Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The plastic palm at the end of the world

It's impossible to sum up American culture these days.  It's a farrago of barbarian freak chic, phony Euro faddism,  retro-futurism and gross slob-snobbery. That's only a sample, of course.  There are more sub-cultures, cults of style and lack thereof than I care to or can enumerate, but when a plain old cup of plain old coffee becomes an "Americano" even in the heart of America -- when Wendy's serves "Tuscan" hamburgers, when anything from dogfood to doughnuts, not made entirely by robots is "Artisinal" (and perhaps Tuscan as well) I might have to stop using the word culture at all and substitute circus, but for the fact that the large number of retired circus people and side show freaks in Florida are generally nice people and not given to parading around in "look at me" mode, unless of course they're getting paid for it.

Who the hell are we trying to fool but ourselves?  The waitress at the diner or Dunkin' Donuts or the Waffle House isn't any more a Barrista than a μπάρμαν  yet we've accepted that peremptory commercial intrusion unquestioningly as though it retroactively had been painted into the Nighthawks where the patrons were doubtless drinking "venti's" or Frappuchinos with hand harvested Madagascar Cinnamon -- free range, artisinal and fair trade, of course. In Germany they call it Barkeeper, In Paris and Madrid it's a barman, but English isn't good enough here.  You'd never order squid or snails and if you want Dolphin caught off Vero Beach, Florida, you'd better ask for it in Hawaiian, you uncouth American you.

Does the near universal phoniness and inept pretense indicate that Americans, for all their boasting and bravado really feel inferior?  Do we suspect that our commercialized, mechanized, industrial culture leaves us with an inchoate longing for authenticity that this same commercially manufactured culture is willing to provide in a chrome plated, sanitized, injection-molded and fake "Euro inspired" form?  Is it our American insecurity motivating our fashionably unshaven McEpicurians, Bourgeois bohemians, Natural Food and alternative medicine alchemists to seek out erzatz  authenticity and attach exotic names to our pedestrian lives and quotidian pursuits?  Is the white teenager with the shoes and baggy pants and rasta hat and the Kia Soul with "rims" really seeking the "authenticity" of not being middle class and white?

Come on, half the studded leather Bikers at Daytona Bike Week are dentists and accountants, pretending to live a life that wouldn't allow them to keep their Lexi and Audi-Doodys and suburban houses or to sip those 15 dollar artisinal Tuscan Latte's on their lunch breaks. How many of those red Ferraris on South beach are rented by the day and saved up for all year?  How many of the sad losers in those smoke filled casinos feel like high rollers when they toss the keys to their ten year old Hyundai or their leased Lexus to the valet ( or is it carrista now)? only to be made fools of by a beeping and hooting machine that just ate their Social Security check.

Yes, we'll raise hell with you if  you hint that we're not "number one" but I suspect we hate being Americans far more than the rest of the world hates us for being Americans. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Too much monkey business

No need for me complainin' - my objection's overruled, ahh!
Too much monkey business. Too much monkey business.
Too much monkey business for me to be involved in!

 -Chuck Berry-

As though to deliberately illustrate what I've been saying, a horde of "impassioned" zealots in liberal clothing rallied in Miami Saturday to hear Bishop Victor Curry, a Baptist church official and South Florida president of the National Action Network tell them that the Zimmerman verdict was a "wake up call" which of course it was not, at least not any more than any case in which the accused was given the benefit of the doubt.  The argument that Zimmerman was a murderous racist looking to hunt black people is as disgusting as any of Al Sharpton's accusations, including his portrayal of Bernhard Goetz as a racist for shooting armed robbers.  The argument that the verdict was pursuant to the 'stand your ground' law is so blatantly, so earth shakingly false it would show up on a seismometer, so what is this all about?  The NAN is the creation of  Al Sharpton who makes  and has made his living by imaginatively accusing people of racism so egregiously, I'm sure Dr. king would be making speeches against him and his business were he alive today.

Bishop Curry has also staged protests in New York, Washington, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, and more than 90 other cities around the United States. This Zimmerman business is a business and a business that needs to foment race tension as much as the Mason Family did. 

Dragging Trayvon Martin's head on a pike around the country is about politics, not justice and I sure as hell don't remember Nicole Simpson or Ron Goldman being used similarly.  It was far more a travesty of justice that OJ was described as the victim of racism and that science and fact and evidence were laughed at.  It's a business and as much as I loathe racism, I loathe the business of using it to sell product, to make money, to build careers on it, to accuse people of it to further a political purpose because it cheapens the real cause, detracts from the real cause and furnishes the real racists a defense they don't deserve.

The death of Trayvon Martin was not about racism, not about a new birth of Jim Crow. Zimmerman wouldn't be allowed into the Klan, nor does he represent some resurgence, some recrudescence of  an early 20th century southern white mentality.  The verdict was not the result of racism and most of all, neither the verdict, the defense, nor for that matter the facts had anything to do with the law that some people oppose so hysterically that they dishonor the memory of an unlucky kid and a grieving family as well as they dishonor truth, decency and the liberal causes of justice and freedom for all.

Zimmerman got off because the prosecution could not prove that Martin was not holding him down so that he couldn't run away. That is an argument based on the older law requiring the duty to retreat, not the Stand your Ground law which did not permit Zimmerman to pursue or confront Martin nor to threaten him.  Such actions would, as I read the law, nullify his claim to self defense and his right to draw a weapon.

 Are we willing to dispense with the presumption of innocence because of the presumption of racism?

That Zimmerman was wont to call 911 when seeing suspicious characters in his neighborhood shows only that he was doing what a neighborhood watch participant is supposed to do, and when a preponderance of  unidentified people and a preponderance of those engaging in vandalism are black those calls are evidence of racism only to racists.

I'm all for practical gun control.  I  passionately hate racism and racists and bigots of all kinds, and I hate it when bigotry, stereotyping, racism and outright lies are used by people getting rich pretending to fight it.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Another orphan

It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in her retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan

Call it Outrage on Demand.  I wrote a while back about how the emotions and passions of American public remind me of  a marionette made to dance; made to laugh, cry, rage and mourn as strings are pulled by the various puppeteers, corporate, religious and political.  Some seemed to agree, but I'm not sure that many will admit to being just another wooden character in the great Punch and Judy show of America.

I used to blame Republicans for acting like dogs being sicced on selected targets, inflamed by slanted accounts of various incidents real or fabricated, to serve the political objectives of off-stage players.  Of late I think it describes us all: addicted to outrage, unable to advocate a cause without an outrage, and I'm increasingly alienated by the increasingly transparent performances of  Oz-like string pullers and drum beaters who in turn are increasingly desperate and increasingly careless.

It's easy to blame the media for the endless series of  outrages they trump up and package to command our obsessive attention, but we who watch, we who bark like dogs when told to, and demand that something be done or undone or punished or set free as the voices behind various curtains direct -- we who are addicted to following those voices because it makes us feel important, intelligent, worthy, are really to blame for the failure of  enlightenment, the fracking of progress and the increasing subjugation of the people.

It used to be easy for me to identify with the 'Left' when the right was openly advocating oppression, segregation, suppression of free speech and the like.  I became a 'lefty' when you could have your life ruined for being suspected or falsely accused of private political opinions, when conservatives could tell you where you could live, who you could marry, what you could do on Sunday, what you could and couldn't read, when they could restrict what you could work at, how much you could be paid, what public and private facilities you could use based on stereotype and prejudice and  religious belief and superstition.

It was easy to loath the party who supported Nixon, promoted him, lied for him and maintained ludicrous fictions about his words for decades after he skulked out of office rather than be removed.  It's been easy to feel disgust at their attempts to unseat Clinton and it's still easy to laugh at the claims of Communism, the promises that his tax policies would bankrupt us and his 'spending' was ruinous.  The stench of Republican hypocrisy was never more apparent than when they subsequently supported the ruinous spending, the reckless deregulation under Bush II.  The abandonment of government responsibility and massive escalation of  peremptory executive power all of  which actually was ruinous.  The Party that has resumed trashing the Executive with  unsupported theory, laughable fictions, vague, substance-free objections is no more worthy of  respect or support than it has been in half a century, but is that enough to make me a Democrat any more?

Is it enough to distract me from the troubling observation that the Democrats have also been the party that supports, perhaps eagerly supports silly regulations and prohibitions for their own sake, because 'our side' is touting it?  Are we as doctrinaire and unwilling to temper enthusiasm for obeying idiocies from national speed limits to regulations on how big a paper cup you can drink from?  Have we, and I'm still saying "we" for the moment, begun to paste together racial incidents from various events so that we can pretend it's still the 1960's when we had a clear mission?  Are we so obsessed with safety and security that we can justify anything "as long as one life is saved?"  Are we selling fear and ignoring fact, denying the abject failure of what we have sold as a panacea and refusing to change things that don't work or make things worse? After all, we're the party that signed off on that knife in the heart of liberty obscenity the Patriot Act, the party that seems to support the idea that unwarranted searches, universal surveillance, random investigation, hidden cameras, wiretaps and the reading of mail are a justifiable price for safety.  Incarceration without charges, secret trials and all the trappings of  totalitarianism all because "freedom isn't free."

The misrepresentation of  the George Zimmerman case by desperate, old-guard Democrats like Al Sharpton, with his long record of inventing racial incidents apparently forgotten, may have been some sort of last straw for me.  No I don't think the shooting was justified, but the case is black and white only in an ethnic sense. It has nothing to do with a law the overturning of  which is the real objective.  I want nothing to do with people who don't recognize that, who have no intention of reading the law or thinking about its implications to this case.  I'm tired of people who steadfastly misrepresent facts and law if they conflict with doctrine, who see racism everywhere, crazed, machine gun toting murderers everwhere, like the John Birchers see Communism and the Christian Right sees the devil.  I'm reminded of those who supported the horror in Vietnam because they missed WWII.

"Murder has now been legalized in half the states,”

 says Ladd Everitt, spokesman for the Washington (D.C.)-based Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.  Of course that's as wild and wooly and dishonest as the "abortion is murder" shibboleth.  Are we no longer the party of  liberation but the party of  bans, controls and worse, the party of the same old fictions, the same old failed solutions,  fanatically held? How does it compare to hyperbolic falsehoods we've been getting from the other side all these decades?  Are we as sold on the idea that extremism in defense of virtue is no vice as Spiro the crook Agnew?  Are middle of the road, pragmatic Democrats anywhere in sight?

The sordid events in Sanford do not mirror the murder of Medgar Evers or Dr. King or the civil rights workers in 1964 Mississippi. They have nothing to do with racism on the streets or in the courts.  They do not represent a return to Jim Crow and if  Democrats can't seem to live without an endless supply of  convenient but inapposite outrages; if  the Democrats can't find any way to promote progress toward freedom and justice for all without witch hunts and race baiting, lies and fabrications and misrepresentations, media circuses and fear mongering, then I'm an alien to both parties.

It was easy to appear to be on the side of the angels when we had the Commander Guy, the Old Ranger and Tricky Dick to be compared to, but after two consecutive presidential victories; after gaining some ground on the devil, it's time to ask ourselves if we haven't become, or at least come to more closely resemble what we've been fighting -- or have we been that way all along?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Florida Justice, Florida Law

Think the Zimmerman trial was a miscarriage of justice?  Think that maybe the State of Florida, even with all the lawyers who reside here, is as much a stranger to justice as Sierra Leon or Somalia or Burma?  What can I say, what can we do when someone is acquitted of killing an unarmed person while another gets 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot that hit no one?

20 years.

You can fulminate about the lack of gun control, about what a terrible thing having the legal right to defend yourself against a brutal attacker is, but I think you'd be misinformed.  It isn't a lack of gun laws that caused Marissa Alexander's life to be confiscated or her 11 year old daughter's life to be irreparably damaged or that allowed an allegedly brutal wife beater to go unpunished.  It's bad lawyers, bad juries, mandatory sentencing and a maze of legislation that so complicates what you can an cannot do with a weapon, even in your own home, that prompted a County Sheriff's deputy to advise me that if someone breaks into my house when I'm home  to shoot to kill.  Otherwise he said, and speaking from experience; you'll be in court for more than a decade and you'll lose everything you have.  Cops running amok, courts jailing the innocent. . .   Want something to be scared of?  Forget taxes, immigrants or any of the distractions we're offered.   

Firing into the floor can get you as much time as George Zimmerman might have got had he been convicted of manslaughter.  Mandatory sentencing, the same pigheaded policy that  might have allowed a judge to let her off with a fine or warning or probation  is the problem.  It's the policy that fills our prisons with pot smokers and destroys countless families and countless lives in the name of that Republican "Law and Order" campaign platform from from the 1970's and  80's. Democrats are, as the line goes "soft on crime" said the cowardly, justice hating, Nixon and Reagan supporting bastards looking for simple, stupid and unjust answers for complex questions.  Keeping it simple as the  Fascist Tea party likes to say. 

But how much time do we spend worrying about our eroding protection from abuse while we dance to the Piper's tune, getting angry at what we're told to fear, ignoring what we're distracted from as the innocent suffer and the guilty prosper.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


This isn't the first time I've said that Justice in America isn't about the law, it's about the lawyers.  It won't be the last time.  The web footed honkers and quackers at CNN were still telling each other as I switched it all off and went to bed that we have a pattern of letting killers go free, but if you have a memory longer than a goose and if you still make an effort to look past the selected stories the angertainment industry allows us you'd be aware that if there is a pattern, it's a pattern of  framing the innocent.

I was appalled last Friday night when Cornell West told us on Bill Maher's show that Florida's Stand Your Ground law allowed everyone to carry a gun, but not surprised.  The level of ignorance about gun laws is shockingly high, stubbornly held and sadly near universal amongst those most vociferously opposed to public ownership of weapons. Tragically sad because the  law is written to exclude the right to chase down, confront and threaten or even to escalate a dispute if one wants to claim self-defense, but as I said, it's not about the law, it's about glib and sarcastic trial lawyers, dull witted jurors and ignorance.

I dread to read the news this morning. I don't want to lose my breakfast over yet more railing against guns, I don't want to hear that the decision to acquit Zimmerman was all about race or any of the other stale arguments imposed on this case before Trayvon Martin was interred. As far as I'm concerned, it's just another flim-flam defense based on making the law seem to say what it doesn't, and it doesn't say that you can shoot someone -- an unarmed someone who knocks you down or gives you a bloody nose particularly when you instigated the fight and violated someones civil rights in the process.  In fact, the law was designed to allow someone like Martin to use deadly force to defend himself against someone, some "crazy cracker" posing a credible threat to his life to force him out of any place he had a right to be.  He brought his fists and some skittles to a gun fight.

Innocent people wind up on death row. People are incarcerated for decades and their lives ruined for smoking Marijuana or receiving naked pictures of a girlfriend on a cellphone. People are locked up with false accusations and to me, that's worse than that a guilty man should go free, but although the NRA will doubtless try to make him a folk-hero like Bernhard Goetz, there is little similarity. Martin wasn't carrying a sharpened screwdriver and demanding money and Goetz didn't corner the muggers in a dark alley. Goetz wasn't a vigilante, Zimmerman I think, was, defending a community against burglars by carrying weapons and confronting and chasing suspicious people, something the gun laws do not permit.

But again, it's about the lawyers and while it's a respectable and necessary profession in any civilization, people like Mark O'Mara disgust me, convincing a jury that his "muscle tone" and perhaps his dangerous, hoodie wearing image was responsible not only for Zimmerman having chased him down but justified shooting him.

No doubt many axes of all sorts will be ground on this case.  Perhaps as with OJ and Bernhard Goetz there will be a wrongful death suit and I think there's a good case for it. Although I don't think either victim or vigilante was without fault or are in any way heroes, I do think the preponderance of responsibility is on Zimmerman.  There is a responsibility on us as well -- not to traduce the law, misrepresent it or to make more of this case than it is for the purpose of furthering our politics, but of course, this being America it's a false hope to expect us  not to -- as false as we are.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Impactification is now trending and it's awesomly resourceful.

I'm losing hope that the use of the word "trending" to mean occurring or becoming popular or simply being talked about is going to share the fate of "efforting," an equally bilious attempt that even my spell checker chokes on, to make a verb out of "trying to find out about."  I'm seeing "trending" everywhere, from shoe advertisements to CNN and they're not talking about a vector. It will soon become incomprehensible to the rising generation of Newpeakers to say the Dow is trending downwards.

If you're going to give me that old saw about living languages having to change, don't waste your words. If all change is a good thing, then it's a good thing for you to drop dead, not that I'm suggesting it and if all linguistic evolution is good, then every patios, every pidgin tongue and infantile balbation should be given prominence and all literature relegated to the compost heap.

I just read an article about new battery technology in Design News. The writer uses "resourceful" to mean there's a lot of  it available. Sand is very resourceful in the desert.  Hey, why use a dictionary when no solecism, ( no that's not an eclipse) no comically ignorant usage can ever be found to be in error. Smug ignorance is so resourceful, you know.  There's a lot of it around.

Yes, I know, technical journalism, like business writing seems to attract people who speak English as though they were native Wolof speakers who cheated their way through English 101, but the danger is in the cascade effect. 100 people will read it and begin to use the malapropism and it will spread to thousands like the disease it is and there will be nobody to say "hey, that's not what it means" because, you guessed it, language has to change. The meek may or may not inherit the earth, but the English language is already in probate and the beneficiaries are hipsters, hustlers, ad-men, con-men, marketers and morons.

In a educational system that ignores words as anything but random sounds with no history but treats spelling as immutable, it's not surprising that "in tact" is becoming a very frequent usage -- that is it's "trending."

I saw a tweet the other day "A plane crashed, lots of people impacted." and no, it wasn't a deliberate joke because 'Impact' now only exists as an unacknowledged metaphor having nothing to do with the collision of objects - like airplanes and the ground. Have an impacted molar? The dentist might ask you what it's impacted by. God help us, but our kids are being taught to use it that way and have no idea that words like affect and effect exist or what the difference is.

How many words have been subsumed into the universal "awesome" and how many times can a person work it into every expression? I'm sure the Guiness people are still counting. Is anyone counting the loss?  I don't think so and I do read fatuous articles ( I wanted to use that word one more time before it starts to mean fat) about how we're gaining so many new words like Diazepam and cloudsource, metrosexual and chillaxin.  But immensity and enormity, discomfit and discomfort,  infer and imply, noisome and noisy, torturous and tortuous, bated and baited, advise and advice, averse and adverse? -- half those words lost forever in a land where millions think Beethoven was a dog and couldn't read Melville if they were forced to. They're gone and won't be recognized by young readers if by some accident they should read anything.

Yep, it's a living thing and as with children, you never say no and everyone is a winner and everything they do and say is perfect in this best of Panglossian worlds and no, that's not a kind of paint. Or maybe it is now - whatever.

For any reason

Lyin' Bill.  He earns his title every day. What's he lyin' about now you might ask?  Why, he's telling us that a Texas women can get an abortion at any time -- simply because of a sprained hand for instance.

“You can just kill the baby, or the fetus, however you want to describe it, any time you want for any reason, you know, women’s health, that’s any reason at all.”

Sure, we all know that women are hypochondriacs, prone to hysteria and likely to be faking things like they fake orgasms and I'm sure Bill has experience there. God makes sure women don't die in childbirth anyway, just like he makes sure they don't get pregnant when they get raped. So if a woman wants to terminate a pregnancy, we can be sure it's because she doesn't want to cancel a hair dresser appointment or something equally as important. Why we ever let them vote, I don't know.

In one of those bilious exchanges that Fox is famous for, O'Reilly and Kirsten Powers went back and forth ratcheting up the lies:

Lyin' Bill:  “In New York here, there’s a proposal, ‘I don’t want any limitations on anything!' It’s crazy.”
Powers: “The current status quo in Texas that these people are fighting for, who are fighting the bill, is to be able to abort your baby up until the third trimester.”

Lyin' Bill:  “Yeah! For any reason! Women’s health! ‘Hey! Look I sprained my hand!"
Powers: “Yeah.  For any reason. For any reason. Yeah.”
Of course no one of integrity, no one who gives a rancid shit about the truth or human rights or anything but his stinking faith believes this garbage. Very, very few late term abortions are ever performed and even fewer of that "partial birth" procedure they'd love to tell you happens all the time.  Such things are done with dead fetuses,  fetuses with no brain and the like, but Fox has never stumbled over a fact so far.  Nor, for all their ranting, whooping and hollering, all their pusillanimous persiflage about how Liberals are trashing the constitution have they ever really seen the law as anything but a nuisance and impediment to "freedom" and something that can be and should be ignored by any state with or without public support. 

No, there should be no regulation of anything but women and if God didn't bother to ban abortion, well then the Great State a' Texas is gonna take care of it for him, now all y'all have a nice day, y'hear?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


The problem with idiots is not just that they are idiots, but that they think other idiots are smarter than people who are not idiots. What's true of idiots in general is more true of that special breed -- the Floridiots: the idiots of Florida.  Few states are better at electing crooks and liars and perhaps few have elected as many well intentioned morons as the State of FloriDUH.

Perhaps you remember the Florida State Senator that opposed an "animal husbandry" exception to an idiotic law that made it illegal to watch animals having sex because he thought it allowed men to marry animals?  Floriduh.  Now that Floridiots have closed internet cafes ( mostly in less affluent areas) all over the state following a scandal involving  illegal gambling at some of those places affiliated with bogus charity Allied Veterans of the World, that brought down our Lieutenant Governor and prompted the state to make anything to do with video gambling illegal.  Unfortunately and typically, they also made anything that connects to the internet illegal and possibly any system that allows one to connect, like WiFi in public places. People without computers who use these places to wire money home and connect with family are SOL and Governor Scott was happy to sign off on it.  Governor Scott who told us that hiring thousands to save the everglades and our rivers was bad because hiring people kills jobs.

Did I mention that we are a Red State in Florida?  A state controlled by people who insist government can't do anything right and should be simplified and minimalized.  Leave it to the Floridiots to make it a felony to have a leg humping dog or a smart phone that after all, might be used to play poker. Now most people who have a thing about regulation of  private consensual things tend to oppose them, but that implies some kind of logical consistency not at all common in idiots and less so in Republican Floridiots. (yes I know that's a tautology)  After all we elected a governor who ran a corporation who set a record for stealing from Medicare in order to clean things up and restore fiscal responsibility and who defends the pollution the vast majority of us moved to Florida to avoid.

Oh well, galling as it might be to be associated with nitwits and knuckle draggers, unrepentant confederates and self defeating supporters of their own sad condition, there's always Texas.  We're not as bad as Texas, are we?

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Ink Blots

Who needs ink blots?  Life itself is a Rorschach test. What you see as a pattern, a 'gestalt' if you prefer in something random or arbitrary is a window into your mind.  Likewise what you find to condemn in others may often illustrate what you feel - or fear to find - in yourself.  It's been my experience that people who feel guilty about all their lies are quick to see others as liars, for instance and when I hear certain TV personalities telling us how, as Rush once snickered, Michael J. Fox is faking his Parkinson's to get sympathy or the Republican hyenas who insisted that Hillary Clinton's cerebral blood clot was only an excuse to get out of testifying at the Benghazi witch hunt,  and when I heard Glenn Beck snickering yesterday that Theresa Heinz-Kerry, wife of our Secretary of State, hospitalized and in critical condition was faking it, what I heard was a faker, a phoney, a con man, a liar and a sociopath telling us his own story.

Am I wrong or is this a pattern?  Do the most vocal apologists for the wackadoodle Right routinely deny inconvenient reality and slander their opponents because they thing everybody is like them?  Takers, leeches, liars, fakes and idiots?    Hey, the ink blots don't lie.

What happens in Vegas

Needs to be heard around the world

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law
  -US Constitution, amendment III-

Of course our bill of rights is always being twisted by the perpetual state of hyperbole according to which we're always at war with drugs, poverty, crime, fear and moral decay.  Whether or not Osama Bin Laden hated us for what we're told is our 'freedom,' his attack on New York has been a gold mine for authoritarianism and the security state. Our conflict with Islamic terrorists has encouraged, as many 'paranoids' like me have warned, authorities of all types to trample all over our constitutional guarantees, whether it be searches and seizures without probable cause or, the right to confront our accusers, the right to a speedy trial, to know the charges against us and believe it or not, the right to be free from the quartering of troops in private homes.

One doesn't hear of  many court cases involving the Third Amendment although it was important enough to the American colonists and it's been a basis of the implied right to privacy that the Roe Vs. Wade decision is based upon.  Back in 1965 Justice William O. Douglas opined the amendment's implication that " an individual's home should be free from agents of the state" That followed the 1952 decision that inferred from the third amendment, the framer's intent: "to constrain executive power even during wartime." 

As far as I know, there is no law allowing a police department to commandeer one's residence and quarter policemen there in order to  conduct surveillance to see if there was domestic violence going on next door and gather evidence thereof. If there is, I would suspect it would run afoul of the third amendment, yet so confident were the suburban Las Vegas police that they could do any damned thing they wanted, that they blew open one Henderson, Nevada resident's front door with a battering ram, screaming obscenities at the unarmed man in his living room as the police are wont to do, pointing firearms at Anthony Mitchell whom they addressed as "asshole," forcing him to grovel before them on the floor while they fired several rounds of painful but non-lethal shotgun ammunition at him and his dog at point blank range and demanding that they occupy his house. As though this weren't enough, they continued on to occupy the victim's parent's house on the same street, rummaging, ransacking and arresting and forcibly removing everyone in manacles.

Oh it gets worse, but you can read about it yourself -- violations of the third, fourth and 14th amendments and of every principle of justice common to civilized societies.  It's not unique and it may wind up in the same limbo or wind up in some dark corner of oblivion as the many cases I've read over the years where police have entered the wrong house and murdered the occupants who were trying to defend themselves against what they thought, perhaps correctly, were armed invaders.

For all the public knows in the age of cringing cowardice and lapdog obedience, an age where liberty be damned, you can be locked up indefinitely without charges, where your possessions can be searched, where you can be beaten, tortured, tazed, roughed up and have your home and possessions trashed by brutal, obscenity-screaming, uniformed thugs without any recourse -- where for all the public is likely to know or hear in the 'reality show' media, what happened in Vegas never happened at all or at best might be an uninteresting crawl beneath the Snowden Story, or the Zimmerman story or some celebrity scandal or other Fox News fabrication.

So you want to tell me an armed citizen is a ridiculous idea, that the government can't be opposed by force and won't ever need to be?  Yes, I know, talk is cheap, but when to talk back to the police results in things that would make the KGB or the Gestapo veterans long for the good old days, what's a man to do?   How does the law and how does that blindfolded lady with the scales treat the man who defends his home against armed and rabid berserkers with no regard for the law or human life?  How does a man decide whether it's worth taking up arms when the law fails and nobody cares - decide between dying with dignity and groveling on the floor of his own home while he and his family and his dog are being shot and beaten and robbed and hauled away in chains. 

I know what I would choose.  The Mitchells have chosen to take it to court and I hope they prevail, but unless these thugs are locked forever in hot and tight cages, waterboarded, tubes crammed down their throats and screamed at day and night for the rest of their lives, justice will not have been done nor will this sad, ignorant nation of sheep be worthy of talking about, much less bragging about freedom.

Monday, July 08, 2013

The mourning will begin shortly, after this commercial announcement.

Pavlov rang the bell, the dogs drooled. The media directs, we mourn or we scorn -- we rage, we mock, we believe, we vote, we ignore.

At last, at least for a while yesterday, our media circus was forced to notice that there's a world outside the Seminole county Courthouse and took some time out from endless speculation and pointless discussion of the George Zimmerman trial to obsess about the Asiana airliner that landed short in San Fransisco.  In fact as of Monday Morning, it's still "Breaking News" long after the wreckage has gone cold and the survivors taken to hospitals or released.

Yes, two people died, as did many others in transportation related incidents over the weekend. 67 people were murdered in Chicago, one of the gun control capitols of our nation. 10 people died horribly when their plane caught fire in Alaska but I didn't hear a thing about it on CNN, nor about the runaway train explosion that killed 5 with 40 still missing.as the maudlin dirge droned and the newsreaders groaned on and on speculating and conjecturing and playing the same interviews and showing the same pictures of a California runway until I gave up and turned it off.
Oh, the humanity.

Yes, people who still read news heard about those other things and more, but I suspect they're in the minority. We get angry, we get upset; we mourn and we get indignant according to what we're given to pay attention to by others who profit by it and through it.

Last Saturday, driving home, I was astonished to see an ocean of flags huge and small on Route 1 as it passes through this tiny burg. Dozens of police motorcycles, black limos, police cars and a hearse followed by hundreds of cars carrying flags; motorcycles with flags down a highway lined with mourners waving flags in the 86 degree heat.  The President had a far smaller motorcade when he came through town last year.

A local sergeant killed in Afghanistan was being brought home for burial.  It's not that many people knew him. It's not that his death was more or less tragic than all the others in all our needless wars.  It's not that he was more or less a hero than anyone else in uniform and it's certainly not as though his loss and his family's grief had anything to do with a sacrifice for "our freedom."  But that's how it was sold by the papers, or rather by the corporate owners answerable to people who want to promote war and acceptance of war and the glorification of war.  All those thousands, all these years, but this, now.

As with all parts of America,  friends, neighbors, sons and daughters have been lost in this longest and most expensive of American wars. For a long time after we blew Baghdad halfway to hell, the dead were brought home in secret, the media bullied into not printing or reading lists of the casualties lest we seem to disapprove of  it all, like those hippies in the 70's.  but it's not about America mourning the loss of its volunteer soldiers, it's about entertainment, about deluding ourselves that  we don't respond to the ringmaster like circus performers -- to the conductor like an orchestra playing this great emotional symphony while the grip tightens on our lives.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Dead man talking

What is it with Brit Hume? I don't mean his embarrassing and offensive opinions, I'll get to that later, but his face hangs on him like a corpse propped up in its coffin at some ghastly wake or at best some dopey cartoon Basset Hound.  It's so distracting that the import of the things he says is delayed in reaching my awareness and often feels like a slap in the face.  It's not that I actually watch him on purpose. Fox News has long since been removed from my TV's menu, but sometimes I see him quoted and my jaw sags like Hume's jowls and I despair. Chewing the cud over Nancy Pelosi's comments about the challenge to the angry white birds party  of our changing demographics, Hume gives us:

“Look, I’ve read all kinds of analysis of this… I am absolutely convinced that this troupe [ now did he mean trope?] that you’re hearing, that says if the Republicans don’t go for immigration reform much as the Senate has done, they’re never gonna win another presidential election -- oh, baloney.”

That's a true conservative speaking.  Things you see, should always be like they were and if they change, we ignore it until it goes away. Bad things like genocide and deportation and slavery really don't matter and we should as Brit says, keep the focus on white people. America was always about white people, even if it wasn't and if we keep pretending, keep believing, why then we can fly to Never Never Land with Peter Pan (even if the name sounds a bit gay) where the sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home and everyone knew his genetically determined place White men at the table, black men serving dinner and brown men outside trimming the topiary.

Look, 'these people' don't really vote all that much (we've put so much effort into making that so) and

“So, if you look at it from an ethnic point of view, that addresses the question of whether you need to get right with the Hispanics,” 

said Brit to the approval of his ventriloquist's dummy.

America is all about white people and white people like Brit Hume, or so he maintains. The Republican party shouldn't waste it's time pretending that isn't so and you can always depend on that league of white gentlemen to bring in the votes while the lesser folk, the folk that live here on our sufferance, keep their heads down lest we send them elsewhere. 

Will they continue to win elections as they continue to whistle Dixie and have seizures when they hear Spanish spoken?  Yeah, sure, but fewer and fewer and not just because more people have names like Gomez. The people who lick Hume's spittle, who watch Fox and drink Budweiser in the evening are being marginalized for all sorts of reasons and they know it.  That's why they watch -- to pretend they're not doomed to failure and insignificance as the empire of the past crumbles.