Monday, April 12, 2021

Caption Monday.

 



What's the title of this movie? 


Image from weeklystandard.com

Thursday, April 08, 2021

"Everybody got guns"


"I gotta a gun, he gotta gun, he gotta gun. Everybody got guns." ~Gyp Rosetti, Boardwalk Empire~

 There were two more high profile mass shootings again today in America. Maybe we shouldn't be calling them high profile because they registered a little above a blip in the nightly news cycle. We are all pretty fed up with the carnage and daily body count, but we have resigned ourselves to the fact that we will never defeat the NRA and the Second Amendment fanatics who honestly believe that a musket and a HK416 is the same thing. 

If you live in and around one of the major cities in this country, you will also notice that the murder rate is through the roof. And what makes this all the more sad is that it's children in most of these areas who are killing each other in record numbers because it's so easy to get their hands on a gun.  

This is all a bit perplexing because poll after poll shows that most Americans want sensible gun laws and legislation. I can only assume that what's stopping this from happening is a few politicians who owe their power to the fund raising arm of the NRA. These are men (and women) who are always going to be elected because they come from districts that have been gerrymandered with like-minded voters to ensure that they never lose another election. 

Today, the newly elected president, Joe Biden, tried to address the gun crisis in America by using the bully pulpit to talk about it. 

 "Gun violence in this country is an epidemic," Biden said in the Rose Garden to an audience of lawmakers and Americans touched by gun violence. "And it's an international embarrassment."  

The executive actions -- which Biden repeatedly argued did nothing to impinge on the Second Amendment right to bear arms -- include efforts to restrict weapons known as "ghost guns" that can be built using parts and instructions purchased online.

The moves are limited in scope and fall short of the steps Biden has vowed to pressure Congress to take. Still, they fulfilled his pledge last month to take "common-sense" steps on his own, and one move -- more heavily regulating arm braces used to make firing a pistol more accurate -- directly relates to the March shooting in Boulder, Colorado, where such a device was used. They took on new urgency coming on a day when the country experienced two more mass shootings..."

"Fall short." There are those two little words again. It seems that we are always falling short of doing the right thing when it comes to guns.  


 


Sunday, April 04, 2021

"One of their own."

 


With all of the latest legal troubles facing trump lead cheerleader and boy pal, Matt Gaetz, now would be a good time to revisit the following article written by Tom McCarthy for The Guardian. 

"To live outside the law, Bob Dylan sang, you must be honest. It also helps, apparently, to stay as clear as possible from Donald Trump, whose inner circle of advisers has suffered steady attrition since 2017, through a series of encounters with the criminal justice system.

On Thursday, the former White House strategist Steve Bannon became the latest Trump intimate to be taken into custody, when the Chinese-owned yacht on which he was sunburning was boarded by agents of the US Postal Service.

Bannon was accused of defrauding people who gave tens of millions to a private fund which existed, Bannon claimed, to finance the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico. The real purpose of that fund and others, federal prosecutors say, was to cover the “luxury” lifestyle expenses of Bannon and his fellow defendants.

“This entire fiasco is to stop people who want to build the wall,” Bannon declared outside a Manhattan courthouse, proclaiming his innocence.

Depending on how – and whom – you count, Bannon was the seventh former close Trump adviser to be arrested, face charges, plead guilty or to be convicted of a crime since the 45th president took office.

Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort (convicted: tax fraud, bank fraud) is in home confinement due to Covid-19; former adviser Roger Stone (convicted: obstruction, false statements) received a presidential commutation; former adviser Michael Cohen (guilty plea: campaign finance crimes, lying to Congress) is in home confinement; former national security adviser Michael Flynn (guilty plea: lying to the FBI) is awaiting a ruling on a request to dismiss charges; former adviser Rick Gates (guilty plea: lying to investigators) has completed a prison term; and former adviser George Papadopoulos (guilty plea: lying) has completed a prison term. 

I believe it unprecedented in any US administration for so many of the closest circle of persons around the president to have been shown to be conmen, grifters and base criminals,” said Patrick Cotter, a former federal prosecutor who was part of the team that convicted the Gambino family boss John Gotti, in an email.

“While previous administrations had their share of those trying to personally profit and those willing to break the law to serve the political interests of the president, what is unique about the Trump administration is the large number of people in direct contact with the president, often for years, who are revealed to be out-and-out fraudsters for whom crime is apparently part of their lifestyle and character.”

As his re-election campaign enters full swing, Trump has made an effort to brand himself as the president of “law and order”. But Trump himself has at times appeared to sail within dangerous distance of criminal legal hazards.

During impeachment proceedings that straddled the turn of this year, Democrats and the Republican senator Mitt Romney voted to remove Trump for abuse of power.

Robert Mueller detailed nearly a dozen potential instances of obstruction of justice by Trump during the Russia investigation, though the special counsel did not propose criminal charges.

Before that, Trump paid $2m in fines and closed his family’s “charity” foundation, admitting it had used donations to pay campaign and business expenses.

The prosecutors in that case, in the New York state attorney general’s office, are currently investigating Trump’s banking and tax conduct, while federal prosecutors in New York – the ones bringing charges against Bannon – are also looking at alleged graft by Trump’s inauguration committee.

The Manhattan district attorney is investigating Trump’s tax records, as are multiple congressional committees.

Trump says he is a victim of a witch-hunt by politically motivated prosecutors. His critics say that in fact the full scope of Trump’s alleged criminal conduct is unknown because he is using the power of the presidency to block details from coming to light.

Continued arrests of former associates could at some stage pose a threat to Trump himself, if one decided to cooperate with prosecutors against Trump, legal analysts have said. But past speculation about the dangers of such a “flipped” witness have not been borne out – in part perhaps because Trump has demonstrated a willingness to pardon his friends for their wrongdoing, decreasing any incentive to “flip”.

Consider Trump’s clemency for Stone; the justice department’s efforts to drop the case against Flynn, which the courts have not yet granted; attorney general William Barr’s sudden removal of prosecutors seen as threatening to Trump; and Trump’s deployment of the might of the justice department to stop his tax records being handed to state authorities and Congress, in a case that reached the supreme court.

Barr and Trump have denied using the levers of American justice to prosecute the president’s enemies and protect his friends. But evidence-heavy charging documents against figures in Trump’s orbit keep stacking up.

“Why this unprecedented situation?” said Cotter, now a Chicago-based officer with the Greensfelder law firm.

“My almost 40 years working in criminal law has taught me that criminals of a particular type tend to associate with other criminals of the same type. There is a comfort level and mutual understanding in such associations.

So when I see a swarm of conmen buzzing around one particular man, in this case Trump, my experience suggests that it is because they recognize one of their own. And in selecting them to be his confidants, the president also recognized kindred spirits.”

It just keeps happening. But it has not happened Trump, yet." [Source] 

Not yet. But his tax returns are in the hands of  the Manhattan District Attorney's office. Let's see where this leads. 

Oh, and have you noticed who is still silent when it comes to these latest accusations and investigations of the above mentioned Mr. Gaetz? If you guessed Donald trump move to the head of the class.

 One day these people will learn that trump cares about one thing and one thing only: Himself. 

*Image from The Nation

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Newsworthy.


These last few days have been certainly very interesting in terms of news.

First, I will start with the trial of Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin. 

I honestly can't write too much about this, because I have to say that whenever I see those images and videos being played out of that horrific day,  I get angry and sad all over again. I spend a lot of time in courtrooms, and I am always curios to see how other trial lawyers operate, but not this time. It's very hard to just step back and view this case objectively, and so I won't even try. 

I will say this, though, if someone says that they know how this verdict will come down they are lying to you and to themselves. As is always the case with these types of high profile jury cases, we just don't know. 

Second, there is the Matt Gaetz federal investigation. (That's Matt in the picture. You can't miss him.) It seems that Matt has gotten himself in some trouble, and now he might have to face the music. If what is alleged is true, a lot of people will say that they are not surprised. Matt has quite a spotty record when it comes to these types of activities, and the friends he keeps (including the former president) doesn't help his credibility when it comes to this issue. 

And If Matt actually has a lawyer, this might be a good time to remind his client that he has a 5th Amendment right to keep his mouth shut. Matt has been doing a lot of talking since this all came down, and needless to say he is not helping his case. 

  "Gaetz has denied any allegations of wrongdoing and claimed that he was the target of an extortion attempt folllowing a Tuesday New York Times report that said Gaetz is currently the subject of a federal sex trafficking investigation involving a then-17-year-old girl.  

Gaetz told Fox News' Tucker Carlson that his family had notified the FBI about the alleged extortion, naming McGee as being behind it. Gaetz said his father had worn a wire during a meeting as part of an investigation of the extortion claim, and that he believes the Times story had been leaked in order to thwart that investigation"

What a mess. 

Finally, there is the story of Major and Champ. These poor guys have been under scrutiny since they left their cozy home in Delaware for the craziness and fishbowl that is Washington. 

"President Biden's dogs Major and Champ are back in the news. And the coverage of the presidential pooches is generating some strong reactions -- with some people arguing that the canine behavior isn't newsworthy at all.

To be sure, Biden's infrastructure plans are certainly the more important story emanating from the White House this week. But the Biden's-best-friend news is revealing in its own way. First there were those biting incidents. Then on Wednesday there was an instance of "dog poo on the floor," which was dutifully (doo-doo-tifully?) reported by the White House press pool.

Reactions to the doggie coverage have run the gamut, showcasing the many feelings and gripes and questions people have about the American news media."

This is crazy! They are dogs! What do people expect?  

I know one thing, they better not even think about putting them down. I know how Americans feel about their pets (especially their dogs), and if the president were to make such a mistake he would have a hard time getting back to 50% approval ratings. 

The former guy didn't even have a dog, and the American press should have made that a much bigger issue than the way they are scrutinizing the behavior of Major and Champ. 

But hey, I guess when you have a boring president who does every thing in a normal way, you have to find something to write about.  


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Questions of the day.

 





The state of Georgia just passed some serious draconian measures that many fear will seriously limit minority voter participation for years to come. They claim it was to make the voting process secure, but that doesn't make sense since Georgia just had one of their smoothest elections in that state's history, even though there was record voter turnout. 

My question is this: Do you think that these new voter suppression laws, not only in Georgia, but in states all over the country where Republicans are in charge, will cause a backlash and have the opposite effect of what it was meant to do? 

Oh, and I have a bonus question: How did watching the arrest of that African American state representatives by those state troopers make you feel? 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

America has a gun problem.




As the gun violence epidemic rages in America, there is a small segment of our population who insist on making guns a part of the American DNA when it shouldn't be so. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution has become the most important amendment of all. It has certainly become way more important than the Fifteenth Amendment to those on the right. 

Think about this for a minute. They actually want to make it harder for you to vote than to own a gun. And not just any gun. We are about taking high powered assault weapons with the capacity to do some serious damage. 

As the pandemic comes to an end and Americans start trying to get back to their normal lives, we are reminded what are normal was before COVID-19 came at us with a vengeance.  Our normal as it relates to gun violence and the carnage it brought us was not good, and we are back to where we started before this virus hit: Mass killings on a daily basis. 

In truth, in many inner cities across the country, it never left. In fact, it seemed to have gotten worse. Here in Philly children are being murdered by other children in alarming numbers, and city leaders and those in law enforcement seem to have no answers. Guns are everywhere. These little urban terrorists in Philly can get a gun quicker than they can a bicycle or a baseball glove, and they are not afraid to let you know it. They will "pop off" at the slightest diss or internet trolling. Beefs that used to be settled with fists or other means now have deadly consequences for all involved. I suspect that this doesn't matter to politicians and those on the right, because these are just black boys killing other black boys, and they live far from the rest of us "decent law abiding citizens". But the easy access to guns doesn't only make life miserable and unpredictable for those poor people living in the hood. What happens when the suddenness and unpredictability of  gun violence starts affecting the rest  of us?    

This week 18 people lost their lives to mass shootings while they tried to go about their everyday lives. Americans realized that it could have been any of "us", and they were once again outraged.

Sadly, we all know that all the outrage in the world will not change things. If twenty children getting slaughtered at an elementary school won't allow us to muster the political will to do something, I am pretty sure that these latest mass killings won't either. 

But hey, as my friends on the right like to say: "Thoughts and prayers". 







Sunday, March 21, 2021

CAPTION SUNDAY.

 

* \


I need a caption for this picture. 

You spring breakers in Miami are a mess. 

Go home!

*Image from The Daily Beast














Thursday, March 18, 2021

Robert's "bad day".

 I want to start this post by giving a shout out to my Asian brothers and sister out there, and letting them know that I, along with the field hands and other field Negroes, are standing with them in their struggle against hatred and ignorance. 

The city of Atlanta (and the areas around  it) is still in shock after a young white man took it up on himself to murder eight people in cold blood. (We knew he was a young white man before it was even announced because he was taken alive without incident.)  And it wasn't lost on us that most of the victims were Asian American women. Of course, America being America, the press and those in positions of authority tried to spin it differently. 

The killer told authorities that he had a sex addiction, and that's why he did what he did, but we know better. He passed a lot of strip clubs to cross over into multiple counties to find Asian massage spas and kill Asian women, so give me a break.

Then, of course, there was the sheriff from Cherokee County, who wanted us to know that the cold blooded killer was just "having a bad day."  You got the feeling that the good old boy sheriff was feeling more remorse for the killer than he was the eight people he murdered in cold blood. Of course we are starting to find out why.  I hate to judge a book by its cover, but I took one look at sheriff Baker and I knew exactly what he was all about. I am sure every other black person in America watching it knew as well.

Now there is all this hand wringing and folks trying to figure out why there has been this sad incredible spike in Asian hate crimes over the last few months. I am not sure why, though, because it's obvious where this all came from, and when it all started. We only have to look at the former president and his incredibly irresponsible actions.  

People thought that his calling the COVID-19 virus the Kung Flu and the China virus was funny and cute at the time. It wasn't. And people of good conscience who tried to warn him to tone down the anti Asian rhetoric could see all of this coming. 

"Baker said Wednesday that the gunman was likely to have acted alone.

"These locations, he sees them as an outlet for him, something he shouldn't be doing," Baker said, adding that Long indicated that he had an "issue with porn" and was "attempting to take out that temptation."

"He was fed up, at the end of his rope," Baker said. "He had a bad day, and this is what he did."

Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds said Long "may have frequented some of these places in the past" and "might have been lashing out." 

No sheriff Baker, he didn't act alone. He had a lot of company. Including you. 



Monday, March 15, 2021

The Snickers defense.

 


Tonight my racism chase takes me to the state of Oklahoma. It's a state that has been trying its hardest to out do the likes of  Mississippi when it comes to ignorance and racism of late. 

 I am sure you all have heard the story by now about the high school basketball announcer who dropped the n word when referencing a bunch of high school girls because they had the courage to show the world that they stood (or in this case kneeled) for something.

  “They’re kneeling? F***ing n*****s. I hope Norman gets their ass kicked ... F*** them. I hope they lose.

“Come on Midwest City. They’re going to kneel like that? Hell no.

"Did they even salute the flag? F***ing n*****s."

That's what the youth pastor and self professed man of God said about a bunch of girls playing a high school basketball game. And not enough is being made of the other man in the booth, who chose to listen to his diatribe and say nothing. He is just as much of a racist in my book. 

This is all bad, of course, but probably the craziest part of this story is that the man actually blamed his racism on his diabetes. (The old sugar made me do it defense.) Now I have heard a lot of excuses for racism---- from work pressure to just being naive, but I have never heard racism blamed on a physical condition. It's like that Snickers commercial where the actor isn't himself until he has had a Snickers bar. It works the same way with racists, they have to get their game face on and prepare themselves before going out into the world and holding their racist impulses in check. One little thing can trigger it like it did for Mr. Rowan one night at a girl's basketball game in Oklahoma. It might be hunger or a sugar spike. Or, just seeing black people exercise their God given right to do something.

Anyway, as is to be expected, there was an apology from Mr. Rowan. 

"I, Matt Rowan, on Thursday, March 11, 2021, most regrettably made some statements that cannot be taken back....While the comments I made would certainly indicate that I am a racist, I am not, I have never considered myself to be racist, and in short cannot explain why I made these comments." 

I, Field Negro, am a vegetarian, and while the steak dinner I just ate would certainly indicate that I like meat. I do not consider myself to be a meat eater. 

Give me a break!

Here is hoping that this man never calls another game in his miserable career. Although I'm sure that it won't stop him from making a living. Watch for a paid guest host gig for him on FOX NEWS really soon. 

Don't laugh. It worked for Mark Fuhrman. 


 

 



Friday, March 12, 2021

We're just glad he is gone.


The orange guy is out of office, but we are still seeing stories about him and his crime family that leaves us scratching our heads and wondering how we could have ever elected this guy to be our president in the first place. 

First, we heard the tape of him trying to alter the elections in the state of Georgia.

"In a newly revealed phone call, President Donald Trump asked a Georgia law enforcement official to find evidence of fraud with absentee-by-mail ballots, the latest revelation in his unsuccessful attempt to overturn the state's election results.

"Whatever you can do, Frances, it would be — it's a great thing," Trump said to Georgia Secretary of State chief investigator Frances Watson in December. "When the right answer comes out, you'll be praised."

The six-minute call — first reported by The Washington Post in January and released in full by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday — came in late December after Trump's then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, made a surprise visit to Cobb County, where the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and secretary of state's office were checking signatures on absentee ballot envelopes with those on file.

The then-president listed other Southern states he won and told Watson that Georgia should be one of them, too.

"The people of Georgia are so angry at what happened to me. They know I won by hundreds of thousands of votes," Trump falsely claimed."

Sure ya did sport. Sure ya did. 

Then there is this one. 

" A dog rescue charity with links to Lara Trump has spent as much as $1.9 million at former President Donald Trump’s properties over the last seven years and will drop an additional quarter-million at his Mar-a-Lago country club this weekend.

According to a permit filed with the town of Palm Beach, Florida, Big Dog Ranch Rescue estimates it will spend $225,000 at the club where Donald Trump has taken up full-time residence since leaving the White House. All the profit from that spending winds up in his pocket.

Internal Revenue Service filings show that the group has spent as much as $1,883,160 on fundraising costs at Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s golf course 18 miles north in Jupiter starting in 2014. Lara Trump, the wife of Eric Trump, started being listed as a chairwoman for charity events in 2018, and the group’s president, Lauren Simmons, visited the White House in 2019 for the signing of a bill addressing animal cruelty.

Neither Simmons nor other officers of Big Dog Ranch Rescue, which is located in Loxahatchee Groves, 16 miles west of Palm Beach, responded to HuffPost queries.

Many businesses have cut their ties to Trump following the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, for which Trump was impeached after he spent two months lying about the election having been “stolen” from him. Trump asked his followers to gather in Washington, D.C., on the day Congress was meeting to certify the Electoral College votes, and then urged them to march on the Capitol to intimidate his own vice president into violating the Constitution and installing Trump for another term.

Simmons, however, was among those propagating Trump’s lies on social media, posting messages to “stop the steal,” a phrase the defeated president’s supporters had adopted. On Jan. 3, three days before the mob attack, Simmons shared a post stating: “ “Either we TAKE power back or we will never be free again. No more asking nicely.” [Source]

And finally, this little gem.

Contained within a sprawling new piece in the New Yorker about Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan District Attorney investigating Donald Trump, is an incredible anecdote from years ago revealing how the former president approaches mourning.

The anecdote involves Allen Weisselberg, the CFO of the Trump Organization who is reported to be under scrutiny by prosecutors, and who is prominently featured in the story. According to the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, investigators appear to have their eyes on Weisselberg as a potential cooperator. “Allen Weisselberg knows where all the bodies are buried,” Mary Trump says in the piece.

But Jennifer Weisselberg, who was once married to Allen Weisselberg’s son Barry, expressed uncertainty that her former father-in-law would flip:

Jennifer described her former father-in-law as being in Trump’s thrall: “His whole worth is ‘Does Donald like me today?’ It’s his whole life, his core being. He’s obsessed. He has more feelings and adoration for Donald than for his wife.” Asked if Allen Weisselberg would flip under pressure, she said, “I don’t know. For Donald, it’s a business. But for Allen it’s a love affair.”

She also told Jane Mayer about a wild, if not surprising anecdote involving Trump, a shiva, and a yacht teeming with naked women:

Jennifer told me that she first met Trump before she was married, at Allen Weisselberg’s modest house, in Wantagh, on Long Island. That day, the Weisselberg family was sitting shivah, for Allen’s mother. Trump showed up in a limousine and blurted out, “This is where my C.F.O. lives? It’s embarrassing!” Then, Jennifer recalled, Trump showed various shivah attendees photographs of naked women with him on a yacht. “After that, he starts hitting on me,” she said. Jennifer claimed that Allen Weisselberg, instead of being offended on her behalf, humored his boss: “He didn’t stand up for me!” Asked about this, Weisselberg’s lawyer, Mary Mulligan, said, “No comment.”

Mayer does not report when exactly this occurred, except that it was sometime before 2004.

Read the full report here. [Source] 

Man hits on his employee's wife and shows naked pictures of women at a funeral, and he still gets to be elected president. 

Only in America. 




 

Monday, March 08, 2021

Meghan brings the goods.


If you are one of the five people who didn't see Oprah's interview with Meghan Markle and her hubby last night, you might want to sit this blog post out. I watched it instead of the NBA All Star game (don't judge) and I'm glad I did because I was able to contribute my two cents to the water cooler coterie today.

First, I have to come clean about my background. I am a product of the British Commonwealth (Jamaica), and for better or for worse, I understand the concept of the Monarchy and the ridiculous adulation and reverence that those who are in the fold command. I also understand the history of racism and colonizing that comes with the House of Windsor  and the British Empire.

I was probably the least surprised person in America to hear that certain members of the Royal family (or "the firm" as  Meghan called them) worried about baby Archie being too dark. Most white Americans were shocked to hear that the Royals might be racist. Black folks were like...duh!  Tell us something we didn't already know. It didn't take Meghan (bless her half black soul) to figure it out. One could argue that Meghan was seriously naive if she didn't see all of this coming. Or, the other school of thought is that she might be playing us all. Maybe she knew all along what was coming and rode it out for maximum benefit. 

What has been interesting is listening to certain folks who automatically jump to the defense of the Royals and declare that they are not racist, and that Meghan is simply being a drama Queen.  (I see you white Santa lady.) These folks, like Piers Morgan and those of his ilk, are always quick to defend the racist status quo. We all know that if Meghan Markle looked like Kate Middleton the British press wouldn't have treated her the way that they did, and people like Piers Morgan and Megyn Kelly would be much more sympathetic to what she had to deal with. 

Personally, I am glad that Meghan Markle and her husband were able to break away. I am glad she got to tell her truth to Oprah, and that seventeen million Americans got a chance to hear it. 

Honestly, I have never understood the fascination with the Royal family, because, frankly, they have no impact on the lives of most people in the world, and they perform primarily ceremonial functions in Britain. I didn't hear anything last night that I didn't already know, but watching the reaction of others and the way this story has captured the zeitgeist of the moment has been interesting to say the least.th

I wish Meghan and her husband the best. Hopefully they will be able to live out their years, and just soak up the California sun without any drama. 

 I would be careful, though. Remember what happened to Diana