Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Name:
Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Jason Van Dyke


Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer charged in Laquan McDonald’s death, had a history of complaints before he gunned down the 17-year-old last year, but in almost every case, he has been cleared.  The allegations involve excessive force, and at least one complaint alleging he used a racial slur.
There appeared to be no criminal proceedings against Van Dyke, but a jury awarded a Chicago man $350,000 after determining Van Dyke employed excessive force that dislocated the man’s shoulder during a traffic stop.  And, the city of Chicago gave McDonald's mother, who had not filed a lawsuit, $5 million in April.
A judge's ruling that the graphic video of McDonald's death had to be released to the public resulted in Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez finally announcing a first-degree murder charge.
Van Dyke responded to the scene and remained in his car for more than 20 seconds as McDonald, armed with a knife and with PCP in his system, approached police cars in the street before veering away from officers who had their guns trained on him.  None of the eight officers on the scene fired their weapons, but within six seconds of exiting his vehicle, Van Dyke began unloading the 16-round magazine in his 9 mm pistol at McDonald, who was about 10 feet away.
Two shots, one to the lower back and another to the upper leg, were fired while McDonald was standing, but he was on the ground for about 13 of the seconds that it took Van Dyke to empty his clip.
That wasn't the first time Van Dyke was accused of using unnecessary force.  On at least 20 occasions in Van Dyke's 14-year career, citizens have filed complaints against him, according to the Citizens Police Data Project, a database of misconduct complaints filed against more than 8,500 Chicago police officers. 
To put the complaints against Van Dyke in perspective, the Chicago Police Department has about 12,000 officers.  Like Van Dyke, 402 officers have 20 or more complaints on file in the database.  The most complaints against any officer, according to the database, is 68.
The database shows that of the 20 complaints against officer Van Dyke none resulted in discipline.  Five complaints in the database were "not sustained," five were unfounded, four resulted in exoneration, five had unknown outcomes and one resulted in no action taken.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Linwood Ray Lambert


MSNBC obtained disturbing video of a 2013 incident in which Linwood Ray Lambert, who was in police custody died, after being was repeatedly tased.
Three police officers in South Boston, Virginia responded to a disturbance call at a Super8 motel.  Lambert was unarmed, but hallucinating and his hotel room trashed.  Police thought he needed medical care, so they handcuffed him and took him to the hospital.

At the hospital, Lambert kicked out the window of the police car.  A video shows him running to the door of hospital entrance in handcuffs.  The officers tased Lambert, and he fell on the ground, where police continued to tase him.
The video shows the police shackling Lambert’s legs.  He told police that he’d used cocaine.  Instead of taking Lambert into the emergency room, they dragged him from the doorway and put him back to the car.

Officers tased him again after telling him to sit up, even though his hands and feet were bound.  A video shows Lambert unconscious in the back of the police car at the jail.  Later, an ambulance took Lambert back to that same hospital where he’d been an hour before.  He was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police and hospital videos hadn’t been seen by Lambert’s family until recently, when police turned them over under court order.  Court papers indicate the South Boston police claimed the use of force was justified.  Two years ago, the Virginia State Police conducted an investigation, and turned their findings over to prosecutors.  The criminal investigation remained open, but now the incident is the subject of a civil lawsuit.

The coroner said acute cocaine intoxication was the cause of death, and noted that taser wounds on the body.  According to the family, the ambulance staff said that police told them that he was fighting them and they had to pin him down.  That claim would support more force, but videos show that isn’t true.  A police incident report said that he was unconscious in the back of the car, when he arrived at the jail.

The videos show 20 distinct times in which the taser were fired.  One tasing puts 50,000 volts through the human body.  The Justice Department guidelines notes that over three tasings can be associated with serious injury or death.  One officer used his taser 15 times, and 10 within the span of a few minutes.

During the two years, the case remained open those 3 police officers were promoted.  The case was ignored until Lindwood’s family filed a civil case.  A court order is the only reason his family received the tapes.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Ali


VoteVets.org sent me the following e-mail: “My name is Ali and I served as an interpreter for the U.S. Army in Iraq for three years.  In 2013, I came to Tennessee as a refugee after two years of vetting by the U.S. State Department.

“I knew I had to leave Iraq in 2009 when a friend of mine, another interpreter, took a vacation in Sinjar.  While he was at home, his car was blown up, killing him and two of his family members.  If I stayed long after the Army left Iraq, I would have been killed too.  In 2011, I returned home and began the refugee application process.

“Over two years, my brothers, my wife, and my children traveled several times to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad for screening.  As a Kurd traveling to Baghdad, it was a dangerous for us.  The airport, the hotel, and each of the checkpoints on the way to the embassy were all very dangerous.  There were many interviews, tests, medical screenings, and background and security checks.  They talked to family, friends, and people who employed us previously.  And they did it repeatedly over two years.  And then finally, on October 23rd 2013, we were approved.

“Like my family, the refugees you see on the news are leaving because it is their only chance at a better life.  They leave their homes, live in a tent or on the street ... maybe they find a camp.  Aid and international refugee programs are the difference between life and death.
“As I watch the news from my home in Tennessee, I don't understand politicians who are trying to stop people fleeing from war from coming to the United States.

“I don't understand why they'd try to prevent Kurds, especially, from coming to America.  Over twelve years in Iraq, not one American soldier was killed by a Kurd.  These are good people coming from over there.  The little boy who washed up on the shore in Greece, his name was Aylan and he was a Kurd who fled the violence in Syria with his family.  They are trying to escape ISIS and they need America's help right now.”
ISIL capture Sinjar in 2014.  Iraqi Kurdish militias, backed by a U.S.-led air campaign have retaken Sinjar.  Currently, thousands of Kurdish Peshmerga forces are setting up a wide buffer zone to try protect Sinjar from future attacks.

****Up date
In late December. the relatives of the little Kurdish boy  Aylan, whose body was washed up on shore in Greece arrived safely in Canada as refugees.



Friday, November 27, 2015

Beyond Two Degrees


Less than two weeks before a crucial global climate summit in Paris, NOAA, NASA and other global temperature monitors released data showing that the planet is halfway to two degrees of warming, the much publicized limit of “controllable” climate change.

Global data shows that the average temperature across the entire planet for the month of October was 1.76 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average for the month of October, thereby making it the highest average temperature reached compared to normal in Earth’s historical record.

Last month was the warmest October ever observed in 136 years of NOAA records, and seven of the 10 warmest months have occurred in 2015.  The Japan Meteorological Agency also ranked October as the hottest month on record compared to average.  This year temperatures got a boost from what may end up being the strongest El Nino ever recorded reaching its peak.

This year’s El Nino is already one of the three-strongest El Nino events ever have seen, it cannot fully account for all of the warming.  Although, El Nino can move the needle a little up, or down, the overall trend continues to climb higher thanks largely to man-made climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

But when you add in a super-charged El Nino on top of a planet being continually warmed by greenhouse gas emissions, you wind up with years that are literally off the charts.

CNN's John Sutter has pulled reports from the National Research Council, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the World Bank.  He insists that wildfires in the United States could significantly increase in size, hurricanes would be slightly more intense, more species would be at risk for extinction, Arctic ice would continue to melt, crop yields would decrease and the availability of freshwater would significantly decline.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankfully



“Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips and shows itself in deeds.” -Theodore Roosevelt, Thanksgiving Proclamation, November 1901.

On Nov. 15, 2010, I posted the following: 

These are economic times that we haven’t seen since the Great Depression.  According to a new poll from the National Employment Law Project, 73 percent of Americans, say it’s too early to cut back on unemployment insurance with an average weekly benefit of $310.00 a week.

In the 75 year history of unemployment insurance, we have never denied benefits to people when unemployment was at this level.  Unfortunately, the elected Republican leadership has absolutely no idea what it’s like to go hungry or to go without a roof over their head.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the incoming Speaker of the House, John Boehner is worth $3.6 million.  Eric Cantor the second-ranking member of the House Republican leadership has $4.9 million.  Darrell Issa, who will become the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is worth $303 million. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is worth $19.9 million.  Those are the Republican leadership, who are making the decisions on the unemployment in this country. 

The Congressional Republican tax cut plan would add an additional $700 billion to the deficit over the next ten years, while giving America’s wealthiest people an average tax break of $100,000.  Our Congressional Budget Office has found that giving a huge tax break to the wealthiest Americans is one of the least effective ways to stimulate our economy.

It’s difficult for many Americans to understand how the millionaires in Congress can vote against extending unemployment benefits, at the same time they’re insisting that Congress must renew Bush’s tax cuts for people make more than $250,000 a year.

On 11/18/10, congressional Republicans voted with the 4 percent of Americans who think that the national debt is the most important issue out there.  The Republican Party couldn’t have picked a worst time to turn their backs on their fellow Americans.

They’ve just given million of jobless Americans very little to be thankful for.”  

*********
Thankfully, today things have improved.  On Nov. 11, 2015, I posted the specifics of those improvements.

Furthermore, in November 2015, our economy added 211,000 jobs and the unemployment rate remained steady at 5 percent.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Laquan McDonald


The violence that many had feared would erupt last night in Chicago never materialized after police released a graphic dashcam video showing police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
The video showed a patrol car approaching the scene.  McDonald is seen running, then walking down a road toward several squad cars with flashing lights.  McDonald veers away from two police officers, who had their guns drawn.  Seconds later, McDonald appears to spin around, then falls, writhing as shots keep hitting his body, sending puffs of smoke into the air.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said: "It is my determination that this defendant's actions -- of shooting Laquan McDonald when he did not pose an immediate threat of great bodily harm or death, and his subsequent actions of shooting Laquan McDonald while he lay on the ground, after previously being struck by gunfire, were not justified and they were not a proper use of deadly force by this police officer.”
Citing a motorist who witnessed the shooting Alvarez noted: “Van Dyke was on the scene for less than 30 seconds before he started shooting.  McDonald did not do anything threatening toward Van Dyke and the other responding officers before he was shot.
McDonald appeared to be moving away from the officers, while Van Dyke took at least one step toward McDonald with his weapon drawn.  While McDonald was falling to the ground, the officer took at least one more step toward him.”
Mayor Emanuel released the following statement on those charges:"Across Chicago there are thousands of police officers who protect our communities every day with the highest professional standards.  As the State's Attorney made clear, Jason Van Dyke's actions violated those standards and also the moral standards that bind our community together.  Rather than uphold the law, he took the law into his own hands, and it’s now up to the justice system to hold him accountable."

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

History


President Obama explained: "Our goal, as I've said many times, is to degrade and ultimately destroy this barbaric terrorist organization.  As I outlined this fall at the United Nations, we have a comprehensive strategy using all elements of our power, military intelligence, economic development, and the strength of our communities.  We have always understood that this will be a long-term campaign.  There will be setbacks and there will be successes.  The terrible events in Paris were obviously a terrible and sickening setback.  Even as we grieve with our French friends, however, we can't lose sight that there is progress being made."

The invasion of Iraq provided those responsible for 9/11, with an opportunity to regroup, foster more hatred, and encouraged more terrorist to kill Americans.

Republican remain critical of Obama’s withdrawal plan from Iraq.  They’re oblivious to the fact that the withdrawal plan was put in place by George Bush.  A Status of Forces Agreement was agreed to by Bush and the Iraqi government, who required, that it be approved by the Iraqi parliament.  Our Congress was never consulted.  Bush signed a deal requiring our combat troops to be out by 2011.  And, congressional Republicans didn’t complained when he signed it.

In 2010, Iraqi Shiite politicians refused to grant our troops immunity from prosecution.  Today, Iraq’s Prime Minister Abadi, who is also a Shiite doesn’t want our combat troops in Iraq.  However, he does wants our military to continue airstrikes against ISIL. 

Last year in Mosul, 30,000 Iraqi troops turned and fled in the face of 800 ISIL fighters.  Those troops were mostly Sunnis, who had no desire to risk their lives, for what they consider to be a Shiite government hostile to their interest.  Leaving a residual force of American military trainers wouldn’t have done anything to prevent that.

Turkey and the Sunni Persian Gulf countries of Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates should be doing more to defeat ISIL.

The Kurds are on the ground in Iraq and Syria fighting ISIL.  And, twenty thousand Iranian Shiite militiamen are also fighting in Iraq to defeat ISIL.  In Iraq, the problem is 60 percent of the population of Iraq are Shiite, 20 percent Sunnis and 20 percent Kurds.  The Sunni population don’t want to be ruled by the Shiite majority, and Shiites don’t want to be ruled by ISIL, who are former Saddamists.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Cruelty


At what point does a lack of Christian compassion, become cruelty?  Was it in 2010, when for the first time in the 75 year history of unemployment insurance, congressional Christian Republicans decided not to extend unemployment benefits to 2 million Americans.

The unemployment rate was 9.80 percent, and the nonpartisan congressional budget office insisted that extending unemployment benefits would help the economy.  Furthermore, 240,000 jobs would be lost if Congress failed to extend unemployment benefits because that money goes right back into our economy.  Extending unemployment insurance should have been a no brainer.

The lack of compassion became cruelty in 2014, when Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion to help deal with the influx of minors from Central America.  Since 6/15/14 , 52,000 unaccompanied children from Central America had been taken into custody on the Mexico border.  Obama had followed the law in an effort to help those undocumented children.  

It was President Bush, who signed legislation in 2008, which passed both the House and Senate by unanimous consent.  That law dictates how children caught crossing the border without their parents must be treated.  A child must be turned over within 72 hours to the Department of Health and Human Services to care for them until safe housing arrangements can be made.  Many congressional Christian Republicans called for all of those children to be immediately deported.

Regarding the Syrian refugees crisis, House Speaker Ryan told reporters: “Our nation has always been welcoming, but we cannot let terrorists take advantage of our compassion.  This is a moment where it’s better to be safe than sorry.  So we think the prudent, the responsible thing, is to take a pause in this particular aspect of this refugee program in order to verify terrorists are not trying to infiltrate the refugee population.”




Sunday, November 22, 2015

Keeping US Safe


Regarding the question of keeping our country safe, President Barack Obama has announced: “My only interest is to end suffering and keep the American people safe.  If there’s a good idea out there, then we’re going to do it.
He has repeatedly defended his policies by arguing American efforts to degrade and defeat ISIS are ultimately going to work with time.

Speaking in Turkey at the G20 meeting, our president pointed out: “What we do not do, what I do not do is to take actions either because it’s going to work politically or it is going to somehow in the abstract make America look tough or make me look tough.”

President Obama has been intensifying air strikes in the region, increasing assistance to local ground forces in Syria and Iraq, and at the same time strongly defending his decision not to send ground troops into Syria.

He insists: “What’s been interesting is in the aftermath of Paris, as I listened to those who suggest something else needs to be done, typically the things they suggest need to be done are things we are already doing.
“The one exception is that there had been a few who suggested that we should put large numbers of U.S. troops on the ground.  And it is not just my view, but the view of my closest military and civilian advisers that that would be a mistake, not because our military could not march into Mosul or Raqqa or Ramadi and temporarily clear out ISIS, but because we would see a repetition of what we’ve seen before, which is if you do not have local populations that are committed to inclusive governance and who are pushing back against ideological extremes, that they resurface unless we’re prepared to have a permanent occupation of these countries.” 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

God Bless America


Far right religious zealots are determined to destroy our country.  They don’t care because they’re eagerly anticipating the second coming of Christ, when skeptics will be cast into the fires of hell.  This type of blatant fear mongering has worked for too long.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy a Baptist minister in 1892.  Rev. Bellamy structured it for public school programs and had considered placing the word “equality” in his Pledge, but knew some state superintendents on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans.

In school during the 1940’s, we recited the pledge which didn't include the seemingly innocuous words “under God.”  In 1954, Congress added those words after a vigorous campaign by the Knights of Columbus.  The pledge became both a patriotic oath and a public prayer.

Undermining the separation of church and state doctrine reached a peak in the 1950's.  Republican President Eisenhower inaugurated the prayer breakfast.  Congress created a prayer room in the Capital and added the words "In God we Trust" to all paper money.

E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many One) was considered the motto of the United States until 1956 when Congress passed an act adopting “In God we trust” as the official motto.

The historic roots of the deep division we’re now facing in our nation began when Congress added “under god” to the Pledge.  Far right politicians repeatedly weave piety with patriotism.

Skeptics are capable of critical thinking.  They should question, why a compassionate God, would consider blessing America, when so many of it’s citizens are voting politicians into office, who turn away refugees, contest a women’s rights to chose, oppose climate change, campaign finance reform, immigration reform, marriage equality and repeatedly attempt to undermine the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Homeless Veterans


At the fourth Republican presidential debate, Senator Ted Cruz out did former Texas Governor Perry.  Four years ago, Perry famously said, that he’d get rid of three government agencies, but had a mental lapse and only name two of three.  Ted Cruz said he’d get rid of five agencies, but, he only name four of five.  Ted was able to covered his memory lapse by naming one agency twice.  The agency named twice, was HUD (Housing and Urban Development.)
The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro has been working to provider housing for homelessness veterans.
Recently, Secretary Castro pointed out: “You know, five years ago, the president came out with something called opening doors, which is the first blueprint to not just reduce homelessness, but actually end it.  So today, because of the work of HUD, the V.A. and the state of Virginia, I got to stand with Governor McAuliffe in Richmond and announce that Virginia has become one of the first state to effectively end veteran homelessness.
“We’ve also seen New Orleans, Houston, and Las Vegas reaching their goal to end to veteran homelessness.  In the last five years, in part because of the work that HUD has been doing, we’ve seen a 36 percent reduction in veteran homelessness.

“So, whether you’re talking about cities or small towns or tribal communities, HUD is the department that is doing important and impact-full work, and especially for folks like our veterans who have served honorably and who deserve to have a home in the country that they defended.”
In 2011, the Veterans Administration launched an aggressive program to eliminating homelessness among veterans.  VA estimated that about 107,000 veterans found themselves homeless on any given night.  Mental illness plagues 45 percent of homeless vets and reportedly 70 percent suffer from some kind of substance abuse.

Some of the most valuable property in the nation is referred to as “The West Los Angeles Property.”  According to the original deed, it was donated in 1888 to “establish, construct and permanently maintain” a branch of a national home for veterans.  

In 2011, Congress approved $35.5 million to renovate various buildings on the campus for housing facilities for homeless veterans.  The facility has provided vets with 700 permanent housing units.  The bill was signed in to law by President Obama, but many more housing unites are going to be needed in L.A. 


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Humanitarian Crises


In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama rejected calls to reverse his plan to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees into our country, by insisting that we shouldn’t equate the victims of violence with terrorists.
Obama wants to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States within a year.  Governors in 30 states say, that they oppose accepting Syrian refugees either for now or permanently.  Refusing Syrian refugees, when the Paris attackers were neither Syrian nor refugees, makes as much sense as invading Iraq when none of the 9/11 high-jackers were Iraqi.
Congressional Republicans are also politicizing Obama’s policy to accept Syrian refugees.  Republican politicians would do well to remember a tragic incident from our past in which people fleeing from danger in their country were denied a compassionate response by our government.
In May, 1939, before the start of World War II, nearly 1,000 German Jews approached South Florida aboard a ship called St. Louis.  They had been denied entry to Cuba and hoped to receive sympathy from American leaders who knew of the severe discrimination they faced at home.
Instead, our government enforced the strict quotas in place at the time.  Those Jews were forced to return home, more than 500 were eventually trapped by Germany’s conquests in Europe and about half of those died in the Holocaust.  Today, some Republican presidential candidates suggest that we discriminate against refugees with a Christians only policy.
According to the United Nations, about half of these refugees are children, who are at risk of falling ill, being malnourished, or suffering from abuse or exploitation.  They continue to move toward the harsh weather of a European winter and take other tremendous risks, because anything is better than the chaos that has engulfed their homeland.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Right Policy


President Obama said: “What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain, and we have contained them.  They have not gained ground in Iraq.  And in Syria they’ll come in, they’ll leave.  But you don’t see this systematic march by ISIL across the terrain.  What we have not yet been able to do is to completely decapitate their command and control structures.  We’ve made some progress in trying to reduce the flow of foreign fighters.”
In the past month, the strategy of ISIL has shifted.  Perhaps, because they’ve lost 25 percent of the land that they had controlled, and tens of thousands of fighters.  Obama’s policies have put a lot of pressure on ISIL, so they’ve shifted to terrorist attacks abroad.  In fact, that is a sign of weakness.  Regrettably, we will probably see more terrorist attacks on civilians in the future.

These Jihadis adhere to a very ultraconservative form of Sunni Islam.  At an American prison in Iraq, many former senior officers from Saddam Hussein’s regime formed an alliance with prisoners, who espoused a very violent extremist version of Islam.
These former Saddamists may want the same kind of thing that Al Qaeda wanted with the 9/11 attacks.  Al Qaeda wanted its enemies in the west to leave it alone, but since that didn’t happen, they settled for a military confrontation to bring about an apocalyptic battle in which they presented themselves as the defender of Muslims.

Initially in Iraq and Afghanistan, our military used air power and special forces, but later on we sent in a large number of ground troops.  By doing so, our government obliged Al Qaeda.  Unfortunately, we could again make the same mistake, by reacting with many more troops on the ground to the recent terrorist attacks.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Actually


After World War II, most blue-collar job would enable a worker to buy a home, car, and have a reliable pension.  For some, it meant being the first in their family to go to college, and not graduate with a lot of debt.  

Although, the top 10 percent of Americans took home about one-third of our national income, that inequality took place in a dynamic economy where everyone’s incomes were growing.

By the late ‘70s, technology made it easier for companies to eliminate certain occupations.  A more competitive world allowed companies to ship jobs overseas.  Union workers lost their leverage, jobs paid less and offered fewer benefits.  

Businesses lobbied Congress to weaken unions and decrease the minimum wage.  As a trickle-down ideology became more prominent, taxes were slashed for the wealthy, and investments in schools and infrastructure were allowed to shrink.  More families began to relying on two earners as women entered the workforce. 

Today, all flat tax proposals being introduced by Republican presidential candidates are a fraud.  Their plans would cost our government trillions of dollars at a time when Republican politicians are insisting that they’re concerned about the national debt, that our government will be leaving our children and grandchildren.

Since, our government is in so much debt, logic would suggest that we raise taxes on the very wealthy, have more tax brackets, and treat all income the same.  Capital gains requires no labor, and the capital gains tax is a big loophole, because it’s taxed at 15%.  Real tax reform would treat all taxes exactly the same.

Our current tax system isn’t progressive, it’s regressive.  Poor people are paying large shares of their income into Social Security, payroll taxes and sales taxes.  It’s unfair and a flat tax would make it even more so.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Congressional Hearings


The 11-hour interrogation of Hillary Clinton, by the House Select Committee on Benghazi turned out to be farce.  The partisan Republican fishing expedition revealed nothing new about the attack on the American compound in Libya that previous hearings hadn’t disclosed.  Clinton clearly outclassed her opponents, by calmly discrediting irrelevant inquiries about her e-mail correspondence with Sidney Blumenthal.

Clinton wasn’t forced to answer probing questions about the 2011 intervention in Libya and her role in planning it.  That’s a shame, because four years after the death of Moammar Gadhafi, Libya is a wreck.  Two rival governments have been competing for power and territory alongside the forces of ISIS and various tribal and Islamic militias.

Libya’s economy and institutions have collapsed, and medicine, fuel, and food are all in short supply.  A Congress that took its oversight duties seriously would have asked questions such as what could the United States have done to prevent this collapse?  What were the Obama’s administrations commitment to protecting civilians?

Today, Congress has an obligation to call current and former executives of Exxon to testify about what is perhaps the greatest corporate fraud in all of human history.  Twin investigations by the Pulitzer Prize winning “Inside Climate News,” and the “Los Angeles Times” have revealed that Exxon knew as early as 1977 that burning fossil fuels would cause climate change.

It then spent the next few decades in a massive disinformation campaign meant to discredit the conclusions reached by its own scientists.  How far up did this cover-up go, and what are the human and environmental costs?  A Congress that wasn’t controlled by religious zealots would have called a hearing within days regarding those revelations.  Instead, hours after the Benghazi hearing, House Republicans voted to created a select committee to again investigate Planned Parenthood.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Never Satisfied


Religious zealots will never be satisfied with changing the Pledge of Allegiance into both a patriotic oath and a public prayer, establishing a prayer room in the Capital, adding the words "In God we Trust" to all paper money, or adopting “In God we trust” as the official motto.

They want to ban all abortions, and limit women’s reproductive choices.  For over five years, Colorado had great success in reducing unintended pregnancy, birth rate and abortion rate of teenage girls.  The state had a program that made it convenient for young women to get IUDs, irrespective of their insurance, or their ability to pay.  In five years, Colorado was able to drop their teen birth rate by 40 percent, and dropped their teen abortion rate by 35 percent.

The National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association gave Colorado an award for having the premier public health program in the country on that issue.  However, the day after Colorado got that award, Republicans in the state Senate voted to cancel the program.

Pastor Greg Boyd wonders: “Why in order to be pro-life, you’re expected to support a candidate whose mission is to overturn Roe vs. Wade?”  He believes that to be pro-life is not just being concerned about the womb, but that it’s also about being concerned about life.  The best way to lessen abortion is to vote for the candidate that you think is going to do the most to lessen poverty. 

Most Americans believe that the heart wrenching decision regarding abortion should not be decided by a bunch of arrogant men on the Supreme Court.  If the law is change, wealthy woman will have the option of taking a trip to Mexico, however dangerous back room illegal abortions will again be the only option for most women.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

No Shame



Although many people use the words shame and guilt interchangeably, from a psychological perspective, they refer to different experiences.  Shame and guilt sometimes go hand in hand; the same behavior may give rise to feelings of both shame and guilt.  Shame reflects how we feel about ourselves.

Polling indicates that nearly half of registered Republicans support either Donald Trump or Ben Carson to be their presidential candidate.  Neither of them have held a political office and don’t have a voting record.  They're praised for not being politicians, but if either is elected he will become an inexperienced politician.

I’m concerned that so many citizens disdain politics and politicians, when more than ever we need to value politics and what politicians do.  Our first Continental Congress consisted of fifty-six delegates from twelve of the thirteen colonies that were to become the United States of America.  The delegates had extensive experience in deliberative bodies, with a cumulative total of nearly 500 years of experience in their colonial legislatures.

The problem with religious zealots is that they tend to rant about politicians, but can only suggest: "Dump the politicians.”  Their cynicism comes from a belief that their voice isn’t being heard.  Actually the politicians, that Republican voted into Congress in 2010, very efficiently obstructed President Obama’s agenda by refusing to compromise.

The irrational, foolish, defeatism of religious zealots has infected others, and many Americans have lost hope for a better world.  We need an attitude, which encourages people to become informed and vote.  It’s a shame, that 63 percent of eligible voters didn’t vote in our last national election.  Those 144 million Americans, who didn’t vote, amounted to more than the population of Russia.

Zealots feel no shame, because they believe they’re doing God’s work.  In fact, they’re undermining our representative democracy.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

Feigned Ignorance


NASA scientist Jim Hansen raised public awareness of climate change, when he testified before a Congressional committee in 1988.  Back then the atmospheric level of Carbon Dioxide was passing 350 parts per million.  It’s now above 400 ppm, and we’ve seen the rapid melt of the Arctic, the acidification of the planet’s oceans, and a rapid rise in extreme weather. 
In 2016, President Obama warned: “Scientists had known since the 1800s that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide trap heat, and that burning fossil fuels release those gases into the air.  That wasn’t news.  But in the late 1950s, the National Weather Service began measuring the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, with the worry that rising levels might someday disrupt the fragile balance that makes our planet so hospitable.  And what they’ve found, year after year, is that the levels of carbon pollution in our atmosphere have increased dramatically.”
Two teams, one a Pulitzer Prize winning website “Inside Climate News,” and other the “Los Angeles Times” reach the conclusion, that ExxonMobil, the world’s largest and most powerful oil company, knew everything there was to know about climate change by the mid-1980s, and spent decades systematically funding climate denial and lying about the state of the science.
“Inside Climate News” has demonstrated that as early as the late 1970s, Exxon scientists were briefing top executives that climate change was real, dangerous, and caused by their product.  By the early 1980s, Exxon’s own climate models were predicting the track the global temperature has taken ever since.  Exxon’s hometown paper, “The Dallas Morning News” put the “Inside Climate News” investigation on its front page.
The “Los Angeles Times” report demonstrated that Exxon clearly believed their own climate models and used them to guide their efforts in the newly melting Arctic.  Their senior researcher said: “warming will clearly affect sea ice, icebergs, permafrost and sea levels.
Exxon publicly feigned ignorance.  CEO Lee Raymond described global warming as “projections are based on completely unproven climate models, or, more often, on sheer speculation.”
The “Washington Monthly” insisted: “A fossil fuel company intentionally and knowingly obfuscating research into climate change constitutes criminal negligence and malicious intent at best, and a crime against humanity at worst.  The Department of Justice has a moral obligation to prosecute Exxon and its co-conspirators accordingly.”
House Republicans are again investigating Planned Parenthood, but refuse to investigate Exxon.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Compassion and Respect


The golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” is also referred to as the ethic of reciprocity and is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights.

Many religious zealots have no interest in treating people, especially the poor, with compassion or respect.  Compassionate conservatism has become an oxymoron.  Congressional Republicans and those who voted for them have demonstrated their opposition to helping the less fortunate.  Many communities need job training, and a social safety net like every other community.  Compassion is about providing opportunity. 

Senator Elizabeth Warren reasoned: “There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own.  Nobody.  You built a factory out there - good for you.  But I want to be clear.  You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for.  You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.  You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.  You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory... Now look.  You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea - God bless!  Keep a hunk of it.  But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

We should focused on making the golden rule the heart and soul of our social contract with each other.  It’s true that we must take responsibility for ourselves, but we also have an obligation to others.  Every person, especially children, needs to have the nurturing and support that is required to succeed.  Instead of selfishly focusing on life after death, we should focus on the present. 




Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day Message



Legendary Marine Corps officer Smedley Butler was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor twice for separate acts of outstanding heroism.  The following remarks were extracted from a speech, Butler delivered in 1933.

“War is just a racket.  A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people.  Only a small inside group knows what it is about.  It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

“The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent.  Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

“I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers...  I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps.  I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General.  And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers.  In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism…”

“I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914.  I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.  I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street.  The record of racketeering is long.  I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912.  I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916.  In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

“Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints.  The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts.  I operated on three continents.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Religious Zealots


Far right religious zealots are determined to destroy our country.  And, they don’t care because they’re anticipating the second coming of Christ.  The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy a Baptist minister in 1892.  Rev. Bellamy structured it for public school programs and had considered placing the word “equality” in his Pledge, but knew some state superintendents on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans.

In school during the 1940’s, we recited the pledge which didn't include the seemingly innocuous words “under God.”  In 1954, Congress added those words after a vigorous campaign by the Knights of Columbus.  Thus, the pledge became both a patriotic oath and a public prayer.

Undermining the separation of church and state doctrine reached a peak in the 1950's.  Republican President Eisenhower inaugurated the prayer breakfast.  Congress created a prayer room in the Capital and added the words "In God we Trust" to all paper money.

E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many One) was considered the motto of the United States until 1956 when Congress passed an act adopting “In God we trust” as the official motto.
The historic roots of the deep division we’re now facing in our nation began when Congress added “under god” to the Pledge.  Far right politicians repeatedly weave piety with patriotism.“ 
Why would a compassionate God, bless America?  When so many of it’s citizens are repeatedly voting politicians into office who vote against climate change, campaign finance and immigration reform, a women’s rights to chose, marriage equality and vote repeatedly to undermine the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.
Religious conservative justices, on the Supreme Court have ruled in a 5-4 decision that the EPA unreasonably interpreted the Clean Air Act when it decided to set limits on the emissions of toxic pollutants from power plants without first considering the costs of the industry to do so.
The Obama administration had argued that air pollutants like mercury and arsenic are associated with birth defects, cancer and other risks, especially for pregnant women and children.  Coal and oil fired power plants are the single biggest contributor to mercury contamination of our rivers and lakes.
Facts don’t matter to far right religious zealots.  They won’t even admit that climate change is caused by human activity, or that it is already devastating our planet.  They have no plan to deal with climate change.  

Monday, November 09, 2015

Final Days


No matter what else happens in President Obama’s final days in office, his legacy will include being the president who got health reform accomplished after decades of other politicians calling for it, but failing to get it passed.  Nearly 7 million young people have health insurance because they're able to stay on their parent's plans.  Senior citizens are saving money on prescription drugs, and women have gained access to free preventive care like mammograms and contraception.  More than 16 million Americans have obtained health insurance.

He will be remembered as the president who reopened the American embassy in Havana after it had been shut down for more than 50 years.  As Commander-in-Chief, Obama allowed gay people to serve openly in the military, and praised the Supreme Court ruling of  5-4, that same-sex couples can marry nationwide, thereby establishing a new civil right.

Obama will be known as the president, who got Osama bin Laden, and got Syria to give up its arsenal of chemical weapons.

He will go down in history as the president who brought America back from the brink of a second Great Depression, rescued the auto industry when it was on the brink of extinction, and signed Wall Street, credit card, and student loan reforms.  Our economy started growing 6 months after he took office.  We’ve witnessed 67 straight months of private sector job growth.  More than 13 million new jobs have been created, and the unemployment rate has fallen from 10 percent to 5.0 percent.

Obama fixed a student loan system that was giving billions of dollars of taxpayer money to banks.  By giving loans directly to students, the number of grants have doubled.  And, he signed a credit card reform bill designed to protect consumers from surprise fees and sudden interest rate hikes.

We’re using less foreign oil and reducing carbon pollution that threatens our planet.  We’ve doubled the generation of clean, renewable energy like wind and solar.  America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last 20 years, and we’re on track to emit fewer greenhouse gases this year than we have in nearly 20 years.

As Obama starts his final days in office another historically important accomplishment is taking place.  If the Iranian nuclear deal works, it will end the long standing fear of an Iranian nuclear bomb without having to go to war.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Hastert’s Legacy


In 1787, compromise gave us the Constitution, that provided for a government where compromise is the only way to get things done, the only other option is complete legislative paralysis.

Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert instituted the “Hastert Rule,” a policy which stipulates that no legislation will be allowed to come to a vote in the House unless it is supported by a majority of the majority party.  Congressional religious zealots have been attempting to write the “Hastert Rule” into the bylaws of the House Republican Conference.  The Hastert rule has only one purpose, and that is to prevent the majority party from ever having to compromise on anything.

In 2006, Texas Republican Tom DeLay constantly hammered Republican members of the House to raise more money.  Their leadership auctioned off committee assignments and chairmanships to those who raised the most money for the party.

California Republican Duke Cunningham secured 16 million in government contracts in exchange for a $140,000 boat.  Other, lawmakers traded influence for cash, trips, and other luxuries, all offered by lobbyists, like Jack Abramoff.

Hastert vowed to tighten the rules in response to those scandals, but the Republican controlled Congress didn’t do a thing to clean up the system.  Eventually, Hastert became the longest serving Republican speaker in history.

Now, Dennis Hastert’s legacy will include pleading guilty in federal court to charges that were brought last May.  Prosecutors alleged in that indictment that Hastert paid an unnamed individual more than $3 million to conceal what was described in the indictment as, "prior misconduct".

The indictment never spelled out the alleged prior misconduct, but federal officials have said, that the alleged misconduct took place when Hastert was a high schoolteacher and wrestling coach in Yorkville, Illinois, in the 1960s and the 1970s.  And, that the conduct was specifically sexual in nature and involved a student at the high school.

Lawyers for the former Speaker of the House reached a plea agreement in the case.  That means Hastert will avoid a trial.  At which the details of the alleged prior misconduct could have been discussed.  By pleading guilty to two charges, one of hiding outsized bank withdrawals, and one for lying about it to the FBI, Hastert avoided any discussion of prior misconduct.  He’s  facing a potential sentence of ten years in prison, but is expected to get between six months and two years in prison. 

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Richard Hanna


A second House Republican has admitted that the predominate purpose of the House Select Committee on Benghazi has been to attack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In September, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy bragged that one of House Republicans’ successes has been using the Benghazi Committee to drive down Clinton’s poll numbers.  McCarthy has since tried to walk back his controversial comments.  However, New York Republican Congressman Richard Hanna said that the Majority Leader had it right to begin with.

In an interview on a radio show in upstate New York, Richard Hanna a  third-term congressman revealed: “Sometimes the biggest sin you can commit in D.C. is to tell the truth.  This may not be politically correct, but I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and an individual, Hillary Clinton.”

“After what Kevin McCarthy said, it’s difficult to accept at least a part of it was not.  I think that’s the way Washington works.  But you’d like to expect more from a committee that’s spent millions of dollars and tons of time.” 

House Republicans have insisted, that the Benghazi probe was about investigating the events surrounding the 2012 attack in Libya that left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, rather than undermining Clinton’s potential presidential bid.

McCarthy’s statement was among the factors that ended his inevitable rise to the House Speakership.  Since, Hanna’s admission, there is growing doubt even among Republican loyalist about the Benghazi Committee’s true purpose.

McCarthy and Hanna aren’t the only Republicans to publicly declare that the Benghazi Committee has been on a partisan investigation.  Major Bradley Podliska, a Republican investigator formerly working on the Committee, has claimed that he had lost his job for refusing to focus his investigation on Clinton.

Friday, November 06, 2015

News Commentators Opinions


Regarding the Benghazi hearing, NBC News commentator, Andrea Mitchell stated: “It just seemed to me that you had this panel of former prosecutors who are skilled lawyers, and I’m not sure that they either had a line of questioning, coordinated their questions, or had a game plan.  And she, of course, was very rehearsed.  You saw that in 2013 when she had just come back from a concussion and hospitalization.  She had really prepared very carefully and didn’t get rattled.
“She only got angry at all in the end when Trey Gowdy, the chairman, was questioning the credentials and the credibility of Admiral Mike Mullen, the co-chair of that Accountability Review Board along with Ambassador Tom Pickering.  And she came to the defense of Mike Mullen, who of course is the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and with a very vigorous defense.  And that was the only point of real sparks in terms of anger that you saw from her.”
Rachel Maddow asked Mitchell: “Is it normal to have one witness in the chair for 11 straight hours?
Andrea Mitchell answered: “That is not normal.  It’s also not normal to have a bipartisan panel where they can’t agree on the rules, where they don’t go according to any kind of set procedure.  And I’m thinking back to Iran Contra, the investigation that I covered, and several of the other really important investigations.” 
By mid-afternoon, right-wing commentators began throwing in the towel.  Matt Lewis tweeted: “It’s starting to look like Hillary Clinton won’t merely survive this hearing—she will have come out on top.”  The New York Post’s John Podhoretz wrote: “Why doesn’t Pompeo just go over and swear her in for president now—if he goes on like this he’ll practically get her elected.”

Thursday, November 05, 2015

No Evidence


The Benghazi Select Committee has dragged on for years, and found no evidence of wrongdoing or conspiracy.  The select committee on Benghazi, which Kevin McCarthy publicly confessed to being created for partisan purpose, has already cost taxpayers $4.6 million.  House Republicans are committed to shutting down Planned Parenthood, and have already spent time and money to find no evidence of any wrongdoing.
Before relinquishing his position as House Speaker, John Boehner created an entire new special committee to investigate Planned Parenthood that will provide another forum for House Republicans to grandstand for political points for their extremist religious base.
On 10/7/15, House Republicans voted to form a new select committee to "investigate" Planned Parenthood, because they couldn't pass a bill to defund Planned Parenthood.  They couldn't shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood.  After listening to hours of testimony and receiving tens of thousands of pages of documents, they couldn't prove that Planned Parenthood has done a single thing wrong.
House Republicans haven’t even hidden the fact that their committee hearings are nothing more than partisan witch hunts.  The House Judiciary Committee hearings are called: Planned Parenthood Exposed: Examining the Horrific Abortion Practices at the Nation's Largest Abortion Provider.  When the House Oversight Committee held its hearing, committee chair Jason Chaffetz was caught using an anti-abortion organization's deceptive chart to try to discredit the services that Planned Parenthood provides.
This is another brazen attempt to replicate the partisan attacks of the sham House Select Committee on Benghazi.  House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy admitted as much when he bragged about the negative effects of the House Select Committee of Benghazi on Hillary Clinton's campaign for president and suggested that it was time for a committee to do the same kind of investigation into Planned Parenthood.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

A Safer Country


Factual data shows that overall violent crime rates across our nation appears to be nearly as low as they were last year and significantly lower than they were in previous decades.  Statistics show that over the last 20 years, smart policing has helped cut the violent crime rate and the homicide rate in our country by almost half.  Furthermore, Americans are nearly half as likely to be the victim of an aggravated assault, and less than half as likely to be the victim of a robbery.
It’s also a fact that across our country the number of police officers shot and killed in the line of duty has fallen to their lowest levels in decades.  
However, this doesn't mean that we shouldn’t have a debate over fairness in law enforcement, when it comes to communities of color.  It’s deeply troubling, that the spike in violent crime has predominantly happened in urban, minority communities.  Minority communities have historically been under-policed, and many of those neighborhoods want more police presence, not less.

In the minority neighborhoods in large cities such as Chicago gun violence and homicides have spiked significantly.  President Obama has asked Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, a former prosecutor, to work aggressively with law enforcement and prosecutors and leaders in those communities to find out why this is happening, and target resources where they will have the greatest impact.
President Obama promised: “I will do everything that I can to encourage cooperation, and work hard to make sure that the work that's being done by law enforcement is appreciated and supported, and that we maintain this incredible progress that we've made in terms of reducing crime.  But in order for us to do that, we do have to stick with the facts.  What we can't do is cherry-pick data...”

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Conservative Revolt


The Republican candidates for president wanted to start a revolt against the Republican Party by convening a meeting last Sunday.  The RNC wasn’t invited to that meeting.
Then, the RNC declaring that NBC News and Telemundo will have their Republican debate suspended in February.   So, NBC News put out a statement saying that it was a disappointing development and that they hope to work something out with the Republican Party.
The Republican Party told NBC and Telemundo you cannot host an RNC-sponsored presidential debate anymore.  The Republican candidates seem to have determined that the RNC is not going to have anything to do with the process anymore. The candidates are taking over, and the RNC is no longer even invited to their discussions.
The apparent winner of that NBC News debate, Ted Cruz has suggested: “How about a debate moderated by Sean Hannity and Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh?”

We know who Rush Limbaugh is, and Sean Hannity was the person on Fox News who was interviewing Ted Cruz, but you may not be familiar with the name Mark Levin. 

After the NBC debate, conservative radio program host, Mark Levin claimed: “Now, I didn’t agree with every candidate on every issue.  That’s quite beside the point.  That wasn’t even the purpose of this debate.

“This debate was a historic debate.  It was a historic debate because the Republicans, not all of them, but most of them on that stage had had enough!  Enough is enough.

“And I say that Reince Priebus should be fired over there at the Republican National Committee.  I don’t know.  Did you hear that today from 12 different people?  I doubt it. I don’t know.

“That guy’s an incompetent.  He’s a boob!  The head of the RNC needs to go.  These debate formats are preposterous.” 

Monday, November 02, 2015

Two Year Deal


On 10/30/15, the Senate by a 64 to 35 vote gave final approval to a two-year agreement that would prevent our country from default this week, and lowered the risk of a government shutdown.  After midnight, 18 Republican, 2 Independent, and 44 Democratic Senators voted in favor of a budget and debt deal.  President Obama is expected to sign it today.
The compromise had the support of most Democratic Senators, but congressional Republicans complained the deal, that was brokered by bipartisan congressional leaders, included too much spending.
The bill increases federal spending on defense and domestic programs by more than $80 billion over the next two years and extends the nation's debt ceiling through March 2017.
Savings included cutting future Medicare reimbursements to some health-care providers, selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, selling licences for the use of public airwaves to telecommunications companies, and increasing some employers’ cost for insuring worker’s pensions.
Medicare premiums would increase over time.  The Social Security disability trust fund would be overhaul in an attempt to prevent a 20% reduction in benefit cuts.  Supposedly $5 billion in savings would come from redistributing payroll benefits, not cutting them.
The agreement is the result of weeks of negotiations between John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.  The bill would raise spending caps by $80 billion divided equally between defense and domestic programs.
The framework of the agreement is similar to the two-year budget deal crafted in 2013, when Rep. Paul Ryan chaired the budget panel with his counterpart Washington, Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.
We’ve seen several dramatic standoffs over the budget and extensions of the debt ceiling since the Republicans took control of the House in 2010.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Immunity from Prosecution


Although, there are many dangers police officers confront in their work.  They shouldn’t be afraid to be seen doing their job.  
The largest protests after Eric Garner’s death in NYC occurred after the grand jury failed to indict.  A year has passed and still no indictment in the death of 12 year old Tamir Rice.
Marquez Claxton is a former New York City detective, who presently is director of Black Law Enforcement insists: “The nature of police work is pro-activity, and it’s not contingent upon whether or not you accept or believe in reform or change or adaptations that people may demand.  It is a requirement based in what you swore to uphold and protect.”

Claxton reasons: “Many of those individuals who come out with these theories about the Ferguson effect are venerating police officers, and for all practical purposes granting police officers diplomatic immunity.
“It would be a huge mistake if this trend towards venerating law enforcement continues because police officers are public servants paid by the public dollar.  They are not victims.  They are volunteers who get paid and they should be held to a certain standard.

“It’s the profession that has taken a tremendous hit when you have individuals who will not recognize what is wrong with the profession itself.”

The former New York City detective concluded: “Police officers in particular become very defensive when they are questioned or God forbid criticized.  And the reaction, the natural reaction is to invoke what I mentioned earlier, and that’s like as if they have diplomatic immunity.  Like because we assume this dangerous position, we took this job, we took this oath, we wanted this career, and it is dangerous, then we should be allowed to do all manner of things and not be criticized or questioned about it.”