Monday, October 31, 2016

Trump, The Evangelical Right, And My Light Bulb Moment.

I always wondered why conservative Christians were so behind Trump. I've asked for months why this was the case, especially considering that Trump is the antithesis of the FAMILY VALUES that the Evangelical Right demands of its leadership. Conservatives gave the answer, but just now, I started putting the pieces together.
Conservatives responded that their acceptance of Trump was because they were electing a Commander-In-Chief, and not a Theologian-In-Chief. They were electing a President of the U.S., and not a Sunday School teacher. So, what was it that made Trump different than every FAMILY VALUES stump speech given at every conservative event from CPAC to Wisconsin's State Fair to every Republican Convention, ESPECIALLY in the wake of Bill Clinton's presidency?
Then a name hit me like a ton of bricks, and it all made sense. GROVER NORQUIST. You remember him, right? The unelected guy that MUST know where the bodies are buried, because he had Republican candidates for high office sign his "pledge"? He described the REAL reason that conservatives are embracing a thrice-married, twice-divorced man whose previous marriages ended in adultery. The real reason why they're accepting a man who did an introduction to a softcore porn video. The real reason why they continue to embrace a man who bragged about sexual abuse, called his daughter a nice piece of [REDACTED], a man who bragged about walking into the dressing room of his beauty pageant contestants to ogle at the (sometimes teenaged) naked bodies, and a man who praised foreign dictators.
Grover Norquist once said this:
All we have to do is replace Obama. ... We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don't need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. ... We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don't need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.
And there it is.
To the evangelical Christian conservatives that support Trump, they're not supporting him because of his genius, or even his business acumen. To them, a President Trump is a means to an end. Everything that the conservatives want will come through a candidate who, by all accounts, wants to look at the Presidency as a figurehead position ANYWAY, leaving the real heavy lifting to his "true believing" conservative running mate, Gov. Mike Pence.
The conservative base may look at Trump as the solution to their problems, because he and he alone can fix them. But to the power-brokers supporting him, including the Evangelical conservatives, Trump is nothing more than a useful idiot. All they would need to do is put a pen and a law in Trump's hand, and Trump will sign it.
So what does this mean? Two things:
1) It forever exposes the hypocrisy of the Evangelical Right's "Family Values" platform, as they put their support behind an almost literal Golden Calf and idolizer of his own name. Just about everything Trump stands for (especially in his personal life) runs contradictory to the teachings of Jesus. Trump brags about his wealth, and he only defines how "good" people are in terms of how it benefits HIM. Trump has said that he doesn't really see the need for repentance. And don't get me started on the "Two Corinthians" thing.
2) Now that I have the answer to this question, it doesn't matter how conservatives convince themselves that Trump is "a newborn Christian", or claim that he can be baptized on national TV to convince people of his faith.
The Evangelical Right was looking for a useful idiot.
And in Donald Trump, they found him.
Vote accordingly.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Treat Yo' Self. A Paradigm Shift.

It's not often that I treat myself.  And normally, when I do, it's to something like a movie or a big restaurant breakfast.

"Hey Big Spender..."
But I rarely, if ever, go BIG in terms of treating myself.

Until now.

Last month, I pulled the trigger on one of my bigger "Treat Yo' Self" moments, when I booked a cruise (to the BAHAMAS) for myself and friends.  It would not have been something that I would normally do for myself.  And once I pulled the trigger, it felt good.  It felt REALLY good.

Then it hit me.  I rarely treat myself because I'm always thinking about what type of unexpected emergencies or "priorities" that I need to take care of.  "I can't go here, because something might happen to my truck."  Or, "I can't do that thing, because I need to squirrel money away in case my computer dies."  And it occurred to me that no matter what, things will happen.

My old PC died unexpectedly.

My truck needed repairs.

By God's grace, I was able to take care of those things, but I still wasn't treating myself.

Planning this cruise caused me to shift my thinking.

My truck would need repairs, whether I went on vacation or not.  My PC would have died whether I traveled or not.  So instead of sitting around, watching everyone's adventures from a ringside seat (tip of the hat to the person that talked about this to me today), I'm getting in the ring.

I'm actually planning my cruise with some friends.  And sure enough, my truck needed some more repairs.  I took care of that and STILL kept positive about my plans.  Oddly enough, had my truck's repairs came about prior to planning this cruise, it would have steered me into a ditch.

The last time I took a real, honest-to-goodness, bonafide vacation was several years ago, when I spent a glorious week in sunny California.

Part of my vacation included Jules Winfield explaining the Bonnie Situation.
Things are going to happen.  Things may break, or emergencies may pop up.  But none of that prevents anyone from enjoying and living their lives to the fullest.  This will happen if I plan a cruise, watch my woefully neglected Netflix queue, or take a nap.  My pastor even spoke about the importance of getting away for a bit, even if it's for a drive across state lines for a few hours.

Now that I know that the world won't collapse upon itself if and when I plan something, I plan on doing this more often.  It may be a matter of baby steps, but I do plan on doing things like this more often.

...because if I don't, who will?


Saturday, September 3, 2016

How To Get Black People To Objectively And Critically Analyze The Democratic Party (Pro-Tip: Not Like This)

A friend of mine suggested to a Facebook group I'm in that we watch the video.  The video begins with Quannell X.  Quannell X is an "activist" that I was done with years ago, after watching him and Guardian Angels head Curtis Sliwa go head to head, and eventually making, of all things, Sean Hannity look like the voice of reason.  That's an almost unpardonable sin.  But, despite my own misgivings about Quannell, I powered through the video.  

The video is an attempt to get Black people to take a critical look at the Democratic Party, and to stop with the undying loyalty that Black people have towards the Democrats.  As an attempt to get Black people to look beyond the Democratic Party or consider the Republicans, this video fails.  And here's why.  I posted the following comments in the group.  And since I believe that sharing is caring, here are my comments for everybody.

The Quannell X segment was just half of the video. The other half featured the creator of the video attempting to make the case about Black people and loyalty to the Democratic Party. 

Unfortunately, his attempt fell short. For example, as I said earlier, he invoked "Democrat Plantation." Personally, that's a term that I can't stand, and yes, I coined the term "Pet Negro Apologist." But Black conservatives throw out the "Democrat Plantation" term to prove that THEY'VE escaped the "plantation" and left everyone else behind. And the people who invoke that term usually (and almost to a fault) ignore the racism that oozes and seeps from every pore of the current GOP.

Next, the Civil Rights leader says that while Trump is only "rumored" to be connected with the Klan, Hillary Clinton has legitimate ties. And as I mentioned before, the proof is the standard "ROBERT KKK BYRD" card. It doesn't work when it comes from Sean Hannity, and it doesn't work when Black people play that card. And whenever I talk to people and they play that card, I simply ask them why current white supremacists, like David Duke, Breitbart (the civil rights leader completely dismissed Breitbart's white supremacist ties, even though Bannon himself said that they're basically an alt-right clearing house) and others are flocking behind Trump and saying that he speaks THEIR language.

The Civil Rights leader then goes on to list the Republican accomplishments for Black people. He starts with the 13th and 14th Amendments, and ends with Civil Rights legislation. He, like everyone else, completely ignored the Southern Strategy and the ideological switch that took place between both parties.

Which brings us to where we are now. 

Does the Democratic Party take the Black vote for granted? Yes. Oui. Si. Are *SOME* of us loyal? Absolutely, to a fault. That loyalty is what wound up killing Clinton's 2008 run, because she took it for granted that Bill Clinton's Black Community "goodwill" would be automatically conferred upon her. When Bill showed his behind after the South Carolina primary, Hillary got her wake up call. But she was in the midst of a horrible campaign ran by (until now) the worst campaign manager in modern history, Mark Penn. No one forgets how she was in a Black church talkin' about how she "don't feel no ways tah'rd."

No one forgets how her Black surrogates at the time were her unofficial attack dogs, from Bob Johnson floating balloons about then-Senator Obama's drug use to John Lewis saying that Obama should wait his turn, to Jesse Jackson forever cutting himself off from the Obama Administration when he said, on Fox News, on a hot mic, that he wanted to "cut Obama's nuts off."

Where was I? Oh yeah. Today.

Is Hillary Clinton the perfect candidate? Not to me. Elizabeth Warren and Senator Sanders were my 1A and 1B choices. But when it comes to things that I support, like the restoration of the Voting Rights Act, the reversal of Citizens United (interesting that the HEAD of Citizens United is now an active part of the Trump campaign), support for unions, support for a living wage, an expansion of Obamacare into something like single-payer, a President Hillary Clinton is more likely to accomplish that. 

Doesn't mean that she will... after all, President Obama campaigned on universal health care, but wound up with the CONSERVATIVE compromise of the ACA. And President Obama has fallen short on several progressive issues. 

But dang it, I go rambling again. This is almost like my blog post. ANYWAY... 

(ed. note:  It is now a blog post... heh...)

YES, as informed Black voters, we have to hold the Democratic Party that we (those of us that vote Democratic) accountable. The accountability works up and down the ticket, at EVERY ELECTION. 

If Republicans want to woo Black voters, they have GOT to do better than the surrogates that they send out now. They have GOT to stop it with the "Black plantation" remarks, and assume that a light bulb will go off and they'll automatically switch parties. And while the Democrats aren't perfect regarding race, they are MILES ahead of the GOP. The GOP had a chance to nip the bigotry of their party in the bud with Michael Steele as head of the RNC. But when push came to shove, Steele kissed the ring of Boss Limbaugh and was nothing more than a figurehead. He was ousted and replaced with useless tub of goo Reince Priebus.

THIS is who the GOP/Donald Trump is sending out.  For God's sake, NO. 

Locally, the Republican platform stands for everything that I'm against, including things like "right to work" and the belief that tax cuts for big businesses will trickle down to the electorate. I'm against the privatization of essential government services. I'm a Christian, but I'm against my faith being used as a cudgel against anyone who doesn't pray and worship the way I pray and worship. And more often than not, the so-called Party of Family Values is nothing more than the Party of Rank Hypocrisy and Deflection.

Yes, we need to hold our elected officials accountable. And yes, changes need to be made. But as I said earlier, the changes that are needed are best implemented at the local level, and not attempted every four years. 

I've been doing a little research on Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, and they're not much better. Despite Stein being an MD, she has cozied up to anti-vaxxers and has said some goofy things about wi-fi being dangerous. Anyone who is in favor of civil rights legislation, voting rights legislation, government agencies that protect the public, etc should be against the Libertarian party. Their solution is to leave everything alone and let the market figure it out. So, if the EpiPen obscene price hike offends you, and companies polluting water, and fracking offends you, and if openly-racist businesses and establishments offend you (separate-but-equal, anyone?), then the Libertarian Party isn't for you.

Completely dismissing the Tea Potty behavior, the casual and blatant racism from the party, and history is not an objective analysis as to why Black people should join the Republicans. If they want to start wooing Black people, they can actually FOLLOW the things listed in their GOP Autopsy.

Until then, I welcome the upcoming Republican Extinction Level Event and hopes that the party as it stands now gets wiped off the face of the earth. The survivors will have no choice but to reevaluate themselves or die from the fallout.

Additional Note:  My friend who runs the Primarily Politics Facebook Page covered Republican Outreach in a three-part video series.  Do yourself a favor and check them out.  He covers a lot of things that I mentioned here.

Part 1:  Say No To The Democrat Plantation

Part 2:  Stop Attacking The President

Part 3:  Don't Ever Send Black Republicans To Recruit Black People

Monday, August 15, 2016

We Need A Republican Extinction Level Event.

Look, I am all for the utter destruction of the Republican Party as it stands now.  Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump represents a GOP Extinction Level Event, similar to the cataclysm that wiped out the dinosaurs.

"I see markings on the side... T... R...U..."

In the wake of Frankenstein’s Monster wreaking havoc all over the GOP village, some high-profile Republicans have taken to endorsing Hillary Clinton for President.  Each Republican has had his or her tipping point, from the criticism of Khizr Khan to thinly-veiled assassination threats …er, 2nd Amendment Remedies to “save” the country from a mass gun confiscation under a Clinton Administration.  Maybe the new President Clinton can store the confiscated guns in the same room where President Obama stored guns during his administration:

But why let facts get in the way of a good screed?

One of the biggest defections that made a social media splash was the open letter from the Harvard Republican Club. They cited concerns about Trump from a policy and temperament perspective.  They cited his divisive campaign rhetoric and said that he is “poisoning (the) country and our children.”  They even went on to say that he is an existential “threat to the survival of the Republic.”

Between this and other high-profile defections, including a letter from dozens of Republicans asking for Reince Priebus to defund Trump, and 50 former GOP security officials penning an open letter (insert hyperlink), it would appear that the GOP is a done deal.  But not so fast.

Not only must Donald Trump be stopped, but the Republican Party as we know it must be relegated to the dustbin of history.  The common (and problematic) theme with these defections is the belief that Donald Trump is some sort of anomaly, or that he came out of nowhere.  Nothing could be further from the Truth.  Donald Trump DID NOT HAPPEN IN A VACUUM.  He is the living embodiment of every Tea Potty-er talking about taking their country back.  Trump legitimized the Birther Movement.  Former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney kissed Trump’s ring.  Everything the Republicans have been doing, ESPECIALLY since 2008, has led to the creation and rise of Donald Trump, Republican Presidential Nominee.  Every racist joke and meme, every comment about taking the country back (by force if necessary), every utterance by weapons-grade moron Sarah Palin, every comment about President Obama being "exotic", "other", or "uppity", every right-wing evangelical praying that Michelle Obama become a widow and the Obama children become fatherless, it was all part of a toxic, hate-filled stew.  That stew became sentient in the form of Donald Trump.

In 2012, the GOP created a report known informally as their GOP Autopsy.  They wanted to be introspective and look at what went wrong in the wake of their defeat in 2012.  The purpose of this autopsy was to consider ideas like the acceptance of minorities, immigration reform, and expanding their so-called “Big Tent.”  Then, Trump happened, and the Republican base basically said “F THE AUTOPSY, WHITE SUPREMACY FOR THE WIN.”  But again, this did not happen in a vacuum.  Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, John McCain, and other Republicans claim to be repulsed by Trump, but have not withdrawn their endorsements.  This is despite Trump insulting McCain as a POW, and Ryan went so far as to denounce Trump's comments as "racist."  

The GOP hasn’t learned their lessons from their autopsy.  This paragraph from the Harvard Republicans confirms it.

This fall, we will instead focus our efforts on reclaiming the Republican Party from those who have done it considerable harm, campaigning for candidates who will uphold the conservative principles that have defined the Republican Party for generations. We will work to ensure both chambers of Congress remain in Republican hands, continuing to protect against executive overreach regardless of who wins the election this November.

Donald Trump holds views that are antithetical to our values not only as Republicans, but as Americans.

We call on our party's elected leaders to renounce their support of Donald Trump, and urge our fellow College Republicans to join us in condemning and withholding their endorsement from this dangerous man. The conservative movement in America should not and will not go quietly into the night.

They are planning on preserving the same down-ballot party members that created the cesspool known as today’s Republican Party.  They are hoping that, at BEST, Trump will be soundly defeated for the Presidency, but the conservatives can preserve the House and the Senate (and subsequently, the Supreme Court), and then continue the obstruction, with the goal of making Secretary Clinton a one-term President.  This is why they must be defeated up and down the ballot.  Donald Trump is the standard-bearer, and everyone with an (R) attached to his or her name must suffer the electoral consequences.

Why?  Because if the entire Republican Party isn’t obliterated, what will happen is that someone else will fill the void.  And that person will be just as vile as Trump, but more politically polished and seasoned.  What we’ll get is someone who is a perverse hybrid of Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, and David Duke.  The only way to prevent that is to send the message that the era of the Republican Party of today is OVER.  Anything less than total obliteration gives them leave to try again.  And again.  And again.

They didn’t learn the easy way, now it’s time for the party to learn the hard way. Just as meteors wiped out the dinosaurs, we are in a position to wipe out the Republican Party as we know it.  It's up to us to push the button on Election Day that signals the Apocalypse, the Republican Extinction Level Event.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Blue Lives Have Never NOT Mattered.

First things first.

Being a police officer is a dangerous, and often thankless job.  They are charged with running towards the danger, while everyone else runs away.  Good police officers put their lives on the line whenever they're on the street, and in many cases, a traffic stop can lead to horrific results.

But recently, especially in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and people demanding accountability for bad (emphasis on BAD, I can't emphasize "BAD" enough) cops, police officers and their defenders have responded with Blue Lives Matter.  This counter-movement gives the appearance that law enforcement officials en masse are under attack, and that their lives don't matter, and that they are being victimized by Black Lives Matter activists and other ne'er do wells.

But here is the truth of the matter.  Even if we look beyond the face value of what "Blue Lives Matter" means (a career choice as opposed to a skin color), "Blue Lives" have ALWAYS mattered.  Yes, police are held to a higher standard, and one of their own is taken out, it is indeed a tragedy.  No one (reasonable) is saying that it was a good thing that this happened.  The best way to prove that Blue Lives have always mattered, look at the response when even a single police officer is shot or otherwise killed.

When a police officer gets shot, here's what's NOT going to happen:

* Media outlets diving into the officer's history, to see if his background justified him getting shot.
* Law enforcement officials protecting the identity of the shooter.
* A community circling the wagons around the shooter.
* A prosecution team that will poison the well so that an indictment won't be handed down.
* People almost everywhere blaming the cop for his getting shot.
* An investigation that moves at a snail's pace.
* Alternately, a quickie investigation that only serves to fit a pre-prepared narrative.
* A look into what really happened ONLY after compelling, air tight video of the shooting is released.
* The shooting victim's treatment as "oh well, stuff happens."
* Video footage of the shooting victim's demise, dominating the news cycle and being aired repeatedly.
* Picture after picture of the police officer's bloodied and bullet-ridden body flooding social media.

You see, when a police officer is killed, people will pursue the shooter to the very gates of Hell until the officer's family sees justice.  Blue Lives have always mattered.

Wait.  Scratch that.  There is ONE exception to the rule that Blue Lives have always mattered.  And that exception?

When police retaliate against one of their own for daring to cross the Thin Blue Line, then, suddenly, Blue Lives don't matter as much.  It was demonstrated in the case of NYPD detective Frank Serpico, who became a whisteblower against corruption in the New York Police Department.  Side note, I should check out the movie based on his life.

Then there's this (and this is only the tip of the iceberg):

All of these law enforcement officials were trying to do the right thing, and they faced retaliation from their peers and superiors.  Recently, police officers have been shot, and the narrative (of course) is that these shootings are the result of Black Lives Matter activists.  Rushes to judgment are made, suspects are incorrectly identified, and mayhem ensues.  The fact of the matter is that there is a chasm of mistrust between law enforcement and the people that they have been sworn to protect.  We have heard talk about training police officers, and saw videos about how to respond when pulled over by the police, but very few people are addressing one key component.

If you want to rebuild trust between the police and the community, you MUST tear down the Blue Wall of Silence and allow the good police officers to cross the Thin Blue Line to weed out the worst in their ranks.  They should be able to do so without fear of retaliation from their peers or superiors.  A good cop shouldn't have to worry about a call for backup or assistance suddenly going unanswered, or "delayed."

"But Ty", I hear you saying, because frankly, you ask too many questions, "...police overall are good, and the good ones shouldn't be lumped in with the bad ones."

And that is true.  And unfortunately, it's a luxury that isn't extended to groups like "Black Lives Matter."  Whenever someone in a Black Lives Matter rally/march/protest says or does something stupid, the entire movement is blamed.  The entire cause is denigrated because of the actions of some outliers, who may be more interested in being opportunistic slugs than being agents of change.

Imagine if that logic were extended to the Men and Women in Blue:
  • Under the power and authority of his badge, Daniel Holtzclaw raped women he knew couldn't fight back.
  • Under the power and authority of his badge, Joe Gliniewicz stole from youth police organizations and planned to murder those investigating him.
  • Under the power and authority of his badge, Jason Van Dyke emptied his weapon into the body of Laquan McDonald, and lied about the encounter.
  • Under the power and authority of his badge, Jon Burge led a campaign of systematic torture that led to scores of individuals confessing to crimes they did not commit.
  • Police officer Anthony Abbate tried to hide behind the Blue Wall of Silence, which attempted to protect him, after he savagely and brutally attacked a female bartender.
  • And then there's this:


Do any of these law enforcement abominations prevent anyone from supporting something like "Blue Lives Matter"?

If not, then why let outliers within the Black Lives Matter movement shape your perspective of the movement and its purpose as a whole?  Privilege doesn't allow for the "lone wolf" scenario to be extended to anyone who isn't white, male, and Christian.

Blue Lives have always mattered, and it does a grave injustice to everyone involved to pretend that it doesn't especially when this rallying cry is used to undermine legitimate aims to call for accountability and equal protection under the law in regards to police officers.  We need everyone, from the President of the United States on down, to demand that police officers who violate the public trust are immediately fired and prosecuted.  And when they are sued, put their pensions and salaries on the line.  Let them put some financial skin in the game, and watch complaints plummet.

Encourage police officers to cross the Thin Blue Line.  Smash the Blue Wall of Silence.  Stop rushing to judgment and accepting the "official" police narrative until the investigations are complete.  Hold the bad officers accountable immediately.

These are several ways to rebuild the broken trust that exists between police and citizens.  And these things must be done YESTERDAY.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Vice-President Elizabeth Warren? Not So Fast

Madame Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton Von DemocraticParty is the presumptive Democratic nominee for the Presidency of the United States.  Senator Bernie Sanders is out of contention, but has not conceded yet.  But Sanders has expressed that he will vote for Clinton.  We are now at the state where we get to speculate on the Vice-Presidential picks.  

One name has been coming up, time after time.

Progressive firebrand Senator Elizabeth Warren.

"Hm.  How many more ways can I get under Donald Trump's skin?"
I love Senator Warren.  She has been bringing the pain on progressive issues for a little while now.  She has been very vocal about such issues as reining in the payday loan industry.  Recently, she has been taking the fight straight to Republican nominee and ignorant f&%*muppet Donald Trump (thanks, Scots, for the beautifully obscene insults).  She has been consistent and relentless, and as Ice T put it back in 1987, Warren is "like a pit bull lockin' on a doberman's neck."

Senator Warren had a recent joint campaign event with Hillary Clinton, and continued to stick her thumb into Trump's eye.  And the bloviating fleshbag and clueless numpty's only response was to call Sen. Warren "Goofy Elizabeth" and "Pocahontas."  Warren has demonstrated that she runs circles around Trump by doing this:  POCAHONTAS.  <--- go ahead.  Click on the link.  Sheer genius.

Does that mean that she would make a great Vice President?  She's obviously a great surrogate.  And personally, I think that Hillary Clinton should be thanking sweet baby Jesus that Warren did not make a run for the Presidency.  She would have given Hillary more fits than then-Senator Obama did.  But she didn't, a slue of others including Bernie Sanders did, and now here we are.  But let's discuss Senator Warren as a Vice-Presidential candidate.


It's not due to qualifications, as she is imminently qualified.  Elizabeth Warren should not be Secretary Clinton's running mate for the following reasons.

If Senator Warren becomes Vice President, that creates a vacancy in the Senate.  If we have learned nothing over the last eight years, we should have learned that a sitting President needs all the support in Congress he/she can get.  We have been dealing with partisan obstructionism for most of the past 8 years.  There are no guarantees in politics, including the type of Senator that would replace Vice-President Warren.  This segment from this ThinkProgress article pretty much sums it up.

// Massachusetts currently has a Republican governor, who would be able to name a temporary replacement to fill Warren’s senate seat if the Massachusetts lawmaker became vice president. And, even though this seat would eventually be filled by the winner of a special election, there’s no certainty that Massachusetts voters will choose another Democrat to fill Warren’s seat. Just ask former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA). //
As crucial as this election is, and considering everything that's at state, we can't afford to have a Republican fill a seat vacated by Warren, no matter how temporary.  And as the segment lays out, there's no guarantee that a special election would seat a progressive.  After all, the late Liberal Lion of the Senate was replaced by Scott Brown.

One of the things that makes a good Vice-President is the ability to be a good soldier.  No one has proved that point better than President Obama's own personal enforcer, Vice President Joe Biden.

Throughout President Obama's two terms, Joe Biden has been loyal to a fault.  And like the best lieutenants, he did not outshine the man in charge.  Even with his so-called gaffes, he did not draw attention away from the President or steal the President's spotlight.  

Which brings us to Senator Warren.  As much of a surrogate that she is for Secretary Clinton, does this mean that she will take a back seat to President Clinton?  Hillary Clinton needs someone who wouldn't overshadow her, and Senator Warren's current status as a progressive firebrand could run the risk of stealing the spotlight from the always-pragmatic Clinton.  Whoever Clinton picks, it will be someone that won't have the crowd thinking "Why didn't THIS person win?"  And the LAST thing that she needs to pick is someone who will run the country from behind the dark curtain.

Yeah... "Vice" President... yeah, right.
I have a theory that President Obama governed as a center-right Republican and got a pass.  And to quote the great philosopher Herman Cain, I don't have the facts to back that up.  But I believe that overall, we were so focused on the obstruction that President Obama faced, and getting what seemed to be the most basic things done, that we didn't hold him accountable enough for such things as support for the TransPacific Partnership and not bringing criminal charges to the bankers and hedge fund managers that collapsed the economy.

Now, we are in a position to keep the White House Democratic, and we may be in a position to take back the Senate and the House of Representatives, and reshape the United States Supreme Court.  So, we will need to make sure that President Clinton has all of the Congressional support she needs, to pass her legislative ideas.

But remember, as much as Clinton campaigned about being a progressive, she's pretty much as center-right as President Obama is, and even moreso on issues such as national security.  We have to make sure that President Clinton is fulfilling her promises, and not giving away the store to Wall Street.  This is why Senator Warren is still needed in the Senate.  Senator Bernie Sanders has done a great job of pushing Secretary Clinton to the left on a lot of campaign issues, including things like a living wage.  Senators like Warren, Sanders, and others more to her ideological left will (hopefully) assure that Clinton's pendulum won't swing more towards the right.

This is probably the biggest reason why I don't feel that Warren should be Clinton's VP.  As mentioned earlier, Senator Warren is becoming a progressive firebrand, with the gravitas to be taken seriously and not dismissed as a loon.  A Vice-President Warren can't call out President Clinton if Clinton decides that fracking is cool, or that payday loan institutions have no pals in the White House.  A Warren Vice-Presidency pretty much silences Warren, and relegates her to the role of Clinton's lieutenant, Clinton's second-in-command.  

Senator Warren needs to continue to bring the pain from the Senate floor.  And there are plenty of other qualified people who will gladly fulfill the role of Clinton's Good Lieutenant.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Inside The GOP Convention... A S.A.L.T. Exclusive

Through the magic of time travel, I was able to view the last day of the GOP Convention, and I am here to tell you how it all unfolded.  Buckle up, kids.


Ted Nugent and Scott Baio just finished their rendition of the National Anthem.

Oh Say Can You Gun, by the gun's early gun... 
Chachi was in rare form, blaming President Obama for the fact that crescent rolls aren't called "Big C bread", and the audience applauded with glee.  Shouts of "USA, USA" rose from the audience, and the White Aryan Resistance and members of the Ku Klux Klan embraced each other in this new spirit of renewed brotherhood.  They exchanged cross-burning techniques and figured out the best angle in which to give the Hitler salute.

She's baking KKKookies and bringing milk.  WHITE milk, of course.

Everyone is stoked.  They know that today is the day that they will pick their new Supreme Leader, who will finally fulfill the promise of making that pesky Barack Obama a one-term President.

Suddenly, all the lights go out.

The crowd gasps with anticipation.

A single spotlight shines on the stage, and it follows a lone tricycle to the center of the stage.

The crowd starts to go wild!  They can't possibly figure out what's going on, but they figure that it's something that will completely destroy the liberal media.

"Maybe it's like when that Clint Eastwood feller talked to that empty stool!  YEE HAW!!! I gits it!  Oblammo is the empty tricycle!"
The spotlight on the tricycle remains, and the house lights flicker.  A buzz and crackle of static emanates through the sound system.  The static clears, and this song begins playing.

While this song is playing, the giant ReaganTron6000 monitors flicker between a series of test patterns, static, and random error messages.  Then, this image appears on the screen:

Most of the crowd think that this is yet another mockery of President Obama, and the clap and yelp like rabid hyenas on bath salts.  The yelping dies down as some Republicans begin to recognize that face, and connect it to the tricycle and the music.  The excited and victorious atmosphere is now transformed to an atmosphere of terror.  At that moment, the "keynote speech" begins.

"Hello, Republicans.  You have been misleading the populace with the trickle-down prophecies of St. Ronald of Reagan, and you have been demonizing poor people, minorities, and anyone who isn't a white, Christian male for decades.  With the election of President Barack Hussein Obama in 2008, you turned dog-whistle rhetoric into full-blown, uncompromising bigotry.

"You formed a cabal to block every initiative that this President offers, promising to make him a one-term President on the day of his inauguration.  You gave voice to, and legitimized, a weapons-grade moron in the form of Sarah Palin.  In 2010, you took advantage of voter disaffection and ushered in a wave of do-nothing politicians in the form of the Tea Potty Party.  The rise of the Tea Party gave political birth to the likes of Ted Cruz, Joni Ernst, Tom Cotton, Mark Kirk, and other people who aren't qualified to write bylaws for a game of tag, let alone write laws for the United States.  You have stepped into the abyss willingly and gleefully.

"In 2012, you had a chance to redeem yourself, and to prove that you were not clinically insane.  But you rejected relative moderate John Huntsman as your party's candidate for the Presidency, and went with billionaire vulture capitalist Mitt Romney,  Romney, of course, was defeated handily.

"Your party's members have been disrespectful to the President, even yelling 'You lie' during a State of the Union address.  You have descended into the mouth of madness when you convinced yourself that the President is a Kenyan-born socialist Muslim communist anti-American, exotic 'other.'  The National Rifle Association has convinced you that this 'usurper' is coming for your guns, causing you to panic and buy every gun in stock.  The NRA, the gun manufacturers, and the hedge fund mangers that invest in them are laughing at you, all the way to the bank.

"You made your choice this year when you selected a leader of the Birther movement to be the standard-bearer for your party.  You allowed Donald Trump to ascend from reality TV show host to the presumptive Republican nominee.  And Mr. Trump, rather than tone down incendiary rhetoric to move towards the 'center' of political discourse, continued to wallow in racism, bigotry conspiracy theories, and vicious innuendo that would make TMZ blush with pride.  Your candidate has revoked press privileges for any media outlet that has not kissed his ring.  Reporters are finally beginning to hold Mr. Trump to task for his comments about President Obama having allowed a madman to murder 49 people and injure dozens more in this country's latest mass shooting.

"Now, you must make one more choice.  Choose Donald Trump as the nominee, and you seal your party's fate as that of racists, bigots, the hateful, and the ignorant.  Every down-ballot candidate in your party will be connected to the nominee.

"Choose another person to be the nominee, and you will create chaos from the rabid, violent mouthbreathers that Donald Trump has encouraged throughout the campaign.  Your party will be splintered into tiny racist shards, unable to reassemble and take the White House.

"But understand this, Republicans and your delegates.  No matter which option you choose, the end result for the Republican Party will be...

** Jigsaw removes his mask, and the true terrifying mastermind reveals himself **


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Attention, Protesters: Stay Away From The RNC Convention!

This is Donald J. Trump.

"The mushroom clouds and apocalypse are gonna be YOOOOJ!"

He is the presumptive Republican nominee for the Presidency of the United States.  Later, we can discuss how we got here.  But for now, let's focus on the near future.  And the near future is the upcoming Republican National Committee Convention.  This is the huge event where they officially nominate the candidate as their party's standard bearer.

Now, Trump campaign rallies have been rife with violence against protesters, so much so that a video superimposed Trump encouraging violence against protesters with footage of civil rights protesters being beaten and attacked by the police, and the result is truly horrifying and terribly accurate.  Yes, we've been here before, and this is the America that Trump wants to take us back to.

I'm hoping that the protesters stay away from the RNC convention this year.  Not because they may be subject to assault by Trump staffers, and harassed and attacked by Trump supporters.


Protesters need to stay away from the RNC protest because it will be a cataclysmic disaster.  Every day that passes presents a new opportunity for Trump to alienate a potential voter base.  His most recent remarks put him square against the U.S. Army, when he accused "an" Army of stealing cash meant for Iraqi citizens.

Yep, Trump is attacking the troops.

Trump's campaign is a living, breathing dumpster fire.  Or, as my friend who runs the Primarily Politics Facebook Page says, it's a Trumpster Fire.

Pictured:  Donald Trump's Campaign, coming to an alley near you

The reason why protesters should stay away is because the Republican Party is in the verge of collapse.  Republicans everywhere are either trying to disavow Trump, or having regrets about endorsing him, or hint at some sort of palace coup at the convention.  They will either nominate Trump, signaling Republican Armageddon, or they will work behind the scenes to nominate someone else, much to Trump's and his supporters' chagrin... which will also signal Republican Armageddon.

What we need is to let this entire cataclysm play itself out.  The last thing any of these warring factions needs is a common enemy to unite them.  We don't need to see Trump supporters distracted by things such as immigration reform, Trump's racism, Trump's sexism, Trump's failed businesses, Trump's comments about the military, or any of that.  We need for them to focus on Trump, and whether or not Paul Ryan will stab Trump in the back.

This is a grand opportunity for anyone opposed to anything that the Tea Potty and the Republicans stand for.  And when it comes time for the Convention to roll around, all we have to do sit back and watch it all unfold.

The RNC Convention concludes on a positive note.

But hey, if you must go, stay out of the blast radius and bring the hotdogs and marshmallows.  S'mores for everybody.

Monday, June 13, 2016


Flag, show us on the doll where the orange monster touched you....

Donald Trump is several things.  He's a misogynist, a bully, and a racist.  He's a blowhard, he's crass, and his ostentatious display of wealth represents the worst of humanity.  He is the living embodiment of the Scripture that teaches that the love of money is the root of all evil.  He only measures a person's goodness by relating it to what they can do for him, personally (work for him, do business with him, tell great stories about his wealth).  He has no use for anyone that can't do anything for him directly.  This includes the idiot voters who mistake the rantings of a power-mad lunatic for qualifications to be the President of the United States.

Donald Trump is also the presumptive Republican nominee for the Presidency of the United States.  Time and time again, he has proven just how unfit he is for office.  His response to every tragedy around the world is to somehow bring it back to how great he is.

The horrific Orlando shooting is no exception.  Rather than offer support to the families of the dead and injured, Trump took the moment to humble-brag by accepting congratulations from his supporters about how right they are about Trump's stance on Islam and terrorism.  He also went to one of his familiar trope of attacking President Obama.

Let's be clear.  Trump has been attacking President Obama from the beginning, by launching and supporting birtherism.  Trump has been peddling in the filth of racism and bigotry for years, and his "campaign" to prove that President Obama was not a U.S. Citizen led to a demand that a sitting President "show his papers" to prove that he's a citizen.  So, Trump's latest salvo against the President comes as no surprise.

This time, Trump suggests that President Obama is either weak, or secretly a Muslim terrorist sympathizer.  These were Trump's words.

 “What I want them to do is be tough and vigilant. Our government, we’re led by a man that is a very– look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind, you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot — they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the ways he acts and can’t even mention the words radical Islamic terrorism. There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on, and I know there’s gonna be.”


Now, it's time for the real media to do its job.  Jake Tapper did a brilliant job of holding Trump to his comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel.  Tapper did not let up on calling Trump on Trump's insistence that Curiel's Hispanic background somehow disqualified the judge from the case involving the fraudulent Trump University.

Again, Trump is the Republican Party's standard bearer, and that party's nominee for the Presidency.  Tapper interview notwithstanding, the media outlets have literally been letting Trump phone in the interviews, direct the conversation, and dictate what should or shouldn't be discussed.  In light of Trump's callous and un-statesmanlike response to the Orlando shooting, the media should be asking him tough questions.  Questions like:

  • Early on in Trump's campaign, he stated that he knows how to defeat ISIS, and that he knows more than the media and the generals.  What does he know, how did he acquire the information, and why is he holding it from the American people?  If his response is that he won't reveal his plans to defeat ISIS unless/until he is elected President, ask him why he is blackmailing American citizens.
  • Since the attacker in the Orlando shooting was born in America, how would his plan to deport Muslims affect American-born Muslims?  Will they be rounded up and placed in concentration or internment caps?
  • Would he agree with President Obama's comments about someone on an FBI terrorist watch-list still being able to buy a gun?  Or does he support the NRA's assertion that everybody should have guns, and regulation is for commies?
  • What is he willing to do to address conservative supporters that wallow in Christian extremism, who treat the Orlando shooting as an example of God's divine retribution?

The media should be asking him these questions all the time.  And they should not let him off the hook.  They should demand that he answer the questions, or declare that the interview is over.  They shouldn't allow him to phone interviews in, as he has abused phone privileges.  Media outlets, hold him accountable or you risk a journalistic catastrophe on par with the appalling run-up to the Iraq War.

You have a job to do, media.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Democrats, Progressives, We Gon' Be Alright... quote Kendrick Lamar. Here's why.

During the 2008 campaign...

...P.U.M.A. was so much of a thing that people thought that it would split the Democratic Party...

...then-Senator Clinton invoked Rev. Jeremiah Wright, stating that he would not be HER pastor (side note: People who never listened to the sermon don't know that during that "infamous" sermon, the oh-so-terrible Rev. Dr. Wright praised President Clinton as "an intelligent friend in the White House", as opposed to the "dumb Dixiecrat" that succeeded him).

...then-Senator Clinton stated that she wished the primaries were run like the Republican primaries...

...Bill Clinton showed his behind in dismissing then-Senator Obama's South Carolina victory...

...I was so concerned about then-Senator Clinton's upcoming speech, thinking that she was going to send the Democratic Party into chaos and give in to P.U.M.A. acolytes...

...then-Senator Clinton used the assassination of Robert Kennedy, and hinted that an assassination is still plausible (much to everyone's horror) as a reason to stay in the race and not concede...

...then-Senator Clinton was caught lying about being under sniper fire, to the point that comedian Sinbad fact-checked her...

...her campaign was run by Mark Penn, who proved to be completely outclassed by the Obama campaign in every area...

...then-Senator Clinton went to a Black church, talking about "I don't feel no ways tah'r'd..."

...lastly, Clinton gave, at that time, the most dynamic speech of her campaign, her concession speech which included a full-throated, unequivocal endorsement of then-Senator Obama. And gave an equally dynamic speech at the DNC Convention.

At times, the 2008 campaign was very nasty. It was a clash of sexism vs. racism. Then-Senator Clinton campaigned as if the Presidency was a foregone conclusion, and that campaigning was a mere formality. She took the Black vote for granted, and she paid dearly for it. She campaigned as if the "goodwill" generated by Bill Clinton's presidency would automatically be conferred upon her.

Then-Senator Clinton erased a lot of rancor and built bridges with her speeches congratulating and endorsing then-Senator Obama.

Now, the roles are switched, with Secretary Hillary Clinton as the presumptive nominee and Senator Bernie Sanders as the underdog candidate. This race has had its moments, with the rise of "Bernie Bros" playing the role that P.U.M.A. played last time around. And, the Democratic National Committee has a patently awful chairman in the person of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who makes RNC chief and useless tub of goo Reince Priebus look competent by comparison. Her obvious bias towards Sec. Clinton was the LEAST of Wasserman-Schultz's sins, as she oversaw tremendous congressional and gubernatorial losses for the Democrats in previous years.

But despite Wasserman-Schultz, and despite allegations of a "rigged" contest, we now have Madame Secretary Hillary R. Clinton as the presumptive nominee for the Presidency of the United States. And, love it or hate it, we gon' be alright.


Because after all of the venom and bile of the 2008 campaign, both sides came together, only leaving outliers to kvetch and moan about the results.

We gon' be alright because the Republicans have put up, without hyperbole, the WORST candidate in their party's history. This candidate is so bad that two living Presidents in HIS party won't endorse him, and Republican politicians are trying to jump ship to disconnect themselves from their party's standard-bearer. But it won't work. I'm looking at YOU, Senator Mark Kirk.

We gon' be alright because we were alright in 2008, when the candidate that didn't win lent her full support to the winner.

We gon' be alright if Bernie Sanders makes an equally dynamic speech, offering a full-throated endorsement of Secretary Clinton while still being a (better) advocate for progressive issues. I'm optimistic that despite it all, Sanders will "do the job" (to use a pro-wrestling fan term) and endorse the party's nominee unequivocally. The onus is now on him to help bridge the gap between his supporters and hers. If Sanders is the man of character that I believe him to be, then his concession speech will be graceful, eloquent, and positive. 

Lastly, we gon' be alright because President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and others will all be unleashed (Sen. Warren has already been giving Trump the "Samsonite Luggage Test" treatment). Robert Reich said it best when he endorsed Senator Sanders: Secretary Clinton is the best candidate for the system we have now. And like it or not, we're here now. We gon' be alright if we coalesce behind Secretary Clinton while the GOP dumpster fire rages out of control.

We can do this. We can vote down-ballot, to get rid of the Tea Potty once and for all, relegating them to the dustbin of history. 


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Roots Remake - Is It Needed?

The History Channel went and did it.  They messed around and rebooted a groundbreaking series.  In a departure from their usual programming (which seems to be "All Hitler, All The Time"), they remade the classic TV series "Roots."

If you're my age, which is somewhere between "older than a Millennial" and "younger than a Baby Boomer", then there's only one "Roots" you remember.


As far as Black pop culture was concerned, this was the definitive telling of the horrors of the TransAtlantic Slave trade and African-American history.  We felt the pain when Kunta Kinte finally told the slavemaster that his name was "Toby."  I remember an older Kunta Kinte saying, after he got his foot chopped off, saying "I'm not gon' learn to walk... I'm gon' learn to RUN", and feeling a bit of pride.  And how many of us held up newborn babies to the moonlight?

No, I didn't do this.  I was a kid when the original first came out, for goodness' sake.

The Original Recipe Roots gave us an almost complete timeline from slavery and captivity to freedom, to every aspect of American History, to Alex Haley going back to the Motherland to meet his family.  It was about as good a Black History class as what was being taught in the schools.

Fast forward to 2016.

We are in an age of reboots.  Batman has been rebooted to rescue us from the dark ages of the Schumacher era...

NEVER FORGET Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne meets the Marlboro Man, to Ben Affleck picking up the cowl.  Spider-Man has been rebooted so many times that Aunt Mae is getting younger and younger at each reboot.  Ghostbusters is being rebooted with women.  Superman has... 

...there have been a lot of reboots, is all I'm saying.

Of course, the natural instinct is to boo and hiss at any idea of a remake of Roots, for several reasons.

1)  Original Recipe Roots was a classic, and should not be touched.  Clearly, Hollywood is out of ideas if they have to desecrate the sacred grounds of this classic.

2)  Aren't we TIRED of "slave narrative" movies?  Geez!  Every movie has to be about slaves and Black degradation and humiliation.  "12 Years A Slave"?  It was good, but come on... "Django Unchained"?  Really?  Who greenlit THAT?  Blah blah blah, rat-a-tat-tat, hibbity jibbity.

Funny thing about point #2.  This comprehensive piece completely dispels the myth that the majority of American movies with Black actors are slave narratives.  It also points out something that is more horrifying.  If you look at the timeline of movies from 2006 until now, you will see that Tyler Perry has released more movies than movies with so-called "slave narratives."  

THAT should horrify you.  (snark)

Of course, the new Roots miniseries is making the rounds in social media.  A person asked this:

// What are these slaves movies going to do besides piss us off again //

That's when I responded with this, as to what "slave movies are going to do":
How about countering the efforts of conservatives to rewrite history? A Texas history book tried to reduce the TransAtlantic Slave Trade to "migrant worker patterns" for people "looking for better opportunities."
If it takes a million reboots of "Roots" to report history accurately, I am here for it. I don't have to watch them, but at least more people will know that the horrors of slavery weren't part of a "job creation program."

You see, slavery has always been under attack by conservatives.  They have been telling Black people to "get over slavery", since it ended hundreds of years ago.  That point fails to mention the aftermath of slavery, from the Reconstruction to Jim Crow laws to the Civil Rights movement to modern attacks on the Voting Rights Act.  And if they aren't trying to minimize the horrors of slavery (something that's never said to any other group that has been subjugated and marginalized), they're trying to rewrite history.

A geography book publisher tried to rewrite enslaved Africans as "immigrants" or "workers."  And a map even had THIS picture:
Y'all see that, right?

Pet Negro Apologists like Jesse Lee Peterson try to give everyone the Black Conservative Perspective, by uttering such weapons-grade nonsense like "We should be thanking God for slavery!"  

And that's when it hit me.  Just as a meme that I saw stating that the Ghostbusters redo wasn't for the fans of the original, but it was for little girls who dream of owning their own proton packs and sending demonic spirits back to the gates of Hell, the Roots remake may just not be for me.

It may not BE for those of us who are fully aware of the horrors of slavery.  It may not BE for those of us who saw the original series in our formative years, and gave us a sense of a knowledge of who we are and where we come from.  We, the Black Generation X-ers who grew up on "Good Times", "The Jeffersons", Sugar Hill Gang, early Public Enemy, and "All In The Family", may not BE the target audience for this venture.

THIS venture may be for those who have no idea just how horrible and dehumanizing slavery was.  It may be for those whose only exposure to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is the "I Have A Dream" speech that's played every February.  It may be for those who are being taught that the TransAtlantic Slave Trade was nothing more than "migrant worker patterns."

And you know what?

I'm here for it.  I may not watch the new series (more about my own personal preferences than taking a stand one way or another).  And I don't have to watch it.  None of us do.  But if it takes another "slave narrative" to combat any attempts to whitewash slavery, I'm here for it.  I'm here for it all day.  Because if we're not careful, the tales of horror and abuse and ungodly dehumanizing get reduced to happy-clappy stuff like slaves who are happy to cook for George Washington, and Sally Hemings/Thomas Jefferson is a torrid tale of a forbidden love affair.

In the meantime, I'll be over there waiting for the reign of T'Challa to begin.