Well, there it is…

Well, there it is…

The New York Times has been sending out so-called impeachment briefings every morning and evening. Tonight was no exception. At the end of the message they asked if there was anything we want to see.

I responded. Continue reading “Well, there it is…”

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…”

Superheroes, Star Wars, and toxic masculinity…

Superheroes, Star Wars, and toxic masculinity…

So sometime in the last couple of days, this post (and artwork) circulated into my Facebook feed from several sources:

https://www.facebook.com/SoYourACartoonist/photos/a.151448048245360.31062.151447094912122/1878942682162546/

and on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/ADobsonComicArt/status/1015023772838060032

I’d link to the image itself, except that would be stealing. Go check Andrew Dobson’s feed on FB or Twitter and come back. Continue reading “Superheroes, Star Wars, and toxic masculinity…”

Language means something…

Language means something…

My friend on Facebook says: “This kid was a domestic abuser. His girlfriend had broken up with him, so he SHOT HER. This headline is BS.”

Boy, howdy, is it ever. Entitled asshole with access to deadly weapons. But this isn’t the first time I’ve had trouble with headlines.

What headline?

From the Associated Press via all sorts of media outlets, but notably the New York Times earlier this afternoon:

Police: Maryland School Shooter Apparently Was Lovesick Teen

Here’s a link to the original article, via Time.com, because the New York Times has updated the title and removed the above (which I suspect was a wise move on their editor’s part): Maryland High School Shooter Was Lovesick Teen, Police Say.

But that’s not all:

Select articles from multiple sources using the word “lovesick”

This afternoon, as reactions to the article’s original title lit up my FB feed, a different friend asked a question that generated the hottest post I’ve had on my wall in a long time. The post is here. It’s still active.

This article is the result of that conversation, and so here’s my take on it. Buckle up.

The cops and the press have GOT to stop painting these kids as forlorn and pitiful. If the kid had been any better at aiming, or if he’d had access to anything more deadly than Daddy’s Glock, this would have been much more than attempted murder / suicide with collateral damage.

Just stop it.

It’s a bullshit line. Imagine the headline if this wasn’t a teen: “Heartbroken man shoots ex-girlfriend and then himself.” The only difference is the age of this entitled little shit.

First off: This is domestic abuse taken to its extreme conclusion. Don’t know what I mean? Here are several places to read up:

Second, does premeditated murder get a pass because of arbitrary chronological age?

Kids as young as 16 are allowed to operate vehicles in Maryland. And while I loathe the false gun/car dichotomy, in this case it proves a point.

I was a lot younger than Austin Rollins when my dad took me to the shooting range the first time. Rollins couldn’t buy the gun he used on his own. If you’re under 21 in Maryland, it’s illegal to buy a gun like that anywhere. Instead, he used a deadly weapon that belonged to his dad when he exacted punishment on his ex-girlfriend for leaving him.

Who should be held responsible? The kid holding the weapon or the parent who bought it and left it accessible? Are the parents punished enough by losing their child? We still don’t know whether Rollins took his own life or the Deputy on the scene did the job, and now we will never know the complete motivation for the incident, because that died with Rollins.

See, I come at this from two directions: I have kids in high school who could be likely targets of this sort of abuse. I also have a brain that still thinks I’m only a couple of years removed from high school myself. Because of these things, I harbor an overwhelming level of empathy with the kids who are the targets of these violent offenders.

Rochester isn’t a small town, but it had plenty of places for gun shopping when I was a kid, and I can still smell the gunpowder and oil inside the last gun shop I visited with my dad. His collection included two .22s and a repro Kentucky musket for which he cast his own ammo. He had other guns that were higher caliber, which hurt to shoot. The .22 rifle was sweet, though. And I could hit the center of the target with it when I still had access to it. I’m still here. I haven’t shot anyone.

No, it’s not about the guns or the location of the individuals in question. And I’m sorry, but I have no stomach for any of this crap. I’ve seen more eyerolling article titles in the last three weeks because cops can’t figure out the motives for the Parkland shooter, or the serial bomber, or the kid down in St. Mary’s County. Why?

I have a guess: I think it’s because they’re afraid if they give any credence to the possibility that easy access to guns makes these incidents possible, they’ll get a raft of shit from the gun lobby and all those “my guns are legal so why hurt me” people who love the NRA, and you know what? They’re probably right. We can’t admit we have a problem or we’ll be forced to do something about it. And so we go another day or two, or maybe a week, and Great Mills will be old news as we turn to the next entitled asshole with access to weapons and an axe to grind.

I am truly sick to death of all this soft pedaling of white violence. All these armed snowflakes are a lot more dangerous to our society because of this crap language. We have GOT to stop protecting people just because they have a melanin deficit. Call them what they are and stop finding excuses for why we couldn’t see it coming.

Let me tell you: I listened to the hateful rhetoric against members of the Obama administration while I sat in the bleachers during a rodeo way back in 2011, in Logan, UT (with my kids in earshot). I watched a couple of guys get two wheels off the ground in their pickup as they exhibited road rage against my liberal bumper stickered car outside of Cheyenne during that same trip. And that was years ago, before Sandy Hook even happened. Years before the current administration in the White House that gives white violence a pass.

I can tell you exactly what this sounds like.

We are broken.

“But if he’d had a knife…”

Sure, Rollins could still have tried to kill his girlfriend, but it’s also possible that he might also still be alive and she might not be fighting for her life right now. Yes, it would still have been violence, but it’s far less likely that it would have been fatal.

Bottom line: The police need to change their methods and their language.

Pretending that the motive for violence is unclear–that we have no idea why a kid would do such a thing–has the effect of giving violence against women a pass. It’s the same willful ignorance that lets people describe a domestic terrorist who plants serial bombs as a troubled youth.

I’m talking about language. When we soft pedal with words like “lovesick teen” and then can’t figure out that a kid is dangerously close to murder, is it because we give kids the benefit of the doubt or because we soften the language? How is it that Trayvon Martin was a thug but these kids were just misunderstood?

The Parkland murderer was after his girlfriend and chose Valentine’s Day on purpose. And now 17 kids are dead.

When the discussion is “walk up” instead of “walk out” and women are told to be nice because otherwise they could be dead? Why is a stellar black musician with a bright future dead, blown up?   Police can’t imagine. Why is a black man shot dead in his own backyard for holding a cellphone? We have no idea. That’s what I’m talking about here. Body cameras won’t fix this.

The police can’t imagine why Rollins would do something like this? So why can all the women on the aforementioned thread come up with a reason?

You’d better believe if these kids were anything but white, there’d be different language in use and we’d be in a state of emergency trying to figure out how to get the kids and their guns off the street.

“Shooter.” Too subtle. Too polite. Let’s use a new word: Murderer. That’s what these kids are.

These kids assassinate the people they think have hurt them. The culture in which they live gives them access to the tools they use and tacit permission to use them at will by making them available and telling them they’re entitled to whatever they want. And god forbid we should try to make it harder for them to get access, or to hold their adults responsible for the aftermath.

We’re not talking about a temper tantrum. We’re talking about death.

When men stop solving their relationship problems with gunpowder, talk to me.

I got yer “Why now?” right here…

I got yer “Why now?” right here…

So here I am, a one-woman editorial team without benefit of a secretary. And this is weighing down on me, so I need to make sense of it and get it off my chest. Continue reading “I got yer “Why now?” right here…”

Achilles’ Heel…

Achilles’ Heel…

Achilles’ heel

  • n.
    A seemingly small but actually crucial weakness.

Continue reading “Achilles’ Heel…”

Aftermath (Part 5): Patriarchal Theocracy

Aftermath (Part 5): Patriarchal Theocracy

patriarchal

  [pey-tree-ahr-kuh l]
adjective[1]. of or relating to a patriarch, the male head of a family, tribe, community, church, order, etc.: my father’s conservative, patriarchal ways.2. characteristic of an entity, family, church, etc., controlled by men: the highly patriarchal Mormon church.

theocracy

 [thee-ok-ruh-see]

noun, plural theocracies.

1. a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God’s or deity’s laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.
2. a system of government by priests claiming a divine commission.
3. a commonwealth or state under such a form or system of government.
(http://www.dictionary.com/)

If I had ten dollars for every argument I had in the last several years over the ramifications of choosing to vote third party, I’d be able to buy a private island and escape this bullshit, but no, nobody paid me to argue my side and so here we are. I’m still Cassandra, and our social safety nets aren’t just unraveling, they’re on fire. How long before we return to the world of robber barons, Standard Oil, and the Gilded Age? As early as the end of 2018, by my reckoning.

The text below began circulating Facebook at the start of this week. I’ve been trying to coalesce my thoughts since I copied and pasted to here, but I had to start with links to the text in each of the bills below.

This isn’t a drill. The Congressional House of Representatives controls the US budget process and they are working on the next budget for Trump to sign into law, after it passes the Senate, but that’s not stopping them from deleting whole line items, piecemeal.

Since President Obama left office in January, we have been operating on the last Obama-era budget, such as it was. With the end of FY 2016-2017 on September 30, that changed. We are now in Trump territory. If there was ever a question about his agenda, today’s reprehensible Executive Order should answer it for you.

Soon after Trump signed the executive order, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman threatened to sue the administration if it oversteps its executive power.

“President Trump now appears to be trying to accomplish by executive fiat what he could not through Congress,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “If the Trump administration takes any action that violates the law — or tramples on New Yorkers’ constitutional rights — we will take them to court.”

And while Trump was entertaining his audience (so much so, he forgot to sign the actual order and Pence had to remind him AGAIN not to leave first), the House is presently debating all of the bills below.

Every one of these hideously grotesque bills belongs to the Republicans in charge. Affix blame where it lies: At the malicious feet of the radical right who’ve taken over our country during the last 40 years.

Distracted by bump stocks, taking the knee, Corker tweet storm, “real” first lady, IQ challenge?
The following bills have been introduced (as of last week):
1. HR 861 Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency
2. HR 610 Vouchers for Public Education
3. HR 899 Terminate the Department of Education
4. HJR 69 Repeal Rule Protecting Wildlife
5. HR 370 Another attempt to Repeal Affordable Care Act
6. HR 354 Defund Planned Parenthood
7. HR 785 National Right to Work (this one is devastating to the working class … it ALSO applies to Union members)
8. HR 83 Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill
9. HR 147 Criminalizing Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”)
10. HR 808 Sanctions against Iran
Contact your House Representative.
Copy, paste, share

Combine the concerted attacks on the Affordable Care Act with the recent language change on human conception and meaning from Health and Human Services, and Trump’s change to the mandate for covering birth control and you have the toxic makings of a Patriarchal Theocracy.

So much for our Republic. One nation, indivisible, but only for rich white men.

That’s been the plan all along, ever since Carter had the audacity to take the election from Gerald Ford and Bob Dole. Make sure if the Democrats are in power, they never get another chance to do what FDR did, and erode those policies as fast as possible, by any means necessary.

These acts of Trump and the GOP are not just to destroy President Obama’s legacy. They intend to restore to the plan before Bush left office. If only McCain had won, like he was supposed to, this is what would have happened eight years ago. It’s what would have happened if Romney had won in 2012. And it’s why the hypocrites in the GOP hitched their wagon to a narcissistic imbecile like Trump, who doesn’t give an actual shit about anything except protecting his own assets.

I want to be positive, so here’s a prediction: I’m positive that if we don’t get our collective shit together before 11/6/2018, there won’t be another election in this country. Not one we can vote in, anyway.

Either we’ll be dead or the GOP will have rigged the process so that we can’t actually cast ballots for anyone, including dogcatcher.

It takes a lot to grind a functioning social region to a halt. The DC metro area does one thing and it does it very well: We support all those people who make the US Government function. Shutter three agencies, remove the regulations for private industry, shift the center of government elsewhere, and take action against all those who oppose the plan? That’s fascism.

Like I said.

Edited to add:

Just as I was getting ready to put this to bed, FB popped this article up on my feed.

The Hill: Trump to become first sitting president to address Values Voter Summit

The SPLC has identified the Family Research Council as a hate group. More from the SPLC can be found here:

SPLC: VALUES VOTER SUMMIT: WHOSE VALUES?

Tell me I’m wrong.

I dare you.

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.

The Republicans won and they’ve wasted no time showing us liberals what they think of us. They don’t give an actual damn who they harm at this point. They’ve done such a good job snowing their base, those folks will happily walk straight into their graves still believing that the people they elected to office care about anything but their own personal economy and to hell with their constituents. Yes, yes, those town halls are sure something, aren’t they? Meaningless political theatre. It makes the proles feel good, so why not? At least until things get violent, anyway.

Meanwhile, Bernie supporters who voted Anyone But Clinton are still making feeble attempts at explaining their relevance to the future, because they think their candidate still means something. He doesn’t, of course, except as the perfect foil for the Democrats whose last, best hope was to take the White House, and who failed to push enough of the agenda to ensure that would happen. He won’t last past 2018, if I’m guessing right.

In the heat of frustration earlier in the day, on Facebook (that bastion of modern nonsense and bluster that passes, for now, as something resembling a communication tool, if only for one’s personal echo chamber), I started to outline a timeline of damage.

I’ve explored that timeline throughout my Dots posts, but not in anything like a complete way.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I am considering creating a video timeline, which (at least until the government figures out how to shut down YouTube) might be the best way to explain what happened and how we got here.

In the interest of generating the outline, for future reference, here’s my take on the whole shebang, from Nixon’s disgraceful departure through to present day.

I can’t provide proof because a lot of what I think happened because, frankly, either the evidence is gone or it’s still out of view, thanks to the Presidential Records Act of 1978 (PRA).

So while I’m saying this is what I think, I have no proof that this is what actually happened. I can infer, guess, or in some cases prove that these things are what happened, but I do not have either the time or the funding to go and research these statements. So let’s say this is all fiction. It “could” have happened the way I’ve laid it out. Or not. You be the judge.

I’m stealing data from Wikipedia’s existing timeline to save myself the typing time, but you’re welcome to go visit the original and see for yourself what I’ve edited out. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_United_States_history)

1960-1970:

  • Civil Rights Act of 1960
  • CIA U-2 spy plane shot down over Soviet airspace.
  • The 50-star flag is adopted.
  • John F. Kennedy elected
  • President Eisenhower warns of the “military–industrial complex” in his farewell address
  • President Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps.
  • The Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution grants electors to the District of Columbia
  • Bay of Pigs Invasion
  • The Freedom Rides begin in Washington D.C.
  • Vietnam War (1955-1973) continues
  • Cuban missile crisis: A nuclear confrontation took place between the United States and the Soviet Union
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law.
  • Medgar Evers is assassinated
  • March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who gives “I Have a Dream” speech
  • The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, carried out by a KKK splinter group, kills four African-American girls
  • The Atomic Test Ban Treaty is signed.
  • President John F. Kennedy assassinated
  • Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson sworn in as President
  • Lee Harvey Oswald, the sniper who assassinated President Kennedy, killed by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
  • President Johnson establishes The Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.
  • The Clean Air Act signed into law.
  • The Twenty-fourth Amendment eliminates the poll tax
  • The Beatles herald the British Invasion of pop music
  • President Johnson proposes the Great Society, a set of social reforms aimed at the elimination of poverty and racial injustice.
  • President Johnson signs The Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.
  • Robert McNamara helps orchestrate the Tonkin Gulf incident (a false flag operation with ‘deliberately skewed’ intelligence, used to expand U.S. military involvement in Vietnam).
  • The bodies of three missing civil rights activists, working to register voters as a part of the Freedom Summer, are found near Philadelphia, Mississippi.
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson defeats Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.
  • African American Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is assassinated
  • “Bloody Sunday” (Alabama State Troopers severely beat and used tear gas against the nonviolent demonstrators on the Selma to Montgomery marches)
  • March Against the Vietnam War:
  • President Johnson signs the Social Security Amendments of 1965 into law, establishing Medicaid and Medicare in the United States. He also signs the Voting Rights Act
  • The Watts riots in Los Angeles, result in the deaths of 34 people.
  • President Johnson signs the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965, establishing the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • The Immigration Act of 1965 is signed into law, abolishing the National Origins Formula.
  • The Higher Education Act of 1965 is passed.
  • Robert C. Weaver becomes the first African American to hold a cabinet-level position.
  • Miranda v. Arizona: The Supreme Court establishes the rule that becomes “Miranda Rights”
  • National Organization for Women (NOW) is formed.
  • The Freedom of Information Act is signed into law.
  • The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act is passed.
  • The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing succession to the Presidency and procedures for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, was ratified.
  • The United States Department of Transportation is established.
  • Loving v. Virginia: The Supreme Court overrules the prohibition of interracial marriage.
  • Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African-American Justice to serve on the Supreme Court.
  • Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated, prompting riots in Chicago, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Kansas City and Louisville; leaving 36 people dead.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1968, providing equal housing protection, was signed into law.
  • Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated on the Presidential campaign trail
  • The United States signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • Chicago City Police clash with anti-war protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
  • The Gun Control Act of 1968 is signed into law.
  • Former Vice President Richard Nixon is elected President
  • The Stonewall riots mark the start of the modern gay liberation movement in the United States.
  • Senator Edward M. Kennedy drives off a bridge on his way home from a party on Chappaquiddick Island, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne and ruining any future bid for the White House.
  • Americans astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins land on the moon, and Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the moon’s surface.
  • The Woodstock Festival takes place in White Lake, New York
  • Sesame Street premieres on National Educational Television.
  • President Nixon announces the withdrawal of 50,000 U.S. troops from Vietnam; reaching the peak level of U.S. troops in Vietnam at 541,000.

Okay, so that establishes many of the changes over the course of a decade, without laying out the horrible details of the Vietnam war, which ran throughout the entire decade.

From here on, things get truly ugly, as the country struggles with changes in policy and freedom for young adults, women, and people of color. And that ugliness continues for the next 40 years, even as we fool ourselves into believing Johnson’s glorious vision of the Great Society, built on FDR’s vision of the post-Depression world. In hindsight, even as it appears that we’ve won freedom to choose and we’ve come to believe in the American Dream, that dream has become a nightmare. Fake news. The worst propaganda story possible, because it worked as a carrot for the common man, the “temporarily embarrassed millionaire” who voted Trump believing naively that Trump and his cronies cared about anything other than rising to power.

Buckle your seat belts. Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times. The management bears no responsibility for lost limbs or life. Ready?

Go.

In 1970, Nixon’s Southern Strategy started the shift, turning Southern Democrats away from the party and converting them to Republicans. (Remember this fact, when your Libertarian friends want to try and rewrite history. The racists left to join the Republicans under Nixon.)

When Jimmy Carter went on to win the presidency in 1976, beating Gerald Ford (who took over for Nixon, the only President to date who ever resigned from office), the shift from Southern Democrat to Republican was complete. And at about this time, I got involved in politics, working in support of Carter’s run for president at the local level. Ambitious work for a 12 year-old kid, but then I was rooting for McGovern in 1972, and by then the racists had already fled the Democratic party, leading to Nixon’s landslide victory.

In that same election, Carter’s administration saw filibuster-proof Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. (See: House vs Senate control by party.) Note that this didn’t save Carter’s presidency for a second term, because on November 4, 1979 (a little over a year prior to elections in 1980), Iranian students took over the US embassy and held over 50 embassy employees hostage. President Carter’s response was considered too weak, and some suggested that this is how Ronald Reagan rose to power.

I explained some of this here and some more of this here, but the big part is really here. (Don’t just look at the pretty bright letters. Click through and READ these three posts, and every link embedded in them.

I’ll wait.

Done? Great. Moving on.

By the time we get to modern history, the Koch brothers and Robert Mercer, we are well past the ability to reverse the damage.

I invite you to read everything I’ve written since November 8th. It’s not all that much, really, but it’s not above me to say “I told you so.

Tonight, Trump launched a direct attack on Syria, doing precisely what he (and a lot of theoretically liberal apologists accused Hillary Clinton of planning to do throughout her presidential campaign).

“But her emails…”

“Wikileaks…”

Save it. You did this. Own it.

Theme: Elation by Kaira.