Race and Gender Baiting, Conscious and Unconcious

It is not difficult to understand why supporters of Hillary Clinton attribute sexist to many of her detractors, or why the mostly-same group attributes racist motives to those who have fervently opposed Barack Obama.  For one thing, those opponents often have been quick to show their racist and sexist asses, whether when commenting on Hillary’s pantsuits or our First Lady’s derriere, or when posting charactatures of President Obama that feature “negroid” features that harken back an era when many in our nation regarded African-Americans as less than human.  The, of course, there is the Photoshopping that goes on, purporting to show President Obama as an armed Black Panther, but never as the president of the Harvard Law Review, though some would argue it was an equally radical and potentially dangerous group.  The point is the attempts to emphasize race and/or gender to denigrate or to inspire antipathy, rather than focusing on positions, track records, or even character.

On the other hand, people on the right have been quick to point out that many of the attacks from the left on conservative women such as Sarah Palin, Joni Ernst, and Carly Fiorina have reeked of sexism, and that it was commentators from the left, and not his supporters on the right, who seemed titillated by the fact that some of Herman Cain’s accusers were white women.  Then, too, it’s not as if some on the left didn’t exaggerate Ted Cruz’s features, or Photoshop to make him look like Grampa Munster.  Was that because they couldn’t tolerate the thought of a Hispanic in the White House?  Of course not.

And, approaching the same issues from a different perspective, can any honest and objective person deny that that many of the same conservatives who seem rabidly anti-Obama enthusiastically supported Herman Cain and, more recently, Ben Carson?  Or that no state-wide elected official is more popular among South Carolina Republicans than Tim Scott?  For that matter, if Darryl Glenn wins in Colorado in the general election, the ratio of black Republicans to black Democrats in the U.S. Senate, come January, may end up 2:1.  And, just as the left reviled and ridiculed Sarah Palin, was she not an icon for the so-called sexists on the right?  And, if you go in for “two-fers,” if conservatives are racist and sexist, how does one explain Rep. Mia Love defeating a white male Democratic incumbent in a congressional district that was only 4% African-American?

I think this is what we have been confusing: racism and sexism as motives to oppose, versus racism and sexism that opposition bring to the surface.  Just look at the news stories from the past couple of days.  I’m sure that the Reverend Jessie Jackson has never refused to help a fellow Democrat because that candidate was a Jew, but his infamous characterization of NYC as “Hymietown” revealed his underlying feelings about Jews.

My take on all this is that most people, whether on the left or on the right, a fully willing, even eager, to support candidates who do not look like them, but who clearly think like they do.  Witness the fact that, in 2014, Tim Scott not only defeated a while male conservative in the Republican primary, but went on to win more votes in the general election than did his white male (and senior) Republican Senate colleague, Lindsay Graham.  But, there are certain people across the political spectrum who, when they are angry, worried, or even annoyed, find it easier and/or more gratifying to dispense with compelling facts and cogent argument, and instead jump straight to the gutter tactics of the bigot…half the time not even realizing that’s what their doing.

BTW, if you don’t buy my assertion that the left has revealed its sexism and racism during recent elections, just Google the names of some conservative female and/or black or hispanic candidates, and see what you come up with.  Here’s one you can start with, from the Huffington Post, no less: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adele-stan/stop-the-sexist-rants-on_b_226436.html

 

William F. Buckley on Candidate Trump…16 Years Ago!

In 2000, the year there first was talk of Trump running for President, Conservative icon and former New York mayoral candidate William F. Buckley, Jr. wrote of Trump’s narcissism and warned of his demagoguery.  I don’t have a link to the original, prescient article, but I’ve supplied the URL to an article about the article.  Here is a taste:

“So what else can Trump offer us? Well to begin with, a self-financed campaign. Does it follow that all who finance their own campaigns are narcissists? At this writing Steve Forbes has spent $63 million in pursuit of the Republican nomination. Forbes is an evangelist, not an exhibitionist.”

http://www.redstate.com/jaycaruso/2016/07/24/16-years-ago-william-f.-buckley-wrote-donald-trump-eerily-accurate/

A Phony Game With Real Consequences- Identity Politics

The article focuses on the Clinton Campaign.  Unfortunately, many Republican Party have taken the opposite in the arguments, but have accepted the same, specious assumptions.  Both sides should know better, and, for all we know, one or both actually do.  The questions for the rest of us might be whether they are ignorant or shallow, blinded by their ideologies, or unashamedly cynical.  Then comes the next question: what are we going to do about it, because until we cease rooting for the opposing teams, and start trying to work together, we’ll continue to fight over shares of a shrinking pie.

http://www.city-journal.org/html/hillarys-web-promises-14624.html

Tim Kaine May Actually Have a Principle or Two!

This is an interesting article, authored by someone who usually takes issue with the agendas of both major parties, and especially with those of liberal Democrats.  Here, he reserves his right to disagree with Kaine on most subjects, while giving the devil his due.

ttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/07/22/tim-kaines-principled-defense-of-constitutional-limits-on-presidential-power/?wpisrc=nl_volokh&wpmm=1

 

Our System of Government is Owned and Controlled by Two Private Corporations

Picture an industry in which two corporations share 99% of the market.  Now imagine that the federal government had created an commission to regulate the industry, and limited membership on the commission to equal numbers of representatives from those two corporations, and to their members alone.  Next imagine that the federal government were to invite taxpayers to earmark a portion of their taxes for the benefit of those two corporations, to defray their expenses.  Finally, imagine that those same two corporations were allowed to decide who could control the House and the Senate, which candidates for office could receive federal matching funds, and which presidential candidates could receive free advertising by participating in highly watched debates.

Would that not be a more striking example of a “trust” in need of busting than anything than any cabal of bankers, oil companies, software companies, or telephone companies ever devised?  Yet, that is our current elections system.

If you’ll check out the Federal Elections Commission’s official website, and look up their explanation about where your $3.00 go, if you check that box on your income tax return, you see that it refers to the Democratic and Republican parties, and to subsidizing the conventions of “the national parties,” but that there is no reference to independent candidates or to third parties…even though some have appeared on enough state ballots to have (technically) allowed for a majority of Electoral votes.

The commission that regulates presidential debates is not a government agency (though it might as well be, given its near total control).  It is a 501(c)(3), i.e. tax exempt, corporation was a joint creation of the Democratic and Republican Parties (themselves private, non-governmental agencies), and continues to be their joint property.  501(c)(3) corporations cannot retain their tax exempt status if they become involve in partisan political activities, but there are allowed to sponsor voter education and to host public forums, which is how the Debate Commission supposedly qualifies.

Why “supposedly”?  Because the Debate Commission has established criteria designed to guarantee that only the candidates nominated by its two corporate owners will be allowed to receive the critically important free publicity that presidential debates provide.  For any other candidate to be allowed to participate, that candidate must poll at 15% or greater is national polls conduced by the five polling organizations specified by the commission, which means, if effect, the five polling organizations selected by the two corporations that do not want any additional competition.  Moreover, the Commission (i.e. the two corporations/parties) do not even pressure, let alone require, that any of the polling organizations EVEN INCLUDE the names of any additional parties or candidates (in 2012, only 10% of the relevant polls included a name other than those of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama).

Of course, without the exposure that debates provide, without the opportunity for matching funds or subsidies for their conventions, etc., third party candidates have almost no chance or scoring 15% in five national polls…assuming all five polling organizations even deign to include them.  Does anyone think that result, i.e. being left with virtually no chance in Hell, is just a coincidence?

Here’s a scary thought- what if we had public campaign financing and large contributions were completely banned?  Wouldn’t that, in effect, result in paid advertising for anyone but a Democrat or Republican becoming a criminal offense?  No WONDER there is so much support for the idea!

There currently is a pending anti-trust lawsuit against the Federal Elections Commission, filed by the Libertarian Party and the Green Party (an example of a very different type of “bipartisanship” than usually is discussed).  Their argument is that a “national party” should be any party that qualifies for enough state (and D.C.) ballots to represent a majority of Electoral votes.  The also argue that the same criterion should apply to participation in the presidential debates.

Please note that the Libertarian will be on far more state ballots (as many as all 50, plus the District) than the Green Party, and has received more votes in past elections.  Nevertheless, the are advocating rules that might benefit the Greens as much or more than their own party.  Why would they do that?  Apparently, because they regard it as a fair, reasonable, and principled position, rather than one that would give them a special advantage.  Please compare and contrast to the approaches of the Republican and Democratic Parties.

“Too big to fail” is bad enough.  “So big that no one else will be allowed a chance” is even worse.

Another Officer-Involved Shooting! And What a Sorry Excuse for an Explanation.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/21/us/miami-officer-involved-shooting/

The police union concedes that the African American therapist who was shot by the officer did everything right…and the video shows him on his back, arms outstretched over and behind him, with his hands open.  The union claim that the officer fired at the autistic white man (whom the therapist was trying to return to a group home) who was sitting a few feet away, playing with what is now said to have been a toy vehicle, but which the officer supposedly mistook for a gun.

Here’s a slight problem with the police union’s version…after the officer fired and hit the black therapist, and missed the white patient at whom the officer supposedly was aiming, the officers proceeded to roll the wounded victim on to his stomach and handcuff him behind his back, while, rather that pinning and handcuffing the man who, according to the union’s narrative, was the officer’s intended target.

When you shoot an innocent person by accident, standard procedure is to roll them over and cuff him, right?  Just like it is standard procedure to take a risky shot at a possible perp, in order to save a potential victim whose in the line of fire.

Can’t understand why some people think that race is an issue, or that police officers try to cover for each other.  Can you?

Libertarian Party’s Statement re Recent Shootings

In the interests of full disclosure, I found this statement partially objectionable, as it passed judgment on the officers who used their firearms prior to any meaningful investigations and, at least in the case in Baton Rouge, prior to the release of the video that disproved some of the initial accusations and claims.  And, if anyone will take the time to check out the results of experiments conducted by the Force Science Institute (see earlier post), they’ll see how little time officers have in which to react, once a suspect makes a furtive move (if the suspect has a gun, by the time the officer can react, it may already be too late).

The statement makes a valid point about the blue wall of silence, though, because to the extent that officers circle the wagons to protect ANY officer involved in a shooting, the public is justified in suspecting EVERY officer involved in a shooting.  Trust is critical, and we can’t built that by pointing to statistics on the high percentage of officers who are exonerated by investigations conducted by other law enforcement officers.  On the other side of the equation, though, the perception that police officers are quicker to pull the trigger is the other person is black may be more apparent than real, based recent academic studies (linked to in previous posts).

Be all that as it made, and notwithstanding the fact that I probably will vote for Gary Johnson, here is the official statement to which I take exception.  Think of it as my attempt to be fair and balanced:

For Immediate Release

Friday, July 8, 2016

Libertarian Party Calls for an End to All Violence

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark issued this statement today in relation to the recent shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas:

“The killing needs to stop. All of it. None of these shootings were justified – not the shootings by the police, not the shootings of the police. The Libertarian Party denounces all killing. No American should feel they’ve invited violence upon themselves because of their skin color, the uniform they wear in service to their communities, or their decision to exercise their Second Amendment rights. None of these factors should make you a target for murder in this country.”

“The frustration in the black community is palpable, and frankly, justified. When rogue cop after rogue cop gets off scot-free after using excessive force and changes are not made, and consequences are not felt, it causes this horrible tension we are feeling today. However, the vast majority of the black community have been exercising their right to protest peacefully and admirably. It is despicable that a couple of bad actors put a cloud over all that and increased tension for everyone. The shooters in Dallas will see justice, but will the blue wall of silence ever be broken? Will cops ever start to do a better job of policing themselves?”

“The Libertarian Party calls for peace and justice. Those two things go hand in hand.”

###

 

 

Officer-Involved Shootings- A Website That May Explain it All (or at least a lot)!

Below is a link to the “Demos” page of the Force Science Institute’s website.  While I recommend checking out the rest of their website, as well, this is the page that with a few clicks, illustrates (not argues) why a significant percentage of people shot by law enforcement officers turn out to have been unarmed.  It also explains why so many officers who are shot by suspects are dropped before they can fire a shot.  And, after you see the figures and play out some corresponding scenarios in your own mind, you may, like me, find yourself wondering why the situation isn’t even worse than has been.

Do this:

  1. Click on “Officer Motions,” and then click on some of the stances from which the officers who were tested started.  Note that none of these stances involve holstered weapons; all the average and fastest times are based on the officer having his pistol already in hand and fully expecting to fire;
  2.  Keep in mind that these starting positions represent best-case scenarios in terms of an officer’s readiness…if the pistols were holstered, the typical officer would have to disengage/navigate two to three retention/safety devices before “clearing leather,” at which point he or she would then be in roughly the same position as where some of the demos begin.  It would be reasonable to add at least half a second to the times;
  3. Take a good look at the times that were recorded, and perhaps write them down;
  4. Next, back out of “Officer Motions” and click your way into “Subject Motions.”  Check out a few, especially the one with a gun tucked between the driver’s thigh and the car’s console.  Note the times;
  5. Compare and contrast the “Subject” times to the “Officer” times, keeping in mind that the subjects were able to initiate when they were ready, and the officers were, and nearly always are, in a position of having to observe, process, react…and, at least in theory, again observe and process, before deciding whether to pull the trigger.  Spoiler alert…if an officer did all that, he or she probably would be incapacitated or dead prior to completing the process;
  6. Back out of “Subject Motions” and click into “Interactions.”  Note that in the time it takes an officer to react to a subject’s sudden movement, the subject can turn almost 180 degrees, meaning that the subject will be shot in the back, without the officer having a realistic opportunity to hold his fire; and
  7. See if you can figure out what the hell we can do to reduce the risks to both citizens and officer.

http://www.forcescience.org/demos.html

Police Personnel Files – How Confidential Are They/Can They Be?

The article I’ve linked may seem (and be) a bit esoteric, but it is almost-must reading for anyone in involved in the criminal justice system as a law enforcement officer, defense attorney, or prosecutor.  It also is recommended reading for anyone trying trying to follow the various criminal cases being brought against police officers.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/07/13/one-constitutional-brady-doctrine-four-different-applications/?wpisrc=nl_volokh&wpmm=1