• Recently, Abagond wrote about how the mainstream American media handles riots involving black Americans and riots involving whites. Anyone who's keeping score can see how there's a glaring double standard in the way those events are covered.

    Take a close look at the 1965 Watts riots, the 1967 Detroit riots, the 1992 L.A. riots and the recent Baltimore riots and you'll find a couple of common threads:

    1. These riots and many others like them have been about black America's ongoing frustration over genuine injustices directed towards the black community and ignored by white society - discrimination and police brutality being the two biggest injustices.
    2. Every time these riots happen, mainstream American media frames them as yet another demonstration of black America's innate criminality and lust for violence - a narrative that's played well among legions of upstanding white Americans ever since the Stono Rebellion and perhaps even before.

    Now take a look at the above photo, a snapshot of the riots that occurred shortly after the end of the 2013 U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, CA. According to the L.A. Times, this one broke out after a fight led scores of young, largely white and quite possibly intoxicated revelers to indulge in a bit of the old ultraviolence. Why? There's no injustice here, except that maybe they'll have to go home at some point.

    Notice how the media didn't dismiss this as just another display of primal Caucasian rage, nor was it tamped down with the same sort of heavy-handed show of force exemplified by Baltimore and Ferguson.

    That's the thing. Riots led by largely white participants over largely innocuous things (your favorite sports team lost, your favorite sports team won, your favorite event just ended, you're drunk, others are drunk so let's tear shit up) are never treated with the racial disdain that the highly uncommon riots that occur in black communities receive.

    There's no condemnation of white Americans as a whole, nor are there any calls for the Caucasian community to restrain itself and seek non-violent means of expressing itself. They're not denigrated as "thugs," accused of being "out of control" or used as fodder for unreconstructed fantasies of putting them back in their rightful place. Even the language becomes different - these are "disturbances," not "riots."  They're not "thugs," but "young partygoers" and "revelers" who just happen to be "over-exuberant."

    No one thumbs through Wikipedia to find the perfect MLK quote to tut-tut black Americans with for having the temerity to burn buildings (in their own neighborhoods, mind you), throw rocks and generally act out of anger and frustration. Even the good Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. understood perfectly what happens when the concerns of a frustrated people are constantly put on ice.

    Now I wanted to say something about the fact that we have lived over these last two or three summers with agony and we have seen our cities going up in flames. And I would be the first to say that I am still committed to militant, powerful, massive, non­-violence as the most potent weapon in grappling with the problem from a direct action point of view.

    I'm absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt. And I feel that we must always work with an effective, powerful weapon and method that brings about tangible results. But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society.

    These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.

    It's no secret that mainstream America tends to be hard of hearing when it comes to the fears, concerns and strife black Americans have faced in this country, at least when said plight is couched in non-violent terms. It's only when those terms suddenly turn violent that mainstream America starts paying attention, only to learn the wrong lessons from what they've seen and heard and quietly hope that "those people" can leave them alone and go back to suffering in silence.

  • Yours truly has learned something these past few months watching and reading up on current events, especially those affecting black Americans:

    1. The value of a black life in the United States remains marginal, at best. At worst, that value is nonexistent.
    2. At any given moment, said life can be put to an end at the whim of a white American, whether under color of law or as a concerned citizen who "feared" for their safety and well-being.
    3. The value of a black life in the United States is determined and enshrined by mainstream America's view of the black community, and then verified and validated in its treatment at the hands of law enforcement and other institutions throughout the nation.
    4. Said law enforcement members have been given card blanche to respond to the black community and other ethnic and social minority groups as aggressively as possible.
    5. Respectability politics has long since proven to be absolutely ineffective in improving the black community's image in mainstream America's eyes or preventing further life-ending incidents at the hands of law enforcement and concerned citizens.
    6. When confronted with the above, many mainstream Americans will resort to blaming the black community for these problems based on a strict adherence to the Just World fallacy and their belief of black Americans as a morally bankrupt people. They'll also support law enforcement officials and concerned citizens who've put black lives to rest, at least as far as polite society will allow.
    7. Overt racism is still taboo and a serious faux pas in polite discussion. However, coded talk remains perfectly acceptable and preferred among many.

    The entire black blogosphere has undergone an airing out of grievances and a sharing of thoughts, feelings, experiences and the pain suffered by many within the black community. There have been protests, marches, demonstrations, the works. There have been a few indictments and even a few cases where authorities have quickly acted, if only out of self-interest and self-preservation.

    Still, the killings and the beatings continue.

    Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Rekia Boyd, Aiyana Stanley-Jones - the list goes on. And it's one that grows longer with each passing day.

  • Another day, another dead black American, another outrage.

    These days, black Americans are being murdered like clockwork by men and women charged with protecting the public. Except protecting and serving the public takes a back seat to a whole host of corrupt behaviors, none least the brutalization and wanton murder of black individuals.

    Judging by history, these things are to be expected. Bigotry against the dreaded Other has always been iron-clad policy, even in today's so-called "post-racial" environment. Institutional enforcement of said bigotry has also been de rigueur, especially when fears of being overrun by said Other has always lurked in the back of mainstream America's collective mind since colonial times.

    So Freddie Gray's death at the hands of the Baltimore Police Department is, in history's grand scope, nothing out of the ordinary. The only remarkable thing about it is the reaction it elicited from the city's black residents.



    And even that response doesn't seem out of the ordinary. Protests and demonstrations have been the default method of expressing outrage by a people who feel otherwise powerless to prevent these atrocities from happening, The attendant rioting and looting is another side of that response, mostly done by those whose sheer anger and fury explode into a whirlwind of fire and shattered glass, interspersed with opportunists in search of a quick profit from chaos.

    Mainstream America has always looked at these displays with a bit of bemusement, especially when burned-out businesses and overturned cars come into focus. If anything, these displays are treated as proof positive of law enforcement's raison d'etre - to prevent so-called lawless elements from initiating these displays in the first place.

    So it's not out of the ordinary for a white American to see a phalanx of police officers in full riot gear facing down a lone demonstrator and dismissing the entire thing as the taxpaying public getting it's money's worth. In a way, they would be absolutely correct.

    It's also not out of the ordinary for the mainstream American media to write off the entire exercise as just another mass exhibition of black America's latent criminality. Acknowledging the unreconstructed public's confirmation bias happens to be a great way of raising viewership, even if it's at the expense of a people who suffer day in and day out.

    It's no wonder that mainstream American media outlets are more interested in slow-panning property damage and opportunists with stolen goods in hand. It's those sort of things that make for good ratings and even better outrage porn among unreconstructed minds.



    There's no arguing that Freddie Gray in no way deserved what happened to him. No human being deserves to be brutalized to the point of paralysis, coma and eventual death. There's never an excuse for it and there never will be.

    Regardless, what happened to Freddie Gray is just one of a long, depressing and seemingly unending line of atrocities committed mainly by law enforcement officials throughout the U.S., with the occasional "concerned citizen" or vigilante delivering a helping hand*. The slave patrols, "heroic" klansmen and angry mobs of "respectable Christian" whites might not be taking part in these modern-day tragedies, but their spirit remains in full effect.

    * As seen in the murder of Trayvon Martin
  • Pictured above is suspected wildlife terrorist and television personality Phil Robertson, seen at a recent event declaring "jihad" on the treacherous Marxist Usurper in Chief, Baraq Hussein Superallah Obama al-Kenya. Moments after this speech, Robertson's prized pickup truck was destroyed along with 7 other trucks and a small ice cream cart in a targeted drone strike.

    - Phil, you've got some pretty unhealthy and un-Christian fantasies. Maybe you need to seek help.

    - It's no surprise that a company specializing in legalized racketeering would eventually get nailed for...racketeering:

    Judicial Correction Services (JCS), the for-profit probation company at the center of the recently settled Georgia "debtors' prison" suit, is now being sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center for violating federal racketeering laws in Clanton, Alabama.

    In the federal lawsuit, SPLC accuses JCS and its Clanton manager Steven Raymond of violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, by threatening jail time for probationers who failed to pay their misdemeanor fines and probationer fees in a timely fashion. This, the group argues, is plain and simple extortion.

    The suit also goes after the current contract between Clanton and JCS, alleging that their relationship violates Alabama law, which forbids city courts from charging individuals extra money for being on probation. Since 2009, Clanton has contracted with JCS to manage its pay-only probationers (individuals who are only on probation because they can't pay their court fines upfront); however, the courts pay nothing for the for-profit company's services. Rather, JCS makes money off of the additional fees it forces upon probationers. For example, JCS charges probationers a $10 "set up" fee and then an additional $40 a month for the privilege of having their money collected.

    For many municipalities, it's a win-win setup: leading officials keep taxes low and maintain a "tough-on-crime" posture that wins elections, police departments and courts get to fund themselves by shaking down offenders and the ordinary Johns and Janes who have the money and class/race privilege to stay off the radar get to feel a bit safer at night.

    Meanwhile, the offenders are marched through a revolving door of poverty, incarceration and wealth extraction, thus keeping them in a state of permanent underclassdom.

    - Serena Williams is the first black female athlete to appear on a Vogue solo cover. What took you so long, Vogue?

    - You'd figure that by now, people would learn not to be racist on the job:

    Officials say four Fort Lauderdale police officers have lost their jobs following an investigation into a racist video and text messages.

    CBS Miami reported 30-year-old James Wells, 31-year-old Jason Holding and 25-year-old Christopher Sousa were fired. A fourth officer, 22-year-old Alex Alvarez, resigned.

    "The officers were terminated due to a sustained department misconduct," Chief Frank Adderley said during a news conference Friday. "The four officers conduct was inexcusable, and there is zero tolerance for this type of behavior within the Fort Lauderdale Police Department."
    According to CBS Miami, the video was allegedly made by Alvarez. Styled as a movie trailer, it included "racially insensitive" images including attacks on minorities, a Ku Klux Klan hood and a caricature of President Barack Obama with large gold teeth.

    Some of the text messages mentioned killing and injuring black people, CBS Miami reported. According to an investigative report obtained by the station, "The messages criticized their coworkers' grammar, appearance, work ethic and referred to an entire shift as lazy (expletives).... The officers also exchanged text messages that included derogatory comments towards Hispanics and homosexuals."

    For these guys, I have a feeling the moral of the story won't be "being racist shitheads comes with consequences." It'll be "no paper trails and no credible witnesses equals no racism."

    - For some reason, Nellie Andreeva thinks too many black faces on TV and film is actually a bad thing.



  • I gotta admit, I haven't been all that enthused about following the 2016 presidential electoral campaigns. As I've said before, I'm not getting paid to engage in full-time punditry. But it doesn't take a pundit to realize that Ted Cruz's presidential aspirations are a classic case of showboating and attention whoring.

    Let's face it - a presidential campaign is perhaps one of the best ways of grabbing some well-needed spotlight time if you want to be somebody on the Beltway scene. Just ask Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and a bunch of others who clawed their way towards the brass ring back in 2012. There's plenty to gain from being "that guy who ran for president back in 2016" just so long as you don't slice your own campaign into the weeds.

    As to why Cruz's presidential aspirations will wind up unfulfilled, it's not the citizenship issue that'll trip him up (unless he's revealed to be Stephen Harper's Manchurian Candidate). Like our esteemed current president, Rafael Edward meets all of the important qualifications: he's over 35, he's lived in the U.S. for over 14 years and his dear mum was a U.S. citizen when he was born, in spite of his dad being a commie canuck.

    A long while ago, I said Ralphy was a shoe-in for the 2016 presidential candidacy. That doesn't mean he'll be a shoe-in for the actual Oval Office job.



    Poor Ralphy might be the darling of the birther/Tea Party set, but the rest of the GOP world just isn't feeling him:

    First, Cruz doesn’t have enough support from party bigwigs. To win the Republican or Democratic nomination, you need the backing of at least some of the party apparatus. At a minimum, your fellow party members shouldn’t hate you. Otherwise, you end up getting the Newt Gingrich 2012 treatment. That is, you get pounced on the moment you’re seen as a threat to win the nomination.

    If we’re ever in a world where it looks like Cruz could win the nomination, you’ll very likely see such pouncing. You can read article after article about how Cruz has isolated himself in the Senate. It got so bad that he recently had to apologize to his Republican colleagues.

    And the Cruz hatred doesn’t stop at the edges of the Senate cloakroom. Influential party actors dislike him, too. I can’t remember another Republican who united Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson, Jennifer Rubin and Thomas Sowell in opposition.

    Ralphy's previous showboating has put him at odds with many of the establishment players within the GOP. Being the political equivalent of a firebrand evangelical preacher packs the pews full of far-right conservatives looking for that old time religion, but at the end of the day, the GOP establishment picks moderates who won't scare the mainstreamers with their talk of fire, brimstone and damnation, but have just enough fire to avoid being called a weak RINO by their peers. It's all a balancing act, you see.

    Which is why your chances of seeing Ted Cruz being sworn into office on January 20, 2017 are about as remote as Jon Huntsman's.

    But pissing off the GOP establishment isn't the only reason why he might walk away from his 2016 campaign empty-handed. The fervent pursuit of ideological purity for appearance's sake tends to create a lot of moral and ethical casualties along the way. To wit, Ralphy's begrudging move towards Obamacare:

    The newly announced Republican presidential candidate told CNN's Dana Bash on Tuesday that he will sign up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act -- a law he has been on a crusade to kill.

    "We'll be getting new health insurance and we'll presumably do it through my job with the Senate, and so we'll be on the federal exchange with millions of others on the federal exchange," Cruz said.

    Asked whether he would accept the government contribution available to lawmakers and congressional staffers for their health care coverage through the ACA, Cruz said he will "follow the text of the law."

    "I strongly oppose the exemption that President Obama illegally put in place for members of Congress because (Senate Minority Leader) Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats didn't want to be under the same rules as the American people," Cruz said, before repeating: "I believe we should follow the text of the law."

    That's right, the same man who was captured on video calling Obamacare a "trainwreck" had no other choice but to buy a ticket and climb aboard, hoping that his supporters and the general public would have the common decency to forgive him (or at least forget).

    To sum things up, you can expect Rafael Edward Cruz to run in the 2016 primary, but don't expect him to become the preferred choice of the GOP establishment and consequently, their favored front-runner for the election. Personally, my money's on Jeb Bush - established pol, plenty of name recognition and deep down, America loves its dynasties.

    Take it from someone who does this punditry stuff for a living:




  • So yours truly decided to create an open thread for general commenting. Why?

    All blog posts are closed to commenting after five days, unless otherwise specified by the blog owner. This is to prevent the comments sections of older blog posts from being inundated with spam or posts that are in violation of the House Rules.

    The above was intended to keep the idiots and assholes among us from spamming the comments section while nobody's looking. Unfortunately, it also gives off the appearance of stifling debate. Just an unintended consequence of protecting blog-goers from the slings and arrows of stupidity.

    In contrast to 99.999% of the regular posts here at DDSS, the Open Thread comments will remain open. Forever. At least that's the plan.

    Everything else concerning the House Rules apply. Don't want everyone getting carried away, now.

  • - Alternet's Sam Adler-Bell interviews Robin DiAngelo on the concept of "white fragility" and how terms like "white privilege" and "entitlement" are losing their effectiveness in the white mindspace. Witness DiAngelo succinctly explain the origins of white fragility and how feelings of superiority are cultivated in the first place:

    RD: Exactly. And white fragility also comes from a deep sense of entitlement. Think about it like this: from the time I opened my eyes, I have been told that as a white person, I am superior to people of color. There’s never been a space in which I have not been receiving that message. From what hospital I was allowed to be born in, to how my mother was treated by the staff, to who owned the hospital, to who cleaned the rooms and took out the garbage. We are born into a racial hierarchy, and every interaction with media and culture confirms it—our sense that, at a fundamental level, we are superior.

    And, the thing is, it feels good. Even though it contradicts our most basic principles and values. So we know it, but we can never admit it. It creates this kind of dangerous internal stew that gets enacted externally in our interactions with people of color, and is crazy-making for people of color. We have set the world up to preserve that internal sense of superiority and also resist challenges to it. All while denying that anything is going on and insisting that race is meaningless to us.

    One of the best quotes in the interview, IMHO.

    - Strong Towns has a series of articles on American suburbia as a glorified ponzi scheme and the growing costs of maintaining this far-flung infrastructure. Yours truly will hopefully have a post on gentrification and suburbia's changing demographics later on.

    - In post-racial America, blatant, naked discrimination takes more subtle, insidious forms. For instance, Mother Jones' Marc Bookman shows how virulent racism affects how the gears of the justice system turns for minorities. To wit:

    ...nearly eight years after Kenneth Fults was sentenced to death for kidnapping and murdering his neighbor Cathy Bounds in Spalding County, Georgia, one of the trial jurors made a startling admission under oath: He'd voted for the death penalty, he said, because "that's what that nigger deserved."

    In 2005, a former prosecutor in Texas revealed that her superiors had instructed her, if she wanted to strike a black juror, to falsely claim that she'd seen the person sleeping. This was just a dressed-up version of the Dallas prosecution training manual from 1963, which directed assistant district attorneys to "not take Jews, Negroes, Dagos, Mexicans, or a member of any minority race on a jury, no matter how rich or how well educated."

    As the clock wound down on Osborne's appeals, a former US attorney general, a former Georgia chief justice, and former President Jimmy Carter (previously the governor of Georgia) all spoke out against the execution. They had heard the allegation by another one of Mostiler's clients, a white man named Gerald Huey, that Mostiler had told him, speaking of Osborne, that "that little nigger deserves the chair."

    a transcript from the trial of Derrick Middlebrooks, a black defendant who was so troubled by the racist talk that he asked the judge to dismiss Mostiler as his public defender: "He indicated to me that he wouldn't—he couldn't go up there among them niggers because them niggers would kill him," Middlebrooks said. "Now personally I don't know if he meant anything really by it. But I find it, you know, kind of hard to have an attorney to represent me when he uses those type of words. It doesn't help my confidence in my attorney."

    This is nothing new, aside from the fact that things like these are being aired out for all the world to see.

    - Gawker's David Graeber talks about Ferguson and how a perfect storm of institutional racism and policing for profit has culminated into a system that essentially harvests its own captive citizenry while keeping them locked in a permanent state of underclassdom.

    - Abagond talks about segregation academies and their legacy. A few of the commentators are also discussing how integration has possibly done more harm than good for the black community (which is something I'll talk about at a later date, as well).
  • Pictured above is the treacherous Marxist Usurper in Chief, Baraq Hussein Superallah Obama al-Kenya, palling around with his "bestie" and fellow dictator, Supreme Leader Kim Jong "Make-em Say" Un, in an undisclosed location.

    - Putin's back, baby! Turns out he was just in bed with the flu. Even authoritarian ex-KGB types get sick every once in a while. He should be glad he didn't come down with a sudden case of polonium poisoning.

    - Say "goodnight" to the grand white Christian experiment. White, non-Hispanic Christians are no longer a majority in 19 states. By the 2040s, the white majority in the U.S. will vanish altogether.

    - Fresh-faced senator and presumptive shoe-in for the "who's ready to become a GOP presidential candidate 2016" sweepstakes Tom Cotton recently led the effort to undo the White House's efforts to not start any more Middle Eastern conflicts. The Iranian government, POTUS and the rest of America reacted in shock and disdain.

    Now let's see what an Army veteran has to say about Tom Cotton:

    “I would use the word mutinous,” said Eaton, whose long career includes training Iraqi forces from 2003 to 2004. He is now a senior adviser to VoteVets.org. “I do not believe these senators were trying to sell out America. I do believe they defied the chain of command in what could be construed as an illegal act.” Eaton certainly had stern words for Cotton.

    “What Senator Cotton did is a gross breach of discipline, and especially as a veteran of the Army, he should know better,” Eaton told me. “I have no issue with Senator Cotton, or others, voicing their opinion in opposition to any deal to halt Iran’s nuclear progress. Speaking out on these issues is clearly part of his job. But to directly engage a foreign entity, in this way, undermining the strategy and work of our diplomats and our Commander in Chief, strains the very discipline and structure that our foreign relations depend on, to succeed.” The consequences of Cotton’s missive were plainly apparent to Eaton. “The breach of discipline is extremely dangerous, because undermining our diplomatic efforts, at this moment, brings us another step closer to a very costly and perilous war with Iran,” he said.

    “I think Senator Cotton recognizes this, and he simply does not care,” Eaton went on to say. “That’s what disappoints me the most.”

    Ouch.

    - The recent hubbub over Selma has besmirched the delicate sensibilities of the city's most stalwart Confederates, prompting a valiant defense of the grand southern tradition and the peculiar institution it nurtured and supported:

    “The people in the south – the white people, who were being abused – organised a neighbourhood watch to try to re-establish some order,” he said of the nascent Klan. Slavery in the south was “a bad institution”, he said, but possibly “the mildest, most humane form of slavery ever practiced”.

    “If you look at the wealth created by the slaves, in food, clothing, shelter, medical care, care before you’re old enough to work, care until you died, they got 90% of the wealth that they generated,” he said. “I don’t get that. The damn government takes my money to the tune of 50%.”

    You know what the scariest thing about this is? A mainstream conservative pundit like Glenn Beck can clean this up and totally roll with it nearly word-for-word and no one in his listening group would bat an eyelash.

    - Because the great state of Alabama largely finds the idea of same-sex marriages to be an absolute affront to the natural order of things, a gay couple's having second thoughts about leaving their substantial estate to the University of Alabama.

    And how much were they intending to leave behind? A cool $15 to 18 million.

    - Because the GOP largely finds the idea of helping the undeserving poor to be an absolute affront to how the natural order of things should be, it's unveiling a budget that cuts a $100 million chunk out of the SNAP program.

    And remember, if you call yourself a "Man of God" and think it's totally OK to ask your congregation for a cool $65 million so you can buy yourself a new private jet, then you probably need to have another pastor sit with you while you re-read the Holy Bible cover to cover.

  • The fine chap in the above photo is one Jeffrey Leehoust Williams, recently arrested in connection with the recent shooting of two of Ferguson's finest. Now, gunning after law enforcement in response to the massive injustice that was the Michael Brown saga isn't something that's advocated here at DDSS or anywhere else, for that matter. Let's just say that aside from breathing a sigh of relief over said officers being alive and relatively well, there wasn't much sympathy to be had around these parts.

    With that said, here are some of the facts behind the shooting, courtesy of St. Louis County prosecutor and possible Alcoholics Anonymous attendee Robert McCulloch:


    1. Turns out Williams wasn't gunning at the cops, after all. Williams was reportedly involved in a separate altercation towards the end of the demonstrations. He admitted firing the shots, but claimed he was aiming at someone else. That "someone else" remains unknown at this point...
    2. As a result, Williams is only being charged with first degree assault and not attempted murder.
    3. McCulloch claimed information from "members of the public" led to the arrest. Aside from that, it's unknown precisely how Williams was found to be the suspect.
    4. Police retrieved a .40 handgun whose bullets matched the casings left behind by the shooter, presumed to be (and self-confirmed as) Williams.
    5. Williams apparently had a prior conviction for receiving stolen property. It's unknown how he managed to get access to a gun.

    But here's the big question that many in the Ferguson protesting community have been asking:



    Survey says...







    So no one knows who this guy is, where he came from and whether he was really a part of the protest. Most of the well-known figures involved in the protests agree that he wasn't a regular.



    Nope. No one knows who he is and how he came to be.

    Why is this important? Because in light of massive levels of police misconduct in this and other departments throughout the U.S., most people tend to have...trust issues...when it comes to police information. No one's taking the circumstances surrounding the shooting and Williams' arrest at face value.

    For all anyone knows, Jeffrey Williams could have been an elaborate scapegoat or, worse, a convenient plant whose actions would have done damage to the ongoing protests and destroyed its message.

    In the meantime, there's plenty of questions being asked:








  • Russian president Vladimir Putin's last known whereabouts. The Appalachians are wonderful this time of year...

    - Where's Putin? Who knows? Maybe he took a page from Mark Sanford's book and went on a "hiking trip." After all, presidential side chick Alina Kabaeva recently gave birth to a bouncing baby girl, although Swiss authorities claim there's no proof he ever paid a visit.

    - Pando's Mark Ames (nee NSFWCorp) offers a quick reminder of the racist origins behind "Right to Work" legislation. From Ames' previous piece on the same subject:

    Those hearings revealed that the anti-FDR "convention" that Vance Muse put on, through his "Southern Committee to Uphold the Constitution"— which featured guests of honor like Gerald L K Smith, America’s leading anti-Semite and godfather to the modern American Nazi movement — was financed not only by Confederate sponsors like Texan Will Clayton, owner of the world’s largest cotton broker, but also reactionary northeast Republican money: the DuPont brothers, J. Howard Pew of Sun Oil, Alfred Sloan of General Motors... That unholy alliance of Northeastern and Confederate plutocrat money financed the first serious attempt at splitting the Southern Democrats off by exploiting white supremacism, all in order to break labor power and return to the world before the New Deal — and to the open shop.

    Incidentally, Vance Muse’s northern donors — DuPont, Pew, Sloan — were the same core investors in (and board directors of) the first modern libertarian think-tanks of the 40s and 50s, including the Foundation for Economic Education. DuPont, Pew and Sloan funds also seeded the American careers of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich von Hayek, Milton Friedman and Murray Rothbard, among others. In other words, Vance Muse’s funders built the first layer of the libertarian nomenklatura that Charles Koch later took control of — no surprise, since Koch outfits are credited with making the Michigan "right to work" law possible.

    To the average industrialist in search of fatter bottom lines and cheaper labor, unrepentant bigots like Vance Muse are useful tools. All you have to do is stir up their feelings about those blacks and browns and they'll do whatever you ask of them, just as long as it accomplishes knee-capping the "other" even at the expense of their own well-being.

    - It's been a while since the right wing had a "vast left-wing conspiracy" to catch vapors over. So when it was discovered that former Secretary of State and likely presidential candidate Hillary Clinton not only exclusively used a personal email account instead of a government account and pole-axed over 30,000 emails associated with that personal account, you knew the right finally had another juicy Clinton scandal to work themselves silly over.

    Yes, using your personal email for your State Dept. gig smacks of a complete lack of accountability and, if it were anyone else, grounds for termination. But when you step back and think of all the potential controversies that could have surfaced, this one seems a bit weak in comparison.

    Meanwhile, some sources say Valerie Jarrett blew the whistle over Email-gate because of how the Clintons seemed to be dissing the current Commander-in-Chief.

    - Jarvis DeBerry drops a little Dr. Seuss on presumptive presidential fodder Bobby (nee Piyush) Jindal.

    - Sure, the Department of Justice wasn't able to stick Darren Wilson in a can, but it did crack open the proverbial hamper and aired out the city of Ferguson, Missouri's dirty laundry. And because of the DOJ's findings, several high-ranking city officials have resigned, including the city manager and police chief.

    Meanwhile, St. Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle has launched an effort to recall the city's current mayor. This is the same guy who, months prior to Michael Brown's death, staunchly championed privatizing large portions of Ferguson's law enforcement services.

    The DOJ revealed a city (and numerous others like it) as little more than a naked cash-harvesting program using captive residents as a semi-renewable revenue stream. Yours truly will have more on this soon.

    - Jeremy Clarkson discovers there are consequences for punching people not named Piers Morgan. How this affects the future of one of the world's most popular television series remains to be seen.

    And by the way, John McCain, the next time you and your friends in the Senate try to undermine the president's authority and foreign affairs acumen, you might want to come up with an excuse a bit more substantial than "I sign lots of letters."





  • There's a lot I could say about this. Like how racism is far from dead and will likely never die. Or how many corners of mainstream society still harbor prejudicial thoughts about minorities, but at least have the decency to keep them out of earshot of polite society. Or how an organization founded in the very heart of the Confederacy in antebellum times still perpetuates the same attitudes and beliefs that were present at the time of its foundation.

    I could talk about all of that. Instead, I'll just pull a quote from a segment of Larry Wilmore's Comedy Central show, The Nightly Show:

    “They also kicked the fraternity off campus, so don’t worry, you won’t be seeing any more of those frat boys - until they’re your congressmen.”

    Imagine all the crazy shenanigans Trent Lott got up to during his time in Sigma Nu, except no one thought enough to capture it all on Double 8 film.

    And that's the thing. No matter what the University of Oklahoma does to people like Parker Rice, these guys will inevitably land in places and positions of power and prestige, where their actions and beliefs will invariably shape and mold the processes and systems our society deals with on a regular basis.

    Could you imagine Parker Rice on a Senate subcommittee deciding the fate of an education or healthcare initiative? I can and it's a scary feeling.

    So while everyone pats SAE and OU on the back for performing the damage control required of them by their PR departments, keep in mind that you might be seeing some of these people again in another 10 or 15 years. I suggest you start jotting down names and committing them to memory.

  • Anyone who's bothered to read through this blog knows how I feel about gun ownership. In my opinion, there's no stark black-and-white or good/bad about it - it's your intent and the level of responsibility you take in owning one that defines whether it's a good or bad thing to own one.

    On the other hand, I'm not a big fan of open carry, if only for the following reason:

    Last but not least, one has to be careful not to get sucked into the "cowboy/tough guy" image that comes with certain aspects of gun ownership. For some, having the ability to end someone's life in an instant is the ultimate rush and it's one that often leads them to adopt cavalier attitudes and to do stupid things and take idiotic risks that they otherwise wouldn't have taken had they not had instant death in the palm of their hands.

    Sadly, a lot of open carry advocates are prone to take a cowboy/tough guy stance whenever someone challenges them on the necessity of what they do, constitutional issues notwithstanding, even when confronted by law enforcement:



    Which is where the double standard comes in. Law enforcement officials have shot unarmed people for much less, yet here are several LEOs conversing with a guy who's openly armed and near a school, no less. Considering the spate of school shootings in recent years, it's no wonder why administrators would be a bit on edge around a guy who's supposedly exercising his 2nd Amendment rights.

    John Crawford III was shot for examining a BB gun in a Walmart. Could you imagine a person of color being given the same sort of leeway as the person in the video was afforded?*


    *Speaking of which, the last time black men open carried in significant numbers, it provoked a fear response in an entire state legislature.