Thursday, April 15, 2021

Exhausted.


                                                                                 

                                                          


 Let me start tonight's post by saying that I am fed up with urban terrorists running roughshod through major inner city neighborhoods. They are doing it without regard for the loss of life of innocent citizens who aren't about "that life." And they have to be held accountable for their actions by those who are tasked to do just that.. 

Yesterday a six year old was shot in Philly and he is battling for his life as I write this post. That makes over fifty children (yes children) who have been shot in the city of not so brotherly love since the start of the year. (It's April) 

Now, more than ever, we need community leaders and those in law enforcement and politics to come up with solutions and stop giving lip service to stopping crime in the streets. We have to think outside the box and rethink the way we do things. And I'm not only talking about policing.

Now, having said that, let's talk about police shootings and the dehumanization of black and brown bodies in America of late.

 If you are a black person in America, you have been bombarded with images of state killings of black children, and those in law enforcement abusing their authority. To say that we are exhausted would be an understatement. 

While the trial of Derek Chauvin was going on, just ten miles away another black man was shot to death by a police officer on camera. You can't make this stuff up. Daunte Wright is another one of those names that we are going to be hearing a lot for all the wrong reasons. Lake Philando Castille and  Tamir Rice before him, he paid with his life because so many people in law enforcement fear black and brown men and harbor an implicit bias towards them. 

If you think I am wrong, take a look at the video of a white man in Minnesota who dragged a police officer with his SUV, hit another officer with a hammer, and who is still alive. This is what infuriates people of color. Had that man been black, we all know that his family would be getting out their best Sunday outfits for the funeral that was sure to follow. The running joke among black folks is that we never have to hear the race of  a mass shooter announced to know what their actual race is. We just have to know if he was taken alive. Taken alive equals white. Shot to death by law enforcement equals black.  

While I was writing this post, I watched yet another horrific video of the shooting and killing of 13 year old Adam Toledo by law enforcement in Chicago. Sadly, I can't help but think of that word exhausted again. It just never seems to stop. 

Policing is a tough job, and there are a lot of good men and women who do it. I know quite a few of them. But we have to get rid of the bad actors, and we have to properly train those who want to do the right thing and represent their departments in the right way. 

I started this post by condemning the urban terrorist who terrorize black neighborhoods, but they are criminals who have to be dealt with. I don't want the people who we pay to protect and serve to become like those that they are supposed to be protecting us from. When we reach that place in society, we might as well pack it in and head to our underground silos. 

*Image newsoneplace.com   

Monday, April 12, 2021

Caption Monday.

 



What's the title of this movie? 


Image from weeklystandard.com

Thursday, April 08, 2021

"Everybody got guns"


"I gotta a gun, he gotta gun, he gotta gun. Everybody got guns." ~Gyp Rosetti, Boardwalk Empire~

 There were two more high profile mass shootings again today in America. Maybe we shouldn't be calling them high profile because they registered a little above a blip in the nightly news cycle. We are all pretty fed up with the carnage and daily body count, but we have resigned ourselves to the fact that we will never defeat the NRA and the Second Amendment fanatics who honestly believe that a musket and a HK416 is the same thing. 

If you live in and around one of the major cities in this country, you will also notice that the murder rate is through the roof. And what makes this all the more sad is that it's children in most of these areas who are killing each other in record numbers because it's so easy to get their hands on a gun.  

This is all a bit perplexing because poll after poll shows that most Americans want sensible gun laws and legislation. I can only assume that what's stopping this from happening is a few politicians who owe their power to the fund raising arm of the NRA. These are men (and women) who are always going to be elected because they come from districts that have been gerrymandered with like-minded voters to ensure that they never lose another election. 

Today, the newly elected president, Joe Biden, tried to address the gun crisis in America by using the bully pulpit to talk about it. 

 "Gun violence in this country is an epidemic," Biden said in the Rose Garden to an audience of lawmakers and Americans touched by gun violence. "And it's an international embarrassment."  

The executive actions -- which Biden repeatedly argued did nothing to impinge on the Second Amendment right to bear arms -- include efforts to restrict weapons known as "ghost guns" that can be built using parts and instructions purchased online.

The moves are limited in scope and fall short of the steps Biden has vowed to pressure Congress to take. Still, they fulfilled his pledge last month to take "common-sense" steps on his own, and one move -- more heavily regulating arm braces used to make firing a pistol more accurate -- directly relates to the March shooting in Boulder, Colorado, where such a device was used. They took on new urgency coming on a day when the country experienced two more mass shootings..."

"Fall short." There are those two little words again. It seems that we are always falling short of doing the right thing when it comes to guns.  


 


Sunday, April 04, 2021

"One of their own."

 


With all of the latest legal troubles facing trump lead cheerleader and boy pal, Matt Gaetz, now would be a good time to revisit the following article written by Tom McCarthy for The Guardian. 

"To live outside the law, Bob Dylan sang, you must be honest. It also helps, apparently, to stay as clear as possible from Donald Trump, whose inner circle of advisers has suffered steady attrition since 2017, through a series of encounters with the criminal justice system.

On Thursday, the former White House strategist Steve Bannon became the latest Trump intimate to be taken into custody, when the Chinese-owned yacht on which he was sunburning was boarded by agents of the US Postal Service.

Bannon was accused of defrauding people who gave tens of millions to a private fund which existed, Bannon claimed, to finance the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico. The real purpose of that fund and others, federal prosecutors say, was to cover the “luxury” lifestyle expenses of Bannon and his fellow defendants.

“This entire fiasco is to stop people who want to build the wall,” Bannon declared outside a Manhattan courthouse, proclaiming his innocence.

Depending on how – and whom – you count, Bannon was the seventh former close Trump adviser to be arrested, face charges, plead guilty or to be convicted of a crime since the 45th president took office.

Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort (convicted: tax fraud, bank fraud) is in home confinement due to Covid-19; former adviser Roger Stone (convicted: obstruction, false statements) received a presidential commutation; former adviser Michael Cohen (guilty plea: campaign finance crimes, lying to Congress) is in home confinement; former national security adviser Michael Flynn (guilty plea: lying to the FBI) is awaiting a ruling on a request to dismiss charges; former adviser Rick Gates (guilty plea: lying to investigators) has completed a prison term; and former adviser George Papadopoulos (guilty plea: lying) has completed a prison term. 

I believe it unprecedented in any US administration for so many of the closest circle of persons around the president to have been shown to be conmen, grifters and base criminals,” said Patrick Cotter, a former federal prosecutor who was part of the team that convicted the Gambino family boss John Gotti, in an email.

“While previous administrations had their share of those trying to personally profit and those willing to break the law to serve the political interests of the president, what is unique about the Trump administration is the large number of people in direct contact with the president, often for years, who are revealed to be out-and-out fraudsters for whom crime is apparently part of their lifestyle and character.”

As his re-election campaign enters full swing, Trump has made an effort to brand himself as the president of “law and order”. But Trump himself has at times appeared to sail within dangerous distance of criminal legal hazards.

During impeachment proceedings that straddled the turn of this year, Democrats and the Republican senator Mitt Romney voted to remove Trump for abuse of power.

Robert Mueller detailed nearly a dozen potential instances of obstruction of justice by Trump during the Russia investigation, though the special counsel did not propose criminal charges.

Before that, Trump paid $2m in fines and closed his family’s “charity” foundation, admitting it had used donations to pay campaign and business expenses.

The prosecutors in that case, in the New York state attorney general’s office, are currently investigating Trump’s banking and tax conduct, while federal prosecutors in New York – the ones bringing charges against Bannon – are also looking at alleged graft by Trump’s inauguration committee.

The Manhattan district attorney is investigating Trump’s tax records, as are multiple congressional committees.

Trump says he is a victim of a witch-hunt by politically motivated prosecutors. His critics say that in fact the full scope of Trump’s alleged criminal conduct is unknown because he is using the power of the presidency to block details from coming to light.

Continued arrests of former associates could at some stage pose a threat to Trump himself, if one decided to cooperate with prosecutors against Trump, legal analysts have said. But past speculation about the dangers of such a “flipped” witness have not been borne out – in part perhaps because Trump has demonstrated a willingness to pardon his friends for their wrongdoing, decreasing any incentive to “flip”.

Consider Trump’s clemency for Stone; the justice department’s efforts to drop the case against Flynn, which the courts have not yet granted; attorney general William Barr’s sudden removal of prosecutors seen as threatening to Trump; and Trump’s deployment of the might of the justice department to stop his tax records being handed to state authorities and Congress, in a case that reached the supreme court.

Barr and Trump have denied using the levers of American justice to prosecute the president’s enemies and protect his friends. But evidence-heavy charging documents against figures in Trump’s orbit keep stacking up.

“Why this unprecedented situation?” said Cotter, now a Chicago-based officer with the Greensfelder law firm.

“My almost 40 years working in criminal law has taught me that criminals of a particular type tend to associate with other criminals of the same type. There is a comfort level and mutual understanding in such associations.

So when I see a swarm of conmen buzzing around one particular man, in this case Trump, my experience suggests that it is because they recognize one of their own. And in selecting them to be his confidants, the president also recognized kindred spirits.”

It just keeps happening. But it has not happened Trump, yet." [Source] 

Not yet. But his tax returns are in the hands of  the Manhattan District Attorney's office. Let's see where this leads. 

Oh, and have you noticed who is still silent when it comes to these latest accusations and investigations of the above mentioned Mr. Gaetz? If you guessed Donald trump move to the head of the class.

 One day these people will learn that trump cares about one thing and one thing only: Himself. 

*Image from The Nation

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Newsworthy.


These last few days have been certainly very interesting in terms of news.

First, I will start with the trial of Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin. 

I honestly can't write too much about this, because I have to say that whenever I see those images and videos being played out of that horrific day,  I get angry and sad all over again. I spend a lot of time in courtrooms, and I am always curios to see how other trial lawyers operate, but not this time. It's very hard to just step back and view this case objectively, and so I won't even try. 

I will say this, though, if someone says that they know how this verdict will come down they are lying to you and to themselves. As is always the case with these types of high profile jury cases, we just don't know. 

Second, there is the Matt Gaetz federal investigation. (That's Matt in the picture. You can't miss him.) It seems that Matt has gotten himself in some trouble, and now he might have to face the music. If what is alleged is true, a lot of people will say that they are not surprised. Matt has quite a spotty record when it comes to these types of activities, and the friends he keeps (including the former president) doesn't help his credibility when it comes to this issue. 

And If Matt actually has a lawyer, this might be a good time to remind his client that he has a 5th Amendment right to keep his mouth shut. Matt has been doing a lot of talking since this all came down, and needless to say he is not helping his case. 

  "Gaetz has denied any allegations of wrongdoing and claimed that he was the target of an extortion attempt folllowing a Tuesday New York Times report that said Gaetz is currently the subject of a federal sex trafficking investigation involving a then-17-year-old girl.  

Gaetz told Fox News' Tucker Carlson that his family had notified the FBI about the alleged extortion, naming McGee as being behind it. Gaetz said his father had worn a wire during a meeting as part of an investigation of the extortion claim, and that he believes the Times story had been leaked in order to thwart that investigation"

What a mess. 

Finally, there is the story of Major and Champ. These poor guys have been under scrutiny since they left their cozy home in Delaware for the craziness and fishbowl that is Washington. 

"President Biden's dogs Major and Champ are back in the news. And the coverage of the presidential pooches is generating some strong reactions -- with some people arguing that the canine behavior isn't newsworthy at all.

To be sure, Biden's infrastructure plans are certainly the more important story emanating from the White House this week. But the Biden's-best-friend news is revealing in its own way. First there were those biting incidents. Then on Wednesday there was an instance of "dog poo on the floor," which was dutifully (doo-doo-tifully?) reported by the White House press pool.

Reactions to the doggie coverage have run the gamut, showcasing the many feelings and gripes and questions people have about the American news media."

This is crazy! They are dogs! What do people expect?  

I know one thing, they better not even think about putting them down. I know how Americans feel about their pets (especially their dogs), and if the president were to make such a mistake he would have a hard time getting back to 50% approval ratings. 

The former guy didn't even have a dog, and the American press should have made that a much bigger issue than the way they are scrutinizing the behavior of Major and Champ. 

But hey, I guess when you have a boring president who does every thing in a normal way, you have to find something to write about.