Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hey, Sports Fans


I’m not big on sports.
Not much interested in any activity that involves a ball of any kind.


               It ain't me babe, no no, no it ain't me, babe. It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe


Only “sport” I ever really had much enthusiasm for was boxing.  Notice I put that word in quotation marks.
But, you know, when I was a kid,  in school, I played a little basketball. I wasn’t very good. But it was fun, and there’s no down side to a young teenage boy in having  pretty teenage girls go crazy cheering his name just for throwing a ball though a hoop. Hell, you’d think I was curing cancer out there.
                                                            Thanks, but I have to walk my dog.

 Some guys could really play well.
I remember one kid in particular, Black kid named Wells. That kid once sank a left-handed hook shot  from the free throw line with two of us all over him.  Fuck! I couldn’t believe it. You can’t argue with that kind of skill. You just have to give the devil his due.
“Hey, man,” I said when that shot swished through the bucket, “GREAT fuckin’ shot.”
Offered him my palm and he gave me some skin.
It was cool.
But it didn’t go over very well with my coach.
“He’s kicking our ass out there and you’re congratulating him?”
I didn’t see the problem.
In an earlier game, I was assigned to go man to man on a kid who’d just made an excellent jump shot from the corner. When I got out on the floor, I said to him, “I hope you enjoyed making that shot, daddy-o. It’s the last fuckin’ shot you’re gonna make tonight.”  Turned out to be a true prediction. Of course, I fouled out in the course of making it come true. See, he could shoot from the floor, but he couldn’t hit a free throw with a hammer.
Anyway, it was perfectly fine to talk shit to an opposing player, but it was utterly frowned on to salute him.
That didn’t feel right to me.
Maybe that’s when I took notice of the fans.
                                                                C'mon, guys, get a life.

Most people in the stands applauded every time something went in favor of their own team, and cat-called every time something went in favor of the other team. When a ref called, say, out of bounds against their guy, the ref was blind. Didn’t matter if that player had dribbled halfway to the locker-room, it was a “bad call” because it went against them. Whether it was true or accurate didn’t matter one little bit.
On the other hand, one of their own guys could whack an opposing shooter with a meat cleaver and they’d still claim the shooter was charging. Foul!? What? Get some glasses, Ref? How much they payin’ you, Ref? And so on.
What I figured out was this: most people in the stands weren’t there because they loved basketball.
They didn’t even like basketball.
In fact, they didn’t give a flying fuck about basketball.
They just wanted to win.
Didn’t matter how they won, or why they won. It didn’t matter how well their team played. If it was an accident, or a fluke, or if they cheated their asses off and got away with it, none of that mattered as long as they won. They were living vicariously off that victory the way a vampire lives off your blood, without ever putting out any the effort or taking any of the risk, themselves.  I quickly grew to despise the fans, and I quit playing, cheerleaders notwithstanding. The fans ruined it for me. Win or lose, I never felt clean.

I can’t help noticing that politics is that way for most people, too.   

On any issue, they pick a side and become emotionally invested in “winning.” Doesn’t matter one little bit what’s true, or right or fair.  It doesn’t matter how they win or why they win, as long as they win.

Elections are the same way. You pick the Democrat team or the Republican team, and your team is always right, the other team is always wrong. If the Devil himself ran as a Democrat against Jesus running as a Republican, then every Democrat would be in the Devil’s corner.  They’d point out that Jesus was a dirty hippy, never worked a day in his life, that there’s some real controversy about his birth, that he associated with prostitutes and other low-life’s, that he was an alcoholic who turned water into wine, and that he was a scofflaw who had defied proper authority on occasions to numerous to count.
I don’t mean to pick on the Democrats in particular, but lately, I do have a good reason to be cross with them: they’re forcing me to say something good about Republicans.

When George W. Bush was President, the Republicans praised his unconstitutional crap, and the Democrats, very rightly, condemned him for it.  I didn’t think it was possible to have a worse president than George W. Bush. But then Obama got into office. He out-Bushed Bush at every turn, taking Bush’s worst policies farther than the eye could see, and inventing a few of his own that were equally nasty or nastier.
                                                  Obama: like Bush, only darker.

The Republicans praised Obama when he did what Bush did – though they criticized Obama for not going far enough. The Democrats, on the other hand fell mute. Seems that when a Democrat does unconstitutional crap, the Democrats are fine with it. It’s only when Republicans do it that the Democrats get all offended and sanctimonious.
When I criticized George Bush for lying, for doing other unlawful things, Democrats called me a patriot. When I criticized Obama for doing the same things – or worse – Democrats called me a racist.
I have to give the Republicans this much: they're consistent in their repugnant values. And none of them ever said I hated Bush just because he was White.

Republicans.
Democrats.
They’re not out there campaigning because they love America, because they prize liberty and justice.

They don’t even like liberty and justice.
In fact, they don’t really give a flying fuck about liberty and justice.
They just want to win. 
It can be an accident, a fluke or because they cheat their asses off and don’t get caught.  As long as they win.

So I don’t play that game anymore, either.
The fans ruined it for me.
And it doesn’t feel clean.


SJ


Monday, January 4, 2016

It's THAT simple.



Nathan Burdett (John Russell):   If he says it wasn't murder, why do you say it was?

Sheriff John T. Chance (John Wayne): Man gets shot that's got a gun, there's room for reasonable doubt. Man gets shot that hasn't got a gun, what would you call it?



Rio Bravo.
Directed by Howard Hawks.
A John Wayne classic, and one of my all-time favorite films. First time I saw it was on a sweltering summer night at a drive-in theatre.
I was 8 years old.

I learned a few simple-but-important lessons from those old western movies.
Lessons a lot of folks seem to have forgotten.

Shoot an unarmed man, that's murder.
You hang.
Shoot a man in the back, and that's the most cowardly murder there is.
Hanging's too good for you.

When the law is corrupt, people have to take justice into their own hands.
And that will require a gun in those hands, too.
Because the corrupt law won't hesitate to shoot down an unarmed man.
Or shoot a man in the back.
Or a woman.
Or a child.

When that happens, when the "law" breaks the law, when the law murders the innocent, there's only one thing you can do about it.

Get your gun.

And bring a rope.


sj




Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Stand Up for Liberty






I know our schools aren’t what they could be, but god’s teeth, can’t anybody freaking READ anymore. The Enemy Expatriation Act, proposes to strip “citizenship rights” from suspected terrorists and those who fart during the playing of the national anthem, thus making it okey-dokey to deprive such villains of due process – charges, trial by jury, defense counsel, etc, etc.
The thing of it is, that’s a complete legal fiction.


Or, as my dad would say, it’s pure bullshit.

Civil liberties are NOT the exclusive birthright of citizens.

For those of you who haven’t read the Constitution lately – or, if you’re a member of Congress, ever – here’s a convenient copy of the Bill of Rights.
I’ve added some emphasis to elucidate the point.

Nota bene that in the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the Constitution) the word “citizen” does not appear. Enumerated rights belong to “the people” or to a “person,” but nowhere does it suggest these rights belong to citizens and citizens alone.

It’s not as if the framers used the word “person” when they meant “citizen.”
Article II Sect 1 says: No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
When they meant “citizen,” they said “citizen.”
The 11th Amendment uses the term “citizen”
So does the 14th Amendment, which defines who is a “citizen.” It also confirms that civil liberties belong to all “persons,” not just to “citizens.”
You have to get to the 15th Amendment before you come to any “right” that is reserved to “citizens” alone: the right to vote.
So here’s the scam: divide and conquer.
First convince you that only “citizens” have Constitutional rights. Then, take away your citizenship and --presto! – there go your “rights.”
The thing is, THERE IS NO PROVISION IN THE CONSTITUTION THAT GRANTS TO CONGRESS OR TO ANYONE ELSE THE POWER TO STRIP YOU OF YOUR CITIZENSHIP.
And even if it did, the only right reserved to citizens is the right to vote.
All other rights belong to every “person” living in the United States, whether citizen or not.

sj

“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.” -Thucydides


The BILL OF RIGHTS and Other Delights

1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

2. A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

3. No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

4. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

5. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

6. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

7. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

8. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

9. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

11. The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

14. Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

15. Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Pride



Here’s a little meme that perfectly expresses the problem – but not, I suspect,  the problem that the artist thinks he was expressing.  The arrogance, ignorance and Olympic-quality narcissim in this cartoon is staggering.
Here's why:
For 500 years, White people in North America have had it all their own way. 
For 500 years they’ve hammered Blacks, Indians, Asians, Hispanics --- well, hell, ALL NON-WHITES, as if White people were the cream of the crop of creation, and the rest were just negligible pieces of shit. They enslaved, Blacks.  They murdered Indians.  They put Japanese in concentration camps. And so on and so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.
500 years of oppression. 
500 years of telling these non-white folks that they were inferior, sub-human, second-class citizens.   
Mongrels. 
Mud People. 
Even the lowliest, poorest, most uneducated white trash, could be secure in the knowledge that he was still, at least, superior to even the most educated and accomplished Black man.  Until very recently, it was virtually impossible to convict a White man of murder  when the victim was Black – and equally impossible to acquit a Black man of murder when the victim was White.
When you're told every day that you’re inferior, stupid, worthless, lazy, and good-for-nothing, BECAUSE OF YOUR RACE,  to have PRIDE in your race is a revolutionary act. An act of rebellion against tyranny. To have pride in your slandered race is to spit in the face  of your oppressor, the first step in casting off the chains of oppression. People without pride are compliant, and subservient. People with pride don’t go down to oppression without a fight. For non-white folks to be “proud” of their race, isn’t “racism.” It’s self-defense. Non-white folks wouldn't have NEEDED that special pride, had they not been oppressed by White folks in the first place.
Now the flip side  of the story is different.
For White people – who have enslaved, murdered, raped and robbed with impunity (and often STILL do) BECAUSE they were White – to have “pride” in their race is really saying, “Yes, we ARE superior, we had a RIGHT to do all  the rotten shit we’ve done because we’re White, and we're not one bit sorry, so get over it."
If positions were reversed, if Blacks had enslaved Whites, then the reverse would be true: to be proud of being Black would be arrogant, and White folks would be the ones rebelling against oppression.
But that’s not the historical case, now, is it?

White people are SO accustomed to their privileged position that when non-whites want the equal rights due to them, White people actually feel that their own rights are being taken away!  They actually believe that they have  "right" to discriminate against non-whites, and NOT being allowed to discriminate against non-whites, is discrimination against Whites!  This reminds me of the "heroic defenders of the Alamo" who fought for "freedom." But what exactly was the freedom they were fighting for? The "freedom" to to own slaves.
So when when White people whine about being picked on, it’s EXACTLY like the playground bully who finally gets punched in the nose by a rebellious victim, and goes running to teacher bawling, “He hit me, and I wasn’t doin’ nothin!’”
Fuck him.
I suppose there are folks who will claim that “White Pride” is no different from “Black Pride,” or “Indian Pride.” 
These are the same folks who would claim that a RAPIST who uses force  or the threat of force to coerce a woman into sexual compliance, and a WOMAN who shoots the would-be rapist to protect herself, are both using “violence.” In this demented view of reality, RAPE and SELF-DEFENSE are morally equivalent acts.
They aren’t.  
One is assault. The other is self-defense
“White Pride” and non-white pride aren’t morally equivalent,  either. 
The only folks who say so are either lying, or just plain stupid..

Liberty & Justice,

sj

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Putting Down the Dog

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A “malum in se” is something that is inherently evil, in and of itself. It’s wrong no matter who does it or why. Assault, rape, robbery, kidnapping and murder are all “malum in se.”  These  examples of malignant  aggression are wrongs because they do great harm, even irreparable harm to some innocent person(s).
A “malum prohibitum” is something that’s wrong because we SAY it’s wrong. Things like not wearing your seatbelt, smoking marijuana, jaywalking --- these are not inherently evil acts. They harm no one. They are wrong because we SAY they are wrong – sometimes we say so arbitrarily and capriciously. Sometimes we say so maliciously.
Where we run into serious trouble is when we confuse these two categories of “offenses.”  When you treat a “malum prohibitum” like a “malum in se,”   you’re reacting to conduct that harms NO ONE, as if it were conduct that were inherently harmful to someone,  treating jaywalking, or marijuana-smoking AS IF it were MURDER..
When you treat a “malum in se” like a “malum prohibitum,” you’re treating conduct that is inherently harmful to someone as if it did no harm at all to anyone; you’re treating MURDER as if it were jaywalking.
This is our current state of affairs.

Police officers nationwide  commit “malum in se” against persons who have committed a “malum prohibitum,” and in too many cases that “malum prohibitum” isn’t even an illegal act, but merely something the officer doesn’t like.  It’s only “wrong” because the officer SAYS it’s wrong. This is the very definition of “arbitrary and capricious.” Perhaps it’s “wrong” only because he or she is in a bad mood, or abuses steroids. Maybe it’s “wrong”  because he just doesn’t like you  -- you’re black, or brown or red or yellow, or you are weak, disabled, elderly, poor, homeless, mentally ill, or a child. Perhaps the “wrong”you fail to show sufficient deference to satisfy the officer’s inflated ego.
In response to the “malum prohibitum” --- whether real or imagined --- the officer then inflicts one or more “malum in se” on his the “transgressor.”  If you jaywalk, smoke marijuana, or fail to wear your seatbelt, the officer may assault you, rob you, rape you, kidnap you, and/or murder you.
And when  the officer commits these “malum in se,” the prosecutors and judges treat the officer AS IF the “malum in se” were merely “malum prohibitum.”  They treat MURDER as if it were merely jaywalking.  Indeed, the courts commonly give police officers less punishment  -- if ANY --for a “malum in se” than a non-police office receives for a petty “malum prohibitum.”
This is not justice. It is the antithesis of justice.
It’s a situation that is intolerable, and it must be changed immediately.
By whatever means necessary.

                                     For every action there is an equal and opposite re-action.


There was a time, not too long ago, when a Black man dare not look a White man in the eye, or look at a White woman at all., for fear of being lynched.  A Black man had to be mindfully deferent, had to address EVERY White man politely and in hushed tones, and carefully remembering to call him “sir.” No matter what the provocation, no matter what the outrage might be, protest, argue, raise your voice or appear in any other way “uppity,” and you might find yourself, beaten, hanged or burned alive.
Whites were a special class of citizens who had extra rights compared to Blacks.
This is fundamentally the exact situation we all now find ourselves in with regard to police officers, but most especially if we are perceived of by that officer as being physically, socially, economically or politically weak, vulnerable, defenseless: if we are non-white, if were are elderly, or a child, if we are small, female, physically disabled, or mentally ill.  Because police officers are bullies, and bullies are, in their secret hearts, abject cowards, police officers target most those whom they perceive as helpless.   (Only the worst  coward  --- or the biggest liar ---could be armed to the teeth, with a club, pepper spray, taser and pistol, and still claim to be  put “in fear for my life,” by an unarmed person  who is running away  from them.)
Police officers are now a de facto “special class” of citizens with extra rights compared to the rest of us.
The 14th Amendment of the Constitution states, in relevant part: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
The “equal protection” clause requires states to provide ALL people under its jurisdiction with EQUAL protection of the laws.  A state may not provide SOME people with more than equal protection than others, or with LESS  than equal protection.
There are  numerous cases of police officers enjoying impunity for conduct which would send the average person to prison. This in effect established police officers as a special class of people, with EXTRA protection of the law, in direct contradiction to the 14th Amendment.
Think not?
Try this simple test:
Shoot someone in the back as they run away from you, then claim “self-defense” in court. See what happens.
For the average person, “self-defense” is an affirmative defense, which means that the burden of proof is on the person claiming self-defense.  You may use a degree of force NECESSARY to protect yourself, and no more.  If someone throws a punch at you, you may punch them in return. But if they go down and are no longer an IMMINENT threat to you, you may not then throw a second punch. The fight is effectively over. That second punch makes YOU the new aggressor.
Generally, you may use lethal force in self defense when you REASONABLY believe that you (or another person you may lawfully protect) is in imminent danger of grave bodily injury or death. One operant term here is “reasonably.” If you are, for whatever reason, deathly afraid of people who wear striped ties, that does not permit you to go around shooting anyone who is wearing a striped tie. Being a coward does NOT grant you a license to murder.   If you claim you shot someone because he had a gun and that gun turns out to be a cell phone, it will be YOUR burden to convince us that you REASONABLY mistook that cell phone for a gun. You can't shoot some just because they have SOMETHING in their hand. You have to REASONABLY believe it’s a gun AND that they intend you (or someone else) harm with it.
For police officers, however, the burden of proof is reversed. When they commit homicide, they are presumed to have acted in self-defense, just because they say so. It’s up to the victim – or the victims family- to prove otherwise.  Police are held to a different standard than non-police.
Having DIFFERENT laws for different classes of citizens, or different standards of proof  for different classes of citizens is a blatant, prima facie violation of the 14th Amendment.

"Deacons for Defense," the movie.


Black men, by arming themselves and standing together, revealed KKK members for the cowards that they were. More than once the KKK came to burn a cross or bomb a church only to wet their sheets and run for cover when met by armed and determined Deacons for Defense. Cowards can be vicious in gangs, but when the tables are turned, their aggressive faux  “courage” evaporates faster than alcohol on a hot stove. 
There’s a lesson there, I think.  It's a lesson that some of us learned in having to deal with schoolyard bullies. There's only ONE effective way to do that, and you know what it is as well as I do.  It isn't running to tell Teacher. It isn't complaining to the bully's parents. It isn't having the school board pass rules against bullying.  And it certainly isn't reasoning with the bully, or begging and pleading for him to stop taking your lunch money.
You have to stand up to the bully.  
You have to punch the bully squarely in the nose and knock him on his ass. Individually or as a group, you have to make it more painful for the bully to pick on you than to not pick on you. Once the bully takes a good, hard fall, that's usually the end of his reign of terror. 
And not before.

We will never stop police violence by going to court. At BEST we can sue – if we can afford the legal expenses (while the police officer is provided a lawyer at no expense to the officer) – and hope to win a judgment someday.  But that judgment will not be paid by the offending police officer, but by the police department, or the city or town – which means by all the taxpayers living there.  The offending police officer will get a paid vacation and probably not even be fired.
But some debts cannot be paid with money. No amount of money can “compensate” you for the loss of a loved one.  It’s a de-humanizing insult to even entertain the notion.
Some debts can only be paid in blood.

 The police are now the KKK and all the rest of us regular folks are the “uppity negras.”
Unless we want to live in permanent terror, keeping our eyes averted, being cringingly obsequious in word, tone and manner, we might do well to think a lot less Martin Luther King, and a lot more Nat Turner.
Someone recently said to me that that there is no difference between a (violent) police officer and a rabid dog.
I disagree.
Rabies is not the dog’s choice.
I’d feel sad about putting down the dog.

 Liberty & Justice.

sj