Member since: Thu Aug 30, 2007, 11:50 PM
Number of posts: 3,805
Number of posts: 3,805
There has been an argument going on for a while not just here, but all over. One side says that there are plenty of good cops you just don't hear about. The other side argues that they can't be that good if they lie, and assist others in lying. So in another thread I asked a what if. I wanted to start another thread with this.
Scenario, and let me make absolutely clear that this is a scenario, not a real event in my life.
In this scenario, I'm a Deacon in my church, a well respected member of the congregation, and of the community. My neighbor is also a member of the church, and attends every Sunday. He's generous with his time, helping people who need things fixed, an accomplished handy man sort of guy. He helped Mrs. Smith when her heater broke last winter. We'll call my notional neighbor Bob. Bob has a wife and kids, and I know them.
Bob was out on Thursday night. Bob was out and I know it because I saw him drive off in his truck. Friday morning Bob asks me to do him a little favor. If anyone asks, he was with me last night, and we watched the ball game. I agree. Later, I find that Bob is accused of raping a girl. She's in intensive care. I know Bob, and know that just isn't like him. I tell the police Bob was with me, and they put the case on hold. Because the word of a man like me is enough to stop the prosecution. Nobody is going to say that I, a man active in all those things is a liar on the record in court. The jury just wouldn't believe it.
I'm a deacon in the church. Active in charities. I help the homeless, and I donate to the animal shelter. Am I a bad guy in this scenario? I justify the lie this way. I know Bob, he's a great guy. Dependable, and if he's convicted, his wife will never be able to make it without him. His kids will grow up without a Daddy. It's just one lie. I'm a good guy, an eagle scout back in the day. One lie doesn't change all of that does it? Not one little lie and I don't know that woman, and she's nobody to me. Bob is a friend, and a neighbor, and this woman isn't in my church, and doesn't live here. She's a stranger and thus one of them. Bob is one of us. He stayed with me when my Dad died, and helped me through it. He was a pallbearer when old Pastor Hayes passed away. Who is this woman compared to that?
Does the lie change it? I have long argued that yes, the lie changes it. All your good works, all your good deeds have just gone up in smoke in my opinion. But I am anxious to hear your opinions. Does the lie make you a bad guy? Or is it understandable that you would lie, expected really in that situation.
If your word isn't good all the time, not just a vast majority of the time, then it isn't good ever in my experience or opinion.
Posted by Savannahmann | Sat Jan 10, 2015, 01:35 PM (11 replies)
If anyone has ever watched television documentaries, or docudrama's about aircraft accidents you know how extensive the investigation to find out what happened, and why is. No stone is left unturned. The investigators seek to understand the effects of everything. Design of the aircraft, weather, procedures, crew behavior, training. The questions they ask about every piece of information is what, and why.
The author of this article points out how the aircraft crash investigations are run, and how we could apply that model to our police force.
I'll summarize it, probably too much. Partly because aircraft accident investigation is one of the documentaries that I like to watch, and I love learning about how things work, and how a little mistake can lead to a catastrophic result. Perhaps it's taught me to think ahead somewhat.
The accident happens, and the "go team" from the NTSB is sent. These are experts in specific subfields of aircraft investigations. Pilot training experts, materials experts, weather experts. All of them start out trying to figure out what happened. One tool that has made it much easier to determine the cause of the accident is the recording devices. The Flight Data recorder shows what the plane was doing. The inputs to the controls, the behavior of the engines, as much data as they can get. The other half of that data is the cockpit voice recorder. This records all the sounds in the cockpit giving the investigators a history of every alarm, every spoken word, the wind rushing, the bangs and groans the plane may make.
This information is vital in finding out as exactly as possible, what happened. But they don't stop there. If there are recordings at Air Traffic Control, they want them. If there are tapes of Radar, they want them. If a guy took a picture with his camera, they want it. They want every piece of information they can get, and they want pilot information especially. Was the pilot drinking or taking drugs before the accident? A drug and alcohol check will tell us that. What was the health of the pilot? When did he sleep last? What did he eat and when?
By the way, I work in an industrial setting. Heavy equipment, and lots of weight being moved about. If there is an accident at work, we have to provide a sample to rule out drug and alcohol playing a part. If you go to the Hospital, you will provide a sample there. It's part of the insurance regulations, and it's part of the workmen's' comp regulations. I've done that, had an accident and been cleared of the presence of drugs or alcohol that may have impaired my ability to perform my job.
Now, for aircraft, the airline gets to offer whatever information they have to the investigators, they don't get to hide anything, or claim that a single document is classified or restricted. They provide everything to the investigators. The same with the manufacturer.
Imagine if American Airlines plane crashed outside your town. American shows up with representatives from Boeing (not suggesting either Boeing or American are doing this, just picked their names out of the air as an example) and say they will be investigating it and you all can go away. They'll tell you what happened later. They announce that the plane is the safest thing in the air, and the pilot was great. It must have been an act of God. Then a second plane crashes, and a third, and so on and all that. Then video surfaces of pilots finishing their drinks and popping a bunch of pills before they board the plane to fly. The airline says that is an isolated incident, and one bad apple shouldn't prejudge the rest of the fine pilots. Video surfaces of people putting wings on the plane with duct tape. The manufacturer says it was a one off mistake, no reason to suggest all the other planes are less than safe.
You would picket and demand that no airplanes fly over your neighborhood. You wouldn't accept the word of either group ever again. No amount of internal reforms would be enough.
Yet, for Police, we do just that. No drug or alcohol checks. No suggestion that the officer did anything wrong. No one outside of the police agency can investigate the incidents.
The end result of the aircraft investigation is a narrative of what happened, and the mistakes that were made. The suggestions to prevent another accident are also included. A change in the design of the plane. Different training. A policy change, or procedure change. New regulations about what can or can't be done.
As an example, did you know it was a violation of regulations to have the pilots discussing anything but the plane during take off or landing? Checklist errors have led to crashes, and the pilots were usually, but not always, discussing something else besides the plane. Just normal people having a normal conversation. But it was dangerous enough that the pilots are now prohibited from doing that during preparations for take off or landing.
That regulation was made to make sure that future accidents were prevented. Because we don't want a world in which our weather report includes sheet metal showers and intermittent bodies.
We should have an incident investigation team that examines the use of deadly force every time. Not from inside the department, or even the city. But hand picked people who have one goal, to make sure that each incident was absolutely necessary. Does this incident provide a glimpse into poor training or a bad policy?
But we need information to conduct those investigations. We need recordings, video and audio to show what the officer saw, and heard. We need to look at those to see if there is a training change that can be made to reduce mistakes. Perhaps the officer could stand a little further away, further from the danger. Perhaps he can be taught that the weapon is his last resort, not a routine response. Perhaps it's anger management training and the effort to make the police set aside emotional response instead of ramping up the me cop you obey mentality.
We need a police incident investigation board. We need to know exactly what happened, but more, we need to know what went wrong and what we can do to prevent it from happening again if at all possible. We aren't going to get that with the current system. But we need to get there as soon as possible.
Posted by Savannahmann | Wed Dec 24, 2014, 08:27 AM (4 replies)
Yesterday, I angered a lot of people when I stood with President Obama. Today, I'm certain to do much of the same.
So what's in the so called Cromnibus bill? Some things we don't like. Some things the Republicans don't like. We get fully funded ACA, more money for early childhood development. EPA money got cut, but was still more than the Administration asked for. We got the Immigration funding for six months.
Does anyone realistically think we'll get a better deal next month when the Republicans take over the Senate? Does anyone think that the Republicans will be more willing to deal then?
We get almost a year of the ACA. We get six months of Immigration funded. We get a lot of things, a whole lot of things, and if we balk at this, the Republicans are just going to pass whatever they want and it will be ten times, a hundred times worse than we have it now.
I'm not happy about the things we don't want. I think it's risky to relax the rules on Wall Street. I think it's asinine to let more political funding go to the parties. But I think that as bad as those things are, losing the funding for the ACA would be way worse.
We lost the midterm election. We lost and next month the Republicans take over the Senate. We need to take what we can get and just swallow the things we don't like. Because if we don't take it now, we'll get it next month, and we definitely won't like it then.
There is a thing called Realpolitik. It means being practical, and it means being willing to accept that sometimes you don't get everything you want.
Because make no mistake, if the Government shuts down, it won't be the Republicans who get the blame, it will be us. We will get the blame, and we will be the ones who shut down the Government during the Holidays because we were poor losers in last months election. Believe me, the Republicans have their bullet points ready, talking about all the things in there that were just what the Democrats wanted.
We need to support the President, and get this done. Because I do not want to write off the next election already. I want us to fight, and win. But we can't do that if we have given the impression that we are nothing more than petulant children.
We're getting immigration and full funding for the ACA. We're not losing as much as we would next month. It gives us until September to increase public pressure to maintain those funding needs.
It's not great, it's not even very good, but understanding Realpolitik, it's probably the best we can get.
Posted by Savannahmann | Thu Dec 11, 2014, 09:59 PM (135 replies)
I knew the Torture Report just released would be disturbing. I also knew that there would be many calls for vengeance, for justice, and I would probably be part of those calls. I've been thinking long and hard however.
One of the oddities of our nation compared to others is the smooth transition of power from one, to the next. 43 times power has passed from one to another. One would hope that this tradition will continue well pass one hundred times. Yet, there are many nations in which a change of leader results in jail, prosecutions, and persecutions for the previous holders of power. It is almost inevitable with each election. Someone new takes over as President, Prime Minister, or whatever title the job has. The first thing they do is lock up the previous office holders and often their supporters. We've all seen news stories of second and third world countries doing that. We've also seen the corrupt become dictators, knowing that if they lose power they'll end up in prison, or dead. When those Dictators fall they inevitably run to some other nation, usually with all the money they can steal, to a nation with no extradition to hide and live out the rest of their lives.
In the title, I said I agree with President Obama. I do, because I can see the sense of vengeance bouncing back and forth. President Obama sees the Bush Cabal prosecuted. Then the Republicans take over, and in revenge they prosecute President Obama when he leaves office. Then the Democrats take over, and we're right back to prosecuting the party not currently in power. I'm afraid that we would quickly devolve into a third world nation with a political system written in pencil for all intents and purposes.
Does this satisfy my desire for justice? No. I'd love to see those torturing bastards and the ones who gave the orders put on trial. But I know that in just about twenty five months, the ones put on trial could well be those like President Obama. The charges would be that they harmed National Security by releasing the information or some such thing. A process crime, even if they didn't commit a real crime.
We would be outraged, as we were when the Republicans impeached President Clinton. We would wait until our side was in power, and we would get even.
What is important here? First, we must tell the truth about what happened to make sure it never happens again. Second, we must put safeguards in place to make sure it never happens again.
You may remember that I have written about Robert Lady and how he was convicted of Kidnapping and Torture in Italy. The why we won't allow him to be extradited to Italy is pretty obvious. He would have to implicate his superiors, he was only following orders, and while that would not get him out of trouble, it would spread the blame out. Those superiors would present documentation that would implicate others. I think he should be in prison. But I know that if he was, he would point the finger and drag down others.
No, I don't know where this stops. But I don't want to see President Obama and the administration persecuted next. That's what I'm saying. We need to change the way we look at things. We need to change the principle we embraced during the Truman Era that doing bad things for good reasons would be acceptable. That was when we enabled the CIA to engage in covert operations, supposedly with plausible deniability. The idea was we had to do bad things to stop the Communists, which was a good thing in our minds.
We've got to stop that, that principle that has become core in our Government. Sometimes Presidents and people have to do bad things for good reasons. It argues that the ends justify the means.
I will be more than satisfied, I'd be happy if we eliminated that mistaken ideal from Government service. We could, we should, pass a law that from this date forward, no more will we tolerate illegal actions in the name of National Security. Everything from before that point is forgiven. But from here on, no more.
Posted by Savannahmann | Wed Dec 10, 2014, 04:09 AM (66 replies)
I have no idea who decided that our party is going to speak for the two thirds who don't vote, but whoever it was should be smacked in the head with a cricket bat.
Political power is derived from the consent of the Governed. If the Governed don't speak, that doesn't mean that they approve, it might be that they don't care. Showing up to be heard is the defining definition of the consent of the Governed. In other words, taking the time to vote. Now, if you don't show up, you don't get heard, and your voice is silent. The rules of the game have been the same since Democracy took hold. If you lose the election, you learn from the loss, and you improve. You don't decide that the election does not matter because most of the people didn't participate. That is their loss, not your gain.
This is among the most stupid arguments I've ever heard, and I'm honestly not surprised that people here are running with it. The people here are loyal and dedicated liberals who are outraged that the Republicans won. Tough. They won. They refused to roll over and give us a quote like Real Rape to bludgeon them with, and we lost because that was our entire campaign strategy. But this tactics, this strategy is incredibly stupid. To win elections, we have to win the voters, and to do that we have to show the voters that we listen to what they say. Ignoring what they say, or worse taking the position that those who spoke don't matter because most didn't is a sure fire way to lose the next couple elections too.
We will go into 2016 with an electorate that is extremely hostile towards Democrats, and we won't take the Senate back, we won't take the House back, and we will lose the White House.
The economy is the single biggest issue. We ignored it. To protect the President we point to wall street and the bogus unemployment numbers and swear that these prove that the economy is doing well. The people don't feel it, they don't see it, and they don't believe it. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-did-the-issue-of-immigration-play-this-election/
Immigration, the Republicans are going to have to deal with the issue. Something akin to the Senate Bill that was approved before will be taken up soon, it will have to be. But if the President goes with executive action, the party is going to suffer badly.
In the polling company report, only 20% support the President going it alone. Do we really want to piss off eighty percent of the voters? Is that a way to get them on our side on the other issues?
So why are we doing everything we can to alienate as many voters as possible? I've heard nonsensical RW CT that President Obama was going to destroy America. It looks like he's working overtime to destroy the Democratic Party to me.
What it really means is that Hillary is going to have to run against Obama, and Rand Paul. While Rand is only going to have to run against Democrats, Hillary will have to distance herself from Obama, and all his supporters to hope to win. She won't be able to win unless she repudiates his policies that are tremendously unpopular, like unilateral action on immigration. That will alienate the Hispanic voters, which will severely cut the voting blocks power in the election.
The nation doesn't want an imperial President. They want Washington to work it out, and compromise a bit. At least those who vote want that. But too many here, and in Washington are backing the Titanic up and ready to ram the iceberg again. We can save the ship, save the party, and give ourselves a damned good chance in 2016. But we have to be smart, and honest with ourselves first. The plans that are out there, and the meme that we are going to represent the majority who didn't vote is a sure fire path to defeat in 2016.
Come on gang, we are better than this. President Obama can't have it both ways. He can't announce more than once that his policies are on the ballots even if he isn't, and then decide that the voters weren't going for him by electing Republicans because he wasn't on the ballot. We got convincingly and seriously stomped. If we want that trend to continue, the path we're taking is a sure fire way to guarantee that we are the minority party for the next decade. Do we want to win or not? That's the only question that matters, that's the heart of the matter for us. If the answer is yes, we have to care about the voters, because they are the ones who decide who is in what office. If the answer is no, then we're on a perfect path to make sure nobody takes us seriously for quite some time.
Posted by Savannahmann | Sat Nov 8, 2014, 07:40 AM (0 replies)
I am a blue collar guy in Georgia. According to the DOL, my job qualifies as "skilled labor". So how is it that I saw what was happening in this election months ago, while nobody in the Democratic Party filled to overflowing with people who have earned advanced degrees did?
I started off this morning reading the news, as usual. I glance at and read articles from Huffington, The Hill, ABC's the Note, and several others. Then I looked at the polling information from yesterday. Republicans winning the Senate still. Who would have seen that coming right?
Then I saw a link, and I read the story. I know, the WSJ is Right wing, and it's all about protecting business. But if you don't know what your opponent is doing, how can you defeat him? So I read the article, and if I didn't know better, I'd have sworn I had collaborated on it.
Colorado Sen. Mark Udall has been called a lot of things, but the nickname highlighted during his Tuesday debate with Republican Cory Gardner deserves some meditation. “Mr. Udall,” said the female debate moderator, “your campaign has been so focused on women’s issues that you’ve been dubbed ‘Mark Uterus’ . . . Have you gone too far?”
Don’t tell Harry Reid , but the “war on women” theme is losing political altitude. Don’t tell the entire Democratic Party, in fact, which this year chose to elevate this attack—that Republicans are hostile to women—to the top of its political strategy. Mr. Reid spent most of the past year holding Senate show votes (on “equal” pay or the Violence Against Women Act) designed to give his candidates further political ammunition. Democrats by some estimates have already devoted as much as 60% of their $120 million in midterm TV advertising to the “war on women”—claiming Republican candidates are anti-birth-control, anti-women’s-health, anti-reproductive rights, anti-equal pay. Even Republicans at the height of anti-ObamaCare fervor were never so monomaniacal.
This was posted last night at about 8:30. An hour before I posted this. I merely reiterated the arguments I've been making all year long. That we Democrats have to bust our asses, and we have to earn the votes. We can't count on people just leaving the Republicans over some worn out slogan. I specifically highlighted the War on Women.
With less than thirty days to the election, the Democratic Party is finally waking up and realizing that this is a tough fight. Well at least the party is finally waking up although I suspect that it's too late to matter at this point.
We skated through this election. We took it for granted. We started out with the idea that the Republicans would be so unpopular after the Government shut down and sequester that we could coast to a sweeping victory. We had all the niche issues. I call them niche not because they are unimportant, but because a handful of a percentage of the public considers them to be the most important issue.
"It's the economy stupid" was the money quote from President Clinton's defeat of Bush 41. In April, I said the same thing. It's the economy. So what did the Democrats campaign on? Well, the economy is awesome, so we don't need to worry about that. Only, the economy isn't awesome, not for the average folks. Not with more than 92 million people not in the workforce, a record. The Republicans tied their party to the economy by labeling every opposition as opposing the "job killing" (insert issue here).
We had the Republicans on record on universal background checks. We thought we'd won the election then. We were sure we'd won it here, there, and everywhere. With every issue that polled as barely important to people, we were sure we had won the Senate. We scream GOTV, and ignore the fact that those folks will get out and vote, Republican, because the Republicans are talking about the issues that matter.
No, it's not Benghazi. They use Benghazi to placate the base and to tweak us on the left. The difference is they have one or two people talking about that, while everyone on the Democratic side is talking about the War on Women, and only the war on women. An issue more than one person posted here as the game changing election winning issue for the Democratic Party.
No, I am not saying that Republicans are great on womens issues. But those issues seem pretty petty when you're living in a Homeless camp called the Jungle in the heart of Silicone Valley. When your issue is finding clean water and food that isn't rancid GOP attitudes towards women is pretty much the least of your worries. Hearing that the economy is doing great doesn't do anything but cement the idea in the minds of the poor, the desperate living paycheck to paycheck that you've been forgotten.
It's past time we learned. The Republicans are not going to roll over and die just because we hate them. We are going to have to defeat them and win elections. We're going to have to embrace principles and ideals and worst of all, actually push to get them done. We are going to have to go out and earn every single vote, we can't take anything for granted ever again. And if we actually manage to save the Senate this year, a possibility, although slim, we are going to have to bust our asses and show that we care about the people so we can win in 2016. Slogans and meme's only go so far, and that distance drops dramatically every time it's used, and then overused. It's the economy stupid was used once, and carried by the press and the pundits through the election to show how out of touch that Bush 41 was. It wasn't toted out by every politician running for every office from President down to dog catcher.
We have to learn, and we have to realize our opponents are not mouth breathing idiots. They're smart, and they're working hard to beat us. We had better start working harder to win, because we have to earn it, they're not going to give victory on election day to us on a silver platter just because we hate them. We laugh and giggle when one of them hates us, what makes us think they view us any differently.
We're losing, because we haven't been fighting to win. We're losing because we haven't done a damn thing to win. Oh, and GOTV, the Republicans will appreciate more people in the booths voting for them. Because more people voted in 2010 when we lost the House, than voted in 2006 when we won it.
Posted by Savannahmann | Fri Oct 10, 2014, 08:11 AM (0 replies)
Everyday we get at least two posts, and often more, telling us how Hillary is inevitable, the best choice, and the only choice for Democrats. We get polling that nobody has the name recognition. We get polling about how Democratic Insiders and strategists are so excited about a Hillary Nomination that they are changing their underwear hourly. We had the campaign against Rick Perry pretty much mapped out and plotted. We could beat him with Hillary, no problem.
Then Rick Perry was indicted, and the game changed out of our favor. With Christy out, Perry was the presumptive nominee for the Rethugs. He had suffered from the image of being a blithering dumbass in the debates of the 2012 nomination. The man couldn't string a sentence together on TV to save his life. So he added glasses, because everyone knows Glasses make you look smart.
Now, Rick Perry is out, Christy is out. Who does that leave? Bush White House take three? No way that people get behind Jeb. Too much of one family. That my friends leaves the policy wonk Paul Ryan, or Rand Paul. The old boys network would prefer Paul Ryan, but they will figure out pretty quickly that they'll have more luck trying to moderate Rand than get Ryan elected at all.
Paul will win the early contests, and have momentum going into the rest of the states. His message is pretty simple, and worse, it feeds on and is encouraged by recent events. In other words, the Republican Candidate is on the Populist side of the issues. The populist side that could very well indicate the voters desires.
While Hillary is running to the right of McCain on foreign issues, Paul is going a different direction. Worse his ideas are going to resonate with the electorate. We've been at war with Terror since 9-11-2001 and people are sick of it. That's why there was no support for going into Syria. That's why President Obama suffered another drop in public approval when he started bombing ISIS. People are getting sick of it. After twelve years of bombing, and casualties, and diplomatic efforts, we're no closer to an end game than we were on 9-12-2001. Rand Paul's arguments that we need a policy of non intervention and allow people to sort out their own problems is liable to find a receptive audience. Military families tired of watching Mom or Dad or the Son or Daughter go off to fight and possibly not come home are liable to get on board. The argument Hillary will put forth that we must do this for security has been heard so often that nobody is going to buy into it. None of that has worked, so let's try something new will be the thoughts a lot of people will have.
Let me explain. Rand has a libertarian view on the drug war. He'll start with Legalizing Marijuana. People in Colorado will be interviewed and talk about all the tax revenue collected from the legalized sale of Marijuana. The public is generally pretty split on the issue, but they will probably fall on the legalize side of the issue, especially when there are a flood of drug war ruined my life over a joint news stories. So Rand will pick up support there, while Hillary will be going conservative to get the law and order vote.
Militarization of the Police. Rand has opposed it for a while, and Hillary has been silent. So the best case is she can say during the debates that she agrees with Rand Paul and his long held beliefs that she was late coming to the party about militarization of the police. Worst Case she takes the attitude that cops need that crap to protect us, or something, in an effort to shore up the law and order and conservative votes.
Either way, the Base of the Democratic Party will find themselves agreeing with Paul, and either arguing that the Conservative path is the right one to get the Democrat in the White House, thus selling out their core beliefs, or will argue that Paul is wrong about how he's doing it but right about what he wants to do. That last one loses us the White House by the way.
So let's look at the Economy. Paul has been a vocal opponent of bailing out wall street. Guess what, Occupy Wall Street was a vocal opponent. So who hasn't been a vocal opponent? Hillary because that would lose her the corporate sponsors she needs to stuff the war chest full of cash for the run.
Well, there's the NSA, which Paul has been a vocal opponent of, and Hillary has been supporting.
So to summarize. The Republican candidate will be on the Progressive side of many issues, while the Democratic Candidate will be on the regressive side of the issues. Now you're going to scream that Paul will destroy the Department of Education, slash Welfare, social security, and destroy a woman's right to choose.
The problem is that people will be willing to risk those issues to get action on the other ones. The message is going to be nothing else has worked, two administrations of bombing suspected terrorists and five thousand American Service members are dead and nothing has changed to make us more secure. Anyone want to bet that Paul doesn't use the phrase whack a mole to describe the effort against ISIS/ISIL?
So if we run the inevitable Hillary, we cede the White House to Rand Paul. Because there is no way we can out Conservative the Republicans. The Conservatives will either vote Republican, or stay home. The Liberals will vote Democratic, or stay home. It's the moderates, the folks in the middle. They'll be choosing between more of the same, and something new. What do you think they will choose?
So what do we need to do? We need to nominate a true Progressive. I'm talking Bernie Sanders, I'm talking Elizabeth Warren for the top job. I'm talking Grayson for the top job, not some sop to the LW by giving them a high position. Because nominating Hillary is giving away all the issues that are in the news. Anyone think there will be no more pictures of militarized police between now and November 2016? Anyone think that there will be no more revelations about the NSA between now and November 2016? How about stories about tax revenue in Colorado from the legalized Marijuana sales. Anyone think that we won't see any of those? Or lets talk about the war on Terror, anyone think that ISIS is going to give up and surrender because a few bombs were dropped?
How does Hillary support the attacking of ISIS which inadvertently helps Assad of Syria, you remember him the evil dictator of just last year, who will end up being our ally next year as we push intelligence and special operations types forward to identify the ISIS bases to bomb? When that happens, and it will, the press will revel in playing all the Democratic politicians who wanted to bomb the crap out of Syria to drive Assad into exile or prison day and night for days. The good news is that Hillary had said that Assad was a Reformer. Then a couple years later, that he had to go. So the good news is that we can say we were on the he's a reformer bandwagon before we were on the bomb the crap out of him bandwagon. We've just returned to our earlier position.
How did our election strategy become to be the nominee of the Defense Contractors, the Military Industrial Intelligence Conspiracy, the pro war on drugs team? Who decided that the key to getting elected was to become more interventionist than the Kaiser?
Nominate Hillary, and you hand the White House to Rand Paul. You can blame the voters for being stupid as they vote for the candidate that supports the issues that Liberals used to, but you will be doing it from outside the fenced yard of the White House.
Posted by Savannahmann | Sun Aug 24, 2014, 10:49 AM (290 replies)
I originally wrote the following just before Michael Brown was killed by Police. I've been thinking about it now and then since then. I've decided to post it now, so it can rapidly drop to the bottom of the posts with the other dead letters.
Vietnam was lost in 1968 for all intents and purposes. It was announced on the news by Walter Cronkite. The problem is, we didn’t want to lose. But we never had a plan for victory. The plan we had was to stabilize the South Vietnamese Government and hope for the best sometime in the future.
Let’s contrast World War 2 shall we? It is just days after Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Churchill traveled to Washington DC to meet with President Roosevelt to discuss the war, the future, and how the war could be won. Churchill believed that Japan would fall when isolated, the first and most deadly peril to the world was Hitler. Roosevelt agreed, but knew he could not turn his back on the Pacific, the Japanese had started the war. However they agreed that the largest share of American Material would be sent to the European Theaters of the war to fight the Nazi’s.
In December 1941 with the smell of death and smoke still clinging to Pearl Harbor the general plan to win the war was being worked on by the allies. We knew what we would accept, Unconditional Surrender of the Axis powers. We knew basically how, the outline if not the general details of the path to Victory. As early as the Tehran Conference in 1943, we were looking at the post war, post victory actions in Europe and Asia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tehran_Conference
We were fighting for Victory. Victory was easy to define, the destruction of Nazism. The destruction of Fascist Italy. The destruction of Imperial Japan.
How about earlier. World War I. President Wilson kept trying to get peace discussions going. He refused to believe that all the combatants would demand victory or death. To oversimplify it a bit, no one could afford to lose, and remain in power. Everyone had planned on the losing side paying for the war under the term Reparations, a common bribe paid to end hostilities by the losing side for centuries. Russia, Germany, and the Austrian-Hungarian Empire proved that to be true.
Wilson finally learned in 1917 that the combatants were determined to fight, and the last choice he had was to pick sides. Germany had already taken hostile action against the United States, so the decision was academic.
We fought to victory in conflicts. Historically Peace treaties were rarely the final word on the issues. The perpetual state of war between England and Spain went on for centuries. The same with France that lasted until the beginning of the 20th Century. Peace treaties were a way to back away, gather strength, and start again in a few years, perhaps a generation would pass in relative peace, then the hostilities would recommence.
So the war on drugs has been going on since the 1970’s with no end in sight. We arrest the dealers, the users, and the drug smugglers. We get a kingpin, and announce a major victory in the war on drugs. But there is no real victory in sight. We don’t address the core issue, the desire of people to use, that drives demand for drugs. We aren't fighting to win. We are fighting because the alternative scares us more, the idea of drug addled people all over the place. The truth is, legalization would pretty much end drug availability. Liability laws would make production of drugs stronger than Marijuana problematic. Personal Injury lawyers would go up and talk about how Gasoline was used in the production of Cocaine and huge settlements that would finally make the tobacco awards look puny by comparison would wipe out the drug producers.
The war on Terror. Since World War II we have been reluctant to declare war on anything but vague ill-defined terms. We had war on Poverty. We had war on intolerance, war on war. We like ill-defined wars though, because that way we can get involved without doing what FDR did in December 1941. We can fight without declaring what victory will be. We do this because the reality is we know that victory over these things is a virtual impossibility.
How do you win a war on Terrorism? Terrorism by definition is always small cells that have been preparing for an attack that is nearly suicidal at best, outright suicide at worst. How do you win that?
I had a discussion with a friend who is black at work the other day. We were talking about Iraq, and we both agreed that racism didn’t end because of a court decision to integrate schools. Racism ends when people decide to live together. Live and let live. There are whites who won’t do that, and there are blacks who won’t do it. But generally speaking, most of us have decided to live, and let live.
Iraq, the disparate groups show little interest in living together. ISIS/ISIL or whatever you are calling them today have little tolerance for anyone who does not join them. It is a join us or die movement that may consist of hundreds of thousands of followers who are dedicated to some extent or another. So what are we doing? We deploy troops to secure our Embassy and the American Compounds. Then we deploy bombs to protect the troops protecting the compounds.
We are fighting not to lose. We don’t know how to win, and we are unwilling to lose. This is not a foreign policy, this is a we don’t have a better idea at the moment, maybe tomorrow will bring something that we can use plan.
My Father told me that if I was going to fight other schoolboys, I had to know what I was fighting for, and when I would stop. He told me that I could fight as long as the other boy was standing, but once he was on the ground I was to stop, because that was defined by him, and me, as the end of the fight. That was victory, when the other boy would not get up. Later, I defined it as preventing him from hurting me anymore. For two boys in the school yard using fists and feet to settle their issues, this isn't a bad plan. Eventually that other boy would get up, or I would, and go home to lick our wounds. Perhaps the issue was settled, perhaps it was like one of those peace treaties mentioned above, a temporary cessation of hostility. The point is that there was a clearly defined point of victory, or defeat. This point was generally speaking pretty universally accepted.
We identify people with hostile intent. We bomb them and destroy them. Then another four pop up, and we start hunting for the four, then the twelve, then the fifty. We are applying the schoolyard principle to the world at large, and nobody we are at war with is playing by those rules.
Now, some will insist that I come up with an answer. I've identified a problem, we’re fighting not to lose instead of fighting to win. So what is the solution? That’s the problem. I don’t have one. OK, there are some obvious ones that are inconceivable.
We could wipe out anyone who believes in a specific religion. Besides being infamous that is the definition of Genocide, which is prohibited by international law with good reason.
We could station our troops on our borders and build a wall to prevent anyone coming in and hurting us. Obviously besides being impossible, that is stupid and wouldn't work.
We need to learn to live together. Jew and Gentile. Muslim and Hindu. Brown, Black, White, Red, Yellow, and Turquoise. But we don’t do that. Even as political parties, we define ourselves by being different than the others, and superior because of those differences. Every Religion is convinced that they are the ones who are right, and everyone thinks the others are going to suffer for eternity because they are wrong. I've read the Bible, and I've read about Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Wicca. I've never found a book anywhere that says I have any say in what happens to anyone else in the hereafter. Nowhere in any of those books does it say SavannahMann will decide what reward or punishment you shall receive. Believe me, no one is more glad of that than I, because I don’t have the wisdom to make those determinations.
If we are going to fight these wars. Poverty, Drugs, Intolerance, and even Terrorism. We need to decide what victory is, and how we reach it. Because without knowing what the win is, there is no way to figure out how to reach it. Berlin was easy, we knew where it was. Tokyo was easy, we knew where it was. But where can we find victory as long as we are fighting to keep from losing. In that instance, victory is defined by surviving to fight another day.
We view elections much the same way. Many of our battle cries here on DU and out there in the real world of media resonate with the idea that we can’t let them win. We aren't fighting for anything. We are fighting to keep from losing. We have no strategic plan, nor any short term plan. We argue endlessly about how much worse things would be with “them” in charge. So what are we going to GOTV for? Why we have to do it to keep them from winning. We have to do it to keep from losing.
I know this rambled a bit, but I see a lot of intertwined threads that I wanted to briefly touch as I explained what I was thinking. Please feel free to tell me how wrong I am, or what you think we can or should do for victory on any of these wars. Because I’m getting a little tired of the plan to fight just to keep from losing.
Posted by Savannahmann | Sat Aug 16, 2014, 07:18 PM (0 replies)
I honestly wish I could say check out this link to the Onion. Or perhaps I could say that I was just joking. No, I'm afraid I'm actually serious.
The executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police criticized President Obama Thursday for his remarks about law enforcement in Ferguson, Mo.
"I would contend that discussing police tactics from Martha's Vineyard is not helpful to ultimately calming the situation," director Jim Pasco said in an interview with The Hill.
"I'm not there, and neither is the president," Pasco said. "That is why we have due process in the United States. And this will all be sorted out over time. But right now, I haven't seen anything from afar — and maybe the president has — that would lead me to believe the police are doing anything except to restore order."
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/215178-police-chief-hits-obama-for-ferguson-remarks#ixzz3AQPMKbH8
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook
Talk about being tone deaf. Hey the cops are pretty much viewed by the public at large as jackbooted gestapo, but hey let's not let that slow us down from further militarization right? The cops are just doing their jobs. Right now, I'm watching the news, and there is nothing about riots or tear gas or all that nonsense in Ferguson. Why? Because someone finally showed up with a brain between his ears. MSNBC says that the case if it happened according to the witnesses, was first degree murder.
But there is no way that the President of the United States, who has access to the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Governor of the State might have some information. But for the sake of argument. Let's pretend that President Obama is half as ignorant as you seem to be Chief of the Fraternal Order of Police, perhaps you could turn on the news and see the brutal responses.
I say that the Chief of the Fraternal Order of Police is ignorant because apparently he hasn't heard about the press being arrested. I say that because the rest of us are sickened, infuriated, and disgusted by what we are seeing. He seems to be one of the few people who hasn't managed to see any of the video, or pictures of dolts in uniform pointing rifles at people who are holding their hands up and saying don't shoot me.
I'm with President Obama. There is no excuse for what we're seeing from the police in Furgeson. Apparently things are improving, now that they have the grown ups in charge.
Posted by Savannahmann | Thu Aug 14, 2014, 10:56 PM (21 replies)
My wife and I were discussing this last night. She was sickened by the whole thing. This is not quite verbatim of what I told her, perhaps it's better, or worse.
In the 1980's, it began. First the Cop movies showed the buddies standing up against impossible odds to stop the criminal empires. Then the reality came in. A cop in a dark apartment complex, he sees a silhouette of a person holding something that looks like a gun. He sees a gun in other words. The cop draws his pistol and fires. A child playing a game of cops and robbers is killed.
We as a community feel sorrow, and horror. The discussion waffles back and forth. The reasonable argument there is that the cop believed that the person he could barely see was holding a gun, it looked like a gun. Then things converged.
Armed Robbery faced a stiffer penalty that just Robbery. So criminals pretended to have guns, or other weapons, but were not actually armed. The definition was changed, if the victim believed you to be armed, you were to be charged with armed robbery. So a bank robber who passes across a note that says that he has a gun and will shoot the teller if she doesn't give him the money is committing armed robbery even if he doesn't have a gun.
In other words, reasonable belief became the rule. Everyone knew that if you shot someone, you were in trouble. But there was an exception, if you were in fear of your life, you could shoot someone to defend yourself. This was the beginning of the "castle doctrine" that has now been codified into law in many states. Your fear was the defining factor of the event. So everyone told each other that if you had to shoot someone, make sure you tell the cops you were in fear of your life.
The police were aware of all of this, and much like our notional homeowner above, learned that as long as they said they "believed" the suspect was armed, they would be exonerated. From the 1970's, when the police could not fire first, to the present day when they could shoot anyone as long as they say the magic words. "I thought he had a gun."
This like the I was in fear of my life statement above became the routine lie. Whenever force is used, the cops automatically, they are trained to do this mind you, use these routine lies to justify it. It has become so routine that it is taught like wearing gloves at a crime scene. So if it ever gets to the point where it is reviewed by a Prosecutor, he checks the blocks on the report. The officer was in fear of his life, he had a reasonable belief that the suspect was armed.
Automatic routine lies. And a pattern of justifications. Well, the cop was a good guy, and if I was there and I saw a human shape holding a gun, I would think it was a man with a gun too. Well, if I was at home, and someone stormed into my house, I would be in fear of my life too.
The militarization has been going on about as long too. It started thanks to Darrel Gates, yes, that one, who formed the first SWAT team in Los Angeles. Originally intended to respond to hostage situations and terrorist attacks it rapidly became the force de jour. Then the question became one of what about the regular cops? What if they don't have time to wait for SWAT? Then it was we have a SWAT team, why not use them to serve warrants on dangerous drug dealers. Then they became warrant squads, who did nothing but serve search and arrest warrants. Treating every warrant for arrest over traffic violation like they are raiding a compound full of Branch Dividians.
We got here by a whole bunch of little steps, little steps that have each been reasonable when considered by the tiny step before. We couldn't ask cops not to shoot at a person holding what appeared to be a gun could we? We couldn't doubt that someone in fear of their life has the reasonable right to self defense could we? We couldn't do that could we? A lot of little steps, and now we have police that are more heavily armed, and armored than the infantry we send into combat. We have situations where the police are justified by law in shooting unarmed people because the cop says the magic words. He believed the suspect was armed.
Routine lies. I've told this before, but in the 1980's I was working as a Security Guard. I took the class to get my permit for a nightstick which was called a baton under California law. During the class, the instructor, a cop, told the class to make sure if we ever used the baton on someone, to tell any observers that the guy was a child molester. The cop explained that this changed the tone of their testimony when they were called to court. A routine lie, taught to a bunch of mall cops, on how to modify the testimony of witnesses.
Routine lies, which are told with no more thought than the phrases used by the rest of us every day. "Yes, that is a lovely dress."
That my friends, is how we got here. Now the question is, how the hell do we get out of here because it seems that this is a one way street, and the next block looks even worse than this one.
Posted by Savannahmann | Wed Aug 13, 2014, 12:08 PM (31 replies)