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)

Guns? No. Radical Islam? No. LGBTQ Rights? No. Insanity? Close…

Guns? No. Radical Islam? No. LGBTQ Rights? No. Insanity? Close…

UPDATED: 7:49pm

 

I didn’t want to go there, but I sure had a sneaking suspicion, and I’ve just been proven right.
According to Gawker Magazine, the shooter was a regular at Pulse. This was no random attack. It was cold blooded, premeditated murder. Daesh had nothing to do with it.

 

Orlando Shooter Was Reportedly a Regular at Pulse and Had a Profile on Gay Dating App

 


There are plenty of words for what happened in Orlando but I promised not to say any of them yesterday because the families and friends of the dead deserved that much.

It’s disgustingly typical of Conservative America that the 2nd Amendment remains more important than human life, but how will the deluded reconcile too many guns with radical Islam and manage to keep the dialogue from devolving into “more guns would fix this?”

Make the problem into a self-righteous rant that they must have deserved it because LGBTQ? (Nope. No cognitive dissonance there.)

No. Not quite.

Whether the lone wolf shooter, who will remain anonymous in this post, is or is not an actual member of DAESH is truly irrelevant here. He was born in New York City, was not even observing Ramadan (the holiest month in the Islamic year), and in the usual 20/20 hindsight that comes after these events, was unstable, violent, threatening, and still employed despite a co-worker’s warnings that he was dangerous. The shooter was licensed and fully able to acquire the firepower he needed to do roughly a third the amount of damage as took place November 13, 2015 at Le Bataclan in Paris.

The problem lies not in the shooter’s actual affiliation but in the dialogue that will come from this horrific event. It lies in this statement, posted by WTOP at 5:50 a.m.:

The Islamic State’s radio has called the Orlando mass shooter “one of the soldiers of the caliphate in America.”

Al-Bayan Radio, a media outlet for the IS extremist group, on Monday hailed the attack that left 50 people dead [including the shooter], saying it targeted a gathering of Christians and gays and that it’s the worst attack on U.S. soil since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Authorities say [the shooter] opened fire with an AR-15 rifle at a gay nightclub early Sunday before being killed in a shootout with police. Another 53 people were wounded in the shooting.

The broadcast is apparently an opportunistic statement as IS has not officially claimed responsibility for the Orlando attack.” [emphasis mine]

You want to see how this stacks up against reality?

Have you been reading my posts? I’ve explained this already. And I’m not alone.

As mass shootings plague US, survivors mourn lack of change

There can be no rational discussion ever again about common sense gun control, because GOD NRA FORBID we exercise control of our emotions long enough to realize we’re talking about human lives, of people with the same exact rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, whether it’s the brand of happiness we think is acceptable.

When single issue voters choose the Second Amendment over anything resembling sanity, this is what we get as a result: “The state of Gun Violence in the US, explained in 18 charts.”

In 2009, when there were still enough Democrats in Congress to make a difference, the House and Senate finally passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Obama later signed into law. It would never have passed today.

According to Vox.com, the bill, which added perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disabilities to the list of protected classes under existing federal hate crimes law, was passed as a rider to one of that year’s Defense Spending bills, no thanks to the following individuals, who voted against the bill.

[The names in RED are running for re-election this November. Remember that when you go to the polls this year. Again, emphasis mine.]

In the Senate:

Sen. John Barasso (R-WY)
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sen. James Risch (R-ID)
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)

 

In the House

The following are ALL up for re-election, except where noted, and you can vote them out in November:

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Rep. John Boozman (R-AR), who’s now a US senator
Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA)
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX)
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Rep. Dan Camp (R-MI)
Rep. Shelley Capito (R-WV), who’s now a US senator
Rep. John Carter (R-TX)
Rep. John Chaffetz (R-CA)
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX)
Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL)
Rep. John Culberson (R-TX)
Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), who’s now a US senator
Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-TN)
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who’s now a US senator
Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA)
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO)
Rep. Steven Guthrie (R-KY)
Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS)
Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV), who’s now a US senator
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX)
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)
Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
Rep. Pete King (R-NY)
Rep. John Kline (R-MN)
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH)
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX)
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA)
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Rep. John Mica (R-FL)
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)
Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI)
Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS), who’s now a US senator
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA)
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX)
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN)
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN)
Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA)
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL)
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA)
Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN)
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY)
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL)
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL)
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA)
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID)
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE)
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX)
Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)
Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH)
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY)
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA)
Rep. Don Young (R-AK)

 

What are YOU doing on November 8, 2016?

Why the Moon Matters to Me

Why the Moon Matters to Me

On August 18th of this year, I presented my first-ever sermon, at my Unitarian Universalist congregation. The seeds for the service were stewing for the better part of a year before I forced myself to sit down and put the pieces together.  Continue reading “Why the Moon Matters to Me”

Connecting the Dots…

Connecting the Dots…

UPDATE (10/26/12): It appears the news is heating up. Thanks to the Daily Kos, we may well be looking at the real smoking gun in this campaign. Whether it’s enough to take away Romney’s momentum and make even the staunchest racist Republican vote elsewhere remains to be seen. After all, there are those in the Republican party who simply can’t abide a black man in office.

Sometimes it’s terribly hard to see the big picture, especially when people go to great lengths to keep us from seeing more than little bits and pieces.

I’ve been checking my feed and seeing what I’ve missed over the last couple of days, so forgive me if this is coming as a surprise to you. I’m shocked I didn’t see the connection before, but as the writer in the piece from the Daily Kos says, it’s hard to catch everything unless you’re really looking for it.

What? Miss what?

I just spent some time catching up on video I should have watched a while ago. I suspect I can be forgiven for missing this, but the video came so early in the race, Romney was still fighting against his opponents prior to the RNC, there was still too much noise to filter.

From ABC News, aired March 2, 2012, just four days before Super Tuesday, this should have blown Romney’s candidacy out of the water, but it didn’t because it’s been forgotten. Seems his base has Romnesia too.

But here’s the thing: When I posted my own story on the barrage of information hitting my screen, I missed a huge connection thanks to burn-out and a sudden intensification of work at the office. Thanks to a friend, I’ve read all these articles. They add up. In fact, they leave me wondering if this is the very thing Ann Romney’s worried about.

See, here’s the thing. Over the last few weeks, we’ve heard more and more about Sensata, Bainport, and Romney’s disinterest in helping keep American jobs from being shipped overseas to China. So what does that have to do with the video above? Not much, except to question Romney’s ethics again, only…wait for it…this isn’t the first time Bain was implicated in forcing jobs related to the automotive industry to move overseas.

In 2008, Ann Romney made a ton of money because the manager of her “blind” trust bought out Delphi and–yes, that’s right–shipped their jobs to China.

Don’t believe me. Read the articles below. Ever since Ryan’s flap at the soup kitchen, which now strikes me as the tempest in a teapot it really was, these articles have been popping out in various places.  These guys are experts at smoke-screens.

The Nation got there first, though, two days after Ryan’s disastrous photo op.

Romney’s had Harvard lawyer’s training, even if he doesn’t practice at the Bar. He knows how to cover his tracks. So why is his tax form such a big deal when his father’s opinion was so clear on the subject?

Well, just how would it look if you and your wife took a direct profit from American jobs being shipped overseas, and from the bankrupting of GM? Not so good, I’m thinking, especially for those hundreds of thousands of people who are out of manufacturing jobs thanks to the screeching halt of auto sales right in the middle of the financial crisis?

Read these and get back to me. Take your time. I’ll be here.

October 17, 2012:

The Nation (November 5 Edition): Mitt Romney’s Bailout Bonanza

Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012:

Dayton Daily News: Report: Romney benefited from Delphi bankruptcy

Saturday, October 20, 2012:

Daily Kos: Sensata, Delphi, GM, Auto Bailout, and Romney. The Solution is Free Markets?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012:

The Huffington Post (10:10pm): Mitt Romney Profited By At Least $15.3 Million From Auto Bailout: Report

Do you know ALEC? If not, you should. And you should be afraid.

Do you know ALEC? If not, you should. And you should be afraid.

You know that term “States’ Rights” being bandied about by the Tea Party and Romney himself? The theory that legislation is best handled by each state has been around since the founding of the US. It has been used as a tool for restricting racial and civil rights.

Until recently, it was still possible to see our country as a whole, though often divided organization dedicated to the same rights and liberties across state borders. But with the outing of the Stand Your Ground law, something I would call far more sinister has come to light and you should be aware of it before you cast your vote in this election.

In late September of this year, Bill Moyers presented this special report on how the secretive American Legislative Exchange Council has helped corporate America propose and even draft legislation for states across the country:


United States of ALEC from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

The United States of ALEC: Bill Moyers on the Secretive Corporate-Legislative Body Writing Our Laws

The Washington Post explains: and ALEC’s own web site gives more “insight” into its supposedly non-partisan positions.

Why should you be worried? Ask instead: Why are corporations pushing so hard for privatization? Could it be that regulations designed to keep pricing in check are being set aside in the interest of feathering the nests of these already rich companies?

To understand why our country is in the mess it’s in right now, watch Bill Moyers’ video and/or read the transcript. You should wonder why we aren’t hearing more about ALEC.

Remember that Romney and Ryan represent business first, individuals second. If these candidates have their way, they will drive our country right over a cliff and ALEC will sit back and reap the profits. The only losers will be our civil society.

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”

November 11, 2008: Special Comment on Gay Marriage ~ Keith Olbermann

November 11, 2008: Special Comment on Gay Marriage ~ Keith Olbermann

From a friend, who found it for me…

Keith Olbermann’s special comment on Proposition 8:

And here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChanTFSmqao

It’s long but you should watch the whole thing. All I could think of was “Amen, brother.”
I couldn’t have said it better.

Here’s the text of the Olbermann piece, in case you don’t want to watch the video (which you should): http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27650743/

Comments:

JW:
If I were single I’d be writing that man love letters.

SO-D:
I love him anyway.

LD:
Thanks so much for posting this
Wow. I think that’s the first time a new commentary has made me cry.

SO-D:
A Mormon comments on gay marriage: Mormon Church wins on gay marriage

RR:
He said what I said but in a more eloquent way. I wish I had gotten off my duff because about two weeks before the election I realized the “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Why can’t the world live more that way?

I know this has made the rounds, but the comments are almost as funny as the piece itself…

I know this has made the rounds, but the comments are almost as funny as the piece itself…

Les Misbarack

:

I gotta wonder how many takes it took them to produce the finished version…

And in other news:

Connecticut court overturns gay marriage ban

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE4996BE20081011

and finally, in the “Duh” department, now this:

Panel: Palin abused power in trooper case

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/10/palin.investigation/index.html

I’m sure our favorite hockey mom won’t do that when she’s President. Nope. Not her!

That’s all I’ve got tonight, besides a cough. Maybe tomorrow will be more productive….

Comments:

MH:
…but, you know, the investigation was simply a political ploy… just sayin’

Insanely busy the last couple of days…

Insanely busy the last couple of days…

Ok, so before I get started on the last couple of days, this I gotta share (thanks to RN, who finally forced me to get my own YouTube account).

Obviously not safe for work; not at all safe for kids either.

Freedom [better quality]

If you’re wondering why I’m not crowing more about the takeover of the House and Senate, the supremacy of the Democratic Party, or the end of the Evil Empire, understand that I’m just exhausted.

There’s a fine rant about the disgusting timeliness of The Crucible somewhere around here, and I might get there sometime soon, but not in the next couple of days. Besides, I think I need to think some more about what I want to say.

You may be surprised to discover that I’m really hoping people don’t screw this up. In the back of my head I’m hearing “be careful what you ask for” and it’s getting louder all the time.

Well, isn’t that nice…

Well, isn’t that nice…

Glad to know I’m just being patriotic.

ABC News: US president holds news briefing

Bush’s two-day China stop — his third as president to the communist giant — was the centerpiece of a weeklong Asia tour, but an acrid debate at home about the war in Iraq has followed him here. While overseas, the White House has not let a day go by without a no-holds-barred verbal counterattack against Democratic critics of the president’s war policies.

Bush appeared determined Sunday to scale back the rhetoric. Appearing before reporters at his hotel before he attended a lavish dinner with his Chinese hosts, Bush rejected the notion that it was unpatriotic to disagree with him. (Watch business and pleasure in Beijing — 3:17)

“People should feel comfortable about expressing their opinions about Iraq,” he said. “This is not an issue of who is patriotic and who is not patriotic. It’s an issue of an honest open debate about the way forward in Iraq.”

Theme: Elation by Kaira.