Thursday, December 14, 2023

The Circle of Life

I’ll always remember the morning in spring when I woke up to see a half-dozen vultures congregated in the street a few feet in front of our yard. This was in the time of Covid, most likely in 2021.

I couldn’t quite see what the party was all about, but within a minute or two, the feast had moved into our front yard and I could see that the wake was dining on some medium-sized creature, a possum, I was thinking.

This went on for about an hour before the party broke up. It was a busy day and so what was a spectacle in the morning was pretty well forgotten by lunchtime.

I didn’t give it anymore thought until the next morning when I went out to throw the recycling into the bin and discovered about half a skeleton of the hapless menu item who had provided breakfast for that ravenous flock the day before. I’m no expert, but it seemed to confirm my thought that it was a possum. Because there wasn’t too much left besides an ivory skull, I’ll never know for sure but I know for certain that vultures are really efficient when it comes to their role in keeping the circle of life in motion. The remains of the creature they feasted on looked as though they had been lying, undiscovered, in the woods for months but I knew for a fact that Peter Possum’s heart had been beating 24 hours before I found him in my yard.

I reflected on that for a moment and have from time-to-time since and it shined a bright light on something we modern folk don’t think about much. Everything in our world has a life span. We humans certainly do. None of us knows how long we’ve got, and life can–and often does–come to a screeching halt. I suspect that my possum friend was creamed by a neighbor’s car before he was gnawed on by Vic Vulture & friends.

And in that moment, I had another clear and memorable insight into how the Circle of Life works. Especially outside of that overly-sanitized and highly-idealized picture of life that lives somewhere in the recesses of this modern, suburban man’s brain. And for a moment, I had a sense that all was well in Mother Nature’s Realm.

"Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, November 13, 2023

Could Religious Extremists Ever Assume Power in the US?

Could they? Is such a thing even possible here? Well, if that's not something you've been giving much thought to, permit me to tell you a few things going on right now among some Christians holding some pretty extreme ideas. They often refer to themselves as Dominionists. 

There is a movement afoot in the US right now to compel everyone—believers, people following other faiths and non-believers alike—to “get on board”, to submit to their narrow ideas about how things ought to go. It’s the fulfillment of their Apocalyptic vision that “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”. (Philippians 2: 10–11)

Of course, not all Christians in America share the idea that the Church could or should be on an intentional, well-planned campaign to make this happen—regardless of what it might take to accomplish the mission, so to speak, but it’s happening, nevertheless, and the movement is gathering strength.

Although it’s true that the majority of American Christians are not on-board, it’s also true that the real hard-core and extreme adherents to any religion are usually the ones holding the power stick and are therefore able to carry out such a plan. Support from everyone who subscribes to the faith is not necessary.

And if you’re worried about what could happen to any of us in this Nation who might refuse to go along, or whether such a thing is even possible, let me point out that it’s happened many times in the history of Christianity and is a reality for millions of citizens and inhabitants of the six majority-Muslim Countries that are purposefully, authentically theocratic.

In a theocratic, authoritarian State, those in power can—and often do—force everyone, regardless of belief or unbelief, to submit to their authority, to their ideas about God’s will. They have the power to discredit, marginalize, excommunicate and—quite possibly—harm or kill those who don’t believe and/or don’t want to live in a theocracy.

The not-crazy believers would likely disapprove of the most extreme courses of action, but you’d still be discredited, jobless, slandered, ostracized, and—in a worst-case scenario that seems to be coming closer to reality with each passing day—dead.

We are only three or four short steps from having an authoritarian government in power with extreme religious leaders empowered as close partners, able to put in place their extreme ideas in ways that will impact all Americans, whether they’re believers or not. 

Think Taliban or the mullahs and Imams of Afghanistan or Iran but with extreme Evangelical Christian leaders, whether clergy or lay, holding some office or not, calling the shots and compelling obedience.

Yes, what I’m describing is a worst-case scenario, and they may not be able to actually pull it off, but trump-loving Evangelicals and Christian Dominionists are trying as hard as they can right now to bring it about.

If what I’m saying seems really far-fetched to you, I suggest you read up on Christian Dominionist ideas and theology by following this link: 

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Oh, no! We're training Ukrainians to kill Russians!

As I've mentioned before around here, I spend quite a bit of time on different online forums, usually about political, military and historical stuff. A lot of time, truth be told.

Recently another participant in one of those forums threw out this question: 

"Russia is a good country. Why do Americans treat it bad and train its proxies to kill Russians?"

Here's the thing: I was having a hard time figuring out exactly what he meant when he said that “Russia is a good Country”.

To me, “good countries” aren’t populated by despot-loving citizens who meekly submit to being ruled by thuggish strongmen who stay in power until they’re good and ready to stop exploiting their Nation and its people and open the way for their hand-picked successor. Usually a member of their blood family, of course.

“Good Countries” don’t set up power structures where super-rich oligarchs control all important industry and make sure the lion’s share of wealth flows into the pockets of said oligarchs and the Thug-in-Chief who—with their support—calls all the shots and gets the biggest cut.

“Good Countries” don’t expend huge chunks of their rubles putting together bureaus or ministries in their governments whose reason for being are to create propaganda to confuse and control the populace, justify their bloodthirsty actions and wars of conquest and mettle in the affairs of adversarial Nations. That last one is a very big deal, especially since a lot of that particular strategy has been focused on the US, on our elections, specifically.

“Good Countries” don’t round up and imprison their citizens who don’t like their policies or seem to pose any kind of threat to them and their despotic ways.

“Good Countries” don’t take those aforementioned actions a step further and kill their not-compliant citizens, journalists or politicians by assassinations on the street, blowing them up in their cars, poisoning them or throwing them out of 13 story windows. And those things happen routinely in Russia, as you well know if your head’s not buried in the sand.

We are training Ukraine’s military in how to defend their Nation against Poo-tin’s bloodthirsty army because he attacked them in an effort to steal their land and resources, exterminate their Nation, its language and its culture. Comrade Vlad and other Russian leaders have affirmed publicly—in things they’ve said and in published documents—that that’s what they’re attempting to do even though they’re careful to throw out all that garbage about de-Nazification and demilitarization when the cameras are rolling.

You can think of Ukraine as an “American proxy” if you’d like but all peoples and Nations who’re not in Moscow’s orbit know that every Nation is free to support other Nations when the bullies of our Planet try to steamroll them. Especially when it’s a clear case of a much larger Country attacking their smaller, weaker neighbor and committing non-stop war crimes as they do so.

That support is completely legal, acceptable, appropriate and laudable and we’ll continue to give it until Ukraine pushes the last occupier out or the America-hating, Russia-loving MAGA crowd can get Der Trumpenfuhrer or some other QOP putin sycophant back into the White House.

In the meantime, members of the AFU will kill lots of Russians and the Poo-tin regime will be greatly weakened. Those are not bad things, they’re good effects indeed and we can take pride in knowing that our so-called proxies are good at it and that we helped.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Yankees' Germán is Perfect in Oakland

When I put on the Yankees-Athletics game last night, I was eager to see if Giancarlo Stanton was going to finally break out of is slump.

He did, going 2 for 3, with a walk, a homer and 3 RBI. It was impressive,  and it was a big relief for this life-long Yankees fan.

But somewhere along the way, his teammate, Domingo Germán pitched the 24th Perfect Game in the history of Major League Baseball.

Yeah, I was shocked too. In a good way.

Did you miss it? So glad to say I didn't. I saw David Cone's perfection and was delighted that I didn't opt for another couple of episodes on NYPD Blue on Hulu instead of the game.

Yeah, that was the other option. I did take in an episode after posting about  on social media.

If you did miss it and would like to see what all the fuss is about, just follow this link. The story's in a jillion other places on the net, as you might imagine.

What a night it was! It's a night, an event, that I won't soon forget.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, June 26, 2023

Ukraine trying for peace negotiations this summer?

There are more predictions coming now that, because Ukraine knows full well that she cannot actually win the war raging within her borders, her leaders are secretly working behind the scenes to start peace negotiations with Ruzzia. Supposedly that she'll be begging for a sit-down with Poo-tin & Company in the next month or two at the most.

Here's the truth: the chances that Ukraine will agree to negotiations with putin’s criminal, genocidal regime—whether this summer or anytime before regaining their occupied territory—are exactly zero.

Negotiations this summer? While the counteroffensive is progressing? Not happening. Ukraine—greatly assisted by democracy-loving countries in Europe and beyond—is winning this dreadful and unnecessary war launched by Comrade Vlad’s Imperialist Ruzzia and her plan is to keep winning until all pre-2014 Ukranian territory is free of Russian occupiers. They will achieve this objective and we will continue to offer support until the job’s finished.

Can we say that all Americans support our official policy of siding with Ukraine and putting large chunks of American dollars behind that policy? No, we can't. But it's easy to see who's raising a stink and trying to derail our unequivocal  support for the Ukrainian Nation. Actual American patriots support the Biden Administration’s policy on the war. Democracy-hating trump-humpers don’t, of course. 

And the rest of us know why: the war was Daddy Vladdy’s wet dream, his effort to become the successor to Peter the Great; it was to have been his legacy, his crowning achievement. And trump—whom MAGA Morons worship as a god—would have done/would do anything to support Poo-tin, his handler and mentor. He’s been taking orders from that hateful, autocratic thug since before he even became President, and it's all been very plain to see.

We know what they’re trying to do and why they’re trying to do it, but we’ll continue to support our President’s policy and the Ukrainian Nation. And, at the end of the day, it will be one more achievement by President Biden and will deter Ruzzia and other democracy-hating Nations from invading their smaller neighbors with plunder and conquest on their minds.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, May 22, 2023

Why do Dems hate trump & DeSantis so much?

A couple of weeks ago, someone I don't personally know asked me on the internet why Democrats hate Donald trump and Ron DeSantis so much. Well, here we go...

It's because--among other things--they want to strangle Lady Liberty and have their voters, supporters and pols run America according to their politics, priorities and policies. They know they can’t win National elections any more without gaming the system, so they’d be fine with instituting permanent rule of a minority over the majority of Americans who want no part of their bankrupt, extreme and backward-looking policies.

Free and fair democratic elections? Don’t want ‘em. Making sure that every American who’s qualified and eligible to vote can vote? Nah, voting is just for their supporters. Working constructively with Democrats to get the business of America done and done in a timely fashion? No, that might give a Democratic President a win, therefore harming them and neutralizing their policies and their effectiveness because governing is a zero sum game.

They don’t care about the welfare of the country as a whole. Just “their people”. Do they want to preserve American democracy so it can be passed down to our children and grandchildren? No, because as I said above, that would mean sharing power and competing for the approval and votes of all Americans.

If faced with a choice between sharing power or killing off democracy, they’d gladly do the latter. Trump’s already tried it and DeSantis has shown again and again that letting his extreme buddies, lobbyists and pols have all the access, all the consideration and all the power in the State where he wields the power of the Governor’s office is just the way it’s done while he is in control.

His number 2 priority is putting in place all his extreme policies and remaking the State of Florida by passing one extreme law after another. Not to mention his use of executive orders and simply bullying into submission anyone who opposes his policies or he simply doesn’t like.

His number 1 priority is to stomp on everyone and everything that stands in his way. This can be individuals or even business entities. He’s now trying his dead-level best to bully Disney into submission because their former CEO said publically that they oppose one of his pet laws. He has even said as much. More than once. And the way he’s doing it is a clear violation of the company’s First Amendment rights.

In that way, trump and DeSantis are just alike. They expend ridiculous amounts of their time and energy thinking of ways to wield their power to harass, discredit and punish their perceived enemies.

The other important way in which they’re alike is that both of them think that completely ignoring the Democrats and essentially setting up one-party rule is a viable option. Either one would do it in a heartbeat. As I mentioned before, trump has already tried killing off our democracy and DeSantis has been signaling from Day One that he’s more than capable of doing it. I’m quite sure that if he should ever be elected President, he’d be much more effective at uprooting democracy than trump because he’s more pragmatic, more competent and way less stupid than our former Moron-in-Chief.

It’s not hard to see why Democrats strongly dislike both of them, more than we do most other QOP pols who also have hateful, divisive and extreme policies. They both love power—getting it and holding on to it at all cost—more than bringing the Country together or governing effectively or preserving our democratic institutions.

Those are, in fact, the priorities of the Democratic Party. And trump, DeSantis and others of their ilk are trying as hard as they can to stamp them out.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Saturday, April 15, 2023

What? Harris, Sanders or Newsom in '24?

There's a buzz on the internet right now about which Democrats would be on a short list to vie for the nomination in the unlikely event that President Biden is out of the picture.

VP Kamala Harris, VT Senator Bernie Sanders and CA Governor Gavin Newsom are often mentioned in discussions of that sort. I think those truly are the three who’re best-positioned to emerge as the nominee if Joe takes himself out of the picture.

A random observation: it’s fascinating that two of the three are from California. That will give the QOP’ers a great angle when they start sending out fundraising letters! Well, that stuff’s already happening, of course, but the whole process gets kicked into overdrive once the convention’s done and the nominee is chosen.

And Bernie being the other one on the list—the Reich Wing will just go insane if it were him.

I’m a long term—and I mean long term—observer of American politics and have done volunteer work on many campaigns and I want to say clearly that if either Harris or Bernie should get the nod, they’d get creamed! Sad, but true.

Kamala, in part, because white voters with a latent streak of racism—perhaps deeply buried, one they can’t acknowledge and would probably deny if pressed—could easily go third party or stay home. And her time as VP hasn’t done a thing to position her to be the Dem’s next standard bearer. I hasten to add that I supported her candidacy over Joe’s right from Day One, so I didn’t mean that statement as a dig at all.

Bernie has no prayer as the well has been thoroughly poisoned. At least half the Country gets hysterical at the mention of the term socialism and this isn’t going to change anytime in the near future. And Bernie is a socialist. And before you start flaming me in the comments, I hasten to add that I’m a socialist too. But it’s also true that I’m a deeply pragmatic socialist and I know that the chances of Socialists like Bernie and me (and a few million others) seeing the kind of reforms that America so desperately needs come to reality in the next 50 years or so are exactly zero.

A little sidebar here: the Right expended a shit-ton of time, energy and money in the run-up to the 2016 Presidential Election trying to sell us the “fact” that they were petrified at the mere thought of running against Bernie. It was all a Psy Op. They knew they’d cream him—having already made voters go bat shit-crazy at the mere sound of the “S” word—and they were hoping we’d fall for their ruse, make Mr. Sanders straighten his tie and comb his hair and send him out to meet the Anointed Orange One. He would have lost and lost badly. 

The simple truth is that no one can become President anymore without appealing to Independents and moderate voters. It’s just not possible. If for no other reason than the fact that there are more registered Indies than either of the major parties. The math is simple. 

And the other consideration that will drive every American election until the end of time is that perception is way more important than reality and Rethuglicans are masters at framing every discussion and creating perceptions—often false ones—that push things in a direction that favors them.

So of the three you mentioned, I think Newsom would have the best shot. I’m so aware that there could be other options for us but the fact that Joe does intend to run means that most, if not all, of them are very wisely staying on the sideline. No one has announced (I know Joe hasn’t either; at least not officially.) And barring a sudden, unexpected development with Joe, no one will.

Now, if Joe should leave the picture, and Newsom should become the man, we damn well better get someone who’ll well-balance our ticket. Newsom brings nothing of value there—speaking specifically of that whole regional thing as California goes Blue every four years—and we’d need a candidate for VP who does.

Although I don’t have anyone firmly in mind, Pete Buttigieg or Gretchen Whitmer wouldn’t be bad choices to balance the ticket. Well, those two should probably have been added to our original list for the big race—if Joe should opt to retire to Delaware when his term is complete. I have a ton of respect for both of them and believe that either of them would make a fine Chief Executive.

So there are my thoughts on this. I’m thinking it’s all just some of that “needless speculation” here but it’s fun to kick around different possibilities. The bottom line is to make absolutely sure that you vote in the 2024 Election!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, April 10, 2023

What would it take to reinstate...

It just happened again. Another troll took to an internet forum where I'm very active and threw out this ridiculous question: "What would it take to reinstate Donald Trump to the Presidency?"

Well, here's my take: I’d advocate for Mango Mussolini to be reinstated as President once he performs this easy feat, which we all know he’s more than capable of doing, what with him being the most tremendous, strong, America-loving and athletic President we’ve ever been blessed by God to have:

All he’d have to do would be to have MSNBC video tape him putting on his golf cleats and then climbing up the Statue of Liberty to the tippy-top of Lady Liberty’s sacred flame. Then, he’d merely have to douse himself with a fifth of Trump Vodka and light himself on fire with John McCain’s Zippo lighter.

Then he would just have to do a triple back summersault with one and a half twists and land his now very orange-tinged, crispy and generously-sized ass into the harbor without making a single splash!

And from there I would only require the simple act of doody donald pulling his badass self out of New York Harbor by grasping his manly, flaming-red, beautifully-flowing necktie in his tiny, perfectly-caramelized hands and pulling with all his manly-mighty-might!

I know that other previously trump-hating Americans might have higher expectations as far as letting our Lord-and-Master trump come down from his cross to be reinstated to the Presidency but that’s all I’d require.

Yeah, I know… I’d be letting him off too easy. 

Ya got me!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, April 3, 2023

Will there be an actual Perp Walk for trump?

Some folks on the internet are throwing out that question in different online forums.

Here's what I know: it has already been announced that trump will be taken in at an entrance not accessible to the public and to the media. And that he’ll be surrounded by a phalanx of Secret Service agents throughout the process.

The ostensible reason for that is trump’s security but it will also spare him the embarrassment and YUGE PR hit that most Americans have always gotten at an arraignment.

So this will almost certainly not be the sort of perp walk so many of us have envisioned and would pay big bucks to see! And I’d be truly shocked if the Secret Service would allow him to be cuffed! They should but it’s not gonna happen.

I will say this: I’m just dying to see some of the awesome memes that are gonna come out of all this! #LockHimUp!

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Yes, we're all for families here!

Fighting, persuading, arguing and debating are a big part of what makes a democracy work.  Americans do plenty of that, as we all know. 

I think I can say with confidence that abortion is the issue in American public life where we argue the most among ourselves. I could go on at length about how we can never have civil discussions about abortion--or nearly anything else, for that matter--but that would be fodder for another post.

Before--and continuously during our debates and arguments--the framing and labeling wars happen. When it comes to our long-running, very heated debate about abortion, there can be no doubt that Conservatives who wear the Pro-Life label are smacking around the Pro-Choice side in this all-important messaging, framing and labeling war. You might say they've perfected the art of framing the debates and arguments and getting all of us to use their preferred labels and embrace many of their assumptions. 

They're so good at all that, in fact, that whenever the topic of abortion or related issues come up for discussion, a huge part of the American public already operates under assumptions that make clear how very successful Conservatives have been at framing the discussion and pushing the public's thinking in a certain direction.

Let me flesh this out just a bit. How many people labor under the illusion that Pro-Choice women don't like and don't want kids? Or that those of us who're Pro-Choice are irreligious, hostile to even the thought of any religious practice, and are down on heterosexual love and/or the very thought of marriage?

Public opinion is never set in concrete. Opinions can move in this direction or that. We've all seen how that works. There are many Americans who unquestionably have some of the aforementioned thoughts in their heads--whether consciously or not--whenever the discussion turns to abortion or any related issue.

But the truth is that when the vast majority of liberal or pro-choice women get pregnant, they carry that pregnancy to term, love and take care of their child. (I say their child but not at all denying or minimizing the reality of absent fathers or situations of rape or where a pregnant woman may not know who the father is.)

The starting point for so many debates or discussions about choice make clear that so many voters have bought into the Conservative argument that those of us who stand for choice are hostile to families, and are trying as hard as we can to abort as many babies as possible. And none of that is grounded in reality. 

When a woman’s right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term is not under legal threat, the ratio of abortions to all pregnancies is still very small. That’s true of any and all groups regardless of what their beliefs or attitudes towards choice on the one hand or forced birth on the other might be.

This smear that pro-choice people hate babies, hate families, hate motherhood and heterosexual love has got to be resisted. That groundless assumption lurks just below the surface whenever we get on the subject of abortion. And it's undeniable that most pregnancies—statistically speaking—among pro-choice people have the same result as among the public at large: the birth of a child.

We must stop letting regressive right-wingers go on portraying pro-choice people as blood-thirsty haters who are trying to destroy the family unit while killing as many babies as possible.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Dark Clouds and Priorities

I often wish that I could spend my time on this blog posting about my Nature/camping adventures, my love of sports and music and maybe pass along some cute cat pix and funny memes.

But our Country is in grave peril, and I can't pretend it's not happening. Donald trump is a first-class con artist, a traitor and a wanna-be dictator. We can't just pretend it's not so.

His speech at CPAC this week is just one more piece of clear evidence that he's a very, very serious threat to our democracy and our Nation. Please read this piece from Teagan Goddard. It's well worth the next two minutes of your day. 

Being immersed in this stuff is soul-crushing; I hate it.

But I implore you, don't look away.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

News Flash: Bannon stiffs Attorneys

It's come to light recently that trump enabler and advisor Steve bannon won't pay the tab for the attorneys who've been defending him. For all kinds of crimes.

How can anyone be surprised by this? You'd have to expect that anyone/everyone on team trump would do as Dear Leader does.

The other reason why Bannon, trump and others in MAGAt World might do such things is that it's almost necessary. They've participated in and committed so many crimes--complex, multi-faceted ones at that--that the legal bills were bound to come to far more than any of them can pay.

It's not clear whether Bannon can actually pony up the dollars or if he's just that much of an asshole. Frankly, my money's on the latter possibility.

There's been a lot of this kind of thing from trump, Bannon and the other thugs and insurrectionists in that Cult of Criminality. And I promise you there'll be plenty more.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Monday, February 13, 2023

Another example of that blatant double standard

Someone threw out a question today on an internet forum where I participate regularly about whether laws that allow motorists to run over demonstrators at, for example, a BLM protest would ever be enacted to give the same leeway to pro-choice people who're harassed and threatened at Abortion Clinic protests. 

Let me say at the beginning here that no one should ever feel free to run people over on the street. There are a number of reasons why I say that. For one, it would make way too easy for people with grudges or extreme views to plough through a crowd at just about any event and take out people they don’t like. This would be especially true at protests. The vast majority of which are totally peaceful.

Now that I’ve make that clear, the other issue that popped into my mind when I read this question is that it—once again—lays bare the rank hypocrisy of Reich-Wingers who have two completely different ways of passing judgement about whether it’s okay to do a thing based who’s doing it.

I think it’s absolutely true that most Americans feel that, in the abstract, one law or one standard should apply equally to everyone regardless of the particulars. But Reich-Wingers don’t see it that way. So they’d have no problem with giving a pass to their fellow extremists who use a law like that—and such laws are on the books in more than one state right now—to mow down people at a BLM protest but howl in indignation if any of those “dangerous” lefties or Antifa types or supporters of a woman’s right to choose had a legal right to limit their behavior in any way at a demonstration or protest. Much less had a green light to use their vehicles as weapons the way that one of their Neo-Nazi buddies did at Charlottesville.

So it’s all about using our laws and our Justice system to tilt the game in their favor. It’s fine for them because they’re upstanding American patriots and those child-molesting commies were so bad, so threatening! My God, there were even lots of those horrible, violent Antifa infiltrators in the crowd! I felt that my life was in danger, for realz! So, of course, I had to floor it to escape certain death! 

You get the idea. Situations like that have played out in America many times.

But if anyone on their team ever did anything threatening—even while armed to the teeth—those child-killing Commies should just let us engage in our Constitutionally-protected speech, they'd say. Yeah, we’ve got the 1st and 2nd Amendment rights to say what we want and do whatever we want and you’ve got to stand there calmly and do nothing. And Law Enforcement will back them up 95% of the time.

And so, they’d go on to say, that anyone who’s got a problem with that should know that we’re armed to the teeth and we have vehicles, weapons and regressive laws in many states to make sure that we get all the rules of the game, so to speak, stacked in our favor. But you guys can be arrested, thrown in jail or beaten or shot if you do any of the things that we have a legal right to do and do all the time.

That’s how the game works. And they’ve got the laws and the cops who enforce those laws on their side. And this obvious double standard works perfectly well for them in most places, most of the time.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile

Friday, February 3, 2023

Tyre Nichols: People of Faith React

The death of Tyre Nichols last month at the hands of five Memphis Police Officers was shocking. In the aftermath, the eyes of millions of Americans have been on Memphis. The news of the swift firings and arrests of the five Officers who killed him and the prompt filings of 2nd degree murder charges against all five have helped to temper the deeply-felt shock and righteous anger which have been and are being felt by so many. Not only in Memphis or the American South but all over the world.

The reactions of people everywhere and from all walks of life began pouring in as soon as the story broke. Much of it from even before Mr. Nichols passed in his hospital bed. People of Faith have reacted, of course, as have many millions regardless of whether or not they have any spiritual or religious beliefs or connections.

I think it's accurate to say that many in the Faith Community have focused on this horrific and frightening incident more than most folks, in part because tragedies like this one, sad to say, are not rare and they've got long experience in working for Justice, equity and accountability when yet another ugly and tragic incident occurs. And though believers have seen many violent outbursts of brutality from the ranks of those whose stated mission is to serve and protect the public, this one was particularly egregious and shocking. Perhaps because there is video of most of the beating and so many people who've been following the story and have been working for Justice have seen it. It's truly sickening, I could only watch about 30 seconds of it before I had to turn away.

Enough time has passed now--approximately three weeks as I write this--that responses are coming in from whole Churches, denominations, agencies and so on and they run the whole gamut of reactions and stances. And there are many thoughts, strategies and plans being discussed and put together in order to deal with the aftermath of this horrible situation. This article from Religion News Service shines a light on all of that and is quite helpful if you're wanting to get a feel for what People of Faith are saying and doing in the wake of this tragic episode.

We must remain committed to crying out for and working for Justice. For Tyre. For all the others who've suffered violence at the hands of Police and others in positions of power. And for all the victims whose tragedies have not yet happened.

Ben Lawrence Basile

© 2023 Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Sunday, January 1, 2023

No, I don't know what 2023 will be like

I don't and neither do you. But we're about to find out, my friend.

I suppose these feelings of uncertainty I've been having are not really that different from what goes through my head and heart each year at this time. But I seem to have more than the usual confusion and trepidation as I sit at the keyboard this morning.

There have been plenty of good signs out there for those of us who're foolish enough to dabble in the prognostication business. And plenty that don't auger well for the US. And for humanity, truth be told.

No doubt the best course of action right now is for this amateur culture-watcher and futurist to push away from the laptop and just let 2023 unfold. As it will.

Very well. I shall retire to my room, surrounded by televisions and streaming devises of several kinds, laptop and tablets at the ready. I'm confident that, what with my subscriptions to the Times, the Post and the Sentinel and nine other platforms and publications, I'll be on top of all of it.

And, nevertheless, be surprised, perplexed, confounded and bumfuzzled by a whole lot of it.

Damn, let's just chill and see what happens next...

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2023 Ben Lawrence Basile