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