Aftermath (Part 10): Are we really so blind we can’t see?

Aftermath (Part 10): Are we really so blind we can’t see?

It’s remarkable, you know. I see patterns other people don’t and there are people who know me and think I’m too full of hyperbole to pay attention. Even when I’m right. Continue reading “Aftermath (Part 10): Are we really so blind we can’t see?”

Triggers all over the damn place…

Triggers all over the damn place…

What’s changed in the 27 years since Anita Hill’s hearings? Victims of sexual assault finally have a platform to share our stories, and we will not be silenced. Continue reading “Triggers all over the damn place…”

Endarkenment (Part 2)…

Endarkenment (Part 2)…

Last week I got into a pissing contest with a couple of liberal fanatics who think the blue wave is real. I called bullshit based on what I’ve seen so far. They asked me to give a best guess scenario for the Senate, based on my research. The results are below, but before we get there, let me remind you just who you’re dealing with here. Continue reading “Endarkenment (Part 2)…”

Connecting the Dots, Part 8…

Connecting the Dots, Part 8…

When you were a kid, did you ever read Dr. Seuss’ book The Sneetches and Other Stories? You know the one I’m talking about. Continue reading “Connecting the Dots, Part 8…”

Changes…

Changes…

And these children
That you spit on
As they try to change their world
Are immune from your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through…

–David Bowie

A little under two years ago, I wrote this post in reaction to Philando Castile’s murder:

Storm’s here.

In that time, nothing changed, until last February, kicked off when a series of white males took up arms against their social circle and inspired a movement in the aftermath of their destruction. Except, that’s not the whole picture.

Compare and contrast.

Four articles from The Guardian, a somewhat left-leaning source with roots in the United Kingdom:

1. Florida shooting: suspect escaped scene by hiding among students as they fled
Nikolas Cruz, 19, charged with 17 counts of murder as officials confirm the AR-15 rifle used to commit massacre was purchased legally

(Incident: February 14, 2018. Dead: 17, injured: 17)

2. Austin bomb suspect left video ‘confession’ before he died
Police say footage portrays ‘a very challenged young man,’ but nothing to show he was motivated by hate

(Incidents: March 2-20, 2018. Dead: 2, injured: 5)

3.  ‘They executed him’: police killing of Stephon Clark leaves family shattered
A young, unarmed black man was shot 20 times in his grandmother’s backyard. Now his brother is fighting through grief to demand justice

(Incident: March 18, 2018. Dead: 1)

4. Maryland student who shot classmate dead killed himself, officials say
Austin Rollins, 17, fired a fatal shot to his head just as he encountered the school resource officer at Great Mills high school

(Incident: March 20, 2018. Dead: 2, injured: 1)

Wait. Did I say four? I meant five.

5. Alton Sterling shooting: two police officers will not be charged with any crime
Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II won’t be charged for incident that occured [sic] in July of 2016 that sparked unrest throughout Baton Rouge

(Incident: July 7, 2016. Dead: 1)

Two of these incidents are not like the others. In fact, the victims in those two incidents stand in stark contrast to the others, even though they are connected by the way in which they died. And in how the victims were described. And in the accountability of those who perpetrated their murders.

On March 22nd, I wrote this piece, after the Associated Press put out a horrendous article describing the Great Mills murderer as a “lovesick teen.” The phrase AP used seemed completely tone deaf, wholly inappropriate given the reality that, according to the Violence Policy Center, 11 murder-suicides happen every week, and that 9 out of 10 murderers use a gun.

As the article above shows, the Resource Officer originally credited with stopping the murderer actually hit him in the hand, and that the kid died from a self-inflicted gunshot.

The hand.

Think about that.

In contrast, Stephon Clark was shot twenty times in his own backyard, murdered in cold blood, and the only thing the cops could find after the dust settled was a cellphone. And nobody could explain why they had to turn off their body cameras.

When Alton Sterling was shot, he did have a gun on him. And it shouldn’t have mattered. After all, Louisiana is an Open-Carry state, and Sterling was within his legal 2A right to possess and carry the gun.

According to an eyewitness report from his friend inside the store, near where Sterling was murdered, the gun was in his waistband, not in his hands.

What Sterling and Clark, and Castile, and Brown, and all the others have in common is an abundance of melanin, which most of the cops and all of the civilian murderers listed above, lack.

People of color have been targets since the first of the slave ships landed on these shores. And cops have proven that lynching isn’t necessary as long as they feel free to pump lead into any individual they view as a threat, regardless of reality.

Being born with dark skin isn’t inherently threatening unless one wants an excuse to pump the entire contents of a gun clip into a human being and call him a target, to exercise summary justice outside of the legal system, to shut down any possibility of accusations of police brutality or corruption.

Any excuse will do, regardless of whether the victim’s legal and civil rights say otherwise.

I’ve been writing about racism since the first few posts I wrote in this blog, way back in 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when the Bush family turned a blind eye to reality and cost the lives of almost 1,500 people and displaced a huge number of poor families, many of color, in New Orleans.

#BlackLivesMatter, which started as a hashtag on social media,  came into existence in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman’s acquittal finally drew attention to the massive disparity between being black and being white in America.

But not enough. Not nearly enough.

No, it took a major tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in a privileged part of Florida’s Broward County, to focus the movement like a laser. These students are articulate, driven, privileged kids. They have finally, firmly, seized that banner of truth and anger and sadness, raised it high, and reached out to their siblings across the country who have been targets far longer.

Inclusive, determined, driven by force of will, these kids who founded the March For Our Lives movement, who have declared #NeverAgain in places across the country, are defining the future in their terms.

Now that they’re coming of age, their movement looks a lot like the Vietnam War protests of our past. And no wonder.

We ARE at war.

We are deep into Civil War, and we have no idea where it will lead, but the children…OUR children…have declared in more than a million clear, strong voices of all ages, ethnicities, genders, and cultures, that #EnoughIsEnough.

Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky and their friends speak not just for the students at MSD, but for kids across the country, and they will sit in silence no longer.

It’s no surprise that they have welcomed their siblings of color, who are considered “at-risk” merely for existing. After all, they’re theatre kids. They understand diversity in ways only some of us fully understand.

In a time and place where our people of color are maimed or killed in disproportionate numbers, simply because they’re not white, these kids see only one thing: Themselves.

In our gun-saturated society, there’s a reckoning coming. It’s coming at the ballot box this year.

This is just the start.

May these children succeed where we have failed, in the ten years since the District of Columbia v. Heller  decision, to force change. I only wish David Bowie was still here to see it.

David Bowie – Changes (Olympia)

Newsflash: What you think is wrong is just the tip of the iceberg…

Newsflash: What you think is wrong is just the tip of the iceberg…

This morning there were a raft of articles like these floating around my corner of the Internet. Continue reading “Newsflash: What you think is wrong is just the tip of the iceberg…”

I was off by a month. My bad.

I was off by a month. My bad.

When I started writing online, way back in 2004, my blogging was a combination of minutiae designed to keep a then-deployed husband in the loop on day-to-day life at home. We were not quite to the end of W’s first term, but it was already clear to me what his election meant to the country, in terms of an erosion of civil liberty, of a dramatic (but by no means complete) shift to the right, and long term lasting damage to our reputation as a world leader by his creation of the USA Patriot Act.

In an ever-increasing feeling of depression and anger over last November, I’ve lashed out repeatedly at people who still seem to think that we are operating “business-as-usual” even in the face of abject corruption and cronyism not seen in decades in this country, going all the way back to the Gilded Age of the robber barons. Continue reading “I was off by a month. My bad.”

Fact-free ideology…

Fact-free ideology…

What amazes me, beyond all reason, is how often people who ought to think rationally can consistently see four fingers and call them five. Continue reading “Fact-free ideology…”

Hyperbole…

Hyperbole…

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Hyperbole(ˈ/haɪˈpɜːrbəli/; Greek: ὑπερβολή, huperbolḗ, from ὑπέρ (hupér, “above”) + βάλλω (bállō, “I throw”)) is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. In rhetoric, it is also sometimes known as auxesis (lit. “growth”). In poetry and oratory, it emphasizes, evokes strong feelings, and creates strong impressions. As a figure of speech, it is usually not meant to be taken literally.[1][2]

We are doomed as a society, as long as people use this word to blow off potentially valid views of politics.

Certainly, hyperbole is overused today. Back in November 2015, The New York Times published Jessica Bennett’s article in its Fashion and Style section: OMG! The Hyperbole of Internet-Speak. There’s a lot to be said for her points on the effect of hyperbole on current society and social media. After all, what is hype but a shortened form of the original word, and a sort of nugget of the true meaning in every clickbait article ever posted on Facebook.

The word is used most often today in sports and politics, and nobody embodies the core concept like Donald Trump.

I went searching for articles tonight, determined to pull the first ten that actually related to the US election, and the results are below. Interestingly enough, I’ve been shut down a lot in conversations because the the people to whom I was talking decided I employed too much hyperbole, that my predictions were too unbelievable and over the top.

Still think that today?

The Guardian: ‘This is not hyperbole’: Rick Perry says Hillary Clinton jeopardizes gun rights

Paste: Beyond the Hyperbole: What Really Happened at the Nevada State Convention

AP Fact Check: AP Fact Check: Trump Uses ‘Truthful Hyperbole’

The New York Times Magazine: How ‘Everything’ Became the Highest Form of Praise

Fox News: Delegates in hand, Trump says he’s got GOP nomination

Florida Politics: Michael Richardson: When Truth Is The Loser

New York Daily News: Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are huge liars, so let’s stop pretending we really value honesty

Chicago Sun Times Opinion: Friday Letters: Beware false equivalence between Clinton, Trump

Every single one of these articles promotes either the hyperbolic communication from Trump or the reactions to the election in general. False equivalency, indeed.

Earlier today I compared the issues with Hillary Clinton and those of Trump to an ant hill and Mt. Everest. She’s friendly with Wall Street. He’s Hitler.

Six months ago, my comments were considered outrageous.

Now? Well, just look at the articles above and you’ll see that I’m not so outrageous after all.

The documentation I’m building for this election cycle is disturbing to say the least. Looking not at the percentages, or at the final outcomes, but at the raw votes in 2000 and 1992 as well as 2008 and now, I’ve got a documented theme. If the Democrats outnumbered the GOP in the primaries – in popular votes, not in percentages – they won the general. If the numbers were reversed, the opposite was the case.

Sometime between 2000 and 2008, there was a shift in the reporting of Primary statistics, and a dramatic jump in the number of voters who showed up at the polls. How much of this had to do with the genuine enthusiasm President Obama’s run for the White House against Senator (and former First Lady) Hillary Clinton I couldn’t say.

In the intervening eight years, the Supreme Court’s conservatives, led by Antonin Scalia, damaged the Voting Rights Act and enacted Citizens United, and the effect (which may or may not be considered causation in hindsight) is that the numbers have reversed themselves, and now the Republicans are up by some 4 million votes to date over the Democrats, but more like roughly 10 million over 2008, whereas the Democrats are down by over 6 million so far, and the chances are good that come November, we will have President Trump unless something changes.

I started documenting these numbers way back in the beginning of March (see: Connecting the Dots, Part 4) to prove my point. There’s no way to know if I’m right until we get to November, but based on an educated guess, and not in any way hyperbolic at all, I say the chances are excellent that we are witnessing the end of American Democracy as we know it, with this election.

After all, we’ve been fed the moral equivalent of the Colosseum in sports, on television, in our news, and online for so long, we can’t tell the difference between truth and Reality ™. And now we have a  Reality Star headed for the White House, unless someone can figure out a way to stop him. The eventual goal, installing an actual Big Brother to lead the country while the rest of us scrape by with what little we’ve accumulated, the biggest deception of all (that we have retirement in our futures because we have IRAs and Social Security), it’s all an enormous lie.

I want to believe that we still have a choice, but every day I see evidence that there are no choices left. I lie and tell myself it will be okay, even as I spend the time on Google looking for the avenue out of this country in the event my worst nightmare comes to pass.

The American Experiment is over. It had such promise. But just like Walt Disney World’s Carousel of Progress needed updating to bring it in line with reality and the future, we need to adjust our thinking and come to grips with what our reality will be in January, if Trump wins in November.

 

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