Sunday, December 10, 2017

Packers barely escape with another win over the NFL's worst. Is it Rodgers' time now?

There is some “boasting” going on because Brett Hundley is now 2-0 in overtime games, compared to Aaron Rodgers’ 1-7. Maybe it has something to do with the fates, because the Packers are now 3-0 this season in overtime games (Rodgers was 0-7 heading into the season). But enough of that. For the second straight time the Packers played poorly for most of the game against a couple of really bad teams (Tampa Bay and Cleveland, who now have combined records of 4-22), and won mainly for the same reason the Packers blew a 19-7 lead with five minutes to play after Russell Wilson threw his fifth interception in the 2014 NFC championship game and still lost in overtime: because their opponents defense fell flat on their faces, and their offenses suddenly became paralytic at the most inopportune times. 

But then again, Tampa Bay and 0-13 Cleveland are pretty bad, and it took a while for that to be exposed. Give Hundley, or the play calling anyways, some credit for playing within his limitations, utilizing the pass game as a substitute for a running game that was not working particularly well. Without a couple of catch-and-runs, such as on the winning score in OT when the Browns’ defenders looked like stake poles as Davante Adams ran around them, Hundley would have been 31 of 42 for 182 yards. I just point this out because this is why the Packers actually trailed the worst team in the NFL 21-7 in the fourth quarter, before the Browns reverted to form with arguably the worst starting quarterback in the league, DeShone Kizer. One can only assume the Packers overall are not really a “bad” team without Rodgers; after all, they do still have an outstanding pass receiving corps, as badly used as it has been (particularly Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb).

All that said, the Packers have now done the absolute minimum they needed to do with Hundley at quarterback: they “beat” three of the worst teams in league that have a combined record of 8-31. If Rodgers had been quarterbacking, the Packers likely would have at least 2 more victories than those teams combined instead of one fewer. The question now is will it be worth bringing Rodgers back next week. It would certainly have been a moot point if the Packers had lost either of the previous two games. With three other second place teams above them in the win column, it still seems like a game of chance to do so.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Rep. Steve King and other hypocrites should be the ones “deported”

The early Seventies saw many songs that promoted peace, harmony and understanding. For some of you that might as well have been one thousand years go, but for me the memories cling like it was just yesterday: “Everything is Beautiful,” “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” “Imagine,” “United We Stand,” “Black and White,” “Love Train” and Joe South’s “Walk a Mile in My Shoes”:

If I could be you
And you could be me
For just one hour
If we could find a way
To get inside
Each other's mind,
If you could see you
Through my eyes
Instead of your ego
I believe you'd be
Surprised to see
That you'd been blind

We don’t see much of that anymore in the music scene, because that requires another thing we don’t see much of anymore: Artists looking beyond their own petty concerns and seeing the world without illusions, and hoping for something better, rather than to merely “get even” with an “ex.” Of course, some musicians were more pessimistic than others—The Clash, for example. In “Clampdown”—the title refers to the “clampdown” of anyone or anything viewed as a “threat” to the “traditional” order as defined by an oppressive “establishment”—fascism is seen as the chief political and social construct:

What are we gonna do now?
Taking off his turban, they said, is this man a Jew?
'Cause they're working for the clampdown
They put up a poster saying we earn more than you!
When we're working for the clampdown
We will teach our twisted speech
To the young believers
We will train our blue-eyed men
To be young believers

The pessimism of Kenny Rogers and the First Edition’s “Tell it All” could also be seen as more prophetic for what was to come (beginning with the Reagan administration) than a plea for “change.”

How much you're holding back on me
When you say you're giving all?
And in the dungeons of your mind
Who you got chained to the wall?

Did you plant your feet on higher ground
To avoid life's mud and stone?
Did you ever kick a good man
When he was down, just to make yourself feel strong?

Did you ever walk for a crippled man
Pretending you were lame?
And what made you think one feeble hand to God
Was gonna make him call your name?

Speaking of prophetic pessimism, as mentioned a couple posts ago Rep. Steve King of Iowa reacted to the acquittal of a Hispanic immigrant in a homicide case that was one of the “pillars” that held up Donald Trump’s race-based candidacy by expectorating "The illegal alien who, no one disagrees, killed Kate Steinle is found NOT guilty in sanctuary city, San Francisco. Sickening! I will spare no effort to do my own killing-of all amnesty in every form!” This kind of talk is bred from race hate and serves only hate. King neither “hates” nor even acknowledges the existence of a quarter of all illegal immigrants who are from Asia, India and Europe—a percentage that is only growing—but when one spews their filth on just one group (Hispanics), that is still all that is required to be a bonfide racist.

King’s constituents, naturally, claim that he is not a “racist,” that he just “speaks his mind.” The problem here is that it is white people (because they are the “majority”) making that judgment to appease themselves, not minorities who have to suffer the base ignorance of prejudice and stereotype. I mentioned a few times an incident at a work place where I challenged a white man who was telling ugly “jokes” about “Mexicans,” who asserted that the “jokes” were not “racist,” and that none of the other people present, either white or black,” thought they were either. I had to tell him that all that mattered was that I thought his “jokes” were racist, and he stopped telling them, at least for as long I was present.

King has a history of making ugly, dehumanizing comments about minorities, but mainly Hispanics, and they are not “jokes” to him or his constituency. Yet it is only a white supremacist or neo-Nazi would proclaim, as King did on MSNBC, that the Republican Party’s image as the “white people’s party” was getting “old” because “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?” King, of course, failed to mention civilizations that either pre-dated “Western” civilization, or those that existed in isolation from the West that were doing just fine without the intrusion of the West (sub-Sahara Africa is an example of how uninvited European colonial “contributions” destroyed carefully-created balances in the political, economic and environmental realm). 

King has absolutely no self-consciousness in expanding on his white supremacist ideology:  “Culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies”—the obvious “dog whistle” being non-white immigrants, and Hispanics in particular. When asked to “clarify” this statement on CNN, King merely doubled-down, insisting that he “meant exactly” what he said, and then made the bizarre remark that “If you go down the road a few generations or maybe centuries with the intermarriage, I’d like to see an America that's just so homogenous that we look a lot the same.” What could he possibly have meant by that, especially given the fact that the racism he espouses would make such a result unlikely? I again point to the incident in college where a white female insisted she wasn’t a “racist” even though she would “never” marry a “black man.”

It seems that King is “tolerated” by Republicans because he is a “reliable” vote on conservative issues (albeit an extreme one), and by the media, because he is “newsworthy.” While TIME magazine’s “Person of the Year” is a gaggle of self-important women called the “silence breakers,” the real “silence” is aided and abetted by the media and women just like this, for whom the vast majority of incidents they claim to have suffered are nothing compared to the lifetime of abuse many minorities—especially Hispanics—suffer at the hands of white society. I recall on The McLaughlin Group some years ago that even the “liberal” Eleanor Clift remained in “awed” silence as Pat Buchanan spewed out “Hispanics are out to destroy America!” It is also highly “ironic”—or rather, hypocritical—that Taylor Swift is one of the “silence breakers” on the TIME cover. More on this fraud later.

Meanwhile, a rundown of King’s verbal escapades that have gone unpunished include his opposition to DACA: “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” On why white America shouldn’t feel “guilty” about centuries of what Mark Twain sarcastically called the “blessings of civilization”: “We’re the vigor of the planet and there’s nothing for us to apologize for until they come and thank us for the things we’ve done.” On why it is “dangerous” to allow non-white immigrants into the country: “And changing the demographics changes the politics, they’re going to have Democrat voters at least two-to-one, some numbers go all the way to five-to-one, and I’m not speaking only of Muslims, I’m speaking of the Central American immigrants that come into America too. So if it turns into a few hundred thousand every year, how long is it before the culture of America is changed?”

No one in the Republican Party is denouncing him, because many privately agree with him. For all the criticism he came under as Speaker of the House, John Boehner was at least not a bigot, more than once speaking out against King and reportedly referred to him as an “asshole.” But that is not what you are hearing from the current Republican leadership. While Senators and House members are under assault and forced to resign for moments of sexual impropriety, blatant racists like King go unmolested and the lives of millions are being hurt simply because they don’t have the political and media support that (mainly white) women do.

What do his own constituents think, who keep reelecting him? While a few state Republicans consider him “coarse” and “weird,” the more common belief was enunciated thus by one voter “There isn’t a racist bone in King’s body. We are a nation based on Western values. I think Steve King is courageous to do it. Some cultures are better than others.” No, this is plainly the very definition of racism. When racists claim that their beliefs have nothing to do with racism, then you know this country has a “problem.” As I wrote about previously, “culture” in this country is only a racial construct in the minds of racists.

Who is going to save us from ourselves? A “silence breaker” like Taylor Swift and her anthem to white animus and fascist imagery in her petty self-obsession, “Look What You Made Me Do”?

I don't like your little games
Don't like your tilted stage
The role you made me play
Of the fool, no, I don't like you
I don't like your perfect crime
How you laugh when you lie
You said the gun was mine
Isn't cool, no, I don't like you

There is a reason why some nut from the now “underground” neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer claims that "The entire alt-right patiently awaits the day when we can lay down our swords and kneel before her (Swift’s) throne as she commands us to go forth and slaughter the subhuman enemies of the Aryan race." Of course it is “ridiculous,” but it is also true that the blonde, blue-eyed Swift has been too busy maintaining a feud with a black musician (Kanye West) than to take the time to repudiate her vast white supremacist following. Even Trump has made (largely disingenuous) efforts to do so. Why TIME didn’t take this into consideration before selecting her for its cover or question her about her racist following and her apparent embrace of it (the law says that “silence” construes consent), is of course, part of the reason why TIME magazine continues to lose credibility as an objective publication.

Tell it all, brothers and sisters, before we fall.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Packers win despite nonexistent passing game

At one point in the game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out-gained the Green Bay Packers 293 to 8 and still only outscored the Packers 13 to 7. Even after overtime, Brett Hundley passed for only 84 yards on 22 attempts and an interception. After out-gaining the Packers 387 to 150 with six minutes to play and still leading only 20-17, the Buccaneers somehow allowed the Packers two long scoring drives that utilized only 32 passing yards, enabling an improbable Packer win—or rather, enabling Tampa Bay to somehow lose it—on the opening drive of overtime when the Packers decided it was better to simply keep the ball on the ground, finishing with a 20-yard scamper by Aaron Jones and a 26-20 victory. I don’t know what is worse, how horrible Hundley played through 54 minutes of the game before he decided to simply run with the ball instead of passing it, or how the Packers managed to win a game they had no business even being in. 

Why did Tampa Bay lose? Because of absurd penalties—I lost count of how many “illegal above the waist blocks” they were flagged for, particularly the one that nullified a 21-yard pass play late in the game—and Jameis Winston. Despite “solid” numbers, Winston was not in this game, and never has been, a quarterback who can be counted on to make the plays when it matters. I’m sure that if you are a Tampa Bay fan, it was excruciating to watch how this game unfolded when your team clearly was having its way with the opponent on the field, yet simply could not find a way not to make this a “competitive” game. The key mistake was Winston's fumble in the second quarter as the Buccaneers were driving in Packer territory, which was returned for a 62-yard touchdown. 

The problem with Winston is like many of these young “superstars” out of college is that they simply have not progressed. Take Ryan Tannehill. Miami has given him five years and they already are prepared to move on without him. But at least he has had a few winning seasons; Winston has not yet had a season where he won as many games as he’s lost. This season, Case Keenum, Marcus Mariota, Carson Wentz and even Blake Bortles and Jared Goff have already won eight or more games this season, and the Buccaneers are yet again languishing with a 4-8 record. My suspicion is that the team will be looking beyond Winston in a year or two if they don’t start winning more than they are losing.

So what about the Packers? The Packers needed this game, or they were simply out no matter what. The problem for the Packers is that there are three teams ahead of them in the win column for a wild-card spot. They are now 6-6 in spite of Hundley, and should beat currently winless Cleveland next week. With Aaron Rodgers apparently expecting to be ready to play in two weeks, anything is “possible,” but having already lost to Atlanta they cannot afford to lose another game.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Reaction to acquittal of Hispanic immigrant just more proof of anti-Hispanic bigotry

It has been some time now that the media has had anything to report on George Zimmerman, despite its efforts to hound and harass him after spending a year demonizing and dehumanizing him before his acquittal of murder in the case of Trayvon Martin. The evidence had from first-to-last supported Zimmerman’s account of what occurred, but the case was politicized out of all proportion of reality. Of course we had to get the truth from someone like Bob Adelmann, who wrote in the New American—a publication affiliated with the John Birch Society—that Zimmerman’s defense team had in their possession information “that Martin’s text messages revealed a teenager just looking for trouble. In a highly redacted 10-page listing of his phone texts, Martin revealed a life of a marijuana smoker (one of his friends called him a ‘weed head’), and schoolyard bully who had been involved in at least three fistfights and threatened more in order to ‘get even,’ and had shown an interest in obtaining a gun from another friend: ‘U wanna share a .380?’ asked Martin at one point”—none of which the jury was permitted to hear, or which the “mainstream” media allowed the public to know, since it contradicted the “innocent child” narrative.

But this is still the same Adelmann who, like the rest of far-right, was quick to ignore the facts and denounce the acquittal of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate of murder in the death of Kathryn Steinle on a San Francisco pier. Just as in the Zimmerman case, there was a willful desire to demonize and dehumanize the “killer” because he wasn’t merely Hispanic like Zimmerman, but because he was “illegal.” However, instead of outrageously juxtaposing a swarthy face with a fresh-faced “innocent” black child of eight years, the media showed side-by-side images of an “ugly,” dark-skinned man and perky, attractive blonde white female. This is all part of a narrative that portrays Hispanic males as something less than human, as something the country must fear and despise—illegal or not.

Everywhere in the media there was befuddlement of how Garcia Zarate could be found “innocent” of cold-blooded murder, or at least that was how Donald Trump and his allies in hate portrayed him. After all, he was an illegal immigrant, and Trump had used the case to help propel his racism-infested campaign for president. After the verdict, Trump trumpeted "The Kate Steinle killer came back and back over the weakly protected Obama border, always committing crimes and being violent, and yet this info was not used in court. His exoneration is a complete travesty of justice. BUILD THE WALL! The jury was not told the killer of Kate was a 7 time felon. The Schumer/Pelosi Democrats are so weak on Crime that they will pay a big price in the 2018 and 2020 Elections." The homeless Garcia Zarate’s criminal past was of a non-violent nature, mainly drug possession-related and repeated re-entries into the country.  Trump later went on "A disgraceful verdict in the Kate Steinle case! No wonder the people of our Country are so angry with Illegal Immigration."

Of course, Trump and the racist right seems more “outraged” by these anecdotal incidents than by the record-setting number of mass killings by native-born whites since he has been elected. The "wall" that Ann Coulter tweeted would "stop" the anecdote will do nothing to stop the real threats to public safety in this country. If Trump and Coulter were actually more “concerned” about gun deaths in this country, and considering the right-to-be-armed-and-dangerous that many Republican politicians gleefully support for their own constituents, this country might be better off if all white (and black) people just emigrated back to where they “came from.” Am I being cynical here? Not much.

Trump’s racist Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, added his worthless bit: “The Department of Justice will continue to ensure that all jurisdictions place the safety and security of their communities above the convenience of criminal aliens. I urge the leaders of the nation’s communities to reflect on the outcome of this case and consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers.” Again, this incident was an accident, and accidents can happen to anyone, just as it is an “accident” that Trump is president—which happens to be an “accident” for a whole country.

And it goes on. The virulent anti-Hispanic racist Rep. Steve King raged "The illegal alien who, no one disagrees, killed Kate Steinle is found NOT guilty in sanctuary city, San Francisco. Sickening! I will spare no effort to do my own killing-of all amnesty in every form!” while his colleague Sen. Chuck Grassley (they must really hate “Mexicans” in Iowa) talked of “The death of Kate Steinle” as “a heartbreaking and preventable tragedy.  She died in her father’s arms at the hand of someone who violated our nation’s laws and who never should have been in our country.”  California State Senator Jeff Stone called the verdict a “mockery of justice,” and the ICE chimed in about the “alien” as a “blatant threat to public safety.”  

As I have noted before, 25 percent of all “illegals” are non-Hispanic, and that percentage is only growing, mainly because Hispanics have been almost solely the focus of the issue. Only Hispanics are viewed as a “threat” to “public safety,” and this has less to do with the facts, but with the kind of scapegoating we have seen before in history, say in Nazi Germany.

As in the Zimmerman case, there likely would not have been a charge of murder at all if not for all the politicization surrounding the case and the fact that the “killer” was a despised Hispanic. The prosecution knew they had no real case for homicide, despite the efforts of police to manufacture a “confession” out of Garcia Zarate. The police and prosecutors knew what defense expert witnesses knew—that the weapon that he claimed to have found wrapped in cloth under a seat at the pier where the incident took place had in all likelihood gone off accidentally.  The evidence indicated that the bullet that struck Steinle was not intentionally fired at anyone, but ricocheted off the ground before striking her in the back some 80 feet distant. In the end, the jury had to decide the case on the facts, not overwhelming politicization. 

I am not here to say that the death of Steinle was not a tragedy; it was a terrible, tragic loss of life that was entirely senseless. But isn't this a "senseless" world we live, personified in no small way the people currently "working" in the White House? Using her (as a "special victim" to use Law & Order's gender-politicized parlance) to promote a racist agenda against Hispanics, just as the Martin case was used, demonstrates just how desperate the need is to apply a particularly evil narrative of demonization and dehumanization that seems to apply particularly to Hispanic males, in which the “liberal” media works hand-in-glove with the extremists on the right. And war on Hispanics continues, as the Justice Department has just filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court to block a California judge’s demand that it hand over documents detailing its decision to end DACA.