Sunday, November 30, 2014

I am grateful for freedom. The other WWII Front.

This is a remarkable article in the LA Times this holiday season. It was after Veteran's Day, but, as timely as any.

The West sometimes forgets there was a time when allies were Russians. There was a second front to WWII. Yes, there was D-Day. But, there was also the front that was first to collapse the advancement of Hilter. The Russian Front and this Thanksgiving I am grateful for their service and am proud Russian speaking veterans live comfortably in the USA.

This is a thought for time unending. 

I come from a large family. We cling to each other dearly and there is a lot of talent within our group when we get together to celebrate the holidays. We decided to put together a family diary of our experience within the family. 

I invite you to take this opportunity in time to reflect on your families. In the USA "Family" has a great deal of diversity. But, consider writing an essay that brings out the meaning of family and the impacts it has had on your life. Hopefully a great deal of love will be found. It is a heritage activity, at least that is what our family considers it. It will be put together and be a permanent record of the words, ideas, journeys and feelings that bound us so lightly through our entire lives. 
Good night and I am grateful for all of you that come here for a perspective that is more Middle Class than I would like to admit.
Happy Thanksgiving.
November 24, 2014
By Ann M. Simmons
...At its peak the group’s membership grew to more than 2,200 veterans. Today, that number has dropped to 400, 160 of whom served during World War II. Others are the children and widows of former servicemen.
Most of the Russian-speaking veterans fled the former Soviet Union for the United States, seeking to escape persecution because of their Jewish faith. All were hoping to find a better life for their families.
Now, as they move into their twilight years — the average age of the veterans is 92 — they worry that their association might die as their own lives expire.
“Before, we worried about getting citizenship for our members … teaching them English, housing,” said Yefim Stolyarsky, 91, the association’s president. “Now the concern is preserving contact among veterans, preserving the membership of the organization.”
Yevsey Epstein, 91, a medical forensics expert and native of Ukraine who served as commander of an anti-tank battalion in the Red Army, said he doubted it would be possible to preserve the legacy of the group.
“Our children and our grandchildren, they relate more to the United States and they don’t know what this group means,” he said.
The veterans meet twice a week to discuss issues in the community and to mingle. Because most of them speak limited English, they feel at home speaking Russian among their peers.
“I come and meet and socialize with people who understand me,” said Yulia Shikhleman, 81, the widow of a former Red Army officer and World War II veteran. “I can share with these people … tell them what’s going on with me. They listen to me. They comfort me.”...

Only "Streets of Gold" for the few.

The Ferguson police department never knew who 21,000 people were in serving and protecting them.

In general they didn't understand them, never knew them and treated them as an enemy.

This is a picture of a TRUTHFUL moment in Portland, Oregon.

In this Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014 photo provided by Johnny Nguyen, Portland police Sgt. Bret Barnum, left, and Devonte Hart, 12, hug at a rally in Portland, Ore., where people had gathered in support of the protests in Ferguson, Mo. (AP Photo/Johnny Huu Nguyen)

November 29, 2014
By Gosia Wozniacka

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An African-American (click here) boy holding a "Free Hugs" sign stood crying in front of a police barricade at a Ferguson rally in Portland. A white police officer motioned for him to come closer. The officer then asked the boy for a hug — and they embraced, the boy's anguished face streaming with tears...

This is not politics. This is racism as WE know it. This is profound fear by young black men/boys of being killed by the police officers that are suppose to protect them. They are caught in a void of unknown peril and there seems to be little to nothing society has been able to do to stop it.

Coast to coast, it doesn't matter there are young UNARMED black men being cut down in their early years of living free in a democracy; only in their case they are not given a trial so much as a sentence.

The gun culture in the USA has amassed respect. It has turned a relatively peaceful nation whereby 'domestic tranquility' is guaranteed by the USA Constitution and turned it into streets of blood. Literally. Michael Brown, Jr. bled out on the street probably every drop of 8 pints of blood while police applied their yellow tape and instilled fear in the hearts of the neighborhood.

The culture of fear is alive and well in middle class and poor neighborhoods. This is exactly the outcome so many expected when the focus in the USA changed from respecting human life to that of gun supremacy. The middle class and poor can't afford weapons. The argument the right wing gun enthusiasts tout as 'the reason for concealed carry and open ended gun laws,' is that criminals get their hands on guns and the 'so called good people' are left dead because of it. That 'idea' has created overwhelming force in applications by police to protect their own lives.

Is Darren Wilson a prime example of how fearful police are of their duties? No. Darren Wilson worried about his own life and didn't bother to take into account the lives of two young black men walking down a street. Wilson had just been given a citation for arresting two black men involved in selling drugs. If one reads the reports in the newspapers regarding this arrest it was the same technique of wrestling he exercised with Brown.

Michael Brown, Jr. never touched the gun, a piece of his thumb was shot off and he was bleeding. The assault on Brown was never in question. Wilson was going to kill Brown if he had to. It wasn't a matter of Wilson being in fear for his life. He was conducting police activities as he knew it and this was just another day at work.

The unwillingness of government to exercise legislation to keep the streets safe has provided the USA with nothing less than a return of Al Capone. The people with guns as opposed to the peril of those without guns, with gun rights guaranteed by open ended laws that create a superior citizen armed with their favorite weapon(s) is now the law of the land.

What bothers me is the LACK of anyone to actually open carry weapons. When police encounter guns it is usually in vehicles, but, not in neighborhoods in the USA. It is very unusual to have any citizen exercising concealed carry in an exchange of gun fire with police. The chances of Michael Brown, Jr. actually being someone with a concealed carry permit was zero to none. But, the chances of Michael Brown, Jr. being a criminal with a concealed weapon was Wilson's pre-decided defense with any killing he would commit.

It was 'the clever criminal on the street' that Wilson decided he needed to stop. It was that one person that was better armed than he that was going to remove him in his fiancee's deepest fear.

If Wilson understood the neighborhood he patrolled or better said he responded to, he would know the chances of a young, black man from a lower middle class family being armed in broad daylight is highly unlikely.

Wilson never responded to mischief, he always responded to felonies. The police of 21,000 people with a majority lower middle class black families should have known where the weapons were in regard to any incidence of crime. Wilson was responding to the theft of $12 of cigarillos not the murder of the show owner and/or customers.

Ferguson has some wealthy folks. It is they that most probably own weapons for the reason they do. But, to assign that level of concern for concealed weapons by these people is nonsense. The families of Ferguson were focused on upward mobility. They wanted their children to attend college and find a better life than they had. That is America, that is not a drug cartel.

There was a drug problem in Ferguson as Wilson found out, but, as one person put it, "It is how I pay my bills."

Wilson applied deadly force inappropriately in killing Michael Brown, Jr. The confrontation of Brown and his friend was completely off the scale by Wilson. Those two young black men have rights and if they were involved in crime those rights are litigated in a court of law and NOT the streets of their neighborhood.

Is this another Trayvon Martin, darn right it is. Vigilantism ruled in the death of Trayvon. What was the focus in the media? The fact an innocent young black man was living with his father to straighten out his behavior when his mother could not? Was it the fact an innocent young black man was the victim of vigilantism? No, it was the fact Trayvon had blood results that proved he smoked marijuana sometime in the past month. That is called experimentation, every parent's nightmare. 

Trayvon was a teenager on the way home from the local convenience store when a vigilante decided to be a police officer in all his personal hubris, engaged in confronting Trayvon and fell victim to a teenager frightened for his life. It was Trayvon that died, not the vigilante Zimmerman. As soon as Zimmerman confronted Trayvon his right to use of a gun was removed, in the real world where a teen's blood is spilled for the sake of gun culture hubris. 

The police were already responding and if the vigilante were sincerely interested in assisting, all that was necessary was a finger to point in the direction or to the house Trayvon went to. The 'right wing nut case propaganda machine' is winning the day and our citizens are dying because of it. Both Wilson and Zimmerman belong behind bars along with innumerable others that have killed because THEY THOUGHT it was appropriate.

Wilson destroyed evidence. Call it what you want, negligence or stupidity or clever. He destroyed evidence.

November 27, 2014
By Daniel Politi

...Darren Wilson failed to follow (click here) what is considered to be standard protocol after a shooting. And he was hardly the only one. The transcripts from grand jury testimony make evident that police carried out numerous actions that experts say are highly unusual. First of all, Wilson drove himself back to the police station, put his own gun into evidence and quickly washed blood off his hands without anyone photographing them first, reports the Washington Post. Apparently “there was no photographer available” and Wilson seemed to be more concerned with getting someone else’s blood off his body than preserving evidence. “His concern was not of evidence, but as a biohazard or what possible blood hazards it might attract,” said an FBI agent....

Wilson just needs to move on. He doesn't need to provide interviews or seek notoriety.

The truth is he is a lousy cop that is scared of his own stature as a police officer and practices self-defense with a gun more than he was ever a police officer. "I felt threatened." He'll be the next poster boy for right wing gun extremists. Wilson will find a home among FOX News militias. They'll welcome him with open arms.

November 30. 2014
By Nicole Hensley, Rich Schapiro, Deborah Hastings and Thomas Tracy

The Missouri cop (click here) who killed unarmed teen Michael Brown has resigned from the Ferguson police force, his lawyer confirmed Saturday.

Darren Wilson, 28, turned in his badge five days after a grand jury decided not to indict him in the Aug. 9 slaying of 18-year-old Brown.

“I’m resigning of my own free will,” Wilson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I’m not willing to let someone else get hurt because of me.”

He said leaving the force was “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

But area residents said Wilson got off easy....