Uncommon Sense

February 2, 2023

Now Black Cops are Killing Young Black Men

Filed under: Culture,Politics,Race,The Law — Steve Ruis @ 12:05 pm
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One of the tasty topics on display currently is the Death by Cop of a young black man, Tyre Nichols, in Memphis. All of the cops in the execution squad were Black. Conservatives heads exploded, “See, see, just what we have been saying all along; it is not a race issue!”

But it is.

There has been a decades long campaign to demonize young Black men. Sending them to jail keeps them from voting, at least it had. And there was money to be made running jails, you know. And well, they are just nig . . . you know.

This demonization was so great, and focused on law enforcement, that even Black cops have come to despise young black men, no matter how squeaky clean they might appear. Think about Black cops who view themselves as “good guys,” yet who still suffer racial discrimination, think about the current situation. It is likely they are thinking: if all those young Black men were not forming gangs and dealing drugs, we wouldn’t face so much blow back. It is all their fault. They themselves fell victim to the propaganda of the “Dangerous Young Black Man.”

August 9, 2022

Big GOP Brother

At present, some states with GOP majorities are beavering away to ban abortions completely. They are planning on using your phone records as evidence of activity that could signal abortions. They are making vigilantes out of citizens to promote a police state, for now just for abortions. They are telling people what they can and cannot do.

Go down their list, the actual list of what they are acting upon, not the list of things they say they “stand for.” To them, freedom of religion means we should be a Christian nation. Women don’t deserve equal standing with men in business or at home. They want to ban abortion and birth control as the natural state of “wives” is to be barefoot and pregnant. There have declared that there is no racism, so minorities should shut up about perceived oppression. The poor are moochers, takers. The sick don’t deserve medical care. Their illnesses are due to poor lifestyle choices.

In other words, anyone not like them shouldn’t have the fundamental rights they insist on for themselves. They don’t think of you and me as real Americans, or even fully human.

Sound familiar?

And lying is not a problem with them. Consider this statement by Mafia Don Trump during the recent election:

“The (Biden) campaign has joined forces with those trying to tear down America and our way of life. He comes out with a platform . . . there will be no oil. There will be no God. There will be no guns.” (Donald J. Trump)

Has anyone noticed that there is no oil? How about guns? Are there no guns anymore? And is God missing in action somehow? The same lies were applied to President Obama, he was going to “Take our guns!” There are more guns in American hands now than ever before. Odd form of taking away, that is.

When are Republican voters going to wake up and realize they are being played? The real agenda of the oligarchs has nothing to do with these topics. The real agenda is lower taxes for the rich, less regulation of business, and preservation of the social privileges currently provided to white men.

The GOP says it wants a smaller federal government, yet they are currently expanding the intrusiveness of government into our personal lives, as has every Republican (and Democrat) president in recent history. Smaller government, my ass. They want government doing their bidding, not ours.

Republican National Convention in the near future?

July 27, 2022

White Supremacists Aren’t What They Used to Be

If you have ever watched Fox (Fake) News or even if you haven’t you are probably aware of the Great Replacement Theory. This is a grand conspiracy to replace white people with “people of color” and even Jews!

We all know how politically powerful ethnic minorities are, especial those consisting mainly of illegal aliens, they . . . what? Uh, I am currently being told that this “great replacement” is not being perpetrated by the minorities themselves. They do not have the power.

So, whoever is doing this . . . it can’t be the Republican Party, because all of the white people liable to be replaced already vote Republican, so it must be the Democrats! Yeah, it is the Democrats! You know the political party so powerful that they lost a presidential election to the extremely lame, reality TV actor, Donald Trump. And the party that has disorganization as party of their party platform.

Oh, this is pathetic. Listen white supremacists. If white people are so damned superior as you say they are, how about they act like it. Running around crying about theories, theories!, like Critical Race Theory, and the Great Replacement Theory, sheesh. Grow a pair. Act like a superior.

For the rest of us, if a white supremacist bothers you, grab them by the pussy, anywhere will do because they are 100% pussies, afraid of their own shadows.

July 13, 2022

Big Lies are Woven into the American Story

Mafia Don Trump’s Big Lie, that the 2020 election was “stolen” through voter fraud, is still an infant. It won’t become a toddler until this Fall. Many people are addressing Trump’s Big Lie as if it were unprecedented in U.S. history. It is not. In fact, Big Lies are woven into the tapestry of this country.

By definition, a big lie has to be large in scope as well as being patently untrue, just repeated over and over until it can masquerade as a truth.

In my life I have seen quite a few. Remember the Gulf of Tonkin incident? It led the U.S. to fully engage in the War in Viet Nam. Of course, we found out later it was a lie. Remember Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction? These imaginary weapons were used as a justification to wage yet another war.

If you spend a little time reflecting you will discover more than a few: Elizabeth Holmes, the creator of the bio-tech company Theranos, promised to revolutionize blood testing but was convicted of fraud when it was found out that she had just lied her way to prominence and billions of dollars of venture capital, etc.

But in this country’s history, the biggest Big Lie dates back a ways. No, not to Revolutionary times, although there were lies enough to go around, I am talking about just after the Civil War, over 150 years ago. You remember the Civil War, when a handful of Southern states treasonously declared war on the rest of the states, you know the states called the United States. They ended up losing that disastrous war, but to this day there are still claims that they didn’t lose and that they are still fighting. There are claims that the Civil War was about state’s rights (even though the state’s statements of succession all mentioned their desire for slavery to continue as it had as the primary cause).

Just after the war ended, a disgruntled Southerner assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, but accounts of the story taught in our schools never mention the role the Southern state’s treason. The U.S. President, ranked by many as our greatest, was assassinated by a Southern traitor and that never gets mentioned! Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and Gen. Robert E. Lee were traitors under the U.S. Constitution’s definition of treason, according to William A. Blair, yet neither man – nor any other Confederate – was ever tried for the crime. So many families lost people during the war that there was little energy for vengeance and the North opted for reconciliation. We were paid back by the Biggest Big Lie of American History, that of the “Lost Cause,” the fight for the rights of states to not be dominated by the federal government.

Just a century ago, southerners began erecting large numbers of statutes honoring “heroes” of the Civil War, no, not Northern soldiers but Southern traitors. Imagine the people of Boston raising a statue of Benedict Arnold, shortly after the Revolutionary War. There have been no statues raised of Benedict Arnold but we have more than 700 monuments to Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis and other Confederate soldiers and politicians who betrayed our country (as of 2020). And this does not count the public buildings, schools, etc. that bear the names of the traitors.

The ironic thing is if you ask school kids who have studied American history to name a traitor to the U.S., they will all pipe up “Benedict Arnold,” whose name is synonymous with treason, but none will mention any of the Southern state’s traitors who did far more damage and cost far more lives. Gee, I wonder why that is? (Look at how textbooks are sold and to get maximum sales, books have to be “acceptable” to a large number of states, especially the biggest ones: California, Texas, etc. Texas, notably, has tried to get slavery in the U.S. downplay as “not being that bad,” “Slaves were treated like family,” etc.)

The recent battle over displaying the Confederate battle flag on public buildings in the South was part of the ongoing Big Lie. They claimed the Southern Civil War battle flag, called the “Rebel Flag” in the vernacular, as merely a token of Southern culture. It didn’t have any meaning otherwise. (They apparently didn’t ask many Black people about that.) My suggestion was to let them keep their flag but it had to be overprinted with a giant “L” because they were and are losers. They lost. So, the flag should stand for the simple lesson that traitors end up losing. Now there is a lesson from American History . . . and a part of Southern culture.

More and more southerners are giving up the Lost Cause Big Lie but it is over 150 years old and not dead yet. Let us hope that Trump’s Big Lie can be laid to rest much more quickly.

June 29, 2022

The Toxicity of the Concept of a Chosen People

Filed under: Race,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:59 am
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Recently we have seen pushback on the Black Lives Matter movement, typically by using another meme “All Lives Matter.” It is funny but all of us have some desire for exclusivity, no matter what we claim. In this country underlying all such discussions is the religious idea of there being a “chosen people.” These people have been chosen, by their god they claim, for special treatment because they are “special” some how.

If you are old, like me, you might remember a pop song called, The In Crowd. Here are excerpts from the lyrics:

I’m in with the in crowd
I go where the in crowd goes
I’m in with the in crowd
And I know what the in crowd knows

Any time of the year, don’t you hear?
Dressin’ fine, makin’ time
We breeze up and down the street
We get respect from the people we meet
They make way day or night
They know the in crowd is out of sight

. . .

At a spot where the beat’s really hot
Oh, if it’s square, we ain’t there
We make every minute count
Our share is always the biggest amount
Other guys imitate us
But the original’s still the greatest

. . .

We got our own way of walkin’
We got our own way of talkin’, yeah.

This was written for a high school crowd, I am sure, in which socially evolving young people desperately wanted to be accepted, especially by those who seemed “the coolest.” In high school we invented words that were exclusively ours (ours were words like cool, bitchin’, and boss . . . We got our own way of talkin’, yeah) There was no sense to being “special” if nobody else noticed.

In the U.S. Christianity has broken up into thousands of denominations, each one claiming to be different from the others and, of course “special.” And they exclude. They exclude people who they don’t want to be special like them. Maybe those they exclude are Catholics, or LGBQT people, or . . . ugh . . . Democrats! You can’t be exclusive, without excluding “others.” Of course, we tend to demonize those “others.” Ask any evangelical Christian about atheists, it is unlikely they have never met one, and they will nonetheless have a strong negative opinion. Their religion claims that to be moral you have to believe in their god, their way, and so atheists are automatically immoral and not to be trusted. Exclusion you see.

But in the vein of “All Lives Matter” are we not all “God’s Children?” If we are all god’s children, why did the Abrahamic god “choose” a single people out for special treatment? Why exclude the rest?

Is there any more evident reason to believe that those scriptures were written by men, for men than that? Why would an all–loving god, create a race of sentient animals, and then just select out a small subgroup to educate and ignore (or worse, condemn) the rest?

Divinely inspired scripture, my ass. The word of god, my ass. Rather the Word of Man; scripture inspired by “The In Crowd.”

April 28, 2022

Sometimes a Title is Enough

Filed under: Culture,Politics,Race — Steve Ruis @ 8:12 am

In this case it is a subtitle (to an Eric Sentell post on Medium.com).

Republicans display systemic racism by banning

teaching about systemic racism

April 15, 2022

What American Conservatives See

Filed under: Culture,language,Politics,Race,Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:18 am
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American conservatives are flocking to demagogues because of what they see happening to their country. They say:

  • Their religion is under attack! Atheists and secularists taking away their religion.
    • Politicians taking their tax monies and giving it away to the unworthy.
    • The American (aka Christian) family is under attack! What if you have a transgender kid and they can’t carry on the family name, etc.
    • Schools curricula emphasize the theory of evolution over the Bible, and CRT, slavery years over patriotic education.
    • The American (aka Christian) family is under attack! Gay marriages, etc.
    • Cancel culture is attacking the core institutions of our lives.
  • Liberals/Democrats stole the last presidential election!

And, well, they aren’t exactly wrong . . . but they are being played. Let’s unpack a few of these, shall we?

  • Their religion is under attack! Atheists and secularists taking away their religion. Unfortunately they are mistaking shooting themselves in the foot for unfriendly fire. The reasons they are losing meat in the seats is their corruption and unwelcoming nature which offends the young they so desperately are trying to attract.
  • Politicians taking their tax monies and giving it away to the unworthy. Welfare is destroying this country! Actually, the shrunken “welfare state” is still but a tiny fraction of the governmental expenditures on corporate welfare. Plus, when people use the phrase “the unworthy” in this context they usually mean Black and Brown people. The majority of welfare moneys in this country are spent upon white people (the bulk of SSA payments go to old white ladies, for example).
  • The American (aka Christian) family is under attack! What if you have a transgender kid and they can’t carry on the family name, etc. This is a classic fear born reaction to any social outcaste coming out of the closet. Predictions about the dire consequences if Black men were allowed to vote, women were allowed to vote, women to be members of the armed forces, gay people to be married, women to run marathons, etc. were numerous and . . . unfounded.
  • School curricula emphasize the theory of evolution over the Bible, and CRT, slavery years over patriotic education. As a matter of fact CRT is only taught in some law schools, so it is not being taught in “their schools,” but the theory of evolution is being taught in Biology classes, where it belongs. The Bible is taught in comparative religion classes, which many schools don’t have because parents haven’t asked for them. (Classes on strictly the Bible violate the First Amendment to the Constitution, so schools cannot offer those, unless they are a private, non tax-supported religious schools, then they are perfectly legal.)
  • The American (aka Christian) family is under attack! It is claimed that same sex marriage, pre-marital sex, and contraception are weapons being deployed against the American family. Actually, none of these are being forced upon families and most families are completely unaffected by such things. And one cannot help but notice that the Bible Belt states have the highest unwed mother birth rates in the country.

And, well, they aren’t exactly wrong . . . but they are being played.

  • Cancel culture is attacking the core institutions of our lives. (Unfortunately cancel culture was enshrined in the Bible and is one of the favorite weapons of the religious, They are objecting to it being used against them instead of by them. They are perfectly happy when their opponents get canceled and outraged when their supporters get canceled.
  • Liberals/Democrats stole the last presidential election! Some many dead people in Georgia voted for Biden to swing the state. And all of those phony votes change our congressional elections, too. Wait, they didn’t? So, they voted for Biden, but no other Democrats? Strange.

* * *

I remember, back when I was still watching TV news, a story about a bus accident in India in which some number of students were killed. I don’t remember the number. And then I was struck with the thought “Why is this news . . . here?” I could understand that it would be news, probably local news in India, but why here? The odds that any listener would have a relative or a friend on the bus had to be close to zero (very close). And I don’t think there was a school bus safety standards issue, since I can’t imagine their school bus standards and ours are aligned. The only thing I could figure was the propensity for “news organizations” to follow the rule “if it bleeds, it leads” when it comes to news. And if there isn’t any bleeding closer, then faraway bleeding will have to do.

Shortly thereafter, I stopped watching TV news. (I still watched TV political commentary, but MSNBC’s coverage of the 2016 presidential election cured me of that.) My point was “Why am I importing misery, negativity, etc? When I stopped watching TV news shows, I noticed, almost immediately, that I wasn’t seeing anything like the events they had been feeding me. For example, I now live in Chicago and while the news was raving on and on about the murder outbreak in my city, I hadn’t seen a single dead body, nor heard a single gun shot. (Oh, I did see one dead body, but it was washed up on our adjacent beach, it was someone who fell off of a boat and drowned.) Yes, I understand such things are concentrated in “certain neighborhoods,” neighborhoods in which gang activity is rampant, and I do know that there are such neighborhoods close by and I appreciate the fact that my partner volunteered in one of those, but the level of concern generated by the “news” programs was much greater than that generated by newspapers and neighborhood gossip.

The creators of the Fox News channel recognized this effect: that if properly staged, the news can be a powerful tool for generating fear and that fear can be turned into a political weapon.

And, as another example, would die hard Christians even notice that “atheists” were undermining American’s belief in God? How many of them actually have spoken with an acknowledged atheist? If you look at online sites, you can find sites devoted to atheism, but you have to look for them, they aren’t being pushed to the fore, that is they aren’t being promoted greatly. On one site, Quora, a question and answer site, I see a great many atheists responding to questions. Virtually all of those questions come from theists (in the U.S. that means mostly Christians) and they come in great numbers. If those Christians weren’t asking those questions (mostly “gotcha-type” questions, that have been answered decades if not centuries ago) there would be hundreds of thousands fewer atheist statements on that site. The zeal of those “Christians” is producing exactly the effect they do not want.

What Christians are actually noticing is that the number of people in the pews is diminishing. In many churches the “oldsters” and “youngsters” are so at odds that they are given separate Sunday services. The oldsters cannot stand that modern church music (Electric guitars, for Pete’s sake!) and the youngsters cannot stand the old folk’s boring services with droning music. One would think that this real, noticeable effect would generate some introspection and an attempt to bolster the desirability of church attendance. But the churches don’t stand a chance because the political hate machine which is Fox News was declared at top volume that there is a War on Christianity. They even took images from the Near East where there is actual religious warfare and used them to illustrate that here in the U.S. Christianity is under attack, from atheists! Right here in River City!

We need what used to be called a “voice of reason” right now to lower the temperature of our political and religious discourse, but Fox News and right-wing extremist organizations have waged a war upon reason. So, apparently what we need now is a “Voice of Sanity.” Any suggestions as to who could fill this void?

April 10, 2022

Proof that Jesus Was White!

Filed under: Culture,Race,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 8:02 am

You have read here, and I am sure other places, that religious apologetics, especially Christian apologetics, is in a very sorry state. Currently poorly educated apologists are making arguments that were disproved centuries ago yet they are unaware of that. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

Then I saw this argument made: “Jesus is white . . . because he went into a heavily occupied commercial district in Jerusalem, overturned working tables, scattering wealth in the form of coins of all denominations. He even whipped a number of the merchants with a corded whip. Did Jesus go to prison? No. Was Jesus arrested? No. Was Jesus even questioned by the Temple guards? No. If that wasn’t a manifestation of white privilege, I don’t know what is.”

Now, that is a solid argument.

But in the comments, a responder said: “No, no, no . . . Jesus was a black or very brown brother and I can prove it. Jesus got arrested, tried, convicted (without an offer of a public defender, mind you), then was physically brutalized, humiliated, then executed . . . for a crime he didn’t commit. Was this even investigated? No. Were the police questioned? No. Jesus was a brother, man.”

Now that is an argument that is hard to counter.

At least some of this new generation of Christian apologists are showing some chops!

March 24, 2022

WTF? Entitlement?!

Filed under: Culture,Politics,Race,Technology — Steve Ruis @ 10:30 am

I saw a comment on the Internet in which the commenter argued that, well, “people are entitled to be anonymous if they want to be.”

Methinks entitlement has gone too far.

In this country (the U.S. of A.) there is no such entitlement. For example, you have to be known by the Social Security Administration just to get a job. You have to be known by some Department of Motor Vehicles just to be able to drive on public roads, etc. You cannot own a home or other property without showing up in public records. The only person I knew who tried seriously to become anonymous was doing so so that she could avoid paying taxes.

So, since the “entitlement claim” is referring to identifying who is “speaking” on the Internet, let us limit the discussion to that. Do people have the “right” to communicate anonymously on the Internet?

No. Simply because not being identifiable is incredibility difficult on the Internet. There are tracing tools and whatnot that allow people to be “located.” Search engines exist to search just for people. The very act of typing something and posting it leaves a trail of digital bread crumbs that can be followed. And if someone goes to that trouble and “outs you,” as in “AssKicker 831 is Joel Nerdly of Omaha, Nebraska,” what do you think the penalty is for doing that?

Right. <cricket, cricket, cricket>

What you do have is the right to try to be anonymous. There is no guarantee you will be successful.

I can think of only a handful of situations in which anonymity is appropriate (spousal abuse reporting, whistle blowing, voting, etc.) so I consider the use of monikers/pseudonyms/avatars, etc. to be suspicious. To communicate anonymously without a substantial reason is an attempt to avoid the societal pushback that causes us to think before we speak. Before the anonymity provided by the Internet, racist comments were disappearing from public discourse. Conversations held out in the open, at work, etc. were self-policed to avoid the approbation that one would get if one made racist comments. That is one of the few mechanisms by which a culture polices itself. But as soon as people learned they could communicate anonymously on the Internet, and hook up with other like-minded individuals, observable public racism made a big comeback in this country.

If some politicians decided to write a bill promoting the “entitlement to be anonymous” I would oppose it because it undermines our society.

March 16, 2022

Don’t Say Gay . . . WTF?

So, no references to the Gay Nineties? No readings from books with the word gay in the title?

And, isn’t the Florida state legislature a state government and doesn’t the First Amendment to the Constitution state: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; . . ?” And didn’t the fourteenth Amendment extend the rights and obligations of citizens and governments to the states? (Amendment XIV, Section 1, All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.)

So why the fuck is the Florida State Government infringing upon the right of free speech (not the teacher’s, they are employees and have limited employee rights) but the students? They are usurping the power of what words may be used to speak. Granted it is a pandering appeal and a distraction, but WTF?

I can hardly wait for someone to be fired for teaching critical race theory, which is only taught in a handful of law schools (note—law schools are graduate schools). The teacher can say in good faith that they had not been teaching “CRT” and then the prosecution will have to explain how that is the case. Also, then the constitutionality lawsuits will spring up. But all of this is distraction. Distraction from what we really need to be talking about, such as why are the rich people in this country trying so hard to impoverish the rest of us and why are politicians so eager to help them?

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