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Mon Sep 01, 2014 at 08:11 AM PDT

The Presidential Game in Syria

by Sofarsogoo

If I can be permitted to set aside, just for this moment, the overpowering grip that temporizing has on him, never seen more clearly than in his first debate with M. Romney during the 2012 election, I think that, if he isn’t,  B. Obama should be deeply sorry that nearly a year ago he didn't take my advice to go with a U.S. strike in Syria, right after he revealed that it was in the wind, in whatever unknown form that his military experts proposed it to him.   And they must've had something out of the ordinary and even brilliant in mind, otherwise what good are all those Pentagon types with all the scrambled egg on the bills of their caps?   Instead in September 2013 he took the easy route in which a large part of the country was sloshing and wallowing, and he decided to bring Congress in on it, with the all too predictable blah results that you always get whenever those 535 drags on the country are brought into anything.
     (For more, hopefully, see below the "fold.")

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Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 07:00 AM PDT

Knife in the Navel of the World

by Sofarsogoo

Among the many ways that Israel apologists use to justify the enduring evil being perpetrated decade after decade upon the far weaker Palestinians, is what happened to the Jewish population of Europe during WW2.  The apologists keep screaming, "Never again!"  when actually the connection of that population with the Israelis has, with constant use, gotten frayed away to almost nothing, and the crowning irony instead is that it is happening all over again, except with the Palestinians instead of the Jews being hammered, and with the hammerers this time being the Israelis instead of the ....  Well -- on the pain of apologist killer bees descending on us from all sides with the most righteous, convoluted, and absurd rationalizations imaginable -- attempts are made to keep us from even as little as putting the words "Germans" and "Israelis" in the same sentence and from saying what is so plain to see.

Instead the apologists in effect keep suggesting, under the cover of all sorts of weasel words that are intended to sound so rational and temperate but are instead only so much transparent tomfoolery, that the Palestinians must go on being slaughtered en masse, noiselessly, invisibly, and without comment.   It's all in the interest of "survival."   But it is completely beyond me how any people with hundreds of modern attack planes, nuclear bombs, tanks, submarines, and the help of an overseas sponsor that has more military hardware than quite possibly the rest of the world combined, compared to almost nothing in the hands of those whom they victimize, can wail and whimper so constantly about their survival.

I think it can be said that, despite all the deserts and the absence of trees, the Middle East is not just any place.   Instead (besides having lots of oil) it can be seen as being the Navel of the World, because of all those religions that through the ages have set up shop in those parts..   But in 1948, a dagger was thrust into it, and ever since there has been a lot of blood spilled, though the steel intruder is still intact and in place.  In addition the dagger has expanded into being a full-fledged sword, and now -- and not for the first or the twentieth time -- that sword is being twisted in the world's belly yet again and bringing forth copious amounts of new blood and pain.

And it is the great tragedy of today's world that maybe for the first time in human history, there is no moral force in sight so far anywhere on the planet with the will, an ordinary sense of decency, and the strength to place a restraining hand on the wielders of such a sword.  That is why major attention should be paid to what is happening these days in Gaza and in the West Bank.

After all, think about the supreme importance of the belly in the human organism.  Maybe only eye troubles get our full attention quicker than things going wrong in our midsections.  It seems to me that things are the same in the structure that humans have erected for themselves over the whole planet.  

Discuss

"Toleration," said Mrs. Whitehead, "pays such immense returns.  ...You need your Jews in this country.  They make an admirable ingredient in your population.  ...Your Negro problem, on the other hand, is a real problem.  When English people deplore their having been brought here, I want to ask them, 'Who began it?'"
    "Bringing them in was so fearfully shortsighted in the first place," said Whitehead.  "A little imagination should have warned anybody what was being incurred."

        --From "Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead,"
          As recorded by Lucien Price (1954)

What is the Netanyahus’ endgame in the highly one-sided contest of wills and weaponry that is going on in Gaza?   That's one of the main things that I keep wondering, because they can forget about any of their neighbors ever forgetting or forgiving their numerous transgressions as the bully boys on the block.

For example, take the series of massacres that the Israeli leadership and the people who voted for them are carrying out almost daily, here at a mosque, there at a hospital, here at a school, there at a UN shelter, here, there, and everywhere in Gaza against their regular whipping boys, the Palestinians, not one of whose forefathers could have participated in any of the transports to the gas chambers of the 1940's.

   Everything points to one and only one answer to that question: the Netanyahus have long since decided to go for what I call "the "New World Outcome."

This Outcome consists of the process wherein a group arrives on the shores of someone else's longtime home with a sky-high sense of their own racial and cultural superiority, along with plenty of advanced weaponry and pretenses cloaked in religion, following which they proceed to exploit, plunder, and kill off or drive off the people who were already living there till scarcely a trace of those people or of their culture remains, and to colonize or "settle" those thereby "empty" lands.  

That explains why you see so little indignation among the supposedly always moral American people about the obvious and gross mistreatment of the Palestinians by the Israelis for almost 70 years.  A large number of Americans can identify with this kind of thing, because so much of it is a big part of their own history.  In their minds the Israelis are those exemplary types of human beings called "the winners," case closed.  They see the Palestinians, on the other hand, as being exactly the same as "nigras" or "redskins" and therefore subhuman and also losers, case closed.

  Consequently, these Americans tell themselves, let as many Palestinians be killed off as possible and let the hopefully few remaining survivors operate gambling casinos, case closed.   Applaud while Israel expands its territory at gunpoint and at the expense of its nearest neighbors till it is double or quadruple its original size. (Should anyone doubt that this has already happened, they have only to see the maps that Juan Cole regularly shows on his "Informed Comment" site.)  Case closed.  And if anyone yells in protest, let the Israelis brandish their F-16's and rattle the nukes that they are too dishonest to admit they have, and also let the Netanyahus see nothing untoward in trying to sic the Americans, like so many junkyard dogs, on any objectors.  CASE CLOSED!

It is an extremely safe bet that just as in the past, without exception everything that the Israeli leaders do in the future will continue to be in full accordance with bringing about this "New World Outcome."  

Just as impalas know exactly what the hyenas are thinking, it shouldn't come as a shock to hear how membership in a group as widely maligned as American "black" people" greatly heightens a person's awareness and certainty of how minds are working among those hostile to them.   So it is easy to sense how a sizable segment of the dominant "white" group in the U.S. has become so worked up with fear and anger over their failure to prevent the election and even worse the re-election of a "black" U.S. President, that they would like nothing better than to see millions of Americans who share his hue likewise all jammed up together in a narrow strip of land just like Gaza where they likewise could be shelled and bombed at will and without any means of meaningful retaliation or escape.  The successful Republican courtship of that segment, the massive hoarding of guns, the admiration for everything that the Netanyahus do to the Palestinians, and the incredible hatred that is felt toward President Obama for no detectable reason other than his melanin count strongly suggest that that hidden longing for fait accompli eradication of a large group of one's fellow humans could actually be more alive and well now than it has ever been at any other time in American history.

Yesteryear's German example coupled with today's Netanyahoo version, most recently at work in Gaza, show how such mass slaughters and removals can be done and gotten away with, since the element of conscience seems to have almost completed its mutation right out of the human genome over most of the globe.  That has been especially evident during this latest cooperative shot by Israel and the U.S. at using huge amounts of shells and bombs fired indiscriminately and mercilessly, so as to try to hasten the departure of the longest-running inhabitants of the region, through death, deprivation, and terror, and the resulting agony and loss of life endlessly being heaped upon the Palestinians are what is being "incurred."

Discuss

Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 06:57 AM PDT

The Israelis Go for Lidice

by Sofarsogoo

In June 1942 British-trained Czecho-Slovak paratroopers in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia managed to spot and terminate a high Nazi official named Reinhard Heydrich as, somewhat overconfidently, he was motoring through the city of Prague.

  In reprisal for the killing of that one man, and for some reason choosing to vent their fury on Lidice, a small town 20 miles from Prague, the Germans promply rounded up all the Lidice townspeople, summarily executed 173 of the men and all the boys older than 15, packed the 184 women off to concentration camps, sent 88 children to another camp where a few were picked to be "aryanized" while all the rest were gassed as soon as they got there, and the town's infrastructure was completely reduced to nothing more than a bare field.

 Though Lidice was the most famous and perhaps the most extreme example, these mass reprisals were a common practice of the Nazis.  The most popular formula that one heard about was to kill 10 of the invaded citizens to each one death inflicted on the German invaders, and the extra-added ferocity of the Germans in Heydrich's case must have been because he was apparently something of a poster boy in the Third Reich.

Just a few months earlier, at the beginning of that year, the German higher-ups had picked Heydrich to ramrod a conference held in a Berlin suburb called Wannsee, wherein the policy was drawn up and soon implemented for what became known as the "Final Solution" to the most efficient method of the mass incarceration and removal from this life of millions of Jewish people that had fallen into German hands through the Reich's numerous invasions all over Europe during World War II.

Today, the Palestinians have long run afoul of a set of invaders of the Middle East called "the Israelis," who have adopted many of the tactics of their spiritual ancestors, the Germans of the 1930's and '40's, the most recent of which is the application of something approaching the Lidice ratio in retaliation for rocket attacks by the Palestinians that cause scarcely more damage than the fireworks set off here in peaceful rural Virginia every July 4th.  Thus the  ratio in and around Gaza currently stands at 125 Palestinian deaths inflicted by the Israelis with their 800 tons of bombs dropped so far and with vows of much more to come, in retaliation for 0 Israeli deaths (that is, zero, none, zilch) inflicted by the obviously non-lethal Palestinian rockets.   125 to 0!

      --Numbers like that (for instance we have not gone into the highly unbalanced number of Palestinians who have been incarcerated by the Israelis vs the number of Israelis who have been detained by Palestinians, and that's just one of many such situations) make it easy to think that if there were an actual just and merciful God observing these things, the Israelis are now fully deserving of and should expect some day to receive a Judgment of Nuremberg delivered on them that would rival what the Germans experienced because of their wholesale use of the Lidice Syndrome and other such crimes. The Germans of three-quarters of a century ago, believing that they would be in full possession of the future, never expected to be brought to justice for these acts, and today's Israelis have clearly inherited the same mindset, as shown by their endless mistreatment of the Palestinians.

It makes one wonder what is being taught in the math and ethics departments of all those highly vaunted schools in Tel Aviv and other such places.  Surely there must be wholesale condemnation of practices like these in the Torah, if nowhere else.

"But hey!" as cruel people like to say in the depths of their misdeeds, as if that sneering dismissal is the irrefutable justification for everything heinous that they do, "Who's counting?"  

Discuss

Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 12:36 PM PDT

Keeping "N----r" Nauseous

by Sofarsogoo

It is always interesting to see all the conniptions into which the use of what they are pleased to call the “n-word” (i.e. “nigger”) drives a great many people descended from all the European settlers in North America.   (And, by the way, it should never be forgotten that each and every one of these immigrants was decidedly illegal, from the point of view of the millions whose numerous groups had already been firmly established here for thousands of years and who had long since shown themselves to bave been wonderful custodians of the land, mainly by not doing much of anything with it – a system of land management that works perfectly every time.   Furthermore these Original Occupants had been quite happy with knowing absolutely nothing about the existence of all those cross-waving devils on the other side of the big seas to the east, and it didn’t matter how many Shakers of Spears, Mozarts, Newtons, Caesars, or Da Vincis they had produced, or even how much nonsense various shamans among the tribes’ own numbers,  having just smoked some bad peyote from somewhere, had cooked up  about the chance of “white gods” one day showing up from the east.)

Getting back to good ol’ “nigger,” the latest example of what I started out talking about is a woman of the lighter persuasion named Paula Deen, who, until recently, apparently was big on a TV food show of some sort.   For some reason she admitted to having said “nigger” in some context that she said was years ago, and for that she was promptly dropped from the show, and shortly afterward she was also disconnected from a couple of other lucrative enterprises as well, and the costs to her for her verbal indiscretion (or her revealing of it) seemed to keep climbing sharply.

   In response Bill Maher, another TV personality and well known for his acerbic attitude, which is often pointed in a good direction though sometimes not, came to her defense, asking plaintively – but quite rightly – why do people always have to “go away” when they use that word?    In other words, what’s happened to American freedom of speech?   And it’s just a word, isn’t it?  

But it wasn’t at all what Maher said that I found so interesting.  Nor was it the attitudes shown in the lengthy comment section that followed an Internet account of his involvement in this business, because there wasn’t anything novel about what those people spouted either.  They made the same sort of empty and not at all well-considered remarks that you hear or read after any such article or whatever on a racial subject, especially when use of the word “nigger” is the subject.  No, the interest arose from noting how, after all these years (I am now 82), nothing is changed in a great many Europeno (aka “white”) reactions.

Can it be that in the matter of those humans, that, in spite of everything, they have been raised to consider inferior to themselves, large numbers of Europenos are forever incapable of learning anything or giving any sort of constructive thought to it, generation after generation?  Instead, if the subject is racism in any context, they just grab the nearest empty cliche that comes to their minds and hang on to it for dear life, before going on and with great relief to another topic.

A few hardier souls among them, however, are not as quick to drop the subject, and their main thing is pretending to be incensed that the people that they call “blacks” (but which I call by the much more pleasant and apt term “rainbows” because they exist in all the hues of the human spectrum in a glorious display of inclusiveness, whereas the only thing that sets gay people off from the rest of humankind is their strong gender exclusivity, and I see nothing about that that merits their waving of prismatic flags) are allowed to call each other “niggers,” and even in an admiring way, while Europenos, though they’re the dominant group, strictly are not, in any manner.  These dominants consider it the worst kind of outrage and outright racial discrimination, that they, though superior to all others in all situations except basketball games, should be forbidden anything, and especially – especially! – something that those lowest of the low, “blacks,” are allowed to indulge in liberally.

  This indignation reaches such a bitter and ridiculous fever pitch that some even demand that if “whites” cannot be allowed to use the “n-word,” then “blacks” should never be permitted to use it either, simply because that kind of usage is blatantly discriminatory against “whites,” and also because “nigger” is such a godawfully terrible epithet, and it is time, they argue, that “blacks” smarten up enough to realize that fact and to recognize that every time they hear it used, they should feel inspired to hit, kick, and even kill.  

This is exactly where, in my expert and long-considered opinion, nearly everyone, of all pigmentations, completely misses the Big Point that should be involved with any use of the word “nigger” – a point so large that it is an enormous failure of collective eyesights to keep overlooking it so completely.   This point is not at all the horror of the word “nigger.”   Instead it is the idea that no effort should be spared to de-fang the word instead, to strip it as completely as possible of all its vitriol, the same as had long ago already happened with  “black.”  To me personally, on a scale of 1 to 10, achieving this would merit a resounding 10, whereas no longer being barred from being served in fancy restaurants had trouble rating even as high as a 2.

So little is known of even the latest chapters of “black” history that few if any will believe me when I say that as recently as my younger days, from 1931 up to about 1965,  to the descendants of the slaves brought over from Africa “black” was a pejorative word and just as lethal to us as “nigger” (coming out of the wrong mouths), so much so that even today I am highly uncomfortable with being called “black” by anyone or on hearing people like me being referred to as “blacks,” as the most notorious member of the Supreme Court conspicuously did just the other day.

   But at the same time that Reverend King and his allies were doing all their good work in bringing about a number of civil rights, competitors of theirs in much the same cause, the “black militants,” accomplished a language miracle, by pushing the (at times overblown) concept of “black pride” so hard that in just a few years, some time in the mid 1960’s, the word “black” completely lost its sting and instead gained a usage status wherein today it is considered to be an always harmless if not always laudatory term – as short-fallen as I still see that idea as being.   And I’ve never seen any reason why it was that the “black” militants like Stokeley Carmichael, Huey Newton, H. Rap Brown, and the others were not able to do the same thing and more with “nigger” and why people of all kinds cannot unite in doing so today.

Correction.   Of course, I do see exactly why that is so hard to accomplish, and every time somebody – almost always a Europeno -- “slips” and uses the word “nigger” in any spirit at all, it is all too easy to see the cavalry and the infantry being instantly drawn up to make sure that  that term never loses one particle of its punch and poison, and to see that any attempts to sanitize it are stamped out without delay .  And you will see all that false fire and fury being raised hardly at all by rainbows but instead almost solely by members of the pale-visaged brethren.   It is all in the cause of “white” racism, unconscious or not.

Here we should always remind ourselves of two interesting things in this matter.   One is that there is no word denoting “white” people that is anywhere near as virulent as “nigger” is supposed (and hoped) to be, and Majority America couldn’t be happier with that circumstance – while disregarding the all too obvious fact that this suggests only that the “white” capacity for extreme hatred far outstrips “black” abilities in the same direction.   My question is, how can the dominants be happy with that?

 Another key aspect of all this is that usage of the word “nigger” by rainbows is part of their never-ending struggle against their much stronger and more numerous opponents, dating from slavery days, when, lacking any other means of defense and retaliation, those chained imports from Africa hit on ways to express themselves that would not be easily comprehensible to  their oppressors.   That was not hard to do, because, like the millions of George Zimmermans today, by their very nature,those oppressors were not the brightest bulbs in the world.  One way to do this was to stand language on its head and to give words meanings that were exactly opposite to how they were commonly understood

In my earliest days the most obvious instance of this was to say that something was “bad” when all the listeners of your color instantly understood that you were saying that the thing was actually “good,” and even more often it meant “great” and “fabulous.”   There were other such inversions of usage, but that is the one that pops quickest to my now ancient mind.

This standing language on its head is exactly the reason why, when applied by one rainbow to another, “nigger” can be an expression of great approval and friendship, instead of being a curse word.  It also serves the  purpose of reducing to a state of near apoplexy those who want to see that epithet having quite another effect, and this is why it is actually so laughable when someone in a comment section demands that rainbows stop using the word “nigger” altogether.   That critic has no claim to the word, especially if the bulk of his ancestors came from north of the Mediterranean.  He doesn’t own that word in any sense, because an epithet, once used, like a bullet from a gun, belongs ever afterward exclusively to the target of the fusillade, instead of to the shooter.

This turning of things on their heads is not peculiar to rainbows, and you have to suspect the motives of those who are so outraged at any use of the word “nigger” when you have such an experience as I did, in coming from a largely rainbow world to the newly integrated Air Force in the early 1950’s, when I quickly noticed that guys of Italian descent were quite fond of referring to themselves as “dagoes.”  Before then I had been given the idea that calling somebody a “dago” was highly offensive, and I had no trouble sensing that those men didn’t accept anyone of a different ethnicity using that term in a playful or any other sense.

I didn’t run into enough Latinos or Jews to know whether they felt the same about terms like “spics” and “hebes,” but I suspect that they did, just as, if movies hold any truth, Irish guys, among each other, are not above calling themselves “micks.”  Yet, unlike the frequent cases of “the n-word,” you seldom if ever hear similar bursts of outrage on behalf of the “offended groups going up all over the media, with widespread suggestions instead of substitutes like “the d-word,”  “the s-word, “the h-word,” or “the m-word.”

Funny, that – though not actually.  I suppose that we rainbows are supposed to feel gratified by such displays of indignation that appear to be on our behalf but actually amount to being quite the opposite.                                                  

Discuss

How long should all the untimely deaths, fleeings, maimings, and numerous other affronts to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness be allowed to continue to mount in Syria, through the use of weapons of every kind, before someone is finally allowed to do something about it?  This is the Big Question that seems to be occurring to almost no one, and instead you just see people, mired in legalisms, doing the 2013 equivalent of the medieval urge to determine how many angels can stand on the head of a pin.

Various strains of progressives, who -- in their zeal for having a third party that, however, they are too powerless or too slothful to form -- have been against Obama almost from the start, are overjoyed at how this latest White House Syria initiative has given them new excuses for their attacks on the President. Meanwhile the real and most virulent enemies of everything worthwhile, the Republicans, are most likely chortling with glee.  Rest in peace, eternally stillborn Progressive Third Party!

 Meanwhile, in the widespread efforts to prevent Obama from directing the U.S. military to take a more active hand in affairs in Syria -- a move that can take many forms besides the "bombing" that most of today’s would-be peaceniks are so busily shouting to the rooftops -- the pseudo-peace drums are being pounded harder than any war beats that I've been able to hear so far.  And I keep wondering why Obama's initiative -- the most serious-sounding and substantial in response to the long-running slaughter in Syria -- that he's taken so far -- can't be seen above all as a humanitarian one, above discouraging the use of chemical weapons.  After all, if you're killed by sarin, you're no less dead than if you are taken out of here permanently by a bullet or bullets -- the fate of many thousands of Syrians long before the current big thing, Chemical Weapons, began to be mentioned.

Except for a few small changes, the rest of this diary consists of a comment that I submitted on Juan Cole’s “Informed Comment” a few days ago, in response to an article he wrote titled “Obama Goes to Congress on Syria as his International Support Collapses.”  

"As his international support collapses?"

I agree with the earlier commenter who said that if the British Parliament had not undercut the British Prime Minister, Obama would've begun his Syrian initiative by now, without the backing of the Arab League, Congress, or anyone else, but not without Britain and France. his two standbys (and stand-ins) in Libya.   All he really needed for his international support was that pair of the largest and most active European nations in trying to do something about al-Assad's slaughter of his own people for little more reason than to keep the rulership of Syria purely a family matter.  Meanwhile the rest of that "international support" mainly seems to have stood idly by while over a period of several years, many thousands of Syrian citizens have been killed. to the tune of as many as 100,000 by now.

And that is the whole point of why I think American military intervention is not a bad idea, and that's been true for some time..  It would be a truly humanitarian effort  to cut down and even end this bloodbath, as one was cut short in Libya, thanks in part to the help that Obama and his several NATO partners gave to the insurgents, and meanwhile I don't think the number of operative crystal balls is anywhere near the number of dire predictions about Syria -- should Obama give the order -- that are being flung all over the place.   And what better use of that unbelievably expensive American military machinery that otherwise merely sits rusting and corroding away, on the seas, in the air, and in a great many countries all over the planet, to no visible great end?

It's too bad that Obama let himself be spooked into consulting that body of do-nothing baboon-butts called the U.S. Congress.  While he wastes that time, more Syrians will be fed into the al-Assad death machine who otherwise had every right to live as long and as comfortably as anyone else in this largely indifferent world.  And that will also happen for sure if the U.S. merely resumes sitting in the bleachers – where the British Parliament is already perched, secure in its self-satisfaction.

 

Discuss

Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:14 AM PDT

Courtroom Trials and the Truth

by Sofarsogoo

To me, though not to most others, when you consider what the contending parties push for, it seems odd and even laughable that when one is asked to testify in a trial, first he is required to swear that while on the stand he will always speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  And he must absolutely keep to this oath, lest he be accused later and convicted of committing that great crime of perjury.  Witnesses are taken through that even though it must've been obvious ever since trials first came into use that they are not about arriving at the truth of the matter.  Instead they're about selling juries -- or whoever has the power of forming the verdict -- on the theories of the contending parties.  And what's worse, attorneys and judges insist on holding witnesses' feet close to the fire, though they may consider themselves to be in no way under the same constraints.

In a courtroom, so distant in time, location, and intentions from the incident under discussion, there can be no hope of ever finding out for sure what really happened anyway, unless somehow the whole thing was irrefutably recorded beforehand by some modern technology.  And in those settings, few if any -- whether participants or spectators -- ever think of how, quite often, the only person in the courtroom that has any shot at being in full possession of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is not at all one of the high-flying attorneys, the even higher-flying judge, a witness, or even one of the arresting cops waiting outside to put in his two cents.   Instead it's the person sitting with all appropriate humility in the defendant's chair.  Yet seldom is that person asked to testify.  

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 09:52 AM PDT

It's Always Racism, Stupid!

by Sofarsogoo

The prevailing denial of one of the two or three biggest Prevailing Facts in American life -- racism -- as indulged in mainly by a much too large segment of the controlling so-called "white" population but also by smaller but still noticeable slices of other ethnic groups, even including some among the very people who have had to bear the lion's share of all that long-running, kneejerk hatred -- so-called "black people" -- causes me to awaken each morning with extreme discomfort.   This is because, despite all the nitwit statements to the contrary, no end to the racism (aka wildly exaggerated belief in "white" superiority) is anywhere in sight, and though I don't like to predict anything, absolutely nothing exists to suggest that any end or even a light amelioration of it is even possible.  Instead it seems there is a better chance of being able to journey to Mars on an escalator tomorrow than there is for any "black" person (other than the completely deluded and also unscrupulous ones) to see a day when their presence in this land, more than that of any other group, will not be resented, deeply and completely.  And somehow, some way, they will keep hearing about it ever and anon, now that the continuous resentment of "white" conservatives to the two elections of B. Obama has made open expressions of racism so fashionable.

One reason the Trayvon Martin case was so important was how it bore out this contention so starkly.

The killing of Trayvon Martin was clearly a racially motivated capital crime, and yet the judge seemed to be collaborating with the defense in trying to prevent any mention of racial motives from being considered.  At the very beginning she decreed that the prosecution could not even use the term "racial profiling."

Still the fact remained that George Zimmerman, the self-appointed and clearly mentally challenged spotter, stalker, and eventual executioner of Trayvon Martin, would not have been the least bit interested in the youth if Martin had not been clearly identifiable as being of the despised hue, and Zimmerman indicated that by using "black" as one of the identifying characteristics of his quarry during one of the calls he made to the police.  And the state of Florida, one of the least enlightened of the states, would not have downgraded this essentially premeditated murder to the status of a non-capital crime if Martin had been the color of Zimmerman's father.
                                             (More below, hopefully -- as still something of a newcomer, I am never sure of the DKos diary "Extended" business)

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Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 08:30 AM PDT

The Trayvon Martin Scream for Help

by Sofarsogoo

Someone who lived close to the spot where the deadly encounter between G. Zimmerman and T. Martin took place made a 911 call to the authorities, and in the background one of the combatants can be heard screaming for help -- then sudden silence ensues after the sound of gunfire.

On the grounds that their methods are questionable, at the outset of the trial the judge ruled that testimony of two sound experts about this cry for help  could not be introduced into the trial proceedings.  One of these experts had concluded that this desperate entreaty was uttered by Martin, while the other had said that the matter was uncertain but that the screamer could not have been Zimmerman.  This ruling was considered to be a blow to the prosecution, and meanwhile the Zimmerman devotees are certain that the cry came from their guy, therefore the "self-defense" nonsense.

Let's see now.  Can't logic and total probability play any part here?

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Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 09:17 AM PST

The Real Horror of This Past Nov 6

by Sofarsogoo

The Republicans are horrified, or they profess to be.   They just can't understand how they were denied yet another shot at wrecking the U.S. economy, reviving Jim Crow days, and herding all the Latinos back to Mexico, and now they are as busy as can be, looking for those responsible for their rejection.  They are looking everywhere except where they should be directing their dumbfounded gazes  -- in a mirror.

--Except that that wouldn't help them either, because their mirrors are not silvered in the usual way, and instead the Regressicans tolerate having around only things that are fashioned to assure them of how necessary they are.

And regardless, the real horror of those elections is not in any way the fact that they lost.   Instead it's that they got as many votes as they did. The real horror and a very poor reflection on the U.S. as a whole is that the margin of Obama's victory was as close as the three or four million edge that he had in the popular vote, in a country of over 300 million, and his 106-vote edge in the electoral college.   The real horror is that the Republican Party is still taken that seriously by so many or by anyone at all, since during the campaign they didn't take one stand that wasn't egregiously, totally, manifestly and in every other way ill-considered, indecent, immoral, and just out and out wrong.  No, not one!

To amplify that point, here I could continue in thousands of different directions, though any one of those should be all that's needed at any one time, such as in a diary.   That small number is probably all that is behind most votes cast anyway.

For now, as we would at the outset of the first game in a World Series, let's look at the lineup that the Republicans used this year.   It was pretty paltry, I would say, not even worthy of being a contender in a kiddy league.   Having long since given dismissal notices to all the reasonable, feasible, halfway distinguished figures in their midst, left over from before the Tea Party boarding of the boat, the Repubs were left without any heavy hitters, as could easily be seen in the prospects that they tried out during their primaries.

 I mean the "Crazy Eight," or Seven, or however many there were at any one time, that consisted almost entirely of moral cripples, such as the pompous and abusive reject from yesteryear named Newt Gingrich, the walking, talking, padded shoulders dummy named Rick Perry, the odious Rick Santorum, the shrill and certifiably insane Michele Bachmann, and the repulsive carnival clown Herman Cain.  Ron Paul might have been a faint possibility, but he had shown some colors that just weren’t right, in his infamous newsletters of too short a while ago.  Have I left anyone out?   Oh yes,  The Romney guy, and now more is known about him than anyone would ever want to know.   And that left Jon Huntsman as their only prospect with anything near a Presidential air.  But because he had been Obama's ambassador to China, and because he was not toxic and nauseating like the other Republican contenders, he was roundly dismissed by the mean-spirited conservative audience whose votes they sought and by his presumed colleagues themselves.

And because that kind of caustican is therefore the only kind that is looked upon favorably by today's Repubs, to continue my baseball analogy, it's hard to see how there can be any better players anywhere on their farm teams that the Repubs can bring up for the next Presidential go-round, when they will be facing the by then well-rested and well-tested Mrs. Clinton, a woman with more smarts (and more experience already on the White House level) than any 10 candidates bound together with a Republican label.

This year in the lead-off spot the Repubs had for their Presidential contender a man who could have been seen as matching up in a sly sort of way with the evil-tempered, bigoted Ty Cobb of yore, famed for spraying more than his share of singles and doubles and in which he was greatly helped by his rep for using his spikes on anyone at hand while running the bases.  But in today's times, with all the fences having been pulled back considerably by any number of persistent problems, the Repubs are going to need someone more suited for the cleanup spot -- a far-sighted longball hitter -- and the carefully thinking and clear-eyed political Ted Williamses and Henry Aarons are just nowhere to be seen on today's or 2016's Republican rosters.  The attitudes of a party that would countenance seeing rape as being an "act of God" are a big turnoff to that kind of player.

Discuss

Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:02 PM PST

The Big Republican Shell Game

by Sofarsogoo

In a post in Hullabaloo, dated 14 Nov 2012, Dante Atkins outlined what he called "the Grand Lie."  It could also be called  the "Big Republican Strategy," though my favorite would be "the Great Republican Shell Game of the Last Half-Century."   Atkins related his summary purely to the national deficit, but I think it sums up with unusual succinctness, clarity, and accuracy the scam that the Republicans have managed to pull off over and over again, about matters in general, ever since the Civil Rights laws were enacted and the Republicans began concurrently using the "Southern Strategy."

         Atkins saw the oft-repeated cycle as taking place in four stages in which the Repubs (in his words):

        1) Claim that jobs and economic growth depend on tax cuts, especially on the wealthy. Claim that any cuts will pay for themselves. Both of these are lies. . . .

        2) When revenues dwindle and deficits explode as they have under every Republican President since Nixon, blame "welfare" (a lie) and "spending" (another lie.)

        3) Let Democrats be the ones to take responsible measures to bring deficits back under control by sacrificing their own programs. . . .

        4) When good economic times and minor tax boosts bring both the economy back to health and the deficit back in line, tell people that the government has too much money, and that they should "get more of their money back." This is an intentional strategy to drive up the deficit, forcing more cuts later.

          I had been thinking along the same lines about matters in general, and I would've put it in a way that is  slightly different, because of a couple of added filips.
         I would've said that the Democrats bring on the good and charitable times, but then the Repubs use the only big idea that they ever have, tax cuts and more tax cuts, plus barely concealed attacks on those who are not likely to vote for them, to convince enough stupid,  greedy, and hate-ridden voters to put them in power.   Once in power the Repubs then run down the Government's bank account to almost nothing, by diverting as much as they can of the national treasury into the pockets of the monied class and by indulging in unnecessary wars and other adventures, while enacting laws and following policies designed to punish those who don't see things their way.
       That pushes the public into bringing back Democrats to pump the economy back up while setting aright  the many historical wrongs favored by the Repubs.   The Repubs then pull the wool over American eyes yet again, usually by playing their always dependable trump card, racism,  and  that whole process of Republican wrack and ruin and Democratic reconstruction unfolds all over again.   And it has stood the Repubs in good stead since the 1960's, notwithstanding the truism that whatever is good for them is invariably bad for the U.S. as a whole and for the planet.
       Today we are in the middle of the latest Democratic rebuilding process, after the messes left behind by the most recent Repub President, GWBush.   Ordinarly the Repubs might've been more content to wait till there was more in the government coffers for them to loot, but then they let the spectacle of that "nigra in the White House" get the best of them.

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Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:47 AM PST

Voting Democratic, With Love

by Sofarsogoo

A couple of notes, from the recent elections, in the Piedmont of Virginia:  

In this heavily rural area, the county where I live is, on the electoral map, almost always a lone little island of blue in a sea of Republican red, and that is interesting, since the population here is predominantly "white" by much the same large margins as in all the surrounding counties.   My theory is that this is because I, a transplant from always Democratic D.C., am here.   But there is also the fact that a lot of the so-called "white" folk here still fondly remember FDR and the New Deal days, as well as other government assistance, since economic conditions here have never been the best.  (And in 1969 Hurricane Camille hit this county with special ferocity, taking over 100 lives).  Furthermore,  this county has been unusually tolerant to the influx of a number of "come-heres" from other states -- hippies, back-to-the-landers, refugees from blighted New Jersey decades before Sandy, and others of that sort of the progressive inclination -- as contrasted to the "been heres."

A Democratic official who worked in the campaign office where my wife manned the phones, etc., also worked in an adjoining county which also had an Obama office, and to my surprise that county also went Democratic.   I had lumped that place in with all the adjoining red counties, especially because one of the state prisons is there.  But this director said that when they heard that there was such an office, so-called "black" people kept trooping in there bringing the campaign workers all kinds of food and helping in other ways.  They wanted to do all they could for the man they fondly called their "boy."   Most were quite elderly, which means that they, like me, had a lot of things to remember, and so my county this time had company amongst the blue, and that also included the much larger and more affluent county just to the north of here and that is home to the University of Virginia and various other intellectual industries.

(If you want to know, I try hard to avoid using those stark and stupid terms, "black" and "white," when applied to people.   I believe in the precise use of language, and in all my years I have never seen anyone the color of the inside of a stovepipe or of the newly fallen snow.   Even worse, those terms imply that the two groups are exact opposites, when actually nothing could be farther from the truth.   Having had the unusual privilege of having lived one half of my life in an almost completely "black" world and now the other half in a largely "white" one, I think I can say without any fear of refutation that man for man and woman for woman, the two groups are identical in all the ways that matter most, and that applies especially to a measurement much more important than the often cited intelligence quotients: their slob IQ's.

A second note: A lady friend of ours volunteered to drive to the polls anyone who needed a lift.   By election day, however, almost everyone on the somewhat long list that she was given had already gotten some transportation, save for an 85-year old "black" lady who was confined at home.

Our friend helped this lady get into the voting building and then to the voting table, for marking the paper ballots.   The elderly lady told our friend that, in addition to her other infirmities, she also couldn't see too good, and she asked to be shown where she could be sure of marking the name of her "boy."

When that was done, the old lady was not yet through.   She pointed her finger emphatically at the rest of the ballot and said, "Okay, honey.   Now show me the people that are going to help my boy."

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