Sep 042012
 

I’m not saying Ann Romney is racist. I’m just saying she doesn’t seem to think Latinos are intelligent citizens who deserve equal protection under the law simply because of their skin color and heritage. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Author’s Note: I realize some people prefer the terms “Hispanic” or “Chicano.” I personally refer to myself as “Mexican-American” since I’m a first-generation immigrant. I know we all have our preference, but for the purpose of this article, I’m sticking with Ann Romney’s terminology.

Ann Romney is not running for office, but her recent remarks about the Latino community show the Right’s mentality on minority votes and, on a personal level, showed her contempt for people like me.

At a recent luncheon, Mrs. Romney went on about how Latinos need to understand that the GOP, and her husband in particular, are working in the best interest of Latinos in this country. She gushed over how much damage another Obama presidency will do to us and how we’re just uninformed about current issues and policies.

It’s us, not them, she tells us.

I like to think my arguments are better than just flinging insults or calling names, but I would like to vent a little steam before starting by saying that Ann Romney sounds like any abusive husband on a Lifetime movie telling his battered wife that it’s her fault she’s on the ground doubled over.

Let me explain. Ann Romney said:

“I spoke to women last night and I wanted women to understand how important this election is for their children. But as I was sitting backstage listening, I thought, it’s also very important that the Latino community recognize how important this election is for them.”

I like how she talks about women and mothers and that need to protect the family but seems to think Latinos don’t have those concerns or are somehow different. It sounds like nitpicking her grammar, but it actually makes sense a little later.

“And [Latinos] are mistaken if they think they are going to be better off with Barack Obama as their president. There really is only one way for prosperity, for small business, and that is, this is the simplest way I can say this: If Mitt Romney wins, America wins.”

Mrs. Romney’s assertion that helping small businesses is the best way to help the country falls apart for two reasons. Firstly, she assumes that corporate profits equal social prosperity. They don’t. The top earners in this country have had incredible success in the last several years, but the middle class hasn’t seen significant improvement in THIRTY YEARS. Small businesses are another matter. Yes, they could be doing better, but the self-serving nature of the Romney/Ryan plan is another case. It will hurt not just Latinos, but everyone.

It’s when Mrs. Romney starts talking about why Latinos are specifically deaf to the GOP that I start to put the pieces together.

“You’d better really look at your future and figure out who’s going to be the guy that’s going to make it better for you and your children, and there is only one answer… It really is a message that would resonate well if [Latinos] could just get past some of their biases that have been there from the Democratic machines that have made us look like we don’t care about this community. And that is not true. We very much care about you and your families and the opportunities that are there for you and your families.”

If I may, I would like to address Ann Romney directly.

Read the rest of the rant at Political Groove

 

Jun 212012
 

June 20, 2012

WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the Justice League episode, “Legends.”

Between the new story and the superhero campaign I’d like to run in a few weeks when we take another break, I’ve had superheroes in the brain. I grew up a Superman fan, then Spiderman, and have moved to Batman. The allegories in superhero stories, those that are well-written anyway, are applicable to a story about a soldier, especially when told partially through the point of view of his young daughter.

In doing a little digging into the old classics, both DC and Marvel, I came across an old episode of Justice League that… well, it’s not the flashiest (no pun intended) and it doesn’t feature the epic villains of the DC universe… but it’s possibly one of the greatest moments in the DC Animated Universe.

“Legends” revolves around Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkgirl being transported into a parallel world ripped from the pages of 1950’s American nostalgia. It’s all there: the campy villains, the clean and idyllic city, and its protectors, the Justice Guild of America, composed of barely-disguised versions of Silver Age comic book heroes from the DC universe. Green Lantern recognizes the Guild as characters from comic books he read when he was younger, comic books that helped give him the moral compass he would later employ as a member of the Green Lantern Corp. In this reality, he figures, those characters were real…

The big problem, of course, is trying to get the League members back to their own reality, but as the trio gets caught in the Adam Westian crime-fighting of the JGA, hi-jinks so tame that Captain Boomerang looks like flippin’ Darkseid by comparison, they discovered a bigger problem.


Silver Age DC vs Mortal Kombat by ~thechrishaley on deviantART

It turns out the world was devastated in a nuclear war decades ago and the Guild was killed trying to stop it. The heroes the League members have been interacting with are the creation of an insane mutant psychic who’s recreated the “perfect” world of the past to cope with the devastated world around him. As he lashes out against the League and soundly beats them, the Justice Guild of America realizes that stopping their creator will save Flash, GL, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkgirl… but it will mean their own death.

And then one of them utters a line that gives me chills every time I hear it.

“We died once to save this Earth… We can do it again.”

And they jump into the fight. It’s campy. It’s cheesy. It’s every clichéd move you can imagine.

But never have the phrases, “Crime doesn’t pay,” and “Let justice prevail,” as hokey and out-dated as they may seem in a world of Rorschach, Frank Castle, and John Constantine, sounded as awesome and inspiring during that final battle.


JUSTICE LEAGUE by *earache-J on deviantART

The idealism of the Pleasantville-style world was not perfect, though. The episode does have hints that the JGA has its fair share of sexism and even racism, but it’s nothing that would have been out of place in post-WW2 America. The Leaguers don’t shy away from condemning it, though.

But why is this episode one of the greatest?

Because as dark as DC animation can get, it’s expected. Think back to the 50’s or even the 60’s. You would NEVER have had a heroic sacrifice like this. Death in general was something avoided. Criminals got beaten to a pulp, then tossed in jail. The heroes prevailed, moved on to the next case, and wackiness ensued. This episode’s climax involves the realization that billions are dead, the world is a fantasy created by psychotic man-child, and the mutant psychic who created the illusion is something straight out of Tales from the Crypt.

It’s the intrusion of the Other, the concept that something is utterly shocking or disturbing when introduced into a non-standard setting. Imagine a war zone. Someone with a gun is to be expected. Now place that same character in the middle of a school and you get horror. The Guild could easily have doubled as extras in the Adam West Batman series, yet here they showed the kind of sacrifice and bravery usually reserved for heroes in a world where death is very real, and that’s saying something since death has a very buttery grasp on superheroes and supervillains. The final scene, though still tame since it IS a kid’s show, was akin to watching Mickey Mouse go on a suicide mission. It was like watching Archie take a bullet for Jughead from a gunman at Riverdale High.


Paranormal Archie by ~dio-03 on deviantART

I’ve been called everything from a jaded mess to a cynic. I’m a skeptic through a through.

I’m not afraid to say I choked up when the Guild made their sacrifice and showed, not simply said, they were heroes who stood for truth and justice.

I know it’s only a cartoon, but I grew up with stories like this. Later, I found out even death was cheap in comic books. But those comic books also helped me see right and wrong in a world of fantastic villains and heroes. As much as Sesame Street shaped my language, comic books shaped my idealism. It’s not that I think humanity is wretched and unworthy of this world. The reason I get so angry at the propaganda, the lies, and hatred I see, the reason I write and the reason I keep this site going, is because I think we’re better than that. I want to help others realize it.

We don’t have superheroes. It’s just us. I’m not going to wait for a red and blue flash to fly in and save the day.

And in case you still think I’m making too much of this, here’s the full episode.

Mar 232012
 

Most of us see the victim of a senseless hate crime and overtly lax gun laws. Fox and Beck's goons, though, see a criminal element that needed to be put down.

March 23, 2012

Trayvon Martin’s death and the subsequent stall of justice and prosecution of his killer has made national news in the past few days. Florida’s gun laws and the ability to Florida citizens to seemingly kill with less oversight and consequences than police officers is under scrutiny. But we have to remember something. As much as people are arguing over the gun laws and as much as people are wondering why we haven’t done more towards Zimmerman, there is something more vicious going on.

Some are actually blaming Trayvon for his own murder.

Just when you thought the Right Wing noise machine couldn’t get more despicable, Gerardo Rivera, a man famous for being ordered to leave Iraq after divulging troop positions, went ahead and said one of the worst things I’ve ever heard.

Among other things, Geraldo thinks there’s nothing wrong with crossing the street when you see a black or Latino youth because we’ve all seen punks rob convenience stores wearing hoodies. Trayvon was wearing a hoodie, so Zimmerman may have been partially justified in his reaction to shoot an unarmed teen in his own neighborhood.

This is the same kind of mentality as blaming rape victims.

“Oh, you went out with make-up and a skirt, and you had a drink at the bar? Well, you just looked like the type of woman men would assume wanted to get laid. You were probably asking for it.”

The rape justification is horrible. Blaming a teen for his own murder because he was wearing a hoodie, you know, an article of clothing for cool weather, is downright disgusting.


Justice for Trayvon Martin by ~autumnsayshello on deviantART

Then you have Glenn Beck’s website, The Blaze. After Captain Blackboard got the boot from Fox and was dropped from several radio stations, this became his little haven. And boy, he may not have written it, but he’s not said anything about it, either.

Mytheos Holt, an associate editor at the Blaze, wrote an article claiming we didn’t have all the facts yet. For example, did you know that Trayvon was suspended from school? We don’t know why, but the list includes:

  • Harassment (non-sexual or isolated)
  • Petty theft (under $300.00)
  • Assault/Threat against a non-staff member
  • Breaking and Entering/Burglary
  • Bullying (repeated harassment)*
  • Sexual harassment**
  • Grand theft (over $300.00)
  • Sex offenses (other) (including possession and/or distribution of obscene or lewd materials)
  • Armed robbery
  • Arson
  • Homicide
  • Kidnapping/Abduction

Is The Blaze implying Trayvon was a promiscuous murderer who liked to set fires and steal? They just put the list out there as if to say, “You decide, America!”

Well, we have. It’s why Beck lost his show and why people like Holt and Rivera are horrible human beings. We have plenty of facts on the case. It’s become such a national story specifically because we know so much about the case and nothing’s been done about it. If it had been a murder and Zimmerman had been arrested on the spot, it would have still been a tragedy and would likely have garnered some national attention and started a conversation on Florida gun laws.

And even IF Trayvon had been a homicidal pyromaniac, when he was killed, he posed no threat to anyone, especially someone with a loaded gun. Unless, of course, The Blaze is advocating killing people on the basis that they MIGHT have done something wrong.


Skittles and Iced Tea by *Akanei-Rin on deviantART

This just goes to show just how disconnected from reality some people can get. Here we have a case of an overzealous man who shot and murdered an unarmed teen and while most people are trying to figure out the legal implications of the state’s gun laws and how this Zimmerman has not yet been arrested, we have Geraldo and Beck’s cronies wondering how Trayvon himself caused his own murder by being black and wearing clothing.

If anyone asks me why I write these articles and why I keep making videos, I point to things like this. If we don’t actively go after these self-righteous bastards and their insane semblance of “logic,” others might follow suit. It’s why education is important. It’s why we need to learn proper critical thinking skills.

If you look at this case and wonder how Trayvon Martin went so long without getting shot, you should be sterilized for the good of humanity. And set on fire. Also for the good of humanity.

To help wash away the hate and usher in the weekend, here’s the full trailer for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.

Feb 102012
 

I'm not. It's just a dramatic way of introducing it.

February 10, 2012

It seems the last video got a lot of attention and a fair amount of heat for a lot of Hispanics going after a single white woman. Except we didn’t do it because she was white. Let me explain the concept of “racism” and “bigotry” and why I will not st

Feb 082012
 

February 8, 2012

This whole YouTube vlog has really opened a lot of avenues of critique and condemnation. I’ll admit I was nervous. People are more active in places like YouTube that, say, a blog like this. More people are willing to comment and criticize a vlog than a blog. That being said, I got a chance to engage in one of my favorite pastimes.

Troll hunting.

The troll is a skittish creature. It jumps into a comments thread and leaves a badly-spelled jumble of words that should probably be an argument to what you’ve just written or said. The traditional strategy for dealing with trolls is to ignore them. Feeding a troll is like giving food to a stray animal. That animal will stay and love you. In this case, the troll has found a new source of food and you are its unwilling vending machine.

Of course, I feed the trolls. I leave little morsels of comments for them. I let them have a taste.

Then I poison them and burn their bodies behind the shed. Sort of.

<object width=”450″ height=”535″><param name=”movie” value=”http://backend.deviantart.com/embed/view.swf?1″><param name=”flashvars” value=”id=148474841&width=1337″><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always”><embed src=”http://backend.deviantart.com/embed/view.swf?1″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”450″ height=”535″ flashvars=”id=148474841&width=1337″ allowscriptaccess=”always”></embed></object><br><a href=”http://novaburst16.deviantart.com/art/Internet-Trolling-Demotivator-148474841″>Internet Trolling Demotivator</a> by ~<a href=”http://novaburst16.deviantart.com/”>novaburst16</a> on <a href=”http://www.deviantart.com”>deviantART</a>

The recent video on Sarah Walls got a lot of attention, but a percentage of the comments on the video were by people who comically missed the point of calling out a racist for being a racist. They insisted she was right. They brought out things like their own dislike of Mexicans, how being a Navy veteran meant you could not be dumb, and how Mexicans are the real racists because they refuse to admit they come from a culture of violence and rape.

And no, none of those are exaggerations.

I answer back. I ask questions. I poke holes in their theories. After all, THIS little ol’ Mexican-American never killed or raped anyone and, as far as I can tell, is eloquent and can string together a coherent, logical argument. Faced with this and other facts, a troll will usually try and justify his or her prejudice and previous observations. This backs them into a corner. They get defensive. At this point, the troll will do one of two things.

It will end the conversation (sometimes launching one last volley of self-righteous anger), or it will launch into a full-blown attack.

Either one is a good thing. If it leaves, game over, but you had the last word. It if attacks, it shows its weakness. It exposes its hatreds and prejudice. The angrier it gets, the more it shows what it really thinks. It’s your job, though, to keep a level head. Maintain composure. Don’t give in to the hatred.

Focus it. Like a laser. Powered out of spite. That targets the idiot.

<object width=”450″ height=”410″><param name=”movie” value=”http://backend.deviantart.com/embed/view.swf?1″><param name=”flashvars” value=”id=175946843&width=1337″><param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always”><embed src=”http://backend.deviantart.com/embed/view.swf?1″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”450″ height=”410″ flashvars=”id=175946843&width=1337″ allowscriptaccess=”always”></embed></object><br><a href=”http://sketchoo.deviantart.com/art/bowels-of-bigotry-175946843″>bowels of bigotry</a> by *<a href=”http://sketchoo.deviantart.com/”>sketchoo</a> on <a href=”http://www.deviantart.com”>deviantART</a>

I enjoy answering trolls. I’ve got three heads on my wall from the last three days. One admitted he was racist but claimed he had a good reason. Another insisted he couldn’t have an intelligent conversation with someone unless his opponent could speak English because Mexicans can’t think critically. The third basically said I was racist for pointing out a racist critique.

I do this for two reasons. Bursting people’s racist world-view and exposing them for the angry, ignorant pricks that they are brings me infinite joy. I can’t stand someone trying to justify prejudice, no matter how good their “rationale” may be. For anyone who stands by and lets this happen in the real world, there’s one more bigot who gets away with demeaning entire cultures. Secondly, it’s good practice. Even though, as the saying goes, you should never argue with idiots because they will take you to their level, it’s good practice for my teaching job. Every class, there is at least one person who wants to try and make a point and relies solely on hearsay and bad evidence. Quickly pointing out the holes in arguments like this keeps me sharp.

Besides, do you honestly think I’m going to let some closeted bigot get away with insulting my friends and family and try to justify it with “science?”

Oh. Hell. No.

That being said, I’m going to wash away those thoughts with a beatboxing baby.

<iframe width=”640″ height=”480″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/5jTHHxWuD00″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Feb 062012
 

This woman is a poster-child for casual racism born from a sheltered life.

This story blew up in less than 24 hours. Everyone here is talking about it. Please watch, share, and read some of the comments on Youtube. It’s really hilarious when people try to pass off racism as logic and science.

Jan 092012
 

This is where we send all the little terrorist black kids... Or something.


January 10, 2012

I will not say that all law enforcement is incompetent. I will not say they are racist. I will not say this happened because it happened in Texas. I will, however, say that the ICE officers who deported a 14 year-old American citizen who spoke no Spanish to Colombia should be dragged out on Main Street and at the bare minimum pelted with various rotten fruits and vegetables.

Minimum.

Jakadrien Turner ran away from home and was later apprehended for theft. She gave a fake name that happened to belong to a Colombian immigrant who had warrants for her arrest. I guess if we didn’t have fingerprints, photos, or any other information on said immigrant, it makes sense that ICE saw fit to deport Jakadrien. Except they did. The warrant clearly stated the person the warrant asked for was 22 years old. Not only that, but the warrant clearly stated the woman was from Colombia.

Being Colombian, you’d think that the ability to speak Spanish would be important. ICE thought otherwise.


USA: Built by Migrants by ~hextakeshold on deviantART

It’s funny how the agency immediately went to the standard response of “people slip through the cracks.” This wasn’t a crack. They took Jakadrien’s fingerprints. Seeing as how the actual criminal was Colombian, I’m going to assume there are more than a few people with the name of Tika Lanay Cortez. Latin American names tend to repeat. Trust me. Ice officials say they performed the appropriate interviews and came up with nothing to prove she wasn’t a Colombian citizen as she originally claimed.

Have these idiots never heard of the fallacy of proving a negative?

Besides, Jakadrien was FOURTEEN. What database was she going to appear in? What official record with photo and fingerprints was going to list her? They went to prove she was NOT a Colombian national? That’s nearly impossible. You can’t prove a negative, especially when the accused is not old enough to even have a driving permit.


Minority by ~angelinecstatic on deviantART

If I said I’d checked my car before going on a long trip but what I’d really done was look at the tires and made sure I had enough gas, I’d probably be asking for something bad to happen. ICE messed up. This isn’t a case of someone falling through the cracks. There is no excuse for this. A young girl lies and her punishment was a year in a strange country where she couldn’t even communicate with anyone? Yes, she may have stolen something, but this is unnacceptible. Someone saw a young black girl, found out she may have been an illegal alien, and just sent her to a new continent.

Like I said, this is not a condemnation of all the officials and employees of ICE and Border Patrol. I know a few people who help keep our borders safe and they do a fine job.

The incident with Jakadrien, though, shows that, somewhere in Texas, there is someone with the power to deport with just hearsay.

Fear for your country.

And now, to wash that away, here’s a Skyrim mod with Macho Man Randy Savage as a dragon. And disco music.

[VIDEO]

Oct 042011
 

If you know the exact name of this symbol, stop reading. You're already smarter than the people that actually put it on flag poles.

October 4, 2011

Inspired by this lovely article at Grumpy Dudes.

We all have the right to voice our opinions. We have the right to express ourselves. However, as soon as you talk and put your thoughts out there, be ready to defend them.

Case in point, I’d like to address all you folks out there flying the Confederate flag.

More specifically, I’d like to address the lady in South Carolina, Annie Chambers Caddell, who is now flying a Confederate flag in a predominantly black neighborhood.

First off, let me say the obvious. Caddell has a right to fly the flag, or any flag, as long as said flag is on her property. She has broken no laws. Although her neighbors have protested against the flag, she maintains that it is a symbol of her heritage and she is proud of where her family comes from. She will not back down and remove the symbol of her proud forefathers! Against all odds, she will stand firm in her resolve!

Wonderful, I say. Let her express herself…

Except for one thing.

That’s not the flag of the Confederate States of America.

THIS is the flag of the Confederate States of America

Not quite what most of us imagine, huh? That is the first national flag, the Stars and Bars. The design changed over the years and the number of stars changed, but this was the first flag of the Confederacy. The second national flag, the Stainless Banner, looks like this:

It was changed when someone realized that, when the wind blew just right, you could easily miss the red portion and it would look like a flag of surrender. It was replaced with another, similar flag that had a red stripe across the end so it could be easily distinguished.

The Battle Flag of the Confederacy is a square, an adaptation of another design where the cross was straight like a Christian cross. One original intent was to have two flags, one for peace and one for times of war. The square flags were more for practical purposes as a square flag would use less material.

Unknown to many, what we consider to be the “Confederate flag” is really a military standard used by the rebel army during the Civil War. It would be like someone today flying the flag of the Army, or Marines, and Navy, and claiming said flag stood for the greatness of the United States. True, the military is composed of men and women who serve our country and often get shafted by the same government that orders them to far-off lands to fight for political reasons, but they are heroes who are willing to put life and limb on the line for the rest of us. I admire their courage and sacrifice.

I do not, however, think that any branch of the military, or the military in general, are a symbol of our country and our heritage. They are a part of it, a distinguished part, but not the symbol of everything we hold dear.

Likewise, I doubt people who fly the “Confederate flag” know what they’re really flying. Likewise, Caddell is not celebrating her southern heritage. She’s celebrating the Confederate military. It’d be like waving SS military banners at a synagogue and claiming you were embracing your German roots.

Bottom line? If you want to celebrate the heritage of the South, a region of the country that has given us Cajun cooking and bourbon, at least know what the hell you’re putting on the flagpole.

And if you still insist on flying the battle flag, I have a few suggestions as to what you can do with said flagpole.

To wash away the taste of stupid, here is a cat begging “Nononononono” to not be touched. I don’t think I’ve ever seen fear this tangible in one facial expression.