Friday, April 30, 2021


We're in deep trouble, people.

Members of the House and the Senate in Washington, D.C. are engaged in continuing negotiations to fashion a police reform bill. If they come to agreement and a bill is sent to President Biden (which he inevitably would sign), marginal improvement in the administration of justice may ensue.

But it would be only marginal and probably only temporary because in universities and among much of the public, there is a determination to ignore reality.

In the tweeted video below, you will see an instructor arging "a lot of police officers have commmitted atrocious crimes and have gotten away with it and have never been convicted of any of it. And I say it as a person who has police officers who are family members."  The well-meaning student maintains that police are "heroes" with "bad" ones as in any profession. He maintains

Yes, I understand.  And this is what I believe, this is my opinion. It's not popular to say but I do support our police and we have bad people and the people who do bad things should be brought to justice. I agree with that.

The instructor responds "they haven't....  So what is your bottom line point? You're saying police officers should be revered, even as heroes?  They belong on TV shows with children?  

The student then states 

I think it's- I think they are heroes in a sense because they come to your need and they have problems just like every other business and we should fix that but they're heroes. Well, they're....

Whatever precipitated this discussion, most police officers are not heroes. They go to work at the beginning of their shift, perform their job (whether traffic control or otherwise) satisfactorily and go home at the end of the day. A few of them perform some heroic work during the course of their career and are properly lauded, usually honored, for it.

They carry out an essential functions, most of which a majority of us would not do, and are appropriately compensated. Then they retire, as most of us do, when they are able and it is financially advantageous for their families.

They are, in most ways, like you and me. That falls short of being all-virtuous cartoon characters. Nor are they the malicious, stereotyped characters the instructor believes them to be.  "The reason we have police officers in the first place," she argues, is because of the slave patrols of the old South.

This was a centerpiece of her argument, notwithstanding that it was the practice over 150 years ago and not in the entire country. It was practiced in a region which broke off from the USA, which defeated the region in a civil war and ended slavery.

Yet, she believes "a lot of police officers have committed atrocius crimes and have gotten away with it...."  which should beg the question..... where?  Evidently not everywhere because

A Camden County judge on Monday sentenced a former South Jersey police officer to four years in state prison for slapping a 13-year-old girl in the face while trying to arrest her at a group home in 2018 during an incident that was captured on police body-camera video.

Superior Court Judge Edward McBride stayed the sentence for John Flinn, 30, a former Gloucester Township police officer, in case the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office decides to appeal his sentence. Flinn remains free on his own recognizance.

Flinn’s conviction on an official-misconduct charge carried a mandatory minimum prison term of five years. But McBride granted a request by defense attorney Louis Barbone to waive the mandatory term, finding “clearly and convincingly, that extraordinary circumstances exist,” and said the imposition of a five-year sentence “would be a serious injustice.”

Barbone, who asked the judge for a probationary sentence, described Flinn as an “extraordinary individual” who devoted 15 years of his life to serving the community, starting at age 14 as a volunteer firefighter. In 2019, Flinn ran into a burning house and saved a man’s life, Barbone said.

Flinn became a police officer in 2015, but lost his position after his conviction. A married father of three children, he expressed remorse to the judge.

“All what’s happened to me is because of my actions and conduct and no one else’s,” he said, adding that he “never meant or intended to cause harm” to the girl.

Camden County Assistant Prosecutor Angela Seixas asked the judge for a sentence of seven years in prison for Flinn, arguing that he abused his “extraordinary power” and “fractured the trust that the community has in the police department.”

Officers had responded to the Twin Oaks home in March 2018 for a 911 call of “juveniles fighting” and “using objects as weapons.”

The body-cam video of another officer, Paul Bertini, showed Bertini approaching the 13-year-old girl and telling her to “Calm down!” She was punching and kicking two staff workers and telling them she wanted to get out.

After Bertini forced the girl facedown, Flinn cuffed her left wrist behind her back. Flinn was having difficulty cuffing her right wrist, then slapped her twice on the side of her face. She was heard moaning and crying.

Killed? No. Hospitalized? No. The youth punched and kicked two staff workers, resisted arrest, and was slapped twice. She ended up moaning and crying, which is what young people do.

In other states, the juvenile may have been shot, more likely stunned with a Taser. The officer may not have been charged and had he been, may not have been indicted In New Jersey, however, the cop got three years, which may be upgraded to four. “I replay that video in my mind. … I wish I had the ability to take it all back and do better,” he said. He should be wishing that he had been a police officer in a state which condones, rather than exaggerates, police brutality.

In one of the two classes in law I had as an undergraduate, a wise professor frequently asked questions to which the answer always was "it depends."  Punishment for, or tolerance of, police misconduct depends not only upon the circumstances of the event but where it occurs, which even members of Congress appear not to understand. 


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Tim Scott, Lying Or Stupid

South Carolina's junior senator, Tim Scott, delivered the GOP response to President Biden's address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night. Rationalizing voter suppression, he maintained

If you actually read this law, it’s mainstream. It will be easier to vote early in Georgia than in Democrat-run New York. But the left doesn’t want you to know that. They want people virtue-signaling by yelling about a law they haven’t even read.

That's Democratic to you, Senator, and though early voting is easier in Georgia than in New York, otherwise voting is more difficult in Georgia, whose Republicans have tried to make African-Americans jump through hoops since the discovery that their votes can help get a Democrat elected President and two elected to the US Senate.

Perhaps worse, Senator Scott's complaint about "virtue-signaling" takes a lot of nerve.... or gall.... or chutzpah.  First, there was the usual claptrap from successful celebrities, especially politicians, about how far they've gone in life. Scott grew up so poor and deprived that

When I was a kid, my parents divorced. My mother, my brother and I moved in with my grandparents. Three of us, sharing one bedroom. I was disillusioned and angry, and I nearly failed out of school. (Two boys and a mother in the same bedroom? I don't even want to think...)

Then comes the predictable twist, when we learn that they were raised by saints. Scott continued

But I was blessed. First, with a praying momma. And let me say this: To the single mothers out there, who are working their tails off, working hard, trying to make ends meet, wondering if it’s worth it? You can bet it is. God bless your amazing effort on the part of your kids.

Translation: You don't need government or an employer to lift you out of poverty when God and your guardians are on your side.  Presumably, if you have an alcoholic spouse, a son who is causing trouble in school, and holding down two jobs so you can pay the rent, you are not so lucky as to have been blessed by God.

But the real virtue signaling came when Senator Scott maintained

I have experienced the pain of discrimination. I know what it feels like to be pulled over for no reason. To be followed around a store while I’m shopping. I remember, every morning, at the kitchen table, my grandfather would open the newspaper and read it — I thought....

I’ve also experienced a different kind of intolerance. I get called “Uncle Tom” and the n-word by progressives, by liberals.

If he currently is being called the "n-word," he needs to call people out. By name. And yet

You know this stuff is wrong. Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country.,,,

And we get to live in the greatest country on Earth.

Police officers flag motorists down because they're black. Store employees shadow people because they believe blacks regularly shoplift. A successful businessman, morally upright Christian and United States senator is periodically called the n-word.

But this is the greatest country on Earth- and "hear me clearly," it is not racist. If he can have it both ways, he will.

We can have a sociological or philosophical debate as to whether the USA is "a racist country."  However, if a guy who has experienced what Scott says he has experienced (and still experiences) insists that country is the greatest and not racist, he is not being candid.

Nonetheless, Tim Scott will continue down this path. He will persist because, while unusual as black and Republican, he does what Republicans regularly insist on doing in the Trump era: claiming victimhood.  He is "standing here (only) because my mom has prayed me through some really tough times" and now has "asked for grace and God has supplied it." He is not only a victim but the best kind- morally superior to you and me.


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Opportunism In Oklahoma

It's not the sex or Kamala Harris (two things which must never, ever appear in the same paragraph), especially not about Oklahoma state senator Nathan Dahm.  As the video below indicates, the latter

is facing calls to resign after he made "misogynistic" comments about Vice President Kamala Harris in a news release announcing a bill that would ban paper straws. "hatred of paper straws is universal, the Republican senator from Broken Arrow said in the press release issued on Earth Day. "They fall apart and turn to mush quicker than Joe Biden trying to string together a coherent sentence. They collapse like Mitt Romney under the slightest amount of pressure, and even with Kamala Harris.... well, never mind."

Unfortunately unable to resist the temptation either a) to leave bad enough alone; or b) to declare victory and withdraw from impending controversy

in an interview with local station KTVU, Dahm took his comments about Harris a step further, saying "one thing that could be said is you can't use a paper straw for a milk shake, but maybe Kamala Harris could because of her vast experience. Maybe she would be able to get that accomplished."

When the reporter asked him o clarify what that statement meant, Dahm said that people can "do their research.... to figure out how she got trajection into politics."

Evidently, he meant "trajectory," not "trajection," but making up words proved the least of his worries as

Dahm's statement to KVTU seemed to imply that Harris made her successful career in politics through sexual favors. Backlash and calls for Dahm's resignation immediately ensued.

This could be a simple story of ignorance, crudeness, and bigotry amid a slurry of words. Regrettably, it is not because Ms. Harris'

first significant political role was an appointment by her powerful then-boyfriend Willie Brown, three decades her senior, to a California medical board that has been criticized as a landing spot for patronage jobs and kickbacks.

Then 30, Harris was dating 60-year-old Willie Brown, at the time the Democratic speaker of the California State Assembly, when he placed her on the California Medical Assistance Commission in 1994. The position paid over $70,000 per year, $120,700 in current money, and Harris served on the board until 1998.

The medical commission met twice a month, and Harris, a United States senator for California since 2017 and now a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, missed about 20% of the meetings each year, according to commission records obtained by the Washington Examiner.

The seven-member board was largely comprised of late-career former state officials who were semi-retired or biding time before retirement. At 30 years old, Harris was the youngest appointee by some three decades.

Harris and Brown

started dating in the spring of 1994, showing up arm-in-arm at numerous high-profile functions, including Brown’s lavish parties and celebrity galas. He has been separated but not divorced from his wife Blanche Vitero since the 1980s and has maintained a string of girlfriends over the years.

That June of 1994, Harris took a leave of absence from her job as a deputy prosecutor at the district attorney’s office in Alameda County, where she had worked for four years after graduating from law school. Brown appointed Harris to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, a position that paid $97,000 annually, which would be $167,000 in 2019. Five months later, Harris resigned from the insurance board, and Brown immediately appointed her to the California Medical Assistance Commission....

Harris had no medical background, according to a copy of her resume that she submitted to Brown at the time. Her experience consisted of four years as a deputy prosecutor, a handful of summer jobs and internships, and a volunteer position at a hospital fundraising group.

For some reason (insert theory here), fact checkers have focused their attention not on the scent of corruption but whether Brown was married when he had his affair with Harris, which he apparently was not.  However, the affair took place decades ago, the private life of a public official which do not affect their duties is virtually irrelevant, and the alleged adultery was committed by Brown, not Harris, and the former never has run for national office. Kamala Harris did what she had to do to advance her career; she was not the first and won't be the last.

Among the critics of Dahm's remarks are Republicans, such that

"Every single female that I know of in that Capitol has a story similar to tell, including myself," said District 43 Republican Senator Jessica Garvin.

Garvin telling KFOR in Oklahoma City that she was stunned by her colleague's comments, but also not surprised by the content.

"Whether it was during my campaign or when I first got into office, we have these accusations made about us all the time," she said....

Garvin says she doesn't want this one event or others like it to get in the way of women in any workplace.

"I don't want this to be about the fact that I'm the woman and I'm the victim here. I want it to be about expressing to people, especially women, that they shouldn't let comments like this be discouraging to them in that it doesn't make them want to run for office," said Garvin.

Curiously, that's the same Republican state senator Jessica Garvin who was given a 92% rating by the National Rifle Association, is "a very proud supporter of the Second Amendment" who and her husband "always joke about having a small arsenal in our home."

Nathan Dahm's remark was not a joke but an assault upon all women in the workplace, Garvin suggests. However, bragging about having an arsenal in the country with the highest rate of murder in the industrialized world is a joke. Got it.

Garvin's 92% rating from the NRA is eclipsed by adoration by another organization. She fears misogynistic remarks will be "discouraging to" women in any workplace.  She's not so concerned, though, that she isn't one of the most fervent supporters (as is Dahm) of forced birth in the Oklahoma legislature.  She has been rewarded with a 100% rating from Oklahomans for Life, Inc. Forcing women into childbirth is a novel approach to promoting women in the workplace.

The biggest problem with remarks such as those of Nathan Dahm isn't that they are insensitive and offend many people, or even the eagerness of media to focus on the politics rather than the accuracy of the claims made (or in this case, implied). Rather, they give politicians an opportunity to grandstand, to claim victimhood "about the fact that I'm the woman and I'm the victim here."  They allow the opportunistic to obscure their revord, one which would reveal their expression of outrage to be a sham intended to manipulate public opinion. 


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Neither Slavery Nor Genocide

In a study "of every fatal shooting in the United States by a police officer in the line of duty since Jan. 1, 2015," The Washington Post concluded (among other things) that black Americans "account for less than 13 percent of the U.S. population, but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of White Americans." (Note: "White" is a quote; "black" is not, hence "black" is correctly not capitalized, as would have been the case with "white.")

It's a useful, fact-based study but is misleading and can reinforce a false narrative.

According to the FBI, in 2019, 10,085,210 individuals, 7,014, 550 of them white and 2,667,000 of them black, were arrested in the USA. In the same year, police killed 1,098 individuals, 406 of them white and 259 of them black.

The number of arrests among ethnic groups reflects the number of crimes committed by each group. Obviously, not everyone killed by law enforcement had been arrested. However, the number of  arrests can serve as a rough proxy for the number of police interactions with individuals. (Given racial bias, the proportion of all police interactions with blacks probably would be disproportionately higher compared to arrests.)

Thus, there are .0058% as many killings by police of whites as there are arrests. For blacks, the corresponding number is .0097%, which is undoubtedly statistically significant and may be attributed to many factors including racial bias- and the likelihood that police interact especially frequently with blacks.

Nevertheless, the gap is not as great as some activists, pundits, and journalists would have us believe.  Included in the latter group is one Karen Attiah, bigot-in-residence at that same newspaper, The Washington Post.  I recently discovered Attiah, who tweeted in the midst of last summer's George Floyd protests:


The choice, by her parents, of the name "Karen" does not absolve her of responsibility for crude and baseless stereotyping. I don't know of even Trump supporters who refer to all, or a select group, of African-Americans as, say, "Willie." Yet, there is "Karen," a common stereotyping, among the race-obsessessed left, of whites.

From Attiah, however, this should not surprise. Recently, as she noted (accurately) in The Post, Derek "Chauvin was found guilty, but that is a low bar in a minutely documented, open-and-shut case." Unfortunately, she added "in a sense, by the time the verdict was read, White America itself was on trial for the violent subjugation of Black peoples — the original sin it has escaped accountability for more than 400 years."

No, not in any sense. The verdict was upon one individual for one horrific event, not upon "White America itself." Nothing (save posibly WWII internment of Japanese and Japanese-Americans) in this nation's past or present is analogous to slavery, which as recently as twelve months ago was justifiably referred to as "America's original sin." However, slavery has now given way to "violent subjugation of Black peoples (of) more than 400 years," implying a convenient- and absurd- symmetry between slavery and the modern status of blacks in the USA.

Recklessly, Attiah claimed also "there can be no justice when police can still eliminate non-White people at any time." Judged by that standard, police are doing a horrible job beyond even our imaginations.  In the first three months of 2021, 30 black civilians (of 213 overall) were killed by police- in a nation of approximately 47 million blacks. Either police are grossly inept, or they are do not want to "eliminate non-White people at any time."

You may notice she casually morphed blacks into "non-White," thereby grouping blacks in with Latinos, Asian-Americans, American Indians/Indigenous peoples, and Pacific-Islanders, as if all ethnic minorities face the same challenges. Claiming shared victimhood is a neat rhetorical trick.

Ironically, when people such as Karen Attiah exaggerate prejudice or racism of law enforcement officers toward blacks (or when convenient, "non-White"), they fail to recognize the fundamental flaws  exhibited by police to which individuals of any group may be subjected. Fortunately, they do not always escape the scrutiny of body cameras:




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Monday, April 26, 2021

The Magna Carta, Too

Three takes, and two are not helpful.

Stop it right now. Stop saying someone should be fired for saying something ignorant. And this is only a little better:


Rick Santorum at the Young American Foundation gathering on April 23 had stated

If you think about this country, I don't know of any other country in the world that was settled predominately by people who were coming to practice their faith. They came here because they were not allowed to practice their particular faith in their own country. And so they came here, mostly from Europe, and they set up a country that was based on Judeo-Christian principles -- when I say Judeo-Christian, the Mosaic laws, 10 Commandments, and the teachings of Jesus Christ, the morals and teachings of Jesus Christ. That's what our founding documents are based upon. It's in our DNA.

You know, if you think of other countries like Italy and Greece and China, Turkey and places like that, they've all, sort of, changed over time. I mean, they've been there for millennia in many cases. And their culture has, sort of, evolved over time. But not us.

We came here and created a blank slate. We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here. I mean, yes we have Native Americans but candidly there isn't much Native American culture in American culture. It was born of the people who came here pursuing religious liberty to practice their faith, to live as they ought to live, and have the freedom to do so. Religious liberty. Those are the two bulwarks of America. Faith and freedom. I mean, you hear it all the time about faith and freedom, faith and freedom. But it is what makes America unique in the world.

When someone invokes Jesus Christ in support of something bigoted, ignorant, or harmful to the American people, there is often a more effective retort. Much better than than saying Rick Santorum is a bigoted troglodyte or should be fired


Once upon a time In America, anti-discrimination laws were meant to apply to everyone. However, the Supreme Court continued its trend when in its last term

the court sided with Christian religious groups in three argued cases. The court ruled that state programs supporting private schools must include religious ones, that the Trump administration could allow employers with religious objections to deny contraception coverage to female workers and that employment discrimination laws do not apply to many teachers at religious schools.

And the court will soon decide whether Philadelphia may bar a Catholic agency that refused to work with same-sex couples from screening potential foster parents.

After Justice Barrett joined the court, it changed positions on the one question on which religious groups had been losing: whether governors could restrict attendance in houses of worship to address the coronavirus pandemic.

This nation has been on course to wring discrimination from its laws and customs- except in one area. If a plaintiff can claim that Jesus made him (her or them) do it, the common good and equal treatment under the law give way.

Santorum cites the Mosaic Laws (i.e., Mosaic Law), the Ten Commandments, and Jesus Christ so he can be, or appear, ecumenical. However, either, whether in the New Testament or the Old Testament, is antithetical to the separation clause. And when the ex-Senator says "it's in our DNA," he implies it's biological, thereby leaving no room for disagreement.

The real danger is not what Rick Santorum believes about Native Americans or their culture, about Italy, Greece, China, or Turkey. It's in the false premise of the Republican Party's white  evangelical base. "God is on our side."


Saturday, April 24, 2021

Falling In Love

Friday evening, as introduction to a "New Rules" segment celebrating old people and condemning young people, Bill Maher remarked

We were expecting a font of comedy gold about a senile geezer showing up to work in his pajama bottoms and plowing his motorcade into a farmer's market. Forget the dog, he was gonna bite someone on the South Lawn.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the old age home. Biden slayed the orange dragon and is now spearheading the most transformative administration since FDR with an approval rating of fifty-nine percent.

A funny thing happened on the way to Bill Maher's erection of a statue to President Biden.  Although Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package is very good legislation, the vast majority of the President's program still is, as expected only three months into a first term, aspirational rather than accomplished. But if Maher want a transformative administration, he should consider that, as The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty wrote in a 2014 retrospective about President Lyndon B. Johnson, the

Great Society did not just seek to redistribute wealth.

Johnson also set out to shift power in America — from states to Washington, from the legislative branch to the executive, from corporations to federal regulators, from big-city political machines to community groups.

That latter concept of “community action” — funding residents of poor communities so they could organize and mobilize — was one of the Great Society’s most controversial ideas. The concept was to put the poor in a position to help themselves, but it frequently played out in tense and even violent confrontations with the existing local power structure.

It also created a new generation of up-and-coming leaders, rising from the ranks of those who had previously been disenfranchised.

“My mother was clearly the person Lyndon Johnson had in mind with civic action, and she took full advantage of that,” said Ron Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas who served as U.S. trade representative in the Obama administration.

Willie Mae Kirk, who died in September, became a renowned community organizer whose victories included stopping the city of Austin from shutting down its only library branch in a black neighborhood. (One there now is named for her.)

“Part of President Johnson’s absolute genius was putting in place a mechanism that said: ‘You know what? You’re not going to have to be dependent on these, in many cases, biased political bodies,’ ” her son said. “They wouldn’t pay you lip service, give you an audience, much less put power in the hands of the people.”

Maher is impressed, 43 months prior to the next presidential election, by President Biden's approval rating of 59%.  At this stage of his first term, President George W.Bush had an approval rating of 61%. He left office at 34%. His father, George the First, once had an approval rating of 89%- and later was defeated for re-election.  More to the point: despite President Bush the Younger at one point being very popular, then being re-elected, and at the present time having a high approval rating, Maher himself concedes Bush was a "s_ _ _ President.

Approval, like disapproval, is transient.  Joe Biden may prove to be a very good President and is off to an excellent start- after 3+ months.   However, a moment later in the New Rules piece, Maher slams Americans for "not using old people as a resource; not taking advantage of their accumulated knowledge."  No arguments here. Similarly, Maher needs to have a little regard, or at least recollection, of the transformative valaue of another post-World War II President.


"White Cannot Be Right"

In the video (at 2:11) below, Sharon Osbourne can be seen telling Bill Maher "I've been called so many things in my life. I've been so used to being called things but a racist is one I will not take."


Poor (not financially), naive Osbourne. Of course, she has to take being called a racist. She did, after all, have the temerity to defend herself for defending the right of Pierce Morgan to doubt Meghan Markle without being accused of being racist. So, of course she gets this:


Or maybe O'Brien, referring not to "Maher" or a "talk-show host" but instead to "the white guy," was suggesting that Maher, too, is a racist. After all, Maher did explain

What happened was, a few weeks before- maybe the week before, I don't know, I watched it- Mehan Markle and Prinbce Harry gave their interview with Oprah. O.K., then your friend Piers Morgan- he's a commentator in Britain- he said he didn't believe things Meghan Markle said. And then on your show you said "well,he's a good friend of mine and I don't initially agree with his opinion but he's entitled to his opinion. So he was called a racist and lost his job and you were called a racist and lost your job. Do I have it right?

Maher must have been right, because Soledad O'Brien did not dispute what either he or Osbourne maintained.  Instead, it was a sarcastic "good to get approval for not being a racist from the white guy."

This threatens to break new ground.  Soledad O'Brien's take suggests so many possibilities, including

  • education, if not a teacher or student
  • income tax cuts, if (because of the earned income tax or another factor) you pay no federal income tax
  • earned benefits, if because of circumstances you do not collect Social Security or Medicare
  • Medicaid, if sufficiently poor to collect aid
  • defense policy, if not a veteran or active service member
  • gay rights, if not gay or reproductive freedom, if not female
  • some foreign policy issues, such as the Middle East if not Jewish or Palestinian
  • religion, if not a churchgoer
  • crime, if not a police offier
  • voting rights, if not registered to vote, yet or otherwise.

Republicans in virtually every state are trying to suppress black voters because the perspective of such voters is inonvenient. It's pathetic that a few people on the left wish to mimic that approach, preventing other people from expressing views they're uncomfortable with.... because of the color of their skin.

Friday, April 23, 2021

The Public Seeing Clearly

Miriam E. "Mimi" Rocah, now Westchester County, NY district attorney and formerly a legal contibutor (better than an illegal contributor) at MSNBC, understands that aside from cases involving a police killing

Police departments and prosecutors must be more proactive in vigorously pursuing much lesser forms of misconduct, such as lying on police reports about confidential informants, having the consent to conduct searches, or other matters; excessive use of force in restraining an uncooperative detainee; and off-duty road rage incidents.

In the piece published by CNN, she maintains also that Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd because of

three factors: The prosecutors did their job and treated this case and Chauvin's actions like any other case, without special treatment because he was a police officer; the murder was recorded on video; and an unprecedented number of fellow law enforcement witnesses, including the Minneapolis police chief, testified that Chauvin's actions were antithetical to police practice and standards.

Even Tucker Carlson, with a perspective on the case far different than that of Rocah, probably wouldn't contest any of those three. However, he argues (at 3:31 of the video below)

Mobs trying to influence this trial should shock and horrify at least as much as the George Floyd video did. This is a picture of a country moving backward at high speed.

Actually, the speed at which the country is moving backward has slowed considerably (if not reversed), given that we no longer have a President who would accuse Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Adam Schiff of treason and Andrew McCabe of criminal corruption. However, Carlson did emphasize

The strange thing is that most people didn't seem shocked or upset by any of this. They seemed relieved by the verdict. They watched the troops in the street and understood what an acquittal woud mean. They believed that a conviction justified or not would buy the country peace. Many people thought so, including many Republicans. Some said so..... Derek Chauvin had to sacrifice for the sins of a nation. They told us.

"They" turns out to be Nancy Pelosi, who crudely remarked "Thank you George Floyd for sacrificing your life for justice" and was criticized by both left and right.

We will never know for sure whether jurors convicted Chauvin in part because of the ramifications to civil peace of a not guilty verdict. No one will say "I voted for conviction, which will mean a long jail sentence, because I was intimidated."

And to be fair- perhaps more than he usually deserves- Carlson was not referring to jurors but rather to "most people," whom he argued "didn't seem shocked by any of this," by "mobs trying to affect this trial." Fortunately, we have one piece of startlingly evidence by which the validity of Carlson's claim may be tested.

On March 5, USA Today shockingly noted

Last June, 60% in a USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll described Floyd's death as murder; that percentage has now dropped by double digits to 36%. Uncertainty has grown about how to characterize the incident, caught on video, when Chauvin held his knee on Floyd's neck and ignored his protests that he couldn't breathe. Last year, 4% said they didn't know how to describe it; that number has climbed to 17%....

Nearly two-thirds of Black Americans, 64%, view Floyd's death as murder; fewer than one-third of white people, 28%, feel that way. White Americans are more likely to describe it instead as the police officer's "negligence," 33% compared with 16% of Black respondents.

That said, Americans who have heard at least something about Chauvin's trial say 4 to 1, or 60%-15%, that they hope Chauvin is convicted. That included 54% of white Americans and 76% of Black Americans.

If the survey from earlier this year accurately- or even nearly accurately- reflects public sentiment, a huge number of people believe Derek Chauvin should be convicted of a murder he did not commit. 

Don't think too long about why people believe a police officer, one in a valued "first responder" profession, should do hard time for something he didn't do. You don't have to. Because like him or not- and most of us don't- Tucker Carlson has just told us why.


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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

A Cop-Out

In a superficial view and common one on the left, in the Democratic Party, and especially among the lawyerly talking heads:

"What it might take to get rid of the bad cops is the good cops mobilizing" is a good point from Kirschner, seen often as a contributor to MSNBC. Properly emphasizing the importance of police officers not reflexively defending everything done by colleagues, Kirschner unfortunately coupled that with

It's time to take head-on the racial disparities that exist in policing in a full-throated way (and)  that may be what it takes- that together with a President of the United States who in a full-throated way says that we have racial disparity in policing and it needs to be addressed.

The full-throated way in this case was the President of the United States of America, not a juror nor the prosecutor, pronouncing a defendant guilty before the jury had determined guilt or innocence.  "I'm praying the verdict is the right verdict. The evidence is overwhelming in my view" is no more than a wordy way of declaring "guilty, guilty, guilty."

Jury tampering can be especially effective if attempted by a president. However, given that conviction was unavoidable anyway, more significant was Biden's reference, as favorably quoted by Kirschner, to the obvious "racial disparity in policing."

Kirschner and Biden let police departments off the hook by attributing the problems in policing to race, and only to race. Compare that to the remarks of The Young Turks' Ana Kasparian, who never has minimized the role of racial bias in the criminal justice system but nonetheless understands (at 5:20 in the video below)

.... policing is brutal overall. It disproportionately impacts communities of color but it does not matter if you're an elderly man protesting in Buffalo, New York. They will brutalize you if you dare to challenge their authority.

"Brutalize" is an exaggeration, at least as applied to most police departments and most of their members. However, she recognizes that problems of policing in this nation extend beyond race. Yet Kirschner and Biden, who unlike Kasparian are lawyers, suffer from a disturbing and counter-productive myopia.

These guys are not outliers- the left and the center routinely recognize racial disparity. The distinction lies in those who realize that class and other factors play a role and those, such as TV lawyer Kirschner and the President of the USA, who appear unaware.  They are stupid, naive, or pandering to interest groups and the power elite.

In the short run, that might not matter because change can be legislated into existence. But real and enduring systemic change will require buy-in from the public at large. But systematic and enduring change is unlikely if a large number of Americans believes reform was undertaken with an unrealistic and disunifying obsession with race.


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Go Easy On That Relish

Charlie Pierce, half right:

An additional portion of the thread from the Daily Caller tweeter:

House Democrats could kill the motion for censure, threatened by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, by tabling it or sending it to a committee.  They will do so because no good can come to the Democratic Party either by Waters' remark or a vote on censuring her because of it.

"Relish?" Maybe two or three. However, the party's majority hangs by a thread, a vote would increase the GOP's chance of retaking the chamber in the next election cycle, and it's far more pleasant to serve in the majority. If some of the pro-relish Democrats voted for censure while, as is very likely, most Democrats did not, it would expose division in the Party, which the other party and the mainstream media both relish.

Moreover, it might then pass, to the embarassment of the Speaker and her caucus. Worse yet politically, Democrats would have permitted punishment of a black member of their caucus. Good luck explaining that in your next primary, congressman (and congresswoman).

If all Democrats voted against censure, it would provide fodder for attacking the Democratic Party- as would, ironically, if some Democrats went for it. ("even leftist Democrat......"). They lose either way if it's brought to the floor, and Pelosi knows it.

Yet, it defies all logic to believe that many Democrats aren't incensed at the California, for the reasons explained above, and more. 

.... disgust among Democrats further metastasized after Hennepin, MN County Judge Peter Cahill criticized Waters from the bench, describing her remarks as “disrespectful to the rule of law.  Democrats respect judges and the jury ststem. They respect the constituional separation of powers. They respect the rule of law. In a larger sense, they respect professionalism and expertise, and the individuals who embody those traits.  (Note the veneration of Dr. Anthony Fauci. And remember: that's Dr. Jill Biden to you.)

A criminal court judge is, well, an expert in the criminal law and he has said the emperor has no clothes- or, in this case, the congresswoman lacks appropriate respect for one of the three branches of government.

Maxine Waters embarrassed some Democratic politicians and jeopardized the careers of more, which has angered additional colleagues. Her remarks also threaten to put all of them on the spot, enough reason that few of them relish the thought of confronting a censure resolution.


Monday, April 19, 2021

Tlaib: "They're All The Same"

In the video below, police chief James Craig, heading law enforcement in the city represented in the United States House of Representatives partly by Rashida Tlaib, can be seen maintaining

Yes, we have seen an increase in violence directed at police officers- not just here in Detroit but around this country. Uh, some of you may ask what's driving the violence, you know personally I think it's the anti-police rhetoric.... Certainly you've heard me talk extensively about the reckless comments by a U.S. congresswoman, in fact, now, too, Congresswoman Waters out of California.

In his capacity leading a big city department, Chief Craig would be especially exorcised by violence directed at police officers.  But statistics on an alleged rise attacks on police aren't readily available. And even if - as seems likely- there has been an increase, that is not the only problem with the claim(s):

What Representative Tlaib is saying goes beyond advocating eliminating police departments, as in "Defund the Police" and in Tlaib's assertion "no more policing."

It goes beyond the congresswoman's  claim that the killing of Daunte Wright by a Brooklyn Center, Minnesota cop was no accident, an absurd conclusion given that Officer Potter stated  "Taser,Taser, Taser! Oh shit! I just shot him." (We are to believe that in the split second she had to react to the victim, Potter decided to shoot Wright and cover her tracks by gasping "oh shit, I just shot him.")

No incarceration would mean that if found guilty, Stephen Nicholas Broderick, the suspect arrested for allegedly shooting and murdering three people in Austin, would not be imprisoned. Tlaib might find it difficult to explain that to the parents of two of the slain individuals and to the family of the other.

It would mean that in the major city partially represented by Tlaib, no individual found responsible for any of the 244 carjackings or 273 homicides committed in 2019 would be incarcerated. Neither would anyone found guilty of any of the 866 rapes committed there in the same year would be sentenced to prison. Wither "Me Too."

Nonetheless, the congresswoman's most serious charge might have been "policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist." 

Tlaib mentioned no police department specifically. Is she referring to the police department in Kansas City, Missouri, in which a social services worker is assigned to each of its six patrol division stations "to help in situations that come to the attention of law enforcement but cannot be resolved by police"? Or is it the Montgomery, Alabama department, whose "Park, Walk And Talk" program is "all about getting that feel for that community and also building those bonds and those relationships"?

Representative Tlaib needs to familiarize herself with the hundreds (if not more) of law enforcement agencies in the USA which take community policing seriously and recognize that "to serve and protect" means to serve, as well as to enforce.

We already knew Rashida Tlaib is an anti-semite. But finding that she also does not believe that there is a major difference among the more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies in the country, that law enforcement should be eliminated, and that no one should be locked up for violent crime goes well beyond. The Detroit metropolitan area deserves better.

Whose Responsibility?

An exasperated Chris Cuomo, frustrated by what he believes is a lack of concern in white America about police slayings of black youth, on Friday remarked

......You don't like it. I don't like. It scares me. Shootings, gun laws, access to weapons? Oh, I know when they'll change. Your kids start getting killed, White people's kids, start getting killed, smoking that doobie that's actually legal, probably in your state now, but they don't know what it was, and then the kid runs, and then "Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!" Cop was justified.

"Why'd you run?" "Oh, he had a baseball game tonight." "Oh? White kid? Oh, big family, that house over there?" Those start piling up, "What is going on with these police? Oh, what? Maybe we shouldn't even have police!" That kind of mania, that kind of madness, that'll be you. That'll be the majority, because it's your people.

See, now Black people start getting all guns, forming militias, protect themselves? "Can't trust Deep State!" Whoo-whoo! You'll see a wave of change, in access and accountability. We saw it in the 60s. That's when it changes, because that's when it's you.

According to a report released six months ago by researchers at Yale and the University of Pennsylvania

Using information from a national database compiled and maintained by The Washington Post, researchers found that victims identifying as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC), whether armed or unarmed, had significantly higher death rates compared with whites. And those numbers remained relatively unchanged from 2015 to May 2020.

Cuomo has a point about black youth and "white people's kids" because the average age for white victims is 38 while for black victims it is only 30. (No explanation was attempted for this discrepancy.) But then the numbers sighted by the Yale communications professional, Brita Belli, are all but incomprehensible: She writes

In an analysis of 4,653 fatal shootings for which information about both race and age were available, the researchers found a small but statistically significant decline in white deaths (about 1%) but no significant change in deaths for BIPOC. There were 5,367 fatal police shootings during that five-year period, according to the Post’s database. In the case of armed victims, Native Americans were killed by police at a rate three times that of white people (77 total killed). Black people were killed at 2.6 times the rate of white people (1,265 total killed); and Hispanics were killed at nearly 1.3 times the rate of white people (889 total killed). Among unarmed victims, Black people were killed at three times the rate (218 total killed), and Hispanics at 1.45 times the rate of white people (146 total killed).

So we have the numbers for 4,653 deaths. However, armed victims are broken down into Native Americans, blacks, and Hispanics; for unarmed victimes, the numbers are given for only blacks and Hispanics. For unarmed victims, numbers are given for blacks and Hispanics, absent for Native Americans. For neither are there numbers for the Asian/Pacific Islander community.

(Also, "Hispanics" are either the wrong classfication or wrong term because it includes individuals of Spanish, and excludes individuals of Brazilian, heritage; "Latinos" would be more appropriate.)

The raw numbers (as against percentages) presented indicate that of 4,653 deaths, there were 2518 among blacks and Hispanics; 77+ among Native Americans; and an unknown, probably very small number among the AAPI population.  That would leave 2135 among others, undoubtedly the vast majority of them white.

That number is suspect because if the rate of shooting fatalities among blacks is only 2.6 times (armed) or 3 times (unarmed) of whites, the deaths among whites would be more than the raw totals indicate. Even now, far more than half of us living in the USA are non-Hispanic/non-Latino white.

Whatever the numbers, the underlying facts are simple: 1) a disproportionate number of fatalities of police shootings are of a minority group, most of them black; and 2) a heck of a lot of  victims are white.

As pertains to Cuomo's argument, there are two underlying facts: 1) a very much disproportionate number of the fatalities of young people are black; and 2) a heck of a lot of even the young victims are white.

That means simply that Cuomo is wrong- dead wrong, pun intended- in an ironic manner.  Whether we are aware intellectually that lots of white youth have been, are are being, killed by police officers, we don't feel that they are.

We don't sense it because we don't see it. The news media, for a wealth of reasons justified and unjustified, prefer covering the homicides by police of blacks, and of youth.  Those of whites, particularly among those who aren't young, often are reported but during fewer news cycles. They become news, then fade from the news.

It is because of video. Some killings are shown on what appear to be endless loops and thus have a major impact on viewers, especially in contemporary circumstances in which people (especially low-information individuals) are unfortunately more likely to believe what they see than what they read in reputable news outlets.

There can be no better example than the brutal killing of George Floyd, which we saw.... and saw... and saw... and are still seeing, thanks both to traditional broadcast media and social media. That resulted in an extraordinary outpouring of protesters which was starkly absent in any of those other instances in which a police officer unjustifiably killed a black person.

If we read, we may care. If we see, we usually see it often, and we care. And so Andrew Cuomo is right, and he's wrong.  He's wrong when he implies that black youth are almost routinely killed by police who never kill white youth.

He is right, however, that if the public saw white kids being killed by police, there would be an insistence upon police reform. It is happening, but it is de-emphasized.

Yet, he does not recognize- or won't acknowledge- the irony that he is complaining. It is not up to "your people" (as Cuomo describes whites) to show the homicides. It is he who is on the primiest of the prime time hour- 9:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Eastern- on one of the three major networks.

 "My job is to show you in" the shooting of young blacks, Chris Cuomo notes. If he wants the white public to focus attention on police abuse, it's time for his network- and the others- to show us additional shootings by police, ones not limited by race or color.


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Saturday, April 17, 2021

The Blood Was Not White Or Black

In late February a local newscaster in Buffalo, NY led a report (video, below) with

Tonight 75-year-od Martin Gugino has now filed a civil lawsuit against the city, the mayor, and the two officers caught on video shoving him to the ground during a protest on the steps of city hall. Gugino's story and this video you see here made international headlines last June.

If only. If only the assault upon the old white man, who was acting in support of the black lives matter protests, had made headlines in the USA for more than one day we wouldn't have tweets similar to this:

Gugino is a white man who had no mental health issues. And the police nevertheless shoved him to the ground, and with "blood immediately leaking from his ear," he was ignored by several officers from Buffalo's Emergency Response Team walking past him.

 No one was killed and no one suffered permanent injury, as far as is known. However, in most situations police officers do not prioritize race in determining the level of force they should apply..The racial left refuses to acknowledge this and continues to suffer from a myopia which will have harmful political ramifications.


At Least He Wasn't A Racist

After the USA's latest expression of Second Amendment rights, in Indianapolis.Indiana, NBC News reports

A motive for the attack wasn't immediately clear, but a year ago, the shooter's mother said she feared he might be suicidal.

“In March 2020, the suspect’s mother contacted law enforcement to report he might try to" attempt "suicide by cop," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan, who runs the bureau's Indianapolis field office.

The phrase "suicide by cop" refers to a self-destructive person who intentionally draws the attention of police in hopes of a deadly confrontation.

"A shotgun was seized at his residence. Based on items observed in the suspect’s bedroom at that time, he was interviewed by the FBI in April 2020. No Racially Motivated Violent Extremism (RMVE) ideology was identified during the course of the assessment and no criminal violation was found," the statement said. "The shotgun was not returned to the suspect.”

Wait- what? Evidently, the agency dropped its investigation of 19-year-old Brandon Scott Hole because neither a criminal violation nor a "racially motivated violent extremism (RMVE)" was identified.

If the FBI doesn't proceed simply because no criminal violation was found, that would be easily understood, though it does raise additional questions. However..... no "Racially Motivated Violent Extremism?"

That appears to mean that law enforcement went on its way because Hole's violent tendency was not motivated by racial hostility. It was irrelevant that the individual may have harbored great hostility with sophisticated plans to shoot a whole lot of people- only that his motivation was not racial.

A closer look at FBI policy adds detail. At a hearing of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in June, 2019, chairperson Jaime Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland, explained

But now the FBI has collapsed these prior 10 specific categories into four combined categories. It now uses, one, racially motivated violent extremism, which we have been told is an umbrella term that combines the prior subcategories for white and black racially motivated extremism; two, antigovernment/antiauthority extremism; three, animal rights/ environmental extremism; and, four, abortion extremism.

Thus the FBI addresses violent extremism, which it divides into four categories, one of which is racially motivated violent extremism.  Hole did not threaten to commit violence motivated by racial bias. If only he had invoked a derogatory term for blacks, Latinos, immigrants, Latinos, ethnic Asians, or any other racial, religious, or ethnic group, action which might have derailed Thursday's attack may have been taken.

Nonetheless, the agency ultimately ignored the lethal  danger posed by an individualbecause racism was not a motivation.  There is a serious chance that Hole would not have shot up the FedEx facility if the FBI had believed it was its responsibility to investigate a violent person who might not have been a bigot.

We don't know whether Brandon Scott Hole was animated by racial animus when he went on a shooting rampage at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis. But that apparently was not what motivated him thirteen months ago. So the FBI let him go. Now there are eight people dead.


Racehorse Genes

Credit the discovery to Michael D'Antonio.  He conducted a series of interviews with Donald J. Trump in 2014, of whom Donald Trump Jr....