Enough Already! Stop The Russia Hysteria

Today,like every day recent, anther headline whips us to frenzy. Today, The Hill reports that VP (fmr) Joe Biden, voiced his concern about the 2018 elections. He reportedly, expressed his belief that Russia will interfere in the U.S elections due next year. Now, I love, respect and support Joe Biden. This is not a criticism of him nor do I trivialise the threat, but please media and constituents, take a mighty deep breath. I have, and I’m vexed with my own country.

If you’re old enough to remember the Cold War, or interested in the period of our political history, you might be tempted to say, ‘well, what’s new’. After all, America mastered the craft and successfully manipulated elections if sovereign leaders dared imagine another way of life. Cripes, we gave Cuba half a century of our ire. Central America and the Caribbean still haven’t recovered from the trauma of the Reagan years. I don’t have to remind Americans of the domestic surveillance and despicable persecution of our own citizens. We hanged people who were trying to vote. Just know that the covert operations we experience now, is nothing new. But I have to admit that if Trump and cronies are all Russia had to work with, debacle is comedy. Ineptitude a tragedy.

At this time having accepted the ethically flexible, John Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State
(fmr), Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Justice Roberts’ Citizens United and worse, I am not convinced that we have the political will to demand transparency of process and unimpeded access to the ballot box. Over 90 million eligible voters didn’t vote in 2016 election. Disaffected? How about willingly disenfranchised? Over 1.4 million African American men will be unable to vote because of state laws. Overall, 3.9 million Americans have been stripped of their right to vote because of felony convictions. I ask, who gave any politician the justification for that? When did the felons lose their citizenship?

Accept this as you would a truism. Our troubles are manipulation of our elections, right? Well, for years Americans seemed to be okay with massive, blatant voter suppression, disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, race-baiting, purging, corruption and every kind of chicanery imaginable. Putin needed only to spice the dishes of animus ready-made to suit him. We happily offered him the opportunity. But who wants to hear that, when we have more pressing issues like Colin Kaepernick. Sad part is, sufficient ingredients are stocked to last several elections -if we still have elections.

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The Problem With Truth, Is That It Is Unwanted

Everyone has his version of the truth but seldom share it. Whether it’s the taste, the smell or whatever, the ugly thing can help you lose friends and create bitter enemies. I wonder if it’s because once acknowledged, the truth will not leave until you do or stop doing, a particular wrong. Our criminal justice system is an apt example.

Let’s take the current situation in Missouri. Not that it’s unique. Far cry. But because it is active, makes that a good example, willing to say a textbook case of what leadership is not. Step back with me a bit.

Jay Nixon was a two-term Democratic governor when Ferguson managed to make world news. That was due to the police killing of Michael Brown and the conduct of the entire criminal justice system in Missouri. As Gov Nixon and Ferguson Mayor Knowles went into hiding for four days, the police were left to “pacify” peaceful protesters. No one could have imagined police management to be that inept, or any criminal justice system is so inbred and corrupted.

The current governor Eric Greitens is a Republican. He never went into hiding, but nothing says “I don’t know what to do”, like readying the National Guard to control a relatively small number of cooperating protesters. So far, more than 150 persons have been arrested for petty misdemeanors, especially not moving when told by the police.

Both dealt with protesters as the problem. Neither appeared capable of confronting and addressing the root of the problem. But quite willing to talk tough and use force.

No civic-minded person supports lawlessness. So let’s agree conditionally: lock them up if their behaviors are imminent threats to public safety. Not because the police told them to move. Do we have a Constitution or not? If the answer is doubtful (as it’s becoming) repeat next year and the years afterward. Finally, both the state and protesters would be locked in an increasingly dysfunctional, dangerous way of life. The state CANNOT win. That would be despite being a police state, as America already is.

Right now, both Blacks and Whites, males and females are being threatened and arrested. How long do the state and local governments think that they can keep this up? I’ll hazard a guess. When you stop seeing truth as the enemy.

We Hang Murderers, Well, Some Of Them We Do

 No one has the moral authority to kill another human being.

Once we start from that premise and understand that capital punishment rests on a foundation of muck created by men, there’s nothing more that needs to be said.  It is legal only because they say that it’s legal. It is legal because of citizens, who ought to be repulsed by shameless lawmakers, who use “tough on crime” to secure votes, permit that. It behooves our electorate to inform ourselves of the history surrounding the subject.

The fact of its immorality means that capital punishment cannot ever be justified and constitutionally acceptable. Running back and forth to the United States Supreme Court, to collectively ponder whether a particular case meets the test, the artificial standard, of “cruel and unusual punishment” is redundant and ridiculous. Being so because the actions of the State create circumstances of suffering that make it cruel and unusual.

But capital punishment extends further in its obscenity, corrupting each individual who facilitates the killing, from the judge who claims she’s only following the law, to the governor whose bloody hand approves the evil, all the way down to the brute that seeks the vein to administer the poison. Each participant, at every stage, makes a personal decision to kill the particular human being. There’s no excuse. Nothing decent can be found in what you chose to do. Stop the barbarity.

Freedom, Human Rights and Other Hypocrisies 

I woke up optimistic and went back to bed disillusioned. So I thought the least that I might do is bring attention to the plight of African-Americans caught up in America’s Criminal Justice System. An institution, if not by design, then surely by malice, IS determined to eliminate that particular segment of citizens. A protracted war could not have inflicted more suffering and human destruction. America’s Criminal Justice System is by practice, an evil institution. 

One hears grudging admissions such as “well, the system is overwhelmed.” Platitudes about reform and trust building initiatives. If you refuse to believe that America can sort a billion Chinese, to find one prisoner unjustly incarcerated, then vehemently condemn China at international forums, as we do much the same at home, then I’m with you, because it’s truly incredible. So, the attached, though fictional, is worth imagining. 

Democracy Was Never Our Intention

Equality for All, and I Mean ALLA few days ago I saw a graph of citizens fatal encounters with police in the United States. Compared with any country of similar standing in the world, our record is appalling. What is interesting is that we either still think the incidents are aberrations or we don’t give a damn. After all, the brunt is bourne by groups we have ascribed pejorative labels.

I got to understanding the phenomena of brutality perpetrated by police officers. They are the contact point for the systematic subjugation of people regarded as non-white and undeserving. The privileged, NEVER affected, pretend there is complexity to police conduct across this country. In fact it is as simple and evident to anyone willing to do even cursory reading of our history. The real history of privilege and how it was set up to benefit only wealthy, White males. Yes, not All Whites, only certain propertied, White males. That group co-opted all the institutions ensuring that competition, objections and other pesky barriers were removed….Legally!

Do you not think it odd that data is collected on the killing of alligators and bears, but not on police use of force? Is it well-known that you can be denied employment based only on an arrest, not necessarily a criminal conviction? Every time an officer chooses an arrest rather that a citation, he is ensuring your elimination from hire. Do you know of any democracy where you expiate for your crime and still lose your right to vote, so fundamental to a democracy?

So if we know this, it cannot be surprising that people like George Will; people of questionable character like Rudolph Giuliani and the echoes at Fox News, would do cognitive contortions to defend a system that top to bottom has no regard for anyone’s constitutional rights. The most ill-advised comment being that “this would not have happened if he/she had complied with the officer’s (illegal) instructions” and then challenge the grounds for arrest in a court of law. That is the most stupid, cruel joke I have ever heard. Try Pro Se. You annoy the judge who then moves you along the escalator with more time in the for profit prisons. Ask Marrisa Alexander of Florida who refused a plea bargain and now faces sixty years in jail for firing one shot into a wall during a domestic violence incident- the so called DV advocates  and Feminists say peep.

I say to all those of the pacification camp. When Eric Garner said “It stops today”, he was saying what the well-heeled White could never comprehend, that is, I should not in a democracy, be expected to cooperate in my own debasement. I have a duty to resist injustice and I know I may have to lay down my life for my own dignity and that of  others.

No democracy tolerates what we are experiencing. No citizen should be bullied by the Police Benevolent Association whose support is narrowing to the Ku Klux Klan. Every law abiding citizen, including policemen should be very concerned.