Friday, 25 September 2020

Black History


This post comes courtesy of my friends Dory and Nadine Lerner.

"It's critical to understand our history.  Once you do, I think it's easy to see why we are where we are today, and hopefully obvious why Black Lives Matter has so much support.  The system was very much designed with people of colour in mind - with the sole purpose of keeping them suppressed.  It's well beyond time to break that wheel.

Don’t really get all the Black Lives Matter stuff?

400 years ago white people enslaved Black people.

And sold them.

And treated them as less than human.

For 250 years.

While white men built the country and created its laws and its systems of government.

While 10 to 15 generations of white families got to grow and flourish and make choices that could make their lives better.

150 years ago white people "freed" Black people from slavery.

But then angry white people created laws that made it impossible for them to vote.

Or to own land.

Or to have the same rights as white people. And even erected monuments glorifying people who actively had fought to keep them enslaved.

All while another 5 to 10 generations of white families got to grow and accumulate wealth and gain land and get an education.

60 years ago we made it "legal" for Black people to vote, and to be "free" from discrimination.

But angry white people still fought to keep schools segregated.

And closed off neighborhoods to white people only.

And made it harder for Black people to get bank loans, or get quality education or health care, or to (gasp) marry a white person.

All while another 2-3 generations of white families got to grow and pass their wealth down to their children and their children's children.

Present day...

And then we entered an age where we had the technology to make PUBLIC the things that were already happening in private: the beatings, the stop and frisk laws, the unequal distribution of justice, the police brutality (in the south, police began as slave patrols designed to catch runaway slaves).

And only now, after 400+ years and 20+ generations of a white head start, are we STARTING to truly have a dialogue about what it means to be Black.

White privilege doesn't mean you haven't suffered or fought or worked hard.

It doesn't mean white people are responsible for the sins of our ancestors.

It doesn’t mean you can’t be proud of who you are.

It DOES mean that we need to acknowledge that the system our ancestors created is built FOR white people.

It DOES mean that Black people are treated at a disadvantage because of the colour of their skin

It DOES mean that we owe it to our neighbours - of all colours - to acknowledge that and work to make our world more equitable.

Because Black Lives Matter.

Understanding why we have to say this matters.

Your voice in this movement matters. Recognizing privilege, power and history matters."

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Crimes and Misdemeanours

It's getting to the point where the U.S. seems to be descending into anarchy.  A selection from my Twitter feed this evening:

"My daughter, 17, asked a customer at her work to wear a mask. He threatened her by showing her his gun and telling her he has a right to carry a gun and to choose if he wears a mask or not."

"That happened in a store I worked in. I slowly motioned for my co-worker to call security. Within seconds security came running over from all directions. I had no idea how many plain-clothes security we had. Police came and arrested him for inciting violence."

"Someone trespassing in my back yard I asked to leave - nicely - told me he would kill my dog, and pointed a gun with a laser sight on it at my dog's head. They aren't nice people. I own my home."

"In Michigan a security guard was shot when he requested a customer wear a mask before entering the store.  Family went home, came back with guns, and one member shot and killed him."

"My 17 year old was told by a customer that she would have to call the cops if she wanted him to put on a mask."

That's only a small sample of the heinous actions that people are seeing every day.

Trump has brought out the worst in people with his self-centered and divisive rhetoric.  Whether it's deliberate or not is up to debate, but the result is the same.  More and more people are brandishing their guns and claiming the "freedom" to do so.  That makes them no better than terrorists, whose only purpose is to threaten and/or kill those who oppose their ideology.

Some ask: if the gun nuts are so eager to use their guns, why not join the police or military?  The trouble is that many already have.  It's clear that certain elements of the police and military are there solely to take advantage of the ability to hurt and kill people they don't like.  And more often than not, the system is rigged in such a way that they can get away with it.

In the meantime, those people who find themselves facing a gun barrel through no fault of their own will be traumatized for life.  That is, if they survive the encounter at all.  People of colour now have to teach their children how to interact with a police officer, for fear of their lives.

That's not the way for a civilized country to do business.

Refusing to do something simple to help your fellows (like wearing a mask during a pandemic), just because it inconveniences you, is selfish, stupid, and throws dirt on all the sacrifices that our ancestors made so we could all could have a better life.

There are times that I wish we could exile all the stupid people to an island somewhere and rebuild a better society.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Owning the Liberals


Original post by "Bev", copied with permission.

The question was posed, "Why do people continue supporting Trump no matter what he does?" A lady named Bev answered it this way:

“You all don't get it. I live in Trump country, in the Ozarks in southern Missouri, one of the last places where the KKK still has a relatively strong established presence.  They don't give a s#*! what he does. He's just something to rally around and hate liberals, that's it, period.

He absolutely realizes that and plays it up. They love it. He knows they love it.  The fact that people act like it's anything other than that proves to them that liberals are idiots, all the more reason for high fives all around.

If you keep getting caught up in "Why do they not realize this problem?" and "How can they still back Trump after this scandal?", then you do not understand what the underlying motivating factor of his support is. It's "f**% liberals", that's pretty much it.

Have you noticed he can do pretty much anything imaginable, and they'll explain some way that rationalizes it that makes zero logical sense?  Because they're not even keeping track of any coherent narrative, it's irrelevant. "F**% liberals" is the only relevant thing.

Trust me; I know firsthand what I'm talking about.

That's why they just laugh at it all because you all don't even realize they truly don't give a f**% about whatever the conversation is about.  It's just a side mission story that doesn't matter anyway.  That's all just trivial details - the economy, health care, whatever.

"F**% liberals."

Look at the issue with not wearing the masks.  
I can tell you what that's about. It's about exposing fear. They're playing chicken with nature, and whoever flinches just moved down their internal pecking order, one step closer to being a liberal.

You've got to understand the one core value that they hold above all others, is hatred for what they consider weakness, because that's what they believe strength is: hatred of weakness.

And I mean passionate, sadistic hatred.  And I'm not exaggerating. Believe me.

Sadistic, passionate hatred, and that's what proves they're strong, their passionate hatred for weakness.
Sometimes they will lump vulnerability in with weakness.  They do that because people tend to start humbling themselves when they're in some compromising or overwhelming circumstance, and to them, that's an obvious sign of weakness.

Kindness = weakness.  Honesty = weakness.  Compromise = weakness.

They consider their very existence to be superior in every way to anyone who doesn't hate weakness as much as they do.  They consider liberals to be weak people that are inferior, almost a different species, and the fact that liberals are so weak is why they have to unite in large numbers, which they find disgusting, but it's that disgust that is a true expression of their natural superiority.

Go ahead and try to have a logical, rational conversation with them. Just keep in mind what I said here and be forewarned.”

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Is Corruption Inevitable?

Written by a friend of mine.

"I'm going to piss off EVERYONE today.

Let's talk about de-funding the police.

First off, I understand why people would be demanding this.

The police as a group are corrupt.  If they aren't themselves receiving money for illegal activities, or directly involved with illegal activities, then they're ignoring the illegal activities of the other police around them, which is just as bad.

Allow me to justify those statements.

My first real adult job was as an ambulance technician at a clinic [in my home city].  My supervisor was a police officer of high rank.

On my first day at work I would learn some important lessons.
1. My supervisor was a coke addict.
2. My supervisor was a drug dealer.
3. Police are above the law. Police don't arrest other police.

In my first week at work I would learn another lesson.
4. My supervisor, a police officer, was a pedophile.

Everyone knew it, but see lesson #3.

Over the years, I would learn more and more how corrupt the police are. If you aren't aware of that then you simply haven't had the experience to know better.

Now, let's address the main problem about why the police are so corrupt.

Police aren't paid enough. Police officer has always been a fairly low pay job, but at least you could barely manage to support a family. It was never a path to great wealth.  Unfortunately, this job like most has suffered from inflation. Everything has become more expensive while salaries have stagnated.

Because of the nature of police work, it should really pay enough that they can adequately support their family, and the risk of getting caught being corrupt should far outweigh the risk of losing a well paying job. As it is the only way to support a family properly is to be corrupt. That's wrong.

We should do four things.
1. Acknowledge that there's a problem with police corruption. The first step to solving a problem is recognizing that there is a problem.
2. Forgive all police for past mistakes... if they admit to it and agree to walk the straight and narrow from now on.
3. Raise their pay to where it should have been in the first place.
4. Monitor police effectively. If there is any further corruption it should be stamped out hard. Loss of job, prison time, loss of savings and property. Body cams should be on at all times and the should be reviewed by an independent body at random.

To add: Starting pay for a police officer in [my province] is $44,000.  For a position of responsibility and a certain amount of risk, that's ridiculous. 

We also demand a certain amount of education for our police officers.  
The typical path is a 3 year training course at [junior college] followed by 15 weeks of practical training at [police school].
I wonder how that compares with police in the States.

I keep saying this, that there is [also] a huge problem when the [provincial] police union is called "The Brotherhood" - that in and of itself points to a mafia-type culture.  It has to stop."

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Dinosaurs in F-14s

The title refers to a Calvin and Hobbes strip.  6-year-old Calvin draws a picture in which dinosaurs, being fed up with how some of them aren't perceived as being as dangerous as they should be, get into F-14 jets.

It's a good metaphor for what's happening in the U.S. right now.  There are people, particularly white men, who believe they're becoming irrelevant and are resorting to using words and weapons to get their point across.  The trouble is, their choice of targets have stirred up the country against them.

Think about it.  Several major sports organizations have cancelled their seasons.  Not because of Covid, but because of the recent shootings and killings of unarmed people.

Multiple governments and law enforcement agencies in the U.S. appear to be corrupt.  In addition, they are being taken advantage of by young radicals and white supremacists so they can target others, particularly people of colour, with near impunity.  Almost every time a person of colour is shot, the officers involved are placed on "administrative leave" or otherwise get a mere slap on the wrist.  It's extremely rare that criminal charges are laid.

When protests gather, so do the instigators and vigilante wanna-bes so they can stir up trouble.  The night after yet another Black man was shot for a spurious reason, a 17-year-old illegally obtained an assault rifle, crossed state lines with it, and committed murder as he marched into a protest.  The local police appeared to ENCOURAGE HIM.  He wasn't arrested until the next day.

The parents of ANY young person who does something like this, parents who are still legal guardians and responsible for their child, should be charged as accomplices and accessories to murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

Anyone in the media who publicly defends such actions should be sued for publicly inciting violence and hatred.

Also, homegrown militias should be legally disbanded and labeled as terrorist groups.  More often than not, they lack the experience and the training to hold weapons of any kind.  "Second Amendment" notwithstanding.  If they want to play cowboy for real they should join the army and see if they can handle basic training.

Chances are they won't or can't, because they're too cowardly, out of shape, or not the right age to do it.  They'd rather congregate at State legislatures and yell in the faces of politicians they don't like instead of risking ACTUAL death to serve the country they claim to love.  The country doesn't need their ilk, they are the dinosaurs who want to self-justify with the F-14s.

Many of my ancestors went to war.  Not all of them came home.  They'd be rolling in their graves if they saw what's happening now.