Those Police Unions

Closing Thought–20Aug20

First of all I take exception to the term ‘Union’ when applying it to the police.

At best it is an association……to imply it is a union means that it is part of the larger labor force…they are NOT!

That is my short bitch…..what this post is about is the coming storm of reform that is hitting the police forces around the country.

But why are these “associations” so strong?

Police unions are at the center of questions about what will happen to Chauvin and the three officers who watched as Floyd was suffocated. And they are also key to understanding why officers across the country escape discipline time and again after beating or killing people. As other labor unions have shrunk in recent years, membership in police unions has remained high. While the Black Lives Matter movement encouraged people to document police brutality on camera and demand accountability, police unions, which now have hundreds of thousands of members, have pushed back in almost every way imaginable—by overturning firings, opposing the use of body cameras, and lobbying to keep their members’ disciplinary histories sealed.

All of which can make officers feel invincible when they commit acts of violence. A forthcoming research paper from the University of Victoria in Canada found that after police officers formed unions—generally between the 1950s and the 1980s—there was a “substantial” increase in police killings of Black and Brown people in the United States. Within a decade of gaining collective bargaining rights, officers killed an additional 60 to 70 civilians of all races per year collectively, compared with previous years, an increase that researchers say may be linked to officers’ belief that their unions would protect them from prosecution. A working paper from the University of Chicago found that complaints of violent misconduct by Florida sheriffs’ offices jumped 40 percent after deputies there won collective bargaining rights in 2003.

The Infuriating History of Why Police Unions Have So Much Power

Reform is sadly needed but it will be a hard row to hoe…..because these so-called unions will fight any reform that is sadly needed.

In May, just days after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, Lieutenant Bob Kroll, the bellicose leader of the city’s police union, described Floyd as a violent criminal, said that the protesters who had gathered to lament his death were terrorists, and complained that they weren’t being treated more roughly by police. Kroll, who has spoken unsentimentally about being involved in three shootings himself, said that he was fighting to get the accused officers reinstated. In the following days, the Kentucky police union rallied around officers who had fatally shot an E.M.T. worker named Breonna Taylor in her home. Atlanta police staged an organized sick-out after the officers who killed Rayshard Brooks were charged. Philadelphia police sold T-shirts celebrating a fellow-cop who was caught on video clubbing a student protester with a steel baton. The list goes on.

Along with everything else about American society that was thrown into appalling relief by Floyd’s killing, there has been the peculiar militancy of many police unions. Law enforcement kills more than a thousand Americans a year. Many are unarmed, and a disproportionate number are African-American. Very few of the officers involved face serious, if any, consequences, and much of that impunity is owed to the power of police unions.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/08/03/how-police-unions-fight-reform

Until those much needed reforms hit in your police department….there are a few things we all can do to try and keep the cops in-line with the rest of society…..

As a reporter covering law enforcement for the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and now in partnership with ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network, I use investigative reporting techniques to strengthen police accountability. Other journalists do the same. But, in truth, any citizen can apply the same methods to ensure the law enforcement system they’re funding is serving them well.

Police culture can be insular and tough to penetrate. But I’ve been surprised by how often it’s possible, though time consuming, to expose important issues by requesting and examining records and data from police departments and other government agencies and engaging citizens and key leaders. So here are five techniques concerned citizens, journalists and policymakers can use to examine police conduct in their communities.

https://www.propublica.org/article/i-cover-cops-as-an-investigative-reporter-here-are-five-ways-you-can-start-holding-your-department-accountable

Read the list and try to help keep the PD on a thin line…..it is time for them to return to their prized motto…”To protect and serve”….instead of the one they live by these days…”to punish and enslave”…..

Do yourself a favor….READ THE DAMN POST!

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Another Bad Day For Trumpites

Those people around Donald the Orange have not had a goo run in the court systems…..just look at the criminals that have saddled up to Trump.

Rick Gates: Convicted. Paul Manafort: Convicted. George Papadopoulos: Convicted. Mike Flynn: Convicted. Michael Cohen: Convicted. Roger Stone: Convicted. Donald Trump: Impeached.

Now we can add yet another Trumpian stoolie….Steve Bannon.

Remember him?

He has been indicted by the Manhattan court….

Former top White House adviser Steve Bannon appears to be facing serious legal trouble. Federal prosecutors indicted him Thursday on charges that he defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors in a online fundraising campaign, reports CNBC. The charges are related to a group co-founded by Bannon called “We Build the Wall,” which sought to raise money to build a border wall, per Bloomberg News. Prosecutors say he used money raised by the group for personal expenses. Three others also were charged, reports CNN. Bannon has been arrested and was due to make a court appearance Thursday.

Prosecutors say that Bannon and another organizer, Brian Kolfage, pledged to take no compensation, but that Bannon received $1 million and Kolfage more than $350,000, reports the Washington Post. Those two and two others (Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea) are accused of routing money from the online campaign through a shell company in an attempt to conceal their personal payments, say prosecutors. They all face charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering in the campaign, which the Hill reports raised more than $25 million. Bannon was a key adviser in President Trump’s 2016 campaign, then served as a top strategist in the White House until he was fired in the summer of 2017.

Donald the Orange is having a real bad year and it just keeps getting worse….more and more of his toadies are getting snapped up by the judicial system.

Trump’s pardon finger has got to be getting tired….and I am sure that he will use it more and more between now and January of 2021…….then hopefully he will be back in New York bothering locals instead of screwing the nation.

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Fighting Racism?

Good grief we have been fighting this for how long?

Katt Williams can answer that question…..

And in the 21st century we have come back to the bad old days of the 1960s and the fight for equality and the end of racism…..and the civil rights movement thought they had accomplished that with the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act……but apparently nothing was truly settled in those days with those Acts. 

Were these Acts just exercises in pacification?

A great American writer and activist, James Baldwin, made an observation that is as true today as it was when Baldwin made it……

“There are days—this is one of them—when you wonder what your role is in this country and what your future is in it. How, precisely, are you going to reconcile yourself to your situation here and how you are going to communicate to the vast, heedless, unthinking, cruel white majority that you are here. I’m terrified at the moral apathy, the death of the heart, which is happening in my country. These people have deluded themselves for so long that they really don’t think I’m human. And I base this on their conduct, not on what they say. And this means that they have become in themselves moral monsters.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/07/raoul-peck-james-baldwin-i-am-not-your-negro/613708/

A little historical perspective here…..

Consider, for instance, the study that the Bureau of Labor commissioned famed Black scholar W.E.B. DuBois to complete in the early 1900s. Determined to employ sound sociological methods to disprove racist beliefs that Black people were inferior, he and a team of researchers spent three years in Lowndes County, Alabama, gathering data from 5,000 Black families (approximately 25,000 individuals). It detailed the conditions of life in the region, and was one of the largest sociological studies of rural Black life ever conducted. When DuBois submitted the final manuscript, it was a handwritten document full of charts and infographics.4 Not only did the government bureau refuse to publish the study, but it destroyed the document entirely, claiming it was rejected due to technical matters. DuBois made the case in his correspondence and autobiography, however, that the bureau rejected the document because it revealed the inconvenient political truth about conditions for Black Americans.

When Proof Is Not Enough

Does that sound at all familiar?

At what point does the nation holding meetings and discussions and protests and start actually solving the problems that racism has created?

Especially since the news is not good for BLM…..it is losing support with whites…..

Arguably, though, the protests’ impact on public opinion has been even more immediate and wide-ranging. Unfavorable views of the police, acknowledgement of widespread discrimination against African Americans and support for Black Lives Matter all jumped up by at least 10 percentage points, according to tracking polls conducted shortly before and after the protests by both Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape and Civiqs.

These changes in public opinion are being driven in large part by white Americans, who for years have been much less likely than Black Americans to acknowledge that racial inequality remains a real problem. Since the first wave of large-scale Black Lives Matter protests in 2014, white Americans’ racial attitudes have gradually become more liberalized while Black Americans’ views have remained relatively steady.

Support For Black Lives Matter Surged During Protests, But Is Waning Among White Americans

Just wondering!

Please check out earlier post about racism and bigotry…..from the IST archives…….

https://lobotero.com/2014/07/29/this-is-your-brain-on-racism-inside-the-mind-of-modern-bigotry-salon-com/

https://lobotero.com/2019/09/10/that-race-talk/

https://lobotero.com/2019/09/25/stop-racism-is-the-problem/

https://lobotero.com/2020/07/16/how-did-society-come-to-this/

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2020 Dem Convention–Day Three

The third day of the Dem convention is now in the can (as they say in show biz)…..this was the Big Day……Obama speech….Clinton speech…. Harris speech…..

The Virtual Convention is novel idea and Trump is losing his mind over all the speakers that are trashing him…….and it is a beautiful sight at that……his ranting is a joy to my ears……

For those that had better things to do….I will give my take on Day Three….big night for speeches…….Obama, Clinton and Harris acceptance…the rest are just filler…..and of course Donald the Orange has to flex his fingers as well…

For all those that cannot live without the words of Obama….the transcript of his speech…..https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/19/politics/barack-obama-speech-transcript/index.html

 

But the most inspirational speech was from Gabi Gifford…at least in my mind……

With no further ado…….Night Three……

The barbs were flying between President Trump and his predecessor before night 3 of the Democratic National Convention even began. Excerpts of Barack Obama’s DNC speech were released in advance, including his comment that he had once hoped Trump “might show some interest in taking the job seriously.” Before the night officially kicked off, Trump tweeted, “Welcome, Barack and Crooked Hillary. See you on the field of battle!” (Hillary Clinton also spoke Wednesday night at the virtual convention.) Then, while apparently watching Obama’s speech in real time, Trump tweeted, “HE SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN, AND GOT CAUGHT!” and then, “WHY DID HE REFUSE TO ENDORSE SLOW JOE UNTIL IT WAS ALL OVER, AND EVEN THEN WAS VERY LATE? WHY DID HE TRY TO GET HIM NOT TO RUN?” More on Obama’s speech and the rest of the evening:

  • Trump also slammed Obama during a press conference before the DNC events got started. “President Obama did not do a good job. And the reason I’m here is because of President Obama and Joe Biden, because if they did a good job I wouldn’t be here. And probably, if they did a good job, I wouldn’t have even run,” he said.
  • Fox News calls Obama’s speech “a blistering attack” while Deadline goes with “scathing.” Other lines included, “He’s shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends” and “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.” Obama said that during Trump’s presidency we’ve seen “our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before.”
  • Obama, who spoke from Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution, also criticized Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his attacks on mail-in voting. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter,” he said. “We can’t let that happen. Do not let them take away your power. Don’t let them take away your democracy.”
  • The word from historian Michael Beschloss on Twitter: “No former President has ever attacked his incumbent successor at a convention like Barack Obama tonight, or even come close.”
  • Obama also, of course, talked about Biden. “Twelve years ago, when I began my search for a vice president, I didn’t know I’d end up finding a brother,” he said. “Joe and I came from different places and different generations. But what I quickly came to admire about him is his resilience, born of too much struggle; his empathy, born of too much grief. Joe’s a man who learned early on to treat every person he meets with respect and dignity, living by the words his parents taught him: ‘No one’s better than you, but you’re better than nobody.’ That empathy, that decency, the belief that everybody counts. That’s who Joe is.”
  • Clinton was no kinder to Trump in her remarks. “If Trump is re-elected things will get even worse,” she said. “Remember back in 2016 when Trump asked what do you have to lose? Well, now we know. Our health care, our jobs, our loved ones.”
  • Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren also spoke. “Joe Biden is the president we need right now—battle tested, forward looking, honest and authentic. He has never forgotten who he is fighting for,” Pelosi said, per the BBC. “And Kamala Harris is the vice-president we need right now, committed to our Constitution, brilliant in defending it and a witness to the women of this nation that our voices will be heard.”
  • Also up Wednesday was Gabby Giffords, the former congresswoman who was wounded in a 2011 mass shooting. “Words once came easily, today I struggle to speak. But I have not lost my voice. America needs all of us to speak out, even when you have to fight to find the words,” she said, per CNN. “We can be on the right side of history. We must elect Joe Biden. He was there for me, he’ll be there for you too. Join us in this fight. Vote vote vote.”
  • The night wrapped up with Kamala Harris formally accepting her nomination as vice president. She said she envisions America as a “beloved community, where all are welcome, no matter what we look like, no matter where we come from or who we love. A country where we may not agree on every detail, but we are united by the fundamental belief that every human being is of infinite worth.” She said Trump’s ” failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods.”
  • Harris also addressed the civil unrest in the nation: “Let’s be clear: there is no vaccine for racism. For George Floyd. For Breonna Taylor. For the lives of too many others to name. For our children. For all of us,” she said. “We must elect a president who will bring something different, something better, and do the important work. A president who will bring all of us together—Black, White, Latino, Asian, Indigenous—to achieve the future we collectively want.”
  • Trump was apparently listening to her speech, too: “BUT DIDN’T SHE CALL HIM A RACIST??? DIDN’T SHE SAY HE WAS INCOMPETENT???” he tweeted. The BBC points out that while Harris and Biden clashed over race issues during the second Democratic debate, she has never called him racist and in fact went out of her way to say she does not think he is racist.

As they say (whoever “they” are)….Night Three is “in the can”….omto night four and the conclusion of the nation;s first “Virtual” political convention……

A suggestion for the DNC….if you talk about the future then stop trotting out fossils like the Clintons, Carvell, Kerry and Powell……talk about the future and let the past slide into the history books there is NO need to rehash the stupidity of the DNC in the past.

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Will Saudis Get Nukes?

Over a year ago I wrote bout the news that Jared was working to help MbS get nuke power for KSA…..https://lobotero.com/2019/05/14/saudis-and-nukes/

I said then that it was a bad idea to give the Saudis nuke technology and after months of bitching I see that Pompeo has reassured Israel that Saudis will got get access to nukes….

Following reports that this is a specific concern of Israel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he believes it is a “real risk” that Saudi Arabia will get nukes, and that the US views it as a “top priority” to try to prevent the Saudis from getting such arms.

Recent reports, all centering on the Israeli narrative, claim the Saudis are processing yellowcake uranium, and that they are getting secret help from China that could lead to the acquisition of nuclear arms in the future.

This is an unusual place for the administration to be in, as they general support arming the Saudis to the teeth, and Pompeo has repeatedly gone to bat for the idea that the Saudis need more arms for their “emergency” state. Those are US-made arms, of course.

The concern may be that getting arms from China will change the power structure of the Middle East, with Pompeo saying China’s offer is “too good to be true.” It’s not clear what China offered, or if they offered anything at all, and Saudi interest in nuclear energy could easily explain away the uranium processing.

(antiwar.com)

So according to the toad in the State Department….it is okay for the US to give nukes away but not China.  A moronic thought!

But not to worry.

KSA’s close friend the UAE has just fired up its nuclear plant…..

A nuclear power plant in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates has been connected to the country’s power grid, authorities said Wednesday. The Barakah nuclear power plant in the Emirates’ far western desert near the border with Saudi Arabia began sending out electricity, according to the state-run WAM news agency. WAM published a photograph of employees working inside the plant’s control room, though no independent media was there to witness the event. On July 31, the plant’s first reactor reached what scientists called its “first criticality.” That’s when the nuclear chain reaction within the reactor is self-sustaining. Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency and other regulatory bodies have seen and assessed the site.

The plant has been considered a target by Yemen’s rival Houthi rebels since Dec. 2017. They claimed then, without offering evidence, to have fired a cruise missile at it, something immediately denied by the UAE. Plans call for four reactors to be operating at Barakah, which authorities say will provide some 25% of all energy needs in this OPEC-member nation. The $20 billion plant was built by the Emirates with the help of South Korea. It’s the first nuclear power plant on the Arabian Peninsula. The US has praised the UAE’s nuclear program for agreeing never to acquire enrichment or reprocessing capabilities, which prevents it from being able to make weapons-grade uranium, the AP reports.

A plant next door would be easy to get the technology needed….basically for nothing.

Does anyone else see how moronic this foreign policy is?

If not maybe you should pay attention.

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The Borscht Revolution

WE have had the Green Revolution….Yellow Revolution….Orange Revolution….and so on…..and now we are witnessing the “Borscht Revolution”…..the situation in Belarus.

Why “Borscht”?

It happens to be part of the national cuisine of Belarus….ergo “The Borscht Revolution”.

About now someone is asking…”where the Hell is Belarus?

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/attachments/maps/BO-map.jpg

After seven decades as a constituent republic of the USSR, Belarus attained its independence in 1991. It has retained closer political and economic ties to Russia than have any of the other former Soviet republics. Belarus and Russia signed a treaty on a two-state union on 8 December 1999 envisioning greater political and economic integration. Although Belarus agreed to a framework to carry out the accord, serious implementation has yet to take place and current negotiations on further integration have been contentious. Since his election in July 1994 as the country’s first and only directly elected president, Aleksandr LUKASHENKO has steadily consolidated his power through authoritarian means and a centralized economic system. Government restrictions on political and civil freedoms, freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion have remained in place.

The former Soviet republic was occupied by the Nazis between 1941 and 1944, when it lost 2.2 million people, including almost all of its large Jewish population.

Belarus has been ruled with an iron fist since 1994 by President Alexander Lukashenko. Opposition figures are subjected to harsh penalties for organising protests. In 2005, Belarus was listed by the US as Europe’s only remaining “outpost of tyranny”.

In the Soviet post-war years, Belarus became one of the most prosperous parts of the USSR, but with independence came economic decline. President Lukashenko has steadfastly opposed the privatisation of state enterprises, and the country is heavily dependent on Russia for its energy supplies.

Now with the intro in the bag we go to the violence and protests in Minsk the capital of Belarus.

Aliaksandr Lukashenka has been president of Belarus since 1994, and both citizens and outside observers have roundly questioned the legitimacy of every vote in the country since the one that brought him to power. This one, held on 9 August, was even less transparent than its predecessors. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) complained that it was invited too late to send observers, while staff from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) stayed away due to COVID-19. Lukashenka’s primary opponent on the ballot, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, registered to run only a few weeks ago, when her husband, along with other prospective candidates, was prevented from doing so and arrested instead.

Tsikhanouskaya’s central campaign promise was a new, free, fair and transparent election within six months of taking office. Her campaign drew tens of thousands of citizens to its rallies in the lead-up to the vote, the first sign that this time might be different. And, indeed, when Lukashenka claimed to have garnered an improbable 80 per cent of the vote, a lot of Belarusian citizens simply did not believe him. Solid evidence that they are right lies in their own numbers, which grow each day, even as both demonstrators and passersby are arrested en masse; the use of rubber bullets and, reportedly, live ammunition; and the clear signs of torture on the bodies of those released from Lukashenka’s jails, which are rapidly running short of space.

https://www.crisisgroup.org/europe-central-asia/eastern-europe/belarus/how-help-belarus

Then there is the threat of a powerful neighbor that could intervene……

Vladimir Putin has agreed to provide protest-engulfed Belarus with security assistance to counter protests if the country requests it, the president of Belarus declared Saturday after more people took to the streets demanding that he resign, the AP reports. President Alexander Lukashenko made the comment on Saturday evening, several hours after a phone call with Putin and after protesters again demanded that he resign after 26 years in power. Thousands of demonstrators rallied Saturday at the spot in the capital of Minsk where a protester died this week in clashes with police. Some stripped off their shirts to display deep bruises they said came from being beaten by police.

Then there is Russia and how they see the situation in Belarus…..

According to the Institute for the Study of War, Belarusian state media had to insert the comment that Lukashenko “would only invite Russian forces “in the event of external military threats” – an aspect the president hadn’t specified.

Usually, state media are a tool for governments to craft their political messaging and a good indicator of government policies. However, in Belarus, one of the major state media tv channels went on strike in support of the demands of the protesters.

https://www.euronews.com/2020/08/18/how-are-russian-media-presenting-the-unfolding-of-events-in-belarus

This is in the neighborhood of where I have stated that if there is to be a world war it would probably start here in Eastern Europe…..https://lobotero.com/2013/06/13/looking-for-the-linchpin/

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