vigilante justice, and people who are, at the core, white supremacists.  They are part of what is wrong in this nation today, and is likely to get worse before it gets better.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 8/29

As always on Saturday, our friend TokyoSand has picked the cream of the crop in this week’s political cartoons. She also shares a story of one of those cartoons that appalls me and I think it will you, too. Thank you, TS, for all your work on this. By the way … I did go follow Luckovich on Twitter and re-tweeted this important cartoon!

Political⚡Charge

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

As a lifelong admirer of editorial cartoonists, I love looking for the cartoons that grab my attention throughout the week and compiling my favorites for all of you. This week, the cartoonists were primarily focused on the GOP convention and the ongoing fallout from the police violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In a slight departure from what I normally do on Saturdays, which is to let the cartoons speak for themselves, I do want to point out that I picked Mike Luckovich’s “Active Shooter Drill” cartoon as the header for a very specific reason. That story is at the end of today’s roundup.

GOP Convention

ByMatt Davies, Newsday

ByClay Jones

By David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Daily Star

ByAnn Telnaes, Washington Post

ByPat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

ByMichael de Adder

ByMatt Wuerker, Politico

ByTom…

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The Violence Must Stop

Our friend Jeff has written a thoughtful post about the violence happening in Kenosha (and other places) Violence that is largely a result of Donald Trump pouring fuel on a smoldering fire. There is so much anger in this nation, that I don’t know how we stop the violence, but it plays right into Trump’s rhetoric, and if it isn’t stopped, it may be the thing that turns the upcoming election in Trump’s favour. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

I’m fearful of November 3, 2020. The polls are starting to tighten, as expected. And they’re going to tighten even more. While things still look good for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, what’s unfolding on America’s streets as we speak, cannot continue.

Folks, it’s playing right into the current president’s playbook. He has no desire to bring this country together. The violence over the past 48 hours in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after another senseless shooting of an unarmed black man, threatens to hand this election again to the most dangerous president in American history. We cannot let that happen.

The violence has to stop. And while I wish I had a bigger platform to shout from, I’m going to say it as loud as I can. The looting, arson, assaults, and overall anarchy and mayhem are playing across American television screens and social media 24/7. And the current president is exploiting…

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Jacob Blake … SAY HIS NAME, DAMMIT!

A man named Jacob Blake was trying to break up an argument between two women on Sunday.  Someone had called the police, and when they arrived, Blake left the women to the police to sort out and headed back to his vehicle where his three young sons awaited patiently in the back seat.  But, instead of breaking up the fight between the women, police zeroed in on Mr. Blake … and as he opened the door to his SUV and started to get in, they shot him in the back … seven times!!!

Seven times they shot a man … an unarmed man … in front of his children!!!  A man who had committed no crime, had no weapon, wasn’t even acting in any suspicious manner! Jacob-BlakeAsk not why there are protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where the shooting took place!  The only reason I’m not calling it a murder is that by some miracle, Mr. Blake survived and is currently in serious condition at a Milwaukee hospital.  If he dies, this will have been a murder … in cold blood.  If he dies, the Kenosha police department will owe those three little boys a debt that they can never repay.  And whether he lives or dies, this is but the latest in a string of unarmed black people being shot by police in just the past few months … just one more incidence of the systemic racism that is rampant in police departments across the U.S.

  • Breonna Taylor – March 13th – murdered by police in her own bed after police used a battering ram to break down the door.  They had a warrant … for someone else who was not, and had never been, in Ms. Taylor’s apartment in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • George Floyd – May 25th – murdered in cold blood by one police officer, while three others looked on in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Rayshard Brooks – June 12th – murdered by police for the crime of having a bit too much to drink and falling asleep in his car at the Wendy’s drive-thru lane in Atlanta, Georgia.

And these are only the high-profile ones, the ones we’ve heard about in the last five months.  So no, don’t you dare respond to someone saying that Black Lives Matter with your pathetic “All lives matter”, for that is a slap in the face to Ms. Taylor, Mr. Floyd, Mr. Brooks, and Mr. Blake, their families, and every one of us who care about these people.  Don’t you dare make excuses for police departments that tolerate racism among their ranks.  Don’t you dare support people who come out of their homes pointing guns at peaceful protestors who are trying to make their voices heard.  And if you support the racist, race-baiting white supremacist who sits in the Oval Office, then don’t you dare speak to me!

Angry???  Hell yes, I’m angry!  I’ve been in tears all evening, I want to tear someone’s head off!  I hate the racism, the bigotry in all forms, that has become the very definition of the United States.

The officers who shot Mr. Blake, by the way, have been placed on “administrative leave” … why were they not fired?  Why are they on “administrative leave”, still receiving their salary, when they are guilty of nothing less than attempted murder?  These officers were not wearing body cameras, however there was a bystander filming the attempted murder with his cell phone, and that video went viral.  If it hadn’t, would we have even heard of the attempted murder of Jacob Blake?  I wonder.  As Eugene Robinson wrote in The Washington Post  …

“The video doesn’t show all of what happened before Blake headed for the car, and it’s shot from a distance. But what it reveals is enough. Without this cellphone clip, I’m guessing the police report would have spoken of “noncompliance” and “resisting arrest” and some sort of “threatening move” — and that, without evidence to the contrary, Blake might have been filed away as just another Black man who got what he undoubtedly deserved.

There’s a pattern here: Floyd was suspected of passing a fake $20 bill, and he paid with his life. Brooks fell asleep in a Wendy’s drive-through, and he paid with his life. Taylor was just sleeping in her own home, and she paid with her life.

Officials in Kenosha County declared a state of emergency Sunday night. But for African Americans, the emergency is permanent — and it threatens our lives.”

My friends … our country is no longer one in which we can or should take pride.  It is a broken country, one that only works for the wealthy and those with white skin.  The rest of us … are expendable.  Tonight at the Republican National Convention, Mike Pence told cheering supporters, “We will always stand with the men and women who serve on the thin blue line of law enforcement. We’re going to back the blue.”  And reading in between the lines … “To hell with the Blacks, the Hispanics, the Native Americans, the Middle-Easterners …”  The biggest crime in our nation, it would seem, is not colluding with a foreign power, is not shooting someone with an AR-15, is not robbing a bank, is not lying to the American people … the biggest crime is simply being Black.

Tonight, I debate whether it is worth staying here and fighting this fight.  I suppose November 3rd will answer that question, but frankly, if I had the chance to put the United States behind me tomorrow and never return, I would gladly say “goodbye”.