Jack's Ruminations

Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

I was chatting with a friend yesterday about Obama’s recent actions on Cuba. Her questions on the subject drew me to a new realization: Maybe, just maybe — after 6 years of it looking like my two votes for Obama would be something I’d have to live down for the rest of my life — there is actually real hope for the guy.

Over these past 6 years, I hardly blogged about Obama. Been reading lots, though. Read copious online materials about the health care debacle, the Snowden/NSA/whistleblower prosecution stuff, and Obama’s “bend over” to the banks. Also, I’d read books about the New Jim Crow/mass incarceration/inner city drug war system, the frightening climate crisis, and (currently) the toxic cosmetics and food industry, to name a few.

In all of this reading, Obama comes out as a slightly worse George Bush the Younger. I mean, on his governing record.

How in the world could this have come to pass? Our revolutionary black guy Prez governing like he was the silver spoon offspring of the military industrial complex?

This cognitive dissonance led me to my blog posts about California secession. I still think that is best political route for California and the world. But now I think it just might be a good idea to offer Obama political asylum in California when the sh#$ hits the fan. 🙂

Why the change in my thinking?

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Two posts ago I concluded that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was guilty of second degree murder of unarmed Michael Brown. Last post is about the people  who believe Wilson was justified in murdering Brown. Those people are a large reason behind this earlier post of mine.

But in this current post, I will explain why I have sympathy for Officer Wilson. My reasoning is quite simple. It concerns what I believe Wilson thought he saw when Brown stopped running away, and turned around to face him.

Eyewitnesses Dorian Johnson and Piaget Crenshaw also saw Brown turn around. The Brown they knew — a good student and earnest guy with a promising future — is pictured to the right.

When he turned around with his hands up, the image to the left is what I believe these two saw — namely, a sweet, harmless guy giving up on fighting or running.

But I believe Officer Wilson saw something completely different. The Michael Brown he knew for all of 30 seconds was this guy:

And when Brown turned around with his hands up, this is what I believe Officer Wilson saw:

[below the fold]

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Been following the Ferguson story. Amazing legs on that one. International in scope.

Another amazing thing to me is the people who believe Officer Wilson acted appropriately in shooting and killing the unarmed Michael Brown.

Now, self-acknowledged racists will admit to themselves and to others their belief that Wilson’s actions were justified simply because Brown was black. Since he was black, Wilson was acting fully within his discretionary powers to shoot the black boy dead. Simple!

But in present day America, almost nobody will come out and just flat out say that.

What some will say is that Brown’s robbery of the convenience store justified the shooting. Of course, those sentiments are ridiculous. i.e. Even the Iranians just cut off your hand for stealing; they don’t shoot you like a rabid dog. And even those crazy mofos probably give you at least the pretense of a trial.

So people who espouse this justification for Wilson are pretty much what they seem to be.

A deeper take is racists in denial who say that since Brown seems to have punched Wilson in the face, there we have our justification. But again, we’re back to the Iranian comparison because nobody is saying that Wilson shot Brown dead immediately upon being punched in the face.

So people using the face punching as justification are actually on par with the robbery-as-justification people.

That leaves us with the evidently educated people who say that Wilson was justified in shooting Brown dead because after Brown ran away, and then turned back toward Wilson, Brown charged at Wilson threateningly. Hence, Wilson was justified in shooting Brown dead.

But this sounds a little crazy.

[Explanation of the “magic negro” theory below the fold]

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A week into the Ferguson, MO story, I finally dove into it. What a tragedy. Here’s my take:

1. Michael Brown. A week ago, Michael Brown was a big (6’4″ 300 lb) black kid, with no criminal record, who was a week away from starting college. He lived with his mother, who was divorced from his father. But his father lived in the area.

That’s all I gathered.

The public story of Brown takes a decisive turn one week ago. From his actions — recorded on videotape and spoken about by his friend Dorian Johnson — it appears that Brown had decided that he didn’t want to go to college. At least he didn’t seem to on that fateful day.

On that day, he seemed to be skirting the line between “good” blacks vs. “thug” blacks — a cultural fault line about which Michelle Alexander writes in The New Jim Crow. One week from taking a decisive step toward becoming the former, Brown tragically seemed to go out of his way to embrace the latter.

Security video from last Friday shows Brown in a Ferguson convenience store with his friend Johnson. Brown is there evidently to shoplift some cigarillos. But he doesn’t try to sneak them. Instead, he provocatively walks up to the counter and grabs some in front of the clerk. He then begins to walk out.

Interestingly, Brown first hands a package to his friend Johnson. Johnson clearly wants no part of this because when Brown is turned, Johnson places the package back on the counter.

As the pair leave the store with Brown holding his shoplifted cigarillo package, the clerk runs in front of them to stop them. Brown is seen on the video bullying the shorter clerk backward.

While Brown is doing this, Johnson slips behind Brown out of the store. He seems to want no part of this.

Then Brown and Johnson leave the store, and according to Johnson, they walk down a street together. But they don’t just walk on the sidewalk. Instead, these two guys who just rolled a convenience store brazenly stroll in the middle of the street. I suspect this was Brown’s idea. This is Brown’s second provocation.

A police car pulls up beside them and the cop says: “Get the f*&k on the sidewalk.”

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There will be civil war in America coming this decade, I predict. The map to the right shows that this time, the U.S. Civil War won’t be waged between the North and South, but rather between East and West.

The trigger for the war will be about the War on Drugs prisoners who are held mostly in the East, as the maps to the right show.

Let me say right now that if my prediction of a coming civil war comes true, that my greatest hope is that the ensuing engagement between East and West will be peaceful, and the result will allow the West to secede somewhere around the Continental Divide.

This post is a second one about the 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness written by Michelle Alexander. To understand her thesis, listen to the speech Michelle delivered to the University of Chicago in 2010 about her new book.

This post is about an epiphany I experienced today about the coming civil war.

What was that epiphany?

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Started reading The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness last night. I’m only through chapter 3 right now.

Today is July 4. A celebration of America. But around 10am this morning, I was shooting hoops alone in the gym of our sports club. I was weeping.

I’m not a weepy sort of guy. Nor am I the stressed sort. But when I do feel stressed, my biggest reliever is shootin’ hoops. Even just imagining myself splashing jumpers tends to soothe my psyche when troubled.

I was weeping because this morning, three chapters into Michelle Alexander‘s book, and 26 years since the summer of 1988 when I left Canada to move to America, it occurred to me, for the very first time since that summer long ago, that maybe, just maybe, the idea of us moving back to Canada wasn’t such a bad idea after all. And this thought made me weep.

Because the Canada that I remember was a nice place of mediocrity. Up until this morning, America, to me, was a place of warts to be sure, but also of hard won excellence. To me, all else being equal, excellence trumps niceness.

But what if “all else wasn’t equal”?

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What can you say about what went down in CT yesterday? I was driving home mid-morning from a business meeting and sports radio was talking obliquely about some tragedy. I flipped the dial to NPR and learned about it.

Driving by my daughter’s elementary school on the way home, the thought occurred to me that maybe I should stop, and take her out of school. But I realized that that was not only irrational, it would disturb the school. So I drove on home.

Stopped at the foot of our driveway, with the car running, listening to Obama’s press conference. Like everybody else in this nation, I wept.

Got up this morning, and I read that the principal buzzed in Adam Lanza because she recognized him as the son of a former teacher. Just think about that: this rich, secluded school installed a lock-down security system requiring anybody coming in after 9:30 to be buzzed in. A video camera was stationed over the front door so the office people could see who was trying to come in.

The principal (a mother of 5) buzzed in Lanza because he was “one of us”, not the “other” coming to harm us. She is dead this morning. I wept again when I read that.

Weeping is good because it’s human. It’s a way to process the un-processable.

But if that is all we do as a nation, then maybe we deserve our fate.

Me, in between the weeping, I’m thinking. I’m thinking that maybe, just maybe, this will be the one.

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I was in the middle of a weekly yoga session with my neighbor when it hit me: civil war is coming to America after all.

This war will be between People and Corporations, just as I predicted in 2003. On the side of the People will be The PNA and India 2.0. On the side of the Corporations, Rump America. Blue people against Red people. (See the previous post re the terminology.)

Nine years ago, I completed an analysis showing that 500 years of “American” history pointed straight to a coming People vs. Corporations civil war.

But at the time, I thought that that was an impossibility. My reasoning went that a corporation is a legal fiction, and you can’t exactly shoot a legal fiction. Ergo, no shooting war.

But the defeat of Prop 37 in California, and the vitriolic fallout after the presidential election two days ago has me thinking otherwise.

There’s two camps in this country: Left (Blue) and Right (Red). Right fears Government domination. “One World Government” is their nightmare.

Left fears Corporate domination. A poisoned planet and sickened people is their nightmare.

The Right thinks the Left is crazy when it talks about “global warming” and “emissions”, “GMO” as “poison”, SSRIs as weapons of death and despair, 9/11 as a bit too funky, etc. Those Lefties are conspiracy theorist nut-jobs. With Obama in power, the lunatics are running the asylum!

The Left thinks the Right is crazy talking about “One World Government” when the sole remaining ruler of the entire planet is the good old USA herself. In other words, if there is a One World Government, we are it! What are those lunatics worried about?

My neighbor tells me the two sides just need to talk more to find their common humanity. I’d say that would be a great idea, if Sandy wasn’t the early cry of a prophecy yet to be played out. Or if the sole remaining world superpower wasn’t on the brink of insolvency.

Let’s look closer at those two issues.

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Let’s get this out of the way first: Yes, I did vote for Obama this time. Same as last time.

What was I going to do? Vote for the other guy? That would have been too cynical.

Vote for the Green candidate? I’ll do that when the Green Party merges with the Libertarian Party, and the merged party prunes out the communism of the former as well as the John Birch fascism of the latter.

So for now, I guess I’m stuck with the putz .. er … I mean, POTUS.

I stayed up late last night listening to Romney’s concession speech in that Boston convention center, and to Obama’s victory speech in that stadium in Chicago. Putting aside the somber mood of the former and the ebullient mood of the latter, the visual difference in the two sets of people was striking. Stiff, boring white people in Romney’s gathering; funky, multi-colored people in Obama’s.

But what really struck me last night was the election map you see at the top of this post. As it was forming, I was hoping that Obama would win Ohio but lose Virginia just so that I could nickname India 2.0 “America, the Great Lakes”. (One question: Indiana .. WTF?)

But India 2.0 will do. Super rich, skinny white banker guys like Romney himself, plus hordes of the hopelessly indebted underclass, in an Orwellian cesspool devoid of human creativity. But other than that, a pretty funky place, full of cool people — a place I like to visit from time to time.

Next, just look at the red sea of Rump America.

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Changed my about.me tagline today (see the sidebar). It still starts “miner for hidden value”. That’s what I do as a partner for my shared consulting business Lumen SV.

The second part used to say “being in perpetual transition”. Today, I changed that to “always becoming, never become”.

The two phrases mean exactly the same thing. But the second form is meant as “tipping my hat” toward German philosopher Oswald Spengler.

In the 1920s, Spengler wrote a thick text entitled Decline of the West. I’ve blogged about Spengler’s theories before. The short version of these theories holds that great civilizations in history (Spengler counted 8 of them) last for about 1000 years, and end up in a clusterf#$% of money grubbing in mega-cities before dissolving into the sands of history.

Under Spengler’s counting, the Western Civilization in which we in America, and just about everybody else in the world is currently living, is 1000 years old and counting — ergo on its last legs — that is, if the theory holds.

I had been mulling over posting blogs entitled “The Crimes of Obama” and “Livin’ in the USSA”. The first was going to be about how Obama, the great savior of the People, turned out to be the biggest facilitator of the Eastern corporate final grab of American politics. Whodathunk?

The second was going to be about how useless the American media has become — left, right, center, whatever. The list of “verbotten” topics (“global warming”, “9/11 seemed funky”, “the link between SSRIs and crazy mass shooters”, “corporate welfare far outstrips poverty welfare”, “wheat is poison”, etc.) seems to grow by the day. I’m old enough to remember Watergate and how the “Fourth Estate” broke the story. Today, the web has killed what was left of the Fourth Estate as a checking force on corruption. American media today is what the government media was for the USSR.

But you know, those topics are kind of piss and bile-ish. That’s why I hesitated posting them. I didn’t feel like ranting over dead horses (i.e. “Obama as Man of the People” … lol, and “Media as Government Watchdog” … rofl).

Then today I was reading the Wikipedia page on Decline of the West and I felt much better about it all. I mean, things are happening exactly as they should. Hell Romney winning in November would all but resurrect Spengler from the grave.

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