WTF… Veterans of life…

Arlington National Cemetery

Every year I write about the difference between how I feel about war and how I feel about veterans… this year I’m keeping it real simple…

I hate war…

I do not hate the veterans of war…

This week in my WTF mind I thought these thoughts…

American ingenuity…

joe1Ya’ll know what a beltline is? Yeah…. the place around your girth that your belt lies… but… I be talking about another beltline… the beltline on a car. Never knew cars had such a thing? Well, neither did I until last Friday morning when I was reading a column called “Car Talk” in my local newspaper… in it the author of the column, Ray Magliozzi, describes exactly what it is… yeah, yeah, yeah… hold your water I’m gonna tell ya’ll…

According to Ray “…it’s the line that is formed on the side of the car where the top of the metal part of the door meets the bottom of the window glass.” Now he goes on to say that line goes from the front headlamps to the taillights…

So, why I be telling ya’ll this?car beltline-example

Because back in the good old olden days the belt line on a car didn’t change much as it ran from front to back… it was more or less a straight line. Today? Naw… not even close. The belt lines on today’s mechanical beasts of the road have belt lines that go up and rise higher from front to back. From a styling view I guess it gives the car a sleek sexy aggressive now look that appeals to buyers. But…

One problem with that look… ya’ll can’t see shit through the rear window anymore. And sometimes ya’ll can’t even see shit through the rear side window. So…what’s the solution?

Backup cameras… rear cross traffic alert systems… and blind spot monitors.

Or… more costly electronics that can eventually go bad and cost a lot to get fixed and leave you inconvenienced while your car is in the shop. Yeah, most cars these days are more efficient and better designed…blah, blah, blah. But, shit will go wrong eventually. But, it’s warrantied? Eventually that warranty will run out, too. Then where ya’ll gonna be when the well runs dry and something goes wrong? And, ya’ll know within one to two days of that warranty running out something will go kablooey… and it’s gonna cost a gazillion buckaroos to get fixed.

But, until then…the good news the electronic aids work pretty damn well… the bad news not all cars offer the features or not all peeps buying new vehicles can afford the features.

Ray’s suggestion? Buy accident insurance.

My thought is this… why are the powers that be always out to get us one way or the other. They wrap it up in a real pretty package; market it to us and then “kapow!” right in the ass we wind up paying more and more and we don’t even realize we be getting took to the cleaners once more.

Yeah… good old American know how and ingenuity… market it as a fantastic fantabulous advancement in engineering… a better more efficient energy saving vehicle with all these safety features that in the end result ain’t as damn safe as they want ya’ll to believe they is. New, sexy… ya need it… Ya can’t afford it… but, hey, they’ll lend ya’ll the moolah… the dough re mi… with no money down and low monthly payments for the next ten years. And it’ll cost ya twice as much as the great low price ya thought ya’ll was getting when the dealer sold the damn thing to ya.

But ain’t that America…

Ain’t done yet…

No conviction needed…

Another way the man keeps us all down while taking what little we all got out of our pockets…

I’ve written about how certain laws are good on the outside but really are fucking thems that ain’t barely got a pot to piss in, nor a window to toss it out of…

Like antipollution laws for cars…. great laws right? I mean we all want a cleaner environment… only who drives them beaters that be doing the so-called polluting…profit image

Poor folks… working class and some middle class folks who can’t afford anything else and then they get a ticket… and they can’t afford to pay the ticket PLUS the added court costs OR fix the damn thing to begin with… which is why they were driving it the way that it was… just to get back and forth to work, drop the kids off at whatever activities they are  participating in and… ya‘ll know the drill.

I mean we all don’t live in cities that have anything resembling decent mass transit and a car is a necessity for some of us. And, we all like to get the best and all that but, ya know, when it all comes down to it we just can’t; so we settle on what we can afford and have it fixed it up just good enough that it passes DMV inspection… but… ya’ll all know that’s only a temp fix and sooner or later the red and blue lights are flashing in in the rear view mirror and “BOOM!”… a ticket for a faulty muffle that’s stinking up the environment and ya need to get it fixed or…

Like I said…ya’ll know the drill…

But, that’s not what I wanna talk about right now… well kinda, sorta it  is… but at the same time not…

On this past Sunday a dude by the name of Max Rivlin-Nadler wrote a piece in the NYDN…

In it he brings up what he calls “An arcane 134-year-old process few New Yorkers have even heard of (that) means the NYPD can take the possessions… cars, cash, computers… of anyone who gets stopped, even if it’s for jaywalking and even if that person never gets convicted or even charged.”Policing-for-Profit-ROH

Humph and WTF!!

But he ain’t done yet… “…because (these) so-called civil forfeiture proceedings are civil, New Yorkers who can’t afford private lawyers often can’t afford to get their money back.

He quotes Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres who says:  “The reality of civil forfeiture is that it penalizes poverty and creates a system where “constitutional rights are reserved only for those who can afford it.”

Ain’t had enough yet?

Rivlin-Nadler then points out that… since 2013, these “arcane rules” have been used by the NYPD to take away almost $15 million from the folks of NYC… and… that’s according to a “limited accounting” by the Office of Management and Budget.

In simpler words… that’s all we readily know about… there could be more… lots more.

Rivlin-Nadler says that on Tuesday (that’s now yesterday as I write this), “Torres and Manhattan Councilman Daniel Garodnick are scheduled to introduce a bill… one they expect will pass the Council and arrive on Mayor de Blasio’s desk… requiring the NYPD to give a full accounting of the items it seizes from those it arrests, how much money it takes in from them and where, exactly, that money goes.”

See here’s the kicker about all of this… most of thems that gets busted? It’s usually for chicken shit stuff… penny ante crap… misdemeanors and lower.

Rivlin-Nadler quotes an attorney at the Bronx Defenders, who has worked on dozens of civil forfeiture cases, that says, “The majority of property taken is likely connected to a low-level charge or offense. We’re not talking yachts or luxury cars. We’re talking cash and old cars.”

Rivlin-Nadler cites the case of Chrissy… 39-years-old and from the Bronx… she was in the passenger seat of her car and her friend was driving when the cops pulled them over after they left a hot spot eatery that serves drinks… she got popped and her car was seized… even though a breath test at the precinct said she was legal.  She asked for her car back and the NYPD said “Nope” … but maybe if you pay us “hundreds of bucks” in penalties and storage fess… we could see a way to release that car back to you.policing for profit

Even in New Jersey (as old Chris Christie is apt to say) that’s known as extortion… that’s a fucking crime… big time crime… but not if it’s the cops who are doing it, it seems.

She went to the Bronx Defenders, which provides criminal defense and other legal and social services to poor folk there… seven months later she got her car back. However without a car… she lost her job as a health-care worker and when her dad in West Virginia was dying… and eventually succumbed to his illness… she had no way to get down there to be with him.

Chrissy says… “I have the right to travel and the right to my property, and they took that away from me.”

Most aren’t like Chrissie… most settle for the settle with the NYPD… pay the extortion because… simply… it’s the quickest way to get what’s rightfully theirs.

Rivlin-Nadler further states that as he reported last year… “…the NYPD… uses byzantine paperwork and processes to make it complicated and time-consuming for citizens to retrieve their property in the 120 days allotted after a criminal case is closed (and) before it becomes the property of the state… and then heads to auction… It also provides zero accounting for where the money from seized property actually goes.”

He adds that in one case from 2013 “ almost $5,000 ended up in the NYPD’s pension fund , despite a 1995 court decision barring that practice (My emphasis). (And,) Funds have also reportedly gone to parties in precincts, beefed up squad cars and military-grade equipment.”no conviction required

But he also points out that without any real accounting being done… more real data being processed… there is no way to really understand the depth of the reality of the situation. Partly because in 85% of forfeiture cases property owner is never charged with a crime… and the cops really don’t have to record what’s done it those cases.

A bill before the City Council could change that and put this dirty tactic by the so-called Finest of New York City under a glaring spotlight. Rivlin-Nadler says “There’s no doubt the police unions, who have forcefully defended civil forfeiture, will fight to block it.”

Interesting… stay with me on that thought…

And then peeps wonder why there is this constant underlying torrent of mistrust and hatred towards cops? Yeah… right… that’s just one of many reasons why…

And, believe you me… if, this shit is going on in the Big Apple then there be many other places where it be going on, too… like the Big Easy… LA… Chicago… Ferguson…

Only in America…

Are there no prisons… no poor houses…

And… then I was thumbing through this mornings NYDN before I was set to write my weekly WTF coulmn… and… I saw that…

NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton had a radical take on the Big Apple’s homeless peeps which was… stop giving them money…

 NYPD boss Bratton says homeless would go away if people stop giving them money...
NYPD boss Bratton says homeless would go away if people stop giving them money…

When he was shown a photo of a homeless person with a pet begging he told a group of reporters,  “My best advice to the citizens of New York City… if this is so upsetting to you, don’t give. One of the quickest ways to get rid of them is not to give to them.”

Right off the bat if anyone thinks not giving to folks who gotta beg for some pittance to get by on a day to day basis is gonna get rid of them then them anyones is sadly wrong…  I mean think this through real damn fast… where the hell they gonna go? It solves not one damn thing. If you give or don’t give it won’t make any difference at all… except that if every one of us stops giving what we do give every once in a while then some poor soul might not make it to tomorrow. Hate to sound overly dramatic but the truth is the truth.

Now… do I give to every person I see out here begging? Nope, I do not. I try to help folks in other ways… but…  I do every now and then use my best judgment when someone asks for a “donation” and sometimes I give and sometimes I don’t.

But, listen to the voice of one who is on the streets…US-ECONOMY-NEW YORK-HOMELESS

Shivonne Thompson, 44, was born in the Bronx says in today’s (11/11) … NYDN that “(she) became homeless the first time because I fell behind on my rent and couldn’t pay. since I was 20 years old I have been on my own and I have been homeless three times. This last time has been the longest. It’s been more than five years. Mostly it’s because I could never keep up with the rent, and now it’s almost impossible for me to get a place of my own. What Police Commissioner Bratton said (that the homeless would go away if people stopped giving us money) doesn’t make much sense to me. We might go away, but we won’t have anywhere to stay or anyone to help us, so we will just come back.

New Yorkers help keep me going. It is nice to get some kindness from people. It lifts me up to know at least someone cares. Families get worn out and the city takes too long, if strangers didn’t help me I would be all alone.”

She adds that her money comes from a $820 monthly Social Security disability check she gets because of schizophrenia. And, if she can’t get into a rent controlled NYCHA apartment she won’t  have any place of her own at all… ever… because she can’t pay the minimum of about $1,000 that people who rent ask for.

Shivonne Thompson says she's doing everything she can to get off the street...
Shivonne Thompson says she’s doing everything she can to get off the street…

She also says, “I am doing everything right, but I can’t get off the streets. I take my medication, I go to the library and apply for jobs, I am on the waiting list for a NYCHA apartment, I want a NYCHA place because that’s one I think I can afford. They keep telling me to wait, that I’m like something-thousand on the list… I’ll be honest (she is telling her story to a NYDN reporter)… I was going to get on the subway and go to Midtown today to panhandle a little. But only because I wanted to get something to eat. I just wanted to be able to buy myself some food. I guess Commissioner Bratton thinks it’s bad, what some of us have to do. But we’re just being honest about what we need. There are more degrading ways to get money, things I would never do. I would never sell my body or offer some kind of sex act to get paid.. that would be worse than begging, right?”

Or if everybody stopped giving her, and others like her, anything at all they could all just fade away and maybe die…eh?

“Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?  Or maybe… “ If they would rather die ‘hey had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

But, it’s all right in the end… because when we spend more on the militray and war and newer better more efficient ways to kill our enemies and less on Medicare, Social Security, Food Stamps and other programs to help feed the poor, the hungry, the homeless… then all will be ok in America once again… we all will be safe in our homes… except those of us without homes… I guess…  I guess…

Only in America…

There’s a black man with a black cat
Living in a black neighborhood
He’s got an interstate running’ through his front yard
You know, he thinks, he’s got it so good
And there’s a woman in the kitchen cleaning’ up evening slop
And he looks at her and says:
“Hey darling, I can remember when you could stop a clock”

Oh but ain’t that America, for you and me
Ain’t that America, we’re something to see baby
Ain’t that America, home of the free, yeah
Little pink houses for you and me, oh for you and me

Well there’s a young man in a T-shirt
Listenin’ to a rock ‘n’ roll station
He’s got a greasy hair, greasy smile
He says: “Lord, this must be my destination”
‘Cause they told me, when I was younger
Sayin’ “Boy, you’re gonna be president”
But just like everything else, those old crazy dreams
Just kinda came and went

Oh but ain’t that America, for you and me
Ain’t that America, we’re something to see baby
Ain’t that America, home of the free, yeah
Little pink houses, for you and me, oh baby for you and me

Well there’s people and more people
What do they know, know, know
Go to work in some high rise
And vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico
Ooo yeah

And there’s winners, and there’s losers
But they ain’t no big deal
‘Cause the simple man baby pays the thrills,
The bills and the pills that kill

Oh but ain’t that America, for you and me
Ain’t that America, we’re something to see baby
Ain’t that America, home of the free, yeah
Little pink houses for you and me, ooo, ooo yeah

Ain’t that America, for you and me
Ain’t that America, hey we’re something to see baby
Ain’t that America, oh the home of the free… yeah
Little pink houses babe for you and me…

(Songwriter: John Mellencamp; Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC)

Any room left on the short bus?

Ya wanna know how much of an idjit, as well as an insensitive boob some political candidates can be? I present for your perusal… Marco Rubio…malala

He recently was asked which nonpolitical figure he’d chat up over some brews… and… he said he’d like to have a few cold ones with Malala Yousafzai… ya know the Pakistani girl who advocated for womens’ education in Pakistan and was almost murdered by the Taliban?

One problem or two… she is underage… and… a Muslim… See… the Muslim holy book prohibits Muslims from having anything alcoholic whatsoever…

Way to show your educated and sensitive side there, Marco…

Another child is boy gone from this world way  too early…

Guess we can’t have a week go by where I don’t bring up soemthig about another child dying because of a gun…

Nine-year-old Tyshawn Lee, was walking to his grandma’s house when for some reason… somehow… he was convince to go into an alley and would up getting his body riddled with cold hard lead from some bastard gang bangers’ gun… he was executed.

Reward poster over Tyshawn Lee's deathA law enforcement official said Tyshawn’s death was “probably the most abhorrent, cowardly, unfathomable crime that I’ve witnessed in 35 years of policing.”

Understand this is a Chicago law enforcement peep who is saying this… I mean… there be some nasty-ass shit that goes down in Chicago these days and for him to say this…

It appears from what the cops have uncovered is that the boy was targeted and murdered because his dad has ties to a gang that is in conflict with another gang.

More specifically, cops told the Chicago Tribune that the execution of a 9-year-old boy is because of a blood feud between the Killa Ward faction of the Gangster Disciples and the Terror Dome faction of the Black P Stone.

Furthermore, the cops say that the boy’s father isn’t cooperating with their investigation…  a claim the dad ain’t true…

Dad says, “I answered every question they asked me. They’re not asking me questions that I know. I don’t know the questions that they asked me. He added that he “(Doesn’t) want to harm nobody, I just want to see justice for my son by seeing the person who did it… whoever did it… locked up. That’s all I ever want.”

The Faith Community of St. Sabina has helped raise a reward of $35,000 for tips that lead to charges in the boy’s killing. St. Sabina priest Michael Pfleger said, “This was not a drive-by. This was not a spray of bullets. A baby was executed. We have gone to a new low that’s removed what used to be some codes, some barriers, some lines that used to be drawn in the community, some things in our city that were not acceptable.”

Nuff said…

We have got to stop the killing… somehow, some way we need to stop seeing our children being killed by the madness that some folks think is needed in this world.

41 said what about 43’s presidency????

 So, what all do most of ya’ll think about ex-Vice-Prez Dick Cheney? How’s about ex-SecState Donald Rumsfeld?H.W.

Most of ya’ll got some not real nice thinking, eh?  I hear ya… ya know who else thinks like that?

Try Former President George H.W. Bush… yeppers… George Bush the First kinda, sorta has some misgivings about them two … ummm… peeps…

Give me a break… I’m trying to be nice here…

Anyways…  Bush the First, in his new book… “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush”… out real soon, ripped into Cheney for being a hardliner and an iron ass and Rumsfeld for serving his son… Bush the second…badly.

Not any surprise to me is the fact that Cheney forced his opinions on Bush the Second… but I am surprised that George the First said that Cheney grew into an unprecedentedly hardliner when the White House asked for opinions on upcoming critical State decisions… and… bullied Bush the Second into getting his way in many of those critical decisions.

H.W. in a recent interview said that with Cheney, “It just showed me that you cannot do it that way. The president should not have that worry. The big mistake that was made was letting Cheney bring in kind of his own State Department. He just became very hardline and very different from the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with. Just iron ass. His seeming knuckling under to the real hard-charging guys who want to fight about everything, use force to get our way in the Middle East.”

Ummm… yeah, because H.W. …ex-CIA head… was not really a man who could be bullied…  his milquetoast son… W… was… Plus, his thinking in what was going on in the Mideast… I mean he… Cheney… couldn’t cut into his $39.5 million payday from Halliburton could he?

As for Rumsfeld… H.W. called him an “arrogant fellow” who served his son very badly… and… I might add very wrongly…

H.W. said, “I don’t like what he did, and I think it hurt the president having his iron-ass view of everything. There’s a lack of humility, a lack of seeing what the other guy thinks. He’s more kick ass and take names, take numbers. I think he paid a price for that.”

Of course, dad was most easy on the son… saying that George the Second for the most part did good… except maybe when he was spouting out some of the rhetoric he was prone to spout… “Hot rhetoric is pretty easy to get headlines, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the diplomatic problem.”

Don’t know about ya’ll but I think it’s real interesting and damn revealing that H.W. be out there saying what he be saying about them two fellas… real interesting… and… real revealing…

This week’s gratuitous pictures…

 

Michelle-Keegan-5

michelle-keegan-

 

 

 

michelle 3

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Keegan (28) is an English actress and model…Michelle_Keegan_1820743a

 

 

Another thousand words…

mans-best-friend-dog

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