Dallas police officer Amber Guyger — killer of Botham Shem Jean — may still retain God status after her arrest

Amber Guyger arrested for shooting Botham Shem Jean

Off-duty Dallas, Texas police officer Amber Guyger walks into civilian Botham Shem Jean‘s apartment last Thursday night — because she thought it was her residence — and then shoots Jean to death because she thought he was an intruder.

The incident is another example of how cops are treated as God.

Infallible.

Uncorrupted.

Not capable of making mistakes or deadly actions driven by some form of prejudice.

And even if cops actually did something awful, it’s just a part of Cops’ Plan — right?

Guyger’s been arrested tonight for manslaughter in connection to Jean’s death, but an arrest is a long distance from court conviction when a cop is involved.

We could go even further and say police officers are even more revered than God is.

You may or may not believe in any sort of deity, but play along with me for a minute and say that you do.

After you’ve lost your home, family, friends, wealth and even your state of mind, you have a statutory right in this country to say “Hey y’all, I’m no longer down with Team God because my messed-up life only shows how God never even existed to have my back.” You may have also thrown in a curse word or two on your way out the temple doors.

And yet you can be arrested in America for saying “F*** the police” after you think they’ve they’ve made life harder for you.

But Amber Guyger just took a human life and nearly 72 hours later, wasn’t questioned by her own Police Department about the matter.

You could be an airplane mechanic whose error in judgment resulted in deaths from a passenger flight crash, and you’ll be immediately questioned before facing manslaughter charges.

But in a staggering number of cases, cops have made deadly errors in judgment — 12-year old Tamir Rice’s killer quickly comes to mind — and have been acquitted of criminal charges.

Sounds like wannabe gods to me, at minimum, and I’m sure the Dallas Police Department will gladly accept tithes contributions for Amber Guyger or her fellow officers’ emotional health after the shooting.

Meanwhile, we’re left to guess that wretched-of-the-earth Botham Shem Jean doesn’t have a criminal background since the media hasn’t been so keen to share that information.

Plus Jean’s clean record will matter just as little as the reason for his death.

It’s all a part of Guyger’s Plan, I suppose …

song currently stuck in my head: “carnaval de são vicente (body & soul vocal nix by françois k. & joe claussell)” – césaria évora

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When the beat stops dropping — marching after Trump

neo-nazi-charlottesville-virginia

The synchronized goose-stepping to President Donald Trump’s White-America-First drumbeat seems highly familiar to many of you.

And this is the point where most media analogies between Trumpism and Nazi Germany stop short.

I want to go deeper and explore the policy and moral ramifications of Trumpism’s eventual end — and what will happen once the beat stops dropping.

Let’s first establish, for the sake of sorting out our woke-since-2016 friends from The Resistance that Trumpism is yet another outgrowth of decades-long white supremacist repression, and this phase of hatred will nominally end by 2024 — if not sooner.

For people betting on Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s gift of impeachment, it’s still too early to put bets on the Russia angle as an enabler.

My bet at the moment is money and women, if a rapid White House exit happens.

In any case, Trump’s turn at the White House will eventually end.

And then what?

I’m reminded of the book Destined to Witness: Growing up Black in Nazi Germany by Hans Massaquoi where the African-German author noted how marching to the beat of hatred felt good to many civilians, military personnel and government officials.

Perhaps the feeling among swaths of the German middle- and working-class masses back then was a glorious one because they finally — perhaps for the first time through their lens — can march with the assurance that the leader of their beloved country can relate to his socially and economically marginalized Aryan citizens.

“Blood and soil” and all.

Or perhaps they realized that marching to the beat is the path-of-least-resistance approach to maintaining — if not improving — their social status.

“It’s hip to hate in 1936,” some may have said.

Massaquoi observed that becoming a national SS operative or local Nazi Party official was even hipper since the hegemony of the time made others think that acting more Nazi than most others was the way to move up the social ladder.

Or perhaps many Germans back then were scared by the drum’s call but they capitulated — moving to the beat of narrow options, in their view.

And then the beat died 12 years later.

Along with Nazi Germany’s death came a moral and even physical accounting of all Nazi ideas and artifacts, including the people behind them.

Statues and flags were collected and destroyed.

People were tried and then either imprisoned or executed.

And while policies of hatred were being reversed, some Nazi evangelists insisted that they weren’t really down with team Hitler.

They were only following orders, they said.

Many political officials — along with shopkeepers, trade workers and stay-at-home spouses who supported this infrastructure of hatred — changed sides to claim their innocence as victims of the times.

To the extent possible, these people faded into the new beat of democracy.

I generally stay away from making comparisons between Trump and Hitler; there are deeply emotional considerations that can even make anti-Trump thinkers disagree among themselves.

But one question seems fair to ask about both periods of rule which I’ll apply to the current time: what happens once the beat stops dropping?

Will Trump’s advisors — the people who have helped to sustain the White House’s assault on immigrants, Muslims, poor people and the environment — slither from the Beltway to become born-again private sector executives, as if the age of Trump never happened?

Who will be held accountable?

What policies will be reversed?

And what about the Trump supporters who have felt marginalized prior to November 2016?

In the most non-etheric terms, what steps will be taken to heal the nation and all affected people?

And when thinking about reversing policies, will anyone remember that the American war on race, immigrants, the poor and middle class has been a decades-long work-in-progress?

How much of a sweeping change would you expect to see when this beat ends?

song currently stuck in my head: “bantu” – randy weston

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The latest Mueller indictment against Russians? We’ll have to wait and see

mueller russia

Before I dig into the latest indictments Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has filed against a dozen Russian military officers for hacking into then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails, I’ll attach my typical caveats whenever writing about The Resistance versus President Donald Trump: I don’t believe Trump has the intellectual curiosity nor emotional stability to serve as President of any country.

But up to the point where Mueller launched this legal burst, there hasn’t been a strong case to support indictment of — well, excuse the interruption in thought but that’s part of the problem.

I can’t be sure what narrative is being drawn because post-November accusations seem to mimic THE RUSSIANS! — they’re in all places at once.

I can only say “wait for the evidence to be shared” after reading the papers Mueller filed yesterday since the only thing he’s presented so far is a set of accusations.

Perhaps Mueller has more data at this point, or this is a remix of what occurred five months ago when he indicted three Russian businessmen and 13 Russian companies for using social media to interfere with America’s 2016 elections.

And then a reaction occurred that Mueller didn’t expect: lawyers for one of the indicted firms — Concorde Management and Consulting LLC — appeared in court to fight the charge and the US government punked out. Mueller suddenly moved to suppress evidence he initially wanted to share with the court, citing an intelligence risk in sharing tools and methods deployed to investigate THE RUSSIANS! with accused Russians.

I didn’t buy that story. The post-9/11 US court cases brought against jihadist terror suspects prove how a precedent has been established for sharing sensitive information while a broader investigation is ongoing.

So … let’s wait and see what follows yesterday’s indictments.

Plus, I can’t stop thinking about what former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, has consistently said about the Clinton emails since December 2016:

I know who leaked them. I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.

I’d love to see Trump share a cell with Big Swol — I hear the latter has been feeling a bit lonely lately — assuming a criminal act can be attached to Trump.

But I’m also not down with hyperbole that positions democracy and freedom as the diversionary argument for whose currency and system of trade will rule the planet. Hot wars can start that way, y’know.

On my last point … seems like we’re overdue for breaking down some post-Cold War history. I may be down to write a piece about that …

song currently stuck in my head: “having your fun” – focus

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Deleting inconvenient contradictions: US Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson and Congress

Leave it to me when it comes to peppering America’s Independence Day celebration with quick dive into how the country reconciled its slave-owning system of production with a statement for liberty and independence from Britain’s rule.

Like most other chapters in American history were the narrative of virtues cruise closer to B.S. territory, the nation ignored the contradiction.

And the contradiction quickly handled by Congress in the case of the Declaration of Independence.

In a previous version of the epochal document, Thomas Jefferson — a walking contradiction of sorts as informed by his statements of moral opposition to slavery while he owned African slaves in addition the title of child predator — proposed the following passage that charged England with its support and establishment of the transatlantic slave trade and its instigation of African slaves to violently rebel against America for their own domestic freedom:

[The King of England] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

The document’s reference to the indigenous people of the Americas is also telling:

[The King] is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation & tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty & perfidy unworthy the head of a civilized nation:

he has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, & conditions of existence …

With all historical artifacts considered, The US, Britain and Jefferson are full of it.

By the way, this isn’t the right moment to get all cliché with me and mention how Jefferson lived in a different time from today.

Back to my point — Congress efficiently resolved this 3-D contradiction by deleting the entire passage.

Which means owning human beings — let alone treating them unfairly — was steam-ironed into the King Cotton fabric of this nation.

Happy Fourth, y’all …

song currently stuck in my head: “stimela (jazzanova remix)” – hugh masekela

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They’re trying to downplay Ocasio-Cortez’ win this week — but we know better

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez justice

While I thought the I’m-not-your-Liberal-donor-class flow of Congressperson-elect Alexadria Ocasio-Cortez was a refreshing breeze from the stale bullets spit by the ruling corporatist wing of the Party of No Guts, my crystal ball didn’t predict an Ocasio-Cortez primary victory over Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional district.

However, I saw the seams bursting in this forcefully sealed bubble of contentment that led to Ocasio-Cortez’ win.

I told y’all more than two-and-a-half years ago, BEFORE the Party of No Brains decided Donald Trump will be their horse to win the White House, that the screw-the-masses leadership style of both parties — resulting in decades-long stagnant wages, and the lowest labor participation rate in decades after accounting for the new waves of retirees — have created pissed-off potential voters who’ve witnessed a marked deterioration in their quality of life.

These same voters have either seen or felt the movement of industries overseas; the introduction of new technologies without proportionate investments in jobs training for displaced workers; and the shift of commerce activity to China, India and other places.

For the moment, we’ll simplify this potential voting pool and divide them among two general groups: the pissed-off Right and angry Left.

The former saw promise in a Trump Presidency. Trump related to their decades of frustrations on a emotional level, and made policy promises of a wall, Muslim ban, other turn-back-the clock adornments of a different time in racist American society, and JOBS. No specific proposals, just JOBS.

The Progressives saw no such believable promise and stayed home. One can argue about how Hillary Clinton won the 2016 popular vote, but the fact remains that a not-so-trivial number of frustrated voters remained unconvinced that her promises were enough motivation to hit the polls with feeling on November 8, 2016.

And please, don’t talk to me about the 2009 Great Recovery. Read this.

My trip to the past is important, along with the political elite’s dismissal of Democrat Ben Jealous‘ recent gubernatorial nomination in Maryland; Chokwe Lumumba’s mayoral win in Jackson, Mississippi; Trump’s presidential victory; Occupy Wall Street movement; Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaig; the post-2016 internecine warfare within the Party of No Brains and the subsequent purge of the more Progressive members among their ranks.

Of course there are huge ideological and arguably moral differences between the events I described, but they all point to a common theme: matters haven’t been so lovely in the bubble and the elites, along with certain media outlets, won’t admit it.

Need more proof? let’s move forward to December 2016, nearly a month after The Party of No Brains’ electoral evisceration that shut them out of any significant standing in the White House and both House chambers. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi surveyed the damage and said this:

I don’t think people want a new direction. Our values unify us and our values are about supporting America’s working families.

(Laughing) Come on, yo …

Let’s temporarily set aside the fact that America’s working families have joined the fate of their counterparts across the globe by experiencing the same decades–long financial siege.

If sufficient numbers of these workers believed in the leaders who are posing as Progressives and holding the steering wheel, why did the Party of No Guts get pimp stomped in 2016?

Hell, why did the Party of No Brains suffer the same fate eight years prior?

Let’s carry the misery experienced by these unseen American workers forward to January of this year, when now-President Trump proposed to increase the US defense budget from $634 million to $716 million.

The President got what he wanted. The Senate passed their version of the bill 82 (yay) to 10 (nay), while the House passed theirs 359-49.

Pelosi didn’t show much leadership among the minority. She didn’t vote.

But here’s the bigger point: America is okay with spending an additional $82 billion to deal with the smaller global actors that have spent much less money to earn their status as “threats” to the homeland.

$82 billion.

But how about free or low-cost college so that graduates won’t have their financial lives mired in high-cost debt. What about lower-cost health insurance?

Pelosi didn’t dismiss those ideas; she just dismissed the political official proposing them — namely Ocasio-Cortez — by mitigating the meaning of the younger Democrat’s victory to the idiosyncrasies of demographics and zip codes.

I’ll call B.S. on Pelosi’s statement — especially since she’s referring to a state with one of the highest gini coefficients in a country that has one of the largest income divides among Western democracies.

And this is where I go back to the that number — $82 billion — and become sarcastically dismissive of Pelosi’s attitude: I guess darkies are the only financially-distressed folks who want free or low-cost college, Medicare for all, jobs training for a changing society and a dismantling of the mass-incarceration industry.

The elites and their media partners may want you to view events like Ocasio-Cortez’ victory as disconnected islands of protest, but I think you know better than that …

song currently stuck in my head: “midnight prowl” – jd souther

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Here we go again: Permit Patty summons police and joins in Becky-drenched assaults on benign moments in Black life

Alison Ettel Treatwell Health

Do you know why no one can call me Kupkake Kwame or Cookie Cassius?

Because when I walk around my neighborhood and see eight-year old White boys or girls selling cupcakes, checking these kids’ merchant credentials to sell merchandise — or calling the police if they say “What’s a credential, sir?” — is the furthest thing from my mind.

None of my Black friends will ever call the police either.

And if the rest of the Black folks in America are like my friends and me, they’re also too busy living to call the police on little kids who are getting their first taste of entrepreneurship and adult responsibility — even if stuff is being sold without credentials.

In fact, I would look at the kids and smile at the cuteness of it all.

But enter Permit Patty, also known as Alison Ettel, who joins the coast-to-coast Becktastic family of Jennifer Schulte, Jerry Higgens, Holly Hylton, and many others who feel that calling the police on the most trifling matters concerning Black folks going about everyday life is as civic a duty to perform as blowing the whistle on darkies attempting to ride the front of an Alabama bus during the 1950s.

Permit Patty Ettel has to be one miserable-azz ironic soul to walk out of her marijuana edibles office into the streets of San Francisco, fix her privileged gaze on an eight-year old Black girl selling water, and then call the police because the girl is selling merchandise without a permit.

You checked that rhyme, right? Tell them to manage their own lives, but then call the police when exactly that happens … ?

Ettel knew that her deeds were shady. That’s why she tried to hide behind a concrete wall to avoid becoming Instagram-famous. She later explains that hiding behind the wall helped to reduce the outdoor noise.

Either an inanimate crap pile of excuses, or a stream of brainless contradictory reasoning for someone who was an equities trader, Brookings Institution research associate, recipient of two Masters degrees, and now the owner of Treatwell Health tinctures, a medical cannabis supply company where people and pets are its target market.

And now that the Internet is burning with its new hashtag, Permit Patty getting blasted from all angles, and her weed products business taking a hit from all the Beckified B.S. caused by her own actions, She says no part of her behavior yesterday was racially-motivated, and that she feels stressed-out and discriminated against.

Again, an interesting contradiction — especially in a city where the legality of dispensing marijuana to pets is not completely clear.

But let me, hypothetically speaking, roll out with organic chocolate ganache doggy weed drops and watch how far I’d get with that biz …

A broader and more obvious point to be made is the way Ettel has created a business to sell a product that has put many people of color behind bars — and where one of her sub-vertical businesses is arguably illegal — but she felt completely comfortable with calling the police on an elementary-school-aged Black girl selling water.

Face it, peeps. Weed has been gentrified.

I’m thinking about designing T-shirts with Permit Patty’s face on the back. Not for sale, though. I’m not yet saying what will be on the front …

song currently stuck in my head: “don’t let it go to your head” – jean carne

[Note: I typically wouldn’t write about topics like this since there’s an abundance of capable writers who will undoubtedly do so. But there are times when you need to add your voice to the crowd … ]

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A century of state-sponsored bananas, blood and bullets — facts that are missing from today’s immigration debate

Immigrant children zero tolerance policy

I’ll preface my different angle of approach to the latest immigration episode concerning President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy by first addressing those of you who think droning children overseas, snatching them from parents at the U.S. border, physically abusing them, or injecting them with anti-psychotic meds without consent or proper diagnosis is symptomatic of a healthy democratic society.

It’s not. Plus, screwing around with the brains of young children like that will only create the kinds of angry adults some of you think are already “infesting” America.

Which of course leads to higher social costs, whether you dig that outcome or not.

But I want to make another point —something I hinted at in my opening paragraph — which raging Conservatives and pearl-clutching Liberals in Washington won’t do: the current immigration debate is an EPISODE.

Not story arc that most political leaders are ready to resolve.

An episode.

During an election year.

The Party of No Brains needs to hold its current majority positions in Congress and want to grab more seats, while the Party of No Guts will need more loot going into November. The latter’s been a bit financially anemic these days and has been jonesing for an issue firestarter.

Need proof?

Tell me how many politicians are talking about the reasons WHY we have a so-called immigration problem.

For brevity’s sake, let’s focus on Mexico and Central America only.

The so-called immigration problem has been in the making for more than 100 years.

Thanks to America’s role in actively installing, funding and defending dictators in its own backyard; deploying US troops to kill LatinX natives and secure banana plantations for ambitious and colonizing American entrepreneurs; looking the other way while fruit-company-sponsored right-wing death squads slaughter poor workers protesting for better wages; ignoring state-sponsored roles in drug and gun-running; support for trade deals that supoort income inequality on all sides, in addition prohibiting Mexico and Central America from establishing tariffs on US goods while lacking the financial means to subsidize their farmers the way America can with its own; these countries are impoverished to the point where economic and social conditions will almost invariably breed dangerous places for families grow.

If America is interested in stopping the so-called immigration “problem,” the U.S. would help to stabilize the crises it created among its neighbors by cleaning up the aftermath of the banana republics it’s sponsored during the past century. Creating new collaborative platforms for economic development would also help.

But that won’t happen. Washington has a decades-old practice of baiting us to chase episodes …

song currently stuck in my head: “you and me” neil young w/ nicolette larson

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Separating families through border prisons or African drones — how US policies can make parts of the world unsafe for children

mexican immigrant detention trump

The 16-year old son of a suspected terrorist who made the US government’s assassination target list was killed by a US drone strike one evening — two weeks subsequent to an American missile tearing apart his father’s body.

The boy — up to the the point where he was enjoying a outdoor, roadside meal by an open fire seconds before his own assassination — wasn’t on any target kill list that we know of.

The boy never made a threat to America.

And the boy was not aware of his father’s recent death.

The US Press Secretary’s response to direct media inquiries about the assassination of a minor is heartless:

I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children. I don’t think becoming an al Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business.

Mind you, the boy committed no crime.

Except, assuming you extend the Press Secretary’s logic, the young teen made a lousy choice in role models. Or the lousy role model chose the boy.

The assassination and government response occurred in 2012, during the President Barack Obama years. The Press Secretary was Robert Gibbs.

The dead boy was an American citizen named Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the son of Anwar al-Awlaki.

The younger al-Awlaki’s eight-year old sister, Nawar, was shot in the neck and killed in 2017 during a US Navy SEAL raid in Yemen.

I thought about this unnerving story after witnessing the justifiable outrage over The Trump Administration’s practice of separating migrant families at the southern US border — and then positioning this cruel policy as a bargaining lever to get funding for his border wall.

As much as I think Trump has neither the intellectual curiosity nor the emotional stability to serve as US President, I still won’t forget the selective outrage concerning the drone assassination of a boy.

I wish we all demonstrate consistent outrage towards dead children in US-led wars in the Middle East and Africa.

Depending on the report you read, at least 500,000 civilians have been killed in US wars since 2001, with many in that number representing children.

Wars that have been managed by Presidents Bush the Second (two times), Obama (ditto) and now Trump.

And let’s not forget how US warplanes created fertile ground for Libyan killing fields in 2011, helping to remove President Muammar Gaddafi from power and creating a state of bloody chaos that includes an ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign. Serving as the air force to insurgents aligned with jihadist organizations added even more kids to the global violent death toll and worsened the refugee crisis in Europe.

US missiles, refueling planes and intelligence gathering have collaborated to kill innocent children in Yemen and spark a deadly cholera outbreak.

If you ever want to read the disturbing details of these deaths, go to AirWars‘ site.

Based on the past 17 years of US-led warfare, we may see two more decades of brown and olive children killed in similar wars abroad.

So while you’re resisting this new level of low exhibited by Team Trump — and you should — don’t let the media take your attention away from children being killed by US policies of aggression elsewhere …

song currently stuck in my head: “a new day” – louie vega feat. caron wheeler

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Why a Trump-Kim Meeting Won’t Matter

Some of you act as if US President Donald Trump’s negotiations with North Korea President Kim Jong Un — in progress as I write — will matter.

It won’t.

And neither will a mythological new deal Trump wants to craft with Iran, nor the spectre of diplomatic brilliance commonly associated with the current nuclear arrangement that was forged by a previous presidential administration who played themselves.

I write in real time and just decided to cover Iran in a future piece, likely the next one or right after that. Soon, I’m sure.

So, I’ll come back to North Korea.

Have you ever considered that throwing down is what a not-so-trivial number of American leaders, regardless of political party affiliation, want all along?

This is why I’m not the least bit surprised there are some Democratic members of Congress who are shedding the anti-warhawk disguise to sound like hard-liner Republicans when discussing the upcoming talks.

Empires spend an equal amount of violent energy between overthrowing regimes they don’t like and supporting the ones they do.

It’s been that way for centuries.

The long-standing evidence of the US’s desire to mack North Korea is so scriptural that the only question left to be answered is either [1] does the US wish to fight concurrent wars with North Korea AND Iran; or [2] which war does the US want first.

Leave aside — for a moment — that no rational President looking to avoid the conversion of brown, olive and yellow nations into Pol-Pot workshops would ever put a Project for a New American Century alum and North Korea regime change advocate like John Bolton on their team. You can also check this mainstream media site for more info on PNAC’s influence in Washington.

You can still uncover America’s intent by digging into one source whose axiomatic waft has influenced the policy patterns of red, blue and purple White House administrations over the years: The Global Chessboard, written by late National Security Advisor and decades-long White House consigliere Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Written in 1996, The Global Chessboard reads like an American manifesto for pimping everything short of the universe.

I rapped about the book a few months ago, and left you with this Brzezinski quote that explains everything you need to know about America’s military presence on the Korean Peninsula:

… [T]he retention of the American presence in South Korea becomes especially important. Without it, it is difficult to envisage the American-Japanese defense arrangement continuing in its present form, for Japan would have to become militarily more self-sufficient. But any movement toward Korean reunification is likely to disturb the basis for the continued U.S. military presence in South Korea. A reunified Korea may choose not to perpetuate American military protection; that indeed, could be the price exacted by China for throwing its decisive weight behind the reunification of the peninsula.

Any close relationship between the two Koreas would immediately question the point of America’s presence in the region.

A conservative estimate of the number of US troops in Japan and South Korea would be 70,000.

Think about the defense contractor revenue associated with supporting those troops, including the procurement and maintenance of bases, weapons systems and other infrastructure.

What corporation, whose target market is the US Department of Defense, wants to see that kind of hit to their stock price?

So … it’s not all about North Korea.

Never was.

It’s more about the US maintaining its influence in Northeast Asia.

It’s also about the US maintaining a footprint in the developing regional economy called the New Silk Road. I wrote about that topic last September.

And if there’s any truth to the story that North Korea is sitting on the largest deposit of rare earths in the world, we may now know why Trump made a reference to North Korea’s prosperity.

So perhaps the Kim regime has a lifeline — assuming there’s a willingness on North Korea’s part to go further than denuclearization by providing unprecedented US access to a lopsided trade agreement.

I don’t believe North Korea, which really wants money more than anything else, is that dumb. Trump’s recent unilateral nullification of the Iran nuclear deal means Kim will want America to make extraordinary concessions to win his confidence.

Good luck to that hopeful convergence of plans, Trump and Kim …

song currently stuck in my head: “al ver sus campos” – ray barretto

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Unstable mixtures and missing chapters — Chekesia Clemons’ beef about plastic forks at Waffle House ends with being stripped and arrested by Alabama police

chekesia clemons alabama arrested mental unrest

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson’s arrests at the Philadelphia Starbucks and the story I just read about the Black woman who was choked, stripped and arrested by Alabama police officers — more on that in a moment — reminds me of a late-night encounter I saw in a downtown New York City diner from the sidewalk, where a Latino man stood in the middle of the dining room screaming his lungs out.

I’m talking about veins popping, eyes bulging, blood pressure likely tripling — the whole act. He never harmed anyone; just did a lot of random yelling.

The police never arrived because they were never called, even though the few people who witnessed the dude’s meltdown knew he needed some form of evaluation and help.

My takeaway is that no one called 911 because they didn’t want to see him killed.

And this is how many people view interactions between people of color and police officers. They always seem like reading books with missing chapters.

The stories either go from a routine beginning to a quick and outrageously deadly conclusion, or from an odd opener to a a fast and spectacularly sad epilogue.

And sometimes the stories have routine, odd and spectacular elements mixed together, but the takeaway is always one where the drama meter goes from 1 to 11 in almost no time at all.

How does a Black man, (allegedly) selling loose cigarettes, end up choked out by a cop and then dead?

How does a routine traffic stop turn into an argument about whether or not a driver or color can smoke in her car, and then transition to the scene where her cold, dead body hangs from a jail cell?

How does a Black man holding a BB gun in a place that sells BB guns end with the scene where he’s shot dead by police officers?

How does a street football game end with one of the Latino players killed?

How can a scene that features two Black men do what everyone in a Starbucks coffee shop does — sit down, socialize and probably not buy anything — get arrested in the next scene?

How does a “suspicious vehicle tip” involving an unarmed African-American driver and passengers end with the driver dead and the car catching nearly three dozen bullets?

How does a scene involving an erratic-driving, 86-year old Black man with dementia leap to the chapter where he’s tazed, causing him to hit his on the hard street? He’s now dead too.

Like Chekesia Clemons, the Black Alabamian woman who was just roughed up, strangled, stripped topless and then arrested by Saraland, Alabama police officers, I object to the idea of the Waffle House (c’mon, the Waffle House!) charging an extra fee for plastic utensils.

But how does that dispute lead to restaurant employees calling the police, who then roughs up, strangles, strips topless and then arrests Clemons?

You can watch the graphic video (with partial nudity) here — especially since Facebook keeps removing the content from their site.

The same energy cops spent wrestling Clemons to the floor could’ve been used to carry her out of the restaurant and to her car. She didn’t appear to be violent at all.

Or the cops, assuming they wanted to use common sense, could’ve dipped into their own pockets to pay Waffle House for the utensils — a move that would’ve underscored how dumb the Waffle House employees are.

There seems to be a toxicity risk when mixing people of color in the same space with police officers.

And then the pages turn too fast, leaving everyone too confused to comprehend what just happened …

song currently stuck in my head: “tonight at noon” – charles mingus

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