Posts tagged ‘violence’

Free Speech Versus Hate Speech

Well a sign of our times is the Neo-Nazi/White Nationalist face off in Charlottesville Virginia in a protest to removing a Robert E. Lee Statue. Oh, did I mention the Ku Klux Klan? Wait, there was a militia marching with their weapons. They are all clashing with counter protestors. Welcome to Trump’s America. Also note that as of this morning, Breitbart is not reporting it, I guess because their continuous legitimizing of hate has now broken out. It is the Alt-Right under one banner. And it is the people who elected Donald Trump. And why is a hate monger like Steve Bannon in the White House?

We are going to see a further rise of violence and white nationalism, because that is how Donald Trump won the election, by goading and legitimizing those hates. So in one part of our country we are turning on each other and finding ways to hate each other. That is the America middle America brought us because we did not understand their pain. They wanted change. How’s that change working?

And make no mistake, the Alt-Right is not exercising their free speech rights, they are engaging in hate speech. There are limits. I am appalled that our greatest strength, our diversity and tolerance, is now under attack and that is clearly legitimized by one person, Donald Trump. The man is not just a disgrace to America, but to the human race. And now we see the fruits of stupid people casting stupid votes.

I would like to expand on that, stupid, ignorant votes. The conventional wisdom is that when Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan (roughly just 80,000 votes) went Trump, because he was the only one who spoke to their pain. Horse shit. The word is pander to their pain and they stupidly fell for it. It was ignorance at work. Sure, even I thought Hillary did not bring real understanding of the increasing economic inequality, and was part of a Democratic elite too tied to the status quo and Wall Street. But Donald Trump was a racist liar. That is not an opinion, he displayed it in every campaign rally he spoke at.

So Hillary did not pander to them, and in fact did not even think they were worth listening too, but the Donald did. And what he promised them was a total fantasy, that he would bring back manufacturing and coal. But how? They never asked that. He is a business man and will run government smartly. Really? That is another stupid and uniformed belief that government is anything like business, nor should it be. It is not to maximize profits, it is to protect us and invest in our futures. So without any plans for the future, describing a reality that does not exist, exhibiting misogynistic, racist, white nationalist tendencies, they voted for him. They are fucking idiots. Now we have the rise of white nationalism, and hate everywhere. We may talk ourselves into several wars, and trust me, the economy is going to crash.

So do you think the Democratic Party should pander to their stupidity and racism? I don’t think so. Don’t move to the middle if that is what moving to middle means. Certainly they have problems and they should be addressed in a more holistic manner in policies to deal with economic inequality. Hillary would have been so much better for them, even with all her faults. But they were mad as hell and stupid as a block of wood. And now we live with what they delivered to us. I tell you who is mad as hell…

So I am doing my part. This is what stupidity and ignorance bring us. We should not pander to it, but educate it, shun it when it won’t be educated, and be a Party and a people who stands for diversity and equal rights, including fixing our economic system so it works for all of us. Hillary did not get that the system is fatally flawed, but she might have eventually, and certainly steered a course that would not give rise to hate, and further violence. We would not be having a legitimized alt-right today.

We are in such dangerous times, both from the bluster abroad and the rise of armed alt-right here at home. This is squarely on Donald Trump. What we need to do as a People and as a Party is to reject both and show a level of intolerance to the hates and fears that sparks all this violence. Republicans continue to pander and enable what we are seeing. Democrats need to firmly reject all of it. Oh sure, we will get statements of horror from Republicans, but Donald Trump is who they enabled. And now the fate of the nation lies in the hands of Republicans in Congress who could do something about him. So far, we have seen what they are made of.

UPDATE: President Trump on Saturday issued a vague condemnation of violence in Charlottesville in a televised statement from New Jersey.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides,” Trump said.

On both sides? Maybe someone ought to show him video of his own speeches. Or maybe someone ought to explain to him what the alt-Right is all about, hate, fear, and violence, not to mention intolerance. The Kettle calling the Pot black. What would President Obama have said, or for that matter, President Bush? Oh have we have fallen.

Bernie Responded:

Oh and here is real leadership and pointing the finger at white supremacy and neo-nazis:


Tragedy and Stupidity on Both Sides

Watching the protests in North Carolina is like watching a train wreck.  While there should be outrage and anger, what’s with the violence?  Oh, I hear the excuses, but it is so counterproductive that it even turns off bleeding heart liberals like me.  You want to destroy property and hurt people, you are a criminal.  You just undermined your whole movement.  You become no different than Trump’s white mob.  Did you not learn anything from Martin Luther King?

Clearly we have a huge problem with policing and the use of force against African Americans.  Clearly North Carolina, whose governor just signed a law to make it harder to see the videos of the incident, is a big part of the problem.  I have no idea why you don’t get the facts out there immediately and try to quell the unrest. You think they could learn something from Hillary Clinton’s foolish attempts at avoiding full disclosure.  Charlotte’s actions of holding back the tapes just increases the distrust of government in general.  So we have stupidity on both sides.  And what is the solution?  Well, I hate to break it to you but it is mostly not the Federal government.  

Unless there are clear violations of the law or civil rights, it is really a state and local matter.  The only real way to solve our problem with systemic racism is for the community and the police to solve it together.  Both have true interests here and both have real concerns about the dangers out there. When both sides are listening, there are solutions. But that is not going to happen until the violence stops and rational heads prevail.  And more importantly, it is not going to happen until African Americans vote and change their governments.  It is not going to happen till they get involved in government itself.

For almost all of our problems, whether they be systemic racism and police overuse of force, to a rigged tax code for the wealthy, our system actually does have a remedy.  It is called voting.  It is called getting involved at the local level.  We seem to have this idea that we can turn out to vote maybe once every four years and then leave it to whoever we elected.  But government has elections every two years, and most of the problems are local.  Solve the local problems and it flows up.  So instead of marching in the street and kicking vans, maybe getting everyone one to the polls, finding someone who represents you and support them, and then stay involved.  That is the way things change.  All the Feds can do is see to it you actually have access to the polls.

I guess the message here is quite simple.  Quit asking someone what they are going to do to fix the system, the real question is what are you doing to fix it and don’t tell me because you grabbed a microphone or marched in a parade.  Did you vote, did you run for office, did you organize voters, did you speak at the city council?  We have a system that is not broken.  It simply does not work because we have left it in the hands of conservatives.  John Kennedy nailed it 56 years ago, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”  Truer words were never spoken. 

I think the real lesson here is we consistently learn nothing from history.

Connecting the Dots

Remember when our southern border was being overrun by unaccompanied minors from Central America?  The majority came from Honduras and there is a very interesting piece in the NYT by Sonia Nazario this morning about how the number from that country has been halved, not by building a giant fence, but by taking on the root cause of the migration in Honduras, violence.

This summer I returned to Rivera Hernández to find a remarkable reduction in violence, much of it thanks to programs funded by the United States that have helped community leaders tackle crime. By treating violence as if it were a communicable disease and changing the environment in which it propagates, the United States has not only helped to make these places safer, but has also reduced the strain on our own country.

…Smart investments in Honduras are succeeding. This offers a striking rebuke to the rising isolationists in American politics. A Pew Research Center poll in April found that most Americans think the United States should “deal with its own problems” while others deal with theirs “as best they can,” a sentiment that’s at the core of Donald J. Trump’s “America First” slogan and “build a wall” campaign. Many seem to have lost their faith in American power.

And then I had this amazing epiphany.  That is exactly our own problem in America as we become a fragmented and troubled society.  Economic inequality is separating power from reality.  The rich deal with our problems by building gated communities both in reality and figuratively to deal with the problem instead of actively engaging in understanding and dealing with root problems.  Trump wants to build a fence on the border, and conservatives want to build a fence around their wealth and isolation.  Diversity scares them and they build walls called voter suppression,  religious freedom (discrimination), anti-intellectualism, and support economic policies that increases that separation. Maybe we could learn something from this.

Muhammad Ali

I think I am going to throw up.  I was listening to the glorifying of Muhammad last night after the announcement of his death and it mad me sad.  Not because Muhammad was not a truly extraordinary man in his own right, but because we killed him.  He died at 74 probably of the complications of Parkinson disease.  He either got or aggravated his disease by the multiple blows to the head he suffered while we all cheered.  Football, boxing, heading a soccer ball, are they worth it?  Boxing to me is the worst.  It’s primary aim is to cause a concussion.  Yeah, a knock out! Brain damage we now know follows.

Maybe that is why I like baseball so much.  There can be tight competition, but the game is about hitting the ball out of the park, not flattening your opponent.  Physical contact and the chance for injury due to it are very secondary to the game.  For football and boxing it is the principal reason for the game. For soccer, heading is deadly. Oh we can pretend no one is out there to hurt one another, but data, you know that pesky old stuff that points out reality tells a very different story.  We can pretend we are better than the Roman at the coliseum when the gladiators fought, but we are not.  And Muhammad Ali died too young.

There is another sadness here too.  We would not have had Ali if he did not have the fight game for him to be able to climb the social and economic ladder.  And that game exploited so many young me that had nothing else.  We couldn’t do any better than that?  We are the “greatest country in the world” and young poor people of color could only beat each other up as a way to climb out of poverty?

Muhammad was not loved when he was young.  He was an “uppity black”.  Now we are falling all over him.  He resisted the Vietnam War and was hated.  He was a Muslim! Now we all love him.  A great many in this nation hated him because quite frankly he was a man before his time announcing it was his time. No question he was a great fighter, but why is it that we as a people who tell each other we abhor violence so love to watch it?  Why do we think it solves any real problems? Violence just begets violence.  So we institutionalize and civilize it in sports, but we look the other way at the carnage.

Muhammad Ali was a very interesting man full of talent and contradictions.  He said look at me, I am a man too.  That was too much for many.  Maybe on his passing we ought to consider how we helped him to leave this earth too early and maybe what he taught us that we haven’t quite seemed to learn even today.

Random Thoughts (WTF)

In Texas according to the NYT, “Mary Lou Bruner, who claimed President Obama was a drug-addicted gay prostitute in his youth (among many other outrageous things), was defeated in the Republican primary for a seat on the State Board of Education.”  Now there are many things to consider here like why are school board elections partisan, but let’s just stick with her claim, which of course is untrue and President Obama’s childhood is an open book.  Say he was a drug-addicted gay prostitute in his youth, wouldn’t we admire him for how he has turned his life around?  Wouldn’t that say something powerful about President Obama’s character?  Oh, and as a betting man I would bet Mary Lou is a Christian with a capital “C”, so where is that redemption thing you all are so big on?  Could it be that none of it applies if you are black?

In another NYT story, “Protesters outside a rally for Donald J. Trump in Albuquerque threw rocks at police horses and lighted fires on Tuesday night, according to the police and postings on social media.”  Note that once again the news was from reported sources, not from objective reporters on the scene which is why they had to correct it for reports of the use of tear gas.  But once again, let’ assume it is true.  Is this equivalency to alleged folding chair throwing in Las Vegas?  My point here is very simple.  There certainly was a heated reaction in Las Vegas, but it does not rise to the level of the Trump folks as our media and Hillary supporters who own the airways want you to believe.  People are angry yes, but sucker punching no.  Bernie and his followers are not Trump and his followers which the media wants you to believe because it is good entertainment, and Hillary supporters want you to believe because they are terrified of Bernie.  Time to dial it back.

Then there was the headline, “Reeling From 2016 Chaos, G.O.P. Mull Over overhaul of the Primaries.”  That’s a laugh.  Remember their post-mortem after 2014?  See any changes?  And they did this before which resulted in the Donald getting a commanding lead early and not being vulnerable later in the process.  We have a problem here Huston and it is our entire primary system which the Democrats and the Republicans control, not the American people.  John Oliver had a great dissection of it last Sunday.  The prime example was that Washington State was voting yesterday, but their delegates had already been selected through the caucus system.  The vote doesn’t matter.  Go figure.

Okay, and in the last piece of news, “Millennials’ Roommates Now More Likely to be Parents Than Partners”.  And economic inequality is a sidebar to this election?  Wonder why the youth vote is not with Hillary?  Their parents like Hillary and it is their parents politics that got us here.  Okay, a way over simplified conclusion, but there is a giant kernel of truth in there.  Or could it be that grown up life in the mercantile world is just too boring?  To have or to be, that is the question.  Happy Wednesday.

The Sad State of our Media

I am still trying to figure out what really happened at the Nevada Democratic Caucus that the press loves to describe as going violent.  Maybe it did, but I am still looking for anything but he said/she said reporting about what happened there.  Certainly we can document some disturbing behavior by Sanders’ supporters in emails, but the press ran away with this one again without any real reporters reporting what really happened.

Did the Democratic caucus pass temporary rules that disenfranchised Sanders’ supporters that made it impossible to compete?  I don’t know.  Did the Democrat establishment types use the rules to really silence the minority?  I don’t know.  Did Barbara Boxer really give the crowd the finger?  I don’t know.  It is all he said/she said without any real reporting going on.  John Oliver had it best Sunday night when he indicted the whole primary process. The parties have a real problem and there needs to be major reform.

I don’t know whether Sanders’ supporters were totally out of line, or goaded into outrage by establishment behavior.  I do know that their actions afterwords involving threats and vandalism was totally out of line and should have been unconditionally rejected by Sanders.  Everyone knows an apology with a “but” in it is not an apology, but an equivocation.  But all in all it was probably blown way out of proportion by the media that loves this stuff, hence the 24/7 coverage of the Republican buffoon candidate.

The news is making the news and if don’t think that is true, see who just got nominated as the Republican candidate for President.  Their coverage is disgraceful and what they choose to cover becomes the news.  They are making the news, not reporting it.  If you doubt that, I just watched an interview with the head of the VA who made the ill advised comment about wait times and lines at Disney land.  He made a point that wait times is not the whole VA experience.  The banner underneath then completely distorted that observation.  But in increases viewership so …

A Couple of Things on Saturday Night

While I wait for my pork chops simmering in olive oil, butter, and garlic to finish, and my Dunamis (Rhone blend) to open up, I thought I would peck out a few thoughts.  First I read in my local paper, well here it is:

Opponents of Donald Trump were so committed to keeping him from speaking in Chicago that they aggressively clashed with supporters, forcing the GOP front-runner to abruptly cancel his rally before it even began.

The next morning, two of the candidates still fighting to defeat Trump, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, said they were so disgusted by the chaos that they may not support the billionaire businessman if he clinches their party’s nomination.

Now a couple of things come to mind.  The first is that what has these crowds riled up is the hatred, xenophobia, and racism that has been sowed in this campaign and pumped at them for eight straight years.  Yet it takes riots for them to recognize it and distance themselves from the man who is just openly says what others have implied? 

Second, at least from Rubio and Cruz, they have sowed the same shit only on a more veiled platform.  Have you listened to either Rubio or Cruz totally disrespect the president, play into fear of Muslims and immigrants, or tell us over and over that Obama is ruining the country?  And it is all a lie.  What are your metrics Senators?  On what, the economy, Wall Street, unemployment, or the debt?  All are empirically infinitely better than when he took over from the last Republican President.

Now Rubio has come out and blamed Obama for the riots.  Trump blames Sander’s.  Let’s see, one denies that the economy came back under President Obama, and of course they have lied to their followers for years about that, and the other is the one who tells his followers he would just like to punch protestors and he will pay any one who does their legal fees.  There is blame alright and all you need is a mirror.

Meanwhile in Europe the refugee crisis gets worse and worse, and we barely hear about it in the United States because of the above morons and our media’s choice to broadcast their anti-American bullshit.  I think what galls me the most is that we and the Europeans could solve the refugee thing if we decided to.  Instead kids and families are suffering and we are creating the terrorists of tomorrow.  Be afraid American.

Well my dinner is ready and my wine has opened up so it is time to forget lunacy and enjoy a quite evening while it rains outside, I am reading The Martian for the 10th time, and the wine is perfect.  I wish I could do more for my fellow man, but I am just an old man with a computer.

Sport or Thuggery?

Well it is bowl season time and with a bad cold, I am watching the games and becoming more and more disenchanted with the state of college football. Does it bother anyone that most of the athletes are black? Does anyone ask why? Could it be that the sport and its risks are just not worth it any more and white households are directing their kids elsewhere. I don’t know, but I suspect it, and as the majority of young people who fought our wars were from lower income backgrounds, so too do I suspect are our warriors in football.

I guess what really brought it home was watching the Texas A&M/West Virginia game and the thuggery that was going on on the field. There were two targeting incidents, where a player launches his body preceded by his helmet at the other players head. The aim is to do harm, serious harm. Only one was was called, I suspect because the officials did not want to eject a second player although he deserved to be ejected. The game was full of trash talk, testing the limits of rule infractions, personal celebrations (as opposed to team celebrations) and personal fouls.

What I found disturbing was while the media quickly picked up on a Texas A&M Assistant taking cheap shots at the WVU players if they strayed out of bounds on A&M’s side, there was no mention of the other thuggery going on on the field. We seem to think this is okay. We seem to think that the lack of respect shown on the field is the new way of playing tough. I know one thing, Texas A&M has a major coaching problem that can’t be swept under the rug by firing one assistant.

Not all games are like this, in the early going in the Stanford/Maryland game, when the score was still close, there was hard playing, but none of the disrespect. Very little of the cheap shots, and when the whistle blew the play really was over and it was time to get ready for the next one. There were very few penalties. It is the way the game should be played, although I may be prejudiced as a Maryland Alumni. Even with the loss, I was proud of both teams.

The NYT had an interesting article this morning about how college football has become professional football and the paydays are driving this trend to NFL type thuggery and personal aggrandizement. The violence, testing the limits of the rules, and basic thuggery is on the rise. I just wonder when we cross the line and become the Hunger Games.

Just Who is the Problem

This mornings news was hijacked by a nut case Iranian, self declared Sheikh, who took hostages in Sidney, and the storming of the chocolate/coffee shop by the police. Is it just me or does it seem that most of these events are by Muslims?

Now that may not be fair because we have nuts who shoot up their workplace here and most are not Muslims. But most of the world’s major conflagrations involve Muslim radicals. So here is the question: Is it just religion gone bad, or the Muslim religion in particular that is a critical part of the mix?

My uneducated guess is both. Even in the U.S. when we look at politicians who hold hateful views (see Bobby Jindal on gays and hurricanes), there is a religious basis for their lack of empathy. They are the chosen ones, and anyone else are the others. Not exactly what Jesus was pushing, but many religions condemn others to purgatory if they are not in the chosen group. And from there you can make them less than human and do all kinds of bad things.

On the Muslim thing, I think the religion, like Christianity, has elements of very repressive beliefs. Since it is heresy to question the religion, punishable by death in many Muslim countries, that leads to other behaviors antithetical to tolerance. See woman and their place in “modern” Muslim cultures. So I guess I would say that the religion still has many of the vestiges of belief that can engender radicalism. That doesn’t mean Muslims and their religion are inherently evil, just as neither are born again Christian although some of their members have killed in the name of belief (abortion doctors). It means the religion needs to evolve.

And that is the problem that makes Muslims problematic. They seem to be slow to renounce radicals (some think this is racist) but I don’t think our tolerance should be used to tolerate their intolerance) and to open up their religion to examination by their faithful. This is something that has to happen in the Muslim community and at least my experience is, only happens in countries like the United States were tolerance of minority views is part of our DNA. Where all questioning of faith and certain tenants of that faith are seen as an attack on the religion in general, well we have a breeding ground for radicals. So yes, it is no surprise that the nut case in Sidney is a religious Muslim nut.