I Didn’t Realize Pigs and Dogs Were Mortal Enemies.

Eating dinner with my mother often results in me catching Inside Edition, since she normally watches it after the CBS evening national news.  Sometimes the CBS news and their insistence on sticking with the “both sides are equally at fault” narrative of US politics sends me on an after dinner “anger dampening”walk with my Chow Chow.  If CBS happens to be unobjectionable that particular evening, it normally ends up being an eye-roll worthy story on Inside Edition that peels me off the couch.  As much as I try to focus, something about “in depth” reports on how to protect yourself from hotel peepers combined with fawning reports of Hugh Jackman rescuing children from Wolverine’s oldest foe, Riptide, tends to distract me from my reading, and any attempt at post-dinner conversation would result in an angry “shush!”  Sop instead, Princess gets her evening walk.

The other night, however, a story on Inside Edition caught my eye and doomed Princess to an extra 30 minutes of waiting before her nightly constitutional.  Here, have a watch.  It is safe for work, although probably not safe for humanity.

Stomach sufficiently turned?  Any explanations for the officers’ reactions?  I mean that one dog was already in a catch-pole.  It wasn’t a threat to that officer.  And yet he still felt the need to shoot the poor dog five times?  And how frightening is it that most of those cases began when the officer went to the wrong address to begin with?  How do you protect against that?

My dog, Princess Lyanna Sarella, is a Chow Chow mix.

Digital Image

Whatever you have heard about Chow behavior, toss it when dealing with Princess.  Well, she is incredibly stubborn, so there is that.  But while she is definitely my dog, she bonded almost as strongly with my mother.  On our morning walks we stop at bus stops so the kids can play with her most mornings.  She loves kids and other dogs.  She’s had a 5 year old pull her tail and jump on top of her (my exes kids.  Sigh.) and the most she would do is walk away.  As soon as we let someone in the house, she accepts them.  (She’ll still sit right by my mother or me until she gets used to them.  She’s protective, but not off-putting about it.)   The only way Princess is going to be a danger to anyone is if that person is attacking me or my mother.

But if the cops come into our yard or home aggressively, she is going to bark.  She wouldn’t attack the cops unless they were physically assaulting my mom or me, but this video, as well as countless (okay, about a hundred thousand) others you can find all over Youtube, tell me she has no better than a coin flips shot of surviving the incident.  Given the Chow Chow’s reputation, the truth is probably much worse than that.

Understand me here please.  I am not saying #doglivesmatter.  I am not suggesting this is in anyway the equal to the systematic racism that both consciously and unconsciously results in the violation of the rights of, and far too often the death of, non-white humans.    I am not saying we should be outraged over this instead of the way some cops seem to think African Americans exist for target practice.  But we can care about more than one thing at a time.

This also adds evidence to the idea that there is something wrong in the mindset of some officers for some reason that obviously goes beyond “a few bad eggs.”  I have always heard/read/thought that officers were taught to use force only when necessary, as a last resort.  Yet so many of the videos that launched #Blacklivesmatter, as well as these dog shooting videos, show police officers using force as the default solution.  Indeed, some seem eager to escalate to lethal force.   It is easy to see how itchy trigger fingers added to existing racial bias, once again, conscious and unconscious, results in dead black men.

It is not a “few bad apples.”  It is not a couple of racist officers dragging everyone’s reputations down.  Something is rotten in our criminal justice system, and I fear that until my fellow white people stop looking at the police through our white privilege colored glasses nothing is going to change.  In fact, with the nation’s recent swing towards authoritarianism, along with the now ever present fear of terrorism, things could get far worse before they get any better.  More illegal searches.  More illegal seizures. More stop and frisk.  More illegal surveillance.  More police militarization.  More SWAT raids for minor offenses.  More innocents dead from SWAT raids. More wrong houses.  More dead dogs.  More flashbanged babies. What 4th Amendment?  More black teens body slammed. And of course, many more dead black people.

Apathy is acceptance.  And I fear far too many of us accept the status quo.

It is our shame.

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Pro-Life Honesty

From the Altoona Mirror’s Letters to the Editor section comes this surprising bit of honesty from  “pro-life” activist Richard A. Ruth:

Pro-life – what does that mean? It seems to mean a lot of things to a lot of different people.

Some think it means to be concerned for the poor.

Others think it means to do away with the death penalty. Others think it means to be civil with people at all times.

But when anyone active in the pro-life movement, including myself, uses the term, it means one thing, and one thing only, namely, anti-abortion.

We are against murdering a baby in its mother’s womb.

So, if anyone uses the term “pro-life,” but does not mean anti-abortion, please do not use that term, but rather coin your own phrase.

Much of the confusion was caused years ago by a cardinal in Chicago, whose name I am happy to forget. His concept of pro-life included many things, like the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and almost any good deed one can think of. This concept is called “the seamless garment.”

It did much to weaken the pro-life movement and caused much confusion.

Rarely have I seen an anti-abortionist state it so bluntly.  It isn’t about women’s health.  It isn’t about what is best for the child.  It isn’t about the sanctity of human life, it’s about the sanctity of the life of the fetus, nothing more.  After they are born?  Fuck ’em.  Dare suggest that “pro-lifers” care about more than the embryo?  Your name will be gladly forgotten.

Of course, embryos are much easier to care about apparently.  Especially if your world view includes this:

Those who are in sympathy with the poor should research the abuses in the welfare system. One that I am familiar with is this: Women are encouraged to have many children. The more children they have, the more money they get. Often a woman will have three to five children to three to five different fathers.

Ahem.  Citation fucking needed.  Also, wait.  If a few poor people play the system, then fuck ’em all?  What about those that are not abusing the welfare system?  Do they not exist?  Oh, I know, they just need to work harder, is that it?  You know, I understand people who are anti-abortion.  I don’t agree with them, but I understand where they are coming from.  But the above quote?  That’s just ignorance.  And prejudice.  And unless I have the Karl Marx version of the Bible, it’s pretty far from the teachings of Jesus.

If Richard Ruth takes requests, I would love to read his thoughts on #blacklivesmatter.  I’m sure they are well thought out and enlightening.

I have to admit however, that Mr. Ruth defeats me with his closing paragraph.

The Democrats are not concerned whether their clients lose their souls or not. They are more interested in getting their votes and their children’s future votes. The more kids they have the more votes they will eventually get.

Wait, what?!?  If that was true, wouldn’t they be anti-abortion then?  Let me see if I can break it down sentence by sentence and see what I am missing.

The Democrats are not concerned whether their clients lose their souls or not.

Good?  The Democratic party is a political entity, not a religion.  The United States is not a Christian nation.  We do not have a Biblical government.  The Democrats shouldn’t care about their members, voters, or “clients” imaginary ghost spirits anymore than they are concerned if their auras are out of wack or if the feng shui of their homes is out of alignment.  (Do political parties have clients?  Does he think Democratic field offices also provide abortion services?)  Maybe the Republican party would find a more receptive audience for their fiscally conservative platform if they stopped worrying about their “client’s” souls?  Pandering to members of a religion tends to turn off those who are not members of that religion.  As much as the GOP would love to pretend “Christianity” is one monolithic religion, it is really a diverse collection of sects, all with contradictory beliefs.  Some Christians are pro-choice.  Some Christians are for LGBTQ rights.  Wait, they aren’t real Christians?  Maybe you aren’t the real Christian.  How about we just stop trying to force others to follow our religious beliefs?  Just an idea.

They are more interested in getting their votes and their children’s future votes.

That’s a bad thing?  Once again, I would hope a political party cares more about votes than religion.  *shrug*

The more kids they have the more votes they will eventually get.

Nope.  Even sentence by sentence, my head explodes at this point.  Did Mr. Ruth write a different letter raging against the Quiverfull movement and somehow edit them together?  Can someone explain this to me?


While we’re on the subject of Altoona Mirror anti-abortion letters, I give you one from Arnie Calaba:

My question/writing here is “How can we, as one nation under God, our United States, expect to prosper/have blessings when we are destroying our little ones in the womb by abortion?”

1954.  That’s when “one nation under God” was added.  That’s all for now, because that is a nonsensical question, along the lines of “How can we, as one town infested with unicorns, expect to prosper when we insist on locking gnomes into their hovels at night?”

There are so many telling signs of the downward, slippery slope we are on as a nation. Our economy’s $19 trillion deficit and so much bickering and upheaval in Washington, D.C.

Wait.  That’s not “so many.”  That is two.  Both caused by pro-life Republicans, I might add.

How can we stand by and allow Planned Parenthood to sell aborted baby parts (lungs, brains, etc.) for a profit?

Lying is a sin.  If you would have written this letter the day those deceptively edited videos came out, I would give you the benefit of the doubt.  But it is March.  Everyone who cares about the facts knows that those videos were cut to make it appear the Planned Parenthood representatives were saying things that they were not.  All you had to do to prove that fact is watch the uncut videos.  Add to that the investigations launched by various states into Planned Parenthood’s practices, all of which cleared the organization from any wrong-doing.

The Bible doesn’t say “the ends justify the means.”  I’m sorry.  No matter how badly you feel it should, it doesn’t.  Lying is still a sin.

And you are a liar.

How can we remain a United States, one nation under God, if abortion – the destruction of “little ones” in the womb continues?

I’ll give you this Arnie, repeating the nonsensical question you opened with to close is better than whatever the fuck type of closing Mr. Ruth went with.

You’re still a liar.

(Edited to fix two three typos.)

 

 

Let’s Revisit the Blair County Justice System in Honor of Dawn of Justice.

Long time followers of Foster Disbelief will be familiar with some of the ludicrous prison sentences judges in Blair county dole out to drug dealers.  If not, I’ll wait while you do the required research here and here.

You back?  That was quick.  You must be really intelligent to have a reading speed that high.  I’m quite impressed.

As you learned from your research, I have this strange idea that Blair county judges throw any idea of rehabilitation out the window when a drug dealer, even a non-violent offender, finds himself (or herself, dealing is an equal opportunity employer)in front of the bench while acting like big ol’ softies when deciding a less serious case, you know,  such as the sexual abuse of a child, unwanted sexual assault by an employer, or domestic violence.  I mean, I guess it could just be in my head.  *shrug*  Anyway, on to today’s story.

Remember this guy?

A man’s gun reportedly went off in his pocket in the middle of a church service on Saturday in Altoona, Penn., before he handed the weapon off to someone else who allegedly hid it in the pages of a program.

While unnamed in the linked article, the man in question is one Matthew Andrew Crawford.  Am I bringing up his case just so I can reveal the name to my countless (several, definitely more than a few) readers?  Of course not.  No, it seems that Mr. Crawford enjoys activities other than unsafely carrying a concealed weapon in a house of worship.  You know all those good guys with guns; busy, busy, busy!

 

Records in the Blair County Courthouse show that Crawford in 2015 and 2016 has had PFA orders filed against him by three different women.

His past includes additional PFAs dating back to 2007.

In September 2010, Crawford entered pleas to simple assault and disorderly conduct and received nine months’ probation for pulling a .40-caliber Glock handgun on an older stepbrother during an argument over his use of a family vehicle.

It was also reported that he was expelled last year from Mount Aloysius College for possessing two guns while on campus.

Are you keeping track? More illegal possession of firearms? Check! (Damn gun-free zones.  This is Merikkka, dammit!)  Collecting protection from abuse orders as if they were baseball cards?  Check!  (Baseball cards are like the cards in a collectible card game, except each card represents a real player in MLB, and they aren’t part of an addictive game.  I know, us old people are weird.  No, I can’t quite remember why we bought them*.)  Pleading down to an insanely low charge after drawing a deadly weapon on a relative over a meaningless disagreement?  Why of course that’s a check!

I bring this all up because our Mr. Crawford found himself in court recently, and it is important that you understand his previous record to understand why the judge handed down such a harsh sentence to this misunderstood good guy with a gun.  Got it?  On to the latest incident!

In the most recent incident, his girlfriend went to the home to pack in preparation of moving out.

Crawford arrived when she was there. He shut the bedroom door and would not allow her to leave.

Charging documents said he hit her 10 to 15 times with the plunger.

The documents stated he tackled her on the bed and was choking her.

He said he was going to kill her.

In her PFA, the girlfriend said Crawford physically abused her in the past and becomes so angry at the young children in the home that be begins to shake.

Wow.  I don’t want to sound morbid here, but my mother watches a hell of a lot of Investigation Discovery and this sounds like at least 10 different true crime stories I’ve seen there.  Of course, those stories all end when the guy finally and predictably kills his poor estranged wife/girlfriend.  Thankfully in this case, the justice system stepped in, took control, and dealt this guy a severe punishment that will hopefully serve to deter him from the use of violence in the future.  I almost feel sorry for him, knowing how harshly non-violent drug dealers are dealt with in Blair county.

Oh shit.

Wait, that’s my whole thing with the Blair county justice system.  How they, to steal a jailhouse phrase, “knock drug dealer’s dicks into the dirt” while turning a blind eye to crimes I feel are a bit more serious.  No, absolutely not, not here, not now.  It didn’t happen this time.  I’m sure of it.  Judge Kagarise (a county judge who ran for election by stressing his pro-life beliefs, which says more about my area than anything else I could say) had to have crushed this guy, right?  I mean, look at his record!  The PFA’s!  The threats!  The fact that he’s drawn a gun in anger before!  Come on, Blair county, even blind justice gets one right every now and then…….

Blair County Judge Wade A. Kagarise placed Matthew Andrew Crawford, 30, on probation for four years after he entered pleas to terroristic threats and simple assault stemming from a Feb. 6 confrontation with the girlfriend.

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

The girlfriend appeared with other family members in court Thursday to ask the judge to order Crawford, as part of his probation, to follow whatever mental health treatment is recommended following an upcoming evaluation.

She said she fears not only for herself and her household but also for the safety of the public because of Crawford’s violent personality.

His mental health status is not good, she told the judge.

She said he doesn’t take his medication.

Sounds like some good recommendations.  I’d add five to ten up state on their, but I guess you can only ask for the possible.  Hmm, I wonder how the woman in question feels about the sentence of probation?  Maybe she asked the court to go easy on him….

She added that she was also “not thrilled” about the probationary sentence.

Well now, that is one serious understatement, ya think?  How could she be thrilled?  She probably gets Investigation Discovery as well.  She knows which path this story follows to the finish more times than not.

You know, I never do this, but this is a story that you may have a chance to influence.  You see, when Mr. Crawford hopped on down the bunny trail at the Cathedral last Easter eve, causing his gun to get excited and blow its load, he committed a crime.  (Yes, even though we can be sure that was far from the only load blown at a Catholic church in Blair county, if we go by the Grand Jury report.  But those were priests blowing those loads, and no one told the cops to ignore the one Mr. Crawford blew, so a punishment was due.  It was a weak one, but it was still punishment.

Kagarise in December placed Crawford on two years’ probation for the gun blast in the cathedral.

Why is this important?  Because, as I will be the first to tell you, based on personal experience, when you are on county probation, the county owns your ass.  In fact, even though Mr. Crawford was sentenced to only 4 years probation for beating his girlfriend with a plunger (out of love, I’m sure), he is currently in Blair county prison for violating his probation.

While Crawford received probation, he remains in the Blair County Prison because he was on probation for the church shooting incident when the most recent arrest occurred.

He told Kagarise he wanted a probation violation hearing on Thursday. Kagarise indicated he would have to wait awhile longer for that hearing.

“It’s time you got your act together, Mr. Crawford,” the judge said as he explained to Crawford that he could be sentenced to prison for violating terms of his probation.

When the probation hearing occurs, 3 things could happen.  (That’s assuming it’s his Gagnon 2 hearing, which is pretty safe since Gagnon 1’s have to be held 7 to 10 days after the arrest.)

  1.  The Judge decides he has done enough time for the violation and sets him free.
  2.  The Judge decides to sentence him to a jail term that cannot exceed his current probation sentence.  (So since he violated a probation sentence of 2 years, he could conceivably be sentenced to sit in jail until the day his probation was supposed to end.)
  3.   The Judge can take the nuclear option and Revoke and Re-sentence the offender.  In this instance, the Judge scraps the original sentence entirely and substitutes a different reasonable sentence.

In my opinion, the third option is the least likely one.  R&R’s are usually used against, you guessed it, non-violent drug offenders who fuck up on probation as a way to extend the probation.  For a personal example, my original sentence was 18 months of probation.  After being revoked and re-sentenced 4 times, I turned that 18 months into a total of 18 months in county jail, 13 months in state prison, to go with 4 and a half years on county probation followed by 11 months on state parole**.  Yeah, R&R’s can add up fast.  (For those curious, 2 of my R&R’s were caused by getting kicked out of 12 step based treatment facilities due to my atheism.  The other 2 were legit.  *shrugs*)

While I personally feel that 2 years is too light of a sentence for this man, after weighing his past charges, his violent history, the threats he made while assaulting someone he supposedly loved, and the fact that he fucking pulled a gun on someone in anger before, it is still two years.  I do not want to read the paper next month and learn of a murder committed by this jerk.  I do not understand why he wasn’t sent up state yesterday to be honest.  The quickest reason I can come up with is that Judge Kagarise doesn’t really think beating up your girlfriend is a crime, but I’m not going to make that accusation at this point, over one case.  I’m not sure if my voice will matter at all in this instance, but I will be reaching out to Judge Kagarise to let him know that I think Mr. Crawford is a danger to the community and needs to spend a bit more time on ice to pay for his crimes.  And hell, if you feel like chiming in, Judge Wade Kagarise can be reached at his law office, (814) 696-1108.  You can reach out to Blair county probation and parole from this page here, and from this one you can find links to many different departments at the Courthouse to annoy, er, respectfully question.

Maybe someone can explain to me why such serious crimes are met with a “meh” while a bag of heroin turns the judiciary into Judge Dredd.  Until then, remember the following:  Matthew Andrew Crawford got 4 years of probation for threatening to kill his girlfriend while keeping her against her will and beating her with an object.  I got 1 to 2 years in a maximum security state prison for scratching 100$ worth of lottery tickets off at work and then offering to pay for them.

Smells like justice to me.

*Actually, I remember exactly why I bought baseball cards.  Because I had invented a collectible card game to play using them.  Amazing what you can come up with when you have time, imagination, and ten sided dice.

** For those wondering, I finished walking off my state parole in 2007 or 2008.  Since then my only trouble with the law was a speeding ticket.

 

You Mad, Bro?

So what is the proper response to this piece at Salon, continuing their tradition of “If Bernie isn’t the nominee, I’m taking my ball and going home!” posts?

Democrats, you can’t vote for Hillary: The case for writing in Bernie Sanders If Hillary Clinton is the nominee

Can I be Frank?  (Which is only fitting since H.A. Goodman is oh so Ernest.<sic>)  This article comes very close to triggering my “Poe’s Law” alarm.

Yeah, I know it isn’t satire.  I know it is an honest argument against voting for HRC, written by someone who honestly feels that electing her President would be worse for the nation than either President Trump or President Cruz, who of course would be working with majorities in both congressional bodies.  I think that is nucking futs, but I understand how one could get to that belief.

Hillary Clinton as president would seamlessly merge Republicans and Democrats into one party on war and foreign policy, led by the same people who advised Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, and even Richard Milhous Nixon.

*eyebrow raise*  Really?  Seamless merger into one party on foreign policy and war?  Seriously?  I mean, I’ll admit it, HRC is a bit to the right for my tastes.  The entire Democratic party is too far to the right for me, to be perfectly honest.  Yes, I believe that the trainwreck the GOP has become, sending it so far to the right it threatens to come back around, has dragged the Democrats to the right as they attempt to pick up the moderates abandoned by the Republicans.  I believe progressives need to drag the party, kicking and screaming if must be, back to the left.  And we are.  Sure, it isn’t coming fast enough for my liking, but I didn’t think it would be easy.  And yes, I think we need to do it with our votes, in addition to other resources.  I just do not feel the proper time for that is during the general election.  But HRC is not Cruz or Trump.  Or did I miss her pledge to rip up the Iranian deal on day one?

I love Bernie Sanders as a candidate.  I love his ideas, while admitting that I don’t agree with every word that drops from his mouth.  (For the record, I think a national 15 dollar minimum wage isn’t currently a good idea.  I really think that is too high for many areas, including the Altoona, Pennsylvania area where I reside.  It needs to be higher, don’t get me wrong, and in many urban areas <and other locations as well, I’m sure> 15$ is a fair minimum, but instead maybe we should figure out a way to tie it to average housing and food costs. county by county, or some other equation?  12$ an hour would be perfectly fine right now in the Altoona area.  15$ could seriously shut places down.)  But he is my candidate of choice.  When the Pennsylvanian primary rolls around, I will be voting for Bernie no matter what the state of the race may be.  But when the general comes around, there will be no protest vote coming from these hands.  Whomever the Democrats nominate will have my presidential vote.  Why?  One last quote from the Salon piece.:

As for risking a Trump future, I explain why none of Trump’s plans would pass Congress during my recent appearance on CNN International with John Vause.

None of them? Hold on, let me watch his appearance quick and see what he is saying…..

Wow.  I wish I wouldn’t have watched that.  He seriously thinks that single payer healthcare could get through Congress, but none of Trump’s policies would?  I really don’t even know what to say to that.  Maybe his exact policies would run into trouble, but do you really believe he won’t be able to work out a deal on a tax cut for the rich?  That the GOP will block his judicial nominees?  Are we really so sure we should be underestimating Trump’s ability to get things done, when a year ago I would be laughed off the planet for predicting the current nomination battle?

I really don’t know how I should respond to these pieces.  I mean, isn’t rigid political ideology the GOP’s mess, with their pledges to never raise taxes, and their threats to primary anyone who dare compromise, with their House Freedom Caucus and their, well, with Ted Cruz?  Am I just missing the countless Democratic voices complaining about Dino’s at every turn?

Yes, I want the party to move to the left.  Yes, I support Bernie Sanders.  Yes, I think the whole political spectrum needs to move to the left.  But throwing a Presidential election to either Trump or Cruz?  I just don’t get it.  Even if the Supreme Court is the only reason you pull the lever.  Protest voting has a time and a place.  During the primary.

I don’t know.  Maybe its just being a voting progressive in 2000.  Gore won my state, so my vote for Nader didn’t really cost anything, other than running up the popular vote tally.  But if I lived in Florida and cast the same ballot, I would have been begging for the ballot back.  *shrugs*

 

A “Wait, What?!?” That Caused Me To Cover My Monitor In Coffee.

There is so many delusional people in the United States today that it is difficult to pick a most delusional faction of the populace.  Is it members of the GOP who insist they had nothing to do with the rise of Trump?  Members of the GOP who still think Marco Rubio will become the GOP nominee?  Voters who believe Ted Cruz wouldn’t strangle a puppy on camera if it got him the nomination?  Progressives who apparently think the Tea Party and the House Freedom Caucus are on to something and claim they will sit out the election if HRC wins the nomination, refusing to acknowledge that another Clinton in the White House would be better than the modern GOP having control of every branch of government for a few years?  Pro-lifers who honestly believe Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts out of the trunk of their car to the highest bidder?  Gun owners who seriously believe the authors of the Bill of Rights would agree that the private ownership of an assault rifle is a right, not a privilege?  Citizens that truly believe we are living in a post-racial society, even after being smacked in the face with the crime that is the poisoning of Flint?

Just when I think it is impossible to choose a winner, Ed Brayton rescues me, drawing my attention to indeed, the most delusion segment of the population, hands down.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your hysterical overreaction of the day. In an article on Pat Robertson’s CBN website, unhinged anti-gay bigot Brian Camenker of MassResistance says that Christians today are being treated just like the Jews were in Nazi Germany because they’re being “demonized.”

 

Some say American Christians are paranoid, that they’re feeling targeted and persecuted. But is it possible America is facing a growing anti-Christian agenda?

Some on the frontline of the culture wars have responded with a resounding “yes.” They feel it up close and personal – right in their faces.

“I’m particularly sensitive to that because I’m Jewish,” Brian Camenker, with Mass Resistance, told CBN News.

“I saw what happened to Jews in the 1930s and 40s and much of that same thing is happening to Christians now,” he said. “There’s an organized movement to demonize Christians.”

Maggie Gallagher, with the American Principles Project, agreed.

“What we’re seeing very clearly is an effort to target them [Christians] legally when possible and then to humiliate or deprive them of social respect,” she said.

I’m honestly speechless.  Thanks Ed.

Making a List, Checking it Twice….

Dear Bernie Sanders supporters.

Wait, that isn’t right.  I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter.  I consider myself a libertarian socialist (weird party, right?) when forced to place myself inside a box and absolutely love Bernie Sanders as a politician and as a human.  So called “skeletons” in his closet, such as his anti-Vietnam activism and his battles against the Red Scare narrative that could hurt him with some moderate independents come the General Election are positives in my mind.  I support Sanders.  I feel the Bern.  So let’s start over.

Dear Bernie Sanders supporters who have taken to wearing their ideological purity on their chests like a super hero’s symbol.

Yeah.  That looks better.  Now, on with it.

I get it, okay?  Seriously.  HRC is a war hawk who is enthralled by corporate interests, bought and paid for ten times over.  HRC is most qualified Republican running for President this year.  HRC is offering the status quo of a broken political system while Bernie offers a true alternative, a political revolution of the people, by the people, and for the people.  You can stop trying to convince me.  After all, calling Bill Clinton the best Republican President since Eisenhower is my fucking line.

I am not going to try an convince you who to vote for in the primary.  I’m really not.  Politically I am much closer to Sanders policy-wise, but I question his electability as a socialist in a nation that has made “liberal” a dirty word and, more important in my mind, his ability to get anything passed through a divided Congress when it seems, sadly enough, that his army of non-voters that will force Congress to go along with his policies is more of a pipe dream than a reality.  HRC has her own negatives to me.  The email scandal promises to stick around for the whole election and she represents a portion of the Democratic party that may very well be part of the GOP if the GOP hadn’t gone batshit insane over the past decades.  To be honest, at this point it would be pointless to try and convince people to vote either way in the Democratic primary, because HRC flopped the nuts on Super Tuesday, and Sen. Sanders is largely drawing dead.  The army of non-voters has not been showing up to the polls, and while Sanders has made this primary season much more interesting than it otherwise would have been, a path to the nomination for Sanders seemingly no longer exists.  This doesn’t mean that Sander’s campaign has been a failure.  His success has pulled HRC much farther to the left than she otherwise would be at this point, and he has forced people to talk about progressive policy ideas for once.  His campaign is reminding the Democratic party that progressives form an important part of the party, and reminding them that they will not be ignored.  Perhaps Sanders has laid the groundwork for a future progressive Presidency.  While my own vote in the primary will more than likely be meaningless, as Pennsylvania votes late in April, I will, as of now, still be voting for Sanders to let the party know progressive policies matter to me.  I must admit that if I lived in an early voting state, or if PA voted much earlier, I am not sure who I would vote for.  Electability would matter much more if my vote actually counted in selecting the nominee, and I am honestly not sure how I would vote in that case.

But that is the primary.  The general election isn’t even a question.  If Sanders is the nominee, I will vote for Sanders.  If HRC is the nominee, I will vote for HRC.  I’m not going to throw my vote away by writing in Sanders.  I’m not going to take my ball and go home either, sitting out the election in protest.

If that is what you feel you need to do, so be it.  Keep writing articles like “Vote for Hillary, be a sucker: It’s OK to reject the choice of a tyrannical liberal or a right-wing tyrant” for Salon.  Enjoy your ideological purity.  I desperately hope that there aren’t enough of you, and that your articles do not convince enough people, to hand the election to whomever the GOP ends up nominating.

If you really believe that the country is just as fucked with a President Clinton as it would be with a President Cruz or President Trump, then do what you have to do.

If you can look at the polling data coming from the GOP right now, at the racial animosity, the xenophobia, the resentment boiling just under the surface, stoked by decades of the GOP’s Southern Strategy, and honestly say you think the time is right for a progressive political revolution, may I please have a hit of the awesome Colorado bud you must be smoking?

I want rapid change.  I want a progressive revolution.  I want European style socialism.  If I can not have that, then I at least want to hold on to the gains we have made.  No matter what happens, the GOP is going to control the House until the next census.  It is going to be a divided government.  Gerrymandering has made that abundantly clear.  A Presidency for any of the current GOP candidates will see the end of the Affordable Care Act and almost certainly a conservative majority locked into the Supreme Court for possibly decades to come.  If the GOP candidate wins the presidency, we have to assume that the GOP maintains control of the Senate as well.  How much damage do you think the current GOP could do with control of every branch, executive, judicial, and legislative, of government for at the minimum, two years?

I’m sure your arguments absolving yourself of any responsibility and your ideological purity will keep you warm as you watch a dying political party take a nation down with it.

“Things Old White Men Probably Shouldn’t Write” and Thomas Sowell Go Together “So-Well” (See What I Did There!!!!)

From the “Letters to the Editor” page in the Altoona Mirror, I bring you today’s installment of “Things Old White Men Probably Shouldn’t Write, ” submitted to the Mirror by a John K. Coyle (NOT THE SPEEDSKATER!!!) from Bedford, Pennsylvania.  (Bolding is mine as always)

Award-winning syndicated columnist Tom Sowell’s column on “racial representation” is a must read.

In it, he offers his opinion on whether the black race should be continuously complaining of how they are not equally representative in every phase of “what matters.”

He writes with “tongue-in-cheek” of how even the NFL comes up short, with his perfect example of “failure to represent.”

I quote Sowell, “I have seen hundreds of black players score touchdowns, but I have never seen one black player kick an extra point.”

I’m surprised there wasn’t a group of professional protesters at the Super Bowl.

And as always, Tom says it “So-well.”

– See more at: http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/630747/Sowell-makes-his-point-well.html?nav=737#sthash.p016CZLe.dpuf

Oh God, what is that “black race” complaining about now?  I bet it’s something really petty, amirite?  Let’s go to The Jewish World Review to check out the column in question, shall well?

The latest tempest in a teapot controversy is over a lack of black nominees for this year’s Academy Awards in Hollywood.

Wait, what?  That’s the controversy Sowell is writing about?  Is Mr. Coyle misrepresenting Mr. Sowell’s column by only quoting that eye roll worthy joke example of NFL placekickers?  I mean, I admit that I don’t really like Thomas Sowell’s political and social ideas, but he is a nationally known columnist.  Surely he wouldn’t dismiss the lack of nominations for blacks at the Academy Awards the past two years, while the nominations are decided by a voting body that is overwhelmingly white with just that weak ass example.  Right?  I mean, just because he never saw a black place kicker in the NFL doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  At the time this article went to press there had been 4 black NFL place kickers.

I doubt whether any of the guys who grew up in my old neighborhood in Harlem ever went on to become ballet dancers. Nor is it likely that this had anything to do with either genetics or racism. The very thought of becoming a ballet dancer never crossed my mind and it probably never occurred to the other guys either.

Oh, okay.  See?  I knew good old “So-Well” wouldn’t just bring that one sad example.  He has two sad examples.  It took me two clicks on Google to find this story featuring 2 black male ballet dancers from Brooklyn.   I really have no idea what Sowell is playing at by bringing up these two examples.  There are non-racist reasons why some fields (such as NFL place kicking) have lower than normal participation by African Americans.  As the 2012 article said on place kicking:

The Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to interview minorities for coaching jobs. The difference is there were plenty of candidates being ignored when the rule began.

Black kicking prospects aren’t being ignored. They aren’t turned into defensive backs or wide receivers, like promising black quarterbacks used to be. Nobody’s pulling a Jimmy the Greek and saying they lack the leg strength or other “necessities.”

There simply aren’t many out there.

“The hard part is finding a kid who’ll stick with it,” said Oglesby, who runs a kicking camp in Atlanta. “I come across kids who have the talent, but either they’re not interested or don’t have the money to attend camps. Or they play on a team that doesn’t put any emphasis on it.”

Almost all young kickers played soccer, which is not popular in black communities. They get specialized training and don’t depend on high schools developing their skills.

That’s a good thing, since kicking is often an afterthought on the high-school level. And even if a kicker is a young Sebastian Janikowski, the position doesn’t have much sex appeal to an impressionable kid of any race.

As for the ballet dancing, I must admit that I also didn’t know any male ballet dancers growing up.  The thought never crossed my mind, and I doubt it really ever did for most of the guys I went to school with.  Yet I grew up in a school that was 99% white.  How can that be?  Shouldn’t I have been swimming through future ballet principles?  Could it be that some forms of dance, like, ballet maybe, are favored more by girls growing up than boys?  The stereotype when I went to school, which was ages ago, granted, was that little boys played sports while little girls did gymnastics and dance.  Was it sexist as all get out?  Hell yeah.  It wasn’t as divided as I make it seem, girls did play basketball (soccer had yet to catch on) and eventually softball, but the now common sight of a girl playing Little League certainly didn’t occur during my childhood.  The point is that although not the common path, some little white boys and little black boys do decide they want to do ballet.  And if Mr. Sowell, or Mr. Coyle seriously think racism isn’t an obstacle for those black children who want to dance ballet, then they have never done any research into ballet.  Ballet has a serious obsession with “the look.”  Women must be lithe, flat-chested, and delicate while the men must fit their own mold.  The ballet company, the director, and the audience all have an image of what a ballet dancer should look like, and all too often that mental image is of a white person.  Look at Misty Copeland’s rise to Principle dancer and the pitfalls she had to face in spite of her unquestionable talent because she was black with a body outside the classical image of a ballerina.

Even with his pitiful examples, the most audacious part of Sowell’s column is his attempt to obfuscate the  actual argument against the Academy Awards.  Black actors point out the complete white-out for acting nominations, two years running, and Sowell does some quick slight of hand and is suddenly talking about professions where African Americans are underrepresented.  But that misses the point entirely.  Acting is not a profession that is void of black talent.  There were legitimate candidates for nomination the past two years.  This isn’t a case of “well, maybe black folks don’t act, ” or “maybe black folks don’t like to kick balls,” or “none of my black friends danced ballet.”  It’s more “gee, isn’t it funny that this incredibly white voting bloc keeps giving all the nominations to white people, even though there are deserving candidates with differing skin tones.”  It has much more in common with the old “so if white people and black people use drugs at similar rates per capita, then why does such a massive amount  more black people wind up getting arrested?” than Sowell’s sad sack examples.

For Thomas Sowell?  I know, it’s not hard.  As a black conservative columnist, you can pretty much say anything and your intended audience will lap it all up.  But judging by your CV, you are not a stupid man.  So come on, out of intellectual integrity at the least, a bit less baiting, and a bit less switching.

And Mr. John K. Coyle (Not the Speedskater!  Seriously, don’t mess with the speedskating guy, he didn’t say anything.)?  As a fellow white person, although a few decades your junior, I urge you to refrain from ever telling “the black race” what you think they should do.   Especially in a public forum with your name attached while possessing a non-private (not mean enough to link it, it’s easy enough to find.) Facebook account.  I assure you, they do not care what you think, and you sound like your next words will be  “I’m not racist, but…”