rants


There is a meme running around Facebook – represented by the two photos incorporated below – that equates a single, horrific shooting incident involving black on white violence with years of systematic, fatal attacks by hundreds of police on unarmed, innocent black people. The most egregious aspect of this meme is that posters often indicate they find it “funny” or “humorous.”
Facebook-meme
The amount of willful ignorance and self-righteous indignation behind this meme overwhelms me. Vester Flanagan (also known as Bryce Williams) who shot 3 unarmed individuals in a single incident By comparison over the past 15 years more than 65 unarmed persons of color have been shot by law enforcement officers. Below is only a partial listing that does not include the current year (2015) (source: http://gawker.com/unarmed-people-of-color-killed-by-police-1999-2014-1666672349)

  • Rumain Brisbon, 34, Phoenix, Ariz.—Dec. 2, 2014
  • Tamir Rice, 12, Cleveland, Ohio—Nov. 22, 2014
  • Akai Gurley, 28, Brooklyn, NY—Nov. 20, 2014
  • Kajieme Powell, 25, St. Louis, Mo.—August 19, 2014
  • Ezell Ford, 25, Los Angeles, Calif.—August 12, 2014
  • Dante Parker, 36, San Bernardino County, Calif.—August 12, 2014
  • Michael Brown, 18, Ferguson, Mo.—August 9, 2014
  • John Crawford III, 22, Beavercreek, Ohio—August 5, 2014
  • Tyree Woodson, 38, Baltimore, Md.—August 2, 2014
  • Eric Garner, 43, New York, N.Y.—July 17, 2014
  • Victor White III, 22, Iberia Parish, La.—March 22, 2014
  • Yvette Smith, 47, Bastrop, Texas—February 16, 2014
  • McKenzie Cochran, 25, Southfield, Mich.—January 28, 2014
  • Jordan Baker, 26, Houston, Texas—January 16, 2014
  • Andy Lopez, 13, Santa Rosa, Calif.—October 22, 2013
  • Miriam Carey, 34, Washington, D.C.—October 3, 2013
  • Jonathan Ferrell, 24, Bradfield Farms, N.C.—September 14, 2013
  • Carlos Alcis, 43, New York, N.Y.—August 15, 2013
  • Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr., 32, Austin, Texas—July 26, 2013
  • Deion Fludd, 17, New York, N.Y.—May 5, 2013
  • Kimani Gray, 16, New York, N.Y.—March 9, 2013
  • Johnnie Kamahi Warren, 43, Dotham, Ala.—December 10, 2012
  • Malissa Williams, 30, and Timothy Russell, 43, Cleveland, Ohio—November 29, 2012
  • Reynaldo Cuevas, 20, New York, N.Y.—September 7, 2012
  • Chavis Carter, 21, Jonesboro, Ark.—July 29, 2012
  • Shantel Davis, 23, New York, N.Y.—June 14, 2012
  • Sharmel Edwards, 49, Las Vegas, Nev.—April 21, 2012
  • Tamon Robinson, 27, New York, N.Y.—April 18, 2012
  • Ervin Jefferson, 18, Atlanta, Ga.—March 24, 2012
  • Kendrec McDade, 19, Pasadena, Calif.—March 24, 2012
  • Rekia Boyd, 22, Chicago, Ill.—March 21, 2012
  • Shereese Francis, 30, New York, N.Y.—March 15, 2012
  • Wendell Allen, 20, New Orleans, La.—March 7, 2012
  • Nehemiah Dillard, 29, Gainesville, Fla.—March 5, 2012
  • Dante Price, 25, Dayton, Ohio—March 1, 2012
  • Raymond Allen, 34, Galveston, Texas—February 27, 2012
  • Sgt. Manuel Loggins, Jr., 31, Orange County, Calif.—February 7, 2012
  • Ramarley Graham, 18, New York, N.Y.—February 2, 2012
  • Kenneth Chamberlain, 68, White Plains, N.Y.—November 19, 2011
  • Alonzo Ashley, 29, Denver, Colo.—July 18, 2011
  • Kenneth Harding, 19, San Francisco, Calif.—July 16, 2011
  • Raheim Brown, 20, Oakland, Calif.—January 22, 2011
  • Reginald Doucet, 25, Los Angeles, Calif.—January 14, 2011
  • Derrick Jones, 37, Oakland, Calif.—November 8, 2010
  • Danroy Henry, 20, Thornwood, N.Y.—October 17, 2010
  • Aiyana Jones, 7, Detroit, Mich.—May 16, 2010
  • Steven Eugene Washington, 27, Los Angeles, CA—March 20, 2010
  • Aaron Campbell, 25, Portland, Ore.—January 29, 2010
  • Kiwane Carrington, 15, Champaign, Ill.—October 9, 2009
  • Victor Steen, 17, Pensacola, Fla.—October 3, 2009
  • Shem Walker, 49, New York, N.Y.—July 11, 2009
  • Oscar Grant, 22, Oakland, Calif.—January 1, 2009
  • Tarika Wilson, 26, Lima, Ohio—January 4, 2008
  • DeAunta Terrel Farrow, 12, West Memphis, Ark.—July 22, 2007
  • Sean Bell, 23, New York, N.Y.—November 25, 2006
  • Henry Glover, 31, New Orleans, La.—September 2, 2005
  • Ronald Madison, 40, and James Brisette, 17, New Orleans, La.—Sept. 4, 2005
  • Timothy Stansbury, 19, New York, N.Y.—January 24, 2004
  • Alberta Spruill, 57, New York, N.Y.—May 16, 2003
  • Ousmane Zongo, 43, New York, N.Y.—May 22, 2003
  • Orlando Barlow, 28, Las Vegas, Nev.—February 28, 2003
  • Timothy Thomas, 19, Cincinnati, Ohio—April 7, 2001
  • Prince Jones, 25, Fairfax County, Va.—Sept. 1, 2000

To make a legitimate comparison, we must first imagine 40 or 50 similar shootings of unarmed TV news personnel by black former TV news personnel. Additionally we must imagine that in each case, the black man is protected and defended by the majority of black news personnel (as the police officers involved in shootings are protected and defended by the majority of law enforcement), and we must imagine that in more than 90 percent of the cases, the shooter is found NOT guilty of criminal charges, and we must imagine that many news outlets spend their time vilifying and denigrating the character of the victims of the shootings. If at the end of a decade of unpunished, attacks by blacks on unarmed white people, in which almost no one was found guilty and imprisoned, there were STILL NO protests, no riots, no stores looted, no fires set, then a smug, self-congratulatory meme might possibly be justified. 

I just have to get this out of my system.  This is by no means the first time I have had this thought.  It’s the first time I’ve dared to share it.

Several of my “friends” who have radically different value systems than myself (Facebook really has changed the meaning of the word “friend”), have posted things like this before. Usually I don’t even bother to follow the links. This time I did. If you want to see what prompted this little rant then you can follow the link too: http://www.godvine.com/Baby-With-Down-Syndrome-Saved-fb-gh-2696.html The title of this little piece is “Thank You God for this Miracle.”

My problem with this (and everything like this that I hear on a ongoing basis from co-workers, neighbors, relatives, etc.) is that from where I’m sitting the role of “god” in this is to have created an enormously flawed human organism, one so flawed that if “god” had been left totally alone to do what “god” does, the child would have died within hours of birth.

However, in this case a very large number of incredibly dedicated, knowledgeable, highly educated and trained, and probably well paid, human beings (not “god”) worked day and night for months, using millions of dollars of humanly designed and manufactured high technology, to fight “god” tooth-and-nail to prevent the death of this child.

And that around the world, children of less affluent parents who actually have to depend solely upon “god” instead of human medical professionals lose their children every day.

Just saying.

Now let the hate mail begin.

But a contradiction, a hypocritical contradiction. 

Know of this family…multiple members are coal miners or former coal miners or retired coal miners, and their cars and trucks sport license plates declaring them to be “Friends of Coal.” [These plates are quite popular in coal states like West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, etc. and represent government sanctioned fund raising for coal industry “educational programs” — read public relations and lobbying activities.] Not only are these folks “friends of coal” but they don’t think too kindly of folks who are concerned about things like toxic run-off into streams, mercury pollution from coal burning electricity plants. They’re of the opinion that if you don’t like coal you ought to stop using electricity.

But, here’s the contradiction, these folks dislike the utility company and the prices they have to pay for electricity, and have been slowly shifting from using electricity for heat and cooking to using wood.  I’ve got nothing against people trying to save money, but seems to me if you’re going around declaring yourself a friend to coal and criticizing others for not supporting the coal industry, then you damn well better pay the price of supporting the coal industry yourself by using the electricity it generates.

I’m really sick of all the bumper stickers from “Friends of Coal” and telling me that if I don’t like Coal, I shouldn’t use electricity.  This came to me in the middle of the night as the logical extension of that sentiment:

Fiends for Coal

Moto: “Electricity from Coal – Use It or Else!”

  • Make burning wood for heat instead of paying for coal fired electricity a felony.
  • Ban all Energy Star appliances, compact florescent and LED light bulbs from homes in the coal fields.
  • Pass an ordinance that requires all thermostats to be set at 65 degrees in the summer and 78 degrees in the winter.
  • Create an energy monitoring police force to ferret out any attempts to save electricity.

Reading all the criticism from the conservative, Tea Party, and Republican commentators (or all those the same thing?), is enough to make one dizzy. On one hand all the protestors are all jobless, lazy bums who are unwashed with long hair, and on the other hand all the protestors are union workers who are getting paid to protest…come on guys they can’t be both of those things!! And in reality of course they are neither.

But it occurred to me today, why the Tea Party protestors were the darlings of the right-wing media, and the 99% folks who are protesting corporate control of our society are not — the 99%-ers don’t carry guns. Of course that’s because the 99%-ers are mostly non-violent, pacificist types, so they’re not going to cotton to my suggestion. But dang it guys, you could get some really solid support here from the NRA if you’d all just openly carry rifles! The Tea Partiers proved that you could do that legally in public during demonstrations.

The 99%-ers just need to look for a Second Amendment Solution to this. They don’t have to fire the weapons, just carry hunting rifles openly. Just think of all the Republicans that would suddenly have to support them — because my gosh, arresting them if they were openly carrying guns would be an assault of the Second Amendment, and no conservative who wishes to get re-elected (or have the support of the NRA) could allow that to happen.

Just saying….

There are an alarming number of folks on the right in American Politics who are willing to fail to raise the debt ceiling because they believe that the vast majority of what government does is unnecessary and indeed “evil.” These are people many of whom do think that it would be a good thing for government to disappear, and that nothing seriously bad will happen if the August 2 deadline passes and the debt ceiling is not raised. They (wrongly) believe that a capitalist economy works best without government involvement, and so they apparently believe that rather than destroying our economy, crippling government by failing to raise the debt ceiling will free it to soar.

I have come to believe in recent days that it is necessary for those of us on the left to let them have their way. Let it fail. Let all those freshman, Tea Party Republicans have their way, let them block the raising of the debt ceiling. I believe it is time that the American people learn how much they really need government, how bad things can get if government is starved of funding.

The American people have been fed so much crap about the evils of government since 1980, that its time for a very serious, deadly object lesson; a lesson that is unmistakable in its dire consequences.

Once the lesson has sunk in, the debt ceiling can always be raised again. Yes, that will still result in the down grading of U.S. credit ratings, and that will cause some pain in increased interest rates among other things. But I’m beginning to think that it would be a small price to pay for the American electorate to learn that government is very necessary to the survival of the economic system of which they are so enamored.

Let it fail.

Better to let it fail, that to sacrifice bit by bit the programs like social security, medicare and medicaid that have provided a small bulwark against the complete disintegration of the American Middle Class.

my significant other has a favorite saying: “Arguing on the Internet is like running in the Special Olympics, even if you win you’re still retarded.”

Yes, I know that’s totally politically incorrect, and I mean no offense to people who have a mental disability, but I do mean to remind myself that arguing with ideologues, religious fanatics, and idiots just makes me an idiot; it doesn’t change their minds or my mind in the least.

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