Friday, March 27, 2015

White Mass Murdering Co-Pilot "Depressed," But Non-White Would Have Been Called "Terrorist"

Andreas Lubitz Co-Pilot of Crashed Plane

Anyone who deliberately crashes a plane with 149 innocent people aboard is a terrorist. After the 9/11 attacks, I did not read a single media headline asking whether the perpetrators of that tragedy were "depressed."  Who knows?  Maybe they were.  But a mood disorder did not preclude them from acting with psychopathic malice in order to commit unspeakable evil.

How is the behavior of German co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who is believed to have deliberately slammed the Germanwings plane into the Alps, any different, other than his nationality, religion and skin-color?  In fact, this discriminatory tactic of labeling human deviance according to the person's race rather than the deed, has become far too deeply embedded in all our media coverage. Blacks accused of committing crimes are "thugs."   Muslims accused of committing crimes are "terrorists".  But a white accused of committing a heinous crime is a "nice, friendly, somewhat shy fellow," whose vile behavior is attributed to mental illness.

I've been depressed before.  Most people I know have been depressed at some point in their lives. Some have even needed  SSRI medications like Prozac in order to maintain high-functioning careers and a satisfying family life.  And it is true that some depressed people succeed in committing suicide. But taking scores of innocent people along with you is not depression. It is mass murder.    

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Netanyahu May Have Been Punked By the African Trickster

It's really too bad that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists on enclosing himself in such a white-bread universe.  There is so much he could learn if he mingled among the folk ever so often..

Netanyahu may live in a Jewish world with a Hebrew Yahweh, but
Eshu-Elegba, the African trickster of Yoruba religio-philosophy, also walks the Earth (or inhabits whatever dimension of space such  spiritual beings exist within).  And he is a being of sublime wisdom, who possesses great expertise in teaching people how to get along together.  But one must be careful.  This is not the cutesy kids' fairytale character that parents read bedtime stories to their children about.  He can at times be mean and ruthless.  He is even known to kill.  But Eshu is not the devil, even though Christian missionaries invariably confused him with the Biblical Satan, when they first confronted West African religious traditions.   Simply stated, the Trickster puts us in situations that have the potential to teach us lessons, particularly those involving acceptance of "the other."   But it's always our choice and we can choose not to learn a darned thing.  In such cases, the consequences will be dire and he will blindfold us to our mistakes.  So, all that we will be left with when our world falls apart is vitriolic hatred of that "other" and excuses, excuses, excuses.  

I'll give you a hypothetical example of how Eshu-Elegba works.  Maybe he might give  a country, say the modern state of Israel to the Jews. But he would append to it one simple stipulation.  Learn to make peace with your Arab neighbors.   While difficult, it oughtn't to be impossible.  After all, Arabs and Jews have lived in the Middle East together, in the same countries, in the same neighborhoods from the 8th century.   Maybe one problem was the insistence of Zionists that the country was empty.  No matter.  Whatever the Arabs transgressions, whatever the Jew's trangressions, Israel would be given 70 years or so to learn that one lesson.  

So, if Eshu were observing matters in the Middle East, how would he evaluate the ways in which those years have been spent?   Are all Israelis bilingual by now, that is fluent in both Arabic and Hebrew? Do they honor and respect the heritage of those among whom they live?  Do they recognize the sacrifices of those who gave up land to form Israel? Do those of European origin see themselves as racially or culturally superior to Middle East and African Jews?  This final question on the quiz might in fact determine 98% of the grade.     

What lesson might Eshu-Elegba teach that Netanyahu clearly has not yet mastered?  When you move into someone else's neighborhood, you're the one who has to learn how to live with them in peace.  If you insist on seeing "the other" as subhuman then you really need to move somewhere else. 

RELATED POSTS:  Netanyahu's Problem

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Why is Washington Post Angling for War with Iran?

Apparently the Washington Post does not believe that it shredded its journalistic credibility sufficiently in having manipulated public opinion to push for the disastrous invasion of Iraq.  It is now setting the stage for convincing the public that while Iraq might have been a mis- judgment, the real enemy all along was Iran.  It's hard to say what brand of fanaticism directs the once venerable newspaper, but I'm relieved to see that I'm not the only one shaking my head in disgust and disbelief.  A recent Dailykos headline read: WaPo Gives Lunatic A Column To Urge 'War With Iran Is The Best Option'  It goes on to say:
In a quick nutcase...erm, I mean 'nutshell', (Joshua) Muravchik's thesis (if such sophomoric drivel can be so dignified) is that nothing will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and the United States should start bombing them now.
'Does this mean that our only option is war? Yes, although an air campaign targeting Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would entail less need for boots on the ground than the war Obama is waging against the Islamic State, which poses far smaller a threat than Iran does.
Typical of the armchair warrior and chicken-hawk (cf. William 'Wrong' Kristol, Muravchik's colleague at The Weekly Standard, natch), Muravchik is prepared to sacrifice other people's sons and daughters and fight to the last drop of someone else's blood in the cause of his crackpot Manichean world-view.'
I sat down to write a response to Mr. Muravchik's column, but then I came across the one below, which put my views into words I never would have had the courage to express myself,:
A Reasoned Response to a Washington Post Call for War With Iran
by Chris Floyd
I was going to write a careful, reasoned commentary on this article in the Washington Post -- “War With Iran is Probably Our Best Option" -- written by a highly respected fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, Joshua Muravchik. But in the end all I could find to say was this:  I hope this slavering, shrivelled-up, dead-souled little coward finds himself on the front lines of the war he advocates.
I’m sick to death of these timorous motherfuckers sitting on their well-wadded asses pushing for wars they’ll never fight. I want to see Muravchik standing on the Iranian frontier with a rifle in his hand.
I want to see him put his puffy gray face and his well-coifed hair in the line of fire. He’s so goddamned tough with other people’s lives. “Yes, we might absorb some strikes," he writes. He knows damn well he’ll never “absorb” a strike; that’s for other people, that’s for the cannon fodder this piss-ant empire sends to its wars.
No, by God, if he wants war, if he thinks it’s “probably our best option,” then let him drag his ageing ass over to Iran and put it on the line. Or else let him his shut his fucking mouth.
And I’m sick to death of the gilded robber barons like Jeff Bezos who publish bellicose bullshit like this day after day, wailing for war on Iran, on Russia, on Syria. I want to see Bezos in the front line too. Let him slap on some body armor and wade into the fight, in Tikrit, in Aleppo, in the Donbass.
He won't do it. Muravchik won't do it. None of them will do it. Every single one of our war-mongers and war-profiteers and policy wonks and politicians who endlessly call for war and war and more war, every single one of them would run a mile — would run a hundred miles — from the slightest threat to their own soft, pasty, well-protected persons.
They want OTHER people to die. They want OTHER people to kill. It makes them feel good. It makes them feel tough. It makes them feel righteous. It makes them want to run to the toilet in their sleek, comfy, carpeted office buildings and jerk themselves off at the excitement of it all.
Just as long as THEY don’t have to fight. Just as long as THEY don’t have to “absorb” any strikes. Just as long as some piece of riffraff does the dirty work for them.
I wish I could stand in front of this blood-thirsty coward and tell him this to his face. And then spit in his face. Then put a goddamned rifle in his hand and parachute him into Tehran. Go ahead, Muravchik. Go ahead, Bezos. You boys are so bad, you’re so tough, you’re so hard and hot for war. Go fight it yourself, you cowardly motherfuckers.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

What Should Apologists for Racism Be Called?

Disgraced SAE Fraternity
This FRAT scandal did more, far more then finger a couple of racists on a bus.  And it's time to recognize who was caught under this sting's net.  But first let me pose the essential question in all this.  What do you call an apologist for racism?   That is, what job description do you give to someone who bends reality to come up with plausible sounding reasons to accept or deflect the racist behavior in others?  Is it an associate-racist, a racist's apprentice, or maybe just "a racist"?    It is also someone who uses his or her verbal and analytical skills to spin the facts so that they turn in the opposite direction.  The real victims become the poor kids accused of being racists, who claim that they are receiving threats.  It is not the group of people whose ancestors were slaves, several thousand of which were indeed hung from trees.  The new culprits become rap singers or Al Sharpton or the existence of black fraternities. While many cogent arguments have been made to explain why these issues have no relevance to the SAE scandal, something else occurred to me.   Anyone with the analytical skills to raise such issues, also possesses the cognitive ability to figure out for themselves why such cases are not morally comparable to what happened on that FRAT bus.  And it is sometimes far more useful to let people work out such moral issues for themselves, because the problem is not one of information. It is rather lack of self-knowledge, an unwillingness to acknowledge what their own souls are chanting.

I won't bother to name names.  Listing the media personalities, pundits, and folks apologizing for the racist behavior of these frat brothers being heard all across the Internet would crash this server.  So, what do you call apologists for racism?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Is Mika Brzezinski a Racist or Just Morally Debasing Herself to Bolster Right-Wing TV Ratings

The Values Mika Brzezinski is Passing Down to Next Generation
Why  pick on Mika Brzezinski when she is merely the co-host of the Morning Show with Joe Scarborough, while he and their guest Bill Kristol were spewing at least as much racist bile as she. The program in question set out to rationalize the chanting of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity members that got them kicked off the campus of the University of Oklahoma (OU). The words referenced lynching a n-----, rather than allowing one into SAE.  Brzezinski and the other so-called mental heavy weights attempted to show a moral equivalence between this behavior and the vulgar lyrics in rap songs.  I'm not aware of any hip hop lyrics that have advocated hanging anyone,  nor excluding him from an exclusive fraternity.  But my main point is that this is not cute.  It is a shameful use of one's mental facilities in a vain attempt to smooth over behavior that one knows to be morally repugnant.

Maybe the reason I single out Ms. Brzezinski is that, while I do believe in gender equality and such,  I also know as a mother, that we often have the stronger influence on molding the values of our children, whether we intend to or not.  Rationalizing bigotry and attempting to convince a public audience that a hurtful act of evil is a meaningless trifle scares me, particularly when I see it in another mother, whatever her profession might  be.  Can you imagine what values her progeny  might have picked up and be spouting on a FRAT bus having grown up with a Mom so morally bankrupt as to have justified such racist behavior at OU?  

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Netanyahu's Problem: The Cognitive Challenge of Hating Arabs without Hating America's Black President As Well

Real Reasons for Netanyahu's Dislike of Obama
I'm getting tired of all the convoluted (and naive) political commentary about Israel Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu being pissed off with President Obama on account of the Iranian negotiations.  Last year, when Bibi Netanyahu shockingly called the first Black President of the United States "unAmerican," there were no negotiations with Iran.  So, what was his excuse for that remark?  Netanyahu despises Obama because the Israeli Prime Minister is not able to differentiate in his twisted little mind the swarthy-complexioned Arabs whom he detests and wishes to remove from their homeland, with an even darker-complexioned African-American.  As though that isn't headache enough, the American president even has a Muslim last name and paternal ancestry.   The United States is the superpower that protects vulnerable little Israel, gives it financial and diplomatic support.  In fact, Israel could not even exist without the political largesse of this Black man.  And Netanyahu cannot stand it.  He is not much different from much of the GOP, who feels humiliated and physically compromised by having to deal with this Black man in the White House.

Yes, Bibi, would like for the Republicans to win the next election and launch a war with Iran.  This is why he came before Congress denouncing the current nuclear talks but offering nothing whatsoever in their place.  Let's not forget, this fellow came before Congress in 2002, and got standing ovations for rousing our representatives to invade Iraq.  Of course he also made sure that they understood that the Israeli lobby would support their opponent in the next election if they didn't.  But none of this is what drives Netanyahu's constant efforts to undermine Obama.  

Rational people are often fooled by the sheer craziness of bigotry.  In Bibi's case, pundits keep twirling around every verb and preposition looking to make sense of his motives, to figure out what his strategic goals might be, what shrewd angle he's taking with his continuous insults to the President of the United States.   On the surface it appears that he might be shooting Israel's long-term diplomatic relations with the U.S. in the foot, not to mention his own even if he does win the next election.  But in this they miss the point.   For bigots like Bibi, self-destructive spite is its own reward. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Is Bibi Netanyahu Just Another Racist "Birther"?

Is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a Birther?
Who does Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu think he is -- arranging to speak before Congress first without the President's knowledge and then without his imprimatur?  Oh, but wait.  I've seen such brazen arrogance before.  In fact, he exhibits the same racist racist swagger as the leader of the Birther movement.  You do remember, Orly Taitz.    She is the Russian-born Israeli, who can barely speak English.  But that impediment did not diminish her sense of "white skin privilege" in coming to America and launching a movement aimed at forcing President Obama out of office.  The Birthers claim that his American birth certificate is forged and that he is actually Kenyan.

I haven't yet heard the Israeli Prime Minister raise any issues yet about President Obama's birth certificate.  But I wouldn't be surprised if he did.   Netanyahu's brazen efforts to thumb his nose at diplomatic protocol and shame or undermine the first African-American President of the United States carries the same foul smell as Orly Taitz's business.

If you think that I'm imagining things, note an article in last year's Israeli newspaper Haaretz, criticizing their own prime minister for having the affrontery to call the U.S. President "un-American."
You want to give Benjamin Netanyahu the benefit of the doubt. Nonetheless, you have to wonder. You can say a lot of things about Netanyahu: Stupid isn’t one of them. So how could have gone down the route of declaring White House criticism of his government’s moves in East Jerusalem “un-American”? How could he have ignored the multiple numerous alarm bells and whistles that should have warned him to think twice and even thrice before taking this road? How could he have exposed himself to the kind of withering reaction issued by the White House yesterday, summed it up in one loaded little word: “odd.”  In other words - what was he thinking?
It’s not only Netanyahu’s presumptuousness in appointing himself the arbiter of what “reflects American values” and what doesn’t. . . And it’s not only that anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of modern U.S. politics – or access to Google - would know that “un-American” is a concept uniquely associated in the American psyche with Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Committee on un-American Activities (HUAC). That anyone trying to impugn a White House for “not reflecting American values” immediately aligns himself with the worst political muckrakers in American history. 

I'm sure Taitz and Netanyahu do not represent the attitudes of all Israelis.  But given the fact that the country has a serious race problem with its treatment of the "Palestinians,"  Netanyahu is not doing a convincing job of proving that he can respect non-Europeans, even if one just so happens to head the only country that is keeping his little nation financially afloat.  Racism is self-defeating and most assuredly counter-productive in a leader of Netanyahu's stature. Perhaps he'll just have to find that out the hard way.

RELATED POST:  Netanyahu's Problem: The Cognitive Challenge of Hating Arabs without Hating America's Black President

Friday, February 27, 2015

Dick Cheney, Meet Your Future Sidekick, "Jihadi John" ( And Yes, You Two Really Are on the Same Side)

ISIS was created by the disintegration of Iraq during the United States invasion.  This phenomenon of war is called unintended consequences.   Thoughtful foreign policy and intelligence analysts pleaded with the White House not to go to war with Iraq, however much we despised its leader. But alas, America is a bully and thought it could "whip Arab asses" and any ones would do (even those of his sworn enemy -- Saddam Hussein) since Osama bin Laden couldn't at the time be found . So, I will begin this post with the good news.  It is that ISIS has not beheaded 133,000 innocent civilians, which would have included women and children. Their gruesome execution list still hovers in the dozens.   I did not pluck that number out of a hat. It's the most conservative figure being given by U.S. and European sources for the civilian deaths in America's 8 year invasion of Iraq.  Since that war was as meaningless as the ISIS killings we are now watching on Youtube, it would seem that the only real difference between the two slaughter-fests apart from scale is cinematography.  Nobody bothered to film all the dead mothers lying in the streets, clutching limbs and pieces of their equally dead children killed in our bombings.  Then too, no cameras captured the rotting corpses of countless civilians slaughtered in the collapse of Iraq's central authority and all that it has entailed including the rise of ISIS.

I'm not writing this blog post to offer a simplistic solution to an insoluble problem.  I'm really just here to make an observation.   Maybe being the world's sole superpower means never having to say you're sorry, regardless of what havoc you have unleashed upon the world.  Unfortunately for the rest of us, it doesn't mean that innocent civilians will not bear the brunt of those unintended consequences.  On a more individual level, psychopaths parading as vice presidents, defense secretaries or religious zealots often bond with one another through a ritual interchange of innocent dead bodies.  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Seattle Prosecutors Railroaded Elderly Black Veteran

Let me get this straight.  A seventy year old black military veteran was arrested in Seattle on false charges of using his golf club-walking stick as a weapon.  The dash-cam video disproved the officer's charge.  And yet the King County prosecutors and the so-called public defender forced this man to plead guilty for a crime he did not commit, under threat of imprisonment if he didn't.  Bytheway, the prosecutors and public defender (who was being paid to advocate on the man's behalf) never even bothered to view the video.  This whole business is rotten.  No, it is evil.

The arresting officer, Cynthia Whitlatch, then went on Facebook criticizing  “black peoples (sic) paranoia” in assuming whites are “out to get them, ” and cited the Ferguson, Mo., riots that followed the fatal shooting of a young African-American man by a white officer last summer.  Seattle police chief, Kathleen O'Toole, overlooked the miscarriage of justice and merely re-assigned Whitlatch to a desk job.

Now it turns out that Whitlatch's former friend  claimed that the two had smoked marijuana stolen as evidence, and regularly referred to blacks using the n-word. Even if we disregard this piece of information coming from an ex-lover, who had resigned from a neighboring police force because of a criminal conviction, there is this to ponder. Have prosecutors been aiding this abuse of police authority in other cases as well?  How many other such incidents of police brutality and the false arrest of blacks might now tumble out of the clown car that Seattle calls a criminal justice system?

RELATED POST:  Seattle Police Chief Should Step Down Following Abuse of Elderly Black Veteran

Friday, January 30, 2015

Is Seattle Police Chief Afraid of Her Own Department?

It may have been progressive of Seattle to hire a female police chief, but not if the woman is afraid to do her job.  Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole was hired last summer to reform the Seattle Police Department (SPD).  So how have things worked out for her thus far?  Chief O'Toole views a webcam showing a police officer verbally abuse, train a gun on and falsely arrest an elderly black man, leaning on a golf club he used as a walking stick. Her response is to reward the police woman with desk duty.  It is then brought to the police chief's attention that the same officer who arrested William Wingate, subsequently published a racist screed on Facebook. The posts included comments like, "I'm tired of black people's paranoia that white people are out to get them."  The police chief orders counselling for the woman and then sends a black police officer, who had no involvement in the incident, to the house of Mr. Wingate to apologize, on behalf of the Police Department, for his false arrest.

The police chief may need more time to put whatever reforms she had in place.  Or she might need to get the hell out of there before it's too late.  The culture of police brutality and bigotry is threatening either to drag her under or make her an accomplice to the wrongdoing and unethical behavior, which may be endemic to that Department.

 In refusing to reprimand an officer who lied and falsely arrested an elderly man, Chief O'Toole is signaling to the men and women in her Department that racial harassment will be tolerated. Admittedly, she has only been on the job since June 23, 2014. But the Police Chief failed her first test rather miserably, if reforming the SPD was her goal.  Maybe she is not the right person for the job, which is far more difficult and dangerous than she might have realized.  Or perhaps she misjudged the situation, which is certainly the case if she believes that the police abuse cases in Ferguson, MO and Staten Island show that she can overlook or go slow on reforming racial profiling and police brutality.  While the other two cases were far more serious in having led to the deaths of two men, this Seattle incident may penetrate the consciousness of the public at an even deeper level.  It is because no one, not even Rush Limbaugh, can transform an elderly military veteran and former bus driver into a "thug, who somehow deserved what was coming to him."   

 As for Cynthia Whitlatch, the police officer who abused this man, she participated  in a  lawsuit against the Department of Justice, last year, claiming the agency was infringing on their 
Constitutional rights by requiring them to be less violent towards citizens. A complaint was also filed against her in 2011 by a Seattle bus driver who described being harassed and intimidated by this female cop.  Not surprisingly the Seattle Police Department (SPD) did nothing with the complaint.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Were Charlie Hebdo Cartoons Too Racist To Run in U.S. Media?

The American media doesn't run cartoons with African-American politicians looking like big-lipped "Little Black Sambo".  Neither had they run any of the Charlie Hebdo Cartoons that precipitated the tragic attack in Paris, because they were xenophobic, racist and offensive.  Would you consider cartoons showing nuns masturbating, Muhammad in pornographic poses or Boko Haram sex slaves depicted as welfare queens, politically informative or funny?  

The murder of 10 innocent journalists in Paris and the subsequent attacks that killed four hostages are reprehensible crimes.  But tragically, that doesn't make the Charlie Hebdo victims martyrs for the cause of free speech.   The New York Times has an insightful article entitled:  Charlie Hebdo Attack Chills Satirists and Prompts a Debate.  It cites an essay written by Jacob Canfield, a 24-year-old cartoonist in Ann Arbor, Mich.,who argued that however sympathetic the public was to the tragedy that befell Charlie Hebdo, it might not want to blindly repost cartoons, which were in fact offensive "super-racist material".  Canfield noted:
Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical newspaper. Its staff is white. Its cartoons often represent a certain, virulently racist brand of French xenophobia. While they generously claim to ‘attack everyone equally,’ the cartoons they publish are intentionally anti-Islam, and frequently sexist and homophobic. 
All societies have standards of decency, which are arrived at either through religion, tradition or  consensus, with this last being the path taken by secular democracies like the U.S. and Western European nations. This is not an easy process, however.  It can be wrenching, chaotic and slow.

Americans believe in free speech.  But there are a thousand subjects I can rattle off the top of my head that the public would find offensive, decide that it had nothing to do with free speech and certainly would not have found funny.  When's the last time you saw a U.S. newspaper printing a cartoon of a pedophile having his way with a toddler?

It is sad but not surprising that this French tragedy is occurring at a time when anti-Muslim xenophobia has reached a fever pitch in that nation.   Admittedly, the U.S. still has a long way to go, in terms of broadening and deepening its cultural sense of itself to accommodate religions and ethnicities that did not come over on the Mayflower.   But the French might learn a few lessons from the few successes we have had, for instance,  in re-defining what the American First Family can look like. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

If Only Fracking Earthquakes Would Confine Themselves to TX Supporters' Neighborhoods

Was it Mark Twain who once said something to the effect of (and sorry if I got it wrong):
The hardest person to teach something to is someone who has a vested interest in not knowing. 
 I wish someone would round up all the so-called seismologists claiming they have no definitive proof that fracking causes earthquakes and make them sit in an Irving, TX cafe for a couple of hours, with the dishes flying off the tables, the light bulbs flinging themselves down from the ceilings, and the walls cracking.

According to an article in The Daily Beast entitled  26 Earthquakes Later, Fracking’s Smoking Gun Is in Texas:
After 11 quakes in the last two days – with one registering at a 3.6 – Irving, Texas’ sudden onset tremor problem might be the fracking industry’s nightmare.There’s a monster lurking under Texas, beneath the sand and oil and cowboy bones, and it’s getting a little restless after a 15 million year nap. Shaking things up in the city of Irving, just slightly west of Dallas, where no less than ten earthquakes yesterday and today bring the total tremors to 26 since October in that town alone. . .The Balcones Fault Zone divides the Lone Star State in half, loosely following the route of Interstate 35 and passing under Fort Worth, Waco, Austin, and San Antonio. And it’s not just a huge amount of human populations that sit on top of it. There are also thousands of fracking wells boring down in to the earth’s crust, pumping millions of gallons of water down with the direct intent of breaking apart what lay beneath.
I'm so proud that the North Texas town of Denton banned fracking, even after having to fight back a slew of intimidating lawsuits.  I wish Irving had had the same good sense. The problem is that even if you didn't support fracking, the geological situation may have deteriorated  to the point where all of us in this region may be seeing a growing number of these earthquakes, increasing in severity.  

Friday, January 2, 2015

Gun Owners Turning Own Families into Circular Firing Squads

As tragic as it is for a toddler to kill his mother with her own handgun, the situation could have been worse.  The child could have mowed down other Walmart shoppers as well.  I'm tired of advocating for gun control to no avail.  But I'm finally beginning to see how this whole gun business in America is going to end. It may not take all that many generations before toddlers killing parents and vice verse, kids shooting classmates and gun owners accidentally shooting themselves may thin out the ranks of the National Rifle Association (NRA) to the point of no return.

Having a gun in your home significantly increases your risk of death — and that of your spouse and children.
And it doesn’t matter how the guns are stored or what type or how many guns you own.
If you have a gun, everybody in your home is more likely than your non-gun-owning neighbors and their families to die in a gun-related accident, suicide or homicide.
Furthermore, there is no credible evidence that having a gun in your house reduces your risk of being a victim of a crime. Nor does it reduce your risk of being injured during a home break-in.
David Waldman, a diarist at DailyKos maintains a running total of "gunfails."  In the latest report covering a three week period, he notes:

10 "home invasion shootings" in which our fellow patriots' freedom projectiles were shared with neighbors; 37 people who accidentally shot themselves; 9 people who shot themselves but tried to lie to the cops about someone else shooting them; 20 kid victims; 6 accidental shootings by kids; 15 fatalities; 8 stray bullet incidents*; two accidents while cleaning loaded guns; 8 very expensive medical evacuations by air; 2 guns that went off in pockets; 3 target shooting accidents; 9 cops involved in various FAILs; 9 FAILs by carriers out shopping, dining or otherwise engaging in everyday commerce among the public; 2 bathroom GunFAILs; 1 firearms instructor who shot himself, and 1 person who thought it'd be a fun idea to have someone shoot him while he was wearing a "bullet-proof" vest.
[* Here I have included stray bullets not fired by accident, but which missed their intended targets and hit bystanders, nearby homes, etc. "Home invasion shootings," in my categorization, typically involve unintended discharges.]
 There's nothing comical about a gun-loving couple losing a spouse to a shooting accident caused by their two year old.  The emotional wounds suffered by that child may never heal. But the lasting trauma of the event does not make it any less ridiculous.

RELATED POST:  Why Gun-Owning Parents Give Their School Shooting Kids Access toWeapons 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Nazi-like Police Culture on Display at Ramos Funeral

Police Turn their Backs on NY Mayor
I would have waited for a more opportune moment to make this observation. But I don't believe that there will ever be one.    Twenty thousand police officers attended the funeral of Rafael Ramos. And 20,000  turned their backs on New York Mayor Bill Deblasio in protest.   Doesn't that strike anyone as a little odd? Not a single individual in that wave of blue suits felt that this gesture politicized a funeral and was inappropriate or believed that the Mayor's position, that corrupt cops need to be filtered out of the force, was the right one.

So what is my point if it isn't already obvious. What the nation just saw should have chilled us to the bone. If some cops are so intimidated that they find themselves unable to refuse to turn their backs on the Mayor, then how likely is it that anyone would come forth regarding bigger issues like planting evidence, using excessive force or bribery.

What we saw at that funeral is the reason the whole country, not just Mayor de Blasio should call for police reform and it's demilitarization. What we have just seen is what it means to have an all powerful "Party Line".You cross it at your peril. And what moment in history does that remind you of?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Are Taylor Swift and Iggy Azalea Waving White-Skin Privilege in Black Women's Faces?

 Let me be clear about this.  As humans, we all appropriate one another's music and other aspects of culture as we mingle and interact.  This is good and healthy. And yes, imitation is the highest form of flattery.  So, please be careful not to misinterpret the latest critics of Taylor Swift's latest video "Shake It Off."  What they are talking about is something else altogether.  But since they don't control the media or entertainment industry it is not surprising that their message keeps getting garbled  beyond recognition.

So, I will try to clarify this issue.  Black women are acting out of frustration (not racism) when they point out that White female entertainers like Taylor Swift and Iggy Azalea are able to co-opt and benefit from certain aspects of Black culture, without suffering any of the negative consequences that Black women are forced to pay for living that culture 24/7.  In an article entitled: Taylor Shift Can't Shake Off White Privilege by Celeste Montano, the author notes:
But by some funny coincidence, it’s a black woman who’s front and center in the video’s most recognizable scene: the bridge of twerking bodies. At this point, the camera gets so close that the women become nothing but legs and butts as a wide-eyed Taylor that crawls beneath them. It’s a black woman’s body that the camera features most prominently at this moment; it’s a black woman that Taylor gapes at unapologetically. . .
She surrounds herself with hip hop and breakdancing, but the point is to reject those things with a self-deprecating attitude. When we see Taylor goofily failing to twerk, she seems to be saying, “haha I’m such a white girl, this is so embarrassing,” which is actually code for “haha I fail at being sexual or dirty or threatening, I’m just innocent and endearing.”
Sociologist, Dr Zuleyka Zevallos, wrote an insightful blog post entitled:  Taylor Swift Having Fun with White Privilege in which she pointed out:
[White entertainers] profit from the “coolness” and imagined “street cred” of being The Other, safe in the knowledge that their Whiteness protects them from the racism, hyper sexism, social stigma and additional violence that women of colour live with.Research shows that women of colour experience a higher rate and more aggressive forms of sexual harassment because of their perceived sexual availability. By presenting women of colour as little more than backdrop sex dolls, White women starlets like Swift remain at the centre of culture, while the women they use as props and parody remain on the outside.
This social reality is not the fault of either Taylor Swift or Iggy Azalea. And all entertainers, Black ones included, dream to have their cultural creations imitated and spread across the globe.  But the latter do ask one small favor in return.  Show in some way, however symbolic and small that you honor where it came from and what it cost in human pain to create.  (And bytheway, claiming you show respect for Black culture by grabbing hold of a Black boyfriend when the critics came after you is trite.)

RELATED POST:  Iggy Azalea Please Pack up Your Minstrel Show 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Was Crazed Cop Killer a Rogue Police Plant Whose Goal Was to Stop Anti-Police Protests?

 Before drawing all the obvious conclusions, let's take a breather and see what the FBI really turns up regarding the murder of the 2 New York policemen. What is my point?  Ismaaiyl Brinsley may not have acted alone.  He was a suicidal, emotional misfit, alienated from friends and family. So, might he have hooked up with a different caliber of associates at some point during his 19 arrests and various jail terms? Perhaps a kindly soul had stepped into his life after he had lost touch with every other shred of reality,  someone whom he could tell his troubles to, someone who understood his frustrations in life, who might have lent him money, a gun, someone who could suggest "heroic" actions that he wouldn't have thought up himself?  Of course this someone had a hidden agenda.  It would be to manipulate this lost soul into engaging in something so heinous that it would embarrass those politicians calling for police reform and more importantly turn the public against the "I Can't Breathe" police protests sweeping across the country.  The motto of such lone wolf tacticians would be that two "sacrificial" deaths in war was a small price to pay for the consolidation of police power and the subordination of civil society.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Incendiary (Racist) Media Headlines Ignore Cop Killer Shot Girlfriend

For a black man to shoot his black girl friend and then murder two cops loses its explosive power to rile up the American public. It muddies the narrative of surgical executions carried out by a mentally balanced person, whose only issue was vengeance against the cops for the killing of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.  So, the wounded black female becomes a non-entity in the thousands of news headlines in media outlets around the country.

American news media, please get a grip.  In the end, everything in life is not about the financial bottom line.  It is about the many setbacks and occasional triumphs of trying to build a multi-ethnic democracy.  If you did your jobs more consistently, with professionalism and integrity, maybe the level of bigotry and mutual distrust fueled by ignorance in this society would be diminishing rather than arming itself to the teeth.

CORRECTION:  I apologize for originally stating that the killer had also murdered his girlfriend. She was wounded, but is expected to live.  

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Too Bad We Don't Toss Corrupt Prosecutors Like Ferguson, Missouri's McCullough in Guantanamo

American prosecutors have such a nasty habit of manufacturing evidence that now since DNA testing has appeared on the scene, it seems like every week or so prisoners (mostly black) are being released from life sentences for crimes they did not commit.  Why don't we just round up the bad apples and send them to Guantanamo?  I'm not suggesting anybody waterboard these crooks.   I'm merely saying that they should be physically separated from the criminal justice system.  And the Guantanamo solution would be humane since tossing corrupt former prosecutors in prison with the general inmate population would probably be a death sentence.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Are Americans & North Koreans Secret Allies After All?

Now that a new poll shows a majority of Americans supporting torture, I will begrudgingly have to admit that the United States of America and North Korea are not as culturally removed from one another as most of us had once thought.  This is embarrassing, shameful even.  But reality so often is. And this brings me to that movie, "The Interview."    Just because a particular ethnic group is not buying tickets to your movie, it doesn't give you the license to make them the butt of your jokes.

Yes, the North Koreans appear to be a criminally absurd bunch.  But now it turns out, so are we.  The dial on my  laugh-o- meter keeps getting stuck though when those jokes roll around to the hummus, pasta sauce and pureed raisins being injected.   You see, that's what happens when we lose our "moral authority," when our former President turns out to have told a bald-faced lie about engaging in torture,  and when the psychopaths who ran the program are appearing on talk shows.  These are people who should long ago have be institutionalized in strait-jackets.  

Who is America to lecture any country about human rights violations?  Maybe the North Koreans can make a comedy about us and distribute it around the world.   At the very least the American taxpayers should be getting a refund in the mail for whatever was spent on the charade of maintaining a State Department Human Rights Office for all these years.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Belongs to Everyone (or a Little History Lesson for Christians)

Now that the holiday season is upon us, I've begun seeing those ever so ubiquitous "Keep Christ in Christmas" bumper-stickers.  I don't mind in the least being told to keep Jesus Christ in Xmas as long as we understand how he got there in the first place.  

Christians Borrowed Xmas from Pagan Roman Celebration
Where is Christmas mentioned in the Bible?  It isn't because early Christians borrowed the holiday from the Roman's pagan celebration of Saturnalia, the god of agriculture and harvest.   Failing to stamp out paganism, 4th century Roman Church leaders decided (without any evidence whatsoever) that the birthday of Jesus Christ coincided with the week-long pagan feast of Saturnalia.

Winter festivals celebrated on the day of the year in which the sun was at its lowest point in the sky, have been common throughout the world.  While the gift-giving and merrymaking traditions of modern Christmas came from Saturnalia, the lights and donations to charity were borrowed from the Roman New Year. The evergreens used in decorations for the holiday came from an ancient English tradition, where priests of the woods called Druids used holly and mistletoe during their holiday of the winter solstice to symbolize eternal life and evergreen branches to ward off evil spirits.

The Christmas tree and yule logs were plucked from pagan Germanic feasts.  The word "yule" came from a pre-Christian Scandinavian holiday of the same name, which took place in late December or early January.

Christmas is the one true ecumenical holiday on our modern calendar.