Category Archives: News & Views

Gaza is Bleeding

Caught between long festering hatreds, there is only one certainly in the war between Israel and HamasGaza is bleeding and Gaza is dying.  Over 1000 Palestinians have been killed with losses for the Israelis stands at 43 soldiers and two civilians.

To be opposed to Israel’s offensive does not make one in favor of Hamas’ provocation and I refuse to allow anyone to pigeonhole me into the narrow categories of their own creation.

It’s one thing to advocate for Israel’s right to self-defense against a vicious, implacable enemy and quite another to bomb schools and hospitals in a viciously implacable manner.

For those of us whom aren’t terribly interested in being compelled to choose the white hats over the black hats, when both sides are engaged in despicable acts of mass slaughter and mayhem, neutrality and choosing the middle path where the preservation of life is paramount over someone’s bloody and empty “victory” is the most judicious course.

By the moral yardstick of Israel’s apologists, the Jewish state is obliged to take any step, use any weapon and kill as many as necessary to ensure their continued survival.  By mine, you cede any claim to the high ground once you go to war against civilians.

You know who else does that? Terrorists.

Israel deserves the condemnation they are getting and the more they kill the more they will continue to deserve it.

I understand quite well why others may see a difference between the provocation of Hamas and the harshness of Israel’s response, but from my vantage point Palestinian blood runs as brightly red as Israeli blood and I’m not going to take the side of Israel based upon this supposedly unlimited right to self-defense.

For the true zealot, if Israel nuked Gaza until they turned it into a glow-in-the-dark parking lot, they would find a way to justify it as necessary.

English: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politician

If every Palestinian has to die to keep Israel safe Netanyahu seems willing to accept that.

There is equally no credibility to the falsehood peddled by Israel’s amen corner how the IDF is compassionate in its destruction of homes, hospitals and schools while Hamas acts with ruthless abandon in taking lives.

Deliberately inflicting pain and suffering on the Palestinian people as Israel deliberately shells the hell out of non-military targets could credibly be considered as targeting civilians in revenge for which such tactics should be rationally condemned.

Should be, but won’t be by those for whom no action undertaken by the IDF is ever too extreme and cannot be justified by feebly claiming, “Hamas made Israel do it.”

There is always a choice when killing civilians is on the table. The choice is to kill them or let them live.

We’ve seen what Israel’s choice was. Now both they and their “deeply disturbed” supporters can live with the ugly consequences of that choice.   Perhaps Benjamin Netanyahu truly believes the only way to eradicate the threat poised by Hamas is to eradicate every member of Hamas and anyone who might consider picking up the dropped gun of a slain Hamas member. If so, then this mad plan begins to make sense.

The ability of human beings on one side to rationalize their fears and hatreds of those on the other is as ancient as the race.   Once you stop seeing people as people and only the enemy it becomes easy to kill them as they aren’t fully human anymore.

Blood is blood is blood and wrong is wrong and wrong and if you’re so blinded by your allegiance to Israel’s divine right to kill anybody that makes them feel uncomfortable, I wouldn’t expect you to see that. But then, there’s been so much blood spilled over the decades by this unrelenting hate on both sides that I do understand if some splashed in your eyes.

You can no more bomb your way to peace than you can fuck your way to virginity.  Terror chooses no side and both sides of this conflict have terrorized the most innocent and most vulnerable non-combatants.

There is nothing intrinsically better about dying from the weapons wielded by the big army instead of the small army. Dead is dead and death does not discriminate.

If nothing else comes out of this cataclysm when the shooting and bombing and terrorizing and killing finally stops for a while, the preposterous suggestion that in the name of self-preservation a country can do as it pleases without question or accountability will be finally exposed as the contemptible lie it is.

At this point when everyone on both sides is wading in blood and gore up to their knees, why does it matter so much which side is worse when all that matters is who will finally decide to stop the killing?

 

Relax. It Only LOOKS Like Diversity.

These are not your father’s Avengers. Or anybody’s father’s Avengers.

Here’s how the comic books dividing lines worked in my house when I was a kid.    The boys started off with DC and Batman and Superman and Superboy and then we got sophisticated and left Lois Lane’s 1000th stupid scheme to find out Superman’s secret identity and Jimmy Olsen being turned in a cockroach or something and moved over to  Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men,  and the wondrous splendor of Stan Lee/Jack Kirby’s Marvel Universe.

My sisters read Archie Comics.  And they were welcome to it.   Which reminds me…ever notice you never see Jimmy Olsen and Archie at any of the same parties?  Archie Andrews has never been cool, never been hip, or anything but a series of unfunny gags  from the world’s oldest teenager.  The dilemma was how to make anybody give a damn about this terribly trite ccomic book.

The solution to this problem was to create an alternate universe with an adult Archie.   It’s Middle Age Archie is going to get taken out as he courageously bites the dust saving his gay friend, a U.S. Senator from an assassination attempt.

This is the standard go-to move for the comic book companies to drum up buzz.   Take a beloved character  like Superman, Batman, Captain America,  announce they are going to be killed off and wait for the headlines.   And it works!   But what nobody bothered with was diggging into why Adult Archie was really about to bite it and it turns out because the title flat out doesn’t sell.   According sales figures from May, Life With Archie was #386 out of #439 comic books in sales.   It sold an impressive  2,064 copies.

To put it another way, if Adult Archie wasn’t about to die, they would have to kill him.  Shooting Archie is a mercy killing.

Far less of a contrived stunt is the Secret Life of Archie.   What secret?    There’s a pretty good reason he never chose between Betty and Veronica.



Hey kids! Suggestively Gay Comics!  I’m not saying.  I’m just saying.

Whether its offing Archie and Wolverine,  making Captain America a brother or Thor a woman, it’s all about pandering and pandering desperately for a little bit of attention.  Comics exist primarily as intellectual property for films and to tell the same stories in ever more expensive formats.     Whether they call it The New 52 or Marvel Now,  what comics primarily provide is not occasionally innovative fun, but meaningless “event” after meaningless event.

It’s 2014 and there is still only one monthly title from the majors with an openly gay hero. It’s hard enough to get the heterosexual White males that make up the core of the comics audience to support titles with women or racial minority heroes. When Marvel replaced the Ultimate Comics version of Peter Parker with Miles Morales, a Black and Hispanic teen that was a major change and I recall the howls of outrage fueled in part from racist comic fans. It’s no accident a lesbian lead character is as far as pushing the envelope with sexual orientation goes. A homosexual super hero’s got no shot.

Change the gender, change the race, change nothing else.

Change the gender, change the race, change nothing else.

Homophobia is one reason  the concept of gays in comics is confined primarily to second-stringers, supporting characters and heroes which can be created, discarded and forgotten.

The takeaway from all this is its okay to kill off a long-running established characters (because they always come back) and its okay to give over their name and uniforms to a woman or person of color (because they will eventually take the name and uniform back) or to marry them off, rape and murder their wives, husbands and family members, impregnate them, body swap them, paralyze them, lop off a limb, steal their sight, make them old and infirm, and pretty much do any blessed thing to a long-running established character because you can always retcon it out of existence.

Don’t stress over Dead Archie,  Muslim Ms. Marvel, Thor with breasts in her breastplate or Afro Cap.  Before you can start to hate it, it’ll be over.

Just don’t make them gay.  Phony diversity is cool, but that is the Line of Death which must never be crossed.   There are straight fans who would riot if a major super hero came out.   Or create really angry Tweets.   The prospect of  pissing off all those timid editors and misogynist, homophobic fanboys would be reason enough to do it.   Every group wants to see themselves in their heroes and not only the ones whom are popular with the majority and  comics shouldn’t pander  exclusively to the majority while the minority settles for tokens and table scraps.

I would  be a lot more interested if we were about to get a Black writer on Captain America. Or about any comic book from Marvel and DC.  I’m  over diversity for the sake of appearances thing

If Lois Lane can turn into a Black woman it’s equally possible for Superman and Batman to look deeply in the others eyes and tenderly whisper, “I wish I knew how to quit you.”  Is that an image that disturbs you, dead reader?  Perhaps, but enough with  seven decades of the side eye and vague hints. Go big or go home.

It’s only a comic book and comic fans like difference in their comics.  Just not the radical kind.

The Execution of Eric Garner by the NYPD

He didn’t want to be arrested, but he shouldn’t be dead.

It was hard to miss Eric Garner.  He was 6-4 and between 350 and 400 pounds.  He was hard to miss, but easy to kill.

Garner was protesting a NYPD officer’s attempt to arrest him for selling illegal cigarettes.  Several cops wrestled the father of six to the sidewalk as he yelled, “‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe! Get off of me, get off of me.”   Sgt. Daniel Pantelo applied an illegal choke hold on Garner who apparently suffered a heart attack and died.  The event was captured on video as the cops angrily ordered a man recording the assault on Garner to step away.

To serve and protect, huh?  Who protected Eric Garner from the NYPD.

I’m sure some apologist for the cops will say this was all Eric Garner’s fault. He had no business being a 400 lb diabetic with chronic asthma and resisting the po-po.

But mostly he had no damn business being so Black. That’s always a crime.

This story will fade from the headlines. My attention to it will not. I will await to see how justice handles a gross injustice.  On social media I’ve seen talk that Garner’s killing is simply another manifestation of life and death under the oppressive boot of an aggressive, militaristic police force that acts as an occupying force to keep the niggers, spics and poor White trash in their proper places.   Well, there may be some truth to that, but let me say this about the talk of Americans living in a “police state.”

The NYPD has a long and troubling history of police brutality, but there is a difference between police “brutality” and living in a police “state.”

In a true police state, Eric Garner would never be stopped by the authorities, accused of selling illegal cigarettes and die as an officer executes an illegal choke hold and executes him on the spot.

In a true police state, Mr. Garner would not be allowed out on the streets to freely roam as he likes. He would be stopped, compelled to produce his identification, state his business, and suffer detainment and incarceration should the authorities dislike his response.

This is not the reality of the situation. The reality is Black men being belligerent with White cops never ends well and when you’re big and scary-looking on top of being Black that simply compounds the drama.

People are looking for a devious, Machiavellian explanation for the sorry fate of Eric Garner when the age-old, obvious one explains it well enough

This is not a police state.

Unless these cops walk.

As they walked for Clifford Glover.

As they walked for Randolph Evans.

As they walked for Patrick Dorismond.

As they walked for Eleanor Bumpurs.

As they walked for Anthony Baez.

As they walked for Sean Bell.

As they walked for Amadou “41 Shots” Diallo.

THEN it’s a police state.

Garner was summarily executed on a New York sidewalk.

LeBron Proves You CAN Go Home Again.

I’m back. Get it?

It’s a good thing for both LeBron James personally and for the city of Cleveland specifically that after a bitter four-year estrangement, he’s coming back to the Cavaliers to try to finish what he started. It’s an even better thing for those of whom live in Ohio where this whole “is he or isn’t he” scenario has played out in real-time.

The way James handled The Return beat the hell out of the public relations fiasco that was The Decision. Everything about The Decision was overstated, overblown and a barely concealed flipping the middle finger to Northeast Ohio where James toiled seven years carrying a Cavaliers team mostly devoid of talent. Bitter feelings and bad karma abounded on both sides though Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert carried it too far with a poison pen letter soaked in Haterade that could be found on the team’s website as recently as a week ago.

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE

You can take it to the bank.

Not one of Gilbert’s non-James teams finished above .500. The bank stayed closed.

That letter has since been scrubbed from the Cavaliers website, but the Internet never forgets no matter how much Gilbert wishes it would.

LeBron’s words to Sports Illustrated (and quite noticeably not ESPN) were far more gracious in showing the grace, class and maturity he had developed in four years that were missing in Gilbert’s published temper tantrum.    If you haven’t read it you definitely should.   It’s pretty damned impressive reading.

I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.

When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.

I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. After the season, free agency wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other teams, but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.

To make the move I needed the support of my wife and my mom, who can be very tough. The letter from Dan Gilbert, the booing of the Cleveland fans, the jerseys being burned — seeing all that was hard for them. My emotions were more mixed. It was easy to say, “OK, I don’t want to deal with these people ever again.” But then you think about the other side. What if I were a kid who looked up to an athlete, and that athlete made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react? I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?

Michael Wilbon, who is from Chicago, said it well when he noted James has “Midwestern values” and he honestly LIKES living in Northern Ohio. James could live anywhere  on the planet. What’s so terrible about going back home?

When LeBron left four years ago and more importantly, HOW he left was awkward, clumsy and a hot mess of hype, bad juju and ugliness. He went out like a punk. I called him “LeGone” and meant every word of the contemptuous vitriol I spat his way.

But a funny thing happened over the last four years. My harsh feelings toward James disappeared. How he played on the court with the Heat and how he lived his life off the court with his family won me over. We never hear about James getting in trouble, being busted for drugs, shooting up strip clubs at 2:00 am, banging women coast to coast and dropping’ Little LeBrons all over the U.S.A. From all appearances, James is a solid, stable Family Guy who stays out of the headlines with all the usual non-sports related shenanigans.

Will the second time around be just dust in the wind for James?

As regards Dan Gilbert goes he was a total a-hole the way he handled LeBron taking his talents to South Beach. He spewed contempt for his lone superstar. But for all his bluster, Gilbert had to know how screwed he really was once James left town. He said they would win a championship before James did but it didn’t quite turn out that way.

Check the Cavs record since the ’09-10 season.

09-10: 61-21 (James’ last year in Cleveland)
10-11: 19-63
11-12: 21-45 (lockout shortened season)
12-13: 33-49

If you were Dan Gilbert wouldn’t you pretty much kiss LeBron’s ass to get him back?

Dwayne Wade weighed in with his own thoughts on his former teammate’s return to the Buckeye State:

As a friend and a teammate, I am sad to see my brother LeBron leave to begin a new journey. In 2010, we decided to come together all for one goal — to win championships and we succeeded. We were friends when we first joined the league and created an unbreakable bond the past four years. Our collaboration will always be very special to me both personally and professionally. We shared something unique and he will always be part of my family. LeBron made the right decision for him and his family because home is where your heart is. I know this was not an easy decision to make and I support him in returning to his roots. As an organization, a community, and as individuals, we achieved the goals we set when we first signed on together. We are champions.

Washington Wizards v/s Miami Heat December 18,...

King James and D-Wade say goodbye to all that.

Classy, but then the Miami Heat is a class organization as other well wishes to Lebron from team owner Micky Arison and general manager Pat Riley have echoed Wade’s sentiments. When James returns to Miami in the future he knows he will hear the boos of the disappointed fans, but they will likely be drowned out by the applause of the grateful ones remembering the four consecutive championship appearances and two wins King James led the Heat to.

If Wade is ready to move on, why should I hate on LeBron for coming home to take care of unfinished business? Sure he may never win a championship with the Cavaliers, but it won’t be because he didn’t come back to try.

There are plenty of unlikable owners who own great teams. I am not going to boo the Cavs because their boss is a jerkwad. Plenty of us have worked for bosses who were bastards, but we did the job and cashed the check anyway. Why should we hold James to a higher standard then we do ourselves?

Let’s be honest here. James did what he thought was best for him and his family.  I know there are “fans” who honestly believe LeBron should have put their needs ahead of his own.   They need to set the alarm clock and wake the hell up.

Welcome Home King James.   Now can I get back to focusing on NFL football camps opening Friday?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s the “Return of the King.” You got a problem with that?

 

The Supremes Swing to the Right

We’re The Supremes!

The Supreme Court handed down their last decisions dealing crippling blows to the reproductive rights of women and labor unions. Liberals are taking some small comfort in a blistering 35-page dissent by Justice Ginsburg’s but the reasoning of the losing minority of a Supreme Court decision matters only for a day or so and then it belongs to the legal scholars and history books.

The Hobby Lobby case got all the ink and headlines because it’s a horrible slap at women and their reproductive rights, but the conservative majority stuck it to labor unions too. If these two traditionally Democratic voting blocs still want to sit on their hands (and wallets) after the gut punches Roberts and company handed them, they deserve whatever dark plans the Republicans have in store in for both of them should they retake the Senate and hold the House.

While today’s pair of horrible decisions might seem like distinct issues, in fact they are both part of a larger war on women and workers.

The absurdity of the Hobby Lobby decision (only contraceptives are exempted for religious beliefs because of sluts) is obviously part of the Republican war on women, but it is also very much a war on the poor. An IUD costs about a month’s worth of wages at the minimum wage. If an executive can’t get birth control because her employer gets too hot and bothered thinking of her having sexy time, she can afford it on her own. A Hobby Lobby floor worker? Probably not. For women workers at closely held corporations, this decision will be devastating.

The Harris case is specifically about home care workers in Illinois. Who are home care workers? Women. Poor women. Lots of African-Americans, lots of Latinos, lots of undocumented workers. Home care workers are a major emphasis for SEIU right now; a close friend of mine has spent over a decade on a campaign to organize them in one city alone. Harris threatens all of this. But moreover, it shows how little Alito and the boys care about rights for women wherever they are. It’s hardly coincidental that this case comes down the same day as the contraception mandate. The Court evidently believes that the home is not a workplace, but of course it is a workplace, especially if someone is getting paid to do work. That it is women working in the home, as it has always been, just makes it easier for conservatives to devalue that work.

Of course, it’s about more than just working women and it opens the door for Alito and Roberts’ continued desire to mandate the New Gilded Age, so no doubt we will see new challenges to public sector unionism that will probably reach the Court in 2016 or maybe 2017 at the latest. I am not a legal expert, but my guess as to why Abood wasn’t overturned entirely is that there wasn’t 5 votes for it yet.

Regardless, both of today’s decisions are very much about keeping working women without power both on the job and at home.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court justice.

“What? Me Retire?” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also, when we hear in 2016 that both parties are the same because of [insert pet issue here] and therefore vote for vanity third party candidate, let us remember this day and these decisions. If you think Strip Search Sammy Alito and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are the same, you might want to rethink your positions.

Indeed.

What matters most and in fact the only thing that matters to those disappointed, dismayed and disgusted with how the Court came down in these cases is Justice William Brennan‘s Rule of Five where Brennan would hold up five fingers to his clerks and say, ”Five votes can do anything around here.”

Brennan was a prophet and the Roberts Court is the proof of it.

From 1801 to 1940, less than 2 percent of the Supreme Court’s total rulings were resolved by 5-to-4 decisions. Since then, more than 16 percent of the Court’s rulings have been decided by “minimum-winning coalitions.” In the two most recent Courts, more than a fifth of all rulings were decided by 5-to-4 votes.

Scholars consider these narrow decisions the most political. Research indicates that 5-to-4 rulings are the most likely to be overturned by later Courts. They carry the same legal authority as more unanimous opinions — but not the same moral authority. In this vein, the one branch of government designed to be above partisanship echoes the rise in hyperpartisanship seen throughout Washington.

The Roberts Court has decided more cases by a 5-to-4 ruling (about 21.5 percent) than any Court before it, though only by a narrow margin. The previous Court, led by William Rehnquist, decided 20.5 percent of its cases by this minimum coalition. That rate, however, represents roughly twice the share of 5-to-4 rulings in the Stone Court, during World War II. And the Stone Court had more than three times the rate of 5-to-4 decisions of any Court prior.

Roberts noticed the trend early in his term. “I do think the rule of law is threatened by a steady term after term after term focus on 5-4 decisions,” Roberts told The New Republic’s Jeffrey Rosen in 2006. “I think the Court is ripe for a similar refocus on functioning as an institution, because if it doesn’t, it’s going to lose its credibility and legitimacy as an institution.”

Justice Ginsburg is 81. Stephen Breyer is 75. With the Court’s term over, the speculation will begin again will either one retire while President Obama and a Democratic majority are still in power? It’s doubtful for multiple reasons.

Neither Ginsburg or Breyer’s departure tips the Court’s ideological balance. But what if Antonin Scalia (78) or Clarence Thomas (66) were to get a sudden itch to go fishing’ or spend more time with their families? Or just leave the Supreme Court to try out for The View?

Okay. It’s not gonna happen. Scalia and Thomas will announce they’re secret lovers before ever they allow Obama to appoint their replacements.

But even if one of the Justices were to suffer an untimely demise, there’s no way a Republican-controlled Senate would allow Obama to tip the axis of power of the Court to the liberal minority.

This is the current membership of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Do you think there is anyone Obama could nominate Al Franken and Ted Cruz would both vote for?

As far as Brennan’s Rule of Five goes this is a battle the Left lost years ago and it may take many years before they begin to win any.

But the last people I want to hear from are the smug elitists and professional cynics who say “there’s no difference between the Democrats and Republicans.” Yeah, sure. Look at how the justices selected by Democratic and Republican presidents voted and tell me that one again.

Don’t tell me you’re appalled (or even surprised) by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority deciding corporations have more rights than women. Tell me what you’re going to DO about it. The first thing is to vote and keep the Senate in Democratic control. That is, unless you want Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell telling President Obama whom he will allow to sit on the Supreme Court when a vacancy opens up.

"Me?  And justice?  Now THAT'S funny!'

“Me? And justice? Now THAT’S funny!’

Mississippi, Hot Damn!

Bad guy versus Worse Guy

There is a runoff election tonight in Mississippi in the race between incumbent Republican Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel, who is backed by the Tea Party and other right-wing activists.  Cochran has the support of the GOP establishment who prefer his bland predictability and being a good soldier to McDaniel’s radicalism which would make him a potential wild card and threat to Mitch McConnell’s plans if the Republicans take control of the Senate.

Nobody paid much attention to the race until McDaniel forced Cochran into a run-off in the primary.   Cochran is expected to go down in flames to the hard-charging McDaniel.   In an act of desperation, Cochran is pleading for Mississippi Democrats, especially Blacks to save his seat.  Republican are sending poll watchers to “observe” Democratic voters.

The only reason the Republicans are sending “poll watchers” is not to protect the integrity of the vote but to intimidate Black voters. On the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer where Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner lost their lives buried in the Mississippi mud, this is a repulsive act of Good Ol’ Fashioned Southern Racism.

Mississippi Goddam, anyone?

As regards Sen. Thad Cochran, if he isn’t isn’t cut from the same dirty cloth as James Eastland, John Stennis, Theodore Bilbo, Trent Lott and the other undistinguished gang of losers, idiots and bigots Mississippi keeps sending to the upper chamber in Washington, he’s only a more genteel and low profile version.

Thad Cochran, member of the United States Sena...

Thad Cochran, member of the United States Senate from Mississippi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

He’s been there a long time (36 years), is a committed supporter of pork barrel politics and has accumulated a horrid record on social issues.

Cochran is received an 11% rating from the NAACP, indicating an anti-affirmative-action stance, but that’s positively sparkling compared to his 0% rating by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record and 0% by the Human Rights Campaign, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance.

Not that the challenger (and almost certainly the next U.S. Senator from Mississippi) is any sort of prize. In fact, McDaniel is even less appealing than Cochran.

McDaniel, who surprisingly led Cochran by 1,400 votes in the June 3 primary, has been able to mask how far right he really is. Investigative magazine Mother Jones in 2013 reported that McDaniel was featured speaker for a neo-confederate, pro-secessionist conference in Jones County where many attendees wore Confederate uniforms.

Last Saturday, The New York Times, which has sent two reporters to cover the runoff, interviewed Carl Ford, a 77-year-old lawyer in McDaniel’s hometown of Ellisville. A staunch McDaniel backer, Ford admitted being active in the county’s Sons of Confederate Veterans.

What The Times didn’t know is that Ford had been a Klan lawyer who in 1998 served as a defense attorney for the late Sam Bowers of Laurel. Bowers was Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan during the civil rights era. The White Knights was a Mississippi-born group which the FBI charged with plotting several brutal murders.

Bowers was three times prosecuted as the mastermind for violent racial crimes. A state jury in 1967 deadlocked by one vote on convicting Bowers for the firebomb slaying of respected Hattiesburg grocer Vernon Dahmer, an NAACP voting rights leader. Retried in 1998, with Ford on the defense team, Bowers was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the Dahmer murder. Bowers died in prison in 2006.

I have no doubt a Tea Party prick like McDaniel will do his best to get that NAACP rating down to zero and make the dead and damned souls Stennis, Eastland and Bilbo smile on whatever rock in hell they’re squatting on.

If there were a way for both Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel to lose, the U.S. Senate would be better for it. It’s equal parts laughable and contemptible that Cochran is looking to Black Democrats to save his worthless old ass.

This is some real “the devil you know” shit.

If I were a voter in Mississippi tonight, I’d hold my nose, pull the lever for Cochran and tell any “poll watcher” to bacdafucup off me.

No matter who wins nothing good is coming the way for Black Mississippians from either of these two good old boys.

"Do I whistle 'Dixie?'  Why yes, I do.  Why? (photo: Angry Black Lady Chronicles)

“Do I whistle ‘Dixie?’ Why yes, I do. Why? (photo: Angry Black Lady Chronicles)

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Is Free. That’s A Good Thing, Right?

Prisoner of war? Deserter? Both?

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban in 2009. Tonight he’s a free man.

Welcome back, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Members of the Taliban handed over the only U.S. service member known to be held hostage in Afghanistan on Saturday morning in exchange for five Afghan detainees. The deal, which the Obama administration has been pursuing for several years, was brokered by the government of Qatar. “Sergeant Bergdahl’s recovery is a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield,” President Obama said in a statement, after he delivered the news to the soldier’s parents. “And as we find relief in Bowe’s recovery, our thoughts and prayers are with those other Americans whose release we continue to pursue.” According to a senior Defense Department official, when Bergdahl was safely aboard a helicopter, he wrote the letters “SF?” on a paper plate, meaning “special forces?” A team member responded, “Yes. We’ve been looking for you for a long time,” at which point Bergdahl broke down in tears.

Not everyone is happy about how this deal happened. House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mi) went on CNN to blast the Obama Administration for dealing with the Taliban.

“I’m extremely troubled that the United States negotiated with terrorists and agreed to swap five senior Taliban leaders who are responsible for the deaths of many Americans. This fundamental shift in U.S. policy signals to terrorists around the world a greater incentive to take U.S. hostages.”

House Armed Services Committee chairman Howard P. McKeon (R-CA) and ranking Senate Armed Services Republican James Inhofe (R-OK) released a joint statement:

“Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk.”

“I’m a U.S. Senator, dammit! Respect my authority!”

And of course John McCain had something to say.

“These particular individuals are hardened terrorists who have the blood of Americans and countless Afghans on their hands. I am eager to learn what precise steps are being taken to ensure that these vicious and violent Taliban extremists never return to the fight against the United States and our partners or engage in any activities that can threaten the prospects for peace and security in Afghanistan.”

Apparently the Obama Administration didn’t tell “senior Afghanistan officials” of the impending exchange and the New York Times reports the president may have done an end run around Congress which explains why Republicans are fuming so.

That, and of course they can’t abide the thought the Kenyan Socialist with no birth certificate has done it again.  If Obama walked on water, laid hands on the blind and lame and they could see and walk while feeding the masses with only some bread and fish, the Fox News headline would be “Obama Still Talkin’ that Income Inequality Crap, Can’t Swim.”

By now even Obama knows there is nothing he can do Republicans will give him any credit for and it is futile to go looking for any.

If Bergdahl’s release reminds the many there is a price only a few of us are paying for fighting this forgotten war and most of us don’t have to share in that cost that alone makes the deal worth it.  There’s been a lot of discussion about the current mess at the Veterans Administration that cost former General Eric Shinseki his job and not enough on how the system is being overwhelmed by the influx of new patients from the Iraq and decade-old Afghanistan wars.

The best way to avoid these sort of situations and the resultant schisms that come from them are not to play at war anymore and particularly not when you’re not going to go all-out to win. Haven’t we learned from Viet Nam what happens when the United States goes to war in places the American people don’t really want to be for reasons they don’t understand?

A lot of people die and not much of anything comes from it.

Prediction: Republicans will give Obama an earful for a week or so, but after their hissy-fit passes most Americans will give the president credit for not leaving Sgt. Bergdahl in the hands of the Taliban than worry about the five prisoners he was exchanged for.

Personally, I would have traded every prisoner at Gitmo to get one American soldier out. Set ‘em free now and kill ‘em all later if you must, but leave no man behind. Even one as problematic as Bergdahl.

the president and Bergdahl’s parents meet the press. Now the tough questions start.

 

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How Not To Talk About Mass Murder.

Welcome to the chalk outline. Mind the blood stains.

I’ve fed my inner right-winger pretty thoroughly with all this death penalty stuff, but along comes this month’s regularly scheduled mass shooting spree.  America averages a mass killing every two weeks which are different from shooting sprees.  By now, you already know more than you wanted to about the latest one as details about the killer (if not his victims) continue to flood out.

Here’s what I’m not going to do.  I’m not going to mention the shooter’s name.  I’m not going to watch his creepy video or read his even creepier “manifesto.”   I will the skip the armchair sleuthing for motives and amateur psychoanalysis for possible motives.  That’s the territory of the cable TV “experts” and I don’t want to horn in on their act.
This is the Internet.  You don’t need a blog to tell you more of what you already know.

This murderer was unknown to me a few days ago.  I will deny recognizing his existence a while longer.

I am confident the Bill of Rights is resilient enough to survive this latest “gutting” of it the NRA and gun fanatics fret over in much the same way it has every previous mass shooting in America. The organized stalwarts of the Second Amendment have been quite efficient in controlling the sort of conversations we the people have about mass murder and the use of firearms in these tragic, but all too common, events.

We seem to have fallen into an automatic response to these sort of things. First things first: let’s name the shooter, speculate on what his motives might be, (because it nearly always is a male).

Later we can get to the mundane little details like who our shooter killed in his rampage and much later we just might get around to what the efficacy and effectiveness is of using a gun when you absolutely positively want to kill a lot of human beings in as little time as possible.

This is how Americans deal with mass shooting events.

1. Speculate and theorize in the absence of facts.
2. Emphasize how terrible this is and how sympathetic we are to the wounded and the slain.
3. Do NOT bring up guns. It’s too soon.

Remember Columbine? Or would you rather forget?

If those three fast and easy rules to discussing mass shooting events are too much to remember, then remember this:

BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!

If you’re in some undemocratic country without a Bill of Rights like China reading this please translate this to read “Blame the stabber. Don’t blame the knives he stabbed people with!”

Me? I multitask. I BLAME THE SHOOTER. AND THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH TOO!

When it comes right down to it, I don’t care why these guys go off.   Their backgrounds and motives and reasons are only interesting as far as understanding their crimes.  But understanding why mass murderers commit murder doesn’t seem to be preventing or stopping them from murdering.  There are a lot of dudes just like this one who have poor self-image issues who can’t attract the ladies who don’t go out and slaughter innocents.  ALL and I do mean ALL of the attention is given over to the killer and his issues, motives sad feelings and staggering narcissism and days later we get a blurb or two about the victims.

It’s no wonder so many of these loners/losers lash out this way. At long last the world is finally paying attention to them. It shouldn’t.

We learn a lot about these killers. less about their victims and nothing about how to prevent the next mass killing.   We’ll be back here again and sooner, rather than later.

jaredloughner

Different names. Same kind of crazy.

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