Contact Me

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

No fly, no buy?

There is one item that is going to get overlooked in the course of the debates, though it really grabbed my attention. Trump and all the flat out and very easily debunked lies and inflammatory speech coming out of his mouth kind of make it nearly impossible to examine the stances and policies in a serious way. When one candidate keeps saying how proud he is of himself, that he has a winning temperament and ignores the issue and serious questions, the other falls into the trap of responding to this and explaining why he shouldn't be proud, why his temperament is losing rather than having an informative policy discussion describing what the policies are and how they are different. Clinton actually did manage to squeeze policy in there, which was impressive. I mean if she'd have dutifully stuck to the questions as much as I wanted, though, it'd have looked as though she were ignoring him and that's probably not good debate etiquette- not to mention grounds for another round of robot and other conspiracy theories.

Conservatives get up in arms about a 'no fly no buy' requirement because it is a limit on guns and they are against all gun control. Some will even admit some Americans are on it for no reason and we shouldn't limit their right to guns. Liberals worry that using this watchlist criteria for gun control will lead to easy curtailing of other rights with no warning or justification like the right to assemble and the right against unreasonable searches. See:


The key here is that it is faulty and that while yes, we need to do more in the way of gun control, it seems the danger is less from terrorists buying guns from dealers that follow these rules than say improved background checks and mental health screening (and care, but that needs more time and space to discuss) and other safety measures.

Clinton's unqualified mention of no fly really rankled me in the debate. I'm all for gun control and even working with people who like guns to make sure it's sensible even though I personally have no use for them, but using the no fly list seems utterly screwy for anyone concerned about civil liberties.

Like I said, I'm all for gun control, but using the no fly list is a bit like using stop and frisk and racial profiling and calling it fair and the most successful programs to date. And she did a great job railing against stop and frisk! She should have used the opportunity to go after the no fly list and called for greater care with civil liberties while increasing gun safety. 

This article is old, but it's a favorite site:

I don't like Hillary in this area, I think she falls far short, maybe she's trying to win over some moderate Republicans or something with some of her not so progressive stances. It annoys me to no end though. I liked Bernie because he aimed high. You kind of know you aren't going to achieve that in our system, but WHAT IF you could? Plus, in a candidate, I want to know your ideal, your optimal set of policies, not this watered down what do I think we can accomplish and how do we water it down even more to bring on Republicans so we can say we're bipartisan and go down in history as loved and successful in both parties. But this is what we're stuck with. 

This is a theory that could help untangle the seemingly contradictory arguments on both sides:

Friday, September 23, 2016

Deplorable memes

I've been seeing a lot of disturbing memes after the Charlotte shooting. So sad. People's reactions often deepen the sadness. I expect more from folks than this.

I am reminded of this and hope I can do something equally constructive with my disgust for civilization.

“Where do I get my ideas from? You might as well have asked that of Beethoven. He was goofing around in Germany like everybody else, and all of a sudden this stuff came gushing out of him. It was music. I was goofing around like everybody else in Indiana, and all of a sudden stuff came gushing out. It was disgust with civilization.” (Vonnegut)

So some claim there's no racism because they don't experience it - and when people call BS on that they say- hey, we're all ONE race, human. Nice thought for sure, but NOT reality, we still have much work to do before that is true on the ground. Saying this IS reality is that same old- racism doesn't happen anymore- line. It's a good goal, but conservatives are using coded language again for- I don't see or experience racism, therefore it doesn't happen. I agree that there SHOULD be one race and we SHOULD be living in a post-racial society, but we have work to do.

I mean, saying there's one race seems like an encouraging positive thing, right? But then the rest of the posts surrounding this are- 'I support cops not criminals (unarmed black men)'- 'no Quran in schools, send refugees home'- 'Hillary calls cops deplorable (did that even happen??) but look at these Hillary supporters' (referring to photo of riot)- 'If you follow officers orders, you won't get shot' (. . . ). 

So, you see, we get a different idea of what that phrase REALLY means. A little more bleak.

There's another meme- the photo is a cop, a lawyer, and what they want you to see as a criminal in court, all black, the text- 3 men in 3 different positions In America, color doesn't define your future, your choices do. JUST. NO. WAY. I don't know that I have the words to go into all the issues there and I sure don't have the experience of being black in America, but I know that is all kinds of false. (To clarify. . . some are going to deliberately not see my point, here . . . Not all false, of course, choices do matter, but the point is obviously that there is more to it than that, access to opportunity, living near the poverty line, discrimination and a host of other issues at play, it is most DEFINITELY NOT only just about CHOICES you make.)

And the last item, all the hoping and praying for Charlotte things I've seen, they are nice sentiments , but just won't effect change. This ties in with the point I made about Israel and Palestine when Netanyahu was trying to say that Israel wasn't in the wrong, in fact Palestinians were the ones doing the ethnic cleansing.

Like with Israel and Palestine, thinking people KNOW what the problem is and maybe have ideas to make it better, but the majority aren't willing to do what is necessary to address the sources of inequality that stops the resulting hopelessness that finds expression in violence. Until then, that's what we can expect. More violence. No peace without justice. The Pope quoted there also talked about forgiveness, but justice and addressing those causes is the only way to start down the road where you can hope for peace and be able to forgive. No one can forgive anything that isn't at least acknowledged (and that hopefully this translates to redress or restitution). Any effective dialogues and reconciliation and such won't come before that.

I tire quickly of hearing the word "dialogue." Maybe that is where people will find the answer- addressing the causes and not the effects, but experience and reading some of these dialogues doesn't bear that out. Dialogue when I read it means- oh both sides are wrong, we all need to work together, hope, peace, love. Mostly good things, but clearly NOT addressing the problems that will make the difference.

I don't know what it's like to be black in America, but I want to be an ally, part of the solution. Yes, this is internal dialogue and as such mostly crap, so take it as you wish.

Edit, Jan 2017 on being black in America:


Deplorables- given how Hillary's criticism took off as a point of pride. . .

Friday, September 16, 2016

Gymnastics sexual assault cases

A lot of cases of sexual abuse of gymnasts at the hands of coaches and a team doctor are being reported now. It's sad to know there are so many, but encouraging to see everyone coming forward out of the shadows where they were once relegated to get justice for themselves and to make it easier for girls in the future. 

One (one?? one of MANY) thing bothered me in both Tennessee Watson's case and the Jane Doe from the 2000 Olympic team's case. No one seems to be connecting the dots or really talking about this, but in both situations, the accused was also involved in a program helping kids with autism or disabilities. At first I thought- not that one is better than the other- he might be trying to atone in some way for what he did to other girls, but what makes more sense is depending on the situation, the child might be, sadly, an easier target. I wonder if this a pattern in these cases, preying on more vulnerable kids while looking like a saint in the eyes of the general public for donating their time even though they are famous coaches of elite gymnasts.

*** *** ***

I think this was the story that led me to the podcasts where Tennessee Watson told her story:

This is Watson's story on The Heart, a four part series:

And this is her story on the Reveal podcast:

*** *** ***

In this recent case I heard about the other day, 2 girls, now women, are accusing the team doctor, Dr. Nassar of various inappropriate behaviors, one being "intravaginal adjustment" for the HIPS. ?!?!

This link has more details and pervy video of some of his doctoring techniques:

Blaming the victims

There has been a trend lately by Israel of victim blaming. First we have this attempt to call opposition to illegal Jewish settlements built on Palestinian land ethnic cleansing of Jews. They want to distract people from the facts on the ground that Israel is continuing to steal land while agreeing to a two state solution and trying to *squeeze Palestinian citizens of Israel out in a very real ethnic cleansing attempt in the way of house demolitions, inferior education, building permits and other laws while saying it is a democracy.


Just this week, I heard of two more similar attempts at trying to turn the tables and change public opinion on who is in the wrong. Now, who is wrong, the oppressor or the oppressed is rarely a thing one needs to examine in very much depth, but in this situation, people get very, very confused. That first accusation was especially absurd given the gravity of the charge and the fact that Israel itself is actually guilty of ethnic cleansing.

These next two items are along the lines of criminalizing dissent among occupied Palestinians (and Palestinian citizens of Israel) and cultural expression, punishing the natural result of decades of injustice and brutal/lethal/illegal subjugation instead of simply addressing the cause and ENDING THE OCCUPATION. Attacking the effects of a bloody occupation and endless military campaigns, strangling and starving an entire population under your control is backwards and will never bring peace. No amount of military operations will get rid of the hate and violence and dissent without removing the injustice.

Now this about Facebook being compliant and willing to accommodate Israel's demands is troublesome due to what we know they consider incitement and offense. Their ethnic cleansing Israel as a state for Jews and land theft in Palestinian territory IS NOT incitement, but opposition to illegal settlements IS incitement and deemed ethnic cleansing. . . 

Facebook Is Collaborating With the Israeli Government to Determine What Should Be Censored

Notably, Israel was represented in this meeting with Facebook by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, an extremist by all measures who has previously said she does not believe in a Palestinian state. Shaked has “proposed legislation that seeks to force social networks to remove content that Israel considers to be incitement,” and recently boasted that Facebook is already extremely compliant with Israeli censorship demands: “Over the past four months Israel submitted 158 requests to Facebook to remove inciting content,” she said, and Facebook has accepted those requests in 95 percent of the cases.

 Granted, Israel could be blowing smoke like any dictatorship, saying that they will be backed in this outrageous measure when they actually have very little or zero support, but they should still be called out on it until they are made to address the cause of the problems- OCCUPATION and its associated ills.

And the next one is about dolls. DOLLS! Dolls are causing Palestinians to not be docile little occupied sheep that don't complain when you flatten their neighborhood or attempt to starve them wholesale.

Criminalizing the culture, making sure they feel as though they don't belong anywhere. That is Israel's crime and the true incitement, denying a person's right to exist.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Equality Warrior's Middle East Peace

Photo source- Facebook, unknown author

The last post was about Netanyahu's childish response to being called out. The world is finally taking notice of the fact that he is occupying land and illegally encouraging Israeli Jews to move there, which would be theft, instead of providing for the existing population as the Geneva Convention requires. What's a guy to do when called out on the world stage? Admit wrongdoing and begin reconciliation and reparations? NOPE! Why do that when you can say, NO, I'm not ethnic cleansing, YOU'RE ethnic cleansing! So there! Isn't that convincing? So this is very obviously trying to reclaim some victimhood status or to somehow occupy the status of both oppressor and victim at the same time. It's the same thing Israel's always done, just a new level of absurdity.

There is another tactic people use when they want to see above the fray- equality, They want to say all parties are bad. Both Republicans and Democrats are equally as bad. You know, I don't follow the Middle East conflicts, but both sides are just as bad. Why don't both stop with the violence and hatred? Peace in the Middle East! In fact, there's a song by Matisyahu, One Day, that makes me think about this argument. I realize a song is supposed to be dreamy and not meant to be an instruction manual on how to achieve peace, but it always makes me think of this thing people say that is really pointless and to repeat American officials "unhelpful"- but BOTH sides are just as bad, how can you blame only one or require only Israel to do this or that?

Here's some of it:

All my life I've been waiting for
I've been praying for
For the people to say
That we don't wanna fight no more
There will be no more wars
And our children will play

One day this all will change
Treat people the same
Stop with the violence
Down with the hate
Stop with the violence
Down with the hate

 I hear people around me so often say that they personally aren't taking sides, they believe both to be at fault, they both need to stop the violence and hate. But this is like having a broken arm and wishing the pain would just go away. Even if you could magically hit the reset button on the pain in the arm or violence and hate in the conflict, these are EFFECTS, and addressing them without fixing the main cause of the malady gets you nowhere, the effects will return and you shouldn't be shocked. It's pointless to talk about peace if you're unwilling to talk about ending the occupation, right of return, equality, compensation -JUSTICE. Everyone wants to ask why do they hate each other, why is there so much violence, but no one wants to look past yesterday and state the historically obvious -hold Israel accountable for its criminal and inhumane activities. End the occupation. Address the cause for once, don't have talks about having talks about talking about how to end violence!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Netanyahu claims illegal settlers are being ethnically cleansed from stolen land

Netanyahu is now claiming opposition to illegal West Bank settlements is ethnic cleansing. This Al-Jazeera article goes into what he really means by this and how he specifically equated Palestinian citizens of Israel that the right wing has been unable to truly ethnically cleanse (or force out by severe discrimination) and illegal settlers who have been given support of their state to build on Palestinian property, thereby stealing more land.

If, as Netanyahu claims, "societies that demand ethnic cleansing don't pursue peace", what does that say about Israel, a state founded on the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland in 1948?

Ha'aretz is said to be much much more liberal in the English version than the Hebrew, though I cannot verify that myself. The headline is great though! Netanyahu's claim of 'Ethnic Cleansing' Sets a Guiness Record For Chutzpah. There is added Israeli perspective there that he may be talking crazy to divert attention away from building a railroad on Shabbat. This article recognizes the absurdity, though I don't know that this is the consensus in Israel. . .

Reuters is giving us the US response, some would say unusually strong. Inappropriate and unhelpful? A verbal reprimand, a statement of the obvious without calling their unhelpfulness by it's name, a violation of international law and demanding any corrective action or compensation?? That is rough? Oh, and they did question Israel's long term goals and the possibility that Israel's policy can lead to unlimited expansion. Ya THINK?!?! But instead of a thank you, Captain Obvious, we get cries of anti-semitism.

At the end of the article, we are assured that this is only a tone change, not a policy change and so what we just said makes no difference whatsoever to anything or anyone. We are still as ineffective and biased as ever. U-S-A! Go us.

And this blog as always is great:

Lots of quotes from the State Department, it's interesting, if meaningless. More facts than ever are stated outright, which is nice, though nothing more than pandering to Israel will be done, as usual.