Un-affirmative Action: Marvel Style

Falcon and Thor

IN MARVEL NEWS:

Captain America has been forcibly retired and sent to an old folks home in issue 21 of his most comic series. He will be succeeded by long time friend, former sidekick and present day Avenger, Sam Wilson, also known as the first African American superhero, The Falcon. Sam will bring his trademark wings to the role of Captain America.

In related news: Thor Odinson has been determined to be ‘unworthy’ to wield the mystic hammer Mjolnir, his constant companion and signature weapon for over a thousand years. He will be replaced by a mysterious woman who will be calling herself Thor, at least while she is using Mjolnir.

This is not news. This is hype. Hype is a specialized form of propaganda which is expected to turn into money at the box office, store front or on the sales floor. Hype does not last, most changes that take place have little to do with the history of the characters being hyped or changed and in the end, things tend to return to their status quo. In other words:

MARVEL JUST WANTS YOUR DAMN MONEY

Neither of these MINORITY characters who have experienced this recent “promotion” in social status into the roles of long established legacy heroes.

Why?

Because it isn’t about social justice. It isn’t about opportunity. It isn’t about making things more balanced. It isn’t about promoting diversity in non-diverse ranks.

It’s about money. Plain and simple.

They want you (or someone who has not been frozen in the ice for 50 years) to obsess over the idea of Captain America being a Black man.

Anthony Mackie rocked the role of the Falcon in the Winter Soldier so the boys at Marvel Marketing and Development decide to take advantage of that and make Cap Black.

Sorta like they did with Nick Fury in the Ultimate Universe. For an entire generation of readers and the general movie going audience, Nick Fury is Samuel Jackson. Except he wasn’t.

movies_avengers_comic_to_screen_4

Marvel’s money grab is endemic in the nature of their promotion. But it is a fail before it has even begun because, in the typical new Marvel fashion, they have shown nothing but contempt for the characters and their underlying concepts.

In the case of the new Thor, she is a woman taking a man’s name as her Title. Yes, she is becoming the new THOR. But isn’t that the son of Odin’s actual name? Thor Odinson?

She may be acquiring Mjolnir and all of the powers that go with it, but what happened to her name and since when did being THOR become a title, not a name? When Beta-Ray Bill became Beta-Ray Thor. But note, he kept HIS name.

beta-ray-bill

Her adoption of the title of Thor, replacing her name is patriarchal without ever mentioning it. She will be less than the male white character in the role because for her to be more, there would have to be a woman somewhere in the development team to address those issues.

And we already know there won’t be. THAT isn’t the Marvel way.

And more importantly she would have to do things Thor Odinson would never do, in order to be recognized as equal. Her promotion was nothing more than a gimmick, something to bring in new readers. Note the level of promotion used.

For Christ’s sake she appeared on ‘The View’. How desperate is Marvel to appear more egalitarian especially in light of so many egregious articles discussing their lack of TRUE diversity? Who were they marketing the new Thor to? I can assure you very few men are watching the View unless someone has chained them to a chair…

MARVEL HAS BLACK HEROES, AND NOW ONE WILL BE CAPTAIN AMERICA.

Yawn. Big Deal.

Yes, Marvel can claim they have Black superheroes, (and I can name ten without breaking a sweat – Falcon, Black Panther, Cage, Spectrum, Storm, Blue Marvel, Battlestar, Goliath, the Prowler, and Bishop) but none of those heroes have the notoriety, fame, accolades or active titles of some of Marvel’s longest running white heroes.

And that is Marvel’s fault for not doing the work to create characters who could bring the imagination to life. To bring the concept of Blacks as equals to the mythology that is the superhero genre. We can imagine, aliens, Negative Universe, god-like men and men like gods, but we cannot imagine a Black Superhero with Powers that can shake the world. It is more than those comic creators want to be responsible for.

To make an equal Black superhero would imply there was an imbalance in the first place. Hence, the most famous of Black superheroes often have NO POWERS AT ALL.

Which brings us to the Falcon. If in the late seventies when Cap and the Falcon were nearing their combined title together, if you had suggested that the Falcon become Captain America, it would have been a significant idea. At that point, they had been champions of justice, trained together significantly (in fact, at that point, there had been no other hero who had trained to work with Captain America as much or as often.)

The two had developed a level of teamwork that was both seamless and amazingly efficient. The Falcon was his own superhero and had earned his wings (so to speak.)

The-Falcon

At that point, very few people had ever been Cap and he had never stepped away from the role. But today, being Captain America has been little more than a slot on a resume of superheroes. Hawkeye, Battlestar, Super-Patriot, and Bucky have all been the good Captain since the Falcon and Cap teamed up in the past.

So why now? By now, Marvel knows what both you and I already know. The Falcon is the Falcon and a Black man and Captain America is Steve Rogers. The seeds of the replacement are set in that very statement.

Every time they put someone in that Cap’s uniform, THAT PERSON IS DOOMED TO FAIL AND BE REPLACED BY THE GENUINE ARTICLE. The American Dream as embodied by the character means only Steve Rogers will ever hold that role successfully by the inherent prejudice of the character’s design.

America wasn’t ready for a half-white president. The reality caused a social schism that proved racism was not only alive, but happy living in witness protection in the flyover states.

Fans will tolerate their myth-space being overturned for a moment, for the sake of diversion. But think about the nerd-rage over Heimdall becoming Black in the Thor movies. The apoplexy over Johnny Storm being adopted and the brother to Sue Richards in the new Fantastic Four movie.

The nerd answer is always: this is the true depiction of these characters and there is no reason to change them.

300px-Avengers_Vol_1_181Except they were written in a time when racism and exclusion were the order of the day. Don’t be fooled. The day when a Black Character can represent America will come. But it isn’t today. It isn’t the Falcon dressed in Captain America’s uniform.

The day will come when a Black Hero can step up with their own name, without wearing the legacy of a white hero paving the way for them. When the respect of the efforts of Black Men and Women who paved the way for this nation to be the potentially great thing that it is acknowledged by presenting that character with dignity, flaws and the bravery we know Black Men and Women deserve for their time and treatment in the US.

That hero was the Falcon. One of the first non-legacy Black heroes.

If Marvel wanted to do something significant, they would give Sam some superpowers besides, to quote Hawkeye, when the archer was passed over due to color quotas in the Peter Gyrich Avengers, “besides flying and rapping with birds”.

Amen, Hawkeye. It’s about time.

————————————–

As an added treat, from Avengers 181(back when comics were 35 cents: When the government decided the Avengers could no longer operate without its mandate, it appointed their first liaison, Peter Gyrich. I hated this man but by the time the Civil War came about, I remembered every word he said had come true. This is one of my favorite issues because we watch Hawkeye, a long-time Avenger get temporarily ousted from the team by Gyrich since the Avengers had to conform to governmental hiring statues, including it seemed, affirmative action. The Falcon wasn’t too pleased with this either. Sam Wilson is many things, but he was not digging the Token Negro thing one bit.

avengers181-09

Net Neutrality: Being Neutered by the FCC

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IF YOU AGREE, I give you permission to send this letter to every Congressman and government official you can think of. Put your name at the beginning and the end and let them know how you feel. Go to the FCC site and make them aware of your feelings as well, while there is still time. Here is a link to finding the name and email of ANY Congressman:  http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

GO FORTH AND FIGHT FOR THE FUTURE!

TO: Federal Communication Commission
FM: Thaddeus Howze

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It has come to my attention you propose to alter the arrangement of internet delivery for the entire nation based on the presupposition that corporations such as Comcast and Time-Warner Cable have the best interests of the citizens of these United States.

Nothing has been further from the truth for quite some time.

Both of these companies have had nothing but contempt for the common user of their services, treating them as little more than a $200 a month bill that can neither be negotiated for (offering smaller bills or ala-carte services giving users the option to pay ONLY for what they want) nor providing them with bandwidth comparable with other nations where the US is considered not only the slowest, but the least technologically innovative of the developed countries.

Singapore for example:
In January 2001, the Broadband Media Association was formed to promote the broadband industry. By April the same year there were six broadband Internet providers, with the total number of broadband users exceeding 300,000. Pacific Internet introduced wireless broadband services in October 2001.

In December 2006, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) introduced a programme named “Wireless@SG”. It is part of its Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure initiative. It offers everyone free wireless access in high human-traffic areas, including the Central Business District, downtown shopping belts like Orchard Road, and residential town centres. The access speed has been doubled to 1 Mbit/s since 1 September 2009 and the free service will continue until 31 March 2013.

In early September 2010, internet service providers in Singapore rolled out the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (Next Gen NBN) service plans. The Next Gen NBN is Singapore’s nation-wide ultra-high speed fibre network. It offers pervasive, competitively priced broadband speeds of up to 1 Gbps at comparable prices to ADSL and cable connection. Deployed 75% nationwide as of August 2011, Next Gen NBN is on track to achieve its target of 95 per cent coverage by mid-2012.

Singapore has NINE major cable company providers and the average internet speed is 100 Mbps. Citizens of this nation can get wireless communications for their technology almost anywhere. For free. They have some of the fastest connected services in the world for every citizen who has a place to live.

And just about anywhere outside of the US is faster than we are:

Net_Neutrality_US_MySpeed

Comcast is lucky when they can provide speeds at 1/10 that at anywhere near the same base cost. The government of Singapore ensures that internet monopolies like we see with Comcast and Time Warner (and their supposed merger) DO NOT HAPPEN, without giving the people of the nation an alternative. As government workers, it is incumbent upon YOU to protect the best interests of people in this nation from predation at the hands of corporations acting in collusion to exploit the vulnerability of a nation unaware of how corporate entities are able to buy access and control entities such as the FCC using lobbying.

From the point of view of common folk, it would appear that lobbyists have more say than citizens. More than 2 million citizens have spoken for Net Neutrality and yet it remains an issue for DEBATE, as if there was a MERIT TO EXTORTING THE CITIZENS OF THIS NATION for the profit of already fabulously rich corporations who act in collusion and are effectively a monopoly providing their services.

Let’s pause while we take a message from our sponsors:

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In the case of Time Warner and Comcast, both companies act as monopolies on their separate sides of the country, strangling out innovative smaller firms by tying them up in court until they can no longer compete with them. These companies have managed to lobby their way into the Congress preventing even basic intelligent discourse about the nature of the services they provide and the people who are unable to effectively voice their concerns regarding this issue.

I am a 30 year veteran of the Information Technology Industry. From telecommunications to computer system network design, I have seen it all and I have watched the systematic manipulation of the technological infrastructure of this nation fall under the dominion of large corporations slowly and steadily, particularly as their previous means of making money (Radio and later Television) have fallen from grace as the primary sources of information retrieval for the average citizen. Every time the Telecommunication industry finds itself about to regulated as Common Carriers, they find a way to manipulate the system preventing this from happening.

I am also a speculative fiction writer. I have already written a short story where the world I am watching is playing out. The creation of a process by which companies are forced to pay to have their data accelerated while other data is slowed intentionally eventually causes an imbalance to the Internet.

Programmer rage across the planet is unleashed and eventually the large corporations who strangle the internet are thus eventually strangled out of existence with denial of service attacks and other such network shenanigans. I don’t even want to imagine how the rest of the world will respond to the idea of balkanizing the Internet for the sake of PROFIT.

In that future, eventually the Internet becomes a place of sterile corporate control. Small voices are left to revive older technologies because they simply cannot afford to connect via the Internet. The Internet itself eventually fades as the voices that made it vibrant and alive lose connection, lose money, and lose interest in maintaining a structure they can no longer afford to use.

How many resources are we dependent on that are maintained strictly by people who would not be able to afford to work with due to rising costs with the overturn of Network Neutrality? Use Wikipedia lately? Maintain a blog? Like Youtube? How much of the web’s content is maintained by volunteers who would have none of the financial access this future speed-lane version of the Internet network would require?

The internet’s core principle (at least in theory) was that everyone who used it had the potential to use it at the same level. No one would or could control or dominate how information was seen, distributed, accessed or utilized; this gave the same amount of priority to a young web designer in Australia as to a large media firm in London. What you are proposing now says ISPs and Corporate Providers will control, throttle and decide WHO SHOULD BE SEEN AND HEARD based on their income and willingness to part from that cash.

Aren’t Americans already paying FAR too much for cable services? The average cable bill in the US is at least $100 and in some places as high as $200 a month for lackluster performance at best, promoting the idea that in America, WE PAY MORE AND GET LESS. Why should you now reward corporations who are NOT performing at their peak AND charging an outrageous fee already, to further abuse users of the internet and increasing their fees even further because when the content providers who are using this network have to pay more to get seen by through the corporate chokepoints, they will pass their costs onto their customers.

  • $200 a month for Comcast cable
  • $15 a month for Netflix riding Comcast Cable
  • $15 a month for Hulu riding Comcast Cable
  • $15 a month for Amazon riding Comcast Cable

So we are looking at $245 right now. You allow this NETWORK EXTORTION PROTOCOL to take place and here is what happens:

  • $220 a month for Comcast cable (they have no competition and now they control the providers too.)
  • $20 a month for Netflix riding Comcast Cable (pay more or be left behind, spread costs)
  • $25 a month for Hulu riding Comcast Cable (huge library, need to compete with Netflix, charges more)
  • $20 a month for Amazon riding Comcast Cable (not making money yet, wants to appear competitive)

In a month, my bill will shoot to $285 and I will have receive NOT A SINGLE BIT OF IMPROVEMENT IN SERVICE!

Since Comcast/Time-Warner has no competitors, in the next year they can and likely will raise my bill again, WITHOUT A NEED TO IMPROVE ANYTHING. Since by definition, they are a MONOPOLY and don’t have any competition to speak of. In the area I live in THERE IS NO COMPETITION for Comcast.

So in less than a year I can expect to pay even more for cable than I do already, see no improvement in my services, increase the cost of my service providers who are being forced to pay more by a company that is already so rich it can afford to tie its competition up in court using nuisance lawsuits until they go out of business.

This has become the mantra of these United State: PAY MORE, GET LESS.

THIS IS NOT A BUSINESS MODEL, IT IS AN EXTORTION RACKET. Is this the business of our government? Because if it is, you are setting not only a poor example for business, you are perpetuating a crime against the American people by allowing big business to dictate to YOU, what laws should exist and how YOU BETTER ENFORCE THE ONES THEY LIKE. Extortion is the process government is supposed to PREVENT, not abet.

It is possible you have forgotten what Net Neutrality was supposed to be doing. I have included a video in plain English of what you need to consider when you talk about this issue and its ramifications to the common man. The common man who is depending on you to PROTECT HIM FROM BEING EXTORTED UNDER THE GUISE OF BUSINESS. Watch the link, learn something you never considered and if you have, then why am I writing this letter? IT CAN’T BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN.

What Net Neutrality means in plain language:

http://bit.ly/1hS66sD

I say to you as the men and women who will direct the Congress’ decision on the need for Net Neutrality: While it is easy for you to look at the words of lobbyists and hear the dollars they offer you (however indirectly they may arrive at your doorstep) and feel you are making a good decision. I say to you, NAY. You have been lied to, with the blandishments of people who know more than they are telling you, are certain they are making the decision that will make THEM the most money, while providing the least quality service for everyone ELSE involved.

It is incumbent upon you all to go outside of your circles and ask not just the citizens, but the ISPs who are the middlemen in all of this, how they have been mislead and misused by telecommunication giants who, flexing their financial muscle control who sees what and why. Is this your fight? You betcha. You, as the FCC, are obligated to watchdog the foxes who are trying to take their place in the henhouses of American’s homes taking every last egg they can find while you stand outside wondering why don’t you see any foxes.

To be honest, I am ashamed of the corporate behaviors I see being enacted. They are short-sighted because when you look at the internet, the bounty it has given to everyone who has grown rich on it, has been because it has been CREATED EQUAL. That everyone using it, provided they can get access, has the same ability to communicate across it.

To undermine net neutrality is to tell everyone around the world, the alphabet may have 26 letters but you will only get to use half of them. Unless you pay us for the rest of the letters. How does America compete against a world where they have the rest of the alphabet and we don’t because Comcast, Time-Warner, Dish Networks, AT&T and any other major lobbying contributor thinks they should make money before the rest of the world should.

You want to change the world, ladies and gentlemen? You want to be remembered?

Then the decision you make today, must be the one that enables EVERYONE to continue to compete on an equal playing field with the entire alphabet, armed with the tools and the knowledge to shoot the foxes who might otherwise undermine our very nation’s future for the sake of profit.

Those corporations are unsustainable. They need an ever-increasing amount of cash to grow. Are you prepared to risk all of our futures on a corporation who by definition MUST DIE ONCE THERE IS NOTHING LEFT TO EAT?

Consider the future, just this one time and tell these companies, our ability to communicate with each other, equally without being extorted, is simply not for sale EVER. At any price.

Thank you for considering my proposal. I would be happy to testify at any time if it would make this last bastion of communication able to remain free.

Sincerely,

Thaddeus Howze

22456 Sonoma Street,
Hayward CA, 94541,
510-910-3912,
ebonstorm@gmail.com

REFERENCES: WIRED Magazine: 

Websites Throttle FCC Staffers to Protest Gutting of Net Neutrality: http://www.wired.com/2014/05/fcc-throttling/

 

John Oliver will help you understand what is really at risk. Yes, you will laugh, but he is deadly serious. But go ahead and laugh. I wrote my article before he gave this skit BUT he agrees with me on almost EVERY POINT.

 

The Inhumanity of Corporate Profits

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Thieves, the goddamn lot of you! Thieves and leeches! Fucking vampires sucking the will from people whose only goddamn crimes were to be frightened and tired! And you don’t help them! You don’t listen to them! They get no truth from you! All you do is scare them with stories of something that doesn’t exist! And you bastards are winning! Hundreds more of you every day!

Spider Jerusalem; Transmetropolitan

 

Corporations. Many people look at the corporation as one of the greatest inventions of modern civilization. Others will tell you they are a pox on all our houses. Journalist Matt Taibbi, profiling the bank, Goldman Sachs for Rolling Stone magazine in 2009:

“The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” 

Let’s review just a couple of things that look broken once you get past the basic erroneous premise that allowed them to exist today. That premise is they are necessary, they are providing a service and the market will bear what they do, no matter how they do it:

  • Corporate-run prisons: A prison system that works by insisting on a quota for the number of prisoners to be found within. Corporate prisons insist on an “occupancy rate” such that if the population drops below a certain number, the state must PAY THE PRISON for its lost revenue. This is an incentive for a state TO FIND SOMEONE TO ARREST, rather than putting fewer people in prison. America already has the highest rate of incarcerated individuals per capita than any place else in the world. Corporate prisons will NOT be reducing those numbers, only INCREASING them.
  • Corporate manufactured food: What if I told you all of the manufactured foods you ate were addictive. Whether it came in a can, was processed for a box or found its way into a fast food restaurant, they were designed by food scientists to BE addictive by taking manipulating your pleasure center and your body’s natural tendencies to seek out fat, sugar and salt. What if I told you, it was the very fact that foods have been over-saturated with these three ingredients which accounts for the current crop of debilitating diseases sweeping most modern countries today: Obesity, diabetes, and hypertension/stroke. Since China has embraced Western ideals, in the last ten years their number of diabetes cases has reached over 300 million people. (That number is almost the same in India.)

Are you surprised no corporations have chosen to pay attention to the rate of diabetes increase in those countries, in relationship to their fast food boom? NO? Neither am I.

“It is this very cognitive dissonance which should make you pay more attention to corporations when they tell you, they are concerned about the environment BUT not enough to do anything about it. If your kids die from starvation due to climate change, its not our problem. We are only worried about the next quarter.”

Would a bank launder money for a crime cartel? Would they poison entire ecosystems to save money on a part for a refinery? Would they pay into contingency fees, to settle, in case someone died rather than replacing a five cents part? YOU BETCHA.

Here are a few other things happening in your neck of the woods, wherever you live…

  • Does their product pollute groundwater which might be used for farming? YES. (hydraulic fracturing)
  • Does their product require millions of animals to live in poor conditions to lower their cost of production? YES. (Fast Food Industry)
  • Does their product contaminate plants downwind of where my product is used? YES. (Monsanto and other genetically engineered seeds companies)
  • Does their product produce coal ash, which is highly toxic and need specialized technologies for disposal? YES. (Big Coal)
  • Does their product have a chance for spills, causing catastrophic yet, never considered, damage to the environment? YES. (Big Oil)
  • Does their product have a list of side effects a mile long yet still advertise it on television, telling people they NEED IT? YES. (Big Pharmaceuticals)
  • Does their product cause unrest and wars in foreign countries by needing rare earths and special minerals? YES. (Any Tech corporation)

And the list goes on. I could do this all day. So why do I bring it up? For the simple reason that corporations are never going to tell you what they are doing is harmful to YOU or yours. They will list the stock exchange and its variables as if it were a way to judge how profitable Humanity has been that day.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Stock Exchange is an indicator of how much wealth is being made at your expense, how much of your environment is being destroyed, how much money is being made from the loss of lives in conflicts over raw materials in a foreign country. The Stock Exchange could just as easily be called the Murder and Mayhem Exchange because corporations have basically said they are willing to make profits OVER YOUR DEAD BODIES.

If they were being honest about it, they might make a video like this one:

So now you know. What can we do about it?

Get back to regulating these corporate fuckers. This video is a parody but the real corporations just haven’t been willing to say this as directly. But the harm they do to your environment is just as real and just as long lasting.

They don’t give a fuck about you. Don’t wait for them to say FUCK YOU in plain English. It’s only a matter of time.

Instructions: Weaponize and Discard After Use

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War is Hell.

As the world’s policeman (or at least protector of natural resources we want from other countries) we are ready, willing and able to make war whenever we want. Ready to provide “freedom” at the drop of a hat and a ring of the cash register. War is good business, Dick Cheney can certainly attest to that fact. (See: Halliburton Company, Dick Cheney)

War is good. War is profitable. We are protecting freedom and democracy everywhere.

At least this is what we are told to justify the release of military forces all over the globe. This is how we rationalize the creation of living weapons whose job it is to pacify, kill or destroy whatever opposing force they are directed at.

With no thought to the minds, bodies or well-being of the soldiers who live and die in those conflicts. Strange, the people most in favor of as much war as the budget will allow are often the same men and women who avoided military conflicts when they required more grist for the military mill.

But worst than that, we pay almost no attention to the mental health and well-being of those who SURVIVE as a shell of their former selves. Warfare on the scale that Humanity does it today corrupts every part of the psyche of the men and women who engage in it.

War brutalizes even the survivors making them barely suitable to exist in the society they have fought for. Without help, training, support services, weaponizing human beings and then releasing them back into society is irresponsible, dangerous and in most cases, the leading cause of suicide among these veterans.

Soldier-suicides-008

Are we as a nation going to continue making men and women into military weapons of war, and don’t be confused, it is the people that are the weapons before the tools they utilize, or will we realize the cost of war in terms of damage to our economies, damage to our social status as citizens of the world community and most importantly damage to our veterans returning from these wars is simply too damn high?

Or will we treat veterans like we do any other natural resource? We use up our young, best and brightest minds leaving them as wreckage on the pyre of our nation’s economic conquest and destruction of the EARTH and life as we know it.

I know which way things are leaning at the moment and it’s not a good sign.

Soldiers need treatment from the constant battles, the extreme stress, the questionable orders, the impossible tightrope between morality and survival. These are stresses beyond what most people will ever face. Should you run that light or pay your taxes, or pick your kid up from school even under the most adverse of conditions will never equal the stress of one terrifying firefight after your vehicle is flipped over by an IED.

If we really want to thank a veteran, how about making it possible for him to have the mental health he needs to reducing the scars that turned him into a weapon of war. Or the scars he acquires should he survive whatever war front we have placed him in. These walking wounded are taking their lives because they cannot cope with what they have seen or what they feel they have become: less human, less the men and women we loved when we sent them to war. We need to start caring for them. Giving them back their hope since we can’t give them back their humanity intact.

Or better yet, how about we just stop making veterans…

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Thaddeus Howze is a veteran of the United States Navy. He can be reached on Twitter at @ebonstorm.

REFERENCES:

The Guardian: US military struggling to stop suicide epidemic among war veterans

TakePart: Why Should We Make Vet Mental Health a Priority? Because One Dies by Suicide Every 65 Minutes

Am I Going to Have to Declare ‘Make Mine Marvel’?

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Dear DC Comics/Time Warner Executives,

We know that you are scrambling in light of Marvel’s recent releases from their new Cinematic Universe, starring the Avengers and those associated properties.

In light of the blockbuster releases of Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers, and most recently Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we can understand why you might be in your boardrooms cussing and drinking like sailors in a burning whorehouse trying to figure out which direction to escape.

Marvel’s recent movies have been both lucrative in terms of establishing those properties as money makers but more importantly, they have converted a large yearning in terms of comic aficionados who have always wanted to see comic heroes in the proverbial flesh and found a pent-up demand of other viewers who are hungry for well-crafted stories with larger than life heroes.

Marvel has hit both of those, in spades.

Marvel

Now I know what you’re thinking: It was Superman that established those yearnings, was the first comic hero whose demand led to further stories and greater financial earnings. Superman proved people could believe a man could fly (and lift heavy stuff).

Keep hoping people forget Bat-nipples...

Keep hoping people forget Bat-nipples…

And he did it several times. Then you went to the second leg of your Trinity of heroes and put Batman back on the map. Gone was the campy Batman of the Sixties with his teen-aged sidekick, Robin. The return of Batman still had a bit of camp but was darker, richer, and more satisfying than the Dark Knight had been in decades. Alas, someone reactivated the Camp-o-meter and by the time Mr. Freeze and the Bat-nipple suit arrive, interest in Batman was flagging faster than a transplant victim in a health spa.

Batman_Superman_Wonder_Woman_TrinityBut you didn’t give up. You decided, as the master of reboots (See: Crisis on Infinite Earths) you would reboot your first two legs of your Trinity. Superman got younger, a new suit, a kid, and a revised Lex Luthor. He lifted more things, flew really fast and blocked bullets with his eyeballs. Nice look but still nothing happening there. People were cool to this new reboot.

You pulled out all the stops and went to your backup, Batman. Nolan’s vision of the Dark Detective were regressive, he rewrote a bit of history, working Ra’s Al Ghul and the League of Shadows into the pastiche of Batman’s already convoluted history. No one complained because it made a kind of sense. Batman was reborn under Nolan’s hand and despite (or perhaps because of) Heath Leger’s Joker, a depiction that was a tour de force, almost overshadowing the Bat, this Batman was not just a hit, he became a force that altered Bat history on and off the page.

You were saved. The Dark half of your Duo had saved the financial day.

And yet, there was no sign of the third part of your Trinity. What Trinity you ask? The DC Universe has always looked more like a pantheon of Gods than a group of superheroes. Their arch-typical nature present for anyone familiar with Greek or Roman mythology to see. Superman is Zeus, all-powerful, literally the father of the genre and the most powerful member of the pantheon. Batman is Hades, dark lord of the Underworld. Wonder Woman was Hera, queen of the Gods, feared and loved in equal measure.

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Yes gentlemen, where AM I? Think before you answer…

So gentlemen, I ask you where is Wonder Woman? Why has she been neglected for so long? Why do I keep hearing tales that it is too hard to write a movie where Wonder Woman would be the star? She has, as one of the only female heroes to ever manage, to keep a running title for almost forty years. In the comic industry, she is the most popular female hero and the most well known. She is also one of the only female superheroes to have ever had a presence in live action on the little screen. A well-loved, well-received, fandom who will still turn out to meet and greet Linda Carter anywhere at any time.

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Guardians of the Galaxy features a mobile tree (Groot) and a gun-toting, spaceship stealing Raccoon (Rocket). Wonder Woman is hard? How?

So I ask you in all seriousness: What is your major malfunction you can’t manage to find your way to the bags of money that are sitting on your doorsteps if you were to create a reasonably well written treatment of Wonder Woman? Her animated movie did well. So did her animated appearances in the most awesome of your animated properties, The Justice League and Justice League unlimited. What are you afraid of? Marvel has a movie coming out with a walking TREE and a RACCOON in it. Only one of those will be a speaking part.

If now isn’t the time for Wonder Woman, when exactly would be the time? When a horrible spaceborne virus kills 99% of all the men on the planet? (For the record, that wouldn’t work either, women would demand a movie of the only remaining men left…)

downloadIn Wonder Woman’s defense you don’t even have to reinvent anything. We all know who she is and we are all aware of what she can do. As a matter of fact, you just have to decide how powerful you want to make her. Somewhere between Batman and Superman would, in fact, be perfect. Give her half the strength of Superman and the fighting skills to beat Batman in a fair fight and you have a winner. You don’t even have to write anything. Adapt George Perez’s famed run on Wonder Woman and you are set for at least three movies.

She has a rogues gallery, granted its not as extensive as Batman’s, but a woman who can make enemies of Gods and monsters, and survive, should surely not lack for opposition both from the real world and the magical one; she could fight terrorists one day, Minotaurs the next.

Fans have managed to create incredible depictions showing her fighting street level crime to fighting gods and monsters in equal measure. So I have to ask you again: What are you waiting for? A sign from on high?

Yes, I heard you are putting some bony actress up there and calling her Wonder Woman. But I have to say to you: That is a mistake. You are mistaking name recognition with the ability to draw an audience. This isn’t about the Actress, this is about Wonder Woman. You want to remember, anyone you put there will one day have to contend with being in the same room as Batman and Superman and any other superheroes you later create. The last thing you want is a Wonder Woman who looks as if she could use a good meal or twelve.

Wonder Woman from Rainfall Films

When fans are doing better than you are, you suck.

This is particularly a case of working backward toward the depiction. Find someone who would make me believe she could BE Wonder Woman just standing there and my mind will fill in the blanks for just about everything else.

Bullshit you say? What if I told you Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the worst actors ever? Yet, NO ONE imagines a Terminator without seeing him in the role in their minds. This was a case of the Right Look doing the heavy lifting even if he spoke with Marble-mouth most of the time. You guys are in desperate need for a win because I hate to say this to you, Marvel/Disney is kicking your asses up and down the street. And nobody has called the cops yet. You can expect to be beaten for quite a bit longer.

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Yes, he has entered witness protection for killing in Superman’s name.

What about Man of Steel, you say? Let’s not and say we did. It made money, googobs in fact; otherwise I would call your movie future dead on arrival. Man of Steel gave you a chance to revitalize and reboot the Big Blue Boy Scout one more time, now with a bit of murder under his belt. (Bad move on your part but I am over it.) About the only saving grace you have going for you at the moment is television. I am going to skip over the cancellations of Young Justice and Green Lantern, the Animated Series, the wounds are still too fresh.

In the live-action category you have Arrow and its been doing well on television. Arrow has managed to build a continuity that has been both respected and admired for its continuity and designs, if not its depth of acting talent. Arrow has now spun off the Flash series and this is a good sign. Now you have two venues to show off both evil agencies and supervillains of the DC Universe. I expect we will see Aquaman and a few other potential Leaguers before too long. This is a good thing.

But you have been found guilty of shortsightedness, hubris and arrogance in your decision to think Wonder Woman was unnecessary in the scheme of things. She was considered to be part of the Trinity of DC Pantheon for a reason. Strong, wise, brave, and capable of holding her own against either of the other two members,she has been a lynchpin in the DC Universe for decades.

How such an inspirational character has sat fallow on your tables is a testament to the lack of vision to be found in your headquarters. Perhaps you need to rent out the Legion of Doom headquarters down in Louisiana. It might inspire you to consider your business in a more world-conquering perspective.

Scott Disick throws money on crowd, swings fake axe at friend at Halloween bash in Las Vegas!

Marvel executives making it rain with their franchise runoff…

Movies are about magic. The magic to make me believe that what I am seeing could be true somewhere. Your current candidate for Wonder Woman is a mistake and I will stand by it. You will replace her in time for the Justice League movie you are hoping for. Yes, you are hoping to make a Justice League movie for the simple fact that the creation of the Silver Age Justice League inspired the writers over at Marvel to create the Avengers in the comics industry back in the day. And the money if you pull it off successful could challenge even YOUR dreams of financial avarice. (See: Avengers executives making it rain…)

But it looks like, unless DC/Warner gets its game in gear, and creates an integrated framework to build your movies around, something good, cohesive, strong and yet flexible, Marvel will be inspiring the next generation of heroes, not you. That would be a shame since you have THREE of the most recognizable icons ON THE PLANET; talk about squandering natural resources.

Sincerely,

The World’s Most Rabid DC Comic fans secretly dusting off their “Make Mine Marvel” No Prizes in their basement.

PS: Brainiac and Solomon Grundy wanted pants and got them.

P.P.S: Can Wonder Woman get some pants, they can be yoga pants if that is all you can afford, but is there any reason she has to walk around half dressed in a room full of men who are wearing tights and body armor? In the age of internet porn, a naked legged superheroine should be considered almost puritanical by comparison. Put her in a costume that dignifies a character whose longevity, in an industry of flash-in-the-pans, warrants an outfit worthy of her age and experience.

P.P.P.S. Otherwise this Wonder Woman here (wearing pants) on the right from Injustice might make her way to your boardrooms. You wouldn’t want that…WONDER_WOMAN

Are you STILL looking for the Illuminati? Really?

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I say we organise a protest against how ineffectively the Illuminati secretly run the world.

Are you still looking through the internet at pictures and myths talking about the Illuminati? Are you still wondering about the triangular sign Beyonce made at some award ceremony?

Are you still hoping to discover facts about the mysterious shadow organization that is supposedly controlling the world’s resources for their own private amusement and domination over the human race and has done so for hundreds of years? Really?

If so, stop doing that. Stop right now. Why, you ask?

Because you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand the Illuminati does not need to exist to do exactly what they are reputed to be doing. How about we look at what I call the Modern Illuminati and see what they’ve been doing RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES.

MODERN ILLUMINATI

We don’t need medieval shadow organizations to take over the world anymore. The world has already been taken over. If you want to see the architects of that world, take a look:

ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council)

Yes, their name means absolutely nothing. The organization claims:

“With over 2,000 members, ALEC is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, individual membership association of state legislators. ALEC is one of America’s most dynamic public-private partnerships with nearly 300 corporate and private foundation members. ALEC provides its public and private sector members with a unique opportunity to work together to develop policies and programs that effectively promote the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty.”

What ALEC really does is help corporations to determine how they may best avoid paying taxes, creating legislation to get around regulations and policies which control or mitigate the potential damage corporations may cause to people through their quest for profit.

If you want to look at an organization responsible for giving control of your world as you know it to people whose interest in the world is strictly profit-oriented, you need look no further than ALEC. ALEC and its backers are a direct pipeline to the world’s most powerful and elitist organizations, mega-corporations.

ALEC is the policy wing of the Modern Illuminati. They lobby government, they recruit and seduce legislators, they gather shadow monies and organize SuperPACs. ALEC holds councils where they create policy models which are beneficial to big businesses in a local region, and holding hands with legislators, they help craft legislation which often undermines unions, undermines the worker and their rights, and help corporations find new ways to avoid paying taxes or paying into the community adequate wages capable of sustaining a family.

BANKING AND FINANCE AND LEGISLATION (OH MY)

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Jamie Dimon (head of Goldman Sachs) before his testimony

The next member of the Modern Illuminati is the finance and banking architecture of the world at large. From creating money out of thin air to “reduce inflation” during the recession to making commodities out of junk in order to sell them to unsuspecting dupes at inflated prices.

These purchases were made with fraud in mind. Mind you we will never see anyone TRIED for fraud because what they did, these bundled commodities, violated no specific law on the books. However, no attempt was made to arrest the creators of these clearly bogus and overpriced “commodities” which drove the world into “austerity” which is another word for “screwing the poor while paying the rich”. This includes the mega-money corporations such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman’s Sach’s, HSBC, Bear-Sterns (RIP), who have been accused of a number of corporate crimes including insider trading, conflict of interest, fraud, money-laundering, price-fixing, and foreclosure abuses.

“In January 2013 the Federal Reserve announced that Goldman and Morgan Stanley would together pay $557 million to settle allegations of foreclosure abuses by their loan servicing operations (Goldman’s share was $330 million).”

That is a tiny bit of the giant pile of money spent by Goldman Sach’s in its predation on unsuspecting clients worldwide. Goldman Sach’s has billions in fees to avoid being held culpable for any wrongdoing. This is unfortunate because the message it sends is, if you have enough money and are in a position of economic power in the United States, you do not have to worry about going to jail. Your stay out of jail free card looks like a stack of Benjamin Franklins. All you need to be is “too big to fail” and you’re set.”

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Add to this mix, the lobbyists who work for major corporations, the Congressmen who become lobbyists before they return to being Congressmen only add to the confusion at figuring out whose on our side. The people who should be protecting your interests, since you voted to put them in office, are instead, making money serving as lobbyists which then empowers them to run for office. First they recommend the policy, then they clean up after it.

There are more millionaires in Congress than in the History of the United States. So if Congress isn’t looking out for you and the Supreme Court has basically been a tool of big corporations since the FEC vs Citizen’s United case which allows corporations to be treated a person with regard to how much money they can donate to a particular candidate. (But not when it’s time to throw someone into jail for assault, like when your unregulated, unmonitored silo dumps poisonous materials into your main water supply or coal ash, or oil spills…

So who is looking out for you and I?

The answer? No one. The Government is too divided, the people are too poor, and the rich just don’t give a damn. (Pass me some more of that Grey Poupon…)

MEDIA (BOUGHT AND PAID FOR)

Media Giants

Keep in mind, this chart is old…the landscape has changed quite a bit since it was first created.

Another leg of the Illuminati stool is the continued and pernicious attempts to control all forms of media communication and work toward complete domination of the Internet and all technologies connected to it. This battle appears to be all but won as Comcast recently purchased Time-Warner to become arguably the largest, most powerful and most influential cable company in America, having dominion over 30 million households cable options. Between Comcast controlling the cable-stream, NBC Universal (a subset of Comcast) and six major media houses owning the remaining 1200 media outlets in America, there is a complete lack of non-corporate, non-partisan news and reporting in the US.

We don’t need to look for the Illuminati.

They are already among us, putting people out of work, reducing their wages, increasing their prices, fostering dependency, manipulating media and mindsets, manipulating information, gathering data in order prevent any form of independent thinking.

Stop looking, we’ve found them. We know where they are. The question is: What are we going to do about them?

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We just got here and look at the mess…

ENVIRONMENT | PRIORITIES | COMMENTARY

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Planet Earth is 4.6 billion years old (give or take)

If we condense this inconceivable time-span into an understandable concept, we can liken the Earth to a person of 46 years of age.

Nothing is known about the first seven years of this person’s life, and whilst only scattered information exists about the middle span, we know that only at the age of 42 did the Earth begin to flower.

Dinosaurs and the great reptiles did not appear until one year ago, when the planet was 45.

Mammals arrived only 8 months ago; in the middle of last week man-like apes evolved into ape-like men, and at the weekend the last ice age enveloped the Earth.

Modern Man has been around for four hours. During the last hour, Man discovered agriculture. The industrial revolution began a minute ago.

During those 60 seconds of biological time, Modern Man has made a rubbish pit of paradise.

He has multiplied his numbers to plague proportions, caused the extinction of 500 species of animals, ransacked the planet for fuels and now stands like a brutish infant, gloating over his meteoric rise to ascendancy..

- GREENPEACE

The Future is Unsustainable – Tell everyone, the revolution happens soon, or not at all.

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Maker Of Candy Crush Saga App Trademarks The Word ‘Candy’ (Other Companies Rush to Follow Suit)

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In news you simply couldn’t make up, The makers of ‘Candy Crush Saga’ King, have trademarked the word ‘Candy’ in order to prevent other app makers from using it in the titles of their games.

The trademark was authorized by the European Union for the word “Candy.” British game maker King is still awaiting word on a similar trademark request in the U.S. Candy Crush is a wildly-popular and addictive puzzle-game app, featuring little colored candies.

A screen image of the Candy Crush Saga game. (King)

A screen image of the Candy Crush Saga game. (King)

King is now sending cease and desist orders to other app makers that have that word in their titles. For example, All Candy Casino Slots was forced to change to All Sweets Casino Slots.

Not to be outdone, Apple Computers has trademarked the letter “i”! The letter ‘i’ is no longer able to be used in relationship to any kind of computer or digital technology. The harshest fines possible will be assessed.

*ntel (*NTC), currently in compliance with the Apple lawsuit, is filing a countersuit indicated this would prevent anyone from being able to identify or speak the name of their company aloud. Dell Computers has joined in the suit to protect their ‘Al*enware’ line of computers from becoming ‘Alenware’ (but sensing which way the wind is blowing, Alenware will also call up Al*enware in most common search engines, try it!)

Monsanto has decided the words ‘seeds’ and ‘corn’ should belong exclusively to them (corresponding to their motto “no food grown we don’t own”) and as such Kelloggs is now forced to call their signature product “Kernel Mash Flakes”. Other yellow or white kernel-related products are scrambling to rename their products as quickly as possible, with such catchy names as FRUCTOOS, replacing longer and now legally incompatible name of “high fructose (redacted) syrup.”

Comcast has locked down the words ‘cable’ and ‘digital distribution’ beating out Netflix. In their race to the patent office in downtown Washington, DC, 12 bike messengers, 4 pedestrians and 2 police officers were run over or injured. Netflix response was to consider themselves beaten and sell their service over Comcast set boxes, neutering the Roku and rendering its technology obsolete in the process. Roku’s representatives are unavailable for comment, something about a cease and desist order from Apple and their AppleTV product over the words ‘d*gital med*a rece*ver’.

And to prepare for their future against impending lawsuits, the Koch Brothers along with their Big Oil oligarchy have trademarked the term ‘climate change’ and released cease and desist orders against all scientists and major media outlets except Fox News who released no information on climate change in 2013 and isn’t expected to do so in the near future.

#humor #news #wtf

Dissonantly Yours, with a Perspective

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Let’s start the year off with one of my favorite ideas. Good mental health and the idea of cognitive dissonance. I am a believer that one of the reasons our nation seems to have slipped its gears is the overwhelming number of dissonant events they are forced to accept just to make it through the day. With our news media in the tentacles of the great vampire squid of corporate power it becomes harder to put the pieces together and know what makes sense anymore.

So that we are all on the same page, we should start off with a more official point of view…

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE:

Social psychologists refer to cognitive dissonance as the presence of incongruent relations among cognitions (thought and understanding) that frequently results in excessive mental stress and discomfort. Ultimately, individuals who hold two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas and/or values frequently experience cognitive dissonance. This stress and discomfort may also arise within an individual who holds a belief and performs a contradictory action or reaction.

For example, an individual is likely to experience dissonance if he or she is addicted to smoking cigarettes and continues to smoke despite believing it is unhealthy.

Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals largely become psychologically distressed. His basic hypotheses are listed below:

  • “The existence of dissonance, being psychologically uncomfortable, will motivate the person to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance”
  • “When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance.”

With this lovely explanation in mind, (thank you, Wikipedia) I am going to engage in a bit of cognitive dissonance discovery after reviewing the last few months of what passes for news. If you find yourself in agreement, you too may be experiencing a tiny bit of STRESS due to your inability to process the incongruencies of our times…

You have a right to an education…as long as you aren’t a six year old hugging another classmate and being accused of sexual harassment or unless you chew a pastry into the shape of a gun, or unless you are a Black kid who might be hungry, or distracted, or harassed by gangs or any number of other reasons you have difficulties in school; or unless the School-to-Prison pipeline is clogged and they need fresh bodies to keep those corporate prisons full…

And while we are on the topic of education, you have the right to an educationas long as we don’t need stealth bombers or tanks or any other kind of infrastructure necessary for bombing brown people all over the world. In which case, screw your education, there are people that need to be “freed” somewhere else.

You have the right to buy and smoke up to an ounce of marijuana…in Colorado. Everywhere else in the nation, you can expect to spend ten to twenty-five years in prison (if you haven’t already) for carrying that same ounce of that sweet cannabis sativa. If you’re brown expect a longer sentence, if you’re not, expect that “Affluenza” ensures you find your way into a rehab facility for…help.

You have the right to privacy…as long as you don’t expect it from your government’s intelligence agencies, your employer, the police or your spouse. The development of social media and the strange vanity of an insecure nation allows people to put everything they know, everything they do, and everything they are on public display for people who would happily exploit that information for profit. Privacy is dead, anyway.

You have the right to media representation, the ability to see yourself reflected in your local media…unless you are some shade of brown. Then you can expect that newscasters will be white men, experts on said news about brown people will be white men, consultants on the behavior of brown people will be white men, and even when the issue is about women, let’s say female reproduction for instance, the person they will be interview will be a, you guessed it, a white man. The only time you can expect to see a brown face is if it’s being married to a white one (or selling Cheerios, fighting monsters on science-fiction movies, or rejecting each other in night time dramas for their white co-workers…)

You have the right to eat food…as long as you don’t expect to know how it was raised, where it was genetically modified, or what artificial chemicals are pumped into the vat its processed in. Megacorporations like Monsanto (a chemical company, not a food company) don’t want to label their products because you might want to hold them accountable when your grandchild has three eyes attributed to genetically modified food. Don’t expect to eat healthy anymore. Frankenfoods are becoming more inevitable than ever.

You have the right of free speech…unless you are protesting the rapine corporate practices which bankrupted you, or if you happen to be a whistleblower reporting on government malfeasance. Or you say the wrong thing to a cop and he shoots you and gets a three week paid vacation before going back to work.

You have the right to remain silent…unless the cops can convince you to confess by any means necessary BEFORE they read you your Miranda or can plea bargain you into cell avoiding a trial altogether or they pay a backed up police lab to mix up your DNA and some other convicts so you can do a cool stretch in prison for a crime you didn’t commit.

You have the right to clean water…unless you live downstream from a chemical plant which spills its effluvia into your water supply causing sickness, mutation and death, or live next to a fracking facility which will poison your water supply in its quest for clean natural gas, or unless your a performance artist who really prefers your water to catch on fire.

You have the right to an attorney…not saying you can actually afford one. Some states are even considering getting rid of public defenders altogether. Not that having one will matter if your judge is being paid by prison corporations to put you behind bars to fulfill a quota and a receive a tidy payoff.

You have the right to a fair and impartial government…unless you happen to notice that half of your government is comprised of millionaires who are voting primarily for their corporate interests instead of your public safety or when you notice you work 290 days a year and are called lazy by said officials who work a mere 90 days and make $175,000 a year plus Cadillac benefits packages.

You have the right to own a house…unless you give up the right when your banking institution runs a scheme which collapses the banking industry and disrupts the world’s communal economy while forcing your property values to drop to zero, putting your house underwater and which further destabilizes the economy and puts you and everyone you know out of work and ultimately out of your home which the bank will then sell for an excellent profit to a corporate real estate agency. The circle of corporate life…guess which end you are on.

You have the right to a fair justice system…unless you are a banker who destabilizes an economy with commodities fraud, or insider trading with government officials or launders money with criminal cartels, or you get the idea. No bankers will ever be penalized as long as they can pay a fine with three weeks of earnings to the justice department. Only the protesters who stand out in front of said banks will ever be sent to jail.

You have the right to expect that when confronted by the police and unarmed you will be taken into custody…unless you happen to be handcuffed, face down, surrounded by police and get shot in the back, by accident, of course, or unless you happen to be a child walking through a field and get shot by an gun expert who couldn’t tell the difference between a real gun and a toy or unless you happen to be an unarmed but mentally disturbed man who after running from the police gets shot at and is subsequently charged with assault after the police’s bullets (from their guns) hit two innocent bystanders.

If you are driving down the road, you have the right to expect that if the police stop you, they will speak to you before they start shooting…unless there is a manhunt going on and extreme measures are necessary, as in the case of the Los Angeles police who shot up three vehicles (with people not related to the case in any way) in their hunt for a fellow officer, REPUTEDLY on a rampage. While no one, besides the rampaging officer who was set on fire and burned alive, was hurt, I am certain none of the people who were shot at for driving a vehicle that resembled the dead officer’s were pleased to be a police target without so much as a warning before shooting at them.

You have the right to discriminate…wait you don’t have that right… unless you are a highly religious zealot who believes God doesn’t want you to make cakes for homosexual couples and would rather you burn your business to the ground rather than sell a wedding cake to gay people. We will ignore all the cakes you may sell to gay party planners, corporate event, private parties and to anyone who happens to NOT announce they are gay when they come to your store. Perhaps when this case makes it to the Supreme Court, you can make a case for a “religious right” to discriminate based on their constitutional interpretation.

Can hating minorities as a “religious right” be too far behind?

Now ask yourself, when you walk out the door on any given day, how many of these do you have to put out of your mind before you can make it to your job only to engage in a different set of dissonances necessary to make it through your work environment…

Next on our list of social-psychological dysfunctions: Cultural Schizophrenia!

Dissonantly Yours,

Thaddeus Howze

PS. Normally, I tag and link all the articles these are referenced from, but I decided to let you, the reader have the fun of figuring out where and how these things affect your life, without any special news bias from me. If you can find other samples of cognitive dissonance which affect your life in particular, share them in the comments. Keep it clean, folks.

A Parting Shot

Legislative Dissonance: The Affluenza Defense: Judge Rules Rich Kid’s Rich Kid-ness Makes Him Not Liable for Deadly Drunk Driving Accident

Criminally dissonant

Sara Jessimy Kruzan (born January 8, 1978) is an American victim and survivor of human trafficking. In 1995, at the age of 17, she was convicted of the first-degree murder of her alleged pimp, George Gilbert Howard. She was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. As a result of her status as a convicted juvenile sentenced to life without parole, Kruzan has received national attention from individuals and judicial reform groups, who advocate for a new trial. On January 2, 2011, as a result of the media attention, Kruzan was granted clemency by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who commuted her sentence to 25 years with the possibility of parole; she remained incarcerated at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla. In January 2013, her sentence was reduced to second-degree manslaughter and 15 + 4 years, effectively time served, making her eligible for a parole hearing. She was found suitable for parole on June 12, 2013, and the decision was forwarded to Governor Jerry Brown. On October 25, 2013, Brown took no action on the parole board decision, thereby effectively confirming it, allowing the parole board to proceed with the parole of Kruzan. On October 31, 2013, she was paroled from Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla after serving 19 years.

Military Industrial Stupidity Complex

COMMENTARY | NATIONAL PRIORITIES | THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM.

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This picture and quote is from Sploid Magazine

“We’re not preparing to fight the aliens. This isn’t a scene from Independence Day 2. It’s just a throwback photo of 25—yes, twenty five—Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk black stealth fighter jets celebrating its 25th anniversary back in 2006. What a beautifully intimidating celebration of power it was.

According to The Aviationist, the jets flew over Heritage Park at Holloman Air Force Base. Code One Magazine recently put up the photo taken by Denny Lombard for Lockheed Martin on its Facebook page.”

Then I wondered…

How much this display of airpower cost? Exactly what does a stealth bomber go for these days? So I turned to everyone’s favorite information resource, Wikipedia. Wikipedia reveals the cost of the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk to be a cool $112 million dollars average cost, not including weapons payload or fuel costs…

Role Stealth attack aircraft[1]
National origin United States
Manufacturer Lockheed Corporation
First flight 18 June 1981
Introduction October 1983[1]
Retired 22 April 2008[2]
Primary user United States Air Force
Number built 64 (5 YF-117As, 59 F-117As)
Unit cost US$42.6 million (flyaway cost)
US$111.2 million (average cost)[3]
Developed from Lockheed Have Blue

[3] Aronstein and Piccirillo 1997, p. 267.

From the same Wikipedia article we see this nice picture of some OTHER F-117A Nighthawks on the ground in 1983 give or take…

F-117A aircraft from the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, Virginia, prior to being deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield.

What you are seeing is an average of $27 billion dollars flying overhead. Another $27 billion or so sitting on the ground, and let’s just overlook research and development costs (I could probably find it, but it would certainly be VERY expensive and not necessary for you to get my point.)

Gets your patriotism fires burning, doesn’t it?

Now let’s merge this with another news article and see if your patriotism is still stoked…

From the Atlantic Magazine 2014 – Here’s Exactly How Much the Government Would Have to Spend to Make Public College Tuition-Free:

“A mere $62.6 billion dollars!
According to new 
Department of Education data, that’s how much tuition public colleges collected from undergraduates in 2012 across the entire United States. And I’m not being facetious with the word mere, either. The New America Foundation says that the federal government spent a whole $69 billion in 2013 on its hodgepodge of financial aid programs, such as Pell Grants for low-income students, tax breaks, work study funding. And that doesn’t even include loans. 

If we were we scrapping our current system and starting from scratch, Washington could make public college tuition free with the money it sets aside its scattershot attempts to make college affordable today.”

Update—Friday Jan. 3, 3:45 PM: Just to clarify, because some readers have asked, making tuition free in 2012 would have required $62.6 billion on top of what state and local governments already spend subsidizing public colleges, as well as some of the federal spending that doesn’t go towards financial aid. Again, you can find a detailed breakdown of how our colleges are funded in theDepartment of Education’s data.

For anybody interested in reading more about the idea of making public college tuition free, and the vast array of economic considerations that would entail, here’s a lengthy piece I wrote last year.

Update—Friday Jan. 3, 4:31 PM: One more update to answer another good question I’ve received. Technically, you could say the additional cost of making college tuition free would be even cheaper than $62.6 billion. How come? Because most Pell Grant money is already spent at public colleges. In 2011 – 2012, state school students received $21.8 billion in grants. So, if you subtract that from the total needed to completely eliminate tuition, it the sum would be closer to $40 billion. (Apologies for not teasing that point out earlier. I’d noted it in a previous article and didn’t think to repeat it.)

So what have we learned?

For the cost of 50 stealth bombers, we could send every American who wanted it to college for no expense to the student! Imagine what we could do with the rest of the military industrial complex’s expense budget…Remember, these bombers aren’t the only thing the military produces.

Still feeling patriotic or just kind of dirty…

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