Jeffster Awards #32

(Photo credit: skulzstudios)

(Photo credit: skulzstudios)

This is the next installment of an ongoing series at Deconstructing Myths…the Jeffster Awards! This award will be given on an ongoing basis to five outstanding blog posts that caught my wandering eye. There are no strings attached or requirements for reciprocation. I don’t have time to comment on other blogs as much I’d like to so the least I can do is direct readers to some of these outstanding writers, poets, and visual artists. Please direct all feedback (likes, comments, follows) to the blogs themselves. I hope you enjoy these exemplary posts as much as I did. So, without further ado, here are the recipients of this week’s Jeffster Awards…hot off the (Word)presses.

When Design is Evil at Alice in Whateverland

Think of the People of Gaza at a heart beats

This is War at Palestinian Blogger

Of Anger & Activism (Part I) at anaïs charles

“War Crimes” at Thinking and Dreaming

_________________

Peace and solidarity to all readers.

Posted in Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mic check: Angela Grant

patrol-car

Should Officers of the Law Have the Final Word?

by Angela Grant

Should Judges Decision be the final word when a community vehemently disagrees? When disparities confirm, racial profiling leads increase stop and searches of minorities along with high arrests, convictions, and tougher sentencing compared to non-minorities.

Police Officers are trained. They along with judges are models of integrity who are trusted to serve and protect ALL Americans. Once upon a time, police officers were part of the community or worked with the community.

Based on the following those relationships no longer exist.  Police Officer’s use excessive force may partly related to lack of connection to the communities in which they are paid to serve and protect.

Officer Involved Shooting – Salinas, CA 05/20/2014

***

Family Releases Video of Mentally Ill Man Killed by Fort Bend Officer

As you can see in these videos, the default is shooting to kill a victim over and over and over; despite officers outnumbering lone unarmed victims. The victims appeared confused and apparently had histories of mental illness. They did not appear threatening against  so many armed officers. Both victims seemed more confused than dangerous. Should we shoot every homeless person who approaches us? NO!

What struck me on viewing these videos and others was the absence of familiarity with the community. Surprising, office did not  enlist or recruit the crowd’s help. A friendly face does wonders in these situations. Furthermore,  there were no emergency and a time to prepare a friendly face to facilitate negotiation.

Officers with guns pointed made no attempts to de-escalate and did everything to increase the likelihood of fatal outcomes. Unsurprisingly, both victims murdered by trained police officers.

Three Important Observations:

1. Alarmingly, these officers were rewarded for murder and incompetence. No charges filed for trained police officers shooting over 10 rounds into lone unarmed mentally ill confused. The number of shots fired made me to pause, why did it not make the police department, prosecutors, and judge’s pause.  One has to wonder.

2. Another observation, officers were often culturally different from the communities they served and protected—that can be challenging in stressful environments where biases surface. Communication and cultural awareness may be key factors in drafting solutions.

3. Blacks are 7-8 times more likely to be arrested and imprisoned than whites. The war on drugs was a smokescreen for selectively incarcerating people of color, youths, mentally ill patients, developmentally delayed adults, and homeless people; essentially, people without a safety net, recourse, or voice.

I worry that big data may make identification of these individuals easier. What do you think?

Samuel Curtis Johnson III

Samuel Curtis Johnson, III convicted of repeatedly raping his then 12-year stepdaughter.

Circuit Justice Eugene Gasiorkiewicz sentenced to four months, pay $6,000 and probation. He did not register as a sex offender!

Robert H. Richards IV,

Alternatively, Robert H. Richards IV convicted of raping his daughter repeatedly from age 3 to 5 years old.

Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden's

Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden Sentenced him to eight years’ probation.

Travion-Blount-Recovered

Travion Blount at 15-16 years old, robbed a party with two older kids. A few items were stole—the monetary  value appears  less than $200.

A judge sentenced Travion Blount to SIX lifetime sentences. This sentence was reduced to 40 years by the Governor of VA. Forty years is  cruel and unusual punishment for a crime that was victimless and considered petty burglary within the community.

In contrast, Samuel Curtis Johnson III is a paedophile is out on the streets making money for Wall street. How is he around children? And females? He did not have to register. And Robert H. Richards IV, he is a DuPont heir and can do whatever he pleases.

Contrary to popular belief, these two wealthy men by definition are  paedophiles waiting or have already struck many times. Both will continue because they were rewarded and given opportunities to seek revenge on those who reported their abuses.

But we will never know, eh? Sparse coverage by media just makes this very dirty and organized crime business.

Should  law enforcement be the final decision when the community disagrees? When  judges and law enforcement and private prisons have lucrative incentives to arrest and incarcerate, what do you expect to see? Exactly what we see in the video with over-crowded prisons.

Btw, Why are police officers not imprisoned for murder? Again, should judges be the final word without enactment of a new law?

Related Stories:

1. Police Brutality: Two Police Officers Shoot Unarmed Hispanic Man in Cold Blood

2. Mentally Ill Black Man Shot in Head ELEVEN Times by Police Officer

3, Affluenza

4, Never Mind What the Constitution Says, Our Prison System Has Run Amok

5. Billionaire Gets 4 MONTHS For Sexually Assaulting 12-Year-Old Because He’s ‘Productive’

6. Johnson to serve four months jail, pay $6K

7. After a hard-fought battle, it’s now Judge Gasiorkiewicz

8. Du Pont heir convicted of raping daughter spared prison

9. Judge said du Pont heir ‘will not fare well’ in prison

10. Judge gets security in du Pont heir’s child rape case

11. Beau Biden DEFENDS the judge who only gave a du Pont heir probation after admitting to sexually assaulting his three-year-     old daughter

12. Du Pont heir, ex-wife settle child sex abuse suit

_________________

Angela Grant can be found at her outstanding blog: Failure to Listen…A Cultural Problem. This work is part of the Mic check guest blogger series.

Posted in Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

The mercy rule

While I’ve spent the last two weeks on a road trip to the Chesapeake Bay and Smoky Mountains with my family, Israel has spent that time nobly defending itself from rocks and accuracy challenged, manually fired rockets that “lack guidance systems and can only be aimed in a general direction.” All I can say at this point is it’s good to see that the more than 3 billion in military aid the U.S. taxpayers give Israel each year isn’t going to waste. If this were a sporting event, the mercy rule would have gone into effect by now. The IDF controls the 130 square miles of land, sea and air surrounding the occupied territory known as the Gaza Strip including making it’s presence known with warships along the coast which restrict Palestinian fishermen from venturing into open waters to, you know, fish. As the indiscriminate slaughter of more than 600 mostly civilians and shelling of hospitals in Gaza continues, Netanyahu has the audacity to accuse Hamas of crimes against humanity. Surely, the US/UK/NATO calvary is on the way as soon as they finish wiping their prints from the crime scene known as Ukraine. For further breaking news on the ground in Gaza, Mondoweiss has long been a reputable source for independent news coverage of the region. There is at least some good news to be found…props to citizen protesters who made their voices known and helped get the water turned back on (temporarily) for residents in Gaza Detroit. And now I give you Lowkey, a musical activist of Iraqi and British descent, with Yemeni poet, Sanasino

Peace and solidarity to the people of Gaza.

 

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Israel’s War Crimes in Gaza

Jeff Nguyen:

This is what it must be like waking from a dream only to find yourself living in a nightmare…
Per the article: “In its 2009 report, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) found, “During Operation Cast Lead no type of property was left untouched: residences, hospitals, schools, mosques, factories and agricultural fields were demolished by the IDF.”

Originally posted on Uprootedpalestinians's Blog:

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/07/15/israels-war-crimes-in-gaza/

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu knows he has Official Washington so deeply in his pocket that he can get away with almost anything including the stealing of Palestinian land and the slaughtering of civilians in Gaza. Whatever his war crimes, Netanyahu will be excused, as Marjorie Cohn notes.

View original 1,738 more words

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The giant and the boy who threw stones

Jeff Nguyen:

Once more with feeling…Israel is a nuclear powerhouse, Gaza is a ghetto. Shoulder fired rockets ≠ F-15 fighter jets. Talk about deconstructing myths, check out: Dissecting IDF propaganda: The numbers behind the rocket attacks. Peace and solidarity to all of the Palestinian and Israeli people caught in the crossfire.

Originally posted on Deconstructing Myths:

(Photo credit: al-saber)

(Photo credit: al-saber )

Most American Christians are familiar with the biblical story of David and Goliath. This story has all the features of the underdog coming out on top that Americans love to lap up with their New York Times and morning cup of coffee. Alas, the government of Israel also knows all too well how Americans love their mythologies from the one about how the early settlers (murdering conquerors) had a bountiful feast with the Injuns (rightful land dwellers) at Plymouth Rock to how an African American POTUS represents the culmination of the civil rights era and not the co-opting of it. For most of my naive, apolitical life I passively bought the story hook, line, and sinker of how Israel represents poor, little David standing up to the Philistine Goliath’s who would do them no little harm. In the Bible, when the two face off in the…

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Posted in Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Jeffster Awards #31

(Photo credit: skulzstudios)

(Photo credit: skulzstudios)

This is the next installment of an ongoing series at Deconstructing Myths…the Jeffster Awards! This award will be given on an ongoing basis to five outstanding blog posts that caught my wandering eye. There are no strings attached or requirements for reciprocation. I don’t have time to comment on other blogs as much I’d like to so the least I can do is direct readers to some of these outstanding writers, poets, and visual artists. Please direct all feedback (likes, comments, follows) to the blogs themselves. I hope you enjoy these exemplary posts as much as I did. So, without further ado, here are the recipients of this week’s Jeffster Awards…hot off the (Word)presses.

Ice Books by Basia Irland at Lead Paper Ink

Being Carried by the Words at Oscar Hokeah

I Fear at Explorational Situations

Out of the Shadows at ADAM S.I. GOODMAN

The Named, The Nameless at Vox Populi

_________________

Peace and solidarity to all readers.

Posted in Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gaza, where you have 58 seconds to live

Jeff Nguyen:

For the oppressed, history repeats itself with a frequency and intensity the privileged will never know. The Israel/Palestine genocide gives lie to the falsehood that Americans love to root for the underdog. The reality is that many Americans enjoy the privileges that life affords them by having the biggest guns and baddest bombs on the global block. For further reflection…see the fable of The Giant and the Boy Who Threw Stones.

Originally posted on Sixteen Minutes to Palestine:

The sky is clear. There are no clouds to hide the drone coasting above your home. Despite being thousands of meters above you, its camera sees everything. You wonder if the drone operator, who sits comfortably in an air conditioned room in a remote Israeli military base, is making eye contact with you.

You hear a faint scraping sound. And then you hear a loud blast. Israel has just knocked on your roof.

Quick. You have fifty-eight seconds to make it out alive. The missile that hit your home wasn’t equipped with an explosive warhead. It’s purpose, you’ve been told, is to warn you that your home is slated for destruction. Your neighbors poke their heads out of their windows and urge you to run.

You have forty seconds left. The warning blast knocked in your roof. What good is a warning that kills you before you’re actually meant to die?

Your neighbors…

View original 293 more words

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“operation” bomb-the-hell-out-of-Gaza-this-has-nothing-to-do-with-security

Jeff Nguyen:

Well, it looks like Israel has invoked the blessed doctrine of asymmetrical self-defense once again. Word is that Israeli intelligence covered up the kidnapped teens’ deaths to milk public sympathy. Where is the public outrage in the U.S.? That’s a rhetorical question.

Originally posted on In Gaza:

People gather around a vehicle targeted in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City on July 8, 2014 that killed four Palestinians. (Photo: AFP - Mohammed Abed) http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/israeli-war-jets-bomb-50-sites-gaza

People gather around a vehicle targeted in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City on July 8, 2014 that killed four Palestinians. (Photo: AFP – Mohammed Abed)
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/israeli-war-jets-bomb-50-sites-gaza

The Zionists are again bombing Gaza, in another sadistically-named “operation” which I will not repeat, out of respect for the Palestinians of Gaza. Why bother with the names, just be honest: bomb-the-hell-out-of-Gaza-this-has-nothing-to-do-with-security # XXX

[on that note, please re-read this important article:Dissecting IDF propaganda: The numbers behind the rocket attacks]

Also very relevant:Netanyahu government knew teens were dead as it whipped up racist frenzy

Some updates from folks in/following Gaza:

Bloody aftermath of Israeli airstrikes, Khan Younis, Gaza,  RT

Al Akhbar updated:

Twenty-three Palestinians have been killed and 130 injured in a massive Israeli air and naval assault against the besieged Gaza Strip Tuesday, bombing dozens of targets, including homes.

Five children are among those killed in…

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Posted in Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Blurred lines

(Photo credit: glennshootspeople)

(Photo credit: glennshootspeople)

 “Fascism is capitalism plus murder.”

-Upton Sinclair

Well, now that I’m done scarfing down mom’s apple pie, furling up old glory for another year and retrieving my chihuahua/pug from under the couch, where he’s been hiding since the fireworks commenced in my neighborhood, it’s time to get back to the real business of all red, white and blue-blooded Americans…making wealthy people wealthier. Recently, I engaged in a dialogue taking place over at Systemic Disorder that has helped me to gain some perspective on the nagging sensation that a new brand of fascism has come to the sweet land of liberty. Pete Dolack, the blog’s estimable author, responded to one of my comments, “Fascism need not (and in the U.S. would not be) jackbooted militarists parading down the street, it merely needs a social base fooled by rhetoric into acting against its own interests.” Pete cited the Tea Party, a “grassroots” movement that just happens to be financially backed by the Koch-booger brothers, as an example of this confluence of corporate and collective power. I must admit that for some time when the topic of fascism arose, “jackbooted militarists parading down the street” were precisely what I visualized but it’s been slowly dawning on me that the U.S.’s long and winding road to a neofascist state has been a long time comin’. In America, we’re witnessing a perfect storm of corporate influence and state power that has captured the public interests from education to healthcare to the justice system. The American gen pop has witnessed the bankers and billionaires operating with impunity, the public schools being decimated and the healthcare insurers billing anything that moves.

(Photo credit: watchingfrogsboil)

(Photo credit: watchingfrogsboil)

On the international stage, the corporate-capitalists have brought democracy death and destruction on previously unimaginable scales to any country which finds itself in the crosshairs of the global elite. Breaking events in Iraq have done a good job of diverting attention and public scrutiny from breaking events in Ukraine which helped us forget about breaking events in Syria which distracted us from breaking events in Libya which was…well, you get the point. The neoliberal, disaster capitalists have controlled the public discourse from start to finish and stoked the glowing embers of neofascism from Greece to Spain to Ukraine. Meanwhile, the mission accomplished creeps have continued to profit from the mass destruction they have unleashed in the Levant while spinning tales of sectarian violence and corruption. Iraqi writer, Sami Ramadani, has deftly deconstructed the sectarian violence myth that the Western powers used to justify “democracy building in the Middle East, as they conveniently ignored the very real sectarian fissures in their own backyards. In the homeland, the multibillion dollar security apparatus is in place to manage dissent and ensure that a constant state of fear and loathing is maintained towards anyone who dares to think critically or question the narratives of the dominant/power culture. The recent rulings by the SCOTUS have simply codified the deeply held resentments the elite have towards dues-collecting unions and uppity women. I only hope in my lifetime to see the day when women are declared people, too.

(Photo credit: Atelier Teee)

(Photo credit: Atelier Teee)

The massive security and surveillance state in America is an all too predictable succession of events for an elite grown increasingly anxious that the people, whose labors they have profited off of immensely, will soon demand a raise in their allowances…with pitchforks. Capitalism might collapse under it’s own oppressive weight by then, once the planet or the people say “no más” to going another round in this neofuedal, death match that was fixed from the start. America, on it’s best days, has had a hard time actualizing the dream of racial, gender and economic equality espoused to it’s citizens and has settled for the reality of material comfort, social status and reality television as a measure of it’s collective worth. The struggle against neoliberalism, disaster capitalism and neofascism is global in nature and the architects of austerity use borders, ethnicity and ideology to keep us divided and conquered. Therefore, those who dream of a world without borders must be willing to link arms in solidarity in a manner that transcends borders, ethnicities and ideologies. My own children have grown up thinking that mass surveillance, decades upon decades of war and an increasingly militarized, police state are the new normal. Americans would be hard pressed to remember the last time the U.S. wasn’t at war with it’s neighbors. The road to fascism is not built overnight but, eventually, there may come a day when one looks out the window and sees the wing-tipped corporatists “parading down the street”. May the road rise up to meet their smug countenances…hard.

Peace and solidarity to all readers.

Posted in Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

Douglass v. Key redux

May the rocket’s red glare

the bomb’s bursting in air

give proof through the night

that our drones are still there

Full text: The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro

 

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