Prosecutor is Selective in Concern for Privacy Rights

The linked article figuratively twists a blade.  I was recently involved in a civil case in which the police investigator avoided any evidence that might call the complainants credibility into question, or that might allow the accused to prove her innocence.  Based on the article linked to below, that type of thinking and bias in not limited to the particular investigator, not to police, as opposed to prosecutors.  If a technique or methodology can be used both to convict and to exonerate, on what basis may it be argued that is serves justice to inculpate, but not to exculpate?http://reason.com/blog/2016/10/26/familial-dna-has-led-to-the-capture-of-s

The Pros and Cons of Lies in Politics

The author of this article makes the case that lies have a legitimate place in politics, but lying more often is merely an expedient tool for coping with an ignorant and/or intellectually lazy public that, too often, prefers reassuring lies to the truth.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/10/25/why-politicians-lie/?utm_term=.8b2b87dbe04b&wpisrc=nl_volokh&wpmm=1

Officer-Involved Shootings- A Video Worth Viewing

This linked video was produced by the Force Science Institute, and, while it does not address the question of how more officer-involved shootings may be avoided, it does address factors that contribute to the problem, common misconceptions (in some cases, even on the part of law enforcement agencies), and the reasons why initial reports so often are misleading…even when there is some video.  Here’s the link:

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

For those who are interested in drilling down, the Institute’s website also contains articles and videos that further illustrate some of the points raised in the above video, along with the results of other research performed by the Institute.  Some of the findings/conclusions suggest that the courts, the public, and even law enforcement agencies have failed to take into account the physical, neurological, and psychological limits of even above-average members of our species, and that there are serious disconnects between some critical aspects of law enforcement selection, training, equipping, etc. on one hand, and the realities revealed by testing and research.

 

For Many on the Left, Was Freedom of Speech Merely a Tactic?

More and more, it appears that the Left, which fervently supported freedom of expression during most of our county’s history, began to shift its position as it gained power. Trotsky wrote of “Their Morals and Ours.” Perhaps Alinsky or one of his intellectual heirs should write, “Our Freedom, Not Theirs.”
 
One of the latest examples come from DePaul, the nation’s largest Catholic (i.e. non-public, and not subject to a law suit on First Amendment grounds) university, where a conservative speaker (one of his topics being what he characterizes as leftist brainwashing of college students), whom the university will not allow to speak on campus, due to “public safety concerns.” In other words, the university is not confident that, when confronted with the prospect of different perspective being expressed, its students and/or off campus leftist groups will refrain from violence in their efforts to prevent that perspective from being openly shared.
 
Not that everyone to the left of center is of a mind to silence opposing voices, though I sometimes have been surprised by basically fair minded friends who seem to view freedom of speech as something generally good, but less important than particular agendas or what they regard as greater truths. A good example of someone with solid liberal credentials who has spoken out against the Left’s efforts to suppress expressions of opposing views is Kirsten Powers, who worked for the Democratic Party and served in the Clinton Administration. Here is a link to her 2015 book on the subject:

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.