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Will the Millions March On Against Monsanto?

Posted on | May 28, 2013 | 4 Comments

March Against Monsanto in NYC

March Against Monsanto in NYC

May 25th, 2013 saw a worldwide coordinated protest against GMO tyrant Monsanto. According to the schedule there were at least 430 planned marches. I’ve seen news reports claiming the protests happened in anywhere between 250-400+ cities with estimates of about 2 million people in attendance worldwide.

“Protesters in more than 50 countries mobilized on Saturday for a series of demonstrations against agricultural business titan Monsanto, far surpassing the organizer’s expectations, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“If I had gotten 3,000 people to join me, I would have considered that a success,” activist Tami Canal told the newspaper. Instead, she said the “March Against Monsanto,” which originated as a call to action via Facebook on Feb. 28, drew about two million people to demonstrations in 436 cities in 52 countries.” – rawstory.com ‘March Against Monsanto’ protests attract millions worldwide

It’s an impressive display to be sure. One that you would think would be taken seriously. But is it? Sure Monsanto is seeing great resistance but they are still going strong. Even several countries have banned Monsanto and many of their Frankenfoods. The United States however isn’t really seeing such action. Attempts to get legislation passed to simply require GMO’s be labeled are being shot down. Let’s not forget the “Monsanto Protection Act”that allowed seeds to be planted even before they are deemed safe by the USDA. The powers that be don’t seem to be listening or care. Monsanto says it’s not their responsibility to make sure the food is safe, it’s the FDA’s job. The FDA says it’s the food producers job. A letter on file with the FDA from July 2000 from Illinois resident Gail Thompson highlights this lack of accountability. It doesn’t help the cause when former Monsanto executive, Michael Taylor, is a high-level FDA decision maker. Monsanto seems to have people in their pocket while others are scared. In one case a whole state seems to be nervous of incurring the wrath of the corporate behemoth. Vermont recently voted in favor of a bill that would require GMO labeling but would only go into effect if certain conditions were met that probably won’t be anytime soon.

The most frequent point of opposition voiced on the floor concerned a likely lawsuit from the biotech or food industries that the Attorney General’s Office estimates could cost the state more than $5 million. – thegrist.org Vermont House passes GMO-labeling law

You can tax your brain trying to figure out why requiring people be told what they are eating would result in a credible lawsuit and how come not telling people the truth about what is in their food apparently does not. Weird? No…capitalism, corporatocracy, sell-out leaders and those with no integrity or a good solid pair.

The worldwide protests are a great way to show opposition and should continue. These types of activities bring like-minded people together, serve to alert the uninformed, and potentially fire up the apathetic. What else can be done though? It’s not like we can protest everyday or can we? Of course we can. In a capitalistic system the protest that is paid attention to the most is the one done with dollars. A protest is great for the reasons previously mentioned but if it doesn’t do anything to the bottom line of the corporations then they’ll scratch the annoying itch and move on with their day. This isn’t just a social issue where just showing up with millions of people will make things happen. This fight heavily relies on the rules of economics and that is its Achilles’ heal.

In order to carry out an ongoing protest in between these massive events we have to become more diligent with our dollars. We have to stop buying what we are protesting against and buy examples of what we what to be offered. It’s not a one day, part-time protest. It has to be a lifestyle course change. We do have the power of numbers and the connectivity of social media to our advantage. This blog at Care2 gives 10 Ways to Take Action Against Monsanto. There are also two smartphone apps that are out at the forefront of making informed purchases that will aim to aid in that fight. Fooducate and Buycott help by allowing you to scan barcodes of food items and gives you information with which you can make decisions. Is that food GMO? Is this product affiliated with the mean old Koch brothers? Fooducate has been around in obscurity for several years while Buycott is a more recent offering.

Information is power. They are using the control of information against us why not return the favor? Imagine if those 2 million global protestors used those apps or followed those tips. Or both. Imagine if those 2 million people said we aren’t going to buy this specific product anymore. That’s a direct action that will get serious attention, that’s an itch they can’t ignore because doing so makes them lose money and that is their weakness. The people are the power. We just have to always remember that fact and focus that power in a way that maximizes our strength.

The people don't know their true power

March on.

Additional:
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/25/march-against-monsanto-protests-attract-millions-worldwide/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/25/march-against-monsanto-gmo-protest_n_3336627.html
http://grist.org/news/vermont-house-approves-gmo-labeling-law/
http://www.fooducate.com/
http://www.buycott.com/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2013/05/14/new-app-lets-you-boycott-koch-brothers-monsanto-and-more-by-scanning-your-shopping-cart/
http://www.naturalnews.com/039993_fooducate_GMO_smart_phone.html

Police Quotas Should Never Exist

Posted on | March 24, 2013 | 4 Comments

If you see the police, warn a brother.

The class action lawsuit against NYPD’s criminal stop and frisk policy is under way. Two of the officers testifying in the case, Officers Adhyl Polanco and Pedro Serrano, have indicated that the NYPD has a set quota for how many of these constitutional violations must be carried out per officer per month.

The Department has conducted more than 5 million stops since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002, more than 85 percent of which targeted blacks or Latinos and only 12 percent of which resulted in criminal charges. Both Serrano and Polanco testified that supervisors required at least 20 summonses and one arrest each month, and that they were pressured to stop individuals — regardless of the grounds for doing so —  under threat of punishment. Polanco also said police later added a stop-and-frisk quota of five per month. – thinkprogress.com Officers Say NYPD Sets Quotas For Stop-And-Frisks And Arrests

I’m sure it’s evident at this point that I don’t condone this practice. Not only is it a violation of an individuals rights but it also is a form or tyranny that leaves residents in a constant state of paranoia. The lack of results and the lopsided number of Black and Latino victims indicates that not only is the practice ineffective but also that there is something more going on. The topic for today, though, are the quotas.

It’s long been a not very well kept secret that police are operating on a quota system. I don’t believe there has ever been any official admission of that fact but everyone is aware that it is happening. NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly danced around a jury finding in 2006 that quotas were used by saying that the NYPD has “productivity goals” no different than any other job. Herein lies the problem, law enforcement isn’t the same as other jobs.

What NYPD, policy makers, and all other branches of law enforcement need to understand is that protecting and serving the public doesn’t work by setting arrest marks to hit or by shooting for certain citation goals in order to bring in revenue. Capitalistic ideals don’t fit here. Quotas should never be used. They turn police into hunters and the public into prey.

Officer Adhyl Polanco, who was initially responsible for calling attention to the quotas via a series of secret recordings made back in 2009, told the court he’d been required to make five stop-and-frisks a month by union delegates and police supervisors. Polanco, who said fellow cops called him a rat after he went public with the recordings, testified officers often felt pressured to make unconstitutional stops in order to meet those quotas. “We were handcuffing kids for no reason,” he said. “I don’t want my kids to get shot by a cop who’s chasing them to write a ‘250.’” - http://gothamist.com

Hunters. Prey. This is contrary to the cops being so called “Peace officers”. The very existence of arrest and citation quotas corrupts the environment. It also puts people into the system that otherwise wouldn’t or shouldn’t have been. It forces police to not protect citizens but to treat them all as suspects. Anti-bullying campaigns are all the rage these days but here we have a case where bullying is a mandated policy. And it’s not working. These policies have long left the realm of protecting the public and just exist simply to justify budgets by giving the illusion that their tactics are needed. Those without he purse strings are just as much at fault here as well. The more incidences recorded, the deeper the stack of paperwork to use as evidence to ask for more money when budget time comes around. And all this for the low low cost of tainted futures, victimization, dehumanization, tyranny, and rights violations. What a deal. Whatever happened to the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” or the mentality that “it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer?”

I'm going to protect and serve the shit out of you!

Quotas not only harm the public but do a disservice to the police officers that are held to such a practice. Officers are more effective when there is a symbiotic relationship with the communities and neighborhoods they are supposed to protect. What is it that we tell children? “You can trust the police.” Quotas don’t allow for officers to learn their areas and form relationships with those in their districts. “We’re here to help,” isn’t heard nor believed when it’s communicated as “We’re here to protect the living hell out of you for your own good!” Officers and their superiors need to check that mentality and the ego that’s fed by it. All police departments have some form of community outreach programs but we’re a little suspicious of your sincerity due to the presence of your boot on the collective necks of the community. These practices are fostering and promoting the very attitudes and mentalities that lessen the effectiveness of that outreach.

Law enforcement and public protection isn’t a “bottom line” or “hit the numbers” situation. This isn’t something to be judged by a quarterly earnings report. We’re talking about nurturing communities here not sales of the latest widget.There is an enormous responsibility in keeping the peace in society. Along with that responsibility is an even greater serving of trust on the plate. It’s also dangerous, indisputably dangerous. I don’t believe anyone has ever argued that it wasn’t but it makes it even more so when you are mandated to treat everyone as a combatant in a war zone. There are many ways to execute the “enforcement” part of the law. Get the criminals, please do, but you don’t take out the gunman by shooting the hostage first.

Additional:

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/03/21/1753601/officers-say-nypd-sets-quotas-for-stop-and-frisks-and-arrests/

http://gothamist.com/2013/03/21/stop-and-frisk_trial_cops_say_they.php

http://gothamist.com/2013/03/22/nypd_officer_caught_on_tape_orderin.php

Django Unchained Is Pure Tarantino But Is That Good or Bad?

Posted on | January 10, 2013 | 1 Comment

Django Unchained - Dicaprio and Foxx

Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained really has people talking. Even Minister Farrakhan weighs in with his positive dissection of the Django Unchained in this slightly spoiler-giving interview starting at about 19 minutes in until the 33 minute mark. So I had to see what all the buzz was about. This isn’t so much a movie review as it is a commentary on the external talk about the film. If you haven’t seen the film, read on, this writing is spoiler free.

So now I’ve seen it and I liked it. First off, Leonardo DiCaprio was acting his ass off. Aside from a few accent slips here and there from a few of the actors, the film was well done. Tarantino know’s the ins and outs of the 40+ year old genres he’s attracted too. It’s not a history film and it’s not meant to be. I didn’t get the sense that it made light of the atrocities of slavery, except for the fact that he made a spaghetti western involving slavery which may be the point of disgust for many, nor did it feel like a kill whitey revenge flick to me. It felt like a man going to get his woman. The violence, pacing, acting, and bad-assery was all what you come to expect from a Tarantino movie. The film is a bit different in the sense that I don’t recall slavery being shown to this degree, if at all, in the context of a western before. To put it in perspective, the tv show Bonanza took place sometime around 1857. So compare, the Cartwright’s very progressive attitudes about race over in Nevada with Django on the other side of the country getting whip trees on his back at the same time. Hoss and Little Joe dealt with the evils of racism but I don’t think slavery going on was ever addressed; the world of the Ponderosa was a bit more like the 1960′s instead of the mid-1800′s. Django Unchained is kind of similar to Inglorious Bastards but better. Where Bastards was a nod to Hogan’s Heroes, Unchained tips a hat to Shaft.

Before I even saw the film I could already understand some of the objections being raised against Django Unchained, most notably from people like Spike Lee and Tavis Smiley, being that it was Tarantino’s baby. I said I’d reserve judgment though. I even commented to that point on Gangstarrgirl’s article “Six Lessons I Learned About People From ‘Django Unchained’“. Honestly, some part of me wanted to be disgusted so I could rant about it. Tarantino has an infatuation with genre films especially those in the categories of Grindhouse, Hong Kong cinema, and most obviously Blaxploitation films. Those films portray the people in them in a certain light that may have been acceptable in the day they were produced but have since been seen to not be the case. The problem with Tarantino’s resurrection of these types of characters in this day and age is the question of, “Where does that motivation come from?” Is Quentin just fanatical about film and fascinated with the genre’s themselves because it evokes a nostalgic emotion in him from when he was a kid or, and more specifically in the case of Blaxploitation films and black characters, is it because he’s most comfortable with the caricature and stereotypical representation of the people in those films? Tavis Smiley touched on that idea in an interview with Newsweek (by way of TheDailyBeast).

“I don’t know what’s inside Tarantino’s heart; what I do know is what’s inside his head, because that’s what we see on film. If what’s inside his head is connected to what’s inside his heart, then this brother needs some help.” – Tavis Smiley. thedailybeast Tavis Smiley on Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained

I think this is at the crux of the Tarantino criticism. What’s in a person’s heart is always hard to figure out. A big criticism of Django Unchained had to do with what some considered excessive use of the N-word. I agree that Tarantino seems to be a little more comfortable with using the N-word than he probably should be, or more to the point, with making films that utilize that word so freely. There is a potential level of arrogance in his defiant continuation of finding plots to use the slur in and about telling black stories in general. Apparently his next film is about black troops in WW2 that, as Tarantino puts it, “go on an Apache warpath and kill a bunch of white soldiers and white officers on a military base and are just making a warpath to Switzerland.” That being said, in Django Unchained’s 1858 Mississippi setting, I don’t believe he’d be far off base with the frequency and viciousness of use of the N-word for that time period and location.

Drudge Report Django Unchained

That might have been Tarantino’s first draft.

To be fair to Spike Lee, some of the craziness about his remarks seem to be media infused. I can only see where he commented once or twice about the film. The way the media overwhelmingly covered his comments made it sound like he was on a mission to burn down the world. You writers need to chill out, this is hardly a slam, more like a personal opinion.

“I cant speak on it ’cause I’m not gonna see it,” he tells VIBETV. “All I’m going to say is that it’s disrespectful to my ancestors. That’s just me…I’m not speaking on behalf of anybody else.” – vibe.com Spike Lee Slams Django Unchained: “I’m Not Gonna See It”

Spike has a right to his opinion. I think the media went overboard with it though. If Spike really feels some kind of way about the disrespect then a good response would be a slavery film epic on the level of his Malcolm X or Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. Although if he had a hard time getting funding for Malcolm X and George Lucas couldn’t get money for Red Tails, I doubt those that hold Hollywood’s purse strings want us to see that reality in blockbuster season. Which could also be part of the opposition to Tarantino’s vision.

Tarantino taking liberties with black culture and history becomes even more questionable now that you can own your very own slave action figure. I think the spontaneous puberty inducing Slave Leia was the only acceptable slave action figure although I’m sure there were a number of people disgusted with the misogyny. So if people weren’t already upset enough, here’s where you get to surpass that feeling. Black slavery and everything that came with it, has come after it as a result of it, and everything that is still affected by it, was and is the most devastating thing to happen to a people in recorded history. Bar none. And now Quentin Tarantino, a white man in a country where white men have long dictated the narrative of so-called minorities and women, who has a raging hard on for the N-word, has turned the often glossed over as a rule, history of slavery in America into a sometime slapstick gore fest of a film with merchandised toys no less. Quentin Tarantino also dissed the iconic mini-series Roots. I really do get it.

No one wants someone else to speak for them especially not those that benefited from oppressing that speech. No Tarantino didn’t own slaves directly but white privilege is real. Hell, after reading what I just wrote, I kinda want to join Kat Williams in smacking Tarantino. Focus. The point is I didn’t feel like Django Unchained was an assault on black history but I can understand how some would. I didn’t get the sense that the point of the movie was to tell a slavery story but a story that was set during that time. After seeing the film you might not feel that this silliness was worth your aggravation. On the other hand, this is like at least Tarantino’s second Blaxploitation-esque flick. If that WW2 joint comes off similar, his slip may start to show. I don’t think this is the film nor its story serious enough to warrant a complete freak out.

Django Unchained action figures

Quentin, this isn’t helping.

The toys though….the jury is still out.

Additional:
http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/01/slavery_in_film.html
http://gangstarrgirl.com/2012/12/six-lessons-i-learned-about-people-from-django-unchained/
http://www.vibe.com/article/spike-lee-slams-django-unchained-im-not-gonna-see-it
http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/01/04/tavis-smiley-on-quentin-tarantino-s-django-unchained.html
http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2013/01/tarantino-django-unchained-western-racism-violence
http://theinterrobang.com/2013/01/tarantinos-next-film-to-revisit-ww2/

Instagram Says They’re Listening Or Did They Just Get Caught?

Posted on | December 18, 2012 | 1 Comment

instagram-cookiejar

Instagram unveiled their new Terms of Service on Monday that is set to take effect on January 16, 2013. Then the earth moved. Their new TOS gave them the rights to sell your filtered photos free of finagling a fair fee or asking your permission. (Points for alliteration?) Picture sharers were visibly upset, as seen in their Instagram photos. Ok that’s not true but they were mad and had good reason to be.

Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf. – instagram.com Privacy and Terms of Service Changes on Instagram

The interwebs went crazy at the possibility of Instagram and some soul less corporation making money off of their loved ones. I joke but it is a serious change in policy and privacy violation. Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, responded a day later with a blog titled “Than you, and we’re listening” as a clarification of sorts of the TOS that had users running for the hills.

Yesterday we introduced a new version of our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service that will take effect in thirty days. These two documents help communicate as clearly as possible our relationship with the users of Instagram so you understand how your data will be used, and the rules that govern the thriving and active Instagram community. Since making these changes, we’ve heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean.

I’m writing this today to let you know we’re listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes, and eliminate the confusion. As we review your feedback and stories in the press, we’re going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos. – instagram.com Thank you, and we’re listening

The blog goes on to basically say that they are just misunderstood. The impression I get when reading it is that they are trying to say that maybe they didn’t know people would take the new terms the way they did. I find that hard to believe. I’m supposed to believe that a leading internet company like Instagram that is owned by the even larger privacy-violating-prone Facebook didn’t know what message they were sending? These lawyers know what they are writing and what leeway the words give them. I don’t buy it.

The easier thing to believe is that Insta, as the Japanese call it, put out the TOS the way it was, purposefully, to try to see what they could get away with. If the hoopla wasn’t big then they’d have impunity over your images. If they got caught in a rage fest they’d then have a point to scale back from and still look better than before. Think, a negotiation where you ask for more than you want up front. Facebook has done this before.

Caught

When startups become corporate they are pushed more than ever to turn a profit for shareholders and investors. I’m sure Instagram is faced with this after the almost $1 billion purchase price paid by Facebook earlier this year. In the Information Age the commodity is information. Marketers and business salivate at the chance to get their hands on these millions of social media users data. These companies will continue to push the boundaries of privacy, ethics, and fairness to eek out a bit of extra profit.

For people still uneasy and ready to jump ship there are ways to liberate your photos before you delete your account. Wired.com and others are passing Instaport (Instaport.me) around as one such method so much so that there is a service message at the top of their site saying; “We are expecting high traffic right now. If you have problems downloading your photos, please try again tomorrow or the next days.” As TechCrunch put it, they are “buckling under the pressure of people’s requests.”

So is Instagram really listening or did they just get caught? My money says they tried to pull a fast one.

Additional:
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/12/instagram-addresses-tos-rage/
http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/12/18/167559536/the-day-instagram-almost-lost-its-innocence
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/12/how-to-download-your-instagram-photos-and-kill-your-account/

New America: The Crossing of the Fulcrum

Posted on | November 14, 2012 | 1 Comment

“The White Establishment Is Now The Minority” – Bill O’Reilly

This is what is at the heart of the extremist views involving Obama for the most part. Bill is right, it is a changing country. We’ve been moving towards this change for a long time. What I believe we are seeing is The Crossing of the Fulcrum™ (mine don’t jack it). Bill is also right when he says “It’s not a traditional America anymore.” He means it’s not a guaranteed white led America anymore.

Up until the last few years integration was tolerated because the “traditional America” still held all the cards. As I remarked to someone about this subject, it’s like a pet. We can love them, share our food with them, even trust them with our children and regard them as members of our family even to the point we’d fight others over them. But that’s all contingent upon us maintaining control over them. As soon as that control is threatened by being bit or whatever, the arrangement is no longer agreeable.

What I’ve seen from many throughout the course of the election is their surprise at the types of comments coming from people they regarded as friends – people saying things that they probably don’t realize are offensive and wrong because it is what the culture is and has been. Let’s be clear, “traditional America”, “traditional American values” were forged in a cauldron of racism with an arrogance of superiority from one group over others. We all know the history. It is true whether the subject is race or religion. Some of our cultural normalcy has followed that type of ideology. Just because the laws were changed doesn’t mean some of the traditions and thoughts have as well. When you come to terms with that reality then you understand the malice behind some of the rhetoric. There is nothing wrong with tradition. However there is something wrong with tradition rooted in a past of prejudice, superiority, and ignorance. There is something even more wrong in trying to perpetuate it.

If we go purely by poll results, at least 50% are past those outdated ideals. It would be hard to quantify how many still want to stick to them. It would also be unfair to those that are on the opposing side but don’t agree with those traditions to even try. So it can be left to this. To those people who fit that characterization your legitimate opposing viewpoint is valid and respected. It is your duty to distance yourselves from that pariah in your party, group, friends, family and associates. You need to pull them aside and let them know that they are living in a past that was built upon committed wrongs. It is unfortunate that, as they stand in your ranks, your voices will be confused with theirs and you will be painted by the same brush that paints them.

To those that fall within that “traditional American values” category, that one that thinks an over ruling “White Establishment” is the proper order of things, know this, you are making yourself irrelevant in a society moving forward. You are also making others that side with the cause you have latched on to look bad. Time is not on your side. I understand change from what you are used to isn’t always pleasant. I’m not the biggest fan of it myself. We have to look at it though and see why it’s coming and why we fear it. Is there a real cause to be afraid or is it something we were raised to believe is something we should be afraid of? Or has the foundation of the construct of our society been one that exemplified a culture that brings about that fear? For multiple generations now people have accepted and understood the errors of the past. It’s time for you to do the same otherwise your irrelevance awaits you with open arms.

A re-elected Barack Hussein Obama signifies that shift of ideas in this country. It’s not a post-racial anything by any means but it is a tilting towards the other end of the balance beam. The first election could have been a fluke – something for the history books. The second says something more definitive in the ideals of many in this country. It says that we don’t have an issue being led by someone who does not look like the other 43 Presidents and we do have an issue with extremism and outdated ideologies. It also shows that many of the previously silent won’t be so any more.

“American”, “traditional values”, sometimes “Christian” and similar phrases are thrown around to incite fear in the hearts of people who feel a Manifest Destiny type right over what it is to be a legitimate American. The thing that Republicans and those in the extreme conservative camps are seeing and afraid of is the rise of historically marginalized groups increasingly unwilling to be victims of second class subjugation. Yes twenty years ago Obama would have been stomped in the election. Twenty years before that he would have been new to being allowed to vote. Twenty years before that there were water fountains that he couldn’t drink from because of the color of his skin. So the fact that he has won re-election to the office of President of the United States over that “white establishment” candidate in the midst of an extremely vitriolic conservative atmosphere is forward progress.  I am talking about a climate that has witnessed deliberate race baiting against him and minorities by elected officials and leaders of the movement, attempts to legislate voter suppression, and an overwhelming financial outlay to try to secure a victory for the beliefs that think those tactics are ok. That does say something positive about the people of America. It also says something about the idea of attempting to reach one facet of a more perfect union.

So yes Bill, we want stuff. We want stuff like equality in thought, word, and deed. We want stuff that isn’t a hand-me-down from the days when it was solely your stuff. We want the same stuff that you have benefited from and have held from us. We want stuff that is a part of the fabric of the nation not just a patchwork piece that is tolerated. We want stuff like a seat at the table and a name on the deed of the house it is in. We aren’t tenants, nor children to be patronized. We are cohabiters. Those that see things that way are becoming more the majority with each generation and unless you learn from the error of your ways you will evict yourselves. We won’t vindictively force you out but that stubborn unwillingness left inside of you will eat you alive from the inside out as things become more at odds with the past that you desperately cling to. Man does not change time, time changes man.

Former Colin Powell Chief of Staff, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson confirms Republican “party is full of racists”

Posted on | October 27, 2012 | 2 Comments

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson on The Ed Show on MSNBC

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s chief of staff during his time as Secretary of State, speaks in response to former New Hampshire Republican governor and Mitt Romney campaign co-chair John Sununu’s comments about General Powell’s endorsement of President Obama being race based.

“My party, unfortunately, is the bastion of those people, not all of them, but most of them, who are still basing their decision on race,” Wilkerson said. “Let me just be candid: My party is full of racists. And the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin. And that’s despicable.”

Let’s keep it real. This is what we’ve known since day one but when we say it the excuse is that we are race baiting. What say you now?

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I wouldn’t say that all Republicans are racist or bigoted. That would be untrue and unfair. However, the party is full of them. Conservative pundit champions and media, clearly feed into that mentality, promote and thrive on it. This is one major place from where the far extreme division in our country stems from. There have been too many “slips of the tongue” to make an argument otherwise. From Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives Jon Hubbard’s comment about slavery being a blessing in disguise to Sarah Palin’s recent “Obama’s Shuck and Jive Ends With Benghazi Lies” comment and beyond. Actions speak louder than words and are not prone to verbal mistakes due to the deliberate effort it takes to execute them. Examples abound, from the actions of the RNC attendees that threw nuts at a black CNN camerawoman and said, “this is how we feed the animals” to Republican voter ID tactics that will specifically deter poor and minority voters from voting because they will most likely vote for Obama. Then there’s this guy.
Put the white back in White House

You sir, are not helping.

One of your own, an insider, who served as Chief of Staff to Republican General Colin Powell during his term as Secretary of State in the George W. Bush Administration has pointed out definitively, clearly and publicly that the Republican party is full of racists. It’s not a big revelation to many but for some it is a statement that you need to come to terms with for the sanity of the country. And for those of you Republicans who aren’t of the mindset of the Sununu’s of the party you should understand that what you are supporting comes from that mindset. It also begs the question of, “Are the core ideals of that party, your ideals, rooted in a bigoted ideology that is centuries old, that you were raised with, therefore you don’t think it is what it is?”

A Republican friend of mine who decided to vote for Obama this time around said the reason she leaned towards Romney was because he “looked Presidential”. I asked what that meant and the reply was that he was light skin, gray hair, grandfather type because this is the image she had always seen. The image of a white man as President is the image she’d seen her whole life. That image is what a President was supposed to look like. She is of South East Asian descent. So that means that even someone that looks like her didn’t register to her as Presidential material. That is a form of normalized bigotry perpetuated by our culture that isn’t her fault and isn’t an isolated outlook.
A recent Associated Press polls finds an increase in those harbor these types of feelings whether they are aware of them or not.

Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly.

In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell. – huffingtonpost.com “Racial Views: Poll Shows Majority Harbor Prejudice Against Blacks

So what should Republican supporters do who really don’t subscribe to the type of mentality that Colonel Wilkerson says is rampant in the leadership of the party? What should they do about their support and belief in these ideologies that are dictated and driven by racist and or bigoted premises? First would be to take a long hard objective look in the mirror to try to get to the core of why they believe what they believe and what was behind the original concept of that learned belief. Detach yourself from the rhetoric and the dogma you have learned to accept by standing outside of the issue and contemplate it from there. Don’t be afraid to overturn something you’ve believed for a long time that turns out isn’t true or is negative. Take in different points of view on the argument and the reasons behind them. There is nothing wrong with having conservative views and values. Everyone has some issues they are more liberal about and others they more conservative about. At least be honest with yourself about where they come from and why you have them.

Or not. I’m more liberal about caring what you believe.

Additional:
http://tv.msnbc.com/2012/10/26/colin-powells-former-chief-of-staff-my-party-is-full-of-racists/
http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/10/25/1094211/romney-campaign-chair-colin-powell-endorsed-obama-because-he-is-black/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/27/racial-views-new-polls-sh_n_2029423.html

Joe Biden Brings the Win in Debate over Paul Ryan

Posted on | October 12, 2012 | 2 Comments

Hulk Biden vs Paul Ryan

The 2012 Vice Presidential debate was a showdown between current Vice President Joe Biden and VP hopeful Paul Ryan. This battle for votes was held at the Norton Center for the Arts at Centre College, in Danville, KY. I don’t know if Ryan expected Biden to perform like Obama did against Romney but that was not the case. The Joe America got last night was not the same Joe that debated Sarah Palin in the previous presidential election. Hulk Biden came to play and was not going to take any of the nonsense that Obama let slide last time.

Obama lost the last debate, not because he was wrong or overwhelmingly misleading but because he let Romney dictate the conversation. If judged on information alone Obama would’ve won that debate. Unfortunately that’s not the only deciding factor. As I’ve said before, the first debate was a learning experience and the Obama/Biden team wasn’t going to get caught off guard like that again.

VP debate moderator Martha Raddatz kept a hold on the exchange far more effectively than Jim Lehrer. She also didn’t let Ryan run her over like Romney did to Lehrer in the previous debate. Raddatz even tried to cut through the rhetoric several times and asked for specifics from the candidates. Paul had trouble giving those.

Malarkey

Joe Biden won this debate. He gave facts and figures and aggressively checked Paul Ryan’s attempts to control the dialogue with misinformation, question dodging and malarkey. Biden was obviously prepared to take on the Republican strategy that Romney displayed in the last debate. People criticize Joe Biden for being too aggressive however I believe he did exactly what he should have done. This election is far too important to let blatantly inaccurate and unrealistically outrageous claims stand. We’ve already seen that the Republicans aren’t too fond of factual information and are more than willing to broadcast egregious misrepresentations of reality as witnessed at the Republican National Convention. Most people in the United States are not politically aware  or are misinformed due to biased corporate media punditry. That is no more so true than with conservatives, mainly because of Fox News. The point being, is that many people are going to take the statements made in these debates at face value without doing any further research or fact checking.

Now of course the Republicans are officially going to deny that they lost this debate; unlike Barack Obama who pretty much admitted that he had an off night. But, if there is any doubt in your mind that the Republicans don’t know they lost the debate then let the following tweet serve as evidence of that acknowledgment.

Yes, that is high-ranking Republican strategist and Sith Lord Karl Rove reminiscing about having a moderator that they can manhandle.

Paul Ryan did get in one jab that made me chuckle. Acknowledging that Biden had achieved a full mount position on him, Ryan said, ‘I know you’re under duress to make up for lost ground.’ Point to you Paul. Well played sir. Well played.

If you missed the debate or just want to watch Joe Biden keep his foot on Paul Ryan’s neck for 90 minutes check out the video.

The ball’s in your court Barack.

Joe Biden vs Paul Ryan, who won?

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Romney Wins Over Obama In First Debate Decision

Posted on | October 4, 2012 | No Comments

Let’s get right to it. Obama got handled by Mitt Romney in the debate. It’s unfortunate and I probably won’t sleep well tonight but it is what it is. Surely over the next few days the fact checkers will come out and disprove a lot of things Romney said but he’s not about facts, nor is his party. Representatives have said as much before. Even though Romney spread a lot of misinformation, he still topped Obama in the debate.

Mitt Romney won because he led the conversation. He dictated the topics he wanted to debate the President on, the stuff he prepared for and wanted to say. Obama followed the trail that Mitt put down which put him in defense mode instead of the lead position. It didn’t matter that Romney wasn’t being truthful because he delivered words with conviction and chastised the man in charge. Barack Obama stayed on the ropes instead of calling Mittens out on his BS every time it came out. Whenever Obama lobbied against a Romney answer Mitt responded with, “that’s not true”  and Obama left it at that instead of showing what was wrong with Romney’s answers. Mittens brought his gloves to the ring.

I’m not saying that Mitt was right, just that he sold it better. Let’s face it, probably 99% of the people will not look up his claims or Obama’s. People are going to take what was said at face value. I bet fact checkers are going to rip holes all through Romney’s discourse but the audience for that isn’t going to be anywhere near the size of those that watched the debate. Therefore that tree is going to fall in the woods with no one around to hear the sound.

Obama held back a lot of ammo. He was either taken aback by his opponents aggressiveness or wasn’t ready. He wasn’t the hero we deserved tonight. Obama didn’t chin check Romney when he should have.

Those dirty 47%
We heard nothing about the 47%. Arguably one of the most devastating self-destructive Romney  statements was the recording of his remarks about the 47%. Since that came to light, he’s lost points to Obama and even major backers have started funneling money to other Republican candidates in various races. Where was this in the conversation tonight?

Obamacare/Romneycare
Obama’s health care reform compares with the one that Mitt Romney enacted in Massachusetts. Mittens flipped the comparison well. The plans are essentially the same, written by the same guy even. Mitt and his party have been dancing around this the whole campaign because they want to repeal Obama’s campaign promise win but only because it came from Obama. When pressed on it finally, Mitt pulled a judo move and said the plan is great for the states individually but not at a federal level.

The Medicare cut
Obama shouldn’t have let that $716 billion dollar Medicare slash float out there without clarifying. Romney put that number out there and there was no real rebuttal to Romney’s misinformation.

I care about creating jobs!
How many times did Governor Romney say this all night? We know this isn’t true. Not once did Obama check him on his outsourcing history of American jobs. Obama could have even pulled some lines from Clinton’s speech highlighting that Republican leadership isn’t a job creating one. This was an open shot to bring about Bain Capital and Romney’s pioneering efforts to send American jobs overseas.

Republican obstructionism
Romney tried to hammer home points that Obama didn’t reach the goals he set out to reach. He also painted the picture that coming into office facing Democrats in his state he had to learn to reach across the aisle. Ironically this has been one of the biggest criticisms of Obama’s presidency. Many think Obama tried too often and too long to reach across the aisle even though every time he did, he got his hand slapped back at him. Mitt tried to use the health care bill passing without bipartisan support as an example. The problem with Mitt’s words is that it is because of the Republican mission to deny anything that Obama tried to do that there was no bipartisan support. The Republicans simply  would not play ball even after compromises and suggestions they themselves proposed were included. The fact of the matter is, the reputation of the party was so badly damaged by Bush that they couldn’t let a Democrat win or they would look even worse. They were willing to play games with the lives of Americans and the stability of the country to salvage their public face. Obama didn’t point any of this out and let Romney’s words stand.

$5 trillion dollar tax cut
Obama kept repeating it and Romney kept denying it. The problem is Obama never said what that tax cut was or how it was going to reach such an astronomical figure. The fact is, this has been answered before and Obama is correct. Politifact vetted the $5 trillion details back in May and found Obama’s figures to add up. All Obama had to do was clarify what he was talking about so the point wouldn’t wind up on the floor of a he said she said exchange.

Those are just a few points. I don’t know what happened out there. Everyone has an off night but tonight was not the time to have one. Obama didn’t fail miserably and go down in flames completely. He executed the same calm level-headed arguments that we’ve come to expect from the President. He let Romney get away with far more than he should though. Many speculated that Romney would pull out the Reagan “well there you go again” line but I was hoping Obama would have used it. Obama had a few moments where he sounded like he was starting to speak from his chest but they didn’t stay around. I think he was aware that he wasn’t gaining the traction he wanted. Did you see how he checked the moderator for his 5 seconds? He was frustrated.

Somehow I don’t foresee Biden overwhelming Ryan in their upcoming exchange. Hopefully the Obama/Biden team will take a hint from tonight and adjust accordingly. Romney/Ryan are playing to win regardless if they are being factual or not. We saw the same thing in the Republican speeches at the RNC. Facts can trump lies and misinformation, they just have to actually be presented to shut them down. I don’t believe Mitt will get the drop on Barack the next time around though.

In the end, they both punked host Jim Lehrer. That’s just my two cents. What do you think?

Who do you think won the first debate between Obama and Romney?

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By the way, Romney, the streets are watching. Big Bird has words for you.

Big Bird has words for Mitt Romney

I’d do what the 7 foot tall talking bird says if I were you.

Read the full debate transcript.

5 Free Alternatives to Apple IOS 6 Maps

Posted on | September 20, 2012 | 3 Comments

can-haz-google-maps

Apple’s newest iteration of its mobile operating system, IOS 6, just released and you’ve rushed to download it. The new performance upgrades, Facebook integration, and the brand spanking new Apple Maps application all entice you to upgrade. Remember what the wise man said about fools rushing in?

The general consensus around the interwebs is that the IOS 6 Maps applications is sorely lacking in comparison to the previous Google Maps powered app. It’s pretty but user experience and functionality have both been downgraded. The new Maps app touts a slick new interface, turn by turn directions, and a 3d view. It all sounds cool but apparently the hype isn’t measuring up in the real world.

The most notable features missing are an equivalent to Google Maps’ Street View and transit information. There are some other issues as well, like identifying locations in the wrong zip code. To be fair, Google has had something like a decade head start aggressively building their Maps infrastructure; even violating your privacy to make it the top-notch tool that it is. They have a very solid map database that benefits users world-wide. The IOS  Maps app that we’ve all come to rely on is no more; at the moment. For city dwellers, transit riders this can be a deal breaker. It is for me, I am withholding my upgrade. Maps was and is one of the most used apps on my iPhone. I upgraded to the iPhone 4 specifically for the use of the compass in Maps because coming out of the subway and not knowing which direction to go adds at least an extra 2 blocks to where ever you are going.

Google apparently isn’t in any rush to launch its own IOS app. It’s too early to know if the jailbreak community is going to be able to resurrect the original app. And I’m sure Apple wants to move forward with their lackluster offering. If I were Apple, I’d throw the old Maps app in the app store for free. I don’t know much about the contract deal or the technicalities and lawyer speak so maybe they aren’t allowed to. Although I’d think it would just be calling Google’s API but what do I know? Anyway, the question remains what to do if you have upgraded to IOS 6 and are hating Apple Maps life? I’ve put together a list of 5 free IOS 6 Maps alternatives that may help you avoid an attempted downgrade.

The choices are in no particular order. All were tested for locations in New York and over a WiFi connection. If you know of any others drop it in the comments to help your brethren.

Update: Apparently Nokia has very good web app offering with its Nokia Maps at maps.nokia.com. Thanks to Henry in the comments for the tip.

Check out 5 Free Alternatives to Apple IOS 6 Maps

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6

NY’s Large Drink Ban, Where Do You Stand?

Posted on | September 14, 2012 | No Comments

This week the New York City Board of Health, at the behest of Mayor Billionaire Bloomberg, approved a ban on large sugary drinks.

Seeking to reduce runaway obesity rates, the New York City Board of Health on Thursday approved a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, street carts and movie theaters, the first restriction of its kind in the country.

The measure, which bars the sale of many sweetened drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces, is to take effect on March 12, unless it is blocked by a judge. – nytimes.com Health Panel Approves Restriction on Sale of Large Sugary Drinks

Our drink sizes are way out of control. Big Gulps used to be a challenge, now that size is normal.

With obesity in this country way past the danger zone and childhood diabetes becoming more common place, I can understand the idea behind the policy. However, and this may surprise many coming from someone whose refrigerator looks like a produce department, I don’t agree with the ban. We are offensively fat. Yes, something must be done to change the ass size of Americans before the planet rolls over but I don’t think this is the way to go. First of all it’s meaningless. Some people will just buy two drinks. Second, what about the rest of the garbage that usually accompanies those buckets of soda? Sure every little bit helps but I can still by a 2 liter bottle of soda for somewhere around $0.99.

2 liter soda

Obey your thirst.

Then there is the choice aspect. I completely understand that reducing obesity saves tax payers money. A nation of overweight people have an affect on rising health care related costs and energy consumption. Ok, after that assessment I’m almost lost about why I don’t support the ban. Oh yea. The issue is, this ban sets a precedent that has the possibility to lead to us being more and more controlled. Also, it’s a half-assed band-aid attempt to solve a much larger problem. You might say that at least they are trying something. Bloomberg would probably agree.

“This is the single biggest step any city, I think, has ever taken to curb obesity,” Mr. Bloomberg said shortly after the vote.

Really? This is your big effort? I’ve got some better more effective steps. Michelle Obama is focusing on physical activity, maybe she’s on to something Bloomy. How about stop cutting gym class in school? How about school lunches with a focus on raw fruits and vegetables and water to drink? My high school had diet soda machines because I guess the diet part made them feel better about putting soda in our schools. How about we put a ban on the toxic ingredients in our food supply like steroids, hormones and industrial chemicals? How about education on the subject? How about zoning that restricts the amount of bodega’s and convenience stores that primarily stock these offending foods in the poorer neighborhoods where obesity is an even more devastating problem. You want to make a real effort give me a call.

Some are comparing it to the smoking ban put in place in New York that restricts smoking inside of public establishments and outdoors at public locations. There is no comparison. The smoking ban I support and were I President I would make it national law. You can’t get obese by standing next someone drinking a jug of corn syrup and carbonated water but you are attacked by toxic poison when a smoker is puffing near by.

Personal responsibility in America is sorely lacking, especially in health related matters. Obesity and diet related illnesses are killing us or making us pawns of the pharmaceutical industry and the AMA. It needs to stop but a small roadblock that sets a precedent that says we are protecting you from yourself for your own good may bite us in the butt later on. The TSA and law enforcement loves that type of mentality. Drink sizes need to be smaller but being told to make them smaller doesn’t stop them from doubling up or filling that fix with something else. The mentality has to change.

There are reasonable arguments on both sides of the issue. It’s easy to buy into the ban for some of the reasons I cited

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above. Maybe I’m wrong and am short-sighted on the issue. After that obvious viral marketing video promoting the bacon sundae below I might have to change my stance. SMH.

This is you America, look at yourself!

What do you think?

Do you support the large drink ban in NY?

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Additional:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/nyregion/health-board-approves-bloombergs-soda-ban.html
http://www.motherjones.com/media/2012/06/supersize-biggest-sodas-mcdonalds-big-gulp-chart
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/6039232921/in/set-72157627220835741/

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