Sunday, November 30, 2014

Blackout the Year End - An Update

I have started a new blog, which will run from now until the end of the year.  This blog deals specifically with unjust police violence and murder of people of color in the United States.  The name of the blog is Black Out The Year End, and the address is Black Out The Year End.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Blackout the Year End

Here's a condensed and simple version of yesterday's post:

In memory of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager who was shot to death by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and in honor of all the other people of color who were shot to death without cause by police in 2014, please do the following:

  1. Pray for the United States of America, that God would chasten and correct this country for its murder.
  2. Please don't buy anything other than food this holiday season.  Please also avoid all movies and other paid entertainment.
  3. Spread the word!
Thank you.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Holiday Season Boycott

In his book, The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis stated that it is impossible to remedy the fact that one is going in the wrong direction by continuing in the same direction. Repentance consists of turning around and retracing one's steps in order to travel in the right direction.

The United States, a nation founded on oppression and bloodshed from its very beginnings, finally began to come to its senses during the 1960's and 1970's, as a result of massive protests against violations of the civil rights of its oppressed classes, both at home and abroad. But almost from the moment the ink began to dry on the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960's, the holders of concentrated economic and political power and privilege in this country began plotting to tear apart the civil rights gains that were achieved. They began plotting to reverse the U-turn which American society had begun to make. They began plotting during a time of plenty for the nation as a whole, a high point of resource availability and economic power, thus giving the lie to the notion that societies become fascist and oppressive only during times of leanness and economic contraction. They plotted thus and have continued to plot and to act on their plots over a period of more than five decades, thus showing the pathology of their plotting minds.

This week it looks like these plotters have won – among whom are Ronald Reagan, Dick Cheney, the Bush family, Rupert Murdoch, Charles and David Koch, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Rudy Giuliani, Charles Butt (son of Howard E. Butt, the owner of a large supermarket chain) and a whole host of fellow-traveler multimillionaires and billionaires. And the Republican Party is a revived, rampaging beast, seeking to dominate the world in the name of a hypocrisy masquerading as a theocracy. But all hope is not lost. In a post I made last week, my last prediction regarding events in Ferguson, Missouri is that I expected many disenfranchised people in this country to become quite creative in the art of passive rebellion.

And that is just what is happening. Many, not only African-Americans but others as well, sick to death of being oppressed by narcissistic, sociopathic supremacists, have decided to strike back in a way that is both non-violent and perfectly street-legal. Today, many of us are celebrating Blackout Black Friday, a day in which we are boycotting all the sales at retail outlets trying to move commercial trash. Many of us have pledged that we will not spend one dime today. (Disclosure: I am at Starbucks typing this. But that's because over two years ago, I swore off paid Internet service. Once I'm done here, I'm done spending money.)

I hope Blackout Black Friday is a roaring success. However, I think we should extend our boycott to the entire holiday season. And here's what I mean. I know we all need groceries. But let's swear off buying anything other that what is needed for everyday life. Let's forgo buying toys of any kind, whether toys for kids or toys for grown-ups. If your TV breaks between now and New Years, take it as a sign that you should give up watching TV. If your computer breaks between now and New Years, find a used computer or borrow someone else's. If the phone you have now still makes phone calls, don't upgrade it. Trust me, you don't need more consumer electronics. Let those who still drink the Kool-Aid of supremacy take on the burden of trying to save this shopping season. Let's see what happens when they max out their credit cards.

If such a boycott really takes off, expect whining multimillionaires to dominate the airwaves complaining about how we're “hurting the economy” and “depriving people of holiday celebrations.” I have an answer for that also. If you still feel the need to give gifts to people this season, then give food to the hungry. Extend hospitality to the widows, the orphans and the strangers – especially the dark-skinned strangers from foreign countries who have come here because economic and military policies of the United States jacked up their former homelands. A hot meal is always in season.

In short, let's have a holiday season devoid of materialism. For those who are Christians, let us return to a pure celebration of the birth of Christ, and let us remember His concern for the oppressed, laid out in Matthew 25:31-46. For those who are Jewish, remember the God who commands His people to care for the orphan, the widow and the stranger; and remember that God is not a “respecter of persons.” For those who are not religious, remember that you are connected to your fellow man, and that “an injustice against one is an injustice against all.” Take time this season to reconnect with your fellow human beings.

A good place to boycott is Wal-Mart, where John Crawford was shot to death by police in Ohio in August for buying a toy pellet gun for his children. Some good toys to boycott include pellet guns from any and all manufacturers because of the shooting of 12 year old Tamir Rice by Cleveland police while he was playing with a pellet gun in a public park. (Here is a list of more shootings that have taken place since Michael Brown was shot to death.) A good company to boycott is Emerson Electric, which is headquartered in Ferguson, Missouri, and which manufactures appliances and tools under the ClosetMaid, InSinkErator, Metro, ProTeam, RIDGID, and WORKSHOP brands. Some good entertainment to boycott includes all sports events (including all bowl games), all celebrity shows, all movies, and any other entertainment designed to distract us from the horrible injustice we are seeing in the “greatest nation on earth.”

One other thing.  We now know that the picture circulated on conservative media of police officer Darren Wilson sustaining injuries from his encounter with Michael Brown was a fake.  (See

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Michael Brown as a Rorschach Test

Well, it looks like my powers of prediction regarding Michael Brown were pretty good so far. (This doesn't make me very happy.) Then again, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how things would go. But what has been interesting to me (in an unpleasant way) is the discussions of the verdict and its aftermath, both on-line and in person, in which I have been involved this week.

First, there is a widely spread rumor that has been accepted as Gospel truth, that Michael Brown was stopped by Darren Wilson after robbing a convenience store. For those who believe this, allow me to point out the following facts:
  1. Michael Brown was not stopped by Officer Wilson for being a suspect in a convenience store robbery. At the time Brown was stopped, Wilson did not know of the alleged robbery of the convenience store which Brown is accused of robbing. (Source:
  2. The video which purports to show Brown robbing the store is of such poor quality that no faces can be recognized in it. (Source:
  3. The employees of the store allegedly robbed by Brown have admitted that they made no 911 calls regarding a robbery on the day that Brown was shot. (Source:
  4. Michael Brown had no criminal record on the day he was shot. (Source:
Lastly, no cigars were found on Michael Brown's body or on the ground next to him after he was shot dead.

But one interesting element in all these facts is that either they have been buried under a flood of right-wing propaganda and scapegoating, or that many people don't want to hear them in the first place. When people only see what they want to see, it's always a sign of an underlying issue of character or personality. So allow me to suggest that Michael Brown has become something of a Rorschach test for the American public. In this, he is like Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, ISIS, and Vietnam, except that what happened to him hits a lot closer to home. If the Rorschach test is supposed to differentiate between sanity and insanity, then the United States has been badly failing over most of its history. And times are coming – in fact, they are already here – in which we'll need all the sane people we can muster, because of the consequences of a failure of sanity among many members of the general public, who continue to believe that we can continue to scapegoat those who are crushed by the cowboy conquistadores of this country in their search for a little more Lebensraum.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The High Cost of Living Room

Many people in the United States are anxiously awaiting the announcement of the grand jury verdict in the case of the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson. It's interesting that several weeks ago, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder resigned from President Obama's cabinet. And it's also interesting that a number of law enforcement agencies are “preparing for the worst”: to wit, the Department of Homeland Security, the Missouri National Guard, and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, among others.

This leads me to make a prediction. First, I expect the grand jury to refuse to indict Officer Wilson. Secondly, I expect that the authorities, from Missouri Governor Jay Nixon downward, along with President Obama, to have known all along that this is how the verdict would turn out. Third, I do not expect the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute Officer Wilson or the Ferguson police department. Fourth, I expect protests to result from these things. But while the protests will be largely peaceful, the response of those who hold power will be anything but peaceful. Thus the rest of the world will get to see a fresh display of the hypocrisy United States, which is busy bombing and killing other nations in their quest to bring “democracy” and “human rights” to those nations.

Fifth, I expect a flood of right-wing commentary from the blogosphere, as well as some rather surprisingly right-wing comments from people who brand themselves as “left of center.” The commentary will seek to justify what is in actuality a campaign of oppression and extermination designed to grant a little extra “living room” (in German, Lebensraum) to the largely white ruling classes in the United States at this late hour of their existence. Some of the commentary is likely to come from people who willfully ignore the history of their own forbears who endured the cruelty of nations looking for Lebensraum in the last world war.

Lastly, I expect many disenfranchised people in this country to become quite creative in the art of passive rebellion.

I pray that I may be proved wrong about predictions #1 through #3.