Conservatives have a man-crush on this man because he's literally their anti-Obama - a certifiably white and notably conservative leader of a country that's historically taken no shit from others and does its best to operate from a position of strength, whether its real or perceived. And right about now, they're hoping Vlad will do something or say something that makes the president look or sound like a complete chump.
And while ordinary conservatives are smooching and tonguing a poster of shirtless Putin in all his middle-aged pectoral glory, neoconservatives are cultivating semis over the possibility of fulfilling their dream of tangoing mano-a-mano with the ruskies as a part of their wet dream of a "three front war" - with Syria, Iran and Russia as the battlefields for endless military offensives performed either directly by U.S. troops or through a collection of proxy fighters loaded with the finest in U.S. military hardware.
Meanwhile, what Vladimir Putin likely wants more than anything is to make sure the U.S. and other western powers dispense with encircling Russia with a motley crew of U.S. and west-friendly nations. It's something the Russians have been paranoid about for ages.
He also realizes that at this point, the ball is completely in his court - after all, he's the one who figured it was a good idea to emulate America's M.O. of invading and occupying countries on the pretense of insuring a continued "democracy" that best benefits U.S. and western interests. Except he did it to a nation aspiring to westernness (in the form of entry into the European Union) in full view of the rest of the E.U. Right now, the most pressing question likely on Putin's mind is how to maintain a grip on Russian naval interests in Crimea without sparking a messy war with NATO and the U.S.
Given the recent phone call between POTUS and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it's implied that either Vlad's under as much pressure as POTUS or he's completely lost the plot.
After months of following the Bitcoin saga, I still don't get what the big deal is about it. To me, it's cryptography willed into electronic currency by a bunch of people in search of a tech-driven way to fulfill libertarian principle while sticking it to the IRS and financial institutions everywhere. Meanwhile, Mt. Gox somehow went from trading Magic the Gathering gaming cards online to trading said electronic currency. It's all volatile as hell and if you weren't in it before everyone rushed in for a quick buck, you'll wind up spending thousands of dollars in equipment and utility costs just to extract a few hundred in e-coins that you can't even exchange for fiat currency properly.
So it was no surprise to me when the entire thing looked like it was going up in smoke. Bitcoin just seemed to have "ponzi scheme" written all over it.
And despite a number of people and stores taking Bitcoin, I highly doubt it's gonna be the wave of the future as far as currency's concerned, but then again, that's just the natural-born cynic in me.
As a side-note, Dogecoin is just downright adorable. So coin.
It's been a while since yours truly mentioned the case of Jordan Davis on DDSS. After reading Tom Degan's thoughts on Davis and his killer, Michael Dunn, I figured it was time to share my own thoughts on the case.
1) People say Michael Dunn was "threatened" by Davis and his friends and "feared for his life." I find it hard for any adult to be threatened by the empty bluster of teens being told to turn down that "rap crap" by some white guy. The excuse of him thinking there was a weapon in the car was just that - an excuse.
2) Had Jordan Davis and his companions been the stereotypical gangbangers that most God-fearing Americans quake in fear of, chances are Dunn would had kept walking and minded his own business. Even the most rabid bigots know that approaching people who can do genuine harm to you and yours is an unnecessary risk. In comparison, approaching a bunch of teenagers minding their own business is nowhere near as risky, in most cases.
3) Had Jordan Davis and his companions been ordinary white suburban kids playing Slayer at max volume, chances are Dunn wouldn't had been inclined to be "threatened" by them or shoot them "in fear of his life." He'd probably yell at them to turn their crap down, shook his head in anguish and went about his way.
4) The lack of a murder conviction was a tragedy in its own right. If anything, it sent yet another clear message to the black community when it comes to themselves and their young: "it's open season."
5) The common denominator between this and other similar cases throughout the U.S. and throughout history? An entitled white American male felt it was well within his right to exercise his personal authority over a person of color, usually one younger, weaker and/or less-advantaged than himself. Upon not receiving the immediate, proper deference as felt deserved of his kind, said white American male then felt entitled to reaffirm said person of color's proper place at the feet of white American mankind - even if that meant putting that person of color several feet in the ground.
In that regard, Jordan Davis lucked out in being cut down with bullets. Decades ago, he and his friends would have been forcibly transformed into "strange fruit."
6) I have no faith in Angela Corey's abilities to bring a first-degree murder retrial to fruition, let alone one that results in a conviction against Dunn. The only comfort is the possibility of Dunn serving all three attempted second-degree murder sentences (20 years minimum) consecutively, resulting in a total 60 years to serve. If anything, I expect all three sentences to be issued concurrently, putting Dunn in his late sixties when he's eventually released, provided time isn't shaved off his sentence for "good behavior."
7) Admittedly, I've only heard bits and pieces of the interview of Dunn's neighbor. What little I've heard has been enlightening as far as Dunn's personal character is concerned. If you didn't think much of Dunn as a human being, this interview practically confirms it.
8) What happens to Michael Dunn is no longer important to me. I'm more concerned about the environment that allows the likes of Dunn to, for all intents and purposes, to get away with murdering young, nonthreatening black boys and men. If the environment does not change or if black Americans don't make greater strides to protect their young from this historical type of predation, more cases like these will happen.
9) Many people blame "black criminality" while wielding the latest FBI crime statistics like a medieval mace. Not only are said stats often interpreted to highlight crime among black Americans as some sort of devastating epidemic that warrants the black community's undivided attention, they're also trotted out to distract from the historic problem of disaffected whites exercising their rights to upbraid and put blacks back in line as they see fit. Predictably, someone somewhere will see all of this and think yours truly is "excusing the black crime epidemic" or "making excuses for blacks."
Yours truly wishes he had the time and funding to construct a massive third digit upon which these folks could collectively mount themselves on and rotate, preferably at as high a speed as possible.
10) Creshuna Miles is wrong. She apparently fell for the "justice" bit hook, line and sinker, allowing another injustice to take place.
You'd figure the Ku Klux Klan would be a nascent relic of the bad old days long gone. In spite of the sheer terror inspired by these and countless other groups at the height of Jim Crow and the Civil Rights era, it remains hard for many folks to take seriously a bunch of bed sheet and bath robe-wearing imbeciles with a remarkable persecution complex. Nevertheless, the following should give anyone brief pause:
Deal: "Why do you want your face covered here?"
Grand Dragon: "Because I care about my job."
The two claim to be part of an invisible empire.
"We have police officers, paramedics, judges," said the grand dragon. "They're everywhere."
And the members said they're 1,000 members strong and growing.
"You start looking at numbers, start looking at census and you realize whites are the minority," said the other klansman.
That's why he joined a year ago, saying he's interested in preserving the white race.
Unless you're a FBI agent deep undercover within these groups, it's hard to suss out whether or not this is all just hot air. But given the predilection of law enforcement officials to heap abuse on minorities and for legal system representatives to stack the deck against them, it's something that'll undoubtedly occupy the backs of many a minority's mind.
And that's the thing. In many cases, no one knows what lurks in the hearts of men and women, especially when it involves them dealing with black Americans and other minorities. Whereas the Deep South and other places touched by Jim Crow proudly wore their collective racism on their sleeves for all the world to see, today's racism comes in a variety of innocuous and covert forms. With overt racism relegated to society's dustbin, many of the unreconstructed among us have opted for a quieter, more covert form of bigotry involving dog whistles, code words and a simple refusal to air their views in "polite company."
For many minorities, it's nearly impossible to know if the smiling face they see in front of them hides a butcher's knife intended for their back. Black Americans and other minorities have plenty of reason to be distrustful of their white counterparts, often to the detriment of white Americans who mean well but are nonetheless slighted by what they process as "black racism."
When you think about it, there's already an "invisible empire" of police, judges and others of authority, but you won't see them at the next Wednesday night cross burning ceremony - they're not interested in what the Klan has to offer. Instead, its a tangled web of individual prejudices, whether personally held or institutionally or parentally indoctrinated, converging into a matrix of racism that transcends boundaries. Chances are this "invisible empire" has little to no inkling that it's working to maintain the white status quo through millions of individual movements, but that's exactly what's happening.
There's something else that's freaking the hoods right out:
"You start looking at numbers, start looking at census and you realize whites are the minority," said the other klansman.
The writing is on the wall, according to recent U.S. Census studies - it expects white Americans to fall into minority status as soon as 2043. A sobering thought for anyone who subscribes to Racial Holy War (RaHoWa) theory and obsesses over the Turner Diaries. Fears of turnabout being fair play with "Whitey" in the minority's seat is driving what I can only accurately describe as a terminal case of psychosis within the ranks of the unreconstructed and a rush to embrace the same sort of "victimhood" that black Americans get taken to the woodshed over on a regular basis. Better to prepare for the inevitable, I suppose.
Unfortunately, many other Americans are preparing in other ways, namely by hoarding more guns and adopting a quasi-survivalist's mentality that relegates the cities to the so-called "chimps," "thugs" and "liberals," while "real Americans" hunker down in concrete bunkers while burning their own dung and filtering their own piss through expensive water purification systems, all while watching "zombies" descend on the Super Bowl on a flatscreen TV attached to one of several brand-new generators they had stocked up during the last "scare."
As for the Klan itself, exposing many of these hood-doning cowards would quickly thin out the ranks until only the most unrepentant were left. And for all of their bravado, they and other white supremacist groups will never express the desire to take on the likes of the Black P-Stones, Gangsters Disciples, MS13 or any other well-armed and well-seasoned minority gangs. As any sensible predator would have it, only the weak and vulnerable will do.
Last time on DDSS, yours truly brought to you a comparison between the criminal trial of Amanda Knox and that of Richard Hinds and James Blackston. Since then, there have been a few developments.
Predictably, Hinds and Blackston were convicted and sentenced to 5 to 10 years and 3 years, respectively. However, Hinds testified that Japanese police officials altered his statement to secure a more ironclad case:
At the Tokyo District Court, Hinds stated that Furlong had repeatedly asked him to put his hand on her neck. He says that he did so, but only used light pressure for periods of 30 seconds, and that’s what he told the Japanese police. Hinds’ lawyer is arguing that his statement was changed, and police wrote that he used pressure for periods of “two or three minutes.”
Do take care to flag and report the unsavory comments left by individuals who are absolutely tumescent over the prospect of a black male being treated at the hands of the Japanese prison system. Right about now, someone somewhere is looking up the katakana for "prison bitch."
Meanwhile, you'd think that Amanda Knox would be somewhere working out a book deal on her harrowing ordeal at the hands of Italian law enforcement while savoring her new-found freedom.
Turns out that freedom might be fleeting, after all:
Amanda Knox said in an emotional interview on Friday that news of the Italian court reinstating her murder conviction in the 2007 killing of her British roommate Meredith Kercher hit her "like a train."
"I did not expect this to happen," Knox told Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America. "I really expected so much better from the Italian justice system. They found me innocent before."
The 26-year-old shared a house in the Italian town of Perugia with Kercher, then 21, who was found partially naked in a pool of blood, her throat slashed.
Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 29, were convicted of the crime in 2009 and had spent four years in prison before their acquittal in 2011.
However, Italy’s highest court overturned the acquittal and ordered a new appeal, saying the first was riddled with “shortcomings, contradictions and inconsistencies.”
Though she was not in the Florence courtroom Thursday when Judge Alessandro Nencini sentenced her to 28 years and six months in prison, more than the 26 years she received at her first trial in 2011, she told Roberts she watched an Italian television station online to hear the verdict.
"I needed to hear it for myself," she said. "My whole family was there and I was listening and I'm the only one who knows Italian and I'm trying to listen and then tell them."
If the conviction's upheld, Knox will likely find herself on a one-way flight back to Italy:
"I will never go willingly back to the place where I ...," she said, pausing. "I'm going to fight this to the very end. It's not right and it's not fair. ... I'm going to do everything I can."
Apparently, Knox's (ex) boyfriend and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito knew what was up and attempted to book it out of Italy, but wound up being stopped short of the Slovenian and Austrian borders.
It's amazing how circumstances can change in a short amount of time.
Until recently, the heartbreaking tale of Malaga Island remained buried within the recesses of Maine's collective history, largely as something most wanted lost in the sands of time. And like the stories surrounding Rosewood, Florida and the Greenwood community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, it's a story where prejudice and hatred took center stage to annihilate a community:
A century ago this spring, Maine Gov. Frederick Plaisted oversaw the destruction of a year-around fishing hamlet on Malaga Island, a 42-acre island in the New Meadows River, just off the Phippsburg shore. The island's 40 residents -- white, black and mixed race -- were ordered to leave the island, and to take their homes with them, else they would be burned. A fifth of the population was incarcerated on questionable grounds at the Maine School for the Feebleminded in New Gloucester, where most spent the rest of their lives. The island schoolhouse was dismantled and relocated to Louds Island in Muscongus Bay.
Leaving no stone unturned, state officials dug up the 17 bodies in the island cemetery, distributed them into five caskets and buried them at the School of the Feebleminded -- now Pineland Farms -- where they remain today.
Several islanders spent the rest of their lives in this state-run mental institution. One couple, Robert and Laura Darling Tripp, floated from place to place in a makeshift houseboat, but, unwelcomed, wound up moored to another scrap of an island. Malnourished, Laura fell sick during a gale; when her husband returned with help, he found the couple's two children clinging to her lifeless body. Many others suffered from the stigma of being associated with the island.
"After the island was cleared, people did not really want to talk about this incident, especially the descendants, because to raise your hand and say you were from Malaga supposedly meant you were feebleminded or had black blood in you or both," said Rob Rosenthal, whose 2009 radio documentary "Malaga: A Story Better Left Untold" helped draw attention to what is one of the most disgraceful official acts in our state's history. "Nobody wanted to declare that."
The prelude to Malaga Island's wholesale clearing rings similar to the events preceding the destruction of Rosewood and Greenwood - whereas the latter involved the perceived threat of miscegenation through sexual assault, Malaga Island was a community where not only did black and white Americans co-mingle freely, but the threat of miscegenation was realized through the presence of mixed families on the island. By all counts, that was something that neither the eugenicists of the era nor those who endorsed their views could abide by:
But the shell middens offered no protection from Gov. Plaisted, who visited the obscure island with his entire executive council in July 1911. That December, the governor ordered the eviction of the community, and officials institutionalized eight residents, some for failing to identify a telephone (which none had likely seen) or for not knowing that William Howard Taft had succeeded Teddy Roosevelt as president. Those who remained were given payments for their homes and ordered to leave -- with or without them -- by the first of July, 1912.
Later that year, the cemetery was cleared and the island sold to a close friend and business partner of the chair of Plaisted's executive council, Dr. Gustavus C. Kilgore of Belfast, who played a central role in the creation of the governor's policies, including signing the commitment orders for those sent to New Gloucester.
Nobody has lived on the island since.
A Sun Journal article (Google cached version here) describes how the island came under ownership of the MCHT:
In 2001, the MCHT bought Malaga Island from a man who sold it at a bargain price because he wanted the island to be preserved. He wanted to keep developers away and he wanted local fishermen to continue using the island.
"But for this generous landowner," says Rich Knox, communications director at MCHT, "there would be houses out here. There would be no archeology, no education. If it wasn't for land conservation, you wouldn't have these kinds of places."
Now this is interesting. I'd like to know about this man and anyone else who came into ownership of the island after Kilgore.
It took nearly a century for the state of Maine to express regret and issue an apology. That's another common thread linking Greenwood, Rosewood and Malaga Island together. The passage of time does a lot of things. It dries freshly drawn blood and turns hot, vivid pain into a dull, distant ache. It makes people forget, especially if what's to be remember is buried under the ever-growing rubble of history itself.
But for better or worst, it makes talking about events such as those on Malaga Island "safe" to talk about, as the people involved in this injustice are themselves long in the ground and therefore only culpable in the eyes of history. The descendants of those who perpetrated this terrible act are also removed from any culpability by virtue of time. All that's left is the descendants of the victims and their willingness to make the world aware of what happened. And, of course, the various historians and archaeologists tasked with studying what life was like before the community was destroyed:
Malaga's people were certainly poor. The island's soil is inappropriate for farming, and fishing, laboring or doing laundry and carpentry for mainlanders didn't pay well. Their homes were modest, and one family lived in a converted ship's cabin. Some relied on charity from the town to get through the winter, and in 1908 private donors stepped in to help build an island school. School ledgers have survived.
"The papers written by the students show their penmanship was perfect and their spelling was better than mine," said Lynda Wyman, a trustee at the Phippsburg Historical Society, which also will have a small Malaga exhibit this summer. "It absolutely shows that kids were educated, not illiterate or so-called feebleminded or any of those things."
Archaeological digs by University of Southern Maine researchers Nathan Hamilton and Robert Sanford show the islanders caught lobsters, shellfish, cod and even swordfish. Thousands of buttons near the home of the island's laundress attest to how much washing she took in from Phippsburg's boardinghouses.
They built their homes on piles of discarded clam, mussel and scallop shells because they could be made level and provided excellent drainage. In doing so, they inadvertently gave a valuable gift to 21st-century archeologists.
"The shell middens protected almost all the artifacts and household stuff they mixed into it, and we actually know who lived on each spot," Hamilton said. "To actually have a patch of ground where we know the name and age of the individuals associated with it, their race, their jobs and when they lived there -- that's really interesting and unique."
These people made a life for themselves, free of the interference, strife and hardship that was endemic in many places where various forms of prejudice were tolerated and even given legal sanction. And because the community's existence upset the sensibilities of a powerful few while giving license to naked greed, Frederick Plaisted and his executive council found ample justification to right what they saw as a wrong and, in the process, committed a crime that cast a lingering pall over Phippsburg and the rest of the state for an entire century.
The events that happened afterward were especially appalling. To erase practically every single trace of the inhabitants' existence from the island by unearthing and removing its dead meant harboring a blinding, intense hatred and nearly unfathomable disrespect. To declare a fifth of the population as "feebleminded" and condemn them to a life of unjustified institutionalization required a mind attuned to the belief of the Negro and those who deigned to mix with them as "feebleminded" as any mentally ill individual. To re-intern those dead on the same grounds of that institution required pure, unadulterated malice.
It didn't just border on evil - it practically was.
The first step of reconciliation involves admitting you were wrong, but that's only the beginning:
Relatives of the Malaga evictees say having a high-profile exhibit at the state's official museum is cathartic, but there is another step Voter would still like to see. "Closure for me is to return the bodies to the island because my aunts died there believing their bones would become part of it," she said. "Removing the bodies was the difference between eviction and annihilation."
We all know how tone-deaf Republicans tend to get when it comes to women's issues. Par for the course for those folks. In an effort to go against type and score those sweet, precious political points, Mike Huckabee crafted what Alexandra Petri at the Washington Post describes as a "three-coil steamer." Well, she's being extraordinarily polite here:
I think it’s time for Republicans to no longer accept listening to Democrats talk about a war on women. Because the fact is, the Republicans don’t have a war on women. They have a war FOR women. For them to be empowered; to be something other than victims of their gender. Women I know are outraged that Democrats think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have a government provide for them birth control medication. Women I know are smart, educated, intelligent, capable of doing anything anyone else can do. Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women. That’s not a war ON them, it’s a war FOR them. And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing or them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it, let’s take that discussion all across America because women are far more than Democrats have made them to be. And women across America have to stand up and say, Enough of that nonsense.
This, from the same folks who brought to you mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds and cockneyed theories about rape, birth control and pregnancy.
But even if Huckabee's "Uncle Sugar" speech went over like a lead balloon with women everywhere, at least it resonated with the base. A recent poll shows Huckabee in the top spot for the GOP presidential primary for 2016:
Following the controversy over his 'Uncle Sugar' speech Mike Huckabee has...taken the lead in the Republican primary race for 2016. He's at 16% to 14% for Jeb Bush, 13% for Chris Christie, 11% for Rand Paul, 8% each for Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan, 6% for Scott Walker, and 5% for Bobby Jindal.
There's been more movement than usual over the last month, with Huckabee and Bush each gaining 3-4 points, and Chris Christie and Ted Cruz each falling by 6 points. Cruz had been leading the field among 'very conservative' voters for months but in the wake of Huckabee's press attention last week he's taken the top spot with that group. He's at 20% to 15% for Paul, 11% for Cruz, and 10% for Bush. In the wake of Bridgegate Christie's supremacy with moderate voters is being challenged- a month ago he led Bush by 23 points with them, but now his advantage is down to 3 points at 28/25.
The same poll also shows Sarah Palin winning the "Ms. Congeniality" prize of "best liked person."
Yesterday, yours truly had the pleasure of being trapped in the midst of Atlanta's very own Snowmageddon. A couple of inches of snow and scads of ice turned a 30-minute trip into a seven-hour ordeal. But at least I didn't have to spend the night in a grocery store or a school, as hundreds had to overnight.
The above shot is I-75 facing northbound, a ghost town compared to last night. Meanwhile...
- It doesn't take much for black Americans to lose their lives in these United States. For instance, all you have to do is inspect a shed on your newly-purchased property:
A man from Barboursville, W.Va., fatally shot his new neighbor and the neighbor’s brother without warning as the two men were inspecting their property, New York's Daily News reports.
Rodney Bruce Black, 62, told authorities that he thought his victims were breaking into a building he owned. However, although the building is on land that once belonged to Black’s family, that was not the case anymore.
One of the victims, Garrick Hopkins, 60, and his wife had just purchased the property next door to Black and were planning to build a house within the next few weeks, Sheriff Tom McComas told the Daily News on Monday. Hopkins invited his brother, Carl, who was 61, to inspect the property with him Saturday afternoon.
Black saw the two men looking into a shed and, allegedly without warning or calling the police, took his rifle and fired at the men. They died at the site. Both men leave behind their wives and children.
Of course, race isn't being factored into the shooting.
- Then again, it doesn't take much for anyone to lose their life, these days. Could you imagine getting killed over poetry?
- The parents of this seven-year-old girl are thankful their child wasn't killed behind this:
7-year-old girl suffered a mild concussion after she was beaten unconscious by four boys at Thomas Claggett Elementary School in District Heights, Md., on Tuesday, Fox 5 reports.
The incident occurred during a recess in the school's gym, into which 75 students were allegedly crammed, with only about five teachers supervising the crowd. The teachers apparently did not see the attack.
The girl was taken to the Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C., where she was diagnosed with a mild concussion.
Needless to say, her parents are outraged and can't fathom how this could have happened, the news site reports.
"That's my baby. I bring her to school and that's the last thing I expect is a phone call informing me that my daughter is unconscious," the girl’s mother, Phersephone Holland, told the station.
Her father, Rodney Smyers, said this was not the first time his daughter had been bullied and attacked at the school, having come home with bruises before.
"One incident, she came home, she had a split in her lip," he said, acknowledging that he had not expected school officials to allow the situation to get this out of hand. "It's an ongoing problem."
An ongoing problem that school officials apparently won't take seriously until someone dies or lawyers get involved. I say it's past time for the parents to open a can of legal whup-ass on the school district.
- Remember the as-of-yet unidentified 18-year-old who flung racial insults at Kim Kardashian, resulting in a quick laying of hands by Rev. Kanye West of the Church of Yeezus? Guy's looking for a cash settlement. Figures.
- Unlike most people, I could care less about what Justin Bieber's doing. Whatever it is, he'll get off lightly and not miss a beat.
- I could also care less about some white Russian socialite making an ass of herself. The only lesson she'll learn from this is how to hide her fetish for "ethnic furniture" a bit better.
- Contrary to what designated bleach-blonde talking head Martha MacCallum thinks, the solution to sky-high arrest rates for minorities isn't abstinence from demon weed.
- Twitter finally sees Black Twitter. As a potential cash cow. Funny how certain black issues, activities and products only get recognized when someone finally figures out how to make money off of them.
- In his State of the Union address, President Obama threatened to veto a new sanctions bill for Iran, in light of careful negotiations over that nation's nuclear program:
“The sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible,” he said, but added, “let me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it. For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.”
Which sent the co-sponsor of said bill, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) walking sideways away from it:
“I did not sign it with the intention that it would ever be voted upon or used upon while we’re negotiating,” he told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. “I signed it because I wanted to make sure the president had a hammer if he needed it and showed him how determined we were to do it and use it if we had to. But with that being said we’ve got to give peace a chance here and we’ve got to support this process.”
Introducing a new set of sanctions on Iran in the middle of diplomatic talks smacks of the highest levels of stupid.
To those in the Atlanta metro area, stay warm and stay safe. Winter Storm Leon's work isn't done just yet and the state of Georgia is still under a state of emergency.
For those who didn't get a chance to catch the 2014 State of the Union address or just want to watch it again, here it is in its entirety.
The White House also has a transcript of the full address. Thoughts from yours truly are forthcoming.
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.” - Lee Atwater
The folks over at the Free Republic had themselves a problem. They didn't...take kindly to those of the colored persuasion, especially those deemed as criminal or criminally-minded. But they couldn't let loose with the usual above expression of how they felt about them - too uncouth and too close to what the folks over at Stormfront would do.
At the same time, many FReepers shared a collective frustration against newscasters who, in the minds of the average FReeper, refused to call a spade a spade (pardon) and include the ethnicity in their descriptions of perps whenever there was a crime committed but the suspect was still at large.
One day, some enterprising chap within some forum topic sarcastically referred to the description of an (undoubtedly) black perp as "Amish." Whenever stories of black criminality filtered through FReep? "Those Amish must be at it again." For a time, it was the perfect way to call a "nigger" a "nigger" and not get called out on it by the Admin Moderator(s).
At least more than one FReeper has expressed anguish over not being able to speak his mind when it comes to the blacks:
Why must we resort to euphemisms here on FREE Republic? The codeword Amish means black and everyone who's been here for more than a day knows it. Really, can we not call a spade a spade? This site stands for freedom, liberty and doesn't need to hide behind a thin veneer of political correctness. This isn't directed at you, oh8eleven, since the practice is widespread. Instead, I'd like to see a plain, honest treatment of these riots and crimes. In this case, as with many other, the initiators are black, not Amish, Mennonites, British, Germans, Irish, Slavs, Swedes or any number of other races/ethnic categories.
The "document to which we may not link" here on FR makes it clear that blacks commit these and other crimes in numbers far exceeding their percentage of the population. The "Amish" phraseology was slightly amusing at one time. But, in my opinion, a forthright identification of the problem is in order. I, for one, will use the word black when applicable to incidents such as these. And when it's whites committing such acts, they likewise will be called out in my posts.
"Amish." "Thugs." "Ferals." "Holder's People." These codewords usually mean one thing and one thing only when spoken and written in context of black Americans, especially black Americans who are suspected of criminal acts or behaviors. They also thrive in the realm of social acceptability whereas letting anything resembling the dreaded N-word form on your lips could result in a well-deserved round of ostracism.
Kyle Wagner recently took a look into the frequency of the word "thug" in context of Richard Sherman's brief moment of over-exuberance, recently covered by yours truly here:
The numbers here come from iQ Media1, and they're based on every closed caption that ran in every market in the country over the past three years. As you can see above, Monday was more "thug"-heavy than any day in the past few years. iQ Media says 625 "thug"s across all markets, while competing service TVEyes says 524 so far today, but just 269 yesterday. Both have today and yesterday as massive spikes. ESPN, to its credit, appears to be on the hook for just two "thugs" all of yesterday. CBS was the overall leader by iQ's count, but that number is slightly inflated because of a mention on the national broadcast of the creatively bereft ratings graveyard Intelligence, which went out to a bunch of local affiliates.
Here, Richard Sherman is beaten out by John Kerry, who on August 29, 2013, called Bashar al-Assad a "thug." Sit on that one for a minute.
Although the word "thug" in of itself has little to no racial undertone, it quickly adopts one as people rush to use it as a N-word substitute of sorts.
Words take on different meanings depending on the situation. Take "chimp," for starters. Calling George W. Bush a "chimp" means mocking the former president for his appearance, mannerisms and thought processes. It's a relatively harmless word that has little to no weight in this context.
Now call Barack Obama a "chimp." Watch as all of the racially charged baggage that comes from centuries of comparing black physiology and psychology to that of various monkeys comes flooding in. In this context, it's meant as a racial insult without the need for letting the N-word fly. Calling the first lady an "ape" or a "gorilla" not only means calling her the N-word, but a particularly ugly one as well.
Calling a white guy the N-word has no effect, unless you're criticizing him for emulating the black lifestyle or siding with blacks. On the other hand, calling a white woman a "nigger lover" is especially devastating, given the context behind those two words.
Then there are words that are only used as qualifiers for certain groups because such qualities are already understood in others. Take the word "articulate." Most people wouldn't call a well-spoken white guy "articulate" unless there was a specific point being made, as articulateness is understood as an inherent trait in the average white guy. Meanwhile, calling any well-spoken black guy "articulate" is meant to play up the fact that his articulateness is unique, because it's commonly assumed that blacks are just naturally inarticulate.
Sure, this all seems like nit-picking, but these days, almost any attempt to point out the various little ways that prejudice and bigotry can rear their ugly little heads is often dismissed as nit-picking or playing the race card. Nevertheless, these tiny little dog whistles still exist and the average bigot still perks his or her ear up all the same.
Remember Freedom Industries, the fine folks who brought licorice-flavored water and all of its attendant side effects to West Virginians (and possibly folks along the Ohio River) everywhere?
Those guys are filing for bankruptcy. Turns out befouling an entire region's drinking water for the foreseeable future comes with a huge price tag and the folks behind Freedom Industries just aren't prepared to stomach the entire cost:
Freedom Industries, the company that fouled thousands of West Virginians' water with a chemical leak into the Elk River last week, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday.
Freedom owes $3.6 million to its top 20 unsecured creditors, according to bankruptcy documents. The company also owes more than $2.4 million in unpaid taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, and the IRS has placed at least three liens on Freedom's property, demanding payment.
The unpaid taxes date back to at least 2000, according to a lien filed in 2010.
Under the bankruptcy code, Chapter 11 permits a company to reorganize and continue operating.
The filing also puts a hold on all of the lawsuits filed against Freedom Industries. Since the leak last week, about a mile and a half upriver from West Virginia Water American's plant in Charleston, about 25 lawsuits have been filed against Freedom in Kanawha Circuit Court. The company also faces a federal lawsuit.
But that's not all:
About an hour after its bankruptcy filing, Freedom filed an emergency motion for what's called "debtor-in-possession," or DIP, financing, which would allow it to secure up to a $5 million loan to continue to function in some capacity. The loan would, according to the filing, "provide additional liquidity to [Freedom] in order to allow it to continue as a going concern."
The lender in a debtor-in-possession case generally gets first priority when it comes time for the debtor, in this case Freedom, to pay money back.
"Under the bankruptcy code, when there is DIP financing from a DIP lender, 99 percent of the time, they get priority over all the other creditors," said Bob Simon, a prominent bankruptcy lawyer with the Pittsburgh firm Reed Smith. "You're putting your money in at risk, and the debtor is not going to have a lot of options, so the bankruptcy clerk permits the DIP lender to get priority over all the other lenders."
Freedom's proposed lender is a company called WV Funding LLC. That company does not exist in West Virginia, according to business records on file with the West Virginia secretary of state. Pennsylvania's secretary of state also has no records online for it.
The DIP agreement has places to sign for Freedom Industries and for WV Funding "by Mountaineer Funding LLC."
Mountaineer Funding was incorporated with the West Virginia secretary of state on Friday. Its one listed member is J. Clifford Forrest, Freedom Industries' owner.
So the owner of Freedom Industries goes and starts a new company the same day of filing the old company's bankruptcy and files an emergency motion that effectively places the new company at the front of the line for the old company's assets in the event of a discharge. It's a slick way to have your cake, eat it and avoid any liability for cleaning up the crumbs afterwards.
And conservatives everywhere not only think this is good business, but want Americans everywhere to hoist the EPA's head on a stick and willingly accept corporate lordship. As serfs, of course. Because every company needs a bunch of serfs who are willing to die for their betters out of sense of misplaced pride and fidelity:
Though some state legislators have called for reforming the state's famously lax regulations, the general response has been to yell at the media and outsiders. The battle cry: Others don't appreciate the personal sacrifices West Virginians make to provide the nation with chemicals and coal.
It is true. Outsiders don't appreciate them and, furthermore, don't respect them. They can't understand why anyone would let absentee landowners level their mountains and bury their streams in waste. Birds don't dirty their own nests.
The hard-luck people of Appalachia deserve their reputation for physical courage and a strong work ethic. But they suffer more from servility than from bad luck. Outsiders wince when the natives angrily declare their independent spirit and then cringe before corporate polluters, however tawdry.(...)
(...)But Waggoner's most powerful "to hell with" was reserved for fellow West Virginians. These were people who bought into the idea of "constant sacrifice as an honorable condition" and who "turned that condition into a culture of perverted, twisted pride and self-righteousness, to be celebrated and defended against outsiders."
Outsiders. Creating an aura of specialness that must be protected from outside influences is how cult leaders keep their members in check. It takes a good deal of mind control to turn mass sucker-dom into a bragging point.
West Virginia is a pretty dire place, even by Appalachian standards. With Big Coal as practically the only opportunity to make a decent living and with those opportunities themselves scarce, the only thing that's often left is pride. And when all a person has is their pride...
Deadspin's Greg Howard published a piece on the Richard Sherman debacle. The lede:
When you're a public figure, there are rules. Here's one: A public personality can be black, talented, or arrogant, but he can't be any more than two of these traits at a time. It's why antics and soundbites from guys like Brett Favre, Johnny Football and Bryce Harper seem almost hyper-American, capable of capturing the country's imagination, but black superstars like Sherman, Floyd Mayweather, and Cam Newton are seen as polarizing, as selfish, as glory boys, as distasteful and perhaps offensive. It's why we recoil at Kanye West's rants, like when West, one of the greatest musical minds of our generation, had the audacity to publicly declare himself a genius (was this up for debate?), and partly why, over the six years of Barack Obama's presidency, a noisy, obstreperous wing of the GOP has seemed perpetually on the cusp of calling him "uppity." Barry Bonds at his peak was black, talented, and arrogant; he was a problem for America. Joe Louis was black, talented, and at least outwardly humble; he was "a credit to his race, the human race," as Jimmy Cannon once wrote.
All this is based on the common, very American belief that black males must know their place, and more tellingly, that their place is somewhere different than that of whites. It's been etched into our cultural fabric that to act as anything but a loud, yet harmless buffoon or an immensely powerful, yet humble servant is overstepping. It's uppity. It is, as Fox Sports's Kayla Knapp tweeted last night, petrifying.
No offense, but white Americans have always had this pathological fear of brash, outgoing, confident and yes, even arrogant black men and women, with the nexus of that fear being that such a Negro would never allow any white under any capacity to have authority or control over him. It's one of the world's oldest power plays - keeping those coloreds under control so they don't get any ideas and revolt.
Humility is always a desired trait for any athlete as far as most people are concerned, but that desire's taken to a whole new level when it comes to black athletes. To avoid threatening and pissing off white spectators and sponsors, black athletes of old had to play the humble, almost contrite role. Today's athletes don't have to worry much about pissing off anyone, but white mainstream culture still gets upset over black athletes - or anyone else who happens to be black and famous - engaged in liberal amounts of braggadocio.
In the case of Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, what we have here is a big, brash energetic Negro scaring a poor white woman half to death with his arrogance and over-exuberance. Nevermind Erin herself reportedly said she wasn't scared - this big buck spooked this delicate white flower and he has to pay. Somehow. So he pays in the rough and tumble world of popular opinion, where any recliner-surfing bigot can call Sherman a "monkey" and a "nigger" many times over while longing for the day Peyton Manning rises up and puts him in his place on the gridiron.
Not that it should bother Sherman any. Thanks to the whirlwinds of controversy, his name is a household name now, plus he's shown himself to be a brilliant player who can also rattle his opponents with a lot of strategically placed shit talk. His name's blown up on Twitter, Facebook and every other social media outlet imaginable.
Inevitably, you get a certain segment of blacks who are also scared shitless of the talented, arrogant and black, but for a different reason. These are the same sort of folks who, countless lifetimes ago, would have been scared shitless of the rogue black buck getting the rest of the slavefolk in trouble. Cue Andre Iguodala's response:
We just got set back 500 years...
— Andre Iguodala (@andre) January 20, 2014
Here's the thing, Andre - no person's behavior sets back an entire group. It can't be done. You don't see white Americans complaining how the antics of their redneck, dudebro or douchebag counterparts somehow sets all of white America back to the age of the pilgrims. It's a stupid thing that needs to die a well-deserved death.
But it's something that many successful blacks do anyway, because they're scared shitless of how the Richard Shermans of the world will make them look to the white guys and ladies who give them interviews, sign their paychecks and have meetings with. That's also a stupid thing that needs to die a well-deserved death, but that's not gonna happen anytime soon.
Of course, Sherman had to walk back the braggadocio and assume a more contrite perspective, perhaps as a PR-directed move to quench the flames of controversy. He didn't have to do this and he shouldn't have.