Monthly Archives: July 2017

Of Racisim, Progressiveisim and Being a Word Smith

So the Progressive community is still in an uproar about a @caitoz article suggesting “alignment” with Alt Right people.

I need to preface a bit here: This is, by the very structure of our society and it’s official media, an incredibly hard conversation to have. Please know that my intention here is not to attack anyone, but to unpack things as best I can. I see some legit issues Caitlin raised which do need to be addressed, AND I ALSO see why many folks are legitimately triggered by her choice of words & examples.

In one sense I’m defending some of the ideas in her article, in another sense I’m attacking it (not her, but rather the phrasing and examples which she chose so poorly). I’ll start with the criticism.

1) She chose her words and examples without standing in the shoes of the POC she was talking to (by way of not pondering how the choice of those particular words and their implied meanings would impact those folks). This is a particularly tough thing for ANY white to do because of our privilege, and because of 50 years of MSM Gas light Newspeak which is specifically designed to encourage that disconnect.

2) Cernovich is one of the worst possible choices as an example of who to “align with” (just as “alignment with” is the wrong phrase) for any number of reasons; which could easily be a whole other series of articles in itself. That said, there are lots of folks I’ve had IRL & Twitter conversations, with who listen to his ilk, yet will see truth if it’s carefully unpacked for them in terms of Us vs. Oligarchy.

3) To put it simply the owners of MSM do not ever want Citizens talking IRL Issues across MSM created & imposed “lines” of Party/Political Belief/Race/Wealth/Privilege; because if we do start seeing each other as humans, fighting the same issues under different names, instead of seeing only their imposed “the other,” their Hog Troughs all get kicked over. Here’s Your Owners

4) Caitlins’ hard fail in word choice here wasn’t intentional IMO. Rather it’s the MSM & cultural gas lighting performing as designed to blind Us, across their false boundaries of race & wealth & Party, to the fact that we’re fighting the same damned problems under different and intentionally divisive names; with different and intentionally divisive ASSIGNED-BY-MSM “causes” for those problems. My proof of claim is as simple as looking hard & very cynically at the differences in the words chosen by all of MSM in talking about Sandra Bland vs the words chosen by the ENTIRETY of the same MSM to talk about Dylan Roof. Please hold this core idea in mind as you read what follows, because I’m about to unpack some serious shit here. This discussion is one we’re not ever “supposed” to have according to our owners. Do you doubt me? That message is pervasive in MSM Newspeak, right down to the difference in verbiage used in advertising at POC vs the words & their nearly subliminal implied meanings of the verbiage used in ads aimed at whites. The fact is that racism is real AND it’s ALSO that it’s a tool used by oligarchs to keep us all so pissed at each other that we can’t band together & bury them with their bribed to treason Congresscritters in Tar & Feathers.

So… on to the unpacking

Her choice of the words “align with” also implies approval of. Hard miss here. This choice of words triggered several POC Progressives, and legitimately too IMO. I’ll note I got nailed with this level of missing implied meanings & the cultural differences in those words during a separate conversation with a black lady whom I deeply respect.

She commented on something and I said ICYMI (yea… OOPS!) with a link to an article supporting & expanding on her claim. She came back bent until I explained myself fully.

What happened here is Cultural Language Differences and differences in our implied meanings of the same words depending upon our IRL experiences caused a misunderstanding.

To me, with my cultural biases, “ICYMI” means “You might find this interesting if you’ve not seen it.” To her, with her culturally different implied meaning, it said “Nope, you missed this & here’s why you’re wrong.” What saved us is that we respect each other and didn’t immediately jump to flinging insults over what was a misunderstood usage. These are pervasive throughout our “common language” and those sorts of differences in implied meanings of our “common words.” I’ll note that neither of our usages of “ICYMI” is wrong. They’re simply different at such a basic, cultural, implied meanings, level that we, each, can’t even see the differences implied in the words we use unless we’re specifically looking for it. This same, cultural, confusion fed the disconnect and outrage which gave us a weeks long back and forth of Ad Hominem and division on the @caitoz article. That damaged our progressive community. A lot.

At this juncture let me say that the outrage by POC at the idea of “alignment” with fascists is, in my opinion, entirely legit AND we still need to talk TO each other rather than AT each other in order to be able to find our common intersections to stand at together.

Here’s Teodrose on that subject

Teodrose Fikre: We Are Not Black

I need to mention some History in the ’60s civil rights movement by noting that there was a group called Pig Watch which DID unite with poor whites to train and arm folks with the purpose of providing a hard limit on #ThugzWitBadgz beating people. I met some few of those (intentionally un-named here) whites decades later in a Recovery Program. Their stories, while fascinating, aren’t mine to share, except to note that they said they’d started out as “mild” racists (yea… ??) and through the Intersections of fighting the War and abuse of Citizens, came to deeply respect the blacks they’d met at those intersections. One guy in particular made the point of looking back at his beliefs prior to that association with Pig Watch & The Panthers with a feeling of shame for blindly disrespecting folks he came to love later.

Here’s some History on that movement which worked SO in stopping cops from beating war protesters that the oligarchy had its leaders murdered, and their #2s imprisoned for decades.

This bit of perspective is what I hope to bring into this conversation.

To paraphrase Caitlin in her 1st article on this subject of talking to folks across the political spectrum:

Take care of You 1st, and if you’re able to talk issues to folks who seem to be “the other” at first glance, you might be surprised to find some common ground, and perhaps even a mutual respect.

If we’re able to keep those discussions to issues and listen to what others think the causes of those issues are, while expressing our beliefs about the causes of those issues… we might just be surprised at the results.

Whatever your choice here, I love you all, and am DEEPLY grateful for all of you. Thanks for teaching & thanks for listening!

Cue The Revolution Bump

On Religion, Government, and the Actual Words of our Constitution 

I’m STILL getting folks claiming that there’s dome sort of Constitutional imperative allowing Religion in Our Government. 

DEEP sigh*

Okay, so we’ll break it down one more time:

From Wiki (yes, it’s that easy to find): 
Here’s what the Constitution SAYS in the First Amendment:
First Amendment to the United States Constitution

“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; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”[1]

The Prohibition:  
Congress shall make no law respecting
Okay… so respecting about, or pertaining, to WHAT?

Part 1, before the comma: 
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
So we know that respecting means “about or pertaining to”… 
SO… Congress is as of this point under aBlanket Prohibition which specifically prohibits them from using Law to speak about an establishment of religion… can’t say ANYTHING in Law, either for it or against it.

What’s an establishment?
So… here’s that bit:  

[ih-stab-lish-muhnt]  Show IPA   noun 
1. the act or an instance of establishing.
2. the state or fact of being established.
3. something established; a constituted order or system.
4. ( often initial capital letter ) the existing power structure in society; the dominant groups in society and their customs or institutions; institutional authority (usually preceded by the  ): The Establishment believes exploring outer space is worth any tax money spent. 
5. ( often initial capital letter ) the dominant group in a field of endeavor, organization, etc. (usually preceded by the  ): the literary Establishment.

From Jon Grouberts’ wifes’ hard copy of Blacks Dictionary of law regarding The Establishment Clause;

Such language prohibits a state or the federal government from setting up a church, or passing laws which aid one, or all, religions, or giving preference to one religion, or forcing belief or disbelief in any religion.” 

So to translate this into modern English:
Congress may not EVER use Law to speak about Religion, they also may not EVER limit the freedom of speech, or the freedom of the Press, or restrict the Right of the People to peaceably assemble to demand a redress of grievances from the government.”

Seems pretty crystal clear to me.  In short – Government may NOT ever use Law to support religion, but they ALSO can not ever use Law to stop you from supporting religion in your private* life.

*Private life = as a private Citizen, as opposed to as a member of our government. 

To put a finer point on it:
You’re more than welcome to pray or read your holy book pretty much anytime, and anywhere you please, but you are not permitted to use any government position (say as a court clerk or publicly funded school teacher, or a fire chief) to force others to comply with your beliefs.

So… if you want to read your bible on your lunch… fine.  If you want to refuse to issue marriage licenses for gays in a State where gay marriage is legal… not fine.  This last is called “Using a government position in an attempt to enforce your religious beliefs upon others.”  

As to claims that “This doesn’t apply to the States.”

Sorry, wrong. If for no other reason than the Fact that marriage is, under the Law, a privilege* which offers immunities.** 

Here’s the full Answer to that blatantly false claim……

U.S. Constitution, 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.

Since the several States explicitly agreed to be legally bound by this language through the process of Ratification…. Yes, sorry, it does apply. Further, because of the explicit agreement from the several States, it applies directly and specifically to the States.

For those unclear on the concept:

Approval or confirmation of a previous contract or other act that would not otherwise be binding in the absence of such approval. If an employer ratifies the unauthorized acts of an employee, those actions become binding on the employer. A person who is under the legal age to enter into a contract may ratify (and thereby adopt) the contract when he or she reaches majority, or may refuse to honor the contract without obligation.

We Ratified this Amendment  (Aka: change or revision to the Constitution) in 1868 and though large parts of the provisions have been un-enforced, the actual words still mean the exact same thing: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge  (means injure, limit, or damage) the privileges or immunities of Citizens of the United States,…”
Note carefully that there are precisely zero exceptions contained in this language. That’s intentional!

The other reason we think this limitation is in the First Amendment to Our Constitution is because (as noted here and thanks for the heads up to Roger Simpson) one of the folks who wrote our Constitution said as much repeatedly.

From the above comment:

Simply put, President Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association why he would not proclaim national days of fasting and thanksgiving. In his letter, he wrote that:

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence  that act of the whole American  people which declared that their legislature  should ‘make no law  respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting  the free  exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between  Church  & State.”

As to what he meant by that, it is easy to see. Jefferson was the author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (of which he was more proud than writing the Declaration of Independence), which states: 

“… no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship,  place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained,  molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer  on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall  be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in  matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish,  enlarge, or affect their civil capacities”

I’ve had some additional thoughts come up here…

First is that I glossed over the free exercise bit, so here it is. I’d note that this part seems just as absolute as the rest does. 
“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
This, quite blatantly prohibits federal government; and since the 14th Amendment, ALL State government, from doing 2 things: 
1) Saying that you can’t practice your religion as a private Citizen.
2) Imposing ANY form of religion which you didn’t choose upon you.

So this sword of the First Amendment cuts both ways, as we’ve seen in the cases of American Indian religions which have successfully challenged drug laws with this.

*Reply to an appologist claiming that the Constitution allows religion in Law by using quotes from the original body of the Constitution*

Yes, that’s the original language which was changed by Amendment which was Ratified  (Aka: Agreed to be bound by) by the States.

Everything religious apologists claim about the original words of Our Constitution WAS true. It was also CHANGED in 1868, BECAUSE they were seeing a de facto trend in government (State and Federal) towards religious activism using laws and regulations. This change was the First Amendment which says, quite clearly:
“Congress shall make no law respecting (about) an establishment (organization in general) of religion…”

The direct, semantic, translation of that to modern language is, as I said, “Congress shall not use Law to speak about Religion. Neither for it, nor against it.” 

Since this language was explicitly agreed to (Ratified) by the several States and the language of the 14th Amendment was also Ratified, that change in the First Amendment also applies to States.

Basically what the 14th says is that ALL Citizens of any State are also Citizens of the USA. Then it goes on to say that States may offer Citizens of the United States MORE Rights and Protections than the US Constitution does; but may not ever offer fewer rights and protections that the United States Constitution does.

Because the Several States explicitly, and legally, agreed to this language in the 14th Amendment through Ratification of it, those other changes to Our Constitution apply directly to the States.

Now: Here’s the grand convenient “error” so many religious apologists make in this area of discussion…

The United States Constitution and its Amendments (means changes to) are not, in any way, shape, or form, “different things.”

These Amendments are all part and parcel of the same supreme law. We merely retain the original  (superseded/changed by Amendment) language, by tradition and intent, so that everyone (Citizens and Legislators) can track these changes and monitor them.

I’d also note that the intent of the First Amendment is made even clearer because one of the unchanged parts of the original Constitution (Article 6 last paragraph) also says, quite clearly, that:

“… no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

This paragraph is especially interesting in that, while it deals specifically with the issue of Religion in Government that the First Amendment addresses, it was intentionally left unchanged by the 1st Amendment.

IF what religious apologists claim were true, (that religion belongs in our government) then any sane, reasonable, persons would have addressed and changed this Article 6 prohibition on religious tests using the First Amendment.
They, most emphatically, did not do that in the First Amendment which was Ratified (explicitly agreed to by the several States) just 4 years after the signing of the original Constitution. 

With these Facts included in the picture, it is an utterly disengenuious obfuscation to claim that there was ANY intention to permit religion any entre’ into our government because this “oops we missed that bit” of the Bill of Rights just 4 years later would have been the perfect opportunity to make that clear. 

Instead they chose to bolt and bar the door, after slamming it on religion in government, by saying “Congress shall pass no Law respecting an establishment of religion…”

Sorry folks, there’s just zero wiggle room in these Facts, no matter how badly apologists want to “create” some.