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There are lots of times you can understand people getting emotional and over-reacting to a situation. We're humans, it's kind of what we do. But I was sickened and outraged when I heard some police spokes-liar on the BBC use that to justify the shooting of Walter Scott.

Yeah, let that sink in and you'll feel as disgusted and horrified as I did. This "emotionally compromised" officer gunned a man down in cold blood and calmly walked over to the body and handcuffed it. Yeah, he was totally freaked out. NOT. I want an old timey god to rain down hellfire and lightning on the police in South Carolina. I want a flood to raze their precinct buildings and wash the filth into the seas.

And while this disgusting piece of human waste was shoveling this bilge on the radio he kept trying to make the point that this was nothing like Ferguson. Fuck that noise. This and a thousand other incidents just like it are EXACTLY like Ferguson. The police in this country are dangerous gun-wielding maniacs and they're being given military hardware and sent to WAR. What else does this ass clown think will happen? That maybe unicorns will appear and start spreading rainbows and giving away free candy?

Discuss

Tue Mar 24, 2015 at 05:26 PM PDT

The United States of North Bend

by ontheleftcoast

Last week a drama unfolded less than a mile from my home here in the foothills of the northern Cascade range. A 41 year-old man going thru a divorce decided a gun was going to solve his problems. What played out over the next several hours was a microcosm of many issues in this country so I thought I'd share it with you folks.

As is the case these days social media is how we learned something was happening. Who watches the news anymore when folks with police scanners are on FB and Twitter feeding info to umpteen followers? But that's not really an American thing -- social media is world wide. Anyhow, a report came in that police had closed down a nearby street and though details were sketchy a woman was being held at gunpoint. It turns out the details were correct. So there's the first slice of American pie for you -- violence against women, gun violence in fact. And this isn't the first incident in this small town in the past 12 months and might not be the last. Maybe 7,000 people live in the town and the surrounding community and we've had multiple incidents like this (or worse). America!, excuse me, 'Murika!

Next came the escalation of police forces. Remember, there is one man with a handgun and one woman hostage. How many police did that call for? 10? 20? 50? Nope, try over 70 including helicopters and a full SWAT unit to deal with this issue. Militarized police response -- the next slice of American pie. I'm sure when the suspect looked out the window and saw over 70 armed troopers, tactical vehicles, and some robots he calmed right the fuck down... oh, wait, he didn't.

Then came the long hours of waiting, morning turned to noon and noon became afternoon and parents were desperately trying to find their kids because this event occurred on a main road thru the neighborhood and that meant it was closed to most traffic including school buses. But the police waited patiently because, well, you won't need to guess -- the suspect was white. Membership does have it's privileges after all and that's our next slice of American pie -- a white suspect and the police (mostly) behave themselves.

Finally, after several hours the woman was released around 5:30 in the afternoon. Nobody was shot, nothing was burned down, or blown up. The matter looked like it could resolve peacefully with the arrest of the gunman. Well, it could have, but boys and their toys can't be denied and finally around 7:15 the SWAT unit fired flash bangs and tear gas into the house to drive the suspect out. In a final moment of irony the gunman tripped on his own stairs on the way out of the house and shot himself in the chest. He survived. Yeah, that's about American as pie can get.

Discuss

Tue Mar 10, 2015 at 04:13 PM PDT

The Cry of the Turtle

by ontheleftcoast

"It's Obama's fault!"

You've all heard about the #47Traitors (or is that #49Traitors now? Someday I'll get a Twitter account) but you probably haven't heard why they became treasonous dickwads.

On the way to pick my son up from school I heard Senator Yertle talking on NPR about why they had no choice. You see the problem, according to Mitch McChinless, is that Obama is being mean to the Senate and not telling them letting them dictate what will be in the agreement with Iran.

You see? Clearly they had no other options. If only Obama bent over, licked their boots, and kissed their asses then everything would've be fine. So glad we got that all cleared up.

Discuss

Fri Feb 20, 2015 at 06:15 PM PST

A little gallows humor...

by ontheleftcoast

I made a comment in BiPM's Cheers and Jeers about how the weather on the west coast is definitely not normal. And it got me to thinking, we should probably change the names of the months to better reflect the coming weather patterns due to climate changes. So with tongue firmly planted in cheek and choking back the tears when I consider this brave, new world we're racing towards I give you my proposal for the new calendar after the Cheeto of Climate Doom...

Poll

"Favorite" new month in the calendar?

18%7 votes
5%2 votes
5%2 votes
0%0 votes
10%4 votes
29%11 votes
16%6 votes
10%4 votes
2%1 votes

| 37 votes | Vote | Results

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Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 10:48 AM PST

"Yes you do."

by ontheleftcoast

It's as predictable as the sun rising. Someone writes a diary about white privilege and the complaints and denials start flying. Of all of the ones I see the one that I'm the most tired of reading is, "But I don't get anything from white privilege!"

"Yes you do."

There is a cognitive problem in discussing privilege because it comes in two distinct forms -- group and individual. When talking about the privilege of the group people think their individual experience confirms or disproves that privilege. But that's not actually correct. Let's take a somewhat contrived example:

"I'm a poor, left-handed, one-legged, blind, transgendered, atheist woman who just immigrated from Estonia! I don't have any privilege!"

Actually you still have white privilege, you might not realize it but you do. Remember, it's not about you, it's about how blacks in this country are treated -- or more correctly -- how they are mistreated. Sure, you might not experience any obvious benefits from being white but you're not receiving the negatives of being black.

I know I'm still not getting thru to many of you so let me try explaining it with a sports metaphor.

A white player steps up to the plate in the baseball game of life, the pitch is thrown, and...
Swing and a miss!
"Strike one!" calls the umpire.
Next pitch.. foul tip
"Strike two!" calls the umpire.
And another pitch... swing and a miss!
"Strike three! You're out!"
Now a black man comes to the plate in our metaphorical game, the first pitch is thrown, and...
"Strike three! You're out!" calls the umpire.
That's white privilege in action. It's not so much that you get something it's that you don't have something taken away. The sense of basic fairness that you think everyone should have is take from blacks and other people of color everyday in hundreds of ways. Some subtle, some gross, but that taking is, and always has, been there.

No matter how many subgroups you belong to as long as you're white (or accepted as white) you won't have the disadvantage of being black. It's really that simple. Yeah, you don't get a free toaster, or a car, or a place to live. But while you may not get anything you don't have something taken away from you just by simply existing.

Now I'm sure someone will point out that being gay or severely disabled or a non-English speaker or whatever is actually worse than being black. That's missing the point entirely. It's not that being black is somehow the worst thing ever. It's that so much of our society imposes a cost for it that you as a white person will never have to pay that you do have an advantage, a privilege. And just because you don't see it doesn't mean that it somehow doesn't exist.

Discuss

Many years ago when I was still a respectable lad I got called to jury duty in Minnesota. Back then, in the early 80's, you got a two week assignment to a pool and could be called multiple times. The second case I was called for was a complaint against the Illinois Ladder Co. by a farmer who was suing them for an incident with one of their products. He claimed they didn't warn him about a potential danger and an accident that he had was thus their fault. See if you can guess what his accident was, here's the warning label his attorney claimed was missing

"Warning! Do Not Place Ladder In Materials That Become Slippery When Melting"

Really. That was the warning, if you hadn't guessed from the diary title and that warning the farmer had placed ladder against the barn in the winter secured at the base by some frozen cow manure. In the spring it melted and when he climbed the ladder it gave way and he fell and was injured. He decided to sue the ladder company.

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Fri Dec 12, 2014 at 02:32 PM PST

F#ck you, Shaun King

by ontheleftcoast

About two hours ago you posted a diary about Sean Hannity and his love of Witness #40. You chose to make the issue of the witness' medical condition a prominent feature of your story. So much so that you included it in the title.

Despite multiple pleas from several Kossacks with the condition who don't appreciate being lumped in with this racist, lying asshole you have refused to change the diary title.

Well, fuck you and the blog you wrote in on.

So I'm posting this diary to call you out and with the fuck in its title it will have the added benefit of limiting some traffic to the site. I've tried going thru normal channels, I even sent you a polite message an hour ago asking for this simple act of consideration -- remove the word 'bipolar' from the diary title. So far you have refused to do so.

Well, until you do that I will leave this diary up.

Again, fuck you.

Update: After an hour and with no response from Shaun I'm removing the offending title in my diary. But now I'm not going to delete this diary even if Shaun eventually fixes his. Just remember, Shaun, even a guy with bipolar disorder has more class and ethics than you do.

Update II: The offending diary title has finally been corrected. Hooray, I guess.

Discuss

So here I am, 52 years old and out of work.

I'm not hurting, if things work out and we sell our current home and move I could retire and live fairly comfortably. Not a bad situation to be in all things considered.

But I'm not really happy. I want to do something and get paid for doing it. The problem is I realize I don't know how to go about finding a job in my field. I've tried searching the web but it feels wrong somehow.  Every job I've ever had came to me rather than the other way around. People I knew told me about people looking for someone like me and I contacted them and "found" employment.

But I've lost those connections as I've gotten older. A big part of the problem is professionally I made the mistake of thinking my previous job (25 years at Microsoft) would be the last one I ever had. So here I am with my "social circle" being people who still work at Microsoft and you folks.

So is the way to go about finding work in software really just slapping a resume on Monster or Dice and pouring thru endless poorly worded job offerings? Or is there some better way of going about it?

I realize this isn't much of anything but I've got to find a way to get out of this funk I'm in. Consider this just one of my steps in breaking the inertia.

Discuss

Can we please stop blaming the victims of violence?

The tragic death of Tamir Rice is ripping my guts out and I see people ready to offer "advice" like

"He shouldn't have reached into his waistband..."
"He should've done what the cops..."

He was TWELVE. Do you remember what you were like when you were twelve? Did you do everything, and I mean ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY EVERYTHING you were told to do like your life depended on it. Yeah, me neither. Teenagers too old to be a kid, too young to be an adult, apparently just the right age to blame for their own death.

Then there are the parental advice tips

"I don't like my kids play with guns!"
"What parent lets their kid play with toys like that?!"

Newsflash. Kids are not robots. No amount of parenting short of locking them in a room until they're adults will keep them safe from the world. You can prepare them with advice and life lessons all you want but they will interact with the world and do things you can't control.

There is one, and only one, reason Tamir Rice won't see his thirteenth birthday. And that is because he was shot by a cop who was "just doing their job". Something is fundamentally wrong with our society when a job, any job, includes killing someone.

If you want to blame someone how about Wayne LaPierre and his fellow ammosexuals? They are a million times more responsible than Tamir or his parents for his death. You want to blame an individual, blame Wayne.

Maybe you can blame the assholes at FOX or hate radio for their non-stop attempts to drive wedges into our society. By making blacks and Latinos and other minorities into monsters that we have to be constantly afraid of, so afraid that we make rules and laws that let cops gun down innocent children in the park.

How about fighting to get the 2nd Amendment repealed or amended? Sure, it's less likely to happen than winning the Powerball but if you don't try it won't happen. Maybe you can blame yourself and the rest of the culture instead of the victim?

So, please, stop with the "well intentioned advice" about what Tamir or his parents could've or should've done. Because until we change this country and its rules and laws there will be more Tamirs and your advice will be just as useless. Again.

Discuss

Wed Nov 26, 2014 at 01:46 PM PST

My fellow, white Americans...

by ontheleftcoast

there's something about how we've been acting and it's bothering me. A lot.

So I'm going to be brutally honest with you. In all my sparkling whiteness to your incandescent, glowing whiteness. Every time you say, "The system worked", in regards to the events in Ferguson or any other police shooting you're being an ignorant, racist asshole.

Let me state that again, so there is no confusion. When the police kill someone and the killers don't go to jail or even have a real trial and you offer up the claim "The system worked" you are a racist. And an ignorant one as well. Even if they killed a white person. Even if it was in "self defense". Because it's not about any one, single incident. It's about that system you're so desperate to protect, a system that uses racism to justify its existence.

And why do I say that? It's because the system is designed to make white America feel safe from "the Negro" and "the Immigrant" and a hundred other scary inventions of those with power to make you feel like you're being protected. But it's not you they want to protect. What they really want is to have a system in place that protects them from you. Why do you think middle class, white America only feels the weight of the police state when they protest against Wall Street or against the military industrial complex? Because they're upsetting the owners and the owners don't like it.

And if you think for one minute your whiteness is going to save your ass when times get tough look at what happened in 2007/08's meltdown. How many white middle class jobs were wiped out? How many white family's lost their homes? Hell, some even lost their lives. And what did the oligarchs do for you when that happened? They fought as hard as possible to preserve their banks and financial institutions and sent the cops to foreclose on your homes and handed them over to the very same criminals who ruined your lives.

You got fucked over big time and the color of your skin didn't matter, the only thing that mattered was the size of your bank account and the power you had because of that. If you want proof the system doesn't work for white America just ask a poor white guy how well the system works for them some time. Ask the homeless person if they really feel safer with cops around. Your belief that the system protects you is a fantasy created by those with power to make you complicit in the continuation of that system's existence. You're sold racist excuses to justify the system and you happily accept the terms and conditions of that racism even though that system doesn't serve you.

So please stop telling me or anyone else how the "system worked" and expect us to be happy about it. I damn well know it worked, it works all too well. Rather be honest and tell me you feel safer because a black man was shot in the street. Or that you're OK with the oligarchs stealing everything that isn't nailed down. Because at least then I'll know you're not ignorant. I'll know you're a racist, a sycophant, or perhaps both but not an ignorant one.

Discuss

Tue Nov 04, 2014 at 09:07 PM PST

Depressed as f#¢king hell

by ontheleftcoast

First let me say this, I'm not writing this for attention but as a cathartic act -- a release.

The shit running thru my brain is dark and scary. Armageddon, Ragnarok, and a planet killing asteroid all rolled into one kind of gloom.

That's how I feel with the Republicans winning the Senate. The next 2 years are going to a freaking nightmare of partisan, racist fueled hackery of the worst imaginable kind.

In any realistic sense we won't have a chance to get both chambers of Congress until 2020 or later. We're going to lose another decade in the fight to stop climate change. And, worse, we might accelerate it with Republicans calling the shots.

Yeah, yeah, I'm no Cassandra, I can't predict the future. But I don't see things getting better any time soon.

But I'm not calling it quits. I'm not throwing in the fucking towel. I'm depressed because I don't know where to focus my anger.

Part of the problem is my anger is also directed at the gutless Democrats who tried to play at being moderates or Republican-lite. Truman had it right, given the choice between a real Republican and a fake one the real Republican will win every time. Why the hell haven't we learned that lesson yet? Why the hell can't Democrats embrace the populist message? Why are we so busy triangulating? That was Bill's strategy 20 years ago. There was no fucking internet 20 years ago. We joke about Republicans being stuck in the 1950's well we're stuck in the freaking 90's trying to copy Clinton.

So thanks for letting me vent. I'm sure plenty of you have some venting to do as well.

Discuss

Reality and Wall Street aren't on speaking terms. Something happened today that you'd think would be good news -- the number of job openings reached a 13 year high. Yeah, we can get into the nitty gritty about many of those jobs not paying a living wage, but jobs are coming back. That means workers will be employed. And that should be a good thing, right?

Well, not if you're Wall Street. All three major indices fell today, one of the reasons given is investors worrying that increased job growth will mean the Federal Reserve will ease back on its stimulus program. So in the new world order workers earning salaries and buying things isn't as lucrative as getting money straight from the federal government. Funny, I seem to remember that Reagan's mantra was consumers will drive the economy. Consumers need jobs to buy stuff, right? Are these Wall Street clowns actually claiming that their sainted Ronald Reagan was wrong?

And that gets to the heart of it. Wall Street doesn't care about anything but Wall Street. Just last week Standard and Poor released a report that shows inequality hurts the economy. But Wall Street doesn't care, because cutting away at inequality would hurt them. To hell with the economy, to hell with the workers, to hell with anybody who isn't them.

Discuss
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