They better be protecting my version of the Constitution

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I think one of the most absurd things I have heard in my day is when, in response to someone exercising their First Amendment freedom of speech, someone else always proclaims that if they do not like something they should just leave the country.

During the Viet Nam War there were a lot of people telling protesters to “love it or leave it” when it came to the United States, as if the war and the country were the same thing.

Hate the war, and you hated America.

Recently that sports ball action of not standing for the National Anthem has brought up that same stupid attitude.

If he can’t stand for the anthem he should leave the country, as if the Anthem is the county.

Most people are conveniently unaware, and they may be part of the crowd, that before the last line of the Anthem is finished at ball games, usually just before  “and the home of the brave”, people are already yelling and cheering and lowering themselves into their seats.

If they can’t stand and sing the whole thing, should they also be required to move?

The football guy sat quietly and not conspicuously, while the people in stadium seats get loud and obvious.

I have great respect for veterans as their service is one way to protect the Constitution and make the country a better one, but there are also other ways that might be more peaceful and less expensive and life threatening.

Unlike the past, putting a uniform on is a choice that a person makes as their way of bettering the county, but it does not mean someone else’s non-military choice to make the country better by another means does not deserve respect.

And while people claim those who serve do so to protect and defend the Constitution, why are they angry when someone exercises what is in it?

I would assume that they are protecting and defending the Constitution, not just their interpretation of it.

One person’s way of doing what they can to better the country and choosing to do so does not make them less American if it doesn’t involve a uniform and gun.

The irony is that many who thank those in the military for their service are the first ones who disrespect them by staying home while determining who and how a person is to apply the Constitution.

Owning an anti-tank rocket is a right according to the Second Amendment while conducting a quiet protest is anti- American?

And then you have Trump, who dodged military service while he now claims he is the strongest supporter of the troops and had more military training in military school than they have had in actual combat, telling that football guy,

“I think it’s personally not a good thing, I think it’s a terrible thing. And, you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try, it won’t happen.”

And if he does go to another country, perhaps he can make a living working at a Trump factory there.

But most Ironic to me are those who first state that they are veterans, and then tell people the exercise of the first Amendment is wrong if it is a way they do not agree with.

The internet exploded with tweets and comments from those claiming to be veterans and, so, had some authority to criticize the Anthem thing and guilt others into having to agree with them, and those who use the veterans as a tool to instill guilt and appear more righteous.

But, according to ESPN’s Mike & Mike,

“Of the tweets that we’re getting from military and former military people, definitely the majority are saying he has every right to do what he’s doing, and that’s exactly what we fought for. You may not like it, but he has every right to do that.”

“I’ve got sheets and sheets and sheets of tweets from people who say they are military members currently serving or formerly serving who support Kaepernick’s right to do what he did…you may feel that way, but don’t say it’s a fact that he’s disrespecting [the military], because I’ve got tons and tons of people who would disagree with you who have served [in the military], and that, I think, is an important distinction” said Mike Greenberg, one of the Mikes.

Colin Kaepernick has already said,

“I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening.”

“People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That’s something that’s not happening. I’ve seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they fought have for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That’s not right.”

But that won’t stop the right wingers from invoking the military to out patriot everyone else like a past neighbor of mine who festooned his house, fence, and multiple flag poles throughout his small plot of land with American flags so he could find fault with the lack of patriotism of his neighbors.

If you support the troops, support what they have fought for, and stop claiming that the Constitution must be the way you like it.

One person has the right to protest, and others have the right to object.

But, if you do object, do so on your own principle, and stop putting your opinion on the troops.

Trump has his proof

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Donald Trump’s new campaign manager and editor of the Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, votes in Miami-Dade County, Florida, but his ‘residence’ there is unoccupied and going to be demolished.

Because he does not actually reside in Florida, he is committing voter fraud.

According to the Miami-Dade Division of Elections, residency is established if a “person mentally intends to make his or her permanent residence” there, something that can be proven with a driver’s license, mail addressed to the house, and “doing other activities normally … associated with home life.”

This is hard to do when the empty house you claim as your residence is about to be torn down.

Submitting false information on a Florida voter registration is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

It is voter fraud plain and simple.

The Trump campaign is insisting that Bannon is residing at “another location” in Florida, but that location is undisclosed and not available to the public record.

While living in California he rented the Miami house for his ex-wife whom he divorced in 2009, and, as it is turning out, abused, so it is a little unrealistic to accept he still lives with her in an empty house if she has accuse him of  vicious wife-beating.

Trump has stated, almost as if he is accepting defeat in advance, or perhaps hoping to get people to go nuts for his own egotistical purpose id he does lose, that if he loses the election it will be because the system is rigged.

And here he has the proof of election fraud and vote rigging within his own campaign.

How convenient is that?

Recess is almost over

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Maybe that’s a little harsh.

I did some research and found that Congress has been very busy, and they have done a lot.

The GOP in Congress has blocked everything Obama proposed no matter how good it was for the country.

They suppressed and gerrymandered every voting district they could in order to limit or eliminate the minority vote.

They cut taxes for the wealthy.

At a cost of ever $54 million to taxpayer they voted 51 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Costing the taxpayers $24 Billion they shut down the government.

They halted every jobs bill.

They blocked stricter background checks for gun purchases.

They prevented immigration reform.

They prevented equal pay and raising the minimum wage

They worked hard to limit a woman’s right to choose and be in charge of her own bodies.

They cut unemployment benefits and veterans benefits

Now that was a busy work load.

Now they will be coming back, and their first order of business will be to do everything they can to not hold any hearings on President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

They have certainly earned the next pay raise they vote for themselves.

A jock explains his jockery

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I will be honest from the “git-go”.

I don’t like Scott Brown.

I watched how he slowly sank into a simpering jock who had to accept that he might not get what he wanted when he said he wanted it, and, rather than attack Elizabeth Warren on policy ideas, chose to call her names that he obviously felt encourage to use since Howie Carr used them.

The closer the election got the more tantrums he began throwing.

I also thought that he was getting progressively more desperate when he realized that once out of the adoring shell of high school, not everyone simply kowtowed to jocks.

That being said:

When former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros filed her sexual harassment lawsuit against the network and several senior executives, she described encounters with Scott Brown on the set of Outnumbered and in the company’s cafeteria that she said were part of a culture that tolerated sexual harassment.

The suit claims that Brown allegedly told Tantaros on set that she “would be fun to go to a nightclub with”, and later came up behind her in line for lunch and put his hands on her lower waist.

He is not a defendant in the lawsuit, but is only cited as an example of what went on because it was assumed to be acceptable, and not only did no one care, but some of the higher ups were guilty of the harassment themselves

“I was flabbergasted when I read it,” Brown said.

With what he claims were no fewer than 25 people on set at any given time, including producers, he stated that at no time did anyone raise any concerns. An odd defense since Tantoros’s suit says that such things were overlooked if not encouraged, and no one spoke against, or defended those who did speak against harassment..

“They’re not shy. If I did something inappropriate or wrong, they would immediately fire me. I’m not that important when it comes to the whole hierarchy at Fox News,” Brown said.

His other defense was that as an alleged victim of child abuse himself, he would never engage in it as a perpetrator.

“For somebody who’s a survivor of sexual abuse myself I take these issues in particular very, very seriously, so I would’ve never helped perpetuate an environment or a conversation or a situation as she’s alleging because of my own personal experiences,” Brown said.

Verbally demeaning treatment was obviously all right with him judging by comments he made about and to Elizabeth Warren.

Brown wrote in his autobiography that he had been abused by a summer camp counselor on Cape Cod as a 10-year-old.

Let me mention here that the first time his own alleged abuse was mentioned was when he wrote his autobiography.

I am aware of the trauma caused by child abuse and that victims are often silent, but it seems odd that the first time he mentioned it was in a book with which he intended to make money and garner votes for a political run. In the meantime, even in the Massachusetts legislature he took no previous actions to address a problem he wrote about, and when questioned on why he had said nothing until he could profit from it and did not do anything to address the problem, he pointed out that the perpetrator was dead and following up would have been useless, although establishing if the problem was systemic might have been helpful for other victims.

Brown is now working more than ever for Fox and has signed a new contributor contract that included a raise.

To him this is proof he had done nothing.

As far as having the opportunity to grope Tantorros, Brown explained,

“There’s no intermingling. There’s no yucking it up, that sort of thing. The last time I was in a club, a dance club, was 30 years ago.”

Wha?

Jeb Bush explains it all

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Back before the Republican National Convention, discussion about the Party Platform centered in many quarters around some of the most oppressive planks that made it the most anti-GLBT document ever.

It was an Evangelicals dream.

It opposed attempts to ban “conversion” therapy for minors, an unregulated procedure that could subject a minor to any number of quack therapies because “parents should be free to make medical decisions about their children without interference” which ignores that a biased religious figure could tell them that if they did not want their kid, or even themselves, to burn in the pits of hell for all eternity it had to be done. You see, that is not a form of interference when it comes to parenting.

Regarding marriage the platform held “Natural marriage between a man and a woman is most likely to result in offspring who do not become drug-addicted or otherwise damaged”, and calls for the reversal of the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality.

With its ever shrinking list of those against whom discrimination is acceptable, the platform turns on Transgender people by opposing transgender rights legislation.

It also calls for the support of “religious freedom” laws so as to permit anti-GLBT discrimination.

Being rational human beings, most people wondered where this obvious animus was coming from since it seems to be a little too severe.

Jeb Bush took it upon himself to explain the motivation for the platform back in July.

Not surprisingly, the answer came in one word, “Obama”.

He said:

 “As much as I reject Donald Trump as our party leader, he did not create the political culture of the United States on his own.

“Eight years of the divisive tactics of President Obama and his allies have undermined Americans’ faith in politics and government to accomplish anything constructive.

“The president has wielded his power — while often exceeding his authority — to punish his opponents, legislate from the White House and turn agency rulemaking into a weapon for liberal dogma.

“In turn, a few in the Republican Party responded by trying to out-polarize the president, making us seem anti-immigrant, anti-women, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker and anti-common-sense.

“Unfortunately, the understandable anger and fear haven’t given rise to a resurgence of purpose in politics or renewed a debate in our party about how Republicans win back the White House with the power of our ideas”.

There you have it.

If Gay people were no getting their rights as citizens acknowledged, no one would oppose them and want to treat them as second class citizens.

At last according to Jeb who was speaking for his party

Shameful

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Remember the cowboy hat wearing, plaid shirt sporting, gun toting Bundy Boy protesters who took over a Western public land reserve to show that they, as true patriots and anti-socialist Americans, should be able to use public land without having to pay for it while making a profit that would not be shared with the public whose land they used?

Remember how they vandalized the Park Service building and dug giant latrines and the roads to get to them, and in the process may have ruined animal habitats and the resting places of historic tribal artifacts while at the same time rummaging through artifacts claiming their doing so was their way of returning them to the tribes who were happy they were being carefully stored in a place that was safe until the Bundy crowd moved in?

Remember they claimed they would use weapons if necessary to defend those who were all in with this misguided protest that had as its aim their own benefit and not that of the American people?

Remember that this was the same crowd who had gathered at Cliven Bundy’s ranch to defend his right to use public land for free, and aimed their weapons at law-enforcement who were there to defend the rights of the American people who owned the land Bundy wanted to use for free, and are now the crowd who, in response to Black Lives matter, trumpet Blue Lives Matter while having no compunction about shooting at the Blue Lives if it suited their purposes, and in the Western park only left when one of them actually shot at one of the Blue lives and finally got arrested.

There was a very small number of people at the Bundy events making a lot of noise and getting a lot of attention for being selfish and a little stupid as they had forgotten that a long siege meant they would need supplies and were actually allowed to have some shipped in with the tacit blessing of the feds who did not stop them from doing it, and using Park Service vehicles to get their packages at the local U.S. Post Office.

These scofflaws were part of the 24 hour news cycle and omnipresent on the evening news. We watched their press conferences and self narrated videos, and their recordings of their destruction of public property.

They were somehow given legitimacy.

And then there’s this.

A Texas-based company, Energy Transfer Partners, is building the Dakota Access Pipeline which is a 1,170 mile long underground pipeline which will carry up to 570,000 barrels of fracked Bakken oil daily across four states to a market hub in Illinois. They claim it is a major step toward the United States weaning itself off foreign oil, bringing millions of dollars into local economies, and will be safer than trucks and train cars.

3,000 Native Americans, however, see it as a rape of the lands where generations of their ancestors hunted bison, gathered water, and were born and buried.

Unlike the publicity given the Bundy crowd, Native Americans have been gathering near Cannon Ball, North Dakota since April, and no media is covering the protest.

Also, unlike the Bundynista people where no arrests were made during their occupation while they had free access to public utilities, the local town, computers, and vehicles, more than 20 people have been arrested in North Dakota on charges including disorderly conduct and trespassing onto the construction site. The biggest offense has been throwing bottles and rocks at contractors’ vehicles.

Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier of Morton County, said that he had received reports of weapons and gunshots around the demonstration, but unlike at the Bundy protest where no actions had been taken even though the cowboys went no where without their guns,  this hear say reporting called for action.

Unlike the pictures of armed men aiming their guns at law officers at Cliven Bundy’s ranch, the Sheriff here is working on “reports” which could be coming from the construction company.

In contrast, leaders from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose reservation lies just south of the pipeline’s path, hold that the protests are peaceful, as weapons, drugs, and alcohol are prohibited from the protest camp.

Again, unlike the Bundy events.

As far as reports of pipe bombs being called for, demonstrators had been told to get out their spiritually important wooden Chanupa pipes, and pass them through the crowd.

Because the majority of the  pipeline runs along private land, but crosses bodies of water, federal rules come into play and federal approvals are required.

The tribe is concerned that since the pipeline will cross under the Missouri River it could threaten its water supplies if the pipeline leaks or breaks. There is also the concern that the United States Army Corps of Engineers had failed to do proper cultural and historical reviews.

Referring to a bit of cultural insensitivity, Phyllis Young, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux, explained,

“This is our homeland. We are Dakota. Dakota means friend or ally. Dakota Access has taken our name.”

CJ Clifford, a member of the Oglala Lakota, sees the protests as part of a historical continuum reaching back to Little Bighorn.

Environmental activists and other tribes from the Dakotas, the rest of the Great Plains, and the Pacific Northwest have been arriving to the camp to join in the protests.

Unlike the Bundy crowds, instead of destroying property and misusing public equipment, protesters sleep in tents and tepees, cook food in open-air kitchens, share stories and strategies around evening campfires, and have day care and daily meetings.

Part of the motivation for the protests is reclaiming a stake in ancestral lands reduced by broken treaties since the 1800s.

“Lands were constantly getting reduced, shaken up,” said Dave Archambault II, the tribal chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux. “I could give you a list of every wrongdoing this government did to our people. All of that is frustration pent up, and it’s being recognized.”

He added, “It’s a tipping point for our nations.”

Misinterpreting a Lakota gesture of introduction, sheriff’s officers retreated in the face of riders on horseback.

Because he feels the demonstration has become an “unlawful protest” and a “public safety risk”, Gov. Jack Dalrymple, declared a state of emergency last Friday.

Jon Eagle Sr., the historic preservation officer for the Standing Rock Sioux, has said,

 “They (the construction company) need to stay out. They don’t know where the burials are. They don’t know where the sacred sites are. I’m trying my best to keep the peace.”

The contrast is glaring.

Guys in cowboy hats carrying guns and destroying public property are left alone and become an every day news story with a touch of empathy added and somewhat encouraged by politicians and the media.

3,000 Native Americans are protesting the destruction of ancestral lands so that a private company can make a profit, and we hear nothing.

 

 

You are not being accused of anything

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Dear white people of which I am one.

When someone mentions white privilege our first response is to become defensive and explain that at no time did we ever expect or demand preferential treatment.

But this misses the point as no one is accusing us of actively seeking it, but is trying to point out that what we have considered the normal treatment that everyone receives is not actually that.

We are unaware of the disparity of treatment because, for the most part, we have not experienced it.

We are not guilty of any “crime”, as some people feel the accusation is claiming, but we are being asked to understand that our assumption is wrong.

Our experiences are not universal.

I assumed as a little Catholic kid, everyone ate fish on Fridays. Most of my neighbors were Catholic as well, so how would I have noticed, until the protestant family moved in, that this fish on Friday thing was not something for everyone.

Years ago I worked in California with a woman who initially impressed me because, judging by her age, she would have had to have married her Black husband back when a white woman marrying a Black man was just not done. However, I found out she was “Fourth Generation” and there was no interracial marriage.

She eventually told me that when she was in elementary school, and too young to analyze the world, she just assumed that her darker siblings were being treated like she was.

She was in good classes with good settings, went on a variety of field trips, and was allowed to participate in all school activities. She just assumed her siblings were not as smart as she was since they were in the slow classes with the worst educational environments for learning, and that it was because of their behavior that they were not allowed on field trips.

Like many kids, she had her own friends at school with whom she spent her time, but her siblings were not in the group. Her peers with whom she played at home knew who her brother and sisters were, but with her siblings in lower grades by a few years the adults at school apparently did not.

Her parents were always working, so they never attended school functions, and it was only when she registered at the high school that people saw how dark her parents and siblings were, and the questions began.

When it became known that she was as Black genetically as the rest of the family and not the little white girl that people thought she was, her experience in school changed, and she was placed in lower level classes, denied field trip participation, and certain extra-curricular activities were closed off to her.

She told me she had since had to deal with the guilt that she never saw that her siblings were not treated like her based only on the fact that they were obviously Black while she had been assumed to be White.

She had not sought the different treatment. It was simply given to her.

Being older and less innocent, she realized in high school that those things she assumed had been opportunities available to all hard working students were limited to only the white ones, and she lost it all when it was realized she was actually Black.

She had been experiencing white privilege from the privilege side.

And like her fellow students, at the time she was experiencing it, she was not aware of it. Her awareness came only with the loss.

People objected when February was named Black History Month because they felt attacked that we now had to hear about things Black people did. Although race hadn’t been pointed out previously, because most teachers were white, and pictures of people in textbooks who had done anything important were White, the logical assumption was that only White people had done things of importance. Blacks had just been slaves, and were poor people now.

Black History month in no way was to take anything away from White people, but to take the opportunity to set the record straight, and the list of Black people who had done things beyond finding a million things you could do with a peanut turned out to be quite long.

Taking Black Lives Matter as an example, the group got organized as a result of a number of questionable police shootings, and those closest to Black lives, and that would be Black people, wanted to make the point that their lives had worth, and did, in fact, matter. The first reaction was, “oh, so no one else’s life does?” even though no one said that. Yes, all lives do matter, so what is wrong with Black people making the point that theirs do?

I once walked into a store with a friend who happened to be Black. We separated since we were there to look at different things. I browsed undisturbed except for the employee who had to ask if I needed help, and after I said I didn’t, she walked way leaving me to browse undisturbed.

My friend was asked the same thing, but rather than walk away, the employee hovered around him close by making a poor attempt to seem not interested in him but in straightening out merchandise that was coincidentally near wherever he went.

The privilege in that instance was that I could shop undisturbed while he was shopping under supervision.

He, by the way, was intending to spend more money than I was.

David Becker, 18, a former Massachusetts high school athlete, had been charged with two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault and battery for sexually assaulting two unconscious women at a party but he won’t be serving jail time or registering as a sex offender.

Instead, his case will continue without a finding for two years with two years of probation. That means that in two years if he commits no crime, the charge just disappears without a trace.

Unlike others on probation who have to stay in the state where the offense occurred, he will be serving his probation in Ohio, where he plans to attend college.

His attorney has stated,

“He can now look forward to a productive life without being burdened with the stigma of having to register as a sex offender. The goal of this sentence was not to impede this individual from graduating high school and to go onto the next step of his life, which is a college experience.”

I should mention that, although Becker denied sexual contact with one victim he believed his actions with the other drunk woman had been acceptable because she didn’t stop him.

His attorney also said,

“We all made mistakes when we were 17, 18, 19 years old, and we shouldn’t be branded for life with a felony offense and branded a sex offender. Putting this kid in jail for two years would have destroyed this kid’s life.”

Remember Brock Turner, the 20-year-old former star swimmer at Stanford University?

He was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman outside a party in January 2015, and only got a six-month sentence with the possibility of three months off for good behavior.

Contrast that with Brian Banks, a promising high school football player who had committed to play at college. He too fell into the category of those who “all made mistakes when we were 17, 18, 19 years old, and we shouldn’t be branded for life with a felony offense and branded a sex offender”, except he had made no mistake.

But, at 16 years old he was accused of rape and tried as an adult, was sent to juvenile hall for a year before his case came up, received six years from the judge, and served time with hardened criminals twice his age.

While Turner and Becker, both White, were caught in the act and could not deny their actions, Banks, who is Black, was convicted based on the testimony of his alleged victim who recanted her story after he had already served  five years and two months in prison and five years of high custody parole.

The explanation that Turner and Becker had no criminal history, which played into the courts’ decisions, falls flat when the fact is neither did Banks.

While Becker could “go onto the next step of his life, which is a college experience”, Banks lost a college scholarship.

A number of years ago a group of us were headed to a teacher union meeting in Downtown Los Angeles.

I had learned early in my time in L.A. that when getting pulled over for an alleged traffic violation you waited for the officer to tell you to exit the vehicle, walked to the front of the car, and assumed the position with your hands on the hood and legs spread.

On this occasion things went a little differently.

Our driver was a well respected Black man who had been teaching and coaching for a number of years as well as working within his community to help keep kids off the street. We got pulled over going through an upscale neighborhood, and when he was directed to exit the vehicle by an officer whose gun was drawn, he went to the back of the car, put his hands behind his head with his fingers interlocked, and knelt on the ground.  The other passengers sat quietly looking straight ahead, and I was directed by one of them to do so as well as I was very obviously turning and watching what was happening.

I heard this large, athletically built Black man constantly say the word “Sir”, and noticed many questions were unrelated to the alleged traffic violation, but to him personally.

Eventually he was told to return to the car while the officer closest to him followed at a respectable distance, and the one on the other side of the car kept parallel to him, and it was only when he was back behind the wheel with his hands on it that they re-holstered their guns.

I was informed later by one of the teachers in the car with me that that is how Black people are pulled over while White people followed the procedure I had.

Having lived in and near a big enough city that had neighborhoods divided according to cultures, often because of the practicality of people arriving from other countries over the years and settling in neighborhoods whose character was familiar to them and staying there for many generations that followed, I have noted that those most offended by the term White Privilege are those who live in areas with little diversity, or are of an age where they may have had little intermingling with people least like themselves as they grew up, and, so, may not have had the opportunity to see that their experiences are not the same as so many others.

So, again, the term White privilege is not an allegation of conscious wrongdoing, but is just an attempt to have people of a particular group look outside themselves and see the differences of treatment experienced by those outside themselves, especially those groups that have not been historically the majority or in power.

And since that group is most likely White, it is not inconceivable that over time they modeled their spheres of influence on what was good for them, assuming it is good for everyone, without being in a position to notice differences of treatment within that system.

And so, my fellow White people, instead of instantly going on the defensive, look around and see what the term means, and you might be quite surprised that it has some validity, and you may become a little more conscious of how others are treated, and may, if you are a reasonable person, see the need for appropriate change.

 

Sincerely,

A White Guy