Friday, January 8, 2016

President Obama's Gun Control Speech

Here's the full video of President Obama's speech on gun violence after his decision to use Executive Action to try and tighten the gun show loophole.

I've heard a lot of talk about it, but after watching the entire speech I don't know how anyone can be so dismissive. If you happened to shrug your shoulders, focused on the President getting choked up and crying instead of listening to the substance of his words, or even mocked him and assumed it was staged, I can't help but think you're a shallow, callous human being and possibly a sociopath.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Robert Lewis Dear Is A Terrorist

Posted by Armadillo Joe

Terrorism (according to the FBI): "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." 
I can't say for certain who Robert Lewis Dear might be in his heart, nor what he might think or truly believe nor can I really know how he got there, though I can guess. Fact is, I don't care. Robert Lewis Dear is a terrorist. The undisputed facts are that he is white and male and had easy access to large, powerful guns with which he sought to impose the death penalty on women exercising their legal right to control the reproductive functions of their own bodies, the skilled personnel providing the services that facilitate that exercise and a sworn officer of the law who fulfilled his duty to protect that exercise. He was also subsequently captured alive by the constabulary. I could not help but notice that he is not Syrian nor even Middle Eastern. He is also not African-American. I also noticed that he is still currently alive, even after murdering three people (including a cop), injuring at least ten others and standing-off with police for several hours with hostages.
How he chose his target is not a mystery, or at least it shouldn’t be to anyone paying attention to the opportunistic maneuvers of craven politicians desperately groping around for a wedge-issue to gin up votes from an angry electorate. It is the very bloody real world result of the cynical demonization of the Planned Parenthood organization by the Republican Party’s wing-nut brigade, the conniving GOP leadership who enable them and a cowardly media who steadfastly refuse to use the word “fake” to describe a fake video because the provocateurs who made it can summon the ire of the stupid, the deluded and the corrupt to make cower the politicians who have staked their political fortunes on garnering the votes of the people who fervently believe the video is real despite all evidence to the contrary.
So many explosive issues are wrapped up in this event that any attempt to analyze it from any viewpoint will run smack-dab into something that will offend the other side, so let me just boil it all down to this: Robert Lewis Dear is a terrorist. He is not a lone wolf. He is not an isolated incident. His violence did not mysteriously drop out of a clear-blue sky. Just like other bursts of mass-violence such as Columbine or Aurora (or Charleston or Sandy Hook) this did not happen in a vacuum. I’m talking about context. I’m talking about the before, the during and the after.
Before: the socio-political space within which this man got revved-up enough to murder his fellow citizens in cold blood in broad daylight and was able to freely equip himself to that purpose, encouraged by a political party that has surrendered its duty to lead for the need to provoke, while the NRA will remain his unindicted co-conspirator for making it safe to manufacture ever more efficient death machines, market them to paranoids and crazies and sell them to whoever might feel the need or urge to inflict violence on some living thing, hopefully not human (wink-wink), and a cowardly media who have consistently failed to call his predecessors terrorists because a not-small segment of the American populace, a violent and armed segment, happens to largely sympathize with the underlying motives
During: his targets, that building, those people. Not random at all but instead utterly, depressingly predictable.
After: the segment of the population applauding his actions or blaming his victims or cheerfully explaining how the horrifying details are somehow kinda sorta understandable and how Robert Lewis Dear is somehow kinda sorta sympathetic and NOT at all a terrorist because he is white and male and American because terrorism is something THOSE people do. And, eventually, the truthers who will fight their cognitive dissonance by either deciding Robert Lewis Dear is an actual American hero doing what wimpy politicians have failed to do or, like Sandy Hook, eventually denying the truth of it at all, instead concocting an elaborate false-flag conspiracy theory to absolve their consciences of adjudicating such weighty moral choices. Easier by far to imbue your enemy with malevolent omnipotence to explain the gap between professed beliefs and worldly choices.
Robert Lewis Dear is a terrorist. He is as much a terrorist as the men who flew planes into buildings on 9/11. If you disagree, we have nothing to talk about.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Everything Isn't Always About Us

But here is the irony, here’s the thing that all the angry Black people know, and no calmly debating White people want to admit: The entire discussion of race in America centers around the protection of White feelings.  From I Don't Discuss Racism with White People by John Metta. 

I've been working on this post for a couple of weeks now, ever since I read John Metta's piece, which I thought was spot on. As I so often do when I'm writing, I struggled with this piece and would put it aside for a day or two. I discussed my observations with friends, both black and white, because I needed their feedback. Finally, because of events that occurred this last week, my thoughts really crystalized, and I was able to finish. My words will certainly make some angry and defensive, which isn't my purpose but is always a byproduct of a piece like this. My hope is some will have an "aha moment," a moment of clarity about our role, or if we even have one, in the Black Lives Matter movement. The fact is, folks, the movement isn't about us, our feelings, criticisms, or advice. The sooner we understand that, the sooner we can be honest participants in BLM.

My sense is that many white liberals and progressives are just so tired of all this Blackness stuff.  Sure we loved Pres. Obama, but it's time for him to move on. His whole hope-change thingy was so stressful, and he seems like he's going to do that change stuff till his last day. We need a break. We need to gear up for the next Great White Hope.

We've had enough of black folks' grievances. We are weary of all their issues. We want to go back to saying 95% of cops are good people so we can dismiss the few as rotten apples. Just get rid of a few rotten apples and all will be well. You see if the problem is just good cops versus bad cops, then we don't have to acknowledge the pervasive racism that is imbedded in America's justice system. Getting rid of some bad cops isn't on us. It's on someone else.  By reducing the problem to some bad cops, it becomes manageable for someone else.

We want to share stories of good cops because of our insatiable need to be fair. We don't want anyone to think we don't appreciate police men and women. We make sure we couch our words carefully so we don't offend anyone. Although we won't say it aloud or post it on social media, we think to ourselves that had Sandra Bland gotten out of the car or put out her cigarette, she'd be alive today.  If Walter Scott hadn't run or Eric Garner had not resisted arrest, they, too, would be alive. We might post an article or two about the victims, but then we move on. Arguing with our friends about the death of Michael Brown or Freddy Gray is tedious and sometimes painful so we're not going to make an issue over these deaths.

Then that evil dentist shot Cecil the Lion, which allowed us to shift our energy and passion from Sandra Bland to Cecil. We went after that dentist like a heat-seeking missile and apparently destroyed him. Believe me, there were hundreds of tweets more about Cecil than Sandra Bland, yet we were offended when black tweeps changed their avatars to lions, especially the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz, and Elon James changed his Twitter name to Elion. We were crushed that Black Twitter poked fun at us and the media by creating a criminal record for Cecil, such as when he was a juvenile, he stalked and killed a baby wildebeest. We didn't think that was amusing. In fact, we got down right defensive and let our critics know "we could care about more than one cause at a time."

But you want to know what really pissed us off?  When Black Lives Matter interrupted Bernie Sanders at Netroots Nation and then Seattle. We were baffled. Bernie is on y'all's side we said. We knew black folks must be ignorant about Sanders's history as a civil rights activist. As a matter of fact, we told black folks that once they educated themselves about Bernie, they would support him. Why we even assured black folks that if they supported him, he would help them "rise out of the ghetto." Only sometimes we were confused and said the "hood." But black folks weren't having it--this nonsense from us. The most loyal, politically astute demographic within the Democratic Party knew all about Bernie. They knew he had no position on racial injustice; in fact, he had been tone deaf on the issue. They had heard him repeatedly call Pres. Obama a spineless coward and urge Democrats to primary the President of the United States in 2012. They knew his responses to the killings of their black brothers and sisters were tepid at best. They knew he had declared racism over with the election of Barack Obama. He even said he was happy for black voters, who finally got themselves a president.

We were shocked, I tell you, shocked when Black Lives Matter activist interrupted Sanders in Seattle of all places. Seattle, that bastion of liberalism and progressivism, has a police department investigated and castigated by the DOJ for its racist tactics. Seattle has a school system where 15 % of black and Native American students have been suspended at least once compared to 3% of white students. A Black child in elementary school is 5 times more likely to be suspended than a white child.

Sanders wanted to talk about Social Security and Medicare to his predominantly white crowd. However, for some inexplicable reason we just couldn't fathom, Seattle resident Marissa Johnson disrupted Bernie's speech to talk about racism in her city, a liberal Mecca where racism is rampant within its institutions and allowed to to flourish because whites folks ignore it. So again we brought all of our self-righteous indignation to bare and denounced the protestors instead of looking at our own culpability or responsibility. We shouted for the cops to taser and arrest them. We told them they would lose our support. In other words, we would no longer tweet or post on Facebook our support for "you people." We again reminded them that Bernie had marched with Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago. The very same MLK Jr. who wrote from his Birmingham jail cell:
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice.

Just replace "moderate" with liberal or progressive.

We wrote blog posts and articles praising ourselves for being colorblind while telling black folks when and how they should protest. We warned them that they were hurting their cause, a cause that surely should be our cause too. We assured them that racism would disappear when Sanders ushers in his economic utopia. We urged them to behave and be quiet until we told them it was their turn to speak. We acted like the activists were cutting in a junior high cafeteria line, not fighting for their very lives, much less justice.

We are frustrated that black folks don't understand we need to get those bankers who so grievously offended us in jail before we can deal with a justice system that has been destroying black lives for hundreds of years. We need for you black folks to understand that we are all for civil disobedience, just not in our territory. We honor MLK Jr, Thoreau, and Ghandi. In fact, we revere MLK Jr so much, we bestow his courage onto just about any white risk-taker, even if the risks pale beside the ones  King took.

We can't understand why Bernie's activism 50 years ago shouldn't excuse his inactivity for the last 50 years. Sure he, like every other Liberal in congress, has voted for civil rights laws while paying lip service to unspeakable injustices suffered by black folks. We don't understand why you black folks don't feel a sense of indebtedness and gratitude toward Bernie although both he and we have forgotten MLK Jr.'s admonition about "the urgency of now."

As a friend told me once, "We black folks are the experts on white machinations. We've seen it all before. You think we haven't heard "wait your turn," or "you'll hurt your cause" before? We've heard and seen it all. Liberals think a position paper should  mean something to us. They think appointing a black woman as press secretary means something to us. You think we are fooled by a black shield.
What we know is this. We weren't invited to be on his staff. Hell, we weren't even invited to his table. We see whites feed off each other's privilege, which is the status quo. We see white progressives as part of and supportive of the status quo."

Suddenly we white folks are concerned about the manners of the black activists as we sit at our computers or with phone or tablet in hand offering criticism, which, of course, is for their own good. White bloggers and pundits, along with most of us social media types, have weighed in with our critiques of the behavior of Black Lives Matter activists. Some of us go so far as to search out quotes by black bloggers and pundits critical of BLM, even though we never cared before about their opinions.

I'll offer my advice, for what it's worth. White folks, don't get your feelings hurt because all you ever see are videos or articles about bad cops committing horrific acts. Don't say 95% of cops are good guys and gals. BLM isn't about good vs bad cops, in my opinion. The movement is trying to change a corrupt and incestuous justice system that hires, harbors, and protects racists at the cost of black lives. A system that we white folks may not have actively put into place or nurtured, but we've helped it thrive by our apathy and inaction. And it's not just the justice system either. Racism thrives in educational and banking and housing institutions along with every other part of American society.

Settle down. Calm down. Black Lives Matter isn't about your feelings or my feelings. So what if Black Twitter poked fun at us for our Cecil love. Save your indignation for the institutions that oppress minorities. We have no right to criticize the BLM activists when we enable the very institutions that oppress them. So what if they rudely disrupted Bernie Sanders. If he can't handle that, he has no business running for President. And whatever you do, don't tell black folks you won't support their cause if they don't do such and such. You know why? Because we are not supporting their cause. We are watching from the sidelines.

And please remember that we have the privilege of being normal. Walking down a street, driving a car, and going shopping without being harassed or worse. Our kids are likely to graduate from school without a mark on their record. We can live any place we can afford; in fact, a lot us don't even know what red lining means. We don't have to teach our children how to avoid getting shot by a government agent. It's highly unlikely our 15 and 16 year olds will be thrown into and left in a prison like Rikers for years without charges ever being filed. White privilege is getting to be normal. My guess is that's what black folks would like, too--just to have the privilege of normalcy.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Stop Tolerating Racism

To my Twitter & Facebook friends.

If you're posting kitty & puppy videos instead of denouncing racism & your racist friends & family on Facebook, you're no better. If you don't have the guts to stand up to racists around you, you are a pathetic enabler of the hate in this country. If you support a Republican then you support  systemic racism & the oppression of People of Color. If you deny that, I call bullshit on you. And I'll call you worse.

 Shame on you for enabling the ugly hate in this country. If you say you want your country back, fuck you. This hate you see is your fucking country. And don't you dare say Pres Obama is divisive. No, it's you! You are divisive because you allow the hate to grow & you look the other way. Then you preach God's love & Jesus this and that. Fuck you. Just fuck you.

If I've offended you, you need to be offended.  You offend me.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dedicated to @Politixfireball and @NMPolJournal

Hello. My name is JoPat Wellman aka Maria Meanmuthafukah, @desertcronenm, and currently@jaypeaXX on twitter. I am a 67-year-old wife of 44 years, mother of two, and grandmother of four. As long as I've been interested in politics (at least 50 years), I've been a liberal--not a scared, wimpy liberal but an in-your-face-I-don't-care-if-you-like-it liberal. In 1972 I proudly voted in my first presidential election at the age of 24 for George McGovern. Back in those days I admired many Republicans, Everett Dirkson, Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, and of course, Dwight D. Eisenhower. I liked them because I sensed they cared about America but more importantly, Americans. I eventually graduated with B.A. and M.A. degrees in English, married the love of my life, and became a junior and senior high teacher and college instructor. We raised two daughters with the same liberal values we have.  I was born in Albuquerque and raised in New Mexico, the third of five generations to be born and remain in New Mexico. My grandmother was born in a dugout on the NM ranch my great grandparents homesteaded. I'm proud of my heritage and the tough, strong women I come from.

I grew up in a liberal home, one where racial epithets were forbidden and people were not judged by race, culture, or ethnicity.  I watched in horror and anguish as the civil rights marches and protests of the 1960's unfolded on our television. In 1961 I rode a Greyhound bus with my grandmother to Shreveport, LA to see her sister, and it was there I saw the systemic racism that ran through America at the time--colored restrooms and drinking fountains in the department stores and segregated seating in restaurants. I was only 13 then, but I knew something was terribly wrong. When I got home, my parents educated me about racism and oppression in America. It is that background that shaped who I am and became ingrained in my soul.

There has always been a fire smoldering in my heart at the profound injustices in this country. During my years in college and career as a teacher those embers exploded into flames of fury at injustices, whether against me or my students. I certainly faced plenty of sexist treatment, both financial and professional. I saw my minority and poor students discriminated against with unfair policies and bigoted administrators and teachers. During those times I often raged against administrators and school boards. I led protests and work slow downs on behalf of students and teachers. I was not shy about speaking truth to power. And I often suffered for it, but I was not to be deterred. I left more than one position because I refused to sell my soul for a job.

After I retired I ran and won a position on a school board where I continued to fight for the disadvantaged and oppressed students. I was not popular. I served on various boards that oversaw services to victimized children and the mentally ill. I give both time and money to local charities, and I've always been involved in politics.

By now you may be thinking so what and I wouldn't blame you. But there is a reason I'm putting myself out there. I am not giving my enemies any ammunition or allowing them to define me.

When Anthony Weiner was tweeting his junk, he did so under the name of Carlos Danger. To mock him several of my twitter buddies changed their names to Emilio Peril and Rodney Danger to name two of many clever handles. Although I didn't see any women changing their names, I wanted to join in and change mine. I became Maria Meanmuthafukah. I loved Maria, my alter ego. She could get away with all kinds of obnoxious behaviors and tweeps loved her, especially since they knew the grandmother behind her creation. She was an outlet for the intense anger I often felt, and she sometimes spewed vitriol I would never use in "real life." There were even times I was scolded by long time tweeps for engaging in battles with right wingers.

Twitter has been the perfect vehicle for the rage I feel. The rage against Republicans whom I loathe, the rage over the injustices against people of color, women, and children. I am sick of the fucking evil that floats above and permeates every aspect of American life. My mistake on twitter was giving out too much information about myself and my family. I let the joy and pride in my grandkids cloud my judgment. I became vulnerable.

So the other day when an idiot tweeted delight in our rail system being cut simply because it was Bill Richardson's idea, I was enraged. I called him a stupid fuck because he is. I am enraged that Republicans are hell bent in destroying any progress we are making because it's made under the leadership of Barrack Obama. Here was a clown thrilled because a progressive idea was coming to an end because our former governor was the creator. Then @Politixfireball jumped into the thread, and I called her the racist piece of shit she is. But then I did something dumb.  I challenged her to out me because she has a history of doing that. I knew she was fanatical about outing @AngryNMTeacher to the point of targeting and harassing the wrong teacher.

Politixfireball and NMPolJournal  didn't waste time outing me on twitter and Facebook, including tweeting pictures of my grandkids. I admit I panicked, afraid for my family and what damage these sick people could or would do to them. I closed my twitter account and my Facebook page. I opened a new twitter account and started rebuilding my twitter life. Then today I realized no one is going to intimidate me. My life is here in this state--five generations of my life. I have devoted my life to the children of this state, some of the poorest in the country. I will not let sick creeps silence me--not some former state senator from Hagerman, NM, a town of less than 1200 residents, who believes Pres. Obama is ushering Sharia Law into our lives, or some New Mexico GOP operative who thinks Pres. Obama is a modern day Hitler or jokes that during the Holocaust "Jews went up in smoke." No way.

So you can bring it, Rebekah Stevens or @politixfireball or Rod Adair @NMPolJournal. You are despicable trash only worthy of loathing. You have never performed one noble act in your lives. In fact, you work to destroy lives.  You represent the worst this country has to offer, but you are soon to be an anachronism, an extinct species. And you know why? Because you are devoid of any humanity, compassion or empathy. You hide behind the Cross of Christianity, but you act out the most despicable behaviors in the Old Testament. You are an anathema to the ideals of this country;you are the caretakers of the worst, most evil behaviors throughout the history of America.

Maybe not the next election or the one after that, but in the near future your kind will be powerless. You will be reduced to impotent, powerless shadows, whimpering and whining and groveling. And I can hardly wait to see your political destruction.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Yelling Is Not Governance, Senator Warren

I've never seen a Democrat fundraise off a sitting President before, especially one who has distorted facts as blatantly and dishonestly as Warren has. Just mind boggling to me especially since congress is continually being briefed and given summaries. Then when pressed Warren admits she has seen summaries, but she can't talk about it. Really? All she's been doing is talking about it. And yet people are quoting her, saying no one can talk about it. How can you miss the irony?

This is what makes want a cigarette. Liberals accuse conservatives of being averse to facts, but then they go off deep end whenever one of our own prophets of doom starts fear mongering. If Warren or Sanders says it, it must be true so why do any research. Sanders has been dead wrong plenty of times, but liberals still light their hair on fire and each other's hair on fire every time he tells us the sky is falling.

This is the same crowd, mostly white, who is declaring AG Holder didn't accomplish anything because no bankers are in jail. Evidently, rebuilding the DOJ from the ground up is nothing. Rebuilding a completely dismantled civil rights division is nothing. Getting record-breaking settlements from financial institutions is nothing. You get the idea? In white unicorn fantasyland fighting for the civil rights of minorities is nothing. And doing it while being vilified by the Congress of the United States is nothing. So thanks for nothing, Eric Holder. And take your do nothing buddy, Barrack Obama with you.

You know the guy who can't be trusted to tell us the truth. The guy who is always caving but isn't really. The guy Bernie Sanders repeatedly told to grow a backbone. You know, Bernie, the guy who voted to keep Gitmo open, but when liberals scream, "it's Obama's fault!" doesn't have the balls to defend the President.  Yeah, that guy. Bernie, the guy who told us Pres. Obama was going to destroy SS and ya'll lit your hair on fire. But some of us just waited patiently, blocking out the cacophony, for the outcome because we knew PBO was just messing with Boehner. Remember when after one negotiation, which was in secret by the way, Boehner crowed "we got 98% of what we wanted," and newspapers declared OBAMA GOT ROLLED! Remember? But wait. A few days later Boehner was blubbering furiously that "we won't get rolled again." And another of your heroes Cenk was belittling and vilifying the President. But then the truth came out and let me refresh that truth for you. When PBO first took office, he had auditors go through all the programs and budgets to find programs that were duplicates or wasteful and unproductive. Those were the programs that were cut during the negotiations. It took Boehner a few days to realize he'd been had, but by then he already looked like the fool he is. But a lot of liberals looked like idiots too, especially the ones with scorched hair.

So again for the fortieth millionth time, ya'll are going at it again. Twitter and Facebook are buried in a heavy cloud of smoke and the stench of burning hair is strong. Occasionally one does get a glimpse of glitter poop from a free range unicorn. And those of us who are asking for calm, rational thinking are called Obamabots and derided for being a blind follower. Hello pot to kettle, come in pot.

Here's the deal. Bloggers at The People's View, The Daily Banter, The Obama Diary, as well as others have painstakingly pointed out the distortions from the Warren/Sanders camp. They've been doing some pretty solid research around TPA & TPP. The summary, which is actually 39 pages, is on the Internet for anyone to access. Warren says it's been conducted in top secret, but Congress has been briefed 1700 times. There will be a lengthy review process for both Congress and the public. And by the way, most negotiations are conducted in secret from Iran deal to union contracts.

But hell no, you who are thinking with your emotions can't wait for the facts. That would be the rational thing to do, but you don't belong to the rational, thinking wing of the party. Nope. You're in love with a freshman senate who has produced very little of substance since being elected. You're so in love with her that you want her to be your President without knowing what her foreign policy would be, or how she would tackle any of the enormous problems we face. You don't even know if she's going to be a good senator. So far all she's proven is she can yell at bankers and while it may make you feel good, that is not governance.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

LAPD Cops Shot Ezell Ford in the Back, Autopsy Finds Ford, who suffered from mental illness, was shot three times, including one fatal blast to his back, which left a muzzle imprint, an autopsy concludes. BY: BREANNA EDWARDS Posted: Dec. 30 2014 12:45 PM

Don't ever tell me that there isn't a pattern here. Don't ever tell me that this isn't racism. Don't ever tell me we are all equal in this country. Don't ever tell me all lives matter in this country because black lives do not matter. Just shut up if you have some stupid white person platitude because I'm sick of hearing that bullshit.

LAPD Cops Shot Ezell Ford in the Back, Autopsy Finds

Ford, who suffered from mental illness, was shot three times, including one fatal blast to his back, which left a muzzle imprint, an autopsy concludes. 

 An autopsy released by the Los Angeles Police Department details that Ezell Ford, the mentally ill 25-year-old who was killed by police Aug. 11, was shot three times, including once in the back, KABC reports. Two days after Michael Brown’s shooting death, Los Angeles police officers were attempting to restrain Ford, who family members said suffered from mental illness but was harmless. The police said the young man resisted arrest, taking one of the officers to the ground, and that while Ford was on top of the officer, he made an attempt to grab the officer’s gun. “The officer yelled out to his partner that Mr. Ford had his gun. The officer’s partner then fired two rounds, striking Mr. Ford. At about the same time, the officer on the ground, while on his back, grabbed his backup weapon, reached around Mr. Ford and fired one shot at close range striking Mr. Ford in the back,” the LAPD said in a statement, according to the news station. No officers were wounded during the incident. According to the autopsy, the fatal shots were the wounds to Ford’s back and right abdomen. The wound to his back had a “muzzle imprint,” signifying that the shot was indeed taken from close range. Witnesses at the scene that August day have countered police claims, with a few telling reporters that Ford 
was facedown on the ground when he was shot. A lawyer for Ford’s family, Steve Lerman, has said the fact that the young man was shot in the back is “criminal.” “I dare say that this is criminal. I think they executed this poor young man, mentally incompetent man,” Lerman told the news station. “Defenseless, harmless, unarmed.”