Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Look inward, angel

Has anyone else picked up on these two headlines recently?

Egypt calls for restraint in Ferguson

Palestinians tweet tear gas advice to Ferguson protesters

Unfortunately they aren't from the Onion or any of the other political satire sites. It's time to wake up and realize this stuff is real. People in countries where we have interfered are now advising Americans on how to carry on. Remember Arab Spring? Think Ferguson Fall.
Soccer fans in Turkey – support for Ferguson

Wherever did they get the idea they could do that. Man, the audacity. Next thing you know Turkey, Lebanon and Sudan will be sending advice on how to manage an influx of refugees. The U.S. would be screaming bloody murder if some out of control citizens started guarding the border out of Syria trying to turn back the flood of refugees from that war.

Not too long ago a bunch of Americans had a standoff with the government in Nevada, but none of them were shot at despite them leveling their weapons toward American  officials. And,  none of those patriots who railed against an overstepping  government has stepped in to advise the citizens of Ferguson on how to handle a government standoff.  Of course all of those patriots were white, except for one. Those guys even used a tactic straight out of the Middle  Eastern playbook, putting the women and children on the front line while the heroes with guns stood behind them. Those folks have been noticeably quiet about sending advice to the demonstrators in Ferguson, but of course most of the people demonstrating in Ferguson are black. Funny too, you don't see any of those Ferguson demonstrators open carrying firearms either. If the police shoot a kid for jaywalking what happens to the guy who walks down the street with an AR-15 slung over his shoulder?

Meanwhile we wake up every morning to news video that at first looks like it could just as well be Syria, or Iraq or Nigeria or leftover footage from Vietnam with battle-ready troops riding in heavily armored military vehicles pointing their guns at unruly crowds of citizens, the scenes illuminated in eerie diffused light passing through clouds of gas thrown at the demonstrators. It always takes a moment to realize those scenes are taking place in the heart of America. That's right, American citizens, assembling and expressing their displeasure with a government force that first gunned down an unarmed man, and then sent an Army to stop them, in the process threatening and arresting members of the press along with their own citizens.

But the military isn't the only weapon in use. Somewhere Travon Martin is shaking his head and wondering if we will ever learn as the government there in Ferguson with the compllicity of the press tries to assassinate the character of the victim. He could have been on marijuana, he stole from a store, he was belligerent, all capital offenses according to the police. And the acquiescent press lets them do it. Meanwhile they hold onto the victim's body for yet a third autopsy looking for anything they can use to blame him for his own death.

Then too they are employing a term oh so familiar to those of us who demonstrated for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam in the 1960s – those ubiquitous villains, the outside agitators. Any demonstration I was in I usually at least recognized most of the people with me and never did I see an outsider who was trying to get us to do anything we didn't want to do. The only strangers we ever encountered were the ones we easily picked out as FBI agents gathering information on us. It has always bothered me that I never made Richard Nixon's enemies list. But now there are outside agitators riling up the citizens of Ferguson, or so we are led to believe.

Frankly it is all repetitive bulldust and reminiscent of the police riot during the 1968 Democrat Convention in Chicago, or going farther back to the civil rights demonstrations earlier in the 60s. Remember "Beat the Press" and "Mace the Nation?"  Same language, same heroes and villains, same, in this case, racism that some of us thought had been resolved long ago until we elected a non-white president and the hatred boiled to the surface, hatred fueled by one element unavailable in those days, the Internet.

It's tougher now to shroud atrocities in darkness when everyone is carrying a camera with the ability to broadcast images worldwide in an instant. And, it is easier to spread innuendo and lies and character assassinations as well and spread that hatred to all who will read.

And after all the meddling Americans have done in the affairs of other nations, it allows people in far-flung countries who have experienced government oppression to advise Americans on how to deal with the same kind of oppression in our own country. How does that sit with the arrogant American psyche?

Meanwhile the real victim of this episode, Michael Brown, who had just graduated high school and was on his way to college lies on a cold stone almost forgotten in a dingy morgue somewhere.


1 comment:

  1. I was just listening to Michael Smerconish on CNN and I felt he was speaking for me. I will parphrase him here. There is very little actually known about this case yet there has been a massive rush to judgement. So much we don't know yet why are so many committed to a particular outcome? 34% in a poll already feel they know enough to decide, including more than 50% of blacks plus there is also a huge outpouring of support for the police officer online. We need a full accounting. One man is dead and other's freedom is in the balance. Scrutinze carefully but withhold judgment until the evidence is in. And I will add: More and more, what happens in real life as it is both reported and distorted, seems closer to a reality TV show. There is a lot of what can sometimes be careless talk going on. This is a tragedy. Some tragedies get more attention than others because there is an underlying subtext or even an outright text. People take sides. This is not how we should do justice in this country.

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Interesting quotations

"In the final analysis your life is only as good as the background music you dance to." – that was me

"Whether you think that you can or you think you can't, you are right." – Henry Ford

"You want to feel alive until the day you croak" – Frank Gallagher Shameless

"Smooth is good but sailing takes a brisk wind" – me

"I'm a drinker with writing problems." ~ Brendan Behan

"Religious Freedom is not about stopping persecution; it’s about being the one who gets to do it. Glory!" – Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's best Christian

It doesn't matter what you write, it only matters that you write.

"Give someone a book and they'll read all day. Teach someone to write a book and they'll spend a lifetime mired in paralyzing self doubt." – internet meme

"It's been a long time since I heard my backbone crack – Chuck Berry

“Don’t think you’re on the right road just because it’s a well-beaten path.” – JD

"I was the only person up on the hill with both racing numbers and a handicapped placard." – Kitty Delorey Fleischman, a grandmother who occasionally still races her Porsche in hill climbs.

Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. – anon

"Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool." – Mark Twain

Shit happens; you just come up with a different plan. – Kitty

Your body is not a temple. It's an amusement park. – Anthony Bourdain

Never too late for a happy childhood – Berkley Breathed

A real writer doesn't just want to write, a real writer has to write. – Internet meme

"It was like the aftermath of an orgasm with the wrong partner" – David Lagercrants, "The Girl in the Spider's Web"

The non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

We never comprehend how heavy the things are we insist on carrying until we set them down. jd

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio talk show host

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve