Sunday, April 22, 2012

Step Right Up Folks for Some Second Amendment Fun

Hurry, Hurry, Hurry. Come see the side show.  This is the USA ,where a sixteen year old boy can buy a gun easier than a pack of cigarettes, and where toting a sidearm is your God-given right. The second amendment to the United States  Constitution clearly states:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. "

What?? You mean you thought the second amendment said explicitly that individuals could keep an assault weapon in the closet?  Nope, not at all.  It has to do with having a citizen army as opposed to a professional military class.  

The irony is that these days there is no citizen army-- hasn't been since the draft was abolished. Oh, and we have an ever growing professional military. So if the point of the second amendment is to keep citizens armed so that a professional military can never arise and take over the government, how come it is now construed to mean that any yahoo who wants one can own a gun? Only God and the NRA know the answer to that one.

 Meanwhile, step right up and stand your ground. Exercise your God given right to shoot at anybody who looks suspiciously foreign or like they don't belong here. This is America, after all, land of the free and home of the brave.  Ready. Aim. FIRE!

H/T to the ever creative Zina Saunders for the video

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

White Men Can Stand their Ground in Florida. Black Women Like Marissa Alexander Better Not Try It

That pesky Florida " stand your ground" law that was George Zimmerman's excuse for murdering seventeen year old Trayvon Williams, works differently if you are a black woman fighting off an abusive husband  who has threatened to kill you, than if you are a 28 year old Hispanic man fending off an un-armed seventeen year old black boy in a hoodie.  It seems that it is OK (as the law puts it) "to  use force in self defense without the duty to retreat first"only if you are a white or Hispanic male.

If you are a black female like Marissa Alexander, a black women in fear of her life from a violent and abusive husband against whom she had an order of protection-- if you are Marissa and have a legal permit and know how to use a gun, and if when your soon to be ex husband threatens to kill you nine days after you have given birth to his child and you fire a warning shot from your gun into the ceiling and call the cops-- well, in that case, when the cops arrive they arrest YOU, throw you into jail and you end up facing 20 years in prison.

Are you hopping mad yet?  I am.  Obviously, racism and sexism are alive and well in Florida. A woman who has just given birth to a premature baby is attacked by a violent husband with a history of domestic abuse and ends up in jail, while George Zimmerman actually murders a seventeen year old  un-armed boy and the law does not have enough evidence to take him into custody until there is a national public outcry and he gives himself up.  What is wrong with this picture, I ask you?  Go read Mraissa's online deposition here and then hie yourself on over to The Immoral Minority where Gryphon has posted a summary that explains the whole case in well organized bullet points.  You'll get the entire picture.

I don't know if it is just that Florida is more racist and sexist than the rest of the country or what.  All I know is that the " stand your ground" law is causing a lot of trouble and it has got to go.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Secret Service Makes Me Nervous

Talk about boys behaving badly. Eleven members of the Secret Service contingent charged with watching over President Obama at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia this past week-end  have been relieved of their duties, along with five members of the military they were hanging out with.  All this is pending a Presidential investigation into their bad behavior last Thursday. Boys will be boys, but these guys were like a college toga party gone wrong.

The Secret Service was not so secret in  Colombia. Turns out these guys were out getting drunk in a strip joint and picking up hookers when they were supposed to be acting as advance men for the President's week end visit.  Thursday night they all went for a big blowout at a cheezy local club where they drank expensive whiskey, picked up a few hookers and  almost started a fight. But what really got to the folks in Colombia(where prostitution is legal, btw) was that after getting drunk on fine whiskey, and whisking the hookers back to their rooms at the oh so swanky Hotel Carib, they refused to pay one of them the equivalent of $47.00 for her services. 

What creeps. I can't help wondering how their wives are going to feel about this. I know I'm not exactly enchanted by the way the Secret Service is using my tax dollars.  What about you?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Little Red Riding Hoodie

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to get this cartoon.  It speaks to the Trayvon Martin murder and Geroge Zimmerman is definitely the big bad wolf in the case.  Who can possibly argue that race was not a big factor in his killing of  Trayvon, a seventeen year old boy.  Zimmerman maintains that the kid attacked him and broke his nose.  Are you kidding?  You kill a seventeen year old because he broke your nose?  One does wonder what Zimmerman would have done had his attacker been white and not wearing a hoodie.  The 911 call he made just before the shooting is chilling and a testament to impaired perception.

According to a recent ABC/Washington Post poll,  55 percent of Americans feel that African Americans are not treated equally under the law.  Duh!  Only 55%?  What is up with that level of white denial?The United States  has the highest rate of incarceration in the industrialized world-- 2.3 million people, 2.1 million of whom are male.  Of those male prisoners, almost 38% are black. That is a thought provoking statistic considering that blacks make up only 13% of the American population. 

 But any person of color in the nation could tell you that these statistics are right on the money from personal experience, and any white person would not have a clue, because  here in the land of the free and the home of the brave, black people and white people still experience very different worlds.Even our President is not exempt. I'm a conservatively dressed, salt and pepper haired white woman who can drive 80mph through a school zone and never get stopped by a state trooper.  Wonder what would happen if I were an 18 year old black male?  Never mind-- I think I know.

For the moment, George Zimmerman, far from taking responsibility for his actions, has put up a website asking for donations and telling the world how mis-understood he is.  What a nut job.  We are waiting for an announcement from  the special prosecutor in Florida.  It should come today and I fervently hope it is an announcement that George Zimmerman will be prosecuted ( if he can be found). It better be!

 I suspect George is no longer in the country and is being helped by some rather unsavory white hooded friends. I hope he gets caught  and is brought back home to face the music soon.  If he escapes, he will be just another in a long line of white men who have literally gotten away with murder because the victim is black.  We've already had too much of that in this nation.  Time for all of us, black and white together, to face reality and do the right thing.

H/T Political Humor

EVENING UPDATE:  George Zimmerman is now in custody and  has been charged with second degree murder.   If found guilty, he could get up to life imprisonment.  Florida's controversial " Stand Your Ground" law  is now coming under close scrutiny as a result of this tragic killing.

 Stay tuned. The fat lady has barely opened her mouth.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Greek Tragedy named Dimitris Christoulas

 Dimitris Christoulas is the 77 year old retired pharmacist who two days ago stood in front of the Greek Parliament building in downtown Athens and blew his brains out because he couldn't bear being reduced to  foraging for food in garbage cans.  He was Mr. Everyman-- an ordinary citizen who worked hard, supported his family and saved for retirement.  He was us, part of the worldwide 99%, and that is what has shaken everybody up so badly.We all identify with the desperation of the man. He could be us, or our father or grandfather.

We haven't heard much about this modern Greek tragedy here in the United States because we've been busy with Newt and Mitt and the rest of the Republican clown car, but we really should pay attention to Dimitris Christoulas and his story. His suicide and the ensuing riots just may be the tipping point that galvanizes a nation and an example to the world, if not to the World Bank.  It was a fruit peddler setting himself on fire in Tunis that set the Arab Spring in motion after all.

 He left a note.  Here's a photo of the original in Greek. (H/T to for both the image and the translation) as well as for the heart rending photo above.

and here is the English translation:

The Tsolakoglou [a reference to a wartime Nazi collaborationist in Greece] government has literally wiped out my ability to survive, based on a decent pension which I paid for myself over 35 years with no help from the state.
If one Greek had taken a Kalashnikov into his hands, I might have followed him and done the same but because I am of an age that makes it impossible for me to take strong action on my own, I can find no other solution than to put an end to my life before I start sifting through garbage cans for my food.
I believe that young people with no future will one day take up and hang this country’s traitors in arms in Syntagma Square just as the Italians hanged Mussolini in 1945.

 The note is a testament to the anger and despair of one old man, but it is also something else.  It draws a parallel between  the EU imposed austerity measures that are beginning to bite and the humiliation of German occupation of Greece under the Nazi's during World War II.  Connecting those dots provides an emotional flashpoint for national rage.  It's what they've been doing in Europe for centuries and why the creation of the EU was such a miracle in the first place.  This blame game is why nobody ever thought Europe could function as a united entity with a common currency.  This suicide is a human tragedy but it also shines a light on the inherent weakness of the European Union not to mention the vulnerability of the Euro.

 Blaming Germany for Greece's current financial  problems won't help and the fall of the  Euro will help even less.   But here we go again.  This suicide has touched a nerve and I smell a tipping point. I don't know what's next.  I seem to have mis-placed my crystal ball, but I don't see this ending well. Do you?