Sunday, September 17, 2017

Truth and Justice... The Deplorable Way

Fox News writer Todd Starnes, recently wrote an opinion piece where he claims Superman has now become a propaganda tool for the defenders of so-called illegal aliens.
"In the most recent issue of Action Comics, Superman comes to the rescue of a group of illegal aliens -- under attack from a white guy wearing an American flag bandanna and waving around a machine gun."- Fox News Opinion September 13, 2017
Superman protects immigrants from a
hail of gunfire in Action Comics 987
 He then points out that Superman seems to shirk his duty by not rounding up the undocumented immigrants, but harasses the white man (Or as he calls him, the American). Now if you are an avid  Superman comic fan, then I would encourage you to buy this edition, (Action Comics # 987) and judge for yourself. But for those engaged in the human rights narrative, please bear with me, I'll try not to nerd you out too much. Mr. Starnes POV will either make you roll your eyes, or wonder if Fox is having a slow news day. Todd seems to think that the Man of Steel no longer represents Truth, Justice, and the American way. Now Superman has a new agenda; which is to protect the other kind; alien invaders.

It's funny how some people like him forget that the character was created by two Jewish kids who were sons of immigrants. Jerry Siegel, and Joe Shuster, created a personal wish fulfillment of a character who would defend those who were defenseless. Shuster admitted that he was a victim of school and neighbor bullies because of his size, while Siegel was klutzy and awkward. Both boys wore glasses, and were shy around the girls (See where the Clark Kent idea came in?). Beyond that, they heard reports of a man who was threatening the very existence relatives and friends who couldn't escape injustice and tyranny in Europe.
"There is an assumption that there is an absolute standard of justice in the world. It's also
Creator and cartoonist Joe Shuster at 17 trying to become a Superman
true to the immigrant experience in that point in their hope for justice. 'We have come here-- we have come to this land. It will be okay here-- it will be okay and just here.' These are families that have come over from Europe, and they're watching whoever they left behind disappear in a very scary fashion."
- Paul Levitz, President and Publisher of DC Comics (2002-2009) From the documentary, Secret Origin
Fox News takes exception that the DC's lead character would take a global stance against cold blooded murder of a group of people by this righteous America with an patriotic flag around his forehead. But ever since I remember, Superman has always had this thing about social justice. The Radio version feature a story called  "The Clan of The Fiery Cross" Yep you heard it right. Superman took on the KKK in a story of crime and white supremacy.  Some of the members of the group were business men, and all of them consider themselves good patriotic Americans who shouted "America for real Americans" while they terrorized a Hispanic boy and his family. Wow! Maybe bigotry never dies, it just hibernates...

The Man of Steel portrayed by George Reeves and assisted by Lois Lane, (Phyllis Coates)
 guards the entry to a hospital where a wounded alien is.
In the 1950's when TV sets were coming in every home, Superman intervened between a small town full of scared people who tried to burn and lynch some inner Earth dwellers. This was as close as Television dared to get to the issue of racism in "Superman and The Mole Men." It's 2nd rate Sci-Fi by today's standards, but fans of early television remember how George Reeves looked as he remarked, to the town bully boss, "Now I'm going to give you one last chance to stop acting like Nazi storm troopers!" The town tough shouts at him in outrage. "Who are you to tell us what to do?" His words counters Luke Benson's bluster, "All I'm telling you is that little creature has as much right to live as you do!" The reincarnation of Superman with the Lois and Clark Series in 1993 sees Superman and the Daily
"Vigilance is the Price of Liberty,"
warns Perry White
Planet staff clashing with the emergence of the Fourth Reich. At the end, a distraught Perry White (Lane Smith) discovers one of his own college friends was a Nazi, as he laments the Thomas Jefferson quote; "Vigilance is the price of Liberty," warning his staff that there are more out there of that kind. Seems an eerie foretelling in the face of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Could it be that some media outlets and opinion writers are finding themselves on the wrong side of certain issues? While some political types want to re-define what the American way is, they're afraid that Truth and Justice has evolved in to some sort of political correctness, which could brainwash kids. To further shame the comic industry, Starnes scoffs that maybe DC will issue a story where we will see The Flash bringing Mexicans across the border, or Wonder Woman rounding up white Texas Ranchers with her lasso, who are just trying to defend their land. (No doubt referring to the Cliven Bundy stand-off in Nevada)  The inference of course is comic heroes have evolved into agents of liberal America.

The psychology here is (IMO) that if you've always got your political switch on, you're going to see things through the eyes of your politics. I'm reminded of watching Brene Brown on CBS This Morning as she recounts her Hurricane Harvey experience. She calls it "Holding Hands With Strangers." 
Hurricane Harvey victims assisting each other during crisis
"As a Hustonian, we were just massively reminded-- my husband was in a kayak pulling neighbors out of their houses. I was in a shelter-- there was no time did I see people say, 'I will help you. What is your political belief?-- who did you vote for?' We need to hold hands with strangers. We need reminders-- collective joy and pain-- reminders that we are inextricably connected to each other by something greater than us-- and we need that on a daily basis." - Brene Brown interview, CBS This Morning 
 Maybe the whole idea of a Super-man is the idea of helping those who need help no matter what their status in life is. Maybe a lot of people who helped out in Texas and Florida read a comic book or two when they were kids, or maybe not. It could be the only super power needed is just to give a damn.

 The Superman Trademark and images related, are the property of  Warner Bros., DC Entertainment Inc, Warner Communications 2017.

Special Thanks to:
 Reverb Press on Twitter who broke the story first.
also to my social justice warrior friend on Twitter, Sherry Lucich. @Comixgrrl 

Previous Issue:
Rape Insurance???

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Rape Insurance???

I've learned that people will forget what you said, 
People will forget what you did, 
But they will never forget,
 How you made them feel
-Maya Angelou

I had originally written this story for publishing last month, but out of respect to the flood victims of Houston, Texas, I put a pin in it.

Apparently some women of Texas are being made to feel as though they were born the wrong gender, and their body parts are a pre-existing condition. Or do their male lawmakers need a "Freaky Friday" experience before they write laws regulating a woman's body? State Rep. John Smithee (R-Texas) authored a bill that would require women in the state of Texas to have Insurance covering all non-threatening medical procedures. "Now This News" on Twitter  posted the ironic fact that Smithee himself admits he doesn't understand why a woman has a hysterectomy, a breast exam, or any medical procedure.

Smithee defends his bill on the floor, but can't
 answer questions about women's reproductive issues.
It begs the question, what makes some of the Texas lawmakers feel qualified to past laws about women's reproductive needs while being incompetent on the subject, or why companies from covering abortion care in their standard plans, requiring women to pay extra premiums for coverage if they think they may need abortions at some point. In a nutshell for women, if she's raped and becomes pregnant but did not predict she might need to have an abortion when making her insurance coverage selections for the year, then she would have to pay out up-front for an abortion. This bill, believe it or not, is call "Rape Insurance." It's an open secret that Greg Abbott has been attempting to kill women's reproductive rights in Texas since he took office. Abbott's main target has been Planned Parenthood. It's amazing how he sits at his desk and in a Trump style manner, flashes the signed bill before the cameras in triumph of Texas rights over a woman's rights.

Whatever injustices female rape victims endure, including rape kit backlogs, the failure of law enforcement and the courts to catch and convict rapists, to add the burden that a victim, no matter what her economic status is, cannot get a legal abortion under this new law, unless she has already paid for it in advance is criminal. 
Gregg Abbott, Governor Tx proudly puts his signature to bill.
Texas has callously, in the name of economic freedom, written a bill that (they say) no longer obligates taxpayers to subsidize medical procedures that they may find morally objectionable.  This is of course a dog-whistle for the anti-abortion crowd and another attempt to strike a political win for their side.
Their idea of economic freedom for taxpayers, leaves incest and rape victims at the mercy of their circumstances. A victim who gets pregnant through a crime has no recourse, and no other options unless they can pay additional out-of-market premiums just to protect themselves. The sad part is this was passed by mostly male lawmakers. State Rep. John Smithee who authored this cruel bill couldn't tell you how a woman's reproductive system works.
Dr. Eugene Gu, a resident physician at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and president of the Ganogen Research Institute remarked in an article: 
"Rape victims by definition lose control over their own bodies during rape. Texas lawmakers essentially just took away that last drop of control women have afterwards. This law would have been much less controversial had they included these very basic exceptions and it is beyond puzzling why they did not do so. It is also ironic that they speak of economic freedom for the taxpayer while subjecting women to the most cruel form of economic control."-  
Texas 'rape insurance' bill is about economic violence against women. The Hill
 But according to Texas, women must plan to be raped. And parents shouldn't take their children around relatives or plan for their children to be victims of incest,” Texas Rep. Chris Turner (D) said before the bill passed. “Asking a woman or a parent to foresee something like that and buy supplemental insurance to cover that horrific possibility is not only ridiculous, it is cruel.”- Texas Tribune August 9, 2017

I think winning the abortion war at all costs has become the main goal with the politically righteous. People like these, don't look at a person's individual circumstances, or for that matter anyone's situation. That is what's called being out of touch with the people. They focus on making things appear to look better with new political paint over corrosive circumstances. But then again, looking like a winner is all that matters. I think the Houston Chronicle summed it up best.
"Our state lawmakers can't figure out how to cut our property taxes or fix our broken method of financing public schools. But when it comes to devising new ways of harassing women who want to end pregnancies, they're as inventive as Thomas Edison. "-Health insurance restriction is just the latest scheme to deny women access to abortion- Houston Chronicle, August 17, 2017

Special thanks to: 
Daughter of a SgtMaj‏ @bodyfit67 on Twitter who reminded me to un-pin the story.

Previous article:

Friday, September 8, 2017

Where is The Love?

"But if you only have love for your own race,
Iesha Evans confronting Baton Rouge police 2016
Then you only leave space to discriminate.
And to discriminate only generates hate,
And when you hate then you're bound to get irate, yeah.
Madness is what you demonstrate.
And that's exactly how anger works and operates.
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight.
Take control of your mind and meditate.
Let your soul gravitate to the love

-Black Eye Peas

"I'm human. I'm a woman. I'm a mom. I'm a nurse. I could be your nurse. I could be taking care of you. You know?" Evans said. "I'm here. We all matter. We don't have to beg to matter. We do matter."
Iesha Evans in a CBS interview last year, explained the reason for her face-to-face confrontation with the police in this now famous picture. She had watched the killing of young men like Philando Castile by the police, even when they had the upper-hand. Moments like these need to be remembered because we see Iesha trying to give an answer of non-violence to (what appears to be) an epidemic of rising police brutality, and yes, sexual assault.

Sexual misconduct among police officers is the second most common complaint. However, sexual abuse by officers may be underreported because of flawed or absent reporting procedures or the victims’ unwillingness to come forward. Hence, officer sexual misconduct is sometimes referred to as a “hidden crime.”

Esmerelda Rossi 
In Chandler Arizona, Officer Doug Rose enters the home of Esmerelda Rossi on the pretense of investigating a domestic dispute complaint by Rossi's ex-husband. When her daughter interrupted her mom's shower to announce the police were there, the woman wrapped a towel around herself and asked the office to please wait at the door. He refused to do so. Rose then tells Rossi that she was under arrest. The cop grabs her arms causing the towel to drop while you can hear hysteria from both the mom and daughter. After giving the traumatize woman a lecture, both Rose and his partner leave. It was quite evident Rose had entered the home illegally, and conducted a perverted act. Also note Rose's body cam was not turned on. It would have been a true "He said, she said" situation if Esmerelda's daughter had not turned on her cell phone.

According to the Atlantic Black Star: Black women have a high risk of being victims of this abuse. During a frisk, officers may pat down any areas where they think a gun might be concealed, including intimate areas. Many women report feeling extremely humiliated during these experiences, particularly if the officer is male. Because Black women are more likely to be stopped by the police, and also more likely to be frisked during these stops, they are at higher risk for being sexually assaulted during a stop.
Some rogue cops may use racist tactics to conduct a search on women of color such as looking for drugs. When Charnesia Corley was a 20 year old college student in Texas, she was pulled over for allegedly running a stop sign and failing to use turn signals. Corley was made to stand, handcuffed,
Charnesia Corley
outside her car while two officers look inside. She underwent an illegal body cavity search on the premise that the police detected the smell of marijuana. Corley was then put on the ground, naked below the waist, and examined for about 11 minutes by a female officer using a flashlight. The incident happened in the parking lot of a Texaco garage in Houston late on a June evening in 2015. At first Corley wouldn't comply with the officer's demands for the cavity search, until the police officer threaten to break her legs. This was a similar tactic Daniel Holtzclaw used in Oklahoma City to conduct a reign of Terror on 13 black women. He would pull black women over, run the suspects driver's license. Some of the women had outstanding warrant's or priors such as possession small ounce of Marijuana. Holtzclaw would threaten his victims with being locked up, or performing a sex act on him. A big factor seemed to play in Holtzclaw's favor is that many people question the credibility of a black woman against a police officer.

These Houston officer's who pulled Charnesia Corley over for a traffic violation escalated the situation into a sexual assault. You can argue all you want to about the police doing their job, but this was a humiliating experience for the victim. “When you stick your fingers in somebody without their effective consent, that’s rape in any state that I know of,” said Sam Cammack, an attorney for Charnesia Corley. -The Guardian August 15, 2017
I've been amazed by some on social media who can look at a video of a act of abuse, or murder, and dismiss it. Please note no charges against Charnesia Corley were pressed. 

I pause to say, it's not fair to paint all cops with the same brush, but the bad cops reputations are proceeding them. Most of you saw the video of a frighten female motorist who was stopped by Lt. Greg Abbott in Atlanta GA. She was afraid to move or use her cell phone because she had seen way too many videos of cops. Abbott then retorted the dumbest comment since Jim Crow.
“But, you’re not black. Remember, we only shoot black people. We only kill black people, right? All the videos you’ve seen, have you seen the black people get killed?”
There is no excuse for sexual assault or sexual misconduct by the police. Both Rose and Abbott were given retirement pay and quietly slipped out of sight. No criminal charges were ever filed. Because sexual assault has gone unreported for a long time, that has been my focus. I usually leave mainstream civil rights to others. But I continue to see evidence of racism and sexual assault joining forces, and it's mind- numbing to me this we live in a society, where there are predators among the protectors, and we can't tell one from another.

"The standard you walk past, is the standard you accept." 
-David Morrison Former Lt. General, Australian Army 

Special thanks to: 
Barbara Jackson @Nyota_nuru on Twitter for passing on the story of :Looking at How Black Women Are Policed in America
Related Article:
The Times They Are A Changin 

Previous Article

Friday, September 1, 2017

In The Heat of The Night

In the heat of the night
Seems like a cold sweat
Creeping cross my brow, oh yes
In the heat of the night
I'm a feelin' motherless somehow
Stars with evil eyes stare from the sky
(In the heat of the night)

-Quincy Jones

A blues tune about the crimes of the old South, written and composed by Qunicy Jones, became the title of a hit movie in 1967 about the evil misery of crime. I think about how sexual assault in the military is quiet, but it's presence is still there, and ripple through lives.

Seems Like a Cold Sweat

The bad news is, sexual assault continues to be an issue in the US Armed Forces.  A female trainee at Fort Benning, Georgia, leveled sexual assault allegations against her drill sergeant, which set off deeper investigations showing additional allegations of sexual misconduct involving trainees and drill sergeants.

The good news is, I give the US Army good marks for taking action against these Drill Sergeants who crossed the line. According to a NY Times article:
“Our initial actions are to ensure the safety and welfare of all of our Soldiers,” the statement said. “The drill sergeants have been suspended from drill sergeant duties, and will have no contact with trainees during the course of the investigation."- Fort Benning Drill Sergeants Suspended Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations. Aug. 23, 2017
The Army has taken some pains to assure the public that all soldiers there are required to complete the Army’s “very thorough” Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention training program, known as Sharp. The obvious problem to me is, while the US Army acknowledges that sexual assault is a real issue, I wonder if their methods in dealing with sexual assault are out-dated. I've yet to see many victims of sexual assault give SHARP high marks in effectiveness.

PFC Schutte Woodruff
"I honestly can't remember one thing particular thing that came from any of the videos at all because we were so tired, and we were so beat down, and none of those videos helped me at all. The SHARP program, definitely could have been enhanced if they had maybe a live speaker talk about it, or if they just had somebody that was passionate about it. I think that's where a lot of times it gets kind of thrown under the rug. We just make people go through the SHARP, but they're not passionate about it. They have no desire to really get with victims and see how they operate because you can't really fix something that's a problem if you don't understand where that person may be coming from. A lot of the times I've ran into a few that just... they're not approachable. As a victim, you need to be approachable. If I can't approach you with my deepest, darkest secrets, you are nothing. You, you are of no help. All the training you have is nothing if I don't come forward."- Natasha Schuette Woodruff Youtube, CAPE, June 10, 2010
Sharp and SAPRO (Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office) are set up as programs to speak
to the issues, but not necessarily to the soldier, sailor, airmen, or marine personally. Creativity can't change attitudes about rape. And you can give death by power point lectures on the subject, but it's not the magic bullet in stopping or at least decreasing the number of assaults. What can a recruit do in a situation where he or she is watched, commanded, and handled by a person with complete authority over their every move? If a Drill Instructor wants to give her extra duty, she must comply, if he wants to isolate her, she has to obey.  Basically, a boot camp recruit, jumps, stands, sits, speaks, eats, and takes a crap when the DI tells them to. It's all about making a person into a someone who takes orders and obeys without question. When a Drill Sergeant demands a recruit gives up his or her sexuality, that is a human violation, and has no place in any institution.

I've Got Trouble Wall To Wall

Natasha Woodruff shares her testimony of her sexual assault in boot camp, but also the little things that lead up to the incident. Her testimony shows that her Drill Instructor was highly proficient in his job, but morally bankrupt in handling female recruits.
"I was out on the firing range and the same drill sergeant came around, and as he cleared my weapon he was asking me if I would let him have sex with me, or if there was anybody in the barracks that he could-- and that I was I was so shocked I was like-- 'no drill sergeant-- you know. 'I don't know if anybody in the Bay would want to do that.' I said you know-- 'no.' When I got back I went to that same battle buddy-- and her I talked about it and she was like-- 'wow, I can't believe he said that,' and there was nobody around though because the firing ranges are set up differently--- and so there was no again-- no witnesses for anything but that would have been my second red flag." Natasha Schuette Woodruff Youtube, CAPE, June 10, 2010

The problem of sexual assault continues because some men and women are recruited, and even promoted, based on total performance, and not on character. Character is the inner stuff that keeps us all in check at every level of our lives. Good parents don't abuse or hurt a child to prove they are in charge. A person may have the smarts and skill to run a company but someone with integrity doesn't grope an employee because he writes the paycheck. A good minister doesn't molest a young altar boy in the name of God because no one is looking. Character needs to matter more that ever in our military.
When a person enlists into the military, a background check is made to some degree. The background check should red flag behavior which would make the person an undesirable. I wonder how deep the background checks go? A quick check would show felony convictions, or even misdemeanors, but does it always catch the other things. Sometimes these slip under the radar because a deep character assessment wasn't carried out.

Stars With Evil Eyes

The other problem is; if leaders are dead serious about getting rid of sexual assault and harassment out of the military, then it needs to be said to the troops, and said often. Good leaders don't just talk about the issue when it becomes a scandal, but they do their best to make sure everyone knows it won't be tolerated. And the highest ranking officers need to keep the leadership below them accountable right down to the last man. We've had so many military scandals in the past including what happened at Aberdeen, it should be a constant reminder that this problem won't go away with time.

Thanks you: Rosie Palfy and Veracrusin for your insight and awareness into military issues.
Special thanks to: Barbara on Twitter @Barbara20110481 for sharing the article: Fort Benning Drill Sergeants Suspended Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations.

Related Vlog:

Monday, August 21, 2017


Victor Garber Jesus character sings
the stinging lyrics "Alas For You" in Godspell (1973)
Alas, alas for you,
Lawyers and pharisees,
Hypocrites that you are.
Sure that the kingdom of Heaven awaits you,
You will not venture half so far.
Other men who might enter the gates you,
Keep from passing through!
Drag them down with you!

-Stephen Schwartz

As a theater major in college and someone who embraced musicals, the lyrics (inspired by Scripture) are ringing through especially this week. The song (Alas For You) is a reenactment of when Jesus was confronted about who He would follow. It was a political trap by the religious leaders of his time. Would He denounce the church or the Roman ruler, Caesar.  To paraphrase, His answer was: give to Caesar what belongs to him, and give to God what belongs to God. 

Last week Donald Trump gave a press conference which devolved quickly into a shouting match over the Charlottesville melee involving White Nationalists. Following Trump's remarks, which seemed to give racists and other hate groups safe space, CEO's who sat on the President's Manufacturing Council resigned, followed by his Strategy and Policy Forum, and then his Infrastructure Council never got off the ground. Finally, the Arts and Humanities Committee tossed in the towel.  But his Right Wing Evangelical force (perhaps singing Onward Christian Political Soldier) remains his steadfast allies under his Trumpspell. 

A Trump supporter sending a mixed message
I watched Trump bully the media, hide his tax returns, defame his opponents with the most cruel rumors, encourage his rally attenders to knock the shit out of people, and get exposed on tape, on tape bragging about how he could sexually assault women. But for some bizarre reason, the Religious Right Pastors, saw Trump's candidacy as being ordained by God. Donald Trump courted the Christian vote all the way to the White House while doing some of the most shocking and jaw-dropping things any candidate has ever done.  This, in my opinion, goes to the character of the man. Any registered voter can vote for a crazy man if he wants to, but don't try to convince us that he's normal, or an angel. As someone whose seen the best and worse from church types (myself included), the religious community is deceiving itself as well as its followers.  
One lone pastor from Trump's Evangelical Advisory board apparently drew a line after Trump's attempt last week, to tell reporters and the country that the Klan and other hate group's agenda was no worse than those who oppose them. Pastor A.R. Bernard spoke with Joy Reid on her program about his concerns of where this president's agenda was headed.
L-R Pastor AR Bernard, Joy Reid, and Pastor Mark Burns
"I don't think he's racist; I think he's ill-advised. I think he's an opportunist and I think a lot of what he's doing and saying is politically motivated. His vacillation over the weekend from one position to another simply indicates to me that he never established a set of core values that guides his thinking and a moral compass-- so that vacillation for me is Him being tossed back and forth between opinions that surround him and that's problematic for a leader. --At some point in time you have to have a set of internal convictions that say okay this is what I believe in, regardless; this is what I'm going to support." -Pastor AR Bernard AM Joy August 19, 2017
In that same interview Bernard said he was hoping that by being on Trump's council he could effect change, but finally conceded their paths were different. But Pastor Mark Burns, when asked about the beatings that pastors endured by these hate groups, side-stepped the question by giving a nervous and confusing mini-sermon of how people must think of themselves as Christian first and being black second.

Jerry Falwell Jr. defends Donald Trump on Sunday's show
Jerry Falwell, Jr. stepped into the fray Sunday, on ABC's This Week, after no GOP spokesman would defend Trump. And for Falwell the important issue was that Trump didn't give into his political foes on political correctness. He continued to avoid Trump's failure in calling these men domestic terrorists, sighting that political correctness is the real issue. Finally towards the end of the interview, Falwell offered this analogy:
"I heard his statement the other day-- I didn't hear anything that would offend somebody, but I was speaking to some of my friends in the Jewish community in Charlottesville-- I have a very good friend who is the president of the largest historically black college in the United States, Hampton University-- and we started having conversations, and they started explaining how insecure and how scared they felt that day-- when these terrorist groups were walking up and down the sidewalk, right outside their synagogue-- and I understand how good people could hear the same statement, and take away different things from it,-- and after hearing that, I understand how some people could misunderstand his words. And Yes, he could be more polished and politically correct, but that's why I supported him, because he's not." Jerry Falwell Jr. ABC This Week
As I scratched my head in an effort to try and earnestly understand Mr. Falwell Jr's statement, it was
and still remains, a real WTH moment for me. He could empathize not with the fear his black and Jewish friends felt in the shadow of terrorists parading up and down their streets, but with how they could misunderstand Trump's non-politically correct unpolished talk. It's as though people see something bad, but the Christian Religious Right, in their zeal, want God's kingdom to be set up in
Christian Broadcast Network founder Pat Robertson
greets Trump with head bowed
Washington DC at any expense. A person religious or atheist, has the right to vote for the candidate of his or her choice. But so-called moral leaders do not have the right to pick and choose their brand of acceptable good and tell this country this is what God has for us. You need to stop laying hands on just any politician for his promises, or sticking Scripture next to his name on social media, attempting to make him into God's image. There is no collective, "Thus sayeth the Lord" for America.

I stand by the personal belief that I will treat a person, the way I want to be treated. If the church is preaching another sermon, then I'll stay outside of their walls. If people can recognize a bad leader for America, through his bigotry, misogyny, and dishonesty; why can't the church?

Previous blog special: Evil Came to Charlottesville


Related: Human Decency and Respect is not political correctness. 
It's part of The Constitution

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Evil Came to Charlottesville

You kill a black man at midnight
Just for talking to your daughter,
Then you make his wife your mistress
And you leave her without water;
And the sheet you wear upon your face
Is the sheet your children sleep on,
At every meal you say a prayer;
You don't believe but still you keep on.
Larry Norman

I remember this protest song from the 1970's from an obscure artist, Larry Norman, entitled the "The Great American Novel." These words came crashing into my brain this week as I watched an event in Charlottesville go from a racial clash, to a leader, and possibly a whole administration, that wants to have it both ways. Brene Brown, (Author, teacher, and lecturer) in a presentation remarks:
"Racism is trauma, poverty is trauma, classism is trauma, homophobia is trauma.-- When vulnerability, the ability to be who we are, becomes a realm of only the privileged, we have lost our capacity to create a school, a home and a country that we love." 
-Brené Brown, SXSWedu 2017 Keynote, Daring Classrooms
This week our country was asked by our president to understand that people who have intolerance to other people are not so bad. Donald Trump, in a wild shouting match with the press, claimed the people came to Charlottesville Friday to peacefully demonstrate.
" There were people in that rally-- and I looked the night before-- if you look they were people protesting very quietly, the taking down of the statue of Robert E Lee"- Donald Trump
As I watched the livestream on Friday night, I saw something different than Mr. Trump did.
Friday night August 11, a mob of mostly young men with Tiki torches screaming from the Thomas Jefferson to the Robert E Lee statues, "You will not replace us-- Blood and Soil--- Whose Streets... Our streets!!!" Plus it's obvious to the casual observer what a mob of thousand lit Tiki torches are designed for--- These so-called protestors that Mr. Trump defended to the press surrounded the Confederate statue with the VA student anti-protestors trapped at the foot of the memorial, with no exit route. On the UVA campus, people gathered for an all faith prayer meeting:
"We were worshiping, and close to the end of our worship service we received the message that we could not leave the church because a mob was approaching the church with torches. They were chanting blood and soil-- they were chanting you will not replace us-- they were chanting Jews will not replace us-- they were chanting white lives matter-- and for over 30 minutes we were not allowed to leave the church. When we were finally allowed to leave, we could not go out the front door for fear that we would be assaulted. We were ushered out the side door and the back into alleys; this is America in 2017" - Reverend Traci Blackmon Executive Minister, United Church of Christ 
She describes something echoing back to the 1950's. It was something that was done in secret, away from the public. But what the President of the United States described to reporters as a peaceful quiet protest, had been orchestrated under the tent, "Unite The Right." A combining of Neo- Nazi's, Klansmen, and White Nationalist. They were there to terrorize the population of this college town, in the name of white purity. They came looking for a confrontation. Men like Christopher Cantwell, a proclaimed White Nationalist, and spokesman for "Unite The Right" met with a news team covering the demonstration. He bragged openly about being willing to kill.

White Nationalist Christopher Cantwell "Unite The Right" 
"Of course we're capable. I'm carrying a pistol-- I go to the gym all the time. I'm trying to make myself capable of violence. I'm here to spread ideas-- talk in the hopes that someone more capable will come along and do that. Someone like Donald Trump does not give his daughter to a Jew."- Christopher Cantwell "Unite The Right" Race and Terror, Vice News
These are not peaceful people. They have a racist agenda of white domination in America. They came to Charlottesville to be seen before America and the media, promoting the idea of saving the Robert E Lee statue which is set for removal from Lee Park in Charlottesville. The real agenda in my opinion, was to come out of the shadows as a recruitment stunt for others with their views. Racist hate speech and demonstrations are nothing new in this country. But what is new is a President who by Monday of this week saw their activities and cause in a different angle. He pushed back on reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower proclaiming that there were nice people on both sides, and there was enough blame to go around.

"...Excuse me-- what about the alt left? They came charging at the, as you say, 'the alt right-- 'Do they have any semblance of guilt? --Let me ask you this: what about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hand swinging clubs? Do they have any problem, I think they do.-- I watch those, very closely much more closely than you people watched it, and you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent, and nobody wants to say that but I'll say it right now-- you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very very violent. --I've condemned Neo-Nazis-- I've condemned many different groups but not all of those people were Neo-Nazis, believe me, not all of those people were white supremacist by any stretch."
I had to watch this press briefing (that was suppose to be about his infrastructure plans) several times, just to wrap my brain around the idea; our President is trying to change our perspective on racists and white nationalists.  America was still reeling from the weekend melee that took place in Charlottesville, ending in a young woman's death at the hands of a radicalized white supremacist, when Trump began this mad man's argument. We saw the Neo-Nazis, the KKK, (who traded their traditional klan garb for polo shirts, khaki pants, and Make America Great Again ball caps), punching with brass knuckles, clubbing with bats, flinging water bottles of water and urine at their adversaries. We saw the architect of race purging, David Duke, rear his ugly head to proclaim that the Alt-Right was hear to reclaim America for the white man.

But this president pushed half the blame for what happened, and dropped it into the column of those who opposed the Klan, the Neo-Nazis, and others with a white purist agenda. It left me stunned, and no doubt other's reeling. He can't see the difference in white supremacy, and Americans who (aside from political ideas), believe we all share the same principles. 
Many people, from ordinary folks on social media to mainstream media, and folks on both sides of the political isle, have denounced his rouge conference. 

America from social media to the mainstream
were shocked by Trump's proclamation
"Mr. President, people, good people don't pal around with Nazis and white supremacist; maybe they don't consider themselves white supremacist and Nazis, but certainly they hold those views. This has become very troubling and for anyone to come on any network and defend what President Trump did and said at their press conference yesterday-- is completely lost and has the potential to be morally bankrupt."- Gianno Caldwell, Republican Political Strategist

No matter what political beliefs you might have, if your moral compass points North, Trump's words left you in shock.

But there were those who responded to Trump's remarks with perverse glee. Both Richard Spencer, who is the author of the Neo-Nazi movement "The Alt Right" (giving Hitler salutes of Hail Trump, Hail to our Leader"), and the morally bankrupted, David Duke, sent positive Tweets and remarks back to Trump after his Monday wild street-corner shouting match with the press. This was their victory dance. Donald Trump has done their dirty work and normalized their cause at our expense. I won't even dignify their sick mindset with direct quotes or pictures. Perhaps many of you understand what Trump's "Make America Great Again" cry has meant for soulless men like these. To tell America that we need to simply forgive, and come together, rings hollow. In some sad way, most of us have come together over the death of Heather Heyer who was snatched away this life, thanks to a radical terrorist. And some have come together because of the failing of this president to call evil something that is not so bad. But we as a Nation are living with the trauma of failed leadership.

For the sake of this country which belongs to all of us, and our children and generations to come, we cannot let this President's words go unchallenged.
Artist Sam Welty painting a mural of Heather on the town's Freedom of Speech Wall.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Taylor Swift Grab

Taylor Swift performs the song "Safe and Sound"
In order to escape accountability from his crimes,
the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting.
Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator's first line of defense.
If Secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the victim's credibility.

From Judith Lewis Herman
Trauma and Recovery

I will be honest with you, I've never bought a Taylor Swift song, or been to a concert. That might make me less than a fan, but nevertheless, I know who she is, and I've caught a tune here or there. 
Miss Swift is at the peak of her popularity these days. With her clean looks and amazing musical magic, she's packing out concerts and scoring hits. But recently, Taylor has found herself fighting for reputation as an artist and a person.
In 2013 Taylor says she was “violated” by a then–country radio DJ, in a way she “had never experienced before.” David Mueller, who was 51 to Swift’s 23 at the time, “grabbed my ass underneath my skirt,” -Slate.Com Aug. 10. 2017
When the incident happened Swift's mom chose not to take it to the media or the police, but instead reported it directly to Muller's boss who took quick action and fired the then Country-Western DJ. Apparently in Muller's head, he did nothing wrong that should have gotten him fired. So he's now trying to get some revenge and payback by suing Taylor Swift. This seems to be a tactic that perps  use these days. They'd rather eat a shit sandwich than admit what they did was wrong. If any system finds them guilty of sexual misconduct, perpetrators have retrained themselves to steal a victim's narrative and hide among the wrongfully accused while employing acting skills and claim bogus victimization.

Taylor Swift center poses with David Muller and Girlfriend
Aside from the fact that this ass-grabbing thing, is just crude and stupid to do to someone you know in public, it takes a lot of nerve to think anyone should put up with handling them like a piece of choice meat. But in the narcissist's mind, he must win at all costs. The truth is against him; reality isn't his friend, but he continues to shout, kick, accuse, and flail about like a man sinking in quicksand. I looked at the photo that Taylor Swift posed for with  Muller's girlfriend. If Muller's fingers were around her waist, then he's got arms like Gumby.

I mentioned the fact that I'm not a fan of Miss Swifts, (in the conventional sense) not because I don't like her or her music, but because her celebrity status doesn't prejudice me one way or the other. She is a person and a human being who shouldn't have to endure this type of treatment from fans, friends, or anyone.

Other Pop celebs like Beyonce have been the target of stupid people whose pitiful excuse was that they couldn't help themselves. In 2013 in Copenhagen, Denmark, in the midst of strutting down the stage and slapping hands of screaming fans, one guy couldn't help himself; he crossed the line by giving the superstar a whack on the ass.  Her reaction? She gracefully turns around and states: “I will have you escorted out right now, alright?” -Beyonce's Response to Getting Butt Slapped Exemplifies Why We Need to React to Everyday Injustices Alternet.Org May 29, 2013

Fortunately for the Copenhagen fan, he took his scolding, and it ended there. David Muller, Ex- DJ on the other hand thinks that the lawsuit will help him get his manhood and dignity back. But Swift refused to settle out of court or to blink in any way. Her counter suit of one dollar seems to be symbolic of what the real issue is about.

She says she is not suing for money, but rather to convey a warning on behalf of all American women about sexual assault and is hoping that a favorable verdict by a Denver jury of six women and two men will send the message of "get your groping hands off us" to men across the nation and around the world. August 10, 2017

If Muller and his attorney were hoping to encounter a shrinking
Courtroom sketch of Taylor Swift
violet, full of remorse or too afraid to face her assailant again, from all accounts in the Denver court room today, she remained calm and unwavering in her convictions that Muller would not get a pay-day off of her. And if Swift was too busy before with her career, or was indifferent to the issue of sexual assault in the past, she's not anymore. It's possible that David Muller indirectly might be responsible for creating another advocate. Whoops!! But that, in my book, is a bonus. 
 When McFarland asked her how she felt when Mueller got the boot from his job at the Denver radio station, Swift said she had no response. “I am not going to allow your client to make me feel like it is any way my fault, because it isn’t,” she said. Later, she continued: “I am being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions and not mine.” Women who allege sexual assault are scolded all the time for ruining men’s lives, even if those men are proven guilty. Swift’s sharp testimony is a very visible condemnation of that common turn in cases like these. That’s an important message for women who may find themselves in Swift’s position someday, and maybe even more so for the men who’ll be called on to support or rebuff them.- August 10, 2017

The Judge of course threw out the silly trial, declaring Muller failed to show burden of proof that Swift intended to hurt his career. I'll be a little nerdy here and say, chalk up one for the good guys!

 6-year-old Taylor Rayburn diagnosed
 with kidney cancer

Fame is not, and should never be, a trade-off for self worth. And whether Taylor wins or loses this legal battle today, she has a new fan in me.

Some people are declaring their freedom under the new President. For them it means life, liberty, and the pursuit of grabbiness. Check out my YouTube channel on this issue.
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