Friday, August 18, 2017

The Friday Link for 8/18/17

The Friday link for this week goes to an up and coming comedian who is going to be huge, Jim Jeffries.

Jim Jeffries is a raunchy Australian who's unique demeanor hooks you instantly.  He had a quest segment on Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, and after five minutes my question was why the heck is he the guest.  Comedy Central must've thought the same as they've given him his own show, the aptly named The Jim Jeffries Show.

He's had two exceptional segments this week dealing with racism.   His description of the real makeup of the White Nationalist was spot on.  They've found acceptance on the internet and think they're powerful.  Sometimes people who are not from the country have the best analysis of what's actually going on in the country (Trevor Noah).  He also dismantles Trump quite effectively.

He does point out Right Wing Extremists are FAR more likely to attack you today in America than Muslim terrorists.

***Warning BAD LANGUAGE***, but that's who Jim Jefferies is, so...



He also does faux news segments similar to The Daily Show.  Here's a beauty about Confederate statues.  His solution for Stone Mountain Georgia is long overdue, courtesy of the Minnesota First at Gettysburg!



And I'll throw in John Oliver's quality segment on Charlottesville too:


Have a great weekend everyone! Be safe!  Fight the racists!



Germans and Pride

When I was stationed in Germany, there was no positive memories of World War II emanating from the locals.  Some bombed out buildings in Nuremberg still stood, like in many towns, silent reminders of the tragedy which their own country was responsible for.  Germans don't long for the days of Hitler and the Third Reich.  They're embarrassed and ashamed of their parent's/grandparent's poor choices.  In many cases, they're the strongest critics of themselves, preventing anyone from thinking they look upon what happened in any positive light.

One of the reasons for this somber mentality was what happened after the concentration camps were liberated.  In many cases, the allies would round up every German from miles around the camp and march them past the piles of the dead and the emaciated living.  They wanted no deniers.  They wanted no excuses.  They wanted these people to have what happened scorched into their memories forever.  This stopped any distorted narratives from being conceived.  Before any false history was allowed to germinate, the ally forces nipped it in the bud.  The shame of what happened is now part of the German DNA.

There are a few people in Germany who still worship Hitler.  In the old West Germany, they kept hidden, undeniably shunned if their true feelings were ever made public.  When the wall came down, West German officials were surprised to see a much larger, more vocal pro-Nazi element in the former East Germany.  It seems, when the Germans were presented with the East German hyper paranoid version of Communism, some yearned for the old system.  With 1 out of every 3 spying on the other 2 in East Germany, and with the Stasi rounding people up left and right, some longed for the days of yore.  The unified Germany has worked hard to quell the Nazi sympathizers, but there are still a few left.

Because of this unique experience, the Germans can help us learn from the mistakes we made in regards to the post-Civil War era South, and they can help us understand one of the foundations for our current political situation.

In my opinion, some major mistakes were made by the North in regards to dealing with the post Confederacy South.  The election of 1876, where the South shifted their electoral college votes to Rutherford B. Hayes, in return for the removal of northern troops from the South, not only set a precedent for withdraw, it set the stage for the South to stop vilifying their racist and discriminatory past. If they flexed their political muscle, they could stop northern demands.  Soon afterwards, Jim Crow laws started an official discrimination strategy, while controlling the African American population through racist vigilante organizations, like the KKK, became the 'unofficial' doctrine.

The US Federal Government should've NEVER tolerated the display of Rebel statues in town squares.  This allowed an 'honoring' of leaders from the anti-American, pro-slavery Confederacy, with undeniable intimidation of the African American population as a purposeful ulterior motive; a constant specter hanging over the black population's heads of the men who wanted them enslaved.  With both major political parties choosing political gains over the well being of southern minorities, they jettisoned the legacy and dignity of the Union soldiers who died fighting the southern scourge, and the South was able to reinvent the war, not as one whose primary goal was the continued enslaving of African Americans, but one disguised behind 'pride' and 'traditions.'  The South re-labeled traitors to the United States as American heroes.

When you look at the issues the Germans had with Nazi's after the East German border opened up, it became apparent individuals who feel their system of government is broken will choose to believe in a worse option, out of hope it might be better.  Think about this when you look at how the Republicans have disparaged our government since the 1980's.  The GOP has done everything in their power to convince their voters the US Government is broken to the core, needing to be scrapped.  What they really were trying to do was make their voters always hate Democrats, while unwaveringly worshipping the Republicans.  Unfortunately, they ladled it on too thick.  Republican voters have been convinced all government is bad, even opting for an unqualified, narcissistic, incompetent buffoon as their President, gleefully embraced to fix their made up or grossly exaggerated problems.  Clinton was the undeniable better choice, but because Republicans convinced their voters 1) she was some sort of demon, and 2) life under President Obama was far worse than it really was, an idiot like Trump seemed like a better option.

This is why the Democrats need to stop being so nice to the modern Republicans; so we can avoid another relabeling of history, like what happened in the post Confederacy South.  For God's sake, stop worrying about Righto's feelings.  For lack of a better way to say it, we need to rub their faces in the Trump mess they've made.  We need to burn into their memories the insanity of putting him in the White House.  We need to begin to rebuild faith in the Government, which (prior to January of 2017) was relatively reliable and cost effective, regardless of what the naysayers scream.

Let's start here.  Every Republican needs to be forced to answer the following question:  How in the hell was this not the end of him?



Russia, his Nazi worship, his incompetency, his sexual deviances, his financial shenanigans and all the rest of it can be brought up afterwards, but this indefensible moment was before the election, meaning all Republican voters, INCLUDING THE CHRISTIAN ONES, had to overlook this unforgivable act to validate their vote for him. We have to force them to acknowledge they made a indefensible, massive mistake in November of 2016! This is where you start.

Then ask them why the hell they sat by quietly while the President talked positively about Nazis, something not even the Germans do.  






Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sleeping with the Racists

What happened in Charlottesville, Virginia beginning Friday night and ending with a domestic terrorist action Saturday afternoon was hard to watch, but not unexpected.  These people have gone by numerous names over the years (Confederates, KKK, Nazi's, the alt-right) but they're the same as always, white nationalist racists who preach hatred; willingly and eagerly turning to threats and violence in an effort to force people to tolerate their message of bigotry.

This WAS domestic terrorism.  We all knowingly watched the racists waltz into Charlottesville, the beginning flames of the eventually costly hate fire.  It was like treading water in the middle of the ocean, noticing shark fins starting to circle.  There was no way this rally was going to end without tragedy.

When I saw someone had used a car as a weapon, my mind immediately went to the numerous terrorist attacks which have happened throughout Europe, where street legal vehicles have been used to inflict pain and fear on the innocent populations.  Regardless of where these terrorist strikes happened (France, Germany, England) the reaction in the United States from the Conservative Right has been the same.  There's an immediate condemnation of all Muslims, demands for every individual who has preached for acceptance to apologize and renounce themselves, demands we remove all 'unacceptable' religions from the western hemisphere, and gleeful cheers for the USA to drop another Mother of All Bombs on some unsuspecting village in the middle of nowhere, a village which has no connection to the attack.

After this domestic terrorist attack by alt-right racists, I was eager to see what those same Conservatives had to say about this terrorist attack.  I scampered to my computer to pull up Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites to read their outrage.  Instead I was greeted by beige conversations of blandness:

Weather, State Capitol reopening, grandma, going swimming, nice dinner, Twins, friends...

These are friends who rarely go a day without making some sort of political statement, and who, when a terrorist strike happens anywhere, deluge their social media with relentless posts and memes.  I started scrolling back further on their timelines, back to Friday night.  Surprisingly, they had nothing on Charlottesville, or politics at all, since about 6 PM on Friday.  They'd gone underground with their politics, a clear sign they knew exactly what had been going on.  They had no idea what to say about what was happening in Charlottesville, and no intent to acknowledge the growing evil in America.  They couldn't condemn their casual affiliation without admitting fault, so they went silent.

Starting on Friday night, when it became apparent the racists had stormed every Pier 1 in Virginia to buy up every tiki torch they could find.


(Daughters fun class, bar-b-que, family vacation, birth of a child, Vikings, ice cream, church...)

When the racists turned violent on Friday and started attacking peaceful protesters, beating them with the torches.



(Game of Thrones, road construction, road trip, out drinking with friends, kitty video...)

The next morning, when a larger group of racists descended onto Charlottesville, and as the bloodlust these bigots created wasn't about to recede, they started attacking anyone they could find, like this African American man in a parking garage.


(Pumpkin spice, canoeing, going to a movie, kids playdate, more drinking photos, bridal shower...)

In their fire and fury of hate, the racists started attacking all non-racists.  They attacked the clergy,  THE CLERGY(!!!), religious leaders from numerous denominations who were doing what Jesus and/or their God told them to do, stop hate and preach peace.  This clearly should've warranted a reluctant criticism, or the slightest bit of shade...SOMETHING from the same people who wrap their Christianity around everything they believe!


(Back to school, sick uncle, Coldplay, love my pet, campfire/s'more photos, picnic...)

Finally, we had a deranged man committing a premeditated terrorist attack on innocent people, running his vehicle into a peaceful protest, killing one, seriously injuring scores, and then immediately reversing over many of his victims a second time, running away screaming victory for the cause of the racists, all caught on camera.


(Delicious peaches, abortion, summer camp, NoDak hockey, family photo, gardening...)

This was too many people, all going mute at the same time.  This was not a coincidence.

Sure a few made vague references to their religious service this morning, and one did the "what ever happened to 'agreeing to disagree'" post (well, about 25 years ago, the right started taking over the media, labeling their opponents with harsh and unjustified rhetoric, while at the same time whitewashing their own party's faults with a 'nothing to see here, never criticize the Republican Party' motto.  After 25 years of continuing the ramp up the hatred towards their opponents, Rightos trying to ask where this came from is like the kid not understanding why the bees stung him for throwing rocks at their hive).

There have been a few brave Republican politicians who've condemned the attacks, and I appreciate their tone.  The problem is the vast majority of Republican politicians and voters remain silent.  They don't know what to say.  

It's like, after getting really drunk one night, they woke up next to Hitler.  Now, they're sheepishly trying to be 'woke up next to you' friendly with him, while internally terrified of Hitler asking when they can hook up again.  The Republicans are finally sobering up and realizing who've they been in bed with.  Their silence about Charlottesville is a shameful admission.

Trump, a man who's criticism is very specific when he wants it to be, still has yet to condemn white nationalism, under any of its banners.  He hasn't called them out for who they really are, and Trump has eluded to "all sides" needing to tone down the violence.  For the record, 'all sides' would be either the racists or their victims.  Trump has actual Nazis in the White House (Sebastian Gorka, likely Bannon, likely others too) and has a special place in his heart for his 'Orange Shirts', the same people he applauded when they roughed up and dragged protesters out of campaign rallies.  It's clear, Trump doesn't want to upset his base, so he's intentionally being vague in his criticism.

But the question needs to be asked of all Republicans who still swear they only voted for Trump because they hated Clinton:  what's your excuse for not condemning the unacceptable?  We ALL need to condemn this.  Your lack of condemnation is a silent endorsement.







Friday, August 11, 2017

The Friday Link for 8/11/17

Saturday Night Live gets the nod this week.

They came out of hiatus to make up for lost time.  First a disclaimer, I do not believe in going after political kids who are not forcing me to have to care about them.  In my mind, Tiffany and Barron Trump are off limits and should not be commented on.  I felt the same way about the Obama, Bush and Clinton kids, with one exception.  When the Bush twins were allegedly using the secret service to get them, underage, into bars, that was an issue.  A presidential family member using a governmental law enforcement agency to actively break the law is something we should not tolerate.

Ivanka, Trump Jr., and Eric are ALL fair game, because they have either taken an active role in the White House (hence are helping to run the country), are currently running Trump's business with or without Trump's input (something which clearly needs further scrutiny due to the conflict of interest issues), or met with the Russians to try to steal the election of 2016.  They are all fair game!

Here's the brilliant impression of Jr. and Eric from SNL.  The fidget spinner was a nice touch.



And for a little something else, Bill Hader returned to his old haunt to portray Scaramucci.  Maybe the Mooch could get rehired just so Hader could come back and be a cast regular, like Melissa McCarthy was.


Have a great weekend everyone!



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Words Matter



I had the pleasure of visiting Washington D.C. last week, a trip I highly recommend.  For the record, I didn't make it up into the US Capitol Building or to the White House.  The Capitol was a 'we ran out of time' issue, but the White House was purposely avoided.  Until that defiled orangutang carcass is gone, I will not endorse, IN ANY WAY, the man who stains our democracy.

For the record, I never felt this way about about W.

There are plenty of great things to see in D.C.  Many of them are chiseled with words which convey a strong meaning, as powerful today as they were when they were enshrined years ago.  Nothing epitomizes this more than the The Wall, the Vietnam Veteran's memorial, which still invokes a strong level of emotion today.


The Lincoln Memorial is the busiest, especially with the Washington Monument closed until next year as they install a new elevator.  I love how Minnesota is dead square center at the top of the facade:


Lincoln himself has a little ode above his image.


And his most famous speech, albeit a little blurry, is off to the side of the monument.  The Gettysburg Address was a short speech, but I think the best speeches generally are the shorter ones.


The MLK Memorial is incredible.


To add weight (as if that is even needed) the memorial is covered with some of his greatest orations.  This one, especially in the age of our modern Conservative Christians, weighed heavy on me.


Jefferson was no slouch when it came to his impact on the country.  


His writings, although needing time to come to their full fruition, are melodic and inspiring.


But the biggest surprise for my family was the FDR Memorial.  They put it between the MLK and the Jefferson Memorial as a way to get people to walk the detour off the Mall to Jefferson's site.  To encourage the walk, FDR's full time in office is laid out in order, with statements he made regarding the Depression, recovery, his reluctance to enter into war, and his steadfast integrity after having his hand forced.  This is a destination Monument, not a speed walk though obstacle.  His words are SO important today!






Reminder, Republicans pushed to change the term limits of Presidents after they realized a true liberal Democrat, leading with true liberal Democratic principles and policies, would be near impossible to remove from office, because the public would love them too much.

I was tearing up by the time I walked out.  We need another FDR today, not some narcissistic, carnival barker, who can't even manage 140 characters without sounding like a fool.  Considering a modern version of FDR would NEVER come from the modern Republican party, who'll be the Democrat to step up to the challenge?  

Go visit D.C. yourself.  Patriotism is not the solitary realm of one political party, and it's not the sole entitlement of the puppet masters who need a fake image to hide their nefarious agenda behind.  Thanks to Lincoln, Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the sacrifice of the brave men and women who've defended this country, for reaffirming that, throughout the entire history of the United States of America.













Friday, August 4, 2017

The Friday Link for 8/4/17

Short and sweet today.

Mark Normand is a great.  Here's a little of his comedy for your Friday.  Some naughty language, so be advised!  Some stand up from Carolines.  Not the best audio, but he's funny!




Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sports are Only for the Young



We're coming to realize a very terrifying truth about the heavy duty physical contact team sports we enjoy in this country, primarily football and hockey.  With the continued research into the consequences of repeated hits to the head, it's becoming more undeniable the players who play these games are now taking decades off their lives by doing so.

It's no longer just concussions which are the red flags.  Studies have focused on the repeated hits to the head these sports feature, and frankly, encourage.  The reality is stark.  Brain deterioration is happening at an alarming rate, with serious mental cognitive issues at much higher rates for retired former athletes of these heavy contact sports, when compared to the rest of us.  Not surprising, the risk of death is also much higher.

Slightly defending these contact sports, it's not like our current understanding of the warning signs have always been there.  Guys used to talk about player's 'bells getting rung' and 'getting knocked into next week,' and we now know that was actually serious head trauma.  As science made us healthier and extended lives, discrepancies started to get exposed.  The beer drinking, hard partying, 250 pound, 30 pounds overweight, 5 foot 10 player of the 60's and 70's doesn't exist anymore.  Today, the players are 6' 7'', 285 pounds, all muscle.  There's no longer an off season, as these athletes train harder and faster, delivering human beings who can hit you harder than a car going down a street.  Every serious hit today seems to be ten times more vicious than hits from days gone by.

I went to drop off my kid at a sports practice where the 9th grade football players were just finishing up.  A kid walked past who was at least 6'4'', probably 300 pounds.  He had some fat on him, but he also had a lot of muscle too.  I call him a kid because contradictory of his massive girth, he still had the face of a high school freshman.  If that young man would hit me like an opposing player, I wouldn't be getting up anytime soon, and he was only in 9th grade on a .500 team.  I've been told the more prestigious football high schools have kids who are even bigger and faster.  It's scary.

Here's where the organizations which promote these physical contact sports bear significant blame. When these warning signs started to show up, they did everything to limit the medical investigation into what was going on.  They dragged their heels and discredited factual research to continue to maintain their sports are just good clean fun.  Many people within these organizations might not have know the exact medical crisis on their hands, but they sure were turning the other cheek quite regularly, purposely ignoring the ever increasing health issues of former players.  With the latest story from the New York Times about the problems of not just concussions, but repetitive head hits, some contact sports advocates are still saying "nothing to see here."

Another problem the sports have is how their most most visible and vocal spokespeople make bone stupid comments, bad mouthing what they call the 'wussification' of their perspective sports.  They rail against the attempts by these leagues, albeit not enough, to address head injury protocol.  "The sport stinks today because you can't really hit people like you used to,"; a fake romanticizing of the days of yore, where they used to describe a player coming off the field with blood coming out of their ear as good clean fun.

This post is not a demand for football, hockey and all sports where head shots are the norm to shut down, but if these leagues don't start trying their best to make sure their players at all levels don't have dementia by 43, or are committing suicide at 37, the public will shut them down.  Why are we killing these people for sport?

Outside of my three kids, I'm no one else's father.  You do what you feel is best, but if someone was to ask me what my advice would be in regards to sports, I would beg them to not allow their kids to play football or hockey.  They might love the sport, and they may be a great player, but when the trade off is passing away at 45 instead of 90, you are removing half their days for something which should never warrant that price.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Tried and True Method




The first thing that happens is a charismatic political novice determines which political party to take over.  You need a party whose voting base is easily manipulatable, immediately vilifies anyone they're told to hate, and are scared easily.

After ascending into control of their chosen political party, the individual invokes a win at all costs strategy.  Any law they need to break, any alliance they need to cement, any deal with the devil they need to broker, they'll do it.  They'll tell any lie, no matter how boldfaced.  They'll equate their opponents to the worst filth and slime the planet has ever seen.  They'll do whatever it takes for their voter's votes to count twice, while demanding every vote for their opponent is fraudulent and invalid.  Against all odds, they convince just enough people they're a populist, and claim victory.

As they being to assume control, they declare war on the press.  To get their nefarious agenda passed without raising too many eyebrows, they need the public to believe only the media favorable to their cause, while labeling the other news outlets untrustworthy.

Every law or rule they enact is declared to be one of the greatest achievements in Democracy.  Every law or rule they replace needed to go because it hurt you, was a burden, was failing, or would've killed everyone.  They begin to push a 'I saved you' narrative.

They embrace the most popular religion, or at least the religion's most diehard fanatics, promising to enact certain rules and laws designed to placate the zealots, many of whom use their religion to try to validate their personal bigotries, bigotries which have no place in their religion.

They start converting a governmental regulatory agency into their personal hired thugs, handing them almost unlimited power and funds, grossly expanding their realm of enforcement, and giving them the authority to shoot first and come up with the justification later, if ever.

The leader then puts on an earnest face as they tell the country we might just need to start limiting the ability to vote for 'certain groups,' to ensure the election process stays fair.  Thus begins the purging of a large percentage of the voting populace from the voting rolls.

He then starts removing the party loyalists he had to take into his administration after the election, appointed to appease the party he rode in on.  The purge is shockingly fast, within a few months of being sworn in, buoyed with excuses like "our personalities clashed," or "they were leaking information to the media."

They then announce, the way their legal team interprets the law, they're above all legal recourse, deeming all of their actions legal.  They not only insist they pardon themselves for all crimes they've committed, and their staff for all the crimes they've commit, but they now bequeath they can pardon themselves prior to a crime being discovered, prosecuted or committed.

When he doesn't get his way, because the opposition party manages to stop him, he and his mouthpieces start suggesting the idea of a military crackdown on his opponents.  This is usually implied in a "wouldn't it be great to teach those no good meddlers how much they should be grateful for our political leader! We should show them how much worse it could actually be for them..."

And all of this is surrounded by a never ending accolade of self congratulation and narcissistic decrees.

Welcome to the United State of America, 2017.  Trump has done a version of all of these things, at various levels of accomplishment.

Throughout the history of this country, America's political leaders have made rules which would prevent a dictator from taking over the Democracy.  A lot of the rules came from trial and error (I'm looking squarely at you John Adams) and have been honed to deal with such issues as death, health problems, and even behavior unbecoming of the ideals of the USA.

A scenario which was never accounted for was the Legislative Branch going along with the treasonous, traitorous behavior, as long as the House and Senate leaders were allowed to pursue their own nefarious agendas. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is an Ayn Rand worshipper, a man whose goal is to take the USA government back to the 1880's when the people really had no say in how things went.  He wants no workers rights, no salary guarantees and no chances for everyman opportunity.  There was only a handful of wealthy people making all the rules, and if you didn't like them, you could choose to die quickly or slowly.  That's the perfect world of Paul Ryan.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a racist, with a long history of hating African Americans.  He wants to wipe the earth of any mention of the man he hates more than anyone else, former President Barack Obama.

Both of them have all the makings of an American von Ribbentrop.

Trump has a long way to go if he wants to take over with a true dictatorship, but I've no doubt he already has plans in place for his version of a 'Night of the Long Knives.'  Here are the big hurdles he'll need to address to pull us into the death spiral of the American experiment:  all 50 states won't  go along with his plans, and if 20 or more plus push back, especially New York, Illinois, and California, things become more complicated.  I don't think most military members would freely go along with attacking their own citizens.  As a veteran, let me say some of them would, but most would walk away.  Injustice becomes harder in a world where there are cameras everywhere.  And there seems to be enough Republicans who have officially hit their limit with the buffoonish antics of our President.

We seem to be getting into a very new and terrifying place in the USA.  Here's hoping we wake up before it is too late.





Friday, July 28, 2017

The Friday Link for 7/28/17

I often talk about the political late night hosts, but how about a little love this week for the Late Late Show with James Corden.

Of all the major late night shows, his is the most politic neutral and the most female friendly (and yes I'm considering Samantha Bee in the sample group).  Here are four of his better bits.  Let's start with one from a few days ago, I Am Your Father with Mark Hamill, Anna Faris, and Jenny Slate:



I love Spill your Guts or Fill your Guts.  My guess is many celebrities have already told him they will not do this bit, hence why it's not on too often.  This one is icky!



My two favorite all time James Corden bits (I know I posted one of these before, but what the heck...).  Tom Hanks Role Call:



Carpool Karaoke with Adele.  Love her reaction when he starts singing in harmony is perfect.



Have a great weekend everyone!




Friday, July 21, 2017

The Friday Link for 7/21/17

For this weeks Friday Link, I want to pull up a beauty: the time David Letterman went on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson AFTER he had found out Jay Leno had wormed his way into the Tonight Show gig, a gig Dave desperately wanted.

What's amazing about this clip is realizing this is only nine months before Carson himself bowed out.  Dave is clearly extremely angry at the whole situation, and Carson was sympathetic, taking his side about as much as he could.  Carson understood Letterman's comedy and style, and he knew Dave would be the template of the late night comedy's future.  Leno was number one, but that's only because so many people didn't change their channels for decades.



Eventually, before his tenure ended, Carson endorsed Leno for the gig and things went happy at NBC, for awhile.

Also tonight, here's the video of the time Dave, on his CBS show, absolutely brutalized Leno for pulling his "I'm un-retiring" stunt.  A refresher: after Letterman left NBC, Conan O'Brien took over the Late Show with the understanding he'd eventually inherit the Tonight Show.  He did indeed, in 2009, until Leno's post Tonight Show plans blew up and he stabbed Conan in the back.

NBC SCREWED over Conan.  He took over in June, and they were looking to dump him by October.  Conan was by far the best non-Daily Show option they had, but they decided to play it safe with Leno.  Leno, being an incredible weasel, tried to take the high road with the blood still visible on his hands.  Letterman, knowing Leno/NBC's treachery, was having nothing of it.  This was about as vocal as Dave ever got in addressing his true feelings about Jay and NBC.



Have a great weekend everyone!



Monday, July 17, 2017

Murder by Badge

Let me start by already answering my critics most likely counterpoint to this post:  I believe most police officers, the vast majority of them, are absolutely outstanding individuals.  They are brave, well trained, and more than likely will NEVER pull their service weapon while in uniform.  They deserve our respect.

But do they deserve our blind allegiance just because they're wearing a uniform?  No.

After the verdict in the Jeronimo Yanez trail, when he was found not guilty on all counts in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, an outstanding member of the community who was basically killed for being black, and LEGALLY carrying a hand gun, the authorities finally released the dash cam footage to the public.  Not only did the footage directly contradict the testimony and defense of Yanez, it was clear to anyone who watched the tape Yanez murdered Castile.  There should've been outrage expressed at this massive miscarriage of justice from EVERYONE!

Instead, the prosecutor, judge and jury defended their indefensible verdict, basically saying "...but he was a cop!"  The police union, an organization who screamed no one should judge the case until 'all the facts are in,' while at the same time smearing the good name of Castile every chance they could, proudly thumped their chest and screamed "good kill!"  And far right, pro-police politicians, pro-police at all cost opportunists, told people to ignore what they could see with their own eyes, and stood by the CLEARLY lying Yanez, telling anyone who was upset they had no right to be.

It's clear after the Yanez trial, police in Minnesota have the right to murder anyone, under any circumstance.  They could be off duty, drunk, with a history of assaulting people, but as long as they said A) "I'm a cop," and B) "I was afraid the victim might have a gun," Minnesota police can murder anyone they want.  You'd think law enforcement would be trying to address the clear mistakes made in the fatal shooting of Castile, part of a trend of fatal shootings which have become a near monthly occurrence in the Twin Cities.  Instead, metro area police departments starting attacking community organizations for being (justifiably) afraid of their heavy handedness, and they attacked the Governor, Mark Dayton, for daring to try to name a police training initiative after the murdered Philando Castile.

On Saturday night, police in south Minneapolis murdered Justine Damond, a 40 year old, white, female, Australian, spiritual healer who was supposed to be married to a Minneapolis man in August.


Was she wacked out on meth, screaming in the middle of the street while holding a gun in a threatening manner?  No.  She called the police to her residence to report some strange sounds coming from her wealthy south Minneapolis alley.  When police arrived, Justine, who looks like she should be the head of the Wayzata PTA, wearing pajamas, unarmed, approached the driver side door of the squad car, where she was immediately gunned down by the officer in the passenger seat.  They didn't even get out of the car.  There's no police footage of the shooting, even though all police now are supposed to have cameras activated in a situation like this.  Whether the body cameras of the officers were never turned on, or were intentionally turned off and the video erased, remains to be seen.

Australian authorities are going to get involved, meaning the Minneapolis Police Department and the police unions will not be able to sweep this under the rug.  The nature of Justine and her character make a character assassination by the PD/unions very difficult.  There was no gun, and the PD/unions know it will be impossible to convince the public Justine was a likely candidate to gun down a police officer.  Minnesota Tourism, lead by the mega-draw Mall of America, dependent on foreign travelers, are going to demand some sort of punishment for dragging the state's reputation into the mud. And with the NFL getting ready to bring their biggest game of the year to Minneapolis, there's a need to convince the league their players, coaches and fans won't be gunned down, legally, by Minneapolis police for flashing a 'we're number 1' sign.  This time, for many reasons, there's added pressure on everyone to not take a murder by badge lightly.

I'll state the obvious first.  My guess is the officer who murdered Justine will be held accountable because she's white and Australian.  Afterwards, the pompous, arrogant blind defenders of police will scream how the anti-police people have gotten their 'pound of flesh,' acting as if a no brainer guilty verdict was some grand injustice.  They'll also tout establishing a 'shoot only non-white suspects if you want to get away with murder' standard as a 'compromise.'

The police seem to have zero intent on changing this fractured dynamic.  They've been told at all levels of the legislative and judicial branch legally murdering people is a 'perk' of the job.  They feel invincible.  There's a decent chance Justine's murderer will be found not guilty because the enablers of this type of behavior have told the officers there are no consequences for their actions, and have created a system which validates their actions, regardless.

That's why we need to hold everyone responsible.  Let's start with the officers who murdered Justine Damond and the police department who CLEARLY did not screen or train their officers appropriately.  We need to condemn the police union who defends and applauds this disgusting result.  We need to condemn the Prosecutor, Judge and Jury in the Yanez trial, who sent the clear message; "it doesn't matter what the video evidence shows us.  You'll be found innocent." And we need to condemn the political opportunists, who insist anyone who dares question what they endorse as a "good kill" is un-American and hates police.

We need immediate screening processes in place to remove all racists, bigots, violent, mentally unqualified and scared police officers from the forces in Minnesota.  This includes a social media screening of EVERY police officer.  We need to have extensive remedial training on when and where an officer pulls a weapon and/or fires a weapon.  And we need the police to understand, we're afraid of them; not because we're being irrational, but because thy keep shooting unarmed and non threatening individuals.  If these people are going to be given the ability to legally murder anyone, then we need to make sure only the most upstanding individuals are given a badge.

Instead, I'll wait for the laughable defense, the character assassination, the fixed trial, and the preening and posturing politicians looking for police union campaign donations after the injustice.

I'll also pray for Justine Damond, her fiancé, her family, and all who are starting to wonder if calling the police would only make things worse.






Friday, July 14, 2017

The Friday Link for 7/14/17

Be careful! This Friday Link you might actually learn something.

The first video is a fun little 10 minute piece on how the states got their weird shapes.  It does have some interesting tidbits (Ohio and Michigan almost went to war with each other?), and those tidbits make up for a fairly average delivery from the presenter.  Hey, the guy is trying, so I'll give him some slack.  Minnesota get's a shoutout, as anytime there's a weird geographical story on the USA, they undoubtedly have a segment on the Northwest Angle in the very northern part of the state.





The second video is a lovely piece from CBS Sunday Morning about Northwest Angle.  I can't comprehend the distance the school kids have to go, especially the ones on some of the islands off the coast.  Still, I'd be lying if I didn't say the place sounded nice...




Have a great weekend everyone!



Monday, July 10, 2017

Wonder Woman, Cruz Ramirez and Bill

Wonder Woman is a great film.  That's a factual statement.  Why some men hate the movie is beyond me.

I have no idea why some men act threatened when a woman is strong, independent and a leader.  I've known powerful women all my life, so strength and leadership are something I've always attributed to both sexes, whether politically, professionally, artistically, physically, intelligently, compassionately, or on a nurturing level.

It was hard watching Hillary Clinton lose.  I wanted her to win, but not because I was hoping for the first female President.  Clinton was BY FAR the more qualified of the two candidates, with gender having very little to do with my justification.  She would've been, and still would be, the better President, PERIOD.  The idea many Americans didn't vote for her because she was deemed to be a "woman not knowing her 'role'" is weirdly obtuse.  Do they think they can shame the population into reverting to a time where we limited a woman's role in society?

Whenever you hear a man downplaying a strong woman, and how someone needs to be "put her in her place," they're weak.  They're afraid.  They know the woman is better than they are (which is perfectly fine and normal), so they lash out with ignorance.  It's similar to when I discussed Trump's locker room talk, and how locker room talk only comes from people who are trying to brag about the sexual conquests they didn't really have.  It's a weaklings pathetic attempt to look strong, and it shows.

As women are being attacked in politics and society, it's a different story with entertainment.  2017 has been a stellar year for strong female role models in entertainment.  So far, the best movie of the summer is Wonder Woman, with Gal Gadot.  I'm not surprised by this, as the source material for the character (decades of great comic book stories) is rich and full, itself ahead of it's time.  The movie keeps you entertained and never falls back to the cliche of the man has to save the defenseless woman.  Quite the contrary.  I was proud to take my daughters to see Wonder Woman, but I was just as proud to take my 15 year old son, and I loved the film.  Any man criticizing the film because of its strong female lead is telling you FAR more about themselves then they are about the movie.

There's another movie role which isn't getting as much press, but it's having just as big of an impact on young women, especially girls; Cars 3's Cruz Ramirez, an animated car played by the wonderful Cristela Alonzo.  I'm going to talk some plot points, so ***Spoiler Alert!!!***  Skip the next paragraph if you don't want the movie spoiled.

In Cars 3, Cruz is a 'trainer' for an aging Lightning McQueen, ordered to get him back into shape for one more successful run at the NASCAR inspired Piston Cup. As Cruz works him back into shape, it's discovered she herself wanted to be a race car, not just a trainer, but no one ever gave her a chance.  In the end, Lightning can't catch Cruz on the track, even with all his might.  He comes to realize it's time for him to step aside, and to let her take over as the team's main race car.  She ends up coming into the race, proving she can win when given a chance.  This Disney film not only showed young girls a female can compete and win in the man's world, it also showed a lot of young boys that it's okay to come in second to a girl, with a further, far more important, life lesson: know when to step aside and let the better person, regardless of sex, take the lead.

And then there's Bill, the wonderful companion to Peter Capaldi's 12th incarnation of Doctor Who.  Bill is played by Pearl Mackie, and she's a fun Watson to Capaldi's Holmes.  Mackie's 'Bill' is an unapologetic lesbian, and one of the strongest young female characters I've ever seen.  Doctor Who spent the entire season talking about the strength of women, ending with a season 10 finale which had Bill's love, strength and compassion be the difference maker in the final confrontation.  I must also mention the incredible work of Michelle Gomez.  Her Missy was the first female incarnation of The Doctor's arch nemesis, The Master, and she was brilliant.  Many people are speculating the 13th incarnation of the Doctor, to be revealed this Christmas, will be female.  Regardless, the nonchalant, this is who 'Bill' is (let's not focus on her individual identifications, but rather her role in the larger world) has made this season the best of Capaldi's run, and the best overall since David Tennant's final full season.

I have no doubt I'll see plenty of films and shows this year where the lead character is an over the top male lead, but so far the most memorable moments in entertainment 2017 have all been performed by women.  To the weak men furious about this post, get over your self induced insecurity and inferiority complex, and enjoy the show!

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Friday Link for 7/7/17

I really like the new Planet of the Apes movies.  I think they're far smarter than they should be.  The latest edition, War For the Planet of the Apes, opens in a week, and I can't wait.

Since this is a comedy post, we commemorate the latest film by heading to Mystery Science Theater 3000, and show number 306, Time of the Apes.  This is an enjoyable 2 hours, but for VERY different reasons.



Have a great weekend everyone!  Please drive safe if you're heading out on the road.



Flowers and an Apology

I want to apologize for not having too much new content here on Progressive Citizen X.  I got done with my vacation, immediately spent the weekend in Wisconsin, celebrated Independence Day, and then had friends visiting from out of town.

I know that doesn't mean much to regular followers, but to try to smooth over any hard feelings, here are some of my better flower photos from the first half of the year.  I have the Friday Link coming out in a bit, and I promise at least three new posts by the end of next weekend.

Enjoy!




















Friday, June 30, 2017

The Friday Link for 6/30/17

I'm exhausted.  I had to be up early today to come back from my vacation, so short and sweet it is!

Conan O'Brien's Clueless Gamer is a pretty good bit.  When it's on, it's righteous.  Here's his latest with Will Arnett:



And here's what I think is the funniest one they ever did, the one for WWE 2K14:



Have a great weekend everyone and I'll post throughout the 4th of July weekend!



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Updating the Old World View

I'm part of an ownership group of a family cabin in northern Minnesota, a cabin which has been in my family for over 100 years.  Initially it was my great grandfather's, but it's slowly moved down the family ladder, now partially landed in my lap, and the laps of my second cousins.  Eventually the ownership issue will be a mess, unless we can come up with a solution for all future families, or one of the ownership members wins the lottery.

Since it's only (at best) an April to September place, and since the owners who use it are scattered across the country, we've had to get a local from the area to be the official caretaker; someone to keep an eye on the place.  We've had numerous caretakers over the years, usually one of the few people who lived year round on the lake, and hence best positioned for the job.  It's hard to find a caretaker, mainly because up until the 1980's there just weren't too many people to choose from, so when we got one, it's generally been a lifetime position.

That being said, we've been lucky.  The locals we've found have been great.  Fifteen years ago and beyond, these guys were essential, having to come up with 'made from scratch' solutions for major plumping, electrical, erosion, tree, and heating problems.  These caretakers were from the area, with a never ending clever litany of local solutions for problems which would've easily be solved if the cabin was located in a medium size metro area.

Not that long ago, getting to northern Minnesota was an adventure.  Back then Hwy. 33 from Cloquet to US 53 was a simple logging road with attitude, and 53 was a glorified bog trail as you veered your way north.  Duluth was the nearest shipping point for any major repair item.  And it wasn't just the big items which were scarce. I remember when my mom would come into the Iron Range, go to three of the small local grocers, buying out their various inventories just so she could put together a menu for 12 people for three weeks.

Things today are different.  Highway 33 is a quality four lane road more akin to suburbia, and 53 soon will be four lanes all the way from Duluth to International Falls.  The lake community is no longer mostly seasonal cabins, having made the change with the expanded roadway to a more suburban locale for the residents of the nearby northern community.  Gone are the fishing shacks, replaced by 2000 square foot luxury homes.  The nearby town now has a major Target, Menards, two city style grocery stores and even a fine co-op for organic food; no need to haul to Duluth or make due with what you have.  We're ten miles from shopping more akin to Maple Grove, Woodbury and Eden Prairie.  And if we don't want to cook, there are at least five restaurants who'll deliver to our cabin today, and an even larger range of food options available for pick up (I still like cooking most of my own food, and with the fine grocery stores a hop, skip and a jump away, I easily can).

And there's the internet, in all it's stupendous glory, and insane demented psyche.  The days of begging a local to show pity and mercy on the 'out of their high end urban element' cabin owners desperately needing assistance are now limited.  Your cell phone provider is what helps you today.  Not only don't I need some jimmy-rigged Mesabi solution for my problem, I can pull up an online video series from the best people in any industry, "do-it-myself'ing" any problem I've got.

For larger issues, the service providers in the area, with the expanded population, are able to come fix their services quickly.  Large scale contractors from a 100 mile radius will bid on the larger projects we may have.

Which brings me to Boomer.  Boomer is our current caretaker, a flashback to the days of old, or at least he thinks he is.  Boomer is one of the dozens of now permanent residents of the lake.

Boomer treats me like I'm some sort of simpleton, labeling me a pathetic city brat who doesn't understand the difference between my ass and the hole in the ground.  This whole city verses local crap is pretty obnoxious.  One time, when we had a mouse problem in the cabin, I asked him if there were mouse traps in the cabin, or did I need to go buy some.  He took this as an opportunity to scold me for 'being naive,' my soft urban mind not understanding mice live in cabins in the north woods.  Rethinking what I had just asked him, I insisted I was only asking if I needed to go get some traps myself, adding it was no big deal since we had mice in our house in Spring.  He waved a hand at me and walked away, dismissing me further.

Boomer can't turn off the condescending attitude.  He grew up in a generation who despised the summer owners and hunting season visitors.  He wrapped himself in a false narrative; he didn't need anyone to bait his hook or fix a pump, unlike these soft visitors who invaded his lake every year.  If Boomer had his way, he'd have prevented all American foreigners from coming in, not grasping the Catch-22.  He and his family would've had to leave the Iron Range if they removed the money they got from seasonal patrons.  This isn't farming territory, we no longer offer a fine price for beaver pelts, lumbering your property offers a limited return on investment, and he doesn't have iron ore on his land.  Even being a fishing guide, the dream of most Northern Minnesota people, is dependent on the outsiders paying them, so without them, no guiding.

I respect Boomer, but it's as if he wants all seasonal visitors to come to his door, acknowledge how pathetic they are, heap praise on his nobel integrity, and wait for a thumbs up or down on whether thy can move into their cabins.

The hypocrisy of Boomer is how his life is no longer any different than Twin Cities metro life.  He applauded when the nicer stores opened (finally!).  The days of maintaining with bubble gum and prayers are long gone, as he no longer has to wait two weeks for a part or a screw to get mailed to him.  He has FAR more convenience and lifestyle options than he ever dreamed of having, along with digital cable and internet service.  Boomer might as well be in Bloomington.

And with the good comes the bad.  Small town America used to have a different type of society, not better, just different.  There was a different work ethic, child ethic, and local standards.  Those days are gone, with many small towns now having the same issues larger communities have:  unemployment due to downsizing, less active lifestyles creating more health problems, higher drug rates, homelessness, chronic alcoholism, violence and more.  In their quest to embrace modernism in an effort to convince the local kids to stick around after 18 and not move to the big city, they said goodbye to the "make due with what you had" lifestyle of the past.

I'm 48, mildly successful in my chosen career field, an Army veteran.  I've an amazing family, own my own house, where I do maintain and fix whatever I can.  I garden (quite well too) and I can fish with the best of them.  I've had adventures which would make you laugh, giggle, blush, gasp, passionate and envious, but...

I'm no better than anyone else.

We all have those things.  I'm no better being from the city than Boomer is being from the country.  If we continue to create fake boundaries built out spite, ignorance and jealousy which truly no longer exist on the existential plane, we'll never get ourselves out of the mess our country is in today.  Evil people with an agenda need the hollow walls between us to stay up, as it's the only way they can manipulate us to THEIR agenda.  We'll fail if we continue to propagate this nonsense.

I appreciate Boomer, even though he's massive pain in at the ass. I don't think he'll ever change, but maybe his granddaughter will, who I ran into the last time I was up north.  She just moved back to the Iron Range after finishing up college.  She was very cool plans, wanting to open up her own artist studio in town.  I was envious, but for the right reasons.  I offered to help her with my unique skill set anyway I can.  She gladly accepted.

We're keeping our rural/urban friendship secret from Boomer.  We don't think he'd approve.


Friday, June 23, 2017

The Friday Link for 6/23/17

Plain and simple with John Oliver.

From Last Week Tonight, it's his spectacular takedown of the coal industry and the foolish idea the USA can revive an energy sector based on a dying fuel source.  All hail Big Horseshoe!

The most stark statistic is the fact JCPenney has more employees nationwide than the entire coal sector, and no one is fighting to keep that dying business model alive.



How good is this.  Oliver is now getting sued by the Snowflake Coal CEO who he profiles.  My opinion, he has no case!

Enjoy on a Friday Night!


Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Saving Grace

OH MY GOD!  DID YOU SEE THE YANEZ TAPE?  OF COURSE HE KILLED CASTILE!  HE LIED REPEATEDLY DURING THE TRIAL AND ADMITTED HE DIDN'T SEE A GUN.  AND HOW ABOUT ANOTHER RACE WHERE DEMOCRATIC LEANING VOTERS DECIDED HEALTHCARE, A SOLID ECONOMY AND RESPECT WERE NOT WORTH VOTING FOR?  ONLY 243,000 OF 445,000 REGISTERED VOTERS TURNED UP TO VOTE.  FOR GOD'S SAKE THE REPUBLICANS RAN ADS BLAMING THE DEMOCRAT OSSOFF FOR THE SHOOTING OF REP. SCALISE.  DEMOCRATS FAIL AGAIN AT ACTIVATING THE VOTING BASE!  AND TRUMP...AND TRUMP!!!



This is my saving grace.  Baseball.  I love the game, and not just the Twins and Red Sox.  I love watching good college baseball (Go Gophers!) and minor league teams (Go Saints!) too.  And man, do I love to watch my son play.

Baseball is how I keep my sanity.  I avoid talking politics there, even though many of the other family members know who I am and what I do.  They all agree with my leanings, but it's not important when the fields are green, the temperature is 72, and your team is winning.  This gorgeous field above is in beautiful St. Bonifacius.  

I'm taking a few day off, and even though I'm limited in my cabin time, I will be spending multiple evenings contemplating strike zones, marveling at a tremendous play, and rooting for the home 9.  I would rather be by the lake, but if not contemplating the walleye chop, let me be in the bleachers, enjoying the metro area's calmest locations...

See you in Eagan, and in Minnetonka, and in Edina, and in St. Michael, and at the Fort Snelling fields, and in Maple Grove, and at...



Monday, June 19, 2017

Apologies to Philando Castile

Since Friday, after what was clearly one of the worst jury decisions in our lifetime, a decision which found Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez not guilty of second degree manslaughter, a lot of head scratching is still going on.  Yanez was, and still is, guilty of second degree manslaughter, when, during a routine traffic stop, he unjustifiably shot wildly into Philando Castile's car, after Castile himself informed him he had a weapon on him.  Castile didn't threaten anyone with the weapon, a gun he had a legal carry and conceal license for, but that didn't stop Yanez from shooting him in the heart, coming millimeters from shooting Castile's girlfriend, and a few inches from shooting a four year old in the back seat.  The Not Guilty verdict on manslaughter is a crime itself, but the Not Guilty verdicts on the reckless discharge of a firearm charges are mind numbing.

Yanez, during the trial, insisted he saw a weapon, something neither his partner nor anyone else corroborated.  Yanez himself discredited his defense, in the immediate aftermath of the murder and during the interview the very next day, when he stated, bluntly, he never saw a weapon.

I do not care!  Regardless of what the stacked system and stacked jury said, Yanez is clearly guilty on all three counts.

There are a lot of apologies which need to happen.  Let me point them out:

Apology #1 - The failure of Police Departments' hiring practices and screening processes.  Given the Yanez verdict, it's clear Police Officers are legally able to commit murder.  This demands the screening process to determine who does and who does not become a police officer be stringent, with extremely high standards.  The current process doesn't even come close, with limited or no phycological screening required in some hires.  Racists are hired as cops, mentally unstable people are hired as cops, and individuals who lack the fortitude and composure to handle a MILDLY stressful situation are hired as cops.  Yanez, in my opinion, would've failed an evaluation on all three of those levels.

Apology #2 - Failed Police Officer training and routine mental screening.  When did police officers approaching an unarmed man start targeting the head and heart?  You know why you don't do that?  So you don't unintentionally murder an innocent man!!!  Police Departments should teach offers to take a non lethal shot to disable a suspect, IF NEEDED, not kill them and sort it out their stories before the trial.  Specifically in the Castile case, any training Yanez had in regards to dealing with an individual who has a legal weapon escaped his thought process that day.  This is why officers should be routinely tested and evaluated to make sure the training they've received is not immediately forgotten by a sub par officer at a routine traffic stop.  If an officer fails a training test or a routine phycological evaluation, they should be given desk duty, and their weapon removed, until the situation can be rectified.

Apology #3 - Jeronimo Yanez.  Yanez, in my opinion, is a murderer, a man who killed Castile because he was black.  The reason Yanez pulled him over was because he was black.  The reason he frantically started to shoot into the car was because he was black.  Castile was never threatening Yanez.  A man with honor and integrity would've admitted his mistake and taken the punishment accordingly.  Instead, Yanez was a coward, hiding behind a lie he himself contradicted.  There's no decency in Officer Yanez, and he owes Castile and his family an apology.  Instead, he's already made up a fictitious serious of events to make him far more noble than he EVER was.

Apology #4 - The Ramsey County Prosecutor.  There are many things the prosecution did during this trial which make the notion they were on Castile's side laughable, but I'll focus on three.  The first is the jury, a jury which was purposely stacked with pro-police stooges who had made up their minds before the trial began.  There were multiple jurors who should've been easily disqualified, but were allowed to be seated for the trial.  The second, was the decision to not introduce what was CLEARLY the most damning evidence against Yanez, his numerous admissions early on in the investigation he never saw Castile's gun.  That is jaw-dropingly unforgivable.  It would've torpedoed Yanez' defense before hand, so by not introducing that nugget, you let Yanez' team create the narrative of a noble cop killing a back man because he was scared.  The third thing is your reaction to the verdict.  You seem to be high-fiving more than Yanez' family.

Apology #5 - The Jury.  I know some people would find me including them to be out of line, but it's apparent enough of the jury themselves were out of line.  Multiple members of the jury went into this process with the goal of making sure a police officer was never found guilty for shooting a black man.  We know one person lied to get onto the jury, and we also know that same person had a private business relationship with a different police department.  How does the Prosector and Judge not immediately negate her from the jury?  Multiple jurors had implied they'd have a hard time finding a police officer guilty of a crime, but were included on the jury!  At the end, the biased members of the jury clearly ganged up on the two rational holdouts, forcing them to switch their votes.  And how the hell do you not at least convict him of the two counts of reckless discharge of a firearm when Yanez displayed a textbook example of reckless discharge of a firearm?  I won't give any member of that jury an out.  In the end, they all voted for one of the worst verdicts EVER!

Apology #6 - The Judge.  William Leary is responsible for some very pro Yanez behavior during this trial.  The aforementioned inclusion of ringers on the jury, the refusal to allow the prosecutor to bring in Yanez' own initial testimony which would've effectively contradicted Yanez' defense, the refusal to allow the jury to rehear the testimony of Yanez from the trial, and the near forcing the jury to make up their minds one way or another, all hint at a judicial ulterior motive which has caused even more valid distrust and skepticism of the legal system.

Apology #7 - The Police Union.  Not only did they rally around a man they themselves should've thrown to the wolves, they're now working with Yanez to give him the advice he needs to make sure the Castile family can't even collect on a civil trial verdict, a verdict which will undoubtedly find Yanez guilty.  Their financial trickery allows for the maximum suffrage. "Not only did our officer wrongly kill your family member, but we're going to make sure their finances are so hidden, you'll NEVER get a damn dime for pain and suffering!  IN YOUR FACE, VICTIM'S FAMILY!!!"

Apology #8 - The NRA.  Where are you guys?  The same organization which spent the last eight years riling up their members with straw-man, fake gun persecution arguments all the sudden became silent when a person was killed solely for mentioning to the police officer they had a legal carry and conceal weapon.  THIS was the case which proved all of their delusional paranoid fears, but yet they shied away from it.  Even the Yanez' defense was based on something the NRA should've ben livid about; the fear of the handle of the gun.  The same organization who encouraged it's kook members to walk around a Target store with a loaded semi-automatic weapon on their back, insisting it was wrong to look at the gun in a negative light, didn't say a peep when Yanez insisted seeing the handle of a pistol was grounds for an instantaneous death sentence.  Castile should have been the poster child for the NRA's fight against 2nd Amendment discrimination, but because he was black, they said nothing.

Apology #9 - One from non-African American Society.  We have societal and systemic racism towards African Americans woven into our culture.  It's an evil virus which has poisoned our humanity and health.  Why was Castile pulled over?  He was black.  Why did Yanez, AND EVERYONE ELSE, ignore Castile's attempt to inform the officer calmly of the weapon?  Because he was black.  Why are we okay with the thought of a panicking reckless officer nearly shooting an innocent passenger and a 4 year old kid in the back seat?  Because they were black?  Why was there such an attempt to character assassinate Castile in the months after he was murdered?  To convince white America that all black people deserve getting shot, regardless of the circumstance.  Why did they insist a non-violent man was on the verge of becoming violent?  Because it excused the unjustifiable actions of a police officer.  The end game has been achieved:  Castile was shot because he was black, Yanez was found not guilty because Castile was black, and white America shrugs its shoulders and moves on.

This is sad.  An under-trained, inferior police officer who should've NEVER been hired, stopped a car because of a broken tail light, and because the driver was black, administered an instantaneous death sentence because they were afraid something completely fictional MIGHT happen, had a biased judge, prosecutor and jury throw reality to the wind to ensure a guilty man's innocence, and not even the main advocacy organization for his cause would back him up.

I'm sorry to Castile, and to his family, and to the African American population.  This verdict was disgusting and should've never happened, but as long as a system is in place which makes sure police officers can legally murder someone, especially someone of color, nothing is going to change.