politics

Saint Columbus? Not A Chance

Christopher Columbus, the explorer, the great navigator, the man who “paved” the way to the new world, governor of Hispaniola, cruel dictator.  And not the first European to sail to what is now America. The Vikings beat him by years. He was just the first to go back and bring news of a “New Land” even though he still thought he had made it to Asia.

Growing up in Miami, with Christopher Columbus High School right down the street, we were taught what a great man he was. There was never any mention of how he decimated the native Taino people of Hispaniola.

From his Wikipedia article:

Columbus’s soldiers killed and enslaved with impunity at every landing. When Columbus fell ill in 1495, “what little restraint he had maintained over his men disappeared as he went through a lengthy period of recuperation. The troops went wild, stealing, killing, raping, and torturing natives, trying to force them to divulge the whereabouts of the imagined treasure-houses of gold.” According to Las Casas, 50,000 natives perished during this period. Upon his recovery, Columbus organized his troops’ efforts, forming a squadron of several hundred heavily armed men and more than twenty attack dogs. The men tore across the land, killing thousands of sick and unarmed natives. Soldiers would use their captives for sword practice, attempting to decapitate them or cut them in half with a single blow.

Columbus was bent on nothing more than a quest for gold, land and power. He was not an explorer, he was a conqueror. Who claimed he did it all in the “Name of God”. What a load of crap.

And worst of all he opened the door for the rest of the European nations to cross the sea and colonize the New World. The atrocities that have been visited upon the natives of the Americas have been brutal. Between disease (which I think even if the white man only came to trade, the disease they carried would have killed many of the natives. Not as many as history tells us, but still some) and the basic murder of the people and rape of the land, the white man’s legacy, my legacy, is shameful.

We look at the “evil” people of history, Hitler, Stalin, Caligula etc.. and say that’s not us. But if you look, really look, at the near, if not complete, genocide the white man brought upon the Indigenous Peoples of the western world, it is us.

And of course, the colonization of Africa was no better. Again the so-called “Civilized” man needs to bring the “savages” (and by savage I mean someone who doesn’t believe like I do) under control. No different from Rome trying to wipe the Picts off the map (but they didn’t succeed, we were much too different than anyone they had faced before, they could figure us out).

The white man and his “privilege” continue today. Just look at the percentage that a person of color (Black, Native American, any Refugee) has of at the least, of going to jail, at the worse being killed, by an authority figure and you’ll understand.

My “Internet Friend” Kaitlain Curtiss is half Native American (Potawatomi) and a very strong Christian (I am neither). Her insights have led me to become more interested in the indignities that Native Americans face on a daily basis. I say “become more interested” because I have absolutely no Native American in my DNA. Despite the fact that one of my sisters would tell me we were part (insert tribe here – it changed every time). And she couldn’t even get the tribe names right, one time it was Blackfoot (not the correct Blackfeet). I could have understood the Cherokee, mom was from the Carolinas and dad just a bit north in Pennsylvania (but that would probably have been part of the Iroquios Confederacy). I would strongly recommend you follow her a learn a little more about what it’s like growing up as a Native American.  You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.  I also would recommend Indian Country Today on Twitter (don’t know if they have a Facebook presence).

So that was a lot of words to basically say, let’s get rid of “Columbus Day” and rename it “Indigenous Peoples Day” or “Native American Peoples Day” (mainly because if it wasn’t for spellcheck I would get Indigenous wrong every time).

Peace,
B

Playboy and Politics

When I was 17, way back in 1976, there was a certain southern gentleman running for President. A Mr. James (Jimmy) Earl Carter, Jr. to be specific. And I so wanted to vote for him, but I couldn’t. My 18th birthday was about three weeks after the election. So needless to say, all my friends that were of voting age have much fun at my expense. But Mr. Carter won, so I don’t feel too bad that I could not cast a vote.

I was so intrigued with Mr. Carter that I went to my local book stand (not big enough to call it a store) and bought the November 1976 issue of Playboy specifically for his interview. And I admit this is probably the one and only time I bought Playboy for an article. (It should be noted that Wifey® gave me a subscription to Playboy as a wedding gift – which we kept up until about 1999). And I understand if you doubt that I bought it for the interview. My dad didn’t believe me either when I gave him the copy and told him to read the interview. Dad never told me his political views, in fact asked him in 1980 who he voted for, he basically blew up in my face saying “That’s a personal decision. Don’t ever ask me that again!”  I’m pretty sure he voted for Reagan. I will go on record as voting for President Carter, dad is no longer around to state his case, but I doubt he would anyway. We were not on the friendliest terms at his passing.

I would have voted for Mr. Carter in 1976, knowing that I had already signed an enlistment contract with the US Air Force, to go active duty in October of 1976. As little as I knew of politics, I knew that democrats were very strong in the social aspects of life, while being “soft” on military. I knew that promotions and pay raises would be far and few between. I was also certain that the chances of me being sent to some far off part of the world to support some combat mission was reduced as well. Even though as a member of the USAF’s SPEC (Security Police Element for Contingencies) I was deployable anywhere at a moments notice.

It should be noted that when I did register to vote, just after I turned 18, I registered as “No Party Affiliation” and I kept that registration until 2016. When a certain Senator, Bernie Sanders, by name came along. I changed to democrat just to be able to vote in the primary. Something I had never been able to do, ever. I believe in Bernie’s ideas. I have very strong socialist leanings. I believe in everyone helping everyone else. Unfortunately human nature gets in the way. You could definitely call me a “bleeding heart liberal” something I doubt any of my brothers or sisters (including the in-laws) will claim. My mom’s thing was “charity starts at home”. And while I understand that, I feel it may start there, it HAS to go beyond the “home” (whether that be your city, state, nation or whatever – it’s a global mission).

So now we have a most deplorable POTUS. A man who has no compassion, no empathy, no respect for human dignity at all. All he cares about is himself. There has to be a way to remove him from office legally. I understand that impeachment would be difficult as he hasn’t committed any “crimes”, but what about the 25th amendment?  He is clearly delusional, if not down right paranoid schizophrenic.  Lady Gaga, a musician that I do not always agree with, but sometimes enjoy her music, stated it rather nice (and I hope your fibromyalagia doesn’t bother you anymore lady);gaga

It’s sad to say that this may be a big part of the problem. Add into the fact the San Juan Mayor (one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited) is 1)Female, 2) criticizing Trump and 3) Hispanic tells you everything you need to know.

He can’t handle a woman in power, who’s right when he’s wrong and not WASP.

America, we need to get rid of him and do one thing he promised to do that he never did, Drain The Damn Swamp. He has done nothing but make the swamp water rise. I would love nothing better than to see him removed from office, in any legal manner, then exiled from the USA. We do not need his hate and white supremacy any longer. Let America join the rest of the world in open acceptance of our brothers and sisters. Let America stop its “colonization” of the world. We have done enough damage to the Native Americans, the People of Color, the Immigrants (all the way back to the Irish slaves), and more for a lifetime.

Stop the hate. Go read “Letter From A Birmingham Jail” by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I just reread it last month. A true visionary he was. I’ll end with on of my favorite quotes of his;

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/martinluth101472.html

We need Love.  And just in case you’re wondering, the November 1976 Playmate was Patti McGuire (you never forget your first). She was also the Playmate of the Year… Just a FYI…

Enjoy the video:

Sit, Stand, Kneel… Good Dog

Perhaps you’ve seen this picture floating around social media. Now that the NFL season has started again, Mr. Kaepernick is making news.  I read one post that he was a “piece of shit and shouldn’t be allowed to play in the NFL”. That bothered me some.  As I am not a fan of the NFL (stopped watching years ago), I wondered why he shouldn’t be allowed to play.  Is he a bad player? I don’t know. I figure the only reason a person shouldn’t be able to be in the NFL (or any other job for that matter) is if they can’t perform the duties of that job.  I know I don’t belong in the NFL. At 5’10”, 210 pounds (mostly beer belly), I would curl up in a fetal position if I had a 300 pound lineman running at me.

But if the sentiment is he shouldn’t be allowed to play because he does not stand during the national anthem, then I most heartily disagree. As I said on the Facebook post I got the image from, nobody died for his “right” to stand. All through school we were told to stand for the pledge of allegiance, and the anthem. We were not given a choice. That’s not a right, that’s an obligation, a requirement if you will.

I agree with the two soldiers in lower right side, men and women died for his right to protest. If his chosen protest is to sit or kneel during the anthem, HE HAS THAT RIGHT!  I am a retired Army veteran. I dedicated 20 years of my life so that all Americans have the right to speak their mind, no matter how much you agree or disagree with them. Non-violent protest is an accepted form of self-expression in this country.  So much that’s it’s baked into our Constitution, to paraphrase the first amendment;

Prohibits Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.” (source: Wikipedia)

It is well within Mr. Kaepernick’s First Amendment Right of Free Speech to take a knee. If I was on the bench with him I would be sitting or kneeling right with him.

After all what is he protesting? Only the discrimination and abuse that people of color (I would include Indigenous People as well, even if he doesn’t) have suffered at the hands of the white powers for centuries.  The colonization of America has been nothing short of either long-term slavery for the black people or near genocide for native Americans.

As a white male, I know I have had “white privilege” all my life. I drove for 14 years on an expired driver’s license. Luckily I was only stopped three times, once the officer didn’t even check my license, once he told me to have someone else drive and once I had to pay a $75 ticket. If I had been a person of color, or an immigrant, I’m sure I would have been in handcuffs all three times.

And just in case you’re wondering, the folks who are yelling at Mr. Kaepernick and calling him names have that right too.  It goes both ways. I may not agree with it, but I support your right to voice your opinion. Peacefully. Once you throw violence in the mix, I believe you lose that right.

But what do I know?

Peace,
B

Image source: The Other 98% Facebook page.

Long Ago On Twitter

There was a time when big corporations paid attention to their Twitter accounts. Some years ago I found a bag of rather old Fritos stuffed away behind some stuff in the pantry. I randomly tweeted that “I hope they wouldn’t kill me.”  Within minutes I had a response from Frito Lay on how to replace the bag at no cost to me. Despite the fact that they were well beyond their expiration date. They didn’t care. They wanted to help.

Another time I asked on Twitter how to remove White Out from a pair of pants. The “Goo-Gone” folks replied that their product would do it. Sadly it didn’t, but at least they reached out.

But things have changed. In recent time Wifey® and I have reached to AT&T (see here), we have tried not only on this blog, but Twitter and Facebook without a single damn response. And now in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, I cannot get our utility company (Florida Power & Light) to answer me. I have sleep apena, as such I need a CPAP machine to help me breathe at night. Couple that with my asthma/emphysema, the possibility of my stopping breathing in my sleep is greatly increased. Not to mention how hard it is to get up when the alarm goes off, provided of course that I’m not already up doing nothing but trying to get my head around me and breathe.

So what was once a great way to reach out to someone in a large corporation has turned to shit. They don’t care. Helping people in need does nothing for their bottom line, so they turn a blind eye and ear.

I feel very let down by this turn of events. I didn’t spend 20 years of my life defending this country in the military to be treated like this.  Not that my congressman cares either. His office staff has been AWOL for a week or more.

So all-in-all, I say “fuck it”.  I’m gonna drink my craftbeer as long as I have gas for my generator to keep the fridges running and money to buy it.

For those of you not in the paths of Hurricane Harvey or Irma, peace to you. Be thankful of what you have. For those that, like I, have been affected by either storm, best of luck. I’m ready to call it quits.

Just how hard is it to emmigrate to Scotland anyway?

Peace,
B

The Case Of The Missing Office Staff

The above picture is the door to the local office of Congressman Ron DeSantis (R- FL) here in the Port Orange city hall. It has been dark and locked for a very long time. The last I remember seeing any of the staff was more than a week ago. I understand they were off Monday September 4th for Labor Day (so was I). I vaguely remembering someone being there for half a day either Tuesday the 5th or Wednesday the 6th.  But I haven’t seen hide nor hair of them since.

Maybe they evacuated for the hurricane, or sustained major damage, I don’t know.  But why isn’t there a sign on the door stating why they aren’t there and how to contact someone if help is needed? Even if they can’t get in to post the sign they could reach out to our city manager’s office and we’d place the sign for them.

I ask, is this any way to run a government? I have had to advise two folks today that they have not been around for a week or so. I can’t really place blame on Rep. DeSantis, but is this how his office treats his constituents?

Sadly, I voted for Rep. DeSantis in November since he is supposedly strong in veteran’s affairs, and I am a veteran. I now regret that vote (the only Republican vote I cast too). And not for this, as there may be extenuating circumstances I am not aware of.  After all one can’t expect our elected representatives in DC to come running home for every little thing (even though the hurricane was a little bit more than a “little thing”), it’s his staff that’s AWOL.

I’ve worked 9 straight days now. My house still has minor damage, my yard is still littered with debris (although Wifey® has done more than her share in cleaning up stuff while her offfice was closed) and we still have no power. I see no reason, barring life threatening injuries, that the office should not be open. As a public servant, the office is there to support and help the public. Or at the very least, a posting with alternative contact information.

You would think a veteran would know this.  I say vote him out and let’s put someone who cares about the local people in his place.

Peace,
B