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Don’t Blame Loathsome Joe Arpaio, Blame the Voters Who Keep Electing Him

Donald Trump has been endorsed by many low life political individuals,  like Chris Christie and former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.  However,  the worst of the lot is the fascist Sheriff of Maricopa County, AZ , a county which “a 2007 Forbes study which ranked four of Maricopa County’s municipalities in the top ten fastest-growing cities in the nation.” That Sheriff’s name is Joe Arpaio.  Joe, a man so awful that an honorific should not be used before his name, ranks with some of the most infamous “Law Enforcers” in the country’s history, which includes lowlifes like Bull Connor, of Alabama’s racist infamy. This disgusting Joe, was elected by  the “good” citizens of Maricopa County six times, despite his unbelievably awful record as a law enforcement executive and officer. I say “despite”, but I really mean “because,” since I can only conclude that a majority of these “good” citizens support Arapaio’s flagrant disregard of our Constitution, Courts and the American Legal system. Some highlights of Joe’s career: Continue reading “Don’t Blame Loathsome Joe Arpaio, Blame the Voters Who Keep Electing Him”

In the Age of Trump the Eternal Cluelessness of the Avenging Mind

The election of Donald Trump entails far more than our country being led by an angry, revengeful narcissist,  who only sees the world as a reflection of his needs.  Supporting this man, once you get past the greedy oligarchs demanding more of our nation’s treasure, the White Supremacists with their bigotry and hatred,  are legions of Religious fundamentalists wanting revenge upon all who would not worship THEIR GOD as THEY command. The pardon of the loathsome Joe Arpaio and the nomination of Roy Moore for senator,  both popular among Trump’s voters,  indicates the angry, vengeful mindset abroad in our land.  The ultra-radical theocratic direction of this Administration become all the more clear with Mike Pence as VP, Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary and Neal Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.  What Trump, his appointees and his followers all have in common is that they see Government and the Law as a vehicle for them to exact revenge upon all who disagree with them.  They see themselves as pure and Godly vessels, empowered to take Gods revenge upon all they define as sinners. They are prime examples of the the Eternal Cluelessness of the Avenging Mind.

Perhaps the real original sin of humanity is the concept of sin itself. There is of course evil in the world and there is good. To me there is little equivocation about some evils and I am hardly a moral relativist. Although these terms become subjective when viewed from the perspective of an individual, there is a wide general acceptance among diverse cultures as to their general definitions.

We consider murder in all cultures evil, as is robbery, assault, rape (in most but not all cultures), and a host of familiar others. For at least five thousand years, cultures established legal systems to deal with bad behavior and with those systems came the need for punishment. The history of punishment has always been rather draconian and bloody. While today punishment is perhaps more humane in many places, it still caries with it significant cruelty in its application throughout humanity.

“A woman and her three children had just gotten off the bus at a stop across from their apartment building (in Marietta, Georgia) in October 2010 when her 4-year-old son, A.J., broke away from her and ran into the street. A car struck the boy, causing fatal injuries. Nelson (the woman) and one of her two daughters also suffered minor injuries. Nelson was charged with three misdemeanors: second-degree vehicular homicide, failing to cross at a cross walk and reckless conduct, according to court records. A jury convicted her. Although prosecutors did not recommend jail time, each count carried a potential sentence of one year in jail”.

What is behind this prosecution? Who among us who has raised young children wouldn’t be chilled with the vision of this happening to them? Why do we see such prosecutorial zeal in our society to find someone to punish when accidents occur?

The other salient aspect of this case is:

“The man driving the car, Jerry Guy, fled the scene after the accident but later admitted being involved, according to CNN affiliate WXIA-TV. He was sentenced to five years in prison but served only six months. He is serving the remainder of the sentence on probation.”  Here is the full story from CNN.

My proposition is that the increase in fundamentalist religious thought in the world and the influence it has had on us as a society, has led to a rash of unneeded prosecutions, motivated by the need to find an answer to each tragedy that comes to the public’s attention. The disconnect is that while our legal system and Constitution do not talk of sin as an offense against society, those believers in the concept of sin have the belief that we are punishing people for their sins and not for breaking the law. So deep is their dedication to fighting sin, that they believe our legal system is the proper venue to deal with it. In Christianity and Islam sin is to be punished by God/Allah’s judgment at the point of an individual’s death. Nevertheless, there is the idea that society should also punish sin, pre-Deity so to speak and in effect revenge itself on those miscreants who violate God’s Law. Judaism doesn’t talk of sin per se, but the harsh judgments prescribed in the Torah for various acts of breaking the 613 Commandments, may as well be the same as terming them “sin” by the popular understanding of the word.

When a society begins to judge criminality based on the notion of punishing sin, the roster of things to be punished is an ever-expanding one. With this goes the notion that society must avenge itself on those who commit sins and that punishment should be harsh. In this mindset, the law is meant to avenge wrongs and provide punishment as revenge. Not only is this notion inimical to our American legal system and Constitution, it is a foolish one that perverts our system and undermines our laws.

The tremendous increase in our prison rosters are due to what are essentially victim-less crimes dealing with drugs and alcohol. Hundreds of million are spent to dissuade drug abuse and after you parse  the message past the personal harm to the individual, the message is clearly that “getting high” is sinful. If we took the sin out of judging and dealing with the effects of drug use, perhaps we might even reduce it, or at least cut the cost in money and human lives it now represents.

Drugs are just one aspect of the problem of viewing our legal system as existing to punish sin and enforce religious based morality. Sin bespeaks the need of society to avenge proscribed behavior. A rational legal system is not about revenge as punishment, but should be about protecting the citizenry from predation and maintaining a safe environment. As such, our law should be dispassionate about meting out justice and compassionate in its application.

The human mind strives to make sense of the randomness of tragedy, seeking reasons for why they occur and trying to pin blame for the devastation on someone, or something. We know intellectually that “stuff happens”, but we find it hard to accept that sometimes there is just no reason for bad things to occur. If one is a Religious Fundamentalist, believing an omniscient God controls everything, since God is good it must be Satan controlling the supposed perpetrator. Therefore, when bad accidents occur to innocent, little children, someone has to assume blame. In this case, an overburdened mother, coming off from a bus and a four-year old behaving as four-year olds do and pulling away.

We can imagine the indignant feeling of a judgmental public wanting her called to account and the avenging feelings of Cops and Prosecutors, disdainful of her carelessness. This is what I call the “Avenging Mind”. This mindset believes that people deserve harsh punishment for their transgressions, not as reformation, but simply for the satisfaction of revenge. It is an angry, narrow-minded mindset, which internally treats itself with undue harshness and guilt. From a Fundamentalist perspective, we are all sinners, some restrained only by their certainty of punishment in the afterlife. God’s wrath though is not enough for them, because they will never see the punishment to occur. They need the vicarious thrill of seeing it happen.

Isn’t this the reason people were fighting to get into Casey Anthony’s trial and that the television ratings for the verdict were astronomical? It was a need to see her face, as the verdict was delivered and the punishment pronounced. They hoped for the sadistic satisfaction that tears or a pained expression on her face would give them. This isn’t about her guilt or innocence, it is about the fact that many humans take satisfaction in revenge. There are millions of children, living and dying in this world in horrible circumstances, yet we avoid that macrocosm with its attendant crying out to our emotions and focus upon the death of one in millions.

This woman above, faced with the devastating loss of her child and the overwhelming guilty feelings accompanying it, was made to stand trial for vehicular homicide. She was convicted, but in a seeming show of mercy sentenced to no jail time. She never should have been tried on that charge in the first place, or put through the torture of a trial, to make sure that revenge was provided for the human mistake of an instant. The only crime we have here is the Driver’s, for his fleeing the scene. He was treated more humanely for his crime, while a grieving mother who will never forgive herself, was forced to undergo public humiliation and trial.

How do we educate the part of the public so inundated with the notion of sin and retribution, that revenge is not the purpose of the law? In theory, our legal system exists as an extension of our Constitution, to safeguard us all and to protect our society from those who would willingly do harm to others. Somehow, it has gotten all confused with God’s wrath and that is to our detriment.

 

In the Age of Trump Not Trusting Police is Rational Behavior

There have been three incidents in the past week that should cause any citizen to begin to question just where Trump, the “Law and Order” President and his racist Attorney General henchman are planning to take the American Criminal Justice System?  The first was the pardon of the bigoted thug, Joe Arpaio.  This former Arizona Sheriff had for years been probably the worst police official in the country as I wrote in Don’t Blame Loathsome Joe Arpaio, Blame the Voters Who Keep Electing Him.

The second sign of Trump Times was a statement by the Ultra Right Wing Sheriff of Polk County, Florida  about Arresting People Fleeing Storm [Irma] If They Have Open Warrants.  Finally, the third news item dealt with a Utah Police Officer Arresting a Nurse for Refusing to Draw Blood. As this third story has developed it turns out that the officer’s motive had more suspicious origins.  The man in a coma was a truck driver hit head-on by a car fleeing a police chase, which was probably unnecessary. The  police motive was probably to obtain evidence that the victim of the accident was somehow culpable.  This is merely the latest tale in a long line of stories about police covering up for their own misdeeds. This is why in the Age of Trump there is even more reason that:

Not Trusting Police is Rational Behavior

The fact is that there is simply too much information on why a rational person shouldn’t trust police officers in general to be able to fit into one article, so this is an attempt at an overview of that opinion. On a personal note I must say that through the years I have not had many official encounters with police as a driver and as the subject of a criminal investigation. I did work closely with the NYPD professionally for eight years when I was in Child Welfare.  I’ve also had personal friends who were Police Officers and through them I have some idea of a “cops way of thinking.”  Besides that, one of my patients when I was a psychotherapist was a Police Lieutenant. So I do have some personal familiarity with members of law enforcement and their attitudes.

In more than 55 years of driving I’ve only gotten two speeding tickets, once late at night in North Dakota in 1977 and the other in Florida in 2010. In both instances I was guilty, admitted  such to the officer who stopped me and took my ticket with no problem. Being truthful about it, I must admit that even if I hadn’t been guilty I would not have protested the ticket to the officer, but would have waited to explain myself in court. The reason for this is that as a fairly reasonable human being I understand that it makes no sense to argue with someone with a gun and a badge to back that up. We have seen too many instances where protesting to police, or disobeying police orders, has resulted in death for the protester.  Two years ago,  when the issue of the Ferguson Missouri Police Department and the entire justice set up in that town,  was fresh and painful,  this story hit the news.  It was regarding a St. Louis County Police Officer who forcefully shoved a CNN anchor, during that networks coverage of the protests regarding the killing of Michael Brown:

“A St. Louis County police officer, who was seen pushing a CNN anchor during protests in Ferguson, Mo., this week, was suspended from duty after a controversial video surfaced, in which he fashions himself as a merciless killer. “I personally believe in Jesus Christ as my lord and savior, but I’m also a killer,” said officer Dan Page, a 35-year veteran, in the video. “I’ve killed a lot. And if I need to, I’ll kill a whole bunch more. If you don’t want to get killed, don’t show up in front of me. I have no problems with it. God did not raise me to be a coward.” Page added, “I’m into diversity — I kill everybody. I don’t care.”

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said Page has been suspended, pending a review by the internal affairs unit, which will begin Monday. The video was brought to Belmar’s attention by CNN’s Don Lemon. “With the comments on killing, that was obviously something that deeply disturbed me immediately,” Belmar told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The comments, which were made before members of the Christian organization, the Oath Keepers, also included his story of going to Kenya in search of “undocumented president,” Barack Obama. “I flew to Africa, right there, and I went to our undocumented president’s home,” Page said, holding a picture of him in Kenya. “He was born in Kenya.”  Here.

Page was able to retire with full pension after this story broke.  Now riddle me this? How was Dan Page able to remain a police officer for 35 years with this attitude? What does an attitude like Mr. Page’s say about the state of American Policing?

This fall there will be at least 28 hour long fictional “cop” shows on your television screen. This of course does not includes the “non-fiction” police shows, like “48 Hours Mystery”, “Snapped” and “Dateline NBC” et al, which are so popular that the genre even has its own full-time network “Discovery I.D.”. Obviously, there are many Americans who find these shows interesting and who we can infer, might think of America as over-run with crime despite declining FBI crime statistics. In almost every instance on these shows law enforcement officers are portrayed as “noble” people, fighting against the “scourge” of American Crime.  It is a version of “The Good Guys vs. The Bad Guys” simplification of very complex issues and yet based on polling we must admit that it has been effective pro police propaganda, even with  some rather impressive evidence to the contrary.

We know this from polling:

“A Gallup poll from this past June found that white Americans are 60 percent confident in police, while non-whites checked in at 48 percent. But in recent years, public trust in police has slid. A 2009 poll found that 63 percent of respondents of all races said police had “very high honesty and ethical standards,” but that number dropped to 57 percent the following year.”

The poll and link refer to an article which I am using as a basis for this post:  Here.

My own distrust of the police didn’t start at home since I was always taught to respect the police and quite frankly I was a fan of “cop” shows like “Dragnet”.  However, once I got my drivers license at 17 and began to drive, my opinion of police deteriorated.  This was directly related to the way I was treated by police. Now in 55 years of driving, besides the  2 speeding tickets I mentioned, I have only gotten 3 other traffic tickets. One for a red light, one for not making a right turn in a right turn lane and the third for an outdated inspection sticker. Besides that I have had three auto accidents two of which were minor fender benders in supermarket parking lots and stretching over the 55 year period. I write that lest the reader assumes I am the type of driver that would attract the attention of the police, I’m not.

What happened to me when I started driving was that I would be continually stopped by police, not for infractions, but just because of being a teen. While I was unfailingly polite they treated me arrogantly, were discourteous and often obscene in talking to me. Twice I was told to “fucking get back to my own town” after being stopped literally two miles from my house. also once the battery failed on my old convertible, with the top down and rain starting. I asked the passing NYC patrol car if I could get a “boost” since I had jumper cables and was told to “Get the fuck away from us, we’re not mechanics”.

The third accident I mention occurred in the middle of a blizzard at 2:00am, when I was 18. I skidded into a parked car in Queens, some damage to it and dented my own fender. I had nothing to write my name on, or leave for the cars owner to contact me. It was two months after my mother had died and my father was still deeply mourning her loss. I lied to him about the dent in my car the next morning saying someone had run into me while I was at my friends house and then went off to see my friends again, since it was the weekend. When I arrived home about 1:00 am my father was not only up, he was still dressed. His first question to me was “Tell me about that accident Mike” and when I tried to lie to him he said “Bullshit, 3 people reported you hitting that car to the police and two detectives are coming over now to talk to you about a “hit and run” charge!”

This scared the hell out of me. I was in my first year of college and now I saw myself going to jail. My father told me that when the Detectives arrived to admit what happened and not say a word afterward. The detectives came, I admitted my crime and for five minutes they reamed me out. Then the lead Detective asked my father if he could talk to him in private. They went into the bedroom for a brief time and they both came out smiling. The detective told me sternly that they were letting the charges go, but to never do it again. After they left, stunned and shaken, I asked my father what happened. He told me he got a call from them and that they asked to come over. He knew that if they was going to arrest me they would have called me down to the station rather than come out in the snow.  This tipped him off that they wanted a payoff. He had given the Detective $50 to forget about the charges.

Now my father on the other hand, was quite a reckless driver and was constantly getting stopped for speeding tickets. He, however, knew a NYC highway patrol Sergeant who was known as a ticket “bag-man” and he would get his tickets thrown out, or when stopped would talk the officer out of a ticket, or bribe them.  Thus in my teens, my positive attitude towards police shifted as I began to understand they all weren’t like Sgt. Joe Friday, on “Dragnet”. Then of course came the Civil Rights Movement and the “Peace” Movement and my view of policing became more jaded.

In any event let’s look at the “3 Reasons Intelligent, Rational Americans Don’t Trust Police”, from the article linked above:

1. Low IQ Academy Applicants Preferred

“A good number of white Americans reject affirmative action legislation because they say it unfairly gives less qualified “minorities” jobs they don’t deserve. Police departments, on the other hand, actually prefer and covet the least qualified applicants they can possibly get.

Mr. Robert Jordan of New London, Conn. wanted to become a cop. The first step in that jurisdiction is for applicants to take a Wonderlic test. Many Americans have heard of this exam because NFL prospects must take it as part of the draft process.

Jordan took the test on March 16, 1996 and scored a 33 (out of 50). He was not allowed to move on to the next stage of the application process because he scored too high on the test. The City of New London defended its policy, saying Jordan scored too far above the “normative median” of 21 and would “get bored” with the job and quit. The average NFL player also scores around 20 on the test, according to Bleacher Report.

Mr. Jordan filed a discrimination lawsuit in federal court alleging a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The district court dismissed the case, ruling that New London’s policy is “rational.” The U.S. Second Circuit Court Of Appeals affirmed. In other words, it is legal for police departments to purposely hire the least intelligent individuals they can find. Plus the less education they’ve obtained, the easier they are to manipulate. This is why so many Americans are being savagely attacked.

A 2010 Michigan State University study found that cops with a two or four-year degree resorted to using force 56 percent of the time, while those with only a GED or high school diploma used force 68 percent of the time. The Bureau of Justice Statistics found in 2003 that 83 percent of U.S. police agencies require cops only to have a GED or high school diploma, and only one percent require a four-year college degree.”

So first of all it seems that some in authority in policing would prefer to have police officers that would appear to be less intelligent that the average person. Why is that do you think?

2. Incentives To Kill

“Operation-Nation has covered more than 600 instances of police killing, assaulting and/or raping an American since 2006. The offending cop was placed on “paid administrative leave” within a day or two of the incident more than 90 percent of the time.

Police across America know full well if they kill someone (on or off-duty), they will get an extended paid vacation, sometimes lasting years. They also know that it is extremely rare for cops to be held accountable in anyway for their actions.

Mr. Kelly Thomas was beaten to death ON TAPE by Fullerton, Calif. cops Manuel Ramos, Jay Cicinnelli, et al. as he begged for his life in July 2011. It was a small victory for Americans when the aforementioned two killers were actually charged with murder and other crimes. But reality set in at trial when the cops were acquitted.

A paid vacation, along with “atta boys” from fellow cops and Americans who love them, is only a dead human away. Even if they are fired from their current positions for killing or assaulting an American, another cop organization will hire them.

Former Bella Vista, Ark. cop Coleman Brackney, in a rare occurrence in U.S. jurisprudence, was actually convicted of negligent homicide when he murdered James Ahern in January 2010. After serving the insulting 30 day jail sentence, he was hired as police chief in Sulphur Springs, Ark. last March.

The incentives are too great to pass for cops, many of whom desire to kill already. Americans with common sense realize this.”

Now Coleman Brackney, was convicted of “negligent homicide”, served minimal time and was then hired as a police chief, how sadly ironic is that?

3: “Protect And Serve” Myth

“Roommates Carolyn Warren and Joan Taliaferro called police when they heard intruders break into neighbor Miriam Douglas’ apartment and rape her on March 16, 1975. Dispatchers with Washington, D.C. police assured them help was on the way.

The two women, believing police would be there soon, yelled down to the apartment to try and stop the assault. But the two attackers heard them, forced their way into the women’s apartment and proceeded to assault and rape them for the next fourteen hours. Police never showed up.

The women filed a lawsuit – the oft-cited Warren vs. District of Columbia case – but were met with a harsh reality. The Federal DC Court of Appeals dismissed the case in 1981, ruling that cops have “no general duty to provide…police protection.” The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a similar case, Deshaney vs. Winnebago County, a few years later. That decision was nearly identical to the Warren case, with the majority ruling that there is no relationship between police and citizens that mandates protection. Thus it is well-established law that cops are not here to “protect and serve” despite that falsehood being displayed on many police badges, cars and station walls.

Americans who choose to ignore the facts are the ones who will be in the most danger. Sadly it has come to the point that we must stand our ground when we fear for our lives against these armed henchmen. Police protect and carry out the orders of government, corporations and individuals with large collections of Federal Reserve notes. Anybody who believes otherwise is naive, mentally disabled, and/or afraid to face reality.

There are far more of us than there are of them. But until we’re united on this front, expect more of the same for the foreseeable future.”

The “COPBLOCK.org” article might have been somewhat hyperbolic and it may seem terribly unfair to draw from the instances given to paint a case against all, or even the majority of Police. Yet as we have seen in the recent incidents that the police and prosecutorial authorities seem to bend over backwards to besmirch the victims of the police and protect the officers involved. It has become almost ubiquitous in the U.S. to talk of the “Blue Wall of Silence”.

As I alluded to beginning this piece,  there have simply been so many instances in American history of police violence and police corruption that it becomes almost impossible to present the full picture in one post, one book, or even a compendium of books.  Yet as we see, our media and our political establishment are wont to treat each incident of improper policing as isolated and out of the larger context.  If we look at the post-bellum period in the South and its segregation via Jim Crow laws,  we become overwhelmed by the daily incidents of police oppression and murder of Black people,  far too numerous to completely piece together.  Is the fact that the brutality against Black citizens in the South was done under color of law excuse those police who committed these outrages.

We know from history that it was not only Southern cops committing brutality against citizens and dealing in corruption of the law for personal gain.  Can we dismiss the oppression of Mexican by an LAPD recruited from segregated States?  Can we dismiss Chicago Police for an ongoing history of corruption and violence?  It is there to see in our history books that all over this country many police officers and their bosses in the police hierarchy have behaved in criminal fashion,  discriminating, terrorizing and dominating minorities and poor people in their districts.

Yet the legion of police apologists engages in magical thinking and refuses to view the entire context of policing in America.  They justify police criminality by blaming the victim and they insist upon ennobling police when they are only civil servants.  The thing is though, that in truth a good number of more rational Americans,  without regard to race or social status, don’t really trust the police,  they just believe that they personally have nothing to fear from them.  To this group of citizens, primarily affluent and White,  the police exist to keep THEM at bay.  Them being people of color, the impoverished, or any other group with little power, but much loathing from affluent Americans.

Then too, most of the public,  taught by “Cop Shows”  showing heroic officers battling the baddest of bad guys,  has little idea about why it is irrational to trust police.  If you see the on the TV dastardly villains committing obscene crimes against innocent people,  you disregard the tactics used by your police heroes to bring them to justice.  Can you trust police though when a Scalia led Supreme Court has reinforced their ability to lie to suspects in the pursuit of a case.  Can you trust police who are allowed to set up elaborate schemes to entrap people into criminal behavior?  Can you trust police when they force people caught in minor crimes to serve as unpaid informants in order to search for more tantalizing objects for arrest.  Crime and punishment in the USA has become more of a game than a matter of protecting the public.

Sadly,  as I wrote in “The Law is a Whore”  and in its followup The Law is a Whore……Redux  the entire American Criminal Justice system is a corrupt failure that is fantasized to be fair and just.  Some people imply that I hate cops and they are quite wrong.  Most police officers come from a similar class background to my own.  They are actually pawns in the game of American corruption and enter a rotten criminal justice system whose real mission is to ensure the comfort and safety of those with wealth and power.  If they enter this criminal justice system into supporting the economyfree of bigotry they soon learn that bigotry is required to fit in with the esprit de corps of their local organization.  It is required because as I’ve said their real mission is to protect the property and the interests of those with power.

Beyond the legalized murder of Michael Brown,  tragic yet all too common in America, is what was exposed about Ferguson, Missouri afterward.  The Department of Justice found that the people of color in Ferguson were being exploited by a system that trapped them into supporting the local economy, by a system of fines for petty civil offenses like Michael Brown’s jaywalking. The police were encouraged in this endeavor and th message was that this was keeping them employed.  The Ferguson Police were thus corrupted by the Ferguson establishment and in that process why would we think that excesses of undue brutality would not follow?  What was uncovered by the DOJ in Ferguson actually represents a system of civic corruption that exists throughout our nation that debases police officers and police work into a system of exploitation of the most vulnerable citizens.  The evidence of this police corruption and undue violence is all around us and is overwhelming to the extent that those who deny the truth of  it are merely deluded or lying.

I assume that most police officers are sincere in their desire to do their jobs and protect and serve the public when they enter into police work.. The problem is that that the overwhelming majority of “good” cops allow those cops who would abuse the public to get away with it, because their loyalty is misplaced to their fellow officers. Most soldiers who have been in harm’s way have said their motivation for facing such danger is not for their country, but for the “team” their fellow soldiers. The militarization of the police since 9/11 has accelerated the process of police officers seeing themselves as part of an occupying army, loyal only to their fellow officers.  However,  an “us vs. them” mentality has historically been a motivation for police throughout our nation’s history.  The idea that police are somehow above their fellow citizens needs to stop. Until it does though,  if ever,  if you trust the police to always protect you your trust is mostly misplaced.

 

Nobody Asked Me But………….Has God Just Smitten Texas?

Nobody Asked Me But……………………….

So many Christian Fundamentalists have blamed natural disasters on liberal policies that it causes me to wonder if God sent Hurricane Harvey to punish Texas for overwhelmingly supporting Trump?

A burnt out house that caught fire after Hurricane Harvey hit Corpus Christi, Texas

Could Trump have picked a more loathsome person than Joe Arpaio to pardon?

Can we expect Gods‘ wrath to next descend upon Maricopa County, AZ not only for electing Arpaio all those years, but for its’ long, sordid history of supporting oppressive law enforcement?

If Trump is sent by God,  as many of his followers believe,  then can we assume that God’s purpose is to destroy the United States?

Does Jerry Falwell, Jr’s belief that Trump wasSent By God”,  stem from the fact that Falwell, like Trump, inherited his crooked father’s wealth? 

Is the person who sent this recent “Letter to the Editor” at the Bowling Green Kentucky Daily News, saying admit President Trump has had God with him and done so much good for the people really a reliable source of any information?

Is the “Letter to the Editor” writer from above channeling the Holy Spirit by believing Trump is not perfect, like Jesus is, but he is a great president. He has done more good for the people of the great USA than anyone before him,  or is he/she severely delusional?

In the beliefs of many Right Wing Fundamentalist Christians, are Jesus teachings from the Sermon on the Mount no longer in effect?What does “God’s  Rabbi“, Shmuley Boteach, have to say about whether his Orange Haired Boy is Anti-Semitic after his Charlottesville opinions…..or is this the answer?  Wouldn’t you have liked to have been a “fly on the wall” when supposedly pious Orthodox Jews Ivanka and Jared discussed his Charlottesville remarks with their Father/Father in Law

Any religious, or political leader who invokes God’s support for their particular political policies is a dangerous fraud. 

Weren’t our American Founding Fathers remarkably prescient when they tried to separate Church and State in the Constitution and aren’t those who try to deny that separation corrupting our country?

Police and Prosecutors are Sometimes a Bad Alliance

This is a tale of a woman who was on death row for more than 20 years after being convicted for conspiring in the murder of her four year old son. It was a sensational and horrific crime that garnered the outraged publicity that so often happens in murder cases. The outrage and presumption of guilt is often fostered by police and prosecutorial spokesman leaking “evidence” and accusations to the media. The media loving the ratings boost this type of story provides rarely questions the statements and the leaks of the law enforcement establishment.  The public almost overwhelmingly views this law enforcement establishment as having no agenda save for the truth. The reality of the criminal justice system is much more unsavory, as I’ve discussed in America’s Broken Criminal Justice System.

Debra Jean Milke , a 26 year old mother was arrested for the murder of her 4 year old son in 1989 and convicted of First Degree Murder in 1990. The prosecutor’s case was based on an undocumented confession that was made by her to a police officer; an alleged accomplice that refused to testify against her;  angry charges from her estranged husband; and finally a motive based around a $5,000 insurance policy. She was sentenced to death and was on “Death Row” for 22 years, until released on appeal in 2013. Having the case against her dismissed,  she was still not totally in the clear because the local prosecutor talked of appealing the ruling of a 3 judge panel to Arizona’s State Supreme Court. What follows is in my perspective an indictment of the criminal justice system in the county where the trial was held and how I think cases such as this are indicative of American Justice. Continue reading “Police and Prosecutors are Sometimes a Bad Alliance”

The Republican Candidates, with Apology to T.S. Eliot: This is the Way the World Ends

With the endorsement of Donald Trump on Friday by Governor Chris Christie and then the followup endorsement by Governor Paul LePage of Maine, the Republican Party has shown that it is but an empty shell full of bombast, signifying nothing but greed and egomania. Trump had also been previously endorsed by a former Grand-master of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke who  is an American white nationalist, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, far-right politician. Trump has also showed pride in the endorsement of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  Arpaio styles himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff.”[3][4][5] He has been accused of abuse of power, misuse of funds, failure to investigate sex crimes, improper clearance of cases, unlawful enforcement of immigration laws, and election law violations, among others. He has been found guilty of racial profiling in federal court, with a monitor appointed to oversee his office’s operations. His jails have twice been ruled unconstitutional. The U.S. Department of Justice concluded that Arpaio oversaw the worst pattern of racial profiling in U.S. history, and subsequently filed suit against him for unlawful discriminatory police conduct.[6] As of September 2015, cases involving Arpaio or his office have cost Maricopa County taxpayers $142 million in legal expenses, settlements and court awards. In my exasperation with the latest developments of this pack of losers, I thought of the opening of T.S. Eliot’s legendary poem The Hollow Men, which opens this way.

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

Could there be a better description of the entire roster of Republican Candidates than as “hollow men”?  As self satirical and bizarrely scary as Trump’s candidacy is, the rest of the roster also represents men whose ideas dovetail with all the wit and wisdom of the “Tea Party.” They regurgitate the same ridiculous pablum of smaller government, lower taxes and ending government regulations, that has been failing since a third rate actor fronting for GE became President. All of them have pretenses of being good Christians of the fundamentalist variety. They are uniformly jingoists, anti-gay, anti-women, anti-immigrant, pro-war and ardently pro-gun. Each one of these men’s careers has been funded by corporate and private wealth, with the exception of Trump, who is himself a billionaire, because his father left him a real estate empire in New York City.

This is an awful situation, but it is made even worse by the fact that the so-called debates, are comic reality shows, exhibiting men who are acting like Chimpanzees hurling feces at each other. How does one seriously describe what takes place at these debates? These are disgraceful events that embarrass this country on the World Stage. Most ironically, not one of these war mongers ever deigned to serve in the military that they want to bloat even further. Though all of these men have threatened to devastate other countries with bombs, in their pretensions that they are keeping America safe, none has shown any real insight into the real dangers of this world. Who among these bullies can we really trust with our nuclear codes? In his prescient way T.S. Eliot foresaw this when his poem concluded:

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

 

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