Last Week Tonight: Mike Pence

In this edition of “Last Week Tonight,” John shines the spotlight on Vice President Mike Pence. The Drumpf is bad enough. Pence is almost worse, but that’s like comparing dying in a fire to dying in a building collapse.

His pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo, just signed a book deal. That shows that hard work has nothing to do with publishing a book. It’s all about who you know and who is willing to do the P. R. for you. The amount of remedial reading saturating the market proves it.

On a side note, Mike Pence must have done an online course on evading and avoiding questions, which seems to have been attended by a few bloggers out there. Just sayin’.

😉

Protected: Reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Musings on the March on Washington’s 50th Anniversary

Wednesday, 28 August 2013, marked the 50th anniversary of the iconic and history-making March on Washington, D.C. on 28 August 1963. It was the day that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his legendary ‘I Have a Dream’ speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Today, a statue dedicated to him stands near the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials. If one cannot see the historical significance of that, as well as the irony, then that individual is severely myopic and suffers from a closed mind. I would say that about the people who downplay the significance of Barack Obama being POTUS, as well. If you consider the fact that it was virtually impossible for a Black person in this country to attain that position a mere 50 years ago, much less consider applying and/or running for it, then that is quite an accomplishment. But it doesn’t mean that racism isn’t a problem; it doesn’t mean that racism has miraculously been erased and eradicated, or that it isn’t still one of the most glaring social ills facing humanity.

I watch the footage from those bygone days, seeing how people from all backgrounds pulled together to face hate-based adversity and injustice, and wonder: “What the hell happened? When did people stop caring about what happens to their fellow man?” I see the racist prejudice and vitriol dripping from opinion pieces in papers and on blogs, and hear it in the incendiary words spewed by separatists on TV, the radio, and on YouTube or via internet ‘podcasts.’

I don’t believe that there is a ‘Black community’ – too many people of all shades and stripes keep echoing that falsehood, which is a separatist contrivance akin to Ebonics and the ‘one-drop rule.’ At one time, when the Underground Railroad was widely used (and necessary), there may have been a ‘Black community’ of sorts: but it dissolved when we scattered to the four winds after the Emancipation Proclamation was declared – but it was never really enacted. The insults of segregationist, Jim Crow laws, political gerrymandering, and legal lynchings seemed to drive us further apart. Other factors to include would be the destruction of entire towns with a Black populace, the hunting down of ‘freemen’ and ‘freewomen’ and returning them to slavery in the south, and the rape and murder of Black women and girls. The state we are in, here in the 21st Century, is better than it was 50 years ago – but only slightly. We seem to have made great inroads in the quest to be seen as people; to be judged ‘not by the colour of our skin, but by the content of our character’ – but when you step back and look at the bigger picture, we can see that mere baby steps have been accomplished and there is still a long way to go and much tougher ‘rows to hoe.’

For instance, it’s supposedly illegal to discriminate against others when choosing amongst job applicants: their skin colour, personal beliefs, country of origin, etc. One should only be judged on their ability to learn a specific job and to do the job well, not some fucked-up stereotype festering in the mind of the interviewer/employer. My personal experience has taught me otherwise! I have overheard people justify their so-called reasoning for only hiring whites for any given position at various corporate offices, and the reason was this: Non-whites, apparently, are “HR nightmares that nobody wants to deal with” so that is a perfect justification for not hiring us in the first place. I suspect that same ‘reasoning’ is behind the fact that we are “last hired, first fired” at those same offices. Imagine how well that ‘reasoning’ would be received if it were used to deny employment to a white, blonde woman, even if it were ‘justified’ – I can think of many reasons not to hire that sort, personally!

50 years ago: we had to drink from separate water fountains. The only jobs we could get were menial service positions, barely better than what was forced upon us as unpaid slaves – and that practice continues today. Certain areas of trains, restaurants, hotels, and movie houses were designated ‘for coloured only’ – and that was only if those places deigned to render service to us at all. In some parts of the country, toilets for ‘coloured’ people were poison-ivy infested paths which ended in a precarious drop if you missed the flimsy plank with rusted nails around the ‘sitting hole.’ Speaking of the term ‘coloured’ – isn’t it funny that the very people who forced that term on us, now say that we have no right to use it? I saw something like that on a blog not long ago – some white person was saying that the term ‘POC’ was “stupid and unnecessary.” I wonder what they thought of its usage during segregation? They never mentioned how the term came into being in the first place, but I guess it was just a convenient oversight on their part. Same goes with the term ‘Black community’ – imagine how silly people would sound if they started saying things like ‘the female community’ or ‘the Asian community’ or ‘the European community’ – for that matter, I challenge other bloggers to start doing that! Start talking about “the ills of (such-and-such) community” and see how dialogue changes! Do it IRL as well as online, since gauging people’s reactions up close and personal is what really counts.

50 years ago…I wasn’t alive during that turbulent time. My mother was weeks away from her ninth birthday, so I’m certain that she would have seen news reports on television. Sadly, strokes have robbed her of her memories. She might remember bits and pieces of events if I ask her, but it would take some time for her to recall anything – and it would take hours (or even days) for her to grasp at those fleeting recollections. The man who fathered me would probably remember a great deal more, if he wanted to take the time to talk to me and answer my questions…he was an adult and owned his own business at the time, so he certainly would have a vested interest in those long-ago events. I wonder if he attended…I should ask him – his answer would definitely be included in my book. Part of the issue with finishing my book is trying to find a good stopping point!

I digress…events leading up to, and following, the March are in history books – but not as many as are warranted. I wasn’t taught about the March in any school history classes; I had to learn about it by going to the local library, and only after the age of 12 did I start reading anything of pertinence, because the library didn’t allow children under the age of 12 into the upstairs, ‘adult’ section. Some books in the school library were more helpful and informative than my so-called ‘history teachers’ ever dreamed of being, so I looked to those books to find the answers. The assassination of Abraham Lincoln is always talked about, as is that of John F. Kennedy – but the reasons for the Civil War are obfuscated, slavery is glossed over, and the Civil Rights Movement is rendered nonexistent in most public (and private) schools. Educating oneself about all events in this country’s history should begin as early as possible, and it is an education that should last for the rest of one’s life. Events of 50 years ago are important and significant. The fight that began before those events is still being fought today, but the rules have changed. Claiming the small victories and saying that the war is won was premature. Fighting to use certain words isn’t what the March on Washington was about – people reducing it to that is sad and shameful, indeed.

The Expected Finale…

Well, the expected outcome has finally occurred. My heart sank as I watched the reports, from the 5:00 local “info-tainment” through the State of the Union Address, and after the 137th Westminster. The images of the burning cabin and the spotty reporting, where the details changed often, solidified what I’d thought from the beginning. First reports at 5:00 stated that the cabin had been burning for about an hour, indicating that the fire had started around 4:00 p.m. (PST). Police claim that the fire started after they exchanged fire with the suspect and then launched a tear gas canister into the building – supposedly, a single gunshot was heard after the canister was launched, but before the fire started. So a dead man started a fire? No, let’s get it right: they launched an incendiary device into the cabin in a supposed attempt to “flush out” their prey. They deliberately set the fire themselves, in order to cover up the bullet holes in the cabin walls – that way, there will be no way to find out the calibre of weapons they used to shoot at Dorner. Remember, they only wanted him dead and they were determined to destroy any other evidence he might have had on his person. Using .50-cals with armor-piercing rounds isn’t trying to take a suspect alive, and burning a body is a good way to distort bullet wounds. Of course, they’re already saying that it was a suicide so the autopsy will only report one supposed ‘self-inflicted gunshot wound’. From the BBC:

“California police say they have found a body in a burnt-out cabin where murder suspect Christopher Dorner is believed to have made his deadly last stand.

The 33-year-old former policeman is thought to have exchanged fire with police after barricading himself in.

A single gunshot was later heard inside the building, which then began to burn.”

The BBC report also states that officers were using a demolition vehicle to tear down the walls of the cabin – more evidence-destroying action? It looks that way to me…

I found it interesting that, following the State of the Union Address, reports stated that Christopher’s body had been removed from the cabin and was positively identified – but the 11:00 news backpedaled, saying that the cabin was still too hot to enter and that they had made no “positive identification” yet.

I’m pleased and not surprised at the accounts of the civilians who encountered Christopher before the LAPD closed in. The two women married couple who encountered him were merely tied up and he took their car, leaving a cell phone on their coffee table. After crashing in the car, he got the truck from the Scout camp leader – again, without violence and bloodshed. It will be interesting to see if his camp gets a mysterious monetary endowment in the next few months. The reward was supposedly only for information leading to an arrest; again, we all know that an arrest was never the intention. Will he get the full bounty, or will it be a 3-way split? We probably won’t even be told that. By now, as expected, all of the pre-written police reports and incident details have been agreed upon, and will be carefully filtered to the media at their leisure.

Christopher Jordan Dorner is the latest Black murder victim of the LAPD – it’s as simple as that. He was murdered because he tried to expose the corruption running rampant in that, and other, departments across the USA. Davey D pointed out something on his blog that I’ve been noticing for ages:

“I want folks to look at some of what I mentioned and really think about this..I know many who dislike the police would like to believe that one man had one of the most militarized and largest police forces in the world, was spooked over threats and subsequent actions from one man..Some have gone so far as to call Dorner a modern-day Django. Others have noted that Dorner with his military training gave him a tactical edge and made him the most dangerous suspect ever faced by LAPD…On the criminal tip, Southern Cali is home to some of the most ruthless, well armed and vicious organized gangs.. The Mexican mafia, Armenian mob, Aryan Brother Hood, Skin heads, Biker gangs like the Mongols & Hells Angels Russian mob, drug cartels of every stripe, Crips, Bloods etc.. This is gang land for real..and many of those gangs are openly hostile to LAPD, yet we have never seen the resources and all stops pulled up to confront them, the way they did Dorner…We never saw this much power even after some of those gangs were deemed domestic  terrorists..and even after we’ve seen some of these outfits do everything from murk entire families to terrorize entire families or ethnic groups..”

His mother now has to lay her child to rest – and that’s a crime. Let the grand cover-up begin.

He’s a martyr and a hero who sacrificed himself in trying to see justice done, IMHO. That should be his legacy.

Public Enemy: “Fight the Power

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