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The absurdity of life

More often than not, life begins in innocence and ends in tears.

Several evenings ago, Jodie and I sat with guests eating dinner as the evening news was being broadcast. War scenes from Ukraine, the incomprehensible dying and absolute devastation, quieted our conversation and put the comfort of our eating in a different perspective.

I’ve never liked authority—not as a child in an abused environment and certainly not as an adult in prison. Prison taught me how to coexist with unbridled authority given to abuse. I cannot recall the number of times that “fuck you, motherfucker” smothered itself in my throat.

That’s why my heart embraced the Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island who told the Russian officer to “go fuck yourself” in response to a surrender demand.

My life, as have the billions of other lives in this world, has been brutally interrupted because one ugly-faced, small-dick psychologically unhinged motherfucker has the authority to not only wage war against another country but paralyze the rest of the world with the fear of what he might do next.

History is replete with assholes like Vladimir Putin—we have had our share in America, and continue to have more than our share today, of Putin-like motherfuckers abusing the authority given to them as “elected leaders” by voters, placed in supervisory positions in institutions of every stripe by governments, and in job supervisory positions attained through deceit, dishonesty and corruption.

The minority of people who control the lives of the majority of people are fundamentally corrupt, abusive and narcissistic motherfuckers who derive perverse pleasure from making the lives of the majority miserable. The one guaranteed truth in this life is the proverbial saying that, “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

I was sitting on my porch the other day with my three dogs. I love Walter, Fred and Squirt. Each in their own way is my life’s blood. This thought struck me as I sat there enjoying the breeze, my no-sugar coke, and the presence of my dogs on alert for any potential danger: If someone was standing in my yard with a gun to Vladimir Putin’s head and told me that I had one inescapable choice—spare the life of human being Putin in exchange for the animal life of one of my dogs.

What to do?

I stood up with my no-sugar coke in hand, stared out across valley below me, and said, “head ‘em up on, Fred.”

 Before entering the house, I told the man holding the gun to Putin’s head, “do whatever the fuck you want to him.”

That, my friends, is the absurdity of life.

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75 days

That how many days “rioter” Adam Johnson will spend in prison for his role in the violent insurrectionist assault on the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.

Johnson was charged with, and recently pled guilty to, the misdemeanor offense for “entering or remaining on or in a restricted building or grounds” in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1752(b)(2)—an offense punishable by a fine or imprisonment up to one year, or both.

Johnson was part of a violent mob of at least a thousand people who forcefully invaded the grounds of the Capitol Building and personally joined in with hundreds of other members of the mob that violently entered the Capitol Building where they inflicted millions of dollars in property damage to the building, stole property (Johnson stole a government podium assigned to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi), and threatened to kill the Vice President of the United States and the House Speaker.

In the wake of the insurrectionist assault on the Capitol Building, five people lay dead, hundreds more were injured, and scores were left traumatized—four of whom committed suicide.

That kind of violent criminal activity has now been defined by the U.S. Justice Department as “entering” a “restricted building.” The Republican National Committee pretty much agrees with DOJ, calling the violent criminal activity “legitimate political discourse.”

There are hundreds of people on American death rows whose crimes did not cause the amount of human and property damages wreaked by Adam Johnson and his cohorts; and thousands of people serving life without parole or virtual life sentences (50 or more years) for non-violent criminal convictions—the majority of whom are people of color.

I would like to hear our mealy-mouth Attorney General, Merrick Garland, explain to Willie Simmons, a black man who spent 38 years in an Alabama prison for stealing $9, why Adam Johnson, a white man, will serve only 75 days for participating in criminal activity that left five people dead that included an attempt to “hang” the Vice President of the United States.

The American criminal justice system is terminally ill.

This justice system gave Jerry Dwayne Williams a 25 year to life sentence in 1995 for stealing a slice of pizza in California; gave Burnice Wilson a 99-year prison term in 2002 in Texas for stealing a tractor-trailer truck; and even gave Otis Babb an 18-year prison term 2017 in Texas for stealing 13 billy goats and 1 nanny goat.

This same justice system has executed 33 people since 1976 who did not actually kill anyone—not to mention the 10 or more innocent men put to death by the same system.

Last May the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the life sentence given to a black man named Allen Russell for possessing 44 grams of marijuana.

Allen Russell will spend the rest of his life in prison for smoking a little dope while Adam Johnson, who wanted to hang Mike Pence and murder Nancy Pelosi, will spend just 75 days for “entering” a “restricted building,” which just so happened to be U.S. Capitol Building.

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Democracy

Republic.

As if things could not get any worse in this country, they have—and, in all likelihood, things will continue to worsen.

Democrats almost uniformly refer to our nation as a Democracy.

That has been preferred term to describe the United States government for at least a couple hundred years—a termthat dates back to the 1630s in the English colonies.

But Republicans in their QAnon zeal to quash the so-called “New World Order” (something they see as a Democratic-based conspiracy against white government rule) are increasingly denouncing America as a Democracy, preferring to call it a Republic.

A Republic is a form of government that is elected by the citizens to serve the interests of the citizenry, primarily those of the majority of the citizenry.

The term Republic can be found in Article IV of the U.S. Constitution and the 1942 Pledge of Allegiance. The term does not appear in the Declaration of Independence.

Most Americans view their country in what can best be described as a “Federal Democratic Republic”—a form of government faithful to the rule of law and committed to the right to vote. These two ideal concepts respect the constitutional rights, the social liberties and the racial/ethnic equality of all its citizens.

A stand alone Republic, however, cannot abide by these constitutional ideals because they defy the underpinnings of an authoritarian rule that serves the interests of the haves over the have-nots.

As they say, the proof is in the pudding.

Below is a list of the world’s leading Democratic governments:

Norway

Iceland

Sweden

New Zealand

Finland

Ireland

Canada

Denmark

Australia

Switzerland

Netherlands

United Kingdom

France

Below is a list of the world’s leading Republic governments:

Afghanistan

Albania

Argentina

Brazil

Chile

Colombia

Costa Rica

Croatia

Guatemala

Haiti

Maldives

Iraq

Israel

Italy

Latvia

Mexico

Philippines

Poland

Russia

Slovenia

Turkey

Uganda

Uzbekistan

Choose the country in which ou prefer to live—a Democracy that respects the rule of law for all its citizens through the power of the vote or a Republic who’s only interest is to control its citizens through the power of the gun.

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The collateral tragedy of Timothy McVeigh

McVeigh was a right-wing white supremacist who loved guns, explosives, and “white power” with the same level of hatred he had for the federal government, law enforcement, and the “New World Order.”

The New World Order term was coined by Republican President George H.W. Bush on September 11, 1990 as he described his vision of a post-Cold War world.

The Patriot Movement, led by white supremacist Patriots like McVeigh, saw the term as coded message that a cabal of Jews, socialists and wealthy elitists were taking over the world, particularly in America, and would ultimately impose some form of government not controlled by white people.

The so-called Patriot Movement spawned right-wing, white supremacists and Neo-Nazi type militia groups across the country, beginning in Montana and spreading into Michigan and Minnesota. These hate groups can now be found in every state in this country.

McVeigh was a fixture, as were other former military personnel, in that hate-driven movement that formed these “private militias” to wage war against the New World Order

In August 1992, McVeigh watched as fellow white supremacist Randy Weaver engaged federal law enforcement in an 11-day standoff in Ruby Ridge, Idaho that left Weaver’s wife and 14-year-old son dead, as well as a U.S. Marshal.

Between February 28 and April 19, 1993, McVeigh watched the Waco Siege that ultimately left anti-government religious cult leader David Koresh and 74 of his Branch Davidians followers dead, as well as five federal law enforcement officers.

McVeigh swore revenge against the federal government, or the “New World Order,” he believed was responsible for Ruby Ridge and Waco.

On April 19, 1995, on the second anniversary of the fiery end of the Waco Siege, McVeigh left a truck packed with 4800 pounds of explosive material near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Courthouse in Oklahoma City. The ensuing explosive blast killed 168 people, including 19 children in a daycare center in the building.

“What the U.S. government did at Waco and Ruby Ridge was dirty,” McVeigh told the authors of “American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing” in any interview from his federal death cell. “And I gave dirty back to them at Oklahoma City.”

The godfather of the “white power, white supremacist” Patriot Movement—which today is represented by the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and Boogaloos—McVeigh would be a true Patriot in today’s political and social climate. He would have led the insurrectionist assault on the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 intent on hanging the Vice-President and murdering the Speaker of the House.

Today many congressional leaders, conservative-right wing talk show hosts, and the leaders of all the white supremacist groups in this country hail the more than 700 people arrested in the wake of the Capitol assault as “Patriots.”

One day in the not too distant future, Timothy McVeigh will also be hailed as a true “Patriot” by the white warriors of hate because he destroyed a federal courthouse named after a Democratic federal judge appointed to the bench by none other than greatest liberal president of all time, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

That, my friends, is the collateral tragedy of Timothy McVeigh.

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Lady of Justice

Also known in Greek mythology as the Titan Goddess Themis—a beloved figure in ancient Athens.

Themis was hailed far and wide as the divine authority on justice, law-and-order, and the preservation of the natural order of things. She had three symbolic features that continue to reside in thousands of hall of justices to this day: a blindfold, a scale and a sword.

The blindfold means justice should be impartial, the scale means justice should be evenly distributed, and the sword means that respect for the other two goals should be enforced.

Anyone who can spell “history” understands that despite the noble intentions of Themis’ symbols, human justice has never been impartial, much less even.

Take the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection case. Four lives were lost during the criminal, treasonous assault on the Capitol Building that day. Millions of dollars in damage was done as the predominantly white supremacist crowd of roughly 1,000 roamed the halls of Congress in search of the Vice President to hang him and in search of the Speaker of the House to murder her. Five additional people, all Capitol police officers, died in the wake of the coup attempt.

As of this date, 725 of the insurrectionists have been arrested, mostly on minor offenses. Politico reported as of January 6, 2022, only 71 of those arrested have been sentenced for their guilty plea admitted crimes. Sixty-four of the 71 sentences thus far handed down through Justice Department arranged “plea deals” have been for misdemeanor offenses—and only 30 of those actually received jail time. The others received probation or home confinement.

Compare that insurrection “justice” to the criminal “justice” meted out to Allen Russell in Forrest County, Mississippi. Russell was arrested in November 2017 in Hattiesburg for possession of 30 grams of marijuana. Having two prior convictions (one for a 2004 burglary and the other for a 2015 unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon), Russell was sentenced to life without parole as a “violent habitual offender” under Mississippi law. That sentence was upheld by an en banc Mississippi court of Appeals in May 2021—just four months after the Capitol insurrection occurred.

That is the true face of American justice—a small-time “petty criminal” with no political affiliations receives a life without parole sentence for 30 grams of marijuana while a violent treasonous insurrectionist hell-bent on lynching the Vice President and murdering the House Speaker receives “home detention”—and who incidentally had the temerity to recently ask his sentencing judge if he could spend 10 days with his online girlfriend in Jamaica.

The Attorney General of the United States recently told the American public that the Justice Department is prepared to pursue the “facts” and hold to account all those responsible for the “1/6 insurrection,” regardless of who they are.

If you get suckered into believing that “deal,” then you may as well purchase that ocean front property in Arizona.

Meanwhile, in the melting pot of justice, Allen Russell is serving his life without parole sentence in a violent prison system while one of the 1/6 insurrectionists bemoans the fact from his jail cell that one hundred thousand people did not show up in Washington on the one year anniversary of the Capitol riot to demand his release as a “true American Patriot.”

The tragic bottom line: roughly 30 to 40 million Americans with Republican Party affiliations in fact believe that the 1/6 insurrectionists are indeed American Patriots while they simultaneously believe that the Allen Russell’s are criminals.

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