In one model of the universe, a person is continuously and perpetually judged by That Which Cannot Be Named on the level of respect shown not to other humans who are powerful but to those who are powerless. Society gives judges and police officers, for example, the power to take away a person’s liberty and life, respectively. Food service workers and small children, on the other hand, enjoy no such or similar rights and privileges.
Mocking or ridiculing a judge or police officer will have immediate, negative, and possibly deadly temporal consequences to one’s liberty and life, whereas doing the same to a fast-food cashier or stray orphan will likely not. Within the framework of this dichotomy, one enforced by a threat of bodily harm that is approved by society at large, the former expect to be respected but the latter do not. Fry-cooks and babies generally don’t go hunting for someone they perceive as having wronged them; judges and police officers do.
Armed with the knowledge that it is vastly more beneficial for one’s karma to shower great respect on helpless kids and little respect on mighty officials, a person can choose to drastically reduce the level of respect shown to the powerful and drastically increase the compassion, love, and patience shown to the powerless. Consequently, it is acceptable to completely ignore police officers (unless forced to do otherwise), to educate oneself about exactly when and when not it is recommended to speak to them, and to find legal ways to hold them to task (without mercy) when they operate outside of their rights or violate their sworn oath.
In short, treat those whom society gives the least power as if they were a cherished friend, beloved parent, or favorite sibling. The rewards outweigh the risks.
americanifesto / 場黑麥 / jpr / urbanartopia / whorphan
Tragedy marked this past weekend, with one person killed and many more badly injured in an act of apparent domestic terrorism in Charlottesville, VA. Concurrent with that violent act, in a public display of wild-eyed and misguided extremism, hundreds of middle-class European-Americans marched through said city holding torches and shouting slogans straight out of Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’. People who are now suddenly worried about the current rise of alt-right and neo-Nazi mentalities here in America must remember that Donald J. Trump ascended to the presidency on ideas nationalist, protectionist, and us-versus-them in their scope and design. In some sense, the alt-right stands today victorious, having helped vote its champion into this nation’s highest office. Hence, statements by leaders of the white-nationalist movement praising the president for his recent stance on their right to rally and organize with intent to subjugate and destroy.
The city of Boston this year decided to display a poster aimed at teaching people who use its public transportation services how to diffuse Islamophobia. It is this author’s personal experience that the most effective method for fighting violent extremism is to ignore the perpetrator and show love to the victims. In Charlottesville, VA, last weekend, citizens protesting the alt-right sometimes did the opposite, fighting violence with violence and hatred with hatred.
Although he disagrees with them on nearly every point (but for their right to keep breathing), this author thinks it’s important to let the alt-right, neo-Nazi, and white nationalist movements not only voice their ugly opinions but also march in public. If they’re banned from letting their true colors fly, open-minded and cosmopolitan lovers of freedom will never know whom to avoid socially, whose businesses to boycott or divest from, whose places of worship to picket, and whom to deny service as well as the time of day. (Since its financial support of organizations perpetuating homophobic bigotry came to light, this author hasn’t set foot inside of a Chick-fil-A, for example.) One slow, methodical way to crush America’s Nazi problem is to do so economically, a dollar at a time. Another way, is to crush it with clubs and sticks and knives and guns, like many of our grandparents did in Europe and beyond during the 1940s.
To destroy the creeping roots of incessant hatred it is often necessary to resort to violence. So long as one does so with positive intentions and for the benefit of all humanity, resting well at night should come easy. Just remember, though, that America’s white nationalists think that what they’re doing is for the benefit of all humanity, or at least the light-skinned portion of humanity whose ancestors come from Europe. Whichever path you choose in your resistance to bigotry and intolerance in America, stay grounded and don’t panic.
americanifesto / 場黑麥 / jpr / urbanartopia / whorphan
One who hasn’t studied the ill effects of war will gladly resort to it.
One who is ignorant of the lessons of history is bound to repeat past errors.
One who is obsessed with his own ego will serve they who stroke it best.
One who bathes in a torrent of lies will ignore droplets of truth.
One who prefers hatred to compassion represents but a misguided few.
One who stands indebted to shady foreign lenders is in their constant thrall.
As one who knows no scruples, he approves the killing of innocent foreign children to gain fleeting domestic support. False flag attacks are useful to men such as him. Should American soils once again burn, patriots-turned-nationalists will stand by as our few remaining freedoms are stamped finally out.
The ones who came before him at least tried to pretend they weren’t tyrants.
This one revels in it.
americanifesto / 場黑麥 / jpr / urbanartopia / whorphan
For the average citizen, ignorance of the law does not excuse him from punishment. Consider that taken together federal, state, and local laws number in the tens of thousands, and change, constantly. Without focused effort, however, most Americans commit 3 felonies a day, as Mr. Harvey Silverglate of Boston writes in his book. When looked at critically, this system seems to exist not to protect or better lives but to extort cash from or transfer into prison-slavery people who get caught breaking said myriad laws. (Please note: according to the U.S. Constitution, slavery is still legal in America, but only as a form of punishment, i.e. prison.) For the citizen working as a police officer, however, ignorance of the law - ignorance even of the fundamental tenets of the Constitution - is met not with reprimand but reward. Following Heien v. North Carolina, citizens working in the police forces can violate the rights and freedoms of their fellow citizens, first performing warrantless searches then claiming ignorance of the Constitution’s 4th amendment protections against same. What sort of nation allows a heavily armed police force - a standing army beholden to neither established law nor the opinions of mankind - to operate free of the constraints of the very document upon which it was founded? What sort of country sends the armed agents it has chosen to enforce its laws out into the street without first making sure they understand the contents of the very document they at some point swore to protect and uphold? When a terrorist attacks, the various churches of the religion he claims adherence to come forward and denounce his violent ways. Where, however, are the voices of the various police departments around America coming forward to denounce extrajudicial executions committed by their brothers in blue? Are police unions in large numbers urging their members to stop escalating roadside encounters and stating publicly that they do not condone violent acts against unarmed civilians regardless of creed, hue, or race? The police unions are not, and great numbers of police officers are not, because citizens who work as police officers exist not to protect the rest of us but to distrust, fine, follow, track, stalk, and - if startled - shoot those of us who do not work as police officers. Now, more than perhaps ever before, the age-old concerns about watchers (and who watches them) lick hot at the forefront of the mind.
Video recordings abound of police officers shooting unarmed or legally armed average civilians out of at best fearful aggression and at worst hateful convenience. When investigated, most of the shootings are deemed justified - by an attorney general or equivalent legal party who works frequently with the trigger-happy police officer and his colleagues, who must depend on the man’s good favor to efficiently perform his daily duties, and who is thus inclined to find the man’s behavior in accordance with whatever police-specific or special laws that he and his ilk conspire to uphold and protect. (The American people have given police officers leave to break the law - to lie, cheat, and steal - in order to secure a criminal conviction. Ought we be surprised that they’ve decided to include in their list of permitted crimes that of shooting first and asking the questions later?) The lawless savagery of absolute Despotism that occurs when those supposed to keep the peace are given leave to break it - at will and without fear of punishment - runs counter to the letter of our nation’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence. (In reality, It offers the People no protections, however, as in the opinion of the U.S. federal government the Declaration has no legal weight or legislative significance.) Among the causes that compelled the Founding Persons to declare their separation from the British empire was as follows - For Quartering large bodies of troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States(.) When reading the Declaration immediately after you finish this piece, I challenge you to substitute ‘the King of Great Britain’ with ‘the U.S. federal government.’ How similar to the conditions we face today were those which drove the Founding Persons to call bullshit and ouster their plutocratic overlords? (In a widely-circulated official Pentagon training manual, the Founding Persons - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, &c. are referred to as criminal extremists one rung below outright terrorists who would today be barred from military service). Are the conditions we currently face but another example of sic semper tyrannis, proof that a political force of sufficient size and longevity will naturally evolve into the very oppressive and dastardly power it once sought to overthrow - even a political force conceived for and supposedly dedicated to the purpose of bringing betterment and liberty to a large mass of people?
Unless we average citizens do something very soon, the million tentacles of the teenage police-state throbbing in our midst will seek out and suffocate what few freedoms we have left. Since 2001 C.E., civilians working as police officers have killed more unarmed and innocent civilians than the terrorists did on 11 September, albeit one or two and not hundreds or thousands at a time. How does one root out a beast as firmly latched to the fear-teat of modern America as a police force that slays our youth and hounds the defenseless whilst demanding knee-jerk and blind obedience to its every whim and fancy? A beast whose appetite for blood and gore never lingers, whose cruel heart pumps blood black and blue? Not quickly, efficiently, or thoroughly. To start, however, please know your rights, and record every interaction with the police. Beyond that, though, put on some lipstick and rouge, because we the People are pretty much fucked.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Over the weekend, I engaged with a staunchly vegan friend in heated debate about the taking of life. At root, my argument was that in order for us humans to stay alive, something else must die. Each living human sends tens of thousands of living bacteria to perish in a lake of his stomach acid every time he swallow. Each vegan takes the life of a broccoli plant when he lops its head off; he denies the soy plant the ability to live when he eats its beans instead of planting them; he kills countless bacteria every time he washes his hands with soap or spills a drop of vodka onto a wooden bar-top. Hence, the only thing a person can do to avoid killing other living things, every day, is to die.
In my experience, certain vegans rationalize their dietary and life choices according to the 'cute and cuddly' argument: since a cow can turn supposedly doleful eyes back at its butcher and certain emotions can be interpreted into its gaze, it should not be killed. Another is what I call the 'flight' argument: since a chicken can run away from a person trying to catch it (whereas an onion cannot), it wants to stay alive and must therefore not be killed. A third argument is 'it has eyes, and a mother, and should therefore not be killed.' My vegan friend made extensive use of the 'it has eyes' argument; indeed, it seemed to sit at the core of his very existence. That, and saying that since he can't see bacteria with his own eyes, I could not prove to him that they were alive, fled from danger, or even existed. Oh, and trying to shame me into admitting I would eat the liver of a human baby if one were served up to me mixed up in a bowl with the livers of other animals. (For myself, on the day-to-day, I choose to eat only plant products, but since I will eat whatever a host puts in front of me while a guest in his home, I without shame admitted that I would probably – but not willingly – eat a member of my own species...) When I made the point that potatoes have eyes, my counterpart argued that this was only a matter of definition, to which I countered with something like, “So, if we started calling the sight organs of animals something other than 'eyes,' would it be OK to eat them?” He responded by launching back into shaming mode and accusing me of wanting to eat babies. After nearly an hour of cyclical conversation and me admitting to being a monster and a (potential) cannibal, I brought things to a point, asking my vegan friend if he agreed that by eating a tomato, a soy bean, or an apple, he was a taker of life. A killer. He responded by saying that, according to what he referred to as the 'food chain,' it is natural for humans to eat not only plants but also the products of plants. That, for him, eating the seed of a plant is not killing. That, since plants cannot run away and he cannot hear their screams of agony (certain pine trees scream at frequencies inaudible to humans when they're dying of thirst), they're freely giving up their fruits, and their lives. At that point, we ended the conversation, agreeing to disagree.
In my opinion, since a chicken's egg can grow up to become a chicken, it contains life, or at least the potential for life. In my opinion, since a soy (or any other) bean can grow up to become a soy (or any other) plant, it contains life, or at least the potential for life. Therefore, for me, there's no difference between a chicken's egg and a soy bean. I am a vegetarian primarily because I like the way my body and mind feel when I'm vegetarian. Also, I do not wish to support an animal husbandry industry that causes undue suffering to the lives in its care, destroys Earth's environment, and massively overuses antibiotics. Plus, I find that eating a lot of meat causes my blood-chemistry to become unbalanced. Before each meal, whether it should contain meat or plant products, I try to take a moment to thank the food for sacrificing itself so that I might live. George Bernard Shaw once wrote: 'Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends.' Every time I hear Shaw's quote used by a vegan person to self-aggrandize his or her dietary and life decisions, however, I want to add this: 'But plants? Fuck plants – I'll kill and eat the shit out a fucking plant.' I will write more on this subject once my passions have subsided and my tone is more rational. Essentially, however, all life is precious, and we would do well to be thankful for everything that dies to keep us alive, no matter how stationary, unattractive, or small it may be. In this way, we can start to develop a deeper compassion for all things living, not just things with eyes we might want to cuddle.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Cop chiefs of America now break their oath to preserve the nation's own Constitution for their standing armies in black fabric clothed destroy Liberty for all – everyone. This foul cheap aggression will not stand for long, for there are vast multitudes, great unarmed throngs, who take to the streets to protest what cops do when they break Amendments I VI VIII and II. Each swine made a pledge to uphold what is Right, to protect the innocent (not cause them fright), to hold themselves to pure and higher standards than worthless effluvia or mere rank turds. Cops kill more Ynki than Arab terrorists; they maim pregnant women teenagers and kids; they think themselves above the established laws; the System protects them, for it's truly flawed. To speak out is deadly to stand up the same, but still we do instead of lying ashamed on beds we all made up when Saudis – those cowards – did fly U.S. airplanes into the Twin Towers. Just after those harrowing terror events did the common citizen quickly relent and give up Protections long granted to him that the Founding Persons did fight for, and win. So take up a banner and march in the streets and record your actions in blogposts and tweets to prove to the generations yet to come that we at least tried to undo damage done.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
blog updated Fridays, usually
I bicycle, write, surf, and the rest.