Tuesday, November 25, 2014

#FergusonFAIL

So that happened.  It was kinda expected that a cop would not answer for shooting an unarmed teen all because of (insert our nation's racial fears here).

What horrified me and what still sticks with me is how that prosecutor was so eager to blame everyone BUT the guy who pulled the trigger and killed someone.

McCollough blamed social media for angering up the protesters calling for some form of justice.  No.  The protesters have been marching and calling for justice since before any of us were born.  They've been marching and rising up for justice ever since the chains were put on them as far back as the Roman Republic.  This is still Jim Crow.  This is still political leaders calling "Segregation Forever" and South Carolina's Declaration of Keeping Our Slaves and Redlining and Ghettos As Policy and This Land Ain't Your Land.  This is still the heavy chains of racism that 400 years of this nation's history from colonies to empire has not removed from its own people.

McCollough: the grand jury "gave up their lives" to deliberate on the matter.  NO.  The only one who gave up his life here was Michael Brown, that unarmed teenager.

Call Brown what you want, haters, that he was a thief or a thug or any other kind of racist label you can put on him.  The one label that speaks to the facts is "unarmed civilian".  The one label that speaks of Michael Brown is "dead on the street with an entire clip emptied into him."

The labels "excessive use of force" and "deadly force" and "fearmongering" should apply as well.

Meanwhile, we've got cops shooting kids who are running around with toy guns.  We've got cops bullying bystanders, and bullying families at traffic stops, and just plain old bullying.  At what point does the intimidation efforts go from harassment to assault?  Whenever the cop feels threatened.  At which point there's nothing the rest of us CAN do except watch as the legal system washes their hands of the misconduct and carries off the bodies.

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?  Who guards the guardians?  Who polices the police when the police are the lawbreakers?  Because while the letter of the law may protect these trigger-happy bullies among the enforcement profession, the spirit of the law - the purpose to SERVE AND PROTECT the citizenry regardless of race or gender or age - is pretty much dead on the streets alongside Brown.

Lemme caveat: obviously, not every cop is bad or a bully.  A lot of them are doing their jobs and checking themselves in check.  It's the fucking bad apples abusing the rulebook, and then a goddamn culture of complacency - the Thin Blue Line of "Us vs. Them" - that blemishes the entire profession of being a cop.

I've had that quote at the top of my blog banner since the first round of protests in Ferguson: We should be rolling lighter than this.  In our own cities, in our own communities, among our families.

We should be doing a better job upholding Justice For All.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Anniversary: Our Nation's Darkest Day

This is November 22nd.

Our nation's darkest day.

I speak, of course, of the Buttfumble.
...what, there's more?

Oh.  Right.  That.

Soon, those who remember the assassination of John F. Kennedy will fade into history.  All who remain behind will know only of the Buttfumble this dark day (It already has its own separate Wiki entry!).

Feast well, this coming day of pagan sacrifices to elder gods seeking the meat of turkey.  I will post more on that when the time comes.

Also, I'm currently at 40,000 words on NaNo and aiming for 42,000 by tonight.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Though Poppies Grow

The poppy flower grows when the seeds are disturbed, and the ground is turned, when a war rages.

Today is Veterans Day.  Generally recognized as a day of remembrance for the soldiers who fought and for the ones who didn't make it back.  On this day, the poem In Flanders Fields is read, and the red poppy flower worn.
And as always, the final clip of Blackadder Goes Forth, one of the downest of Downer Endings a show ever had:


On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.  It meant an end to the fighting, but it didn't mean an end to all wars...

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Anniversary: Berlin Wall 1989

GOOD GOD THAT WAS 25 YEARS AGO

The Berlin Wall was a big damn deal: a symbol of the Cold War struggle between the western democratic-republican nations and the Soviet-Russia dominated authoritarian regimes.

The fall of the Wall signaled the beginning of the end of the Eastern Europe communist bloc (it wouldn't be truly finished until the failed August coup of 1991).

It's difficult to describe to anyone who hadn't lived through the Cold War era: the minor but constant dread that war between East and West would flare up; the constant proxy wars in foreign lands that perpetuated social ills for Third World nations playing up to their First World paymasters; the ideological sterility of two opposing political philosophies...

The fall of the Wall changed all that.  We could see in real time as it happened, as people celebrated on a barricade over which people died trying to cross, as they began bringing pickaxes and crowbars to start carving chunks of the Wall out, taking down entire sections, brick after brick falling away...

It's still one of my biggest regrets, not getting a chance to travel to Berlin and leave some graffiti on the West's side of the wall.  Ah well.  This is a better result.

And damn, I'm getting old...  TWENTY-FIVE YEARS already?

Edit: I KNEW I had written about the Wall before on my political blog - back when this was under a different name - and found the article I wrote five years ago.

FIVE YEARS!  I'VE BEEN BLOGGING THIS SH-T FOR MORE THAN FIVE YEARS.  Dammit, y'all, pay up, this gig ought to be earning me something by now...

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The Angry Moderate Blues

I know it's a fault of myself when I sit here and look at the world and think "what the hell is everyone else thinking when they can't see what I'm seeing?"  I know people will have their own life experiences informing them of what choices to take.  I know people will have their own opinions.

Still.  WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING, VOTERS?!

So here I am, fuming at an electorate that damages itself by voting for partisan Far Right hacks, suffering yet another bout of Angry Moderate Blues.

Yeah, Moderates can get angry... We certainly feel the blues.

--

I get the occasional troll on this blog - rare, considering the few comments I ever get - and I got a couple of them during my post of the Sample Ballot for the Florida midterms:

Wow - you are exactly what is wrong with America today. An ideologue that appears to have no clue about what made America great - diversity. Clearly you hate the Republicans more than you love America. Too bad. As an independent thinker, I prefer to vote based on substance not on ideology. Unfortunately neither party has many options when it comes to people of integrity, which is what many of us really want.

Getting called an ideologue is a new insult, but getting accused of not knowing about diversity is a twist. Considering I've posted my support for gay marriage, the free and open practice of all religions, my horror at seeing Blacks and Hispanics and Women getting treated like shit by the authorities and the overlords... Best I can say is that the guy posting that never read the whole of my blog, and thus didn't realize I am all about the diversity. Also, that I *do* love America: he must have missed the posts I add of the 4th of July, the celebration of Gettysburg and Woodstock, the occasional cultural milestone of Americana.  He's the one without a clue (psst, bro: next time READ THE BLOG BEFORE YOU INSULT THE BLOGGER)...

The next one was pretty straightforward:
I'm voting Republican straight ticket you useless liberal.

That's been the standard insult I get from the trolls.  You don't see most of them posting because I do have an administrative setting to filter all Comments.  Not for pure censorship, mind: It's because for a few years I was getting hit with Chinese Spam.  I'm not kidding.  The Chinese were spamming me, and I was like dudes I can't read Mandarin I can't tell what it is you want me to buy, stop it.  Anyway, I have the filter so I see a couple of Comments once in awhile in my Inbox and check them out.  Most of them are Anonymous, which tells me all I need to know about how cowardly they are, and they're pretty much calling me a libtard/librul/marxist/socialist of some kind.  I don't post those because 1) they don't contribute to the debate and 2) Anonymous posters are cowards.  I posted those two above because at least they put a name to the insult.

It's not that I'm bothered by the insults: Hell, I survived Tarpon Springs Middle School.  I've heard worse.  What bothers me is how wrong they get it by insulting me by something I'm not: Liberal.

For one thing, it's not an insult.  It's no more insulting than calling someone Conservative (if you try to insult me as a Conservative I'm going to look at you funny and give you the same retort).  The second thing, I've always considered myself a Moderate:

...Moderates support competency. We support things THAT WORK. If it doesn't work (example: THE WHOLE BUSH ADMINISTRATION) we don't support it. So there... Moderates recognize not so much the NEED for bipartisanship (or compromise) for the SAKE of bipartisanship. Bipartisanship and compromise between opposing factions are welcome when the end result will be something THAT WORKS...

If I look and act like I'm a Liberal, I'm really not. I'm looking and acting like someone who hates the Republican Party, by extension the whole of Conservative, Far Right ideology that has consumed that entire party.

And I hate the Republican Party because I used to be a member:
Actually I'm former Republican and I prefer to consider myself a moderate. I'm one of those dreaded RINOs you and yours drove out of the party. My hatred for the GOP is more despair at how broken and dogmatic it has become.
Calling me a liberal just shows how out of tune and extremist you've become, 'cause everything in opposition to you can only be a "socialist" or a "marxist" or a "liberal". All complexity of issues boiled down to just the hate.
Well, now you know why my ranting here on the blog is so one-sided against Republicans: because I came from there, it's all you had to teach me and I learned it from you. The only difference is I hope my hate for you will protect the rest of the nation and the world from your ruin.
When I first registered to vote I was a Republican.  I came from a Republican household - I've mentioned that more than once, especially about how old-school my dad is about Nixon - and so grew up in an environs of respecting such conservative principles as skepticism, desire for limited government, acceptance of liberal capitalism, and an overall avoidance to any aggressive radical change.

But by 1992 I noticed the party getting meaner and darker.  Not just a response to the rise of Bill Clinton as a political entity but just to nearly every issue.  Social conservatism went from being about compassion and charity and more about ostracism and pushing Christianity as a political force rather than a social foundation.  Economic conservatism went from respect for regulatory protections of the Eisenhower era to mass deregulation and unbridled laissez-faire.  Political conservatism went from diversity of opinions to adherence to dogma.  All of it wrapped into one big package of Fear-Mongering against the Other.

The key moment was Pat Buchanan's speech to the 1992 Convention.  Railing about a "culture war" and that "Clinton and Clinton" - fueling the Far Right fear that Hillary was going to be a Co-President of feminist intent - were going to destroy "God's America," Buchanan created a political identity of Republicans being hard-Right ideologues.

That moment - and the end of Bush the Elder's one-term tenure - began the purity purge against RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) as the extremists began targeting Moderate Republicans to push out and replace with more extreme, more Far Right candidates.

There were efforts to try and stave off the Club for Greed types that backed the purge, such as Main Street Republicans, but by today those moderate groups within the GOP are minorities - 46 Representatives out of 220-plus House Republicans, just 3 Senators out of 52 - within the ranks.  The purity purge by now has pretty much claimed full control of the Republican Party.

I did what I could to stay Moderate within the ranks meself.  I wasn't happy with the party's growing enthusiasms for the death penalty, massive deregulation in spite of historical evidence that deregulation was reckless, a pursuit not for small government but NO government, voter suppression efforts (yes even in the mid-1990s they were pulling that shit), and an eagerness by the leadership to pursue fiscal corruption that would make the Gilded Age look reformist by comparison.  While the Democrats weren't angels either, I loathed what the Republicans were revealing themselves to be.  I wasn't thrilled either by how the Republicans were crafting some fantasy-world dogma revolving around idol worship of Reagan and demonization of non-believers.

By about 2000, when Bush the Lesser became the candidate of choice (and despite his "compassionate conservative" platform he was the candidate of the purist ideologues) I pretty much gave up.  The disaster of the 2000 election results - and watching Republicans riot and get away with it in the Dade County elections office - sealed the deal.  I switched my party affiliation to No Party (I briefly flirted with being a Modern Whig back in 2009, maybe 2010, but that went nowhere).

The thing about becoming NPA (No Party Affiliate).  I still can't bring myself to make a full switch to becoming a Democrat.  It's not that I don't fully support Democrats - I have to, because they're the only actual alternative to the Republicans - it's that having been burned by one party I'm not keen on getting suckered into another.

What you see here on the blog when I rail about Republicans - when I cry all "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T VOTE REPUBLICAN" - this is an act of an Apostate.  Word for the day, kids: Apostasy is the renunciation or denial of a religious (and nowadays political) group that the denier once joined.  It's at the point where anything the Republicans are for - a horrifying Far Right conservatism that is more radical and destructive than actual anarchy - is something I would strongly argue against because I dread the party's true intent (usually having to do with ripping off taxpayers and blaming others for the impending disasters).

I'm at heart still a Moderate.  I don't want Small Government (or the No Government of the Tea Partier mindset), nor do I want Big Government: I want Effective government, one responsive enough to ensure people's rights and safety, yet streamlined without bureaucratic knots.  I want fair taxation (if that means bumping up the rates on the billionaires 2-3 percent and the economic models prove its effectiveness, so be it) based on the burden, not the rate.  I want deficit reduction but not at the expense of massive spending cuts that would harm families and children.  I want government to stimulate the private sector into genuine job growth and wage increases while ensuring that the market doesn't overreact to the costs of such moves.  I believe in Jesus but I don't want to shove Christ into our public schools, nor do I want Creationism - a foolish attempt to make the Bible literal fact rather than spiritual truth - overwhelming our sciences.  I don't buy the War on Christmas because there's still 300 million people in America who are not being forced at swordpoint to celebrate Saturnalia.  I know we need a strong military but I hate the wasteful spending (we bought a fleet of airplanes for billions and pretty much turned those planes into cheap scrap metal!).  I respect our need to forge strong alliances with foreign nations, but we don't need to bomb everybody into submission.

If that stuff makes me "liberal" then you've got a problem with your dictionary, 'cause I'm still Moderate.

I'm just an Angry Moderate.  Which isn't a contradiction in terms.

Note: Rude Pundit pretty much explains why the 2014 midterms went the way it did.  Part of it tribal BS, part of it ignorance.  All of it self-destructive.

We are as a nation voting not for the right reasons.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Liveblogging 2014: God Help Us All (UPDATES)

Polls are closing here in Florida within the hour and across most of the East Coast.  There's going to be a lot of local, state, and national elections to keep track of.  I got a link to the NBC News tracker here, and a separate link for the Florida elections tracking here.

I will update here from time to time, so please check back in.  I will be stressing mostly over three issues: Crist beating Scott, the fate of the three Florida amendments, and the fate of the US Senate.

I hope we got enough sane voters out there today, and via the Early Voting and Absentees.  Hope hope hope...

Update 7:17 PM EST - well that was quick.  The BayNews 9 website is showing Crist up 58 percent (528,000 votes) to Scott's 38 percent (346,000).  That is, oddly, with ZERO percent of the precincts reporting in.  I'm wondering if that's the Early Voting or the Absentee Ballot counts.  I'm thinking this is good news, but MSNBC is reporting that there are problems with voting machines in South Florida and the Panhandle, so the results are not solid and this is still up in the air.

Update 7:25 PM EST - in better news, the BayNews polling on the three amendments are solid.  Amendment One to fund our waters and ecosystem is up by 78 percent!  Well above the 60 percent needed to pass.  Amendment Two on medical marijuana is at 61 percent, which is unsettling but it's a good sign.  And Amendment Three to preemptively pack the courts is losing with the No count at 54 percent.

Here's hoping, Florida.

Update 7:30 PM EST - in the WTF category, Pam "Friend to Lobbyists" Bondi is leading Sheldon 51 percent to 47 percent for the Attorney General seat.  This is where things are questionable because you'd think the pro-Crist voters would be pro-Sheldon (and as anti-Bondi as we are anti-Scott).  The hell, Florida?  Bondi has been a disaster as AG and she's still on the edge of winning?!

Update: gimme 15 minutes to get some NaNoWriMo writing in!  BRB

Update 8:20 PM EST - well hell in Kentucky Grimes lost to McConnell.  It's looking like McConnell has it won handily too, which is sad because otherwise McConnell's not exactly the most popular guy in his own state.  By the by, got to 7000 words just now, hope to get 8000 by end of the night.

Update 8:25 PM EST - SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SCOTT IS UP 48 to 47 percent right now with 39 percent of the precincts in?!  NO NO NO NO NO NO NO OH GOD TELL ME THEY GOT THE PROBLEMS WITH BROWARD MACHINES RESOLVED...

Update 8:30 PM EST - they called the vote for my congressional district, my neighbors went with Ross (R) over Cohn (D) by 61 to 39 percent.  (insert headdesking here)  Meanwhile, the Medical Marijuna amendment slid under the 60 percent threshold and is at 57 percent YES... the water and ecology funding is steady at 75 percent, and the court-packing amendment is pretty much lost.

UPDATE 8:32 PM EST - this is a heartbreaker.  Pam Bondi won re-election handily (WHAT THE HELL, FLORIDA), and in Pinellas County the Greenlight Pinellas alternate transit plan has gone down to defeat 62 to 38 percent.  It wasn't even close, for a county that has massive traffic woes crushing a plan that could have generated jobs and boosts to the local tourist economy.  Because, what, there was a tax hike involved somehow?  What the hell is wrong with people...?

UPDATE 9:02 PM EST - we're at 93 percent of the polls reporting and Scott is up by 123,000 votes over Crist.  I'm still getting told that the Broward and Dade results aren't in, that there's still a chance the urban (Democratic-heavy) votes will get counted soon and that Crist may yet prevail... BUT WHY IN THE NAME OF GOD WAS THIS EVEN THIS CLOSE?!  We've had 4 years of Scott lying, ignoring questions, selling out to his business cronies, breaking transparency laws, slashing our education funding, refusing to protect our environment... I mean, we've got 75 percent of the voters backing Amendment 1 to keep our waters clean, and yet there are enough of those voters still backing a crooked governor who would eagerly pollute that all for money in his own pocket? (his blind trusts are nothing of the sort)  How the fuck is this disconnect between one issue and the other even happening?!

UPDATE 9:32 PM EST - Still waiting on Broward and Dade counties apparently.  This is still too disgusting to realize that there were not enough registered voters willing to make the effort to turn out the vote.  I get the impression far too many moderate voters were tuned out... too many Democratic voters were tuned out... the hell?

Update 9:52 PM EST - BayNews 9 site is calling it for Amendment Two.  It won't get enough votes to get past the 60 percent requirement, even though it's at 57 percent approval.  Just not enough people believing in medical marijuana or even in the need to shake up the screwed-up War on Drugs.  Still waiting on the governor's race.  There's still a slight lead to Scott by about 100,000 votes over Crist and there's still 2-3 percent of the precincts yet to report in.  Somehow Scott keeps clinging to that 100,000 vote difference like it's some kind of artificially-generated buffer...  As for the national scene, it's looking like the Republicans win gain a slight lead in the US Senate, meaning the GOP will control both houses of Congress for the first time since 2006.  The hits on Obama are gonna get worse...

Update: I'm gonna take another NaNo break to write.  When I get back the rest of Florida better F-CKING have voted Crist about 300,000 votes to beat Scott.

Update 11:00 PM EST - I've spent about the last 40 minutes trying to comprehend how in God's name 2,8 million people voted for a GODDAMN MEDICARE FRAUD like Rick Scott.  Again.  And I'm horrified by the failure of the Democrats and moderates and No-Party-Affiliate voters who failed to show up to vote for Charlie Crist.  What the hell, Florida?  What the fucking hell?

Rick Scott has been a liar since Day One, he's been avoiding his duties as governor, refusing to deal with our ecological concerns, slashing funds for our schools, cutting social services for women and families, he's been caught using secret emails in violation of our Sunshine laws, he's been trying to wreck our legal system and fill the courts with his pro-business cronies.. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU FLORIDA?  You WANT to live in broken communities and low-paying jobs and no Medicaid help for your elderly and disabled relatives?  YOU WANT THAT KIND OF HELL?!

I'm done for the evening.  I will post later about why I'm this angry, why I'm this pissed off at the Republicans and why I'm pissed off at voters who DON'T FUCKING CARE.

Election Day 2014: Reckoning

To the news that absentee balloting and early voting was higher than usual, I can only say WE STILL NEED TO GET THE VOTE OUT.

To the news that the Republicans are poised to take control of the U.S. Senate I can only say WE STILL NEED DEMOCRATS AND INDEPENDENTS TO GET THE VOTE OUT TO STOP THE GOP.

Today is Election Day.  November 4th.  Find your precinct, get your vote in.  Vote for fairness and justice, vote for open government and the public trust.  GET THE VOTE OUT.

Hope.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Midterms 2014: One Thing Left. VOTE

We're gonna get hit between now and Tuesday Nov. 4th with a ton of negative ads and BS from the pundit echo chambers.

Power through it.

We're gonna get told to vote Republican because "Obamacare Ebola Benghazi Marxism" threatens our God-given right to have the social safety nets cut away while billionaires get their tax breaks as the oil companies pollute our drinking water and the coal companies pollute our air.

Stay focused.

We're still getting sold the lie that Charlie Crist killed jobs in Florida while Rick Scott SAVED US ALL, ignoring how a Republican-fueled deregulatory sh-tstorm crashed the entire global economy - something outside of Crist's control - while Scott's promise to generate 700,000+ jobs couldn't even happen with the economic recovery - well, it COULD have if Scott kept the federal-funded high-speed rail program as well as agreeing to a Medicaid funding program that would have boosted our healthcare jobs - progressing on its own.

Why is anyone even believing a word out of that Medicare Fraud who wouldn't even recognize his own signature during the HCA deposition?

There is one thing left to do here in Florida.  This Tuesday November 4 2014 WE VOTE.

Vote FOR Crist.  Vote FOR Sheldon for Attorney General.  Vote FOR Amendments 1 and 2.  Vote FOR Greenlight Pinellas (alternate rail transit).  Vote FOR every Democrat on the ballot to get the crooked Republicans out of office at the state and congressional levels.  Hell, vote for the Green candidates if there are no Dems to vote, Hell vote for the Libertarian candidates just to kick the goddamn GOP incumbents out.

And for the rest of the nation, to all America... why the F-CK are any of you voting for any of those GOP Senate candidates?!  The modern Republican Party is willfully obstructionist, racist, classist ("kill the poor" has pretty much become the party motto), incompetent, beholden to the uber-rich rip-off artists, and just plain old dangerous.

America: For the LOVE OF GOD Vote Democrat where you can.  If there's no Democrat choice on the ballot and there's a Republican and a Libertarian (or a Green) sitting there, vote the Libertarian (or Green) just to mess with the GOP incumbent.  This current status of having the Republicans controlling the House has got to end.  Having these Republicans ruin their states has got to end.

The midterm votes are just as important as the Presidential election cycles.  I wish to God more voters realize this.  AND THAT THEY VOTE THIS TUESDAY.