Friday, February 27, 2015

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

This time I'll start with the good news.  It is this.  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 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.  And perhaps even more to the point, psychopaths seem to bond with one another through a ritual interchange of innocent victims.

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 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.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dick Cheney IS America (Did We Really Think the World Hated Us for No Reason?)

Don't you think it's a bit late for us to cry and blubber about our "moral authority," after we've already killed 200,000 Afghans and Iraqis?    Yes, we now have the Torture Report in front of us and that psychopath Dick Cheney defending it on national television, although he claims he never got around to reading it.  But what difference does it make?

After 9/11 America became a lynch mob, pure and simple.  Half the country is still running around in that mode.  Osama bin Laden probably performed the dastardly act to knock us off our high horse so that the world could see that we were just as immoral and as much a violator of human rights as everyone else when push came to shove. He was only wrong in the sense that we turned out to be even more depraved than most. 

America is not exceptional.  Maybe that should become our new mantra. America is as ordinary as every other bully, which has used its might to pretend that it is something other than what it really is.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Police Unions Expose Thug-Like Culture of American Law Enforcement Agencies

Where are all the good policemen hiding?  I don't mean the ones, who help elderly ladies, maybe even black ones as well, cross the busy streets.  I mean the ones who intervene in order to stop a fellow officer as he chokeholds or kicks, or shoots to death a suspect, who may not even be armed.  The partner will in all likelihood observe the "Blue Code of Silence," and even refuse to rat on his buddy, regardless of the severity of the moral or criminal breach.  The American public first heard this term during the 1991 Rodney King incident, where the man was beat senseless by multiple police officers.

I reflected on this aspect of police culture when I learned this morning that the police union referred to as the "Patrolmen's Benevolent  Association" had announced that it would not allow New York Mayor Bill  de Blasio to attend the funerals of policemen who were killed in the line of duty.  According to an article in the New York Observer:
Mr. Lynch [the union head] has been outspoken critic of Mr. de Blasio, particularly in the wake of the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died on Staten Island as a police officer tried to arrest him. Mr. Lynch has been a strong defender of the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, and said Mr. de Blasio’s remarks about his son’s interactions with police left officers “thrown under the bus” by the mayor.

I can understand a policeman's union taking a hard stance when it comes to collective bargaining, but here the issue is murder.  And the attitudes exhibited in New York have been representative of those in Ferguson, Missouri and of police forces and associations across the country.  But this business of protecting their own,  no matter what the moral details, including those who break the law or cover-up murder, is, when you really get down to it,  the mentality of the Mafia. Why should we Americans quietly accept such gangsterism from those responsible for upholding the law?

Far too many folks tolerate this thuggish behavior on the part of law enforcement agencies, because they labor under the assumption that these loose cannons will keep them safe. But let me be blunt.  You're a fool if you think they won't be coming after you too when the opportunities in the poorer parts of town dry up.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Profit-Driven Corporate Media's Dilemma: It Must Slant News Because 40% of Market Made up of Bigots

What's a national media outlet to do, when it yearns to maintain a high standard of professional journalism, but is beholden to shareholders to increase profits and a good 35% to 40% of its market audience are hard-line racists and bigots?

I'm not referring to FOX News.  That percentage probably hovers in the 95% range, although a good chunk of that block are individuals who would never label themselves as prejudiced and think that the only real  bigots running around America are Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and, of course, President Barack Obama.   

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Police Brutality is Retaliation for Black Man Elected President TWICE

Police Brutality
This is my "ah-ha" movement.  I haven't come up with a new theory of relativity. But I have finally figured out something that a few of you may find of value.  It is the answer to why militarized police forces around the country have been summarily executing black men and boys.  They are retaliating for the election of an African-American president, whom their political leaders assured them could never win.  This happened not once but twice.  Of course these political leaders had alot on their minds, what with wrecking the economy, espying Russia out the bathroom window,  or vacationing with the family dog tied to the roof of the car.

Murdering unarmed blacks is what bigoted, unhinged policemen do. Their female counterparts try to get their licks in with a mean cattiness, like attacking the president's teenage daughters.  This is out of spite no doubt, trying to reframe the Obama girls to fit the stereotype of "black females dressing like they were bar hopping and on their way to becoming welfare queens."  But the public wouldn't buy it and that had to stick in the craw of the kinds of women who yearn for the return of the Old Confederacy. This is doubly, even trebly so  after their heroine ended up in such an embarrassing predicament, with a pregnant, unmarried teenage daughter, a nude-posing son-in-law and metamphetamine-selling (almost)-mother-in-law. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Eric Garner, Nazi Sympathisers and American Grand Juries

NYPD Chokehold Killing of Eric Garner
I'm not a lawyer and I really don't understand the "finer" details of our criminal justice system. But I do have enough common sense to recognize murder were I to see it on videotape.  A grand jury is shown an authenticated video of a man being grabbed off the street by a policeman and choked to death with an illegal chokehold.  And yet they decide that the law enforcement officer should not be brought to trial.

My heart is broken as I bear witness to America morphing into a bonafided police state.  It had long met the first requirement, but as of today, it has now met the second one as well.  In order to achieve police state status, it becomes first necessary to develop a highly militarized system of law enforcement.  It must see itself as protecting the interests of one population group against an internal enemy  (African-Americans in this case) .  The second requirement is nurturing an amoral docility in the population.    

Have you ever wondered how Nazi Germany was able to round up the Jews, build concentration camps and then begin exterminating 6 million innocent people?  Maybe it started with members of the German equivalent of a Grand Jury  being so malleable they could have watched a video (had they been invented at the time) of an SS officer grabbing a Jew off the street, choking him to death and then allowing themselves to be persuaded by a slick prosecutor that such behavior was appropriate, permissible and possibly even patriotic!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

American Health Care Workers Dishonored Their Profession During Ebola Crisis

Those who continue to defend quarantine-breaking health practitioners like Dr. Nancy Snyderman of NBC or Nurse Kaci Hickox miss the point. James Massey of Texas Woman's University eloquently described the real danger to us all:  
It's a question of leadership vs convenience. People look to healthcare providers for guidance when there is a risk that serious. If there had been an actual outbreak stateside, people would need to obey quarantine, right? Well, if you have selfish people like Snyderman blowing off quarantine the uniformed would have a much greater chance of blowing it off too.
What if Ebola had in fact landed on American shores. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

So-Called Christians Who Preach Hatred & Bigotry are Actually Satanists and Maybe They Deserve Our Candor

I'm not a theological person. But every now and then the labels that help us make sense of the world get so twisted around, that people start calling "up" down and "rotten water-buffalo meat" prime rack of lamb.  Alas, this is not useful.

Just the other day, I read the comments of recently fired GOP communications director, Elizabeth Lauten.  She posted a rant on Facebook, deriding the Obama daughters for presumably dressing like they were bar hopping. When the woman's vile remarks met with intense criticism Ms. Lauten announced that "after many hours of prayer"  she realized how hurtful her words were and issued a generic apology to no one in particular.  I reflected on her words.  Not meaning to be facetious, I really must ask: who was she praying to? Why did those who commented assume she was a Christian, directing her supplications to God?

I have no interest in judging people. That's not my point.  But I do find it useful and necessary in the dangerous world in which we live to see reality as clearly as I possibly can.  If someone blows up a building, killing innocent people, I call that person a terrorist, even if he calls himself a saint. If someone devotes him or herself to the Bible and derives from that exposure behavior steeped in hatefulness and bigotry, it would be safe to assume that I'm dealing with a Satanist rather than a Christian.  And maybe we would all be better off knowing how our behavior is perceived by others.