Archive for the ‘Law & Justice’ Category

I don’t want to say anything but when a felon is convicted of ten counts of sexual assault and one count of object rape, and the judge calls him “an extraordinarily good man,” there is something wrong with our judicial system. That’s exactly what happened in a case in Provo, Utah. Judge Thomas Low heaped praise on the former Mormon bishop before sentencing him up to life in prison for his actions. According to the Associated Press, “Prosecutor Ryan McBride speculated that Low had been swayed by the more than 50 letters referencing Vallejo’s character as well as Vallejo’s brother’s testimony, which compared the rapist to Jesus, maintaining they were both wrongfully convicted.” Compared him to Jesus? What is wrong with these people?

Victims of sexual assault are “VICTIMS!” They do not go into court wanting to tell their stories of how they were groped, raped, battered, or too drunk to know what was going on. They are not sluts or whores or any other derogatory term that some use. They are “VICTIMS,” and should be treated as such. When Canadian federal judge, Robin Camp, asked a victim, “Why didn’t you just keep your knees together,” referred at one point to the victim as “the accused,” and asked later why she didn’t just let her bottom drop into the sink so she couldn’t be penetrated, he was forced to resign.

Now I’m not going to pretend that I know what it feels like to be raped. How could I? I’ve never been in a situation where something like that could or would occur. Can a male be raped? Of course he can. As I understand it, this is not uncommon in some criminal detention facilities. Never having spent a great deal of time in one, I just wouldn’t know. I’ve never been robbed at gunpoint either, so I don’t know the terror that that might hold. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s impossible for me or any member of my sex to know what horrible terrors must go through a woman’s mind when she is being physically assaulted and penetrated by a complete stranger who is, in effect, exercising control over her body. The only thing that I can say is…nothing…I can say nothing because I don’t know.

Unfortunately, even though it is the 21st Century…repeat that to yourself…”this is the 21st Century.” We have come so far, in so many fields…science, medicine, technological changes, invention after invention, all just within the past century, and yet, sociologically, we live in the dark ages. We’re still back where it’s okay for the caveman to bonk the cavewoman on the head with a club, drag her wherever the hell he pleases, and fucks her. Don’t be disturbed by the language, because that’s the way it was and, quite frankly, there are still those who believe it is okay today. Granted, they are warped, sick, psychopathic assholes, but that doesn’t matter either because they live in the 21st Century. The larger problem is that some of those males are in law enforcement, positions of power in the workplace or school place, and some of them are actually sitting on the bench in our legal system.

“She brought it on herself…by flirting…by wearing that outfit…by getting drunk…because I heard she was a slut, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.” Bullshit! I don’t care if she walks naked through the hallways and sits down to take notes in Economics 101, she is not meat on a hook. If she wants to get laid, she’ll say so. If she wants her boobs or her butt squeezed, she’ll say so. Yes, this is an exaggerated example; of course it is, but goddammit, if it takes absurdity to get a message into someone’s thick skull, then absurdity I will use.

Have I ever pushed to get a little sex? Sure, when I was 17 or 18, sex was always on my mind…well, along with working at the A&P, doing chores around the house, getting ready and then going to college, and a whole pile of other things…but yeah, sex was reasonably important. Then I grew a little older, took more responsibility for my life and the lives of others, like workers in the workplace, my wife, my growing family, making a living, et cetera, and while sex certainly didn’t take a back seat, I, as with all of the people I know, didn’t go around ‘hunting’ for something or someone to be forced into placating our sexual desires. Unfortunately, there are people – men – out there who do exactly that. “If she’s female and I want her, I’m strong, and she’s weak, and I can have her.” And the answer is, “No, you cannot. You cannot because she doesn’t want you, probably doesn’t even know you exist, and what you are contemplating is not acceptable in an advanced society.”

Not only is sexual assault not acceptable, but blaming the victim for its happening is also unacceptable, whether that blame comes from innuendo, direct remarks, or anything…VICTIM blaming should just not be done…at any level. Thomas Low and Robin Camp are only two examples of the thought processes that go on in the heads of many men, everywhere. It’s difficult to comprehend, I know, but these are the same people who don’t see anything wrong with paying a man more for doing the identical job that a woman is doing…and they’re wrong! The Declaration of Independence states, “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” It was wrong when they wrote it, and it is wrong today. It is wrong because while some say it was the “generic” men of which they were speaking, more realistically, it was white males. Blacks and women were considered chattel, and, as unfortunate as it may be, that still holds true today. And it is WRONG!

Read Full Post »

It’s difficult to understand why law enforcement, city, state, and federal, as well as the President of the United States, took so long to state the obvious about San Bernadino. I just don’t comprehend what is so difficult about seeing this couple, dressed as they were, not being immediately identified as ‘terrorists.’ However you wish to slice it, this was a terrorist act. It certainly terrified the crap out of the people who were being shot and those ducking for cover. With the discovery of the ammunition and pipe bombs in the house occupied by that couple and their baby would indicate preparation for a ‘terrorist’ attack. So we’re at war. Is there anyone in the USA who doesn’t understand that? Are there actually people whose heads are stuck so far up…in the sand that they aren’t aware that Americans are considered by some people who actually live and work here, as the enemy. Take a look at Dylan Roof who thought that blacks were taking over America. Can you understand why an ignoramus like that would think such a thing? Who does he see on television when the President speaks? Who does he see when the Director of Homeland Security speaks? Granted, the kid is probably not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he’s probably just a wee bit prejudiced against black folks in the first place. Someone said to me the other day, “I saw a family of Muslims in traditional dress coming in the store and I didn’t panic,” as though that was a major friggin’ achievement. It’s clue time…this country is filled with all sorts of people; some came here to escape terrorism and want to live peaceful lives. Others are here but are nothing but crazy fucking assholes who are influenced by other crazy fucking assholes and who will go out and kill anybody they see who is not dressed or look exactly as they do. They do have sufficient smarts to make certain they kill at a gathering…just walking up and down the street is not going to give one maximum exposure nor maximize your kill rate…riiiight!

To top off our understanding that we are at war, we have public panic purveyors like Donald “I-can-fix-everything-but-I-won’t-tell-you-how-because-I don’t-really-know-what-to-do” Trump. I find it truly difficult to understand how this man became a billionaire. The only thing I can think of is that he bullied his way to riches; he was the loudest shouter in the room; his face got so red, his opponents thought he was going to literally explode and shit would be flying everywhere since he was so full of it, so they gave in. It’s all I can think of. He speaks such ridiculous bullshit that no one in their right minds could possibly believe what he says. And yet, what is he doing? He’s appealing to the frightened, the uninformed, people who don’t know, or care to know, understand or care to understand other cultures. These are the folks who believe that blacks eat only fried chicken and watermelon; they may see hummus in the store so that’s what “they’ eat; Asians eat only fish and seaweed or some other shit like that. They don’t know, and one who preys on their fears such as Trump becomes their hero. The media is proving to be just as gullible. Trump speaks; it’s a sound byte they have to get on the air before the competition. Don’t react; don’t cover, and see how long Trump stays in this race. The media are “feeding Seymour” and he continues to grow. If the media ignore him, Trump will be within his rights to demand an equal amount of time as is given to other candidates; that is his right. However, the minute his talk becomes inflammatory, as it has been through most of his campaign, cut off the microphone; he has overstepped his bounds.

On November 8, 2016, America will go to the polls to elect a new President. That is eleven months from this very day. Should this country, in its ultimate stupidity, elect Donald Trump, I will make every effort to move to Nova Scotia and to renounce my American citizenship. I have little doubt that the world will become a nuclear wasteland before his term of office has ended.

Lone wolf terrorists on American streets will become more identifiable and stopped as we move along in our war. At some point, they will be identified before they enter the country. ISIS or some offspring of it will continue to function in the Middle East. It is only when America says, “Enough, solve your own problems,” that we will be able to breathe easily again. If “secure the homeland” is a dirty turn of phrase, forgive me. However, I don’t want to see more gold star flags hanging in more windows than are already there. We can “preserve, protect, and defend” the United States of America by putting our own nation first and let other nations solve their own problems.

The United Nations appears to be a useless group of foreign representatives suckling at the American teat and little else. Let us move their headquarters to someplace like Belgium, Luxemburg, or Lichtenstein, and see how quickly they dissolve or get their collective acts together to solve the world’s problems. America is too rich and too developed a nation to be playing host to a bunch of spies and neer-do-wells. Is this laissez-faire attitude going to work? No, because it will never receive bi-partisan support, nor will Wall Street allow it to happen. It would be nice to give it an honest try; to attempt to make other nations wholly responsible for their actions. We can’t; we’re America. We’re the supposed 800-pound gorilla in the room. That’s why poor families raise cannon fodder and we cry crocodile tears when they’re blown to pieces. If we really cared about our young men and women, we’d be expanding our efforts to keep them out of harm’s way rather than putting them directly in its path.

We have a great many problems in our own country that are in dire need of solutions. We need solutions to our problem of poverty. We need solutions to our problem of racial injustice and profiling. We need a unified, national police force that is fully trained and fairly paid. We need to stop teaching our children to pass some damned standardized test and teach them what it means to be a citizen of this country. We need more, better trained, and again, fairly paid, teachers. We need term limits for members of Congress to weed out the do-nothings, hangers-on, and radical assholes who somehow find their way into Congressional seats every now and then. We don’t need equalization of wealth, because if you’ve got the brains and ideas, God Bless You for making the money you’ve made, but we do need workers who are paid above a poverty level to build what you’ve designed or to sell what you have made. We need equal pay for equal work. We need to stop treating women like second-class citizens by telling them what they can and cannot do with their bodies. Our problems are tremendous; they’re hard to solve and they will continue to get harder until and unless we take some positive steps to address them. However, remember this: Over half of the Pilgrims who made the voyage on the Mayflower died before a year had passed – OVER HALF – yet the rest didn’t just lay down and die. Seventy-five thousand colonists died in the Revolutionary War; that’s 1 in 20 what we now call Americans. Yet, the men who signed the Constitution didn’t give up and say, “Screw this; take it back England.” No, the problems of their day were no more or less complex than the problems we face today. Sure, the world’s a smaller place, and the problems are terrifying. Problems of the magnitude facing the Pilgrims and the colonials and that guy who lives down the street from you today are daunting, but they can be solved. That’s our job – yours and mine – to chip in and ask what we can do to help solve those problems. No, I won’t give you the Jack Kennedy tag line; you can do that for yourself. I will say a couple of things: “If you see something, say something,” and “Don’t listen to fear-mongers and loud mouthed know-nothings like Donald Trump, because he’s not worth your time.”

Read Full Post »

The Presidency of the United States of America is not for sale!

As of this moment, I am going to begin studying the monies that are being (a) spent by candidates; (b) how they spend that money, and; (c) to the best of my ability, determine where that money is coming from.

Donald “Muppet Puppet” Trump maintains that he doesn’t need anyone else’s money because he’s got plenty of his own. No one knows exactly how much. Trump says it’s ten billion, but with the bullshit that he’s been throwing around, I’m betting that’s unlikely.

Hillary Clinton’s raking it in, but much of it appears to be coming from across all of the ponds. Seems to be an unwise move to me since those folks always collect on their debts…one way or another.

Hillary’s $63.1 million is chump change when it comes to Jeb Bush. So far, his SuperPac backers have dropped $114.4 million into the campaign to get him the nomination and the presidency.

Are we saying that America is for sale to the biggest spender? It sure as hell looks like it. Whatever happened to putting a rein on campaign spending? Once again, the one percenters, and the one-tenth of the one percenters are attempting to ensure their candidate gets the top spot. Can you possibly imagine the good that could be done with that money? Where is Congress when it comes time to clamp down on such waste?

It’s been well over a decade since the McCain-Feingold Act was passed, banning “soft money,” unlimited contributions to parties and national party committees. According to Info Please, “The law also defined political issue ads paid for by corporations or unions as “electioneering communications” and prohibited the broadcast of such ads within 30 days of a primary or within 60 days of a general election.” Seems to me that law has been tossed out with the garbage. From all that I can see, the Supreme Court is the body that has struck down attempts to keep campaign spending within reason.

It’s up to us…you and me…to ask questions about campaign spending. We know that the Koch Brothers in Kansas City are determined to buy the election, and we know that the Democrats have their own little bottomless pit of money. Why, however, why is it necessary to spend so goddamned much money to get to be President? When egomania runs rampant, the country will be run by ego…maniacs!

Read Full Post »

So, Dylann Roof was afraid that black people were taking over the world. Well, maybe that’s just not such a bad thing after all. I can hear the screams now…”Are you out of your friggin’ mind?” “Oh, come on, you can’t be serious!” “Didn’t you see all of those shootings in Dorchester and who committed them?” “Yeah, right, and all those black gangs would be taking over our neighborhoods and killing all the white people; that’s what would happen you idiot.”

Yep, possibly true. But why is it true? It’s true because a minority of the minority make all of the headlines because of their actions. I have seen the riots; I have seen the black banners; I have heard the yelling and screaming, and; I have seen the way in which we ‘educated’ whites have treated “uppity n___as” for over 200 years.

Despite all of our legislation; despite all of our efforts to integrate blacks and whites, nothing seems to be working. In one of the most advanced civilizations in history, we cannot overcome something as seemingly simple as two races living together in some kind of harmony. Even when we elected a black president, there was sufficient racism in the legislative branch – and other branches – to stop any kind of progress from being made. Anyone who tries to tell me that racism isn’t behind the gridlock in Washington is a goddamned liar! “We won’t let him get anything passed in the House.” Those are as close to an exact quote as I can remember from one Representative. “Him,” the word was “him,” and who was “he?” He was the first black President of the United States.

America was not ready to accept anything other than a white person for the Presidency. It is doubtful that America will ever be ready for anything but a white presidency. It’s too ingrained in us over our two hundred plus year history to accept anything else. We are creatures of habit; we are NIMBY’s such as there has never been. We talk of how we have advanced our civilization by trying new things, and that’s true, we have. But we sure as hell don’t want to disturb the status quo when it comes to the who of how we govern. Someone said to me, “When the Obama’s leave the White House, they’ll take all the china and silverware.” The person was only half joking. Why? Because that is the impression too many of us have of men and women in the black community. Wait a minute; who gambled away the White House china? Why it was President Warren G. Harding. How many alcoholic white presidents have we had? Too goddamned many. How many wheeler-dealer crooks have we had in the White House? Too goddamned many.

I have no sympathy for Dylann Roof; don’t get me wrong. Certainly, trying to start a race war is not the answer to bringing this country together. He deserves to pay the ultimate price for his actions. My gut feeling is that if he has already confessed to these murders, there is no reason for a trial. “That’s not the American way!” Bullshit…why isn’t it the American way? Why waste time and money to satisfy the blood lust that the media will create over this senseless and heinous act? The same should have been true with the Marathon bomber, the theatre killer, the one who shot Gabby Gifford and others, as well as Edward Hinckley. You did it; we saw you; you pay for your actions in the same manner as your actions. Within 24 hours of your capture, you are on your knees with two shots behind the ear. “Oh, my God, how brutal; how you can even think such a thing; this isn’t China where they do that. This is America; we’re not savages@” Oh, really, what would you call the people I’ve listed above…preachers of God?

Over the past 15 years I’ve watched this country begin to come apart at the seams. Statisticians tell us that crime is going down…and we’re supposed to believe their bullshit! The FBI, the Justice Department, this one and that one tell us how we’re better off than we were a couple of decades ago. Guess what, I don’t believe them. I think they are covering their butts and lying to us. Perhaps it’s because when something like Charleston or Newtown happen, it makes a big splash. Perhaps the media is doing a “better” job of covering the sexual assaults that are taking place on our city and suburban sidewalks and homes. I don’t know what it is, but things sure look pretty fucked up to me.

So what are we looking at for the future? Dylann Roof will go on trial, be convicted and when his execution date comes – somewhere in the next 10 years because of all the automatic appeals – the whole thing will be rehashed and America will once more be told that we cannot tolerate this kind of behavior, the population will be up in arms once more. Will any action have been taken to sort out the potential Dylann Roof’s in our society? No! Will any action have been taken in an attempt to control who and how guns are distributed? No. Will the NRA still own Congress? Yes. Will people still be going on rampages of killing children, classmates, adults of all colors? Yes.

Do I have reasonable solutions to all of these problems? No, not to all of them, but I have a few thoughts:

  • Any member of Congress who takes money from any lobby should be immediately ousted from his or her seat in that law-making body.
  • Members of the House of Representatives should not be allowed to serve any more than six terms. If they cannot get the job done in twelve years, it’s time to go.
  • Senators should be allow to serve two terms in office. Once more, twelve years in Congress is quite enough.
  • Certain lobbies are so powerful that they should be disbanded in some way, shape, or form. These include the tobacco, public utilities, pharmaceutical, gun advocacy, and several other vote-buying bastards who serve no useful purpose in our government.
  • Certainly our jails are overcrowded. We do not possess the laws to discourage crime. Opponents of the death penalty maintain that the threat of such punishment is not a deterrent, and they may well be right. However, have we ever really tested this? One execution every ten or twelve years is not testing. Executions every day for a couple of months might get a few bad guys to change their minds about committing a serious crime.
  • The Second Amendment, at least to me, means that if you own a gun, you do so to protect yourself and your home and that you are a part of a militia to guard the country. Fine, let’s put you to the test. If you voluntarily purchase or possess a gun, you will be trained and sent to wherever the United States is engaged in a ‘police action,’ or whatever we’re calling our conflicts these days. You will serve one year in a front line unit. If you survive, you will be allowed to keep your weapon when you return. However, you will not be allowed to keep an automatic weapon or more than 100 rounds of ammunition.

These are very rough plans and will have to be worked out…by whom? Aha, therein lies the rub. Who creates and who enforces these rules and regulations? Won’t be me; I plan to be dead. Good luck, America; you’re going to need it!

Read Full Post »

There was a time that a troubled youth over the age of 17 had two choices…you either went to jail or you went into the armed services. If the military couldn’t straighten you out, there was something wrong with your head and you deserved to be locked up and have the key dropped in the Marianas Trench. Today, we have a professional military so the option of sending them troubled kids appears to have gone the way of the Do-Do bird so we just give them a slap on the wrist and send them on their merry way.

I don’t know if you saw the most recent example of kids out of control but it happened on a subway in New York. A man was reading his paper. Two kids walked up to him and asked him what he thought about the Michael Brown killing. He must have said something because these two black kids started beating the shit out of him. Then they stuck their faces right up in the camera. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see those two young men put into a prison with a group of skinheads. Had they been white, I would just as soon they be sent to live with a group of brothers. Either way, they would become “bitches” for men much tougher than they ever thought of being, and their thoughts of being able to get away with whatever they wanted would soon be dispelled. Harsh? Unfair? Cruel and unusual punishment? How would you compare that to what they did to a man minding his own business on a subway?

When Boston Police were firing at a man who had just shot a Boston cop in the face this past weekend, people were booing the police. This guy was still shooting at the police and the cops fired back killing the son-of-a-bitch…but the cops were booed. It really makes me wonder what the hell is going on. Had the guy gotten away, would the crowd have cheered? Had he managed to hide in an apartment and eventually killed a mother and her four kids, would the crowd have then roared, “There’s never a cop around when you need one?” What in the hell is wrong with people?

One of my dearest friends was Muriel Snowden a black activist and social worker, who, along with her husband, Otto, founded Freedom House in Boston “as a catalyst for promoting equality and access to quality education for people residing in lower-income communities of color throughout Boston.” We would sit together at meetings and dinners just to laugh at each others’ jokes and kid each other about this, that, or the other thing. I loved Muriel and I think the feeling was mutual. Thank God she has passed on because it would absolutely break her heart to see the way that many of today’s black teens are behaving. I wasn’t a racist then nor am I one today, but why is it that when I turn on the television, the people I see appearing in Boston courts are largely Black? The answer to that question, I guess, is because a large part of Boston is black. If we were living in California, I’m told that we would see white meth-heads appearing on the television screen. If we were in Arizona, New Mexico, or the southern part of Texas, it would be Mexicans, and if we were in San Francisco’s Chinese section…guess what? You get the picture;

There is, however, a problem with the picture we think we see. How many of the police officers of the same ethnic backgrounds are serving in the areas where there is a large percentage of the same ethnic group? In Boston, we’re fortunate. We have a number of officers from a variety of ethnic families, and they are the ones who patrol the neighborhoods where there is a concentration of the same ethnicity. It really shouldn’t have to be that way, but…that’s the way of the world. The unfortunate part is that when the shooting took place, it was a white cop who had pulled over a car driven by a black man, and it was in a “black neighborhood.” The police officer was doing his job. Had he stopped the man in East Boston, South Boston, or another ethnic neighborhood, the shooting still might have taken place, but the booing certainly would not have.

Ferguson, Missouri was a powder keg just waiting to happen. The police force is 97 percent white and the population is 67 percent black. Combine that with St. Louis’ history of being segregationist and discriminatory – the city still ranks as the sixth most segregated in the country – and you have a formula that makes other minority neighborhoods look peaceful and serene.

Where, then, is the problem? A good part of it seems to be that there is a dearth of police officers that represent minority groups. Who wants to be a cop these days? The job is frightening and often underpaid. It’s not a particularly new problem; it’s been going on for years until now it has almost reached what we might call “critical mass.”

After WWII, the military discharged huge numbers of its own police from all branches of the service. Many of them became police men and women. But that was a long, long time ago. They have all retired and most are in the ground. When Korea rolled around, something similar happened, but the numbers weren’t quite as great. The numbers from Vietnam were even lower, and while Iraq and Afghanistan have supplied more officers, there is still a lack of qualified people to fill the quotas of too many cities and towns in the United States.

I don’t believe that anyone takes this problem seriously except the police hierarchies in some of the major cities. My question is what comes next?

Read Full Post »

Okay, Jihadi, John, any plans you may have had for terrorizing the United States can now be put on hold. You’ve won, baby, and you didn’t even have to drive a tank down Pennsylvania Avenue or march around the Lincoln Memorial – that would have really fucked up DC traffic if you did it at rush hour. See, here’s the way this is going to work…you send a couple of guys into Congress; one goes to the office of the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, and the other goes into the office of House Speaker John Boehner. Each delivers a bill that relates to the Department of Homeland Security. The one to McConnell will be falsely authored by Boehner and will include nothing on immigration. The bill to the House Leader will be a fake, supposedly written by McConnell that will include a section that would nullify the Presidential executive order. By the time they determine the fraud, both houses of Congress will be so confused, they’ll be shooting at each other. Just stand back and wait, Johnny-Boy, and our own legislative branch of government will implode.

On a more serious note, I am so sick and tired of the Congress of the United States that I’d almost be willing to move to Canada. The only thing preventing that is that the Canadians are beginning to sound almost as idiotic as the Americans. Excuse me, but if you’re a Canadian citizen and you wish to buy an airline ticket for Turkey, the answer is a resounding “No.” If all of you took classes in Islamic studies from a known Islamist, (a) double “No” and (b) the government will buy the ticket for the known Islamist and fly his ass directly to Syria.

If, as has been publicly said, the United States is conducting terror investigations in each of the 50 states, why hasn’t some action been taken? If we are already aware of whom the catalysts in our prisons are, why hasn’t some action been taken to weed them out, isolate them, or martyr them? If we know, and I’m quite certain that our intelligence agencies know – oh, god, I hope I’m not wrong about this – the mosques and imams who are radicalizing our citizenry, why the hell hasn’t action been taken to close the mosques and ship these people back from whence they came? Have we become so politically correct that we are willing to turn the other cheek until the jihadists decide that slitting our throats is easier?

The time has long since past when America should tolerate extreme Islamists. Whoever they are; wherever they are, they should be shut down now. “Oh, but if we do that, it’s a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution!” Bullshit! When a sect or cult begins to threaten the rights of the people who built this country, their First Amendment rights no long pertain or exist. Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus during the civil war. We are currently engaged in another, undeclared civil war right now against a group of foreign invaders who, if not dealt with as soon as humanly possible, will be flying the black and white over cities, towns, and hamlets all across America.

Do I sound paranoid? I’m too old to be paranoid. I am not yet old enough, however, to stop loving my country or to see that it is being eaten away from the inside out. The “new” Congress, controlled by a single party, was elected by the people because they promised to break gridlock and “govern.” Since that time, they have passed one major piece of legislation and that was vetoed by the President, as they knew it would be. Now, the houses cannot agree on a piece of legislation, which if not passed, will leave the security of our nation, closed for business. If that is what the Congress calls “governing,” then many of them have stuck their heads in the sand or somewhere else where the sun doesn’t shine.

The problems that we face cannot be laid entirely at the feet of the Legislative Branch of the United States government any more than they can be fully blamed on the Executive Branch. More than ever before, I blame the American people for electing the same political hacks who promise everything and deliver nothing, for creating the fix in which we now find ourselves. Google the number of criminals who are serving in the United States Congress; you’ll find that most of the investigations and arrests involve money. Income tax evasion, illegal campaign funding, illegal use of campaign funds…and you think that these people give a good goddamn about the people who voted for them? The answer to that depends entirely on how much which voters contributed to get them elected.

Ross Perot said it years ago; “Wake Up America.” From infiltration by jihadist terrorists to an inept legislative branch of government that can’t agree on anything, we are, to use an old saw, “up to our collective asses in alligators,” and the swamp remains undrained.

I propose that before any candidate for national public office is allowed to run, the same type of background investigation be conducted as is done for members of the military to be granted a Top Secret Code Word clearance. That would include a polygraph examination as well as random drug testing.  Given sufficient time, I’m quite certain that other requirements could be developed that would separate the wheat from the chaff.

Think about this for a moment: We are a nation of 320 million people, ninety-five percent of whom don’t give a damn as long as they have a roof over their head, a meal on the table three times a day, a new car in the garage or carport every six or seven years, and shoes without holes. On the other hand, you have the one percent who wants more than their fair share. You also have about 46 million children going to bed hungry every night. According to a UNICEF study, the United States has one of the highest rates of childhood poverty in the world. Is it any wonder that ISIS is able to recruit young people to its cause?

There you have it…from Jihad John to an inept and a somewhat corrupt government to a castigation of the American public and the way it treats its poorest, we have a great deal to overcome. Lordy, Lord, how I don’t envy the generation charged with pulling us out of this shit pile!

Read Full Post »

In my teaching career, more than 4,000 police officers have passed through my classrooms. They have been young and still very wet behind the ears; they have been old, set in their ways and some might even call them grizzled. There have been men and women, black, white, Latino, and Asian. They have been from as far west as Wyoming; as far south as Louisiana, and there was even a group from Haiti. By and large, these were good, dedicated, hard-working men and women. There were a few sour apples along the way, but they were quickly identified and more often than not, were asked to leave before a call was made to their chief. I have to freely admit that I like cops…even the one who pointed his gun at me and those who have pulled me over for this, that, or the other thing.

When people who are not in law enforcement talk about a “Blue line,” they don’t and cannot possibly understand the full meaning of those two words. We don’t hear about it all that often, but every single day that an officer of the law walks out his or her back or front door, the husband, wife, or partner of that “Badge” has no idea if this will be the day they get “the call.” Put bluntly, it’s a bitch of a way to live one’s life.

There are many times when police officers have temptation thrown in their paths. The vast majority are able to resist the temptations they face. There are a few, for whatever reasons they may have, who cross the line and become something less than they are supposed to be. I cannot give you actual numbers of the cops who give in to these temptations, but I’m willing to bet it’s less than five percent across the nation.

Even times when it ‘appears’ that police have trampled on someone’s civil rights, there are processes to determine whether or not, the police were wrong or right. Internal Affairs Bureau is not in place to whitewash a brother officer, believe it or not. Grand juries look at evidence to determine whether or not the party – cop or not – should be indicted. Sometimes they get it right; other times, those of us not serving on those juries wonder exactly what the heck they were thinking.

In the case of Officer Darrin Wilson in Ferguson, I’ve already made my position clear. I believe the grand jury returned the correct verdict. In the case of Officer Daniel Pantaleo, I have great difficulty understanding why an indictment wasn’t issued.  Forget the choke hold; when we hear the suspect clearly yelling, “I can’t breathe” as many times as Eric Garner was heard, it’s time to release or reduce that hold. Was Mr. Garner lying? I cannot find it in my mind to believe that he was trying a ruse to get away. What I don’t understand is why it had to reach the point that a choke hold was necessary, but, and it’s a bold but, I wasn’t there and I don’t know what other words or actions preceded Officer Pantaleo’s jumping up and applying the choke hold. From the video that we have all seen, I believe that the charge in an indictment might have read “Sufficient cause to indict on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.” Am I defending the people who are lying down in the street and otherwise disrupting traffic and God-knows-what-else on Staten Island and in New York City? No, I cannot justify those actions. Calling them “peaceful protests” is erroneous; they are not peaceful because they are disruptive. In addition, we are well aware that they won’t remain peaceful because agitators from all of the country are going to pour into the Big Apple and attempt to make each bite they take bleed red. It’s already happened when the nut from Brooklyn threw fake blood that splattered Police Commissioner William Bratton and nine other law enforcement officers. In addition, an outside agitator from California flew from Ferguson to New York to begin protesting.

We still have one more case of “cop kills Black” to go through, and this one is going to be a beaut. Officer Tim Loehman is going to get hung out to dry for shooting twelve-year old Tamir Rice. The problem is that Loehman should probably never been allowed to carry a gun and a badge, and that is the fault of the Cleveland Police Department. Unfortunately, America has been through three “White cop kills Black man” situations recently. The first two have – so far – allowed the white cop amnesty. The President of the United States has now gotten involved. Does anyone honestly believe that Officer Loehman will not get thrown under the bus? He shot and killed a kid with a “gun” less than two seconds after arriving on the scene. His previous police experience ended in a terrible manner. His supervisor and his chief sent letters to Cleveland that basically said, “If you hire this guy, you’re nuts!” Cleveland authorities admit that the officer was not properly vetted, but you can bet your boots it won’t be the “Cleveland authorities” who will take the fall. Say goodbye to freedom for a while, Tim Loehman. After the grand jury and the trial, you will be able to add, “S.L.C.” to the end of your name for you will now be known as the Sacrificial Lamb of Cleveland. Whereas academics may be proud of putting Ph.D. after their names, I don’t think this one will bring you any pride whatsoever.

Frankly, I can see only one of these cases where proper police procedure was followed, and that was in Ferguson, Missouri. I made my points on that in the post,  ‘Wake up Fergusonians.’ The case of Eric Garner is open to a great deal of interpretation and since I have no intention of reading the grand jury minutes, nor the reason for the lack of an indictment, I’ll just shut my mouth and get on with living.

If everyone is looking to blame someone or something, perhaps we should be asking ourselves, “Why don’t we have more qualified minority police officers?” Why isn’t this a career choice for more minorities? Is our system exclusionary in some way? There are many questions that need to be answered. Officer Pantaleo is 29 years of age. He says that he learned the hold he used in the Academy. If that be the case, did he enter the Academy at the age of 12? After all, in theory, this hold was taken out of the curriculum in 1997. Just sort of makes you scratch your head and wonder, doesn’t it?

Read Full Post »

“That the future may learn from the past.”

It’s on the bottom of the letterhead used by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. I happen to believe that statement, but unfortunately, there seem to be a whole passel of people who do not. We haven’t learned that liberty and justice for all means what it says. It shouldn’t matter what your race, color, sexual, or religious beliefs happen to be, you have a right to justice. We have elected – yep, we elected ‘em – elected officials who are supposed to ensure that justice is yours. These elected officials are our delegates to ensure (a) that justice is served and (b) that equality is meant as everyone; that we are all equal under the law.

Let me remind you of something: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln’s words ring just as true today as they did a few months over 150 years ago. Us the living were, according to Lincoln, to move bravely into the future in order to preserve the nation; that we should learn from the past as we attempt to build a better future for all people. In that lesson I fear that we have failed; we have failed those who so valiantly fought to unite a young nation; who died at places like Gettysburg,, Shiloh, Antietam, and so many other towns, villages, streams, and rivers right here on our own soil. We have failed because we have failed to accept the burden of responsibility that has been thrust upon us.

I have tried my damndest to get into the heads of people who refuse to accept the concept of an elected government to serve the needs of its people. I have tried my damndest to get into the heads of those people who have been elected to learn why so many of them feel the need to put themselves ahead of those who elected them; who are supposed to be representing them; who do not really know what is happening in their own districts, much less their state or the union itself. I have failed miserably. What is going through the mind of a person who takes it upon him or herself to pick up a gun, go into a school, and shoot innocent people? Please, don’t give them an excuse by saying that they are mentally deficient. If that’s the case, why wasn’t the deficiency caught earlier? I don’t understand people who will riot for the sake of rioting; who will travel hundreds of miles just to burn buildings and loot stores. “Oh, well that’s just the mentality of those people.” What a crock of bullshit. It would appear that there are people in America who don’t wish to see our nation advance; who don’t want us to even have a future. I’m not talking about immigrants, legal or illegal. I’m talking about people who, by their very place of birth, should be doing their damndest to advance themselves and advance the future of our country; this place we call America.

Do we have problems? You bet your ass we do. We have problems of poverty, unemployment, and yes, even inequality. The ways in which to address these problems, however, is not to scream and shout, burn buildings, and attack those who serve our justice system. That only serves to exacerbate the problems we face. It is at such times that we expose our own ignorance. America is far from a perfect place; our republican form of government is far from a utopian ideal. In fact, it was 1947, when Sir Winston Churchill told the House of Commons, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Is there another country in the world where I would be allowed to say some of the things that I have said on this blog? The true answer is, “No, I would not.” You and I have freedoms so far beyond what people in many other countries have, that we cannot even understand how great we have it. As I said earlier, yes, we have many problems to be solved. We cannot solve them if we go to the ballot box and elect the same type of person we have been electing for the past few decades.  Leaders need to step up to the plate and prove their leadership. They will be put under a microscope and condemned for having been a bully in kindergarten or for having had pre-marital sex, or whatever. It doesn’t matter. America is searching for genuine leadership to bring us out of our morass and moving us forward to create “a more perfect union.”

I’m over 80 years of age. I wish I was younger. I don’t consider myself one of those leaders by any stretch of the imagination, but I do picture myself as part of the rabble that will fight to make our nation better for all people.

Read Full Post »

Is a seat in the United States Senate worth over 100 million dollars? Is it worth $86 million? How about $78 or $72 million? What is worth spending those kinds of dollars? It seems that ever since the Supreme Court struck down the ruling on campaign contributions, PAC’s of all types and sizes are going wild with the money they are throwing around to get their candidate into a Senate seat. Senator John McCain was disgusted when he recently spoke to a Washington reporter. McCain, as we know, was one of the authors of campaign finance reform.

Back to the big bucks…Democratic incumbent Senator Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis, the state House Speaker who is challenging her, could retire for life with the money that is pouring in from their party as well as from “independent” sources. In Colorado, Democratic incumbent, Mark Udall and his challenger, Republican Cory Gardner are wooing voters with over $86 million. And Udall is in trouble, in part because of his support of the Affordable Health Care Act.

If the Republican Party takes control of the Senate as it has the House of Representatives, it’s time for many people to be frightened. Obama might as well take the next two years off because he sure as hell isn’t going to get any bills passed by a Republican Congress. Senior citizens may as well take classes in shoplifting and other crimes to supplement what will surely be a reduction in Social Security…if it’s not cut altogether, along with Medicare benefits. Am I sounding like an alarmist? You-are-goddamned-right, because while Obama care is not perfect, the Republican House tried more than 40 times to get it repealed and failed each time. Can you imagine how fast it will go down the tubes if the entire Congress is controlled by Mitch McConnell and John Boehner? Neither has the courage to stand up to the Tea Party extremists like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Joe, “You’re a Liar” Wilson and other crazies who put themselves ahead of their constituents and the Republican Party they are supposed to represent.

If the 113th Congress was the least productive group ever to occupy the halls, the 114th will be one of the most productive, and Barack Obama may go down as the President who vetoed the greatest number of bills. The question then becomes, will Congress, with majorities in both houses be able to override those vetoes? If so, what will that mean to Mr. and Mrs. Average American?

How have we come so far away from where we started? Our founding fathers didn’t agree on everything that appears in the Constitution, but they at least had the ability to discuss questionable phrases and clauses within that document. In addition, there has always been a certain degree of rancor in both houses, but in the overall, things were accomplished, and we, the people, were better off because of it. That’s not so today.

Twice I voted for this President. I believed his rhetoric, and I still believe that he has the best intentions for the nation in his heart. Today, I believe he was not ready for the job; today, I believe that if he had waited; had gained more experience; had learned to listen to some of the more seasoned members “on the hill,” that he would have been better prepared. His failure to involve members of Congress from the onset of his presidency has cost him dearly with both parties. His inexperience in foreign policy has alienated many of our allies. His choices for department and division heads have been questionable, at best, and downright stupid in a number of cases. Could I have done a better job? Don’t be ridiculous. Could Hillary Clinton, his opponent for the nomination, have done a better job? I have no idea. Personally, I believe that Mrs. Clinton has a long list of people who did not serve her husband during his time as leader of the free world, and should she ever win the presidency, those folks would be wise to hunker down and hide.

I shudder to think how much money will be spent on the 2016 Presidential campaigns. My singular hope is that between now and then, a campaign finance reform bill will be passed by Congress, one that the Supreme Court will find acceptable, and that will make campaign spending more respectable. It’s time that “We the people” take back our rights; that instead of being led like sheep, we begin to howl like wolves and say that the rich may not be allowed to buy the United States Congress; that the rich may not be allowed to buy a President they can control; that there is a middle class in America, and we are sick and tired of being screwed by those who believe they can control us with their money.


Read Full Post »

The Class of 1946 of Brookline High School in Brookline, Massachusetts cannot write their names. Wow, there’s a broad statement for you. However, it’s also a true statement. Brookline was a test study for a project by the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. They taught children to print. Don’t get me wrong; they could print as fast as some of the rest of us could write…but they could not write. How do I know this? I worked with a member of that Brookline Class who told me the story. He never forgave the Brookline school department or Harvard.

Why is this important? It demonstrates the stupidity and naiveté of some communities when it comes to what is taught in our public schools…or what isn’t taught, as the case may be. I have not forgiven my own school system for allowing me to be placed in a curriculum that did not take advantage of the skills that I wasn’t even aware I had when I entered high school. Where were the ‘guidance’ counselors who were supposed to work with students? My memory, believe it or not, is still reasonably solid, yet I cannot remember the name of one single guidance counselor in my high school…I can tell you the name of every teacher in the school and even the number of their classroom, but not a guidance person. I mention this because it appears to me that times have really changed…and not necessarily for the better.

Today, teachers teach to tests and bullshit, no matter how minor, is not tolerated. Today, students are subject to search and seizure, suspension and expulsion at the drop of a hat. I saw where a student in Tennessee was going to be sent to an alternative because a search of his car turned up an old knife of his father’s. Wait a minute; who was searching his car and why? A kindergartner was suspended for pointing a finger gun at another student; what is with that? You slap the kid upside the head; tell him or her it’s wrong and get on with your day. If the parents come in to complain, tell them to “fuck off and let me do my job.”

Some wise old fool came up with the term, ‘zero tolerance,’ and everyone said, “Oooh, what a great term; let’s see how we can use it as a control tool.” Here’s one definition:  “Zero tolerance is a type of policy, which implies that certain actions will completely not be accepted under any circumstances. It is generally applied in reference to policies that make clear exactly which actions are not allowed.” It is a “type” of policy which “implies,” and then it establishes what won’t be tolerated. To my mind, it’s a type of policy that puts too much power into the hands of too many different personalities, and that, my friends, is a bad, bad thing to do.

A police chief friend of mine had a zero tolerance policy instated in his town that said underage drinking would not be tolerated…anywhere…any time. He enforced it. I think we have all read of what can happen when people under the legal age get drunk and get behind the wheel of a car; usually someone dies. The unfortunate part is that too rarely is it the drunken teenager. Everything went along swimmingly until the chief and his men arrested the “wrong” underage drinkers. “Oh, my child will lose her athletic scholarship to X College next year.” Oh, my child will be thrown out of the honor society.” “Hey, I’m a cop; you can’t arrest my kid.” The excuses were many and myriad, but guess what? He didn’t care; he enforced a law that had been passed in his town, and when he did, the baloney went right into the Westinghouse [a polite way of saying, [“The shit hit the fan”}. In other words, zero tolerance is fine until it affects ‘those’ people who aren’t supposed to be affected.

Years ago, I was asked to write an emergency plan for the institution at which I was working. We had some problems, and no one really knew how they should be handled. Therefore, together with the head of the campus police department, a plan was developed. The very first paragraph contained words to the effect that no emergency plan could ever hope to anticipate all potential emergencies. It can’t be done and/or if it could, the damned thing would be so voluminous that no one would ever read it. Immediately, critics jumped on the fact that the plan was too general. The critics were the same people who would stick their collective heads in the sand and pretend that everything was right with the world…while the bombs were falling all around them. Eventually, the plan was passed. Within two weeks of its passing it had to be put into effect. A couple of years later, I learned that a teacher at Harvard told his graduate students, “If you want to learn how to properly address an emergency situation, look how they did it at {our school}.”  Would we have handled a different emergency in a different manner? Yes, we would have, but the principles would have been the same.

It is possible to have a zero tolerance policy without being intolerant. Automatic sentencing for a violation of a zero tolerance policy is idiotic unless you know the circumstances of the violation. Certainly, if someone brings a loaded weapon to any school, that cannot be tolerated, but what’s the punishment? Has this person been in trouble before? Certainly, the weapon is immediately confiscated, but what’s the why? Had they, in fact, been planning to kill? Zero is an awfully big word. What if the weapon was unloaded; the student had spoken to the school security officer, his teacher, and the principal, and was doing a presentation that involved a demonstration using an unloaded weapon? Certainly, the circumstances are exaggerated but how does this fall under ‘zero?

Schools are different places from when I attended. The students are brighter, more worldly and sophisticated. They have smart phones and texting; they have so many entries into an information age that is fascinating and endless. Those who want to learn want to be challenged, not taught for some bloody test. Those who don’t want to learn but prefer to disrupt, get them into a situation where their disruptive traits can be put to work…like cleaning bathrooms in a police station. If schools suspend or expel students for violating a zero tolerance policy, examine the policy at the same time the punishment is being examined.

From day one at school, every child is aware that the world is one big, frightening place. They have no clue regarding where they fit. We tell them to study hard and they’ll do well; that’s bullshit. We tell them to go to college and they’ll succeed; that, too, is bullshit. We provide so much false hope for so many of these kids that when their hopes and wishes don’t come true, whether it’s in the first grade or in the workaday world or anywhere in between; when they see the world for what it is, they want to blame someone and they rebel. It can happen at any time along life’s continuum. We often forget that, but as we’ve seen all too often, sometimes we’re too late…or others just don’t want to listen. Maybe the world is just spinning too rapidly for some people.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »