2016 Election, 2nd Amendment, Uncategorized

The Real Third Rail of U.S. Politics

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I wish that the moderators asked the Democratic candidates more questions about our toxic gun culture, and the racial undertones of the proliferation of white male gun ownership and “stand your ground” and “castle doctrine” laws. They seem to me to be the last remnants of the Jim Crow laws meant to protect white property, which often included wives and sisters and daughters etc. I mean, the myth of the “thug” who stalks rich and middle class white neighborhoods and can only be stopped by an armed (white) man are essentially left overs from the post-Reconstruction nadir of race relations, where the white power structure attempted to use economic/sexual/racial anxieties of lower and middle class whites in the face of black rights and emergence from slavery. This deserves to be confronted in a national forum.

In fact, the more I watch these debates the more I have come to the realization that gun “rights” are the REAL third rail of U.S. politics, to the point where journalists and moderators assume that there will be a permanent gun culture and that this is the natural state of the U.S. I have experienced the fact that even mentioning the ACTUAL WORDS of the 2nd Amendment will cause many gun “rights” activists to attack you, as though even implying that regulated means regulated. It is an all or nothing argument: any regulation means an inevitable slide towards a totalitarian confiscation of guns. We are even at the point where it is ASSUMED that gun owners should be a protected class, as though there were some sort of endangered minority group. I have experienced situation where gun “rights” activists have actually claimed the mantel of MLK and Gandhi to support their claims to be the true heralds and representatives of the oppressed. It is ridiculous, and I do believe that the Founding Fathers would find many men who walked openly armed in a place of business or a government building to be a sign of the collapse of civil society.

On a personal note, what kind of crazy person would feel the need to own a weapon like an AR-15, Ak-47, or rapid fire Desert Eagle .50? I am sorry, but I have to doubt your sanity if you want to own a weapon that can put dozens of bullets into another person in a matter of seconds. What’s next, RPGs? And watch, the gun rights people will say “it is not an assault rifle it is a heavily enhanced blah blah blah”. It’s not a rocket propelled grenade, it’s a speedily propelled home defense device. And a tank is a “heavily protected family protection vehicle.” And a howitzer is a “protect your family from distant threats gun”. Where does it stop? Really? I mean back in the “good ol’ days” that the conservatives who love guns seem to lionize, no one walked around with a gun on their hip, and amazingly, everyone was not shot down by “thugs” in the street because of it. Even DEADWOOD in the “wild west” made gunslingers disarm before they walked into town. The idea that you need a gun to be safe in America is a very successful marketing plan put forward by the NRA since the 1970’s, when the minority population in the US started gaining more rights and excercising them the right wing, including the NRA, tried to connect the civil rights gains to the rising violent crime rate in the 70s and 80s. They were largely successful in this propaganda endeavor to the point where white men, the most powerful demographic in the US, now feel like lives and their property (which includes their wives and children in their minds) are in so much danger that they must wear deadly weapons on their persons when they go to get a gallon of milk. In the U.S. white men view property as more valuable and important than human life, especially in the context of feeling that they are constantly under siege…in a nation where they are increasingly making everyone else feel under siege with their flaunting and abuse of their 2nd Amendment Rights. 

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Guns, racism

White Washing Gun Violence

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Another day, another public shooting that has devastated a community, this time Virginia and this time love on WDBJ TV. This time the shooter defies statistics and is black. Watch the media and conservatives say that the shooting in Virginia by a black man is “about racism” because of his brain fart of a suicide note. These are the same folks who have said and will continue to say that the “motives” of a “lone wolf” white shooter are “irrelevant” and that one is “being insensitive” bringing up race at a time of tragedy. The white power structure in our society has decided that a black shooter is a representative of the “problem” of “black culture” but that a white shooter can only ever be insane, or misguided, or somehow a free radical in the healthy white body politic. A white person with a gun is always a good guy until he shoots the wrong people, then he is a “lone wolf”. A black person with a gun is always a “thug” and is representative of black people everywhere. I am sorry for the people who died at the hands of this asshole but I am sick and tired of the narrative that will turn these folks into martyrs for myth that black people are “violent thugs” white people need to arm themselves against. A white person shoots a up a black church to start a race war, not a peep from the right or the media about motive. A black man shoots two white people supposedly because he feels he is IN a race war a white shooter started? Now THAT’S relevant. Makes me sick, the hypocrisy of our culture.

It is already happening online and in the conservative media regarding this shooting. Watch as it spreads and the Black Lives Matter movement is “blamed” for this somehow. Watch as the media clutches it’s collective pearls over the “outrageous racism” that motivated this attack, while they will bend over backwards to say that the next of 20 more white male shooters this year is somehow “damaged” or “misunderstood”. I am sick of it. White people commit murder in the US, they only make “mistakes”. We have black people to blame for everything else. Fuck this country…seriously.

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2nd Amendment, poetry

One Nation Under Gun

cow

I’m pro-life

And so are you!

Give out AR-15’s

To every blessed fetus

as it exists the womb

Everyone has the right

to defend themselves

from a world that is not out to

get them

30,000

a year

is a small price to pay

for the right

to walk around like

a suburban

Jesse James

We pledge

Allegiance

to the Gadsden Flag

and to the States Rights

of America

And to the Confederation

For which it stands

One Nation

Under Gun

Unreasonable

With liberty for all and

Justice for

the best armed

America is an arms race

to the top

And if you disagree

We have a

a clip full of liberty

to pump you full of

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Uncategorized

What Does Memorial Day Mean?

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“Memorial Day will be celebrated … by the usual betrayal of the dead, by the hypocritical patriotism of the politicians and contractors preparing for more wars, more graves to receive more flowers on future Memorial Days. The memory of the dead deserves a different dedication. To peace, to defiance of governments.”

—-Howard Zinn

There has been a campaign on social media to promote something called the “Go Silent” campaign. As to this “Go Silent” campaign to ask for a moment of silence on memorial day; I will not be taking part because I find this request insulting and condescending to the people of the US. We The People have the right to free speech, we have the right to speak out against the injustice being perpetrated against innocent people all over the world by the US Military in the service of US Government/Corporate interests. I will use tomorrow to speak out against the glorifying/deification of war dead, which only serves as a way to silence and shame discontent and dissension from the people against the crimes being done in their name.

No war or military operation the US has fought has been just or warranted, not since at least WWII, and since the end of the Vietnam war we have had a volunteer force so anyone who has died since then has died because of a choice THEY made to be a part of an armed forces in services of a government that has perpetrated slaughter on a massive scale, especially in the Middle East. Why, why does the “protection” of our “freedom” and “liberty” and “way of life” seem so often to require the wholesale destruction of other nations and peoples?

This memorial day I will be honoring not the US war dead (they have plenty of people celebrating their cause) but instead the victims of US imperial brutality in the name of “freedom”. Also remember, the best way to honor the war dead, veterans, and those who are still serving is to make sure they are never again sent to fight a war of aggression in the name of national security, corporate interests, or plain old fear. The holiday has also become yet another excuse for Americans to self-righteously congratulate themselves, to worship the military for the sake of it being the military, and also an excuse for retailers to sell cheap foreign made goods to eager consumers. I am not asking that you believe what I believe or act how I act, but I am asking that you take a long hard look at what it is exactly that we are memorializing this day, and why.

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Philosophy, racism

The Bronson Fallacy

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The Bronson Fallacy: 1. That “The Streets” and the “thugs” that populate it are more dangerous and more likely to do you and your loved ones and your neighbors harm then your neighbors or your loved ones are, though the opposite is statistically and practically true. 2. Believing this as fact, and acting on that belief, often by arming oneself with weapons seen as “equal” to the “firepower” of the perceived threat from “The Streets” and the “thugs” that populate it. 3. A priori belief that one is not safe, not sensible, not serious unless one is armed, and that that the presence or use of a gun is what “keeps crime at bay” or “keeps us safe/protects our rights”. 4. Any argument or system based on a belief in the preceding. 5. Named for Charles Bronson, star of the cult Death Wish revenge/true crime film series of the 1970’s & 80’s.

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Philosophy

We Are the Evil Empire

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This Essay is Dedicated to the victims of Imperial Violence everywhere, and throughout time

I realized the other day that the Invading US Military, controlled by Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and nominally George Bush II among others, appoint a AMERICAN MILITARY/COLONIAL DICTATOR to rule Iraq, a nation of over 20 million independent, living, breathing, worthwhile people. His name was L. Paul Bremer and he was aided by Gen. Ricardo Sanchez and they were no different than General Iwane Matsui in Nanjiang in 1937, or Lucius Flavius SIlva at Masada, or Nathan Bedford Forest at Fort Pillow or Field Marshal Walter Model in Warsaw in 1944…they were functionaries, brutal ones, of the imperial/fascistic order of their national/ethnic system of power. We are no different than any other violent, expanding, brutal, greedy, ambitious empires in history. The scale of the violence inflicted upon Iraq, for no reason other than petty revenge by the ruling Bush family, profit and for Dick Cheney, the then dictator of the US, and out of shear myopic xenophobic rage against anything that challenged or even irritated US imperial authority and economic control, is on par with the violence inflicted by the Mongols on Baghdad in 1258, or the IDF in Palestine since 1948, or the Germans on Spain in 1936.

The only objective differences between our empire and any other in history is time, distance, technology, and professed ideology. We are convinced of our moral superiority to, our difference from, the “others”, these “truly evil” empires. We killed at least a million people in war in Iraq, surely if we count the death toll from starvation and illness caused by our invasion and occupation and the sanctions, that total is closer to 2 million. We would count these deaths as part of the war victims if we were analyzing the Soviets, or ISIS, or Imperial Japan in their imperial debacles. The founding imperial myth of “American Exceptionalism” notwithstanding, a US Sniper killing a child in Baghdad because he “may have been a potential terrorist” is not different morally from a Soviet Private running a Berlin shopkeeper through with a bayonet, or British Regulars gunning down women and children at Amritsar. Iraqi lives are no less valuable than American lives, or Jewish lives, or Tibetan lives. Iraqis are no more or less prone to “evil” or “savagery” then any other arbitrary grouping of peoples in the world. How is a US soldier killing an Iraqi civilian in Anbar Provence any different than a Chinese Communist beating a Nationalist Sympathizer to death in Xian? THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. We are no more or less evil than any other empire in history. Our belief in the righteousness of our moral/political/philosophical/economic/religious systems are not unique, every empire has its self-sustaining myths and belief in its own self evident superiority. I mention Iraq because it is the most egregious recent example of our imperial brutality, but I could also mention the fire bombing of Tokyo in 1945, the nuclear obliteration and slow radiation poisoning of 500,000 people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the ideological motivated and justified genocide committed against the Vietnamese during the Vietnam War, the wholesale slaughter of Indians over 200 years of Manifest Destiny warfare. China occupies Tibet, and Russia occupies Chechnya, but we occupy the Najavo Nation, the Cherokee Nation, the Iroquois Confederacy. There is no moral difference. Only the cast of characters, the slogans, and the justifications are different. We are what we condemn. We are the evil empire. We are the most dangerous and violent empire now existing on Earth.

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history, Short Story

The Gexoterra

de_las_Casas_p71

“The Gexoterra” is a draft of a short story from a collection I am writing on the cruelties and physical tragedies perpetrated and faced by people throughout history. “The Gexoterra” is about the life under the Spanish in the “West Indies” after they were “discovered” by Columbus (Cristobal Colon) and his men, and as such it depicts some harsh, unpleasant moments. If this bothers you then don’t bother reading but, remember, I try to depict what happened as realistically as possible, and the event depicted here is based on evidence from Columbus/Colon’s own journals. Make of that what you will.

***

There is little, if anything, the Colombian expedition could have done to mitigate the blight Eurasian microbes brought upon the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean Islands off the coast of the Northern segment of the equator sprawling North & South American landmass (Canal Zone notwithstanding). Though, one suspects that if Colon (and he was Cristobal Colon, not this Columbus tomfoolery) had any conception of what he was bringing with him on his journey, he would have tried to find a way to make it an even more deadly weapon then it already was. As it was he did not know which part of the planet he was on.

These people were animals to him, a natural resource, like gold or silver or spices, another check he could put in his ledger. The males could be worked to the bone clearing the land and mining for the precious ore that would make this horrid trip worth the while, the women could be used as concubines and as washerwomen, cooks, and agricultural labor. Even the children would serve a purpose; they could be used to clear rubble and debris and could fit into the places in the mines, the female ones could be used as concubines if they had seen their first blood, and the stupid ones could be used to feed and entertain the dogs. A few had to be kept alive so they could be taken back to Spain, to show off to the investors and to prove that he had in fact reached the orient (or wherever this was). The poor beasts were so frail, though, and not at all used to the rigours of proper labor. They broke like Cathay porcelain, and they were so very sickly (again, if only he had known what caused this frailty…) that each worker usually only lasted a week, two at most, before he expired in a sweaty, bloody heap. The dogs were starting to grow fat off of this excess of heathen flesh.

The Basques were having a gay old time of it, running about the beach, prancing about in the surf like silly little children. There was nothing for them to do that the Indios (that is what they were calling these people…it certainly wasn’t Japan, where they had landed so India would have to do. They did have a similar skin hue…) could not do for them. Every man was now a lord, or else what passed for one in this new world.

The poorest of the men, some son of a dog from Getxo, even he had slaves now, three of them, two women and a man. The man was put to work doing the most menial and stupid of tasks, emptying the latrine, fetching water, cleaning his master’s boots. The Getxoterra had a short, leather strap that used on the dogs when they misbehaved, and it was with this that he administered his orders to the Indio wretch. As the savage could not understand Basque or whatever it is they speak, he would point at what he wanted the Indio to do, and then punctuate the order with a blow to the head with the strap. the poor savage looked as though he could not believe he was being so ruled and by such a lowly sort of fellow. The Getxoterra paled in comparison to the men he now treated like a dog. Where the Indio was lithe and trim the Getxoterra was flabby and round, where the former was beautiful and young, the latter was old and ugly as a Frenchman’s sin. That the Getxoterra ruled over the Indio and not the other way around was merely an accident of history and circumstance. There is no justice in nature, because there is no intellect, no mind. There is only a living mass acting and being acted upon. If there were any justice, it would be the Getxoterra of the world who would be slaves…but then again would that not just serve to make the Indio the Getxoterra? The Getxoterra was not endowed with a mind that was able to contemplate such lofty questions. All he knew was that now had property for the first time in his life. And like most people, when they are given exactly what they always wanted, they misuse and squander it all.

It took only a few days of labor under the lash of the Gextoterra before the Indio expired from exhaustion. The dullard Getxoterra had neglected to feed and provide water to the Indio. He was left with the two female slaves, one old, perhaps 50, the other young and quite beautiful. It did not take a debauched mind like the Gextoterra possessed long to find a use for the young woman, but the elder was really more of an annoyance to the Getxoterra, with her constant weeping and screaming. The young one tried to calm her elder but the Getxoterra would not leave the poor young woman alone long enough for her to be really effective. He defiled her and abused her brutally, satisfying the the stunted and profane desires of a brute, and it was not a week before the young woman lashed rocks to her ankles and swam out into the surf.

The Getxoterra was now left with the old woman and having no use for her and growing tired of her weeping, he cut out her tongue and tied her to a stake out side of his tent, leaving her to starve. Blessedly this did not come about. Another Indio soon came by and brazenly, in full view of the entire encampment, caressed and kissed the old woman before slashing her throat with a sharp shell. The Getxoterra did not mind, as he had already moved on to a new pursuit: taking a flaming brand in hand he terrorized and deprived Indios of their trinkets and idols, thinking that they were somehow transformed by witchcraft from gold to dull stone and could be turned back the other way again.

The Getxoterra had been a tanner’s apprentice back in the motherland, and a slovenly, slothful, and stupid one at that. He had spent all of his weekly stipend on booze and cheap women and so had to sleep on the floor of his master’s shop. He had what he would have known as the French Disease but what we would call syphilis. He was a wretch of the worst sort. Now he was master over the fates of hundreds of people who had only been going on about their lives before the three ships appeared on the horizon of their world.

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