Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Speaking Of HBCU's

From Slate:
Even upper-tier HBCUs are not excluded from the financial hardships. In 2013, a much publicized letter from a Howard University trustee warned that "Howard will not be here in three years if we don't make some crucial decisions now.”
3 years eh?
"Morehouse College, for example, was suddenly thrown into a financial crisis in 2012 after the PLUS credit changes. Many freshmen who had paid their deposits suddenly could not afford Morehouse. This enrollment decline forced a faculty and staff furlough," according to a report from New America's Education Policy Program.*
How shall I put this?

This is what "diversity" looks like.

USC's Black House proposal raises questions about racial tensions

From the LA Times:
Student leaders passed a resolution on the house in late October. But Amoafo-Yeboah said the onslaught reinforced her sense that black students aren't always welcome at USC. That feeling of exclusion, she said, is especially obvious on the Row, the heart of the undergraduate social scene — which seems to be made of mostly white students, along with some Asians and a smattering of other minorities.

"The fact is, they don't want people like us," Amoafo-Yeboah said. "They just don't."

The Ghost went to two HWU (Historically White Universities). The Ghost never cared what Greek Letter organizations felt about him. The Ghost didn't want to join any Greek Letter organization. The Ghost graduated from a HBCU (Tuskegee). The Ghost joined a black non-greek letter organization while there. The Ghost says to not pay attention to people who don't want you. The Ghost says to go where you feel wanted. If you don't think white folks at HWCU' don't want you. Then there are plenty of HBCU's that do (and actually need your money). Go there and guess what? Every campus building is a black space. Every frat row is a black space. Every student center is a black space. Howard University
Tuskegee University
Morehouse
Spelman

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Note On The Apple Watch Presentation

So I finally got a chance to take in the Apple Watch presentation. If you are a person concerned with Black folks, then Apple's presentation went a long way in showing our collective problem.

Opening front and center was China. Tim Cook has said how China is an extremely important country for Apple. In fact I believe that a very large percentage of Apple's profits now comes from China. It is definitely the case that China represents probably the largest revenue growth for that Company. All kinds of Chinese folks disregarding the pollution to buy and fawn over Apple products. And this isn't to get on Apple's case. Many companies that had formerly been single mindedly focused on the US and western Europe have been looking to up their China presence. Think about it. China used to be known for bicycles. The "sick man of Asia" was well behind the "leading" powers. It had a revolution and all that stuff. China grew up and got very modern in a lot of places and boasts a middle class that is the size of well the entire population of the US.

Then we have Africa. Africa makes it's presence in the Apple presentation as the place well off (and well intentioned) white people go to Do Good(tm). Even though there is a middle class with disposable incomes some of which are spent on Apple products (see those unfortunates blown up in a Kenyan mall). They don't make an appearance in the Apple presentation anywhere. The message is clear to those who are paying attention: Africa and Africans aren't a market for Apple (or others) it is a marketing tool!

So there we have mothers in need of medical treatment that can only be gotten by the do gooding white woman with an Apple Watch (The fathers apparently are living that crystal stair life). She runs marathons and otherwise stays fit with Apple's stuff in order to help the needy Africans who apparently are incapable of helping themselves other than doing what the foreign do gooder tells them should be done.

There have been previous Apple adverts with a similar theme. Even with an African doing the do gooding. But still it is a story of the poor and destitute of Africa being a marketing prop for the latest Apple iDevice. If Apple thought of Africa and Africans as a market rather than a marketing tool, it would feature those middle class and up Africans who use their products in scenes that are clearly Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, etc. Hell, it could shoot some material in the Caribbean. I assure Apple that there are DJ's in Jamaica and elsewhere who use Apple computers.

Hell, If Apple wanted to discuss fitness, particularly running, why didn't they go and get one of the MANY African and African descended runners? Mo Farrah, Meb Keflezighi, Usain Bolt, Mary Keitany. Many of these athletes also are a part of charities or could discuss how their winnings go to develop their hometowns. But again. It is clear that the poor and needy in Africa are a marketing tool and the African is not a market.

But that brings us back to China. Why was China front and center? Because it is financially relevant. Africa is not. For all it's problems, whether it be pollution, human rights or a form of government some don't like, China has made itself into a country to be dealt with respectfully by businesses. And most importantly it isn't an international charity case. And this is key for black folks. If we really want folks to respect us as equals. If we really want people to see us as valuable neighbors and clients, we have to stop being charity cases. Like China and the Chinese we need to make a great leap forward. Minus the purge...however tempting that might be.

An Equality Challenge For Tim Wise

Mo Farrah just ran a half marathon in under an hour. Since Tim Wise is of the opinion that those who are doing things that don't directly (or indirectly) deal with racism are essentially wasting our time, what say he take time out of his day to shit on Mo? I mean clearly by any objective standard half marathon running, at any pace, is an exercise in privilege and having too much time on one's hands.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Just Have A Seat Tim

Long ago I wrote a piece about Tim Wise, because I felt that he doth speaketh too much on behalf of black folks. Tim Wise has apparently not learned much since then.
Think we are stretching the truth? Tim Wise clarified “My point is that the people who go looking for danger and ‘excitement’ are overwhelmingly privileged white men, and if you have evidence I’m wrong present it…jesus christ, find me evidence that low income folks of color go looking for death defying shit like this.”
Yes, there is a standing joke among black folks that certain things are "white folks crazy shit". It's a funny joke until you realize that the reason why places like, oh say, America exists is because white folks did their crazy "hey lets go THAT way instead of THIS way" attitude. Black folks unfortunately use the "that's what white folks do" in order to keep themselves from doing new and improved stuff. It actually stunts their development as a group.


Black folks engaging in "death defying shit"

Yeah, so while white dude is on the side of a mountain with safety gear and posing no danger to the public, Tim Wise decides its best to not comment on the black folks who ride their bikes and ATV's in the middle of public thoroughfares with no safety equipment and endangering the public. We had a group of such riders cause a "situation" on the West Side Highway in NYC, where a man was assaulted because he did "death defying shit" like try to get away from a mob. Say, did Mountain Bike Dude assault anyone?

But Tim is playing the regular Social Justice Denigration Card(tm) like it was done to Matt Taylor who had just helped land a spacecraft on a comet. But because he wore a shirt that offended the perpetually offended they denigrated his achievements to talk about his fucking shirt. Never you mind the spacecraft landing on a flying comet. The SHIRT.

Same kind of thinking is present in Tim Wise's commentary. Rather than sit down and appreciate the skill that went into the stunt. He HAD to find a way to denigrate the person. This is like way back when black folks were protesting the Space program. I wonder how many of them would gladly live without the technological and medical advances that came as a result of that program. Folks always trying to tear other people down with their accomplishments but don't spend the time and effort to make their own journey to the "undiscovered country".

Tim Wise might still wake up and realize that they best way to help black folks is to stop making excuses for us. Of course, there is no money to be made doing that. Trust me. I know.

Paul Gottinger: Total Idiot

Paul Gottinger joins Paul Urie in the camp of Total Idiots (tm). What has landed him there? Come follow me. I'm going to begin near the end because when I read what I will quote I new that Counterpunch has basically allowed the children to run the place:
Since 1976 there has been 1,403 people convicted of a crime, sentenced to the death penalty, and then executed. This number is only slightly larger than the number of Americans killed by cops LAST YEAR ALONE.

Imagine if ISIS, or Black gangs were killing at this scale. What would the country’s reaction be?

The total idiocy of this statement is beyond belief. You would think a grade school kid with absolutely no knowledge of how the world works wrote that. I don't know how many people ISIS has killed in the past year but I do know Boko Haram has killed 10,000 in 2014. I suppose black lives in Nigeria taken by other blacks don't really matter.

And if we put ISIS in the same group as Al-Qaeda then we'd have to include 9-11, London, Spain, and that total goes beyond 1403. But you know, you can't speak on that without being an "Islamophobe".

As for black gang members, exactly what rock did Paul come from under to not know that black gang members have left a swath of death in black communities for decades. Their total is FAR more than 1403. In fact, over 6000 black people were murdered in 2011 (cited source: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-1)

Also why does Paul act as if every person who has been shot and killed by a police officer was innocent? Has Paul never heard of justifiable homicide? Does he think that police do not have the same rights as anyone else to defend their lives with deadly force if necessary? One could begin to take Paul seriously if he actually separated out justifiable homicides from straight criminal killings. But his failure to do so means he cannot be allowed at the adult table.

So with that, Paul Gottinger, with a straight face acts as if the biggest danger to black lives are the police. This is the highest form of Tom foolery I've seen this week. The Ghost does not deal in Tom foolery and Counterpunch needs to rid its ranks of people who engage in it too.

As for the actual subject of his post:

According to friends of Robinson, he was tripping on hallucinogenic drugs the night he was shot. One of the calls to the police came from friends wanting help for Robinson.
Does Paul have any idea how dangerous a person who is high on hallucinogenic drugs can be? If you're lucky they think you're a cute little animal. If you're very unlucky they think you are their mortal enemy and will try to kill you. Nobody knows exactly what went on in the premises. That's why we have what are called investigations. You'd think that after the repeated collapse of the Ferguson incident that folks like Paul would be very careful about making assumptions about facts they do not have. You'd also think that Paul would remind the reader that the deceased was awaiting trial for armed robbery. Like that's not relevant.

In all seriousness, If the "friends' knew that Robinson wasn't a threat (something the responding police officer cannot know), why did they bother to call the police? Why not wait for him to come down off his high? Oh, their friend was out of control and THEY felt threatened and didn't consider that someone who DOESN'T know Robinson from the next Harry would have even more reason to feel threatened. Bright people we're dealing with here. Anyway more Foolery:

In 2007 Kenny shot and killed a drunk man holding a pellet gun. His punishment? He earned the Medal of Valor, the department’s highest honor.
Because police should stop whatever THEY are doing whenever a suspect points a gun at them.

In all seriousness, what kind of fantasy world do people like Paul live in where the police are to assume that guns pointed at them are of the non-lethal type? Why does Paul insult our intelligence when we know that one should never, ever, point a gun, or something that can be mistook for a gun at someone who is literally licensed to kill.

So with these inane comments Paul Gottinger joins Rob Urie in the club of Total Idiots(tm).

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Old Interview

While this guy is talking about the Soviet Union (pre Berlin Wall falling). Many of the things he is speaking of, the concepts, are currently ongoing. For example, his discussion of "facts not mattering" is shown in the case of Michael Brown which I discussed at length in a previous posting.

Furthermore when we see how certain ideas are censored to the extent that people literally try to destroy the lives of those they disapprove of, is also in line with concepts discussed in the video.

Lastly, when we see the disturbing trend of academics seriously putting for the idea that due process (for certain crimes) including the idea that one is considered innocent until proven guilty, should be abandoned we see that this fellow is right on track.

Watch and remember this was in the 80's.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Just Can't Take Them Seriously Anymore

Over the past year or so as I've become more and more careful about my analyses of events and sources of information, places I used to go to for information and views are failing to pass even the most basic integrity tests. I understand that opinion pieces are not scholarly journal entries. It is unlikely that such pieces are going to be accompanied by charts, graphs and heavily footnoted. Indeed I have to say that there are times here where I don't even bother with images or links to references because I've already established the factual basis of my claims in other posts on the subject matter. The reader, if so moved can search the over 10 years of posts to check the references if they like. When you provide absolute proof of your points you gain a reputation for accuracy and generally you can be allowed such leeway. However when one habitually gets actual facts wrong then your credibility is shot and your readership becomes less informed if not misinformed. Other readers will simply stop tuning in. I'm going to cite two recent examples of this phenomenon:

Counterpunch. I used to follow Counterpunch religiously. During the Bush years there were a lot of hard hitting pieces. Then Obama got elected and a lot of the regular people posted there basically lost their minds. It got even worse when Cockburn passed. But the worst came when the Michael Brown incident occurred. The number of posts on that publication in which people asserted as fact information that was completely contradicted by the available evidence was, to me, shocking. A person might be entitled to their own opinions but one certainly does not have the right to up and make up "facts" in order to support some fantasy one wishes was the case. I also would expect that the persons who run the website would exercise some editorial control in the form of fact checking. I'm not saying they should endorse or censor a particular piece, but rather they should either not publish pieces with obvious factual inaccuracies until they are corrected by the author or they should note at the head or tail of the piece that x,y and z statements are incorrect. If the writer want's to commit reputation suicide by misrepresenting the facts, let them, no need for Counterpunch to put the knife to their own throats as well.

So long after the facts of the Michael Brown shooting have been on public display I see this by Ishmael Reed who I have become so disappointed in that I do not even bother to get upset when he once again makes dumb claims:

When the report about the misconduct of the Ferguson police was issued, CNN was able to find two black men to defend the Ferguson police. One accused the Attorney General Holder of carrying on a vendetta against the force. Maybe Mark O’Mara, another CNN regular, wasn’t available. He was George Zimmerman’s Attorney. He promoted false information about Michael Brown and intimidated the white women on the Zimmerman jury by raising the specter of the black rapist.
There are a lot of black people who are bright enough to read the document created by the DOJ and then gather evidence to see what is and is not supported by the facts. I know that in far too many black circles such behavior is considered "not black" and "selling out" . Oh well. I would call that, being honest. So for example, we find that Ferguson PD's arrest rates are on par with the county and state. We also find that the arrests rates, and use of dogs are also concurrent with the level of violent crimes (which bring about the dogs and cuffs) committed by black folks in the city, county and state.

Last weekI asked the readership what was conspicuously absent from the DOJ report. If you answered that the data of criminal conviction rates by race you won the prize. You see, unless you have an idea as to who is doing what and at what rate, you cannot discuss whether something is "disproportionate".

As for the court using tickets as revenue generation, firstly how is it people haven't figured this out nation wide? Look. The national speed limit was put into place for the reasons of saving fuel during the OPEC embargo. Once that was lifted, speed limits stayed in place. Why? The go to answer was "safety" but it really wasn't that. It apparently never occurred to people that most people on highways are doing at least 10MPH *over* the speed limit and in many cases 15-20MPH. You try doing the speed limit on the southern portions of the NJ Turnpike or I95 in Conn. and see how many people blow by you. The fact is that if you are doing the speed limit on most highways, YOU are a safety hazard because people have to slow down for you.

So why is it that even though the majority of the population has voted with their right foot and travel at speeds in excess of the so called "safe" speed limit, do the states continue to ticket people for speeding? Revenue. Firstly they do it because the federal government will withhold DOT monies from the states that fail to enforce the speed limit and the various towns that these highways cut through get a cut of revenue generated from speeding tickets.

So by and large, the entire country's speeding ticket racket is just that, a racket. So how is it that Ferguson's is more egregious than anyone else's? Because the ones caught with infractions are reflective of the general population.

Also nowhere is it discussed that Ferguson, having transitioned from a 95%+ white, middle class neighborhood unto a 70%+ black neighborhood with over 30% of it's residents in section 8 housing, has a rapidly decreasing tax revenue. What do little, near broke towns do when their population cannot support their municipal government? They use tickets to generate income. Some towns make their own main street a speed trap and write tickets to hapless drivers passing through. Since it appears that most people with money simply bypass Ferguson, that option isn't available.

Does that mean Ferguson should prey on their citizens for revenue? Nope. But I wouldn't call it racist. AS for the "expensive" tickets. Let me give a personal example:

Many years ago I got a parking ticket that I thought I didn't deserve. So I decided I wouldn't pay it. I got letters from the city. I tossed 'em. Then I got a letter from the DMV. My license was suspended. Oh and the fine was now $1,000. So I had to take my butt to the local DMV. Pay a huge fine upstairs, then stand in line downstairs to get my license back. Mind you, I COULD have also gotten a ticket on the way to the DMV since I was rolling on a suspended license.

All of that could have been avoided by either paying the fine or at a minimum contacting the city by the date due. Fortunately I *had* the revenue to pay that fine. Do you think I'm going to let that happen again? I'm certain that the report of a police officer making a false claim of an out taillight is true. I've had it done to me. Shouldn't happen but I'm certain that happens across the country and not just to black folks.

The point being that just like the water shut offs in Detroit, when we look deeper into the situation we will inevitably find that the majority of cases were absolutely valid regardless of how much bellyaching the complainant does. And this is what is missing from the discussion. The report relied on some fantasy that the various racial populations in Ferguson and elsewhere do the same things at the same rates. The data simply does not support such an assumption. And the "two blacks" noted by Reed are one of many who know this.

As for Holder. He did in fact have a vendetta. The report about Ferguson reminded me of the Ken Starr prosecution of Clinton. When they couldn't get Clinton on what they wanted to get him on, they just kept digging and digging until they could get something. Similarly when they couldn't get Wilson they turned on the city.

Soon after Michael Brown made headlines, Holder, the top law enforcement agent in the land, took a trip to Ferguson and declared that there should be a trial. That the top law dawg would issue such a biased (and biasing) statement when no information had been out was the lowest point of his employment. That he went around talking about how he was a "black man" as if that was relevant for his job was another. Could you imagine a white AG going to the place where a white person got killed by a black person and said "I'm a white man..I got you"? It's one thing if it's a "wink and nod" understanding. It's an entirely different thing to up and declare your bias in public.

As for this:

Maybe Mark O’Mara, another CNN regular, wasn’t available. He was George Zimmerman’s Attorney. He promoted false information about Michael Brown
I'm not entirely clear as to the purpose of this. What "false information" is Reed referring to? He speaks of it as if it's a known fact. Cause the only "false information" out there about Brown was that he had his hands up and that he didn't assault the officer. Reed (or Counterpunch, I'm not sure) uses this as his evidence:

Well that settles it then right? A statement not made under oath. I'm fairly certain Reed is a literate man and therefore could read the various witness testimony available to the public in the form of the GJ report. Why does he think that the word of this contractor is better than the words of those who were right across the street from the incident? Why does he think the word of a contractor is better than the forensic evidence that shows Brown moving towards the officer?

Because Reed, like a lot of black folks live in a fantasy land where if white people are involved a black person could not do wrong. Or if he or she did it was because of slavery or white supremacy acting on their brains. Reed like many of his compatriots cannot even bother to note that Brown had just robbed a store and assaulted the owner. I have not seen a one of these folks even offer an apology to that man. Who also had his store looted by Ferguson residents for "snitching". Move along people. Nothing to see here. Such is the utter moral bankruptcy of much of the black left. Speaking of 2) Black Agenda Report

I'm a long time reader of BAR. In fact I was following BAR before it was BAR. When the owners were a part of the Black Commentator website. They fell out and BAR was created. I didn't quite understand why BAR fell out. But now I do. There is something called integrity that BAR has simply decided to toss out the window in order to "keep in black". For example:

On August 9, 2014, police officer Darren Wilson shot unarmed Michael Brown in his eye and in the top of his skull and the Barack Obama Justice Department (*link DOJ) thinks that is not a problem, having officially stated that the shooting was justified. They also designated as “not credible” the people who witnessed the killing and stated for the record that Brown posed no danger to Wilson. The only witness they felt worthy of regard was the killer cop.
If you didn't know better, and apparently that includes a LOT of people. You would think that Wilson just walked up on Brown and shot him in the eye and head just because he was black and walking in the street. If you do know better you recognize that paragraph for the shit representation that it is. Simply put, there is no excuse for such a paragraph to have even made it onto the website. The author of the site is presumed literate and therefore could read the GJ report that is widely available to the public which makes it very clear what actually happened.

We know from that report that Brown, having just robbed a store and assaulted its owners (not even mentioned in BAR, 'cause it apparently doesn't matter) decided he didn't like how Wilson was speaking to him and decided to punch Wilson in the face repeatedly and tried to shoot him with his gun.

None of that was mentioned by BAR. Again, none of that seems to matter.

Brown then decided to flee, and after hearing at least one shot stops and goes back towards Wilson. The trajectory of bullets show a bent over Brown consistent with a charging person. I suppose that BAR would also like for us to imagine that after shooting Brown, Wilson, without anyone noticing, dipped his gun in Brown's blood and returned to his vehicle to smear it on the door in order to complete the cover up. I mean, we know how these devils do right?

Lets be clear here, such shit-tastic writing as presented in BAR on more than one occasion has gotten at least three people killed. Two police officers (not even white!) and a Bosnian. I do not quite understand how people like those discussed here, can sleep at night knowing that they have (and continue to) promote false information about Michael Brown and that information has lead directly to dead innocent people.

Lastly let me deal with this "unarmed" thing. The other part of this is the media's false narrative that someone who is unarmed is not a threat to someone's life. How many people have been pushed off train platforms and killed? No weapons there. How many people have been severely injured or killed by a single punch or kick to the head? Every time I hear about "unarmed" so and so was shot as if "unarmed" means not a threat I shake my head. I know, and police know full well that an unarmed person can be just as deadly as one who is armed. The only difference that weapons provide, particularly firearms is the ability to wound or kill from a distance. This ability gives those who are less equipped to kill with their hands (either mentally or physically) the ability to do so. But anyone who tells you that so and so was "unarmed" as if that makes much of a difference is telling you that they are a total fool.

And you just can't take them seriously.

Because Talking Shit Is Easier Than Running Shit

From the Detroit News:
Kirk Bennett has $10 million to spend on 10 cash-strapped city departments in post-bankruptcy Detroit.

There are pressing needs in police, fire and EMS. But supporting services in garbage, lighting and parks ranks high too.

And Bennett needs to reach a consensus with 10 classmates for this role-playing exercise in civic engagement during his Wayne State University’s honor course.

“We realized how difficult it was. There isn’t enough money, period, and then you have to figure out who gets it even if this little amount of money isn’t going to make an impact. I’m really glad people have to do this for their job,” said Bennett, a 21-year-old Detroiter.

That sentiment is at the heart of a community education program underway in Detroit called CitizenDetroit.

Scarface Rapped: I never seen a man cry, till I seen that man die.

As is usually the case, people who don't run anything have lots of opinions about what should be done and who should pay for it. Then when they get into office (power) and the hard decisions have to be made and folks need to be told "no", then it dawns on people what really goes into the necessary decision making. Inevitably one becomes really impatient dealing with people who think there is a magic money tree (taxes) that you're sitting on that you are withholding just because you want to.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Or The Bell Curve By A Different Name

David Brooks in the NY Times:
One of America’s leading political scientists, Robert Putnam, has just come out with a book called “Our Kids” about the growing chasm between those who live in college-educated America and those who live in high-school-educated America. It’s got a definitive collection of data about this divide.

Roughly 10 percent of the children born to college grads grow up in single-parent households. Nearly 70 percent of children born to high school grads do. There are a bunch of charts that look like open scissors. In the 1960s or 1970s, college-educated and noncollege-educated families behaved roughly the same. But since then, behavior patterns have ever more sharply diverged. High-school-educated parents dine with their children less than college-educated parents, read to them less, talk to them less, take them to church less, encourage them less and spend less time engaging in developmental activity.

Or you could have read The Bell Curve from cover to cover and gathered the same information. Just goes to show what information you can hide from folks by simply labeling it racist.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Clinton E-Mail Problem

Since I was told that the e-mail thing is just some unimportant thing to "get" Hillary, let me state for everyone why this is a "big deal". First and foremost, those who work in the Fed are required by law to have their communications recorded for the purposes of public knowledge (due consideration for classified material). It is how we get to find out if a government official has been "less than truthful" in their statements and actions. There are also security concerns but I'm not addressing that here, since as we've been told, the e-mails from Clinton's private server (no doubt being looked for by hackers world wide) didn't end up in Wikileaks like other "official" and "secure" communiques.

What is relevant here is that the public and relevant government entities can *never* know if they have everything.

Never.

Why? Because as the owners of the server(s) in question, the Clintons or their designated agents can and could have deleted any data from the machine at any time without breaking any laws whatsoever. None of that data would be recoverable. Ever. Since we will never know what, if anything, was ever deleted from that/those machines, we can never know if all relevant e-mails have been disclosed.

It is also entirely possible that Clinton used this private system to discuss things with other government (and non-government) personel who ALSO had/have their own private e-mail systems who's data is ONLY viewable via court order or warrant. And prior to such an order or warrant being made, any data destroyed on those systems can be wiped at any time. No, they cannot be charged with obstruction of justice if they have never been put on notice that x data is to be preserved for an investigation.

It is also possible that those persons were also directed by Clinton or anyone else, that such communications are to be destroyed after reading in order to not leave a trail (Snapchat anyone?). One might think this is all conspiracy theories, but such "this conversation never happened" actions happen all the time.

Lastly as it pertains to Clinton's fitness for office, Personally I'm already done with her and her "isn't it a time for a woman president" line. If the basis of your candidacy is your genitalia then I'm looking elsewhere. But aside from that, with this e-mail thing she has shown that she is of the opinion that even as head of a department certain rules simply do not apply to her. This means that she will take that same attitude to the White House. Now certainly she would not be the first or last person in the White House to have such an attitude, but I would think the public would at least expect that such an attitude not be put on display prior to getting there.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Major Constitutional Issue Highlighted in DOJ report

As I read the Ferguson report something particularly bothersome stood out:
FPD and other law enforcement agencies in St. Louis County use a system of “wanteds” or “stop orders” as a substitute for seeking judicial approval for an arrest warrant. When officers believe a person has committed a crime but are not able to immediately locate that person, they can enter a “wanted” into the statewide law enforcement database, indicating to all other law enforcement agencies that the person should be arrested if located. While wanteds are supposed to be based on probable cause, see FPD General Order 424.01, they operate as an end-run around the judicial system. Instead of swearing out a warrant and seeking judicial authorization from a neutral and detached magistrate, officers make the probable cause determination themselves and circumvent the courts. Officers use wanteds for serious state-level crimes and minor code violations alike, including traffic offenses.

FPD command staff express support for the wanted system, extolling the benefits of being able to immediately designate a person for detention. But this expedience carries constitutional risks. If officers enter wanteds into the system on less than probable cause, then the subsequent arrest would violate the Fourth Amendment. Our interviews with command staff and officers indicate that officers do not clearly understand the legal authority necessary to issue a wanted. [My underlines]

At times, FPD officers use wanteds not merely in spite of a lack of probable cause, but because they lack probable cause. In December 2014, a Ferguson detective investigating a shooting emailed a county prosecutor to see if a warrant for a suspect could be obtained, since “a lot of state agencies won’t act on a wanted.” The prosecutor responded stating that although “[c]hances are” the crime was committed by the suspect, “we just don’t have enough for a warrant right now.” The detective responded that he would enter a wanted.
This right here should land a LOT of people in jail. There is a constitutional requirement for a warrant. Interactions with the justice system rests on probable cause. For a department to officially implement practices that directly contravene the 4th amendment is extremely problematic. Any and every official that wrote up, signed off on, voted for or were otherwise involved with such a policy ought to removed from office AND brought up on Civil Rights violations.

DOJ Ferguson Report

Read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/03/04/us/ferguson-police-department-report.html And then see if you spot the VERY obviously missing material that is extremely relevant to any report of this type.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

No Case Against Wilson

Read the report or read every post I made on the subject:

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE REPORT REGARDING THE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE SHOOTING DEATH OF MICHAEL BROWN BY FERGUSON, MISSOURI POLICE OFFICER DARREN WILSON

Wilson’s Subsequent Pursuit of Brown and Shots Allegedly Fired as Brown Was Running Away

The evidence does not support concluding that Wilson shot Brown while Brown’s back was toward Wilson. Witnesses, such as Witness 118, Witness 128, Witness 139 and others, who claim to have seen Wilson fire directly into Brown’s back, gave accounts that lack credibility because the physical evidence establishes that there were no entry wounds to Brown’s back, although there was a wound to the anatomical back of Brown’s right arm, and a graze wound to Brown’s right arm. Also, other witnesses who say that Wilson fired at Brown as he ran have given accounts that are not credible because significant aspects of their statements are irreconcilable with the physical evidence, such as Witness 101 and 127, whose statements are suspect for the reasons noted above. Similarly, Witness 124 claims to have seen Wilson following behind Brown while steadily firing at him. However, Witness 124 dramatically changed her accounts of what she saw between the time of her first statement to the SLCPD and second statement to the FBI. She refused to meet with the federal prosecutors to clarify her varying accounts. Also, her account was dramatically different from that of her husband, Witness 115, who was standing next to her during the incident. Witness 115 stated that he thought he saw Wilson fire once at Brown as he was running away, but other aspects of his account lack credibility for the reasons set forth above, i.e. he did not witness significant parts of the shooting and based parts of his account on assumption. Witnesses 128 and 137 initially claimed that Wilson fired at Brown while he was running away, but then acknowledged that they did not see what Wilson and Brown were doing at this point and thus do not know whether Wilson fired at Brown as he was running away. Witnesses 105 and 106 thought they saw Wilson fire at Brown as he was running, but describe seeing Brown hit in the leg and back in a manner that does not match the autopsy findings. Accordingly, there is no credible evidence that establishes that Wilson fired at or struck Brown’s back as Brown fled.

Shots Fired After Brown Turned to Face Wilson

The evidence establishes that the shots fired by Wilson after Brown turned around were in self-defense and thus were not objectively unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment. The physical evidence establishes that after he ran about 180 feet away from the SUV, Brown turned and faced Wilson, then moved toward Wilson until Wilson finally shot him in the head and killed him. According to Wilson, Brown balled or clenched his fists and “charged” forward, ignoring commands to stop. Knowing that Brown was much larger than him and that he had previously attempted to overpower him and take his gun, Wilson stated that he feared for his safety and fired at Brown. Again, even Witness 101’s account supports this perception. Brown then reached toward his waistband, causing Wilson to fear that Brown was reaching for a weapon. Wilson stated that he continued to fear for his safety at this point and fired at Brown again. Wilson finally shot Brown in the head as he was falling or lunging forward, after which Brown immediately fell to the ground. Wilson did not fire any additional shots.

Wilson’s version of events is corroborated by the physical evidence that indicates that Brown moved forward toward Wilson after he ran from the SUV, by the fact that Brown went to the ground with his left hand at (although not inside) his waistband, and by credible eyewitness accounts. Wilson’s version is further supported by disinterested eyewitnesses Witness 102, Witness 104, Witness 105, Witness 108, and Witness 109, among others. These witnesses all agree that Brown ran or charged toward Wilson and that Wilson shot at Brown only as Brown moved toward him. Although some of the witnesses stated that Brown briefly had his hands up or out at about waist-level, none of these witnesses perceived Brown to be attempting to surrender at any point when Wilson fired upon him. To the contrary, several of these witnesses stated that they would have felt threatened by Brown and would have responded in the same way Wilson did. For example, Witness 104 stated that as Wilson ran after Brown yelling “stop, stop, stop,” Brown finally turned around and raised his hands “for a second.” However, Brown then immediately balled his hands into fists and “charged” at Wilson in a “tackle run.” Witness 104 stated that Wilson fired only when Brown moved toward him and that she “would have fired sooner.” Likewise, Witness 105 stated that Brown turned around and put his hands up “for a brief moment,” then refused a command from Wilson to “get down” and instead put his hands “in running position” and started running toward Wilson. Witness 105 stated that Wilson shot at Brown only when Brown was moving toward him. These witnesses’ accounts are consistent with prior statements they have given, consistent with the forensic and physical evidence, and consistent with each other’s accounts. Accordingly, we conclude that these accounts are credible.

Furthermore, there are no witnesses who could testify credibly that Wilson shot Brown while Brown was clearly attempting to surrender. The accounts of the witnesses who have claimed that Brown raised his hands above his head to surrender and said “I don’t have a gun,” or “okay, okay, okay” are inconsistent with the physical evidence or can be challenged in other material ways, and thus cannot be relied upon to form the foundation of a federal prosecution. [Footnote 28] The two most prominent witnesses who have stated that Brown was shot with his hands up in surrender are Witness 101 and Witness 127, both of whom claim that Brown turned around with his hands raised in surrender, that he never reached for his waistband, that he never moved forward toward Wilson after turning to face him with his hands up, and that he fell to the ground with his hands raised. These and other aspects of their statements are contradicted by the physical evidence. Crime scene photographs establish that Brown fell to the ground with his left hand at his waistband and his right hand at his side. Brown’s blood in the roadway demonstrates that Brown came forward at least 21.6 feet from the time he turned around toward Wilson. Other aspects of the accounts of Witness 101 and Witness 127 would render them not credible in a prosecution of Wilson, namely their accounts of what happened at the SUV. Both claim that Wilson fired the first shot out the SUV window, Witness 101 claims that the shot hit Brown at close range in the torso, and both claim that Brown did not reach inside the vehicle. These claims are irreconcilable with the bullet in the SUV door, the close-range wound to Brown’s hand, Brown’s DNA inside Wilson’s car and on his gun, and the injuries to Wilson’s face.

Footnote [28]: [The media has widely reported that there is witness testimony that Brown said “don’t shoot” as he held his hands above his head. In fact, our investigation did not reveal any eyewitness who stated that Brown said “don’t shoot.”]

Other witnesses who have suggested that Brown was shot with his hands up in surrender have either recanted their statements, such as Witnesses 119 and 125, provided inconsistent statements, such as Witness 124, or have provided accounts that are verifiably untrue, such as Witnesses 121, 139, and 132. Witness 122 recanted significant portions of his statement by acknowledging that he was not in a position to see what either Brown or Wilson were doing, and who falsely insisted that three police officers pursued Brown and that the shooter was heavy set (in contrast to the slimly-built Wilson). Similar to Witness 128, Witness 122 told Brown’s family that Brown had been shot execution-style. Witness 120 initially told law enforcement that he saw Brown shot at point-blank range as he was on his knees with his hands up. Similar to Witness 138, Witness 120 subsequently acknowledged that he did not see Brown get shot but “assumed” he had been executed while on his knees with his hands up based on “common sense” and what others “in the community told [him.]” There is no witness who has stated that Brown had his hands up in surrender whose statement is otherwise consistent with the physical evidence. For example, some witnesses say that Wilson only fired his weapon out of the SUV, (e.g. Witnesses 128, 101, and 127) or that Wilson stood next to the SUV and killed Brown right there (e.g. Witnesses 139, 132, 120). Some witnesses insist that Wilson shot Brown in the back as he lay on the ground. (e.g. Witnesses 128 and 139). Some witnesses say that Wilson shot Brown and he went to the ground immediately upon turning to face Wilson. (e.g. Witnesses 138, 101, 118, and 127). Some say Wilson went to the ground with his hands raised at right angles. (e.g. Witnesses 138, 118, and 121). Again, all of these statements are contradicted by the physical and forensic evidence, which also undermines the credibility of their accounts of other aspects of the incident, including their assertion that Brown had his hands up in a surrender position when Wilson shot him.

When the shootings are viewed, as they must be, in light of all the surrounding circumstances and what Wilson knew at the time, as established by the credible physical evidence and eyewitness testimony, it was not unreasonable for Wilson to fire on Brown until he stopped moving forward and was clearly subdued. Although, with hindsight, we know that Brown was not armed with a gun or other weapon, this fact does not render Wilson’s use of deadly force objectively unreasonable. Again, the key question is whether Brown could reasonably have been perceived to pose a deadly threat to Wilson at the time he shot him regardless of whether Brown was armed. Sufficient credible evidence supports Wilson’s claim that he reasonably perceived Brown to be posing a deadly threat. First, Wilson did not know that Brown was not armed at the time he shot him, and had reason to suspect that he might be when Brown reached into the waistband of his pants as he advanced toward Wilson. See Loch v. City of Litchfield, 689 F.3d 961, 966 (8th Cir. 2012) (holding that “[e]ven if a suspect is ultimately ‘found to be unarmed, a police officer can still employ deadly force if objectively reasonable.’”) (quoting Billingsley v. City of Omaha, 277 F.3d 990, 995 (8th Cir. 2002)); Reese v. Anderson, 926 F.2d 494, 501 (5th Cir. 1991) (“Also irrelevant is the fact that [the suspect] was actually unarmed. [The officer] did not and could not have known this.”); Smith v. Freland, 954 F.2d 343, 347 (noting that “unarmed” does not mean “harmless) (6th Cir. 1992). While Brown did not use a gun on Wilson at the SUV, his aggressive actions would have given Wilson reason to at least question whether he might be armed, as would his subsequent forward advance and reach toward his waistband. This is especially so in light of the rapidly-evolving nature of the incident. Wilson did not have time to determine whether Brown had a gun and was not required to risk being shot himself in order to make a more definitive assessment.

Moreover, Wilson could present evidence that a jury likely would credit that he reasonably perceived a deadly threat from Brown even if Brown’s hands were empty and he had never reached into his waistband because of Brown’s actions in refusing to halt his forward movement toward Wilson. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Loch v. City of Litchfield is dispositive on this point. There, an officer shot a suspect eight times as he advanced toward the officer. Although the suspect’s “arms were raised above his head or extended at his sides,” the Court of Appeals held that a reasonable officer could have perceived the suspect’s forward advance in the face of the officer’s commands to stop as resistance and a threat. As the Court of Appeals explained:

Although [the suspect] had by this time thrown his firearm in the snow, … [the officer] did not observe that action. Instead of complying with [the officer’s] command to get on the ground, [the suspect] turned and moved toward the officer. [Plaintiffs], noting that [the suspect’s] arms were raised above his head or extended at his sides, suggest that [the suspect] was simply trying to find a suitable place to get on the ground, because his truck sat near a tree and snowbank. But even if [the suspect’s] motives were innocent, a reasonable officer on the scene could have interpreted [the suspect’s] actions as resistance. It is undisputed that [the suspect] continued toward [the officer] despite the officer’s repeated orders to get on the ground …. Thus, a reasonable officer could believe that [the suspect’s] failure to comply was a matter of choice rather than necessity. Loch, 689 F.3d 961, 966 (8th Cir. 2012).

Were the government to prosecute Wilson, the court would instruct the jury using Loch as a foundation. Given the evidence in this matter, jurors would likely conclude that Wilson had reason to be concerned that Brown was a threat to him as he continued to advance, just as did the officer in Loch.

In addition, even assuming that Wilson definitively knew that Brown was not armed, Wilson was aware that Brown had already assaulted him once and attempted to gain control of his gun. Wilson could thus present evidence that he reasonably feared that, if left unimpeded, Brown would again assault Wilson, again attempt to overpower him, and again attempt to take his gun. Under the law, Wilson has a strong argument that he was justified in firing his weapon at Brown as he continued to advance toward him and refuse commands to stop, and the law does not require Wilson to wait until Brown was close enough to physically assault Wilson. Even if, with hindsight, Wilson could have done something other than shoot Brown, the Fourth Amendment does not second-guess a law enforcement officer’s decision on how to respond to an advancing threat. The law gives great deference to officers for their necessarily split-second judgments, especially in incidents such as this one that unfold over a span of less than two minutes. “Thus, under Graham, we must avoid substituting our personal notions of proper police procedure for the instantaneous decision of the officer at the scene. We must never allow the theoretical, sanitized world of our imagination to replace the dangerous and complex world that policemen face every day.” Smith, 954 F.2d at 347 (6th Cir. 1992). See also Ryburn v. Huff, 132 S. Ct. 987, 991-92 (2012) (courts “should be cautious about second-guessing a police officer’s assessment, made on the scene, of the danger presented by a particular situation”); Estate of Morgan v. Cook, 686 F.3d 494, 497 (8th Cir. 2012) (“The Constitution … requires only that the seizure be objectively reasonable, not that the officer pursue the most prudent course of conduct as judged by 20/20 hindsight vision.” (citing Cole v. Bone, 993 F.2d 1328, 1334 (8th Cir. 1993)) “It may appear, in the calm aftermath, that an officer could have taken a different course, but we do not hold the police to such a demanding standard.” (citing Gardner v. Buerger, 82 F.3d 248, 251 (8th Cir. 1996) (same))). Rather, where, as here, an officer points his gun at a suspect to halt his advance, that suspect should be on notice that “escalation of the situation would result in the use of the firearm.” Estate of Morgan at 498. An officer is permitted to continue firing until the threat is neutralized. See Plumhoff v. Rickard, 134 S.Ct. 2012, 2022 (2014) (“Officers need not stop shooting until the threat has ended”).

For all of the reasons stated, Wilson’s conduct in shooting Brown as he advanced on Wilson, and until he fell to the ground, was not objectively unreasonable and thus not a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242.

Willfulness

Even if federal prosecutors determined there were sufficient evidence to convince twelve jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that Wilson used unreasonable force, federal law requires that the government must also prove that the officer acted willfully, that is, with the purpose to violate the law. Screws v. United States, 325 U.S. 91, 101-107 (1945) (discussing willfulness element of 18 U.S.C. § 242). The Supreme Court has held that an act is done willfully if it was “committed” either “in open defiance or in reckless disregard of a constitutional requirement which has been made specific and definite.” Screws, 325 U.S. at 105. The government need not show that the defendant knew a federal statute or law protected the right with which he intended to interfere. Id. at 106-07 (“[t]he fact that the defendants may not have been thinking in constitutional terms is not material where their aim was not to enforce local law but to deprive a citizen of a right and that right was protected”); United States v. Walsh, 194 F.3d 37, 52-53 (2d Cir. 1999) (holding that jury did not have to find defendant knew of the particular Constitutional provision at issue but that it had to find intent to invade interest protected by Constitution). However, we must prove that the defendant intended to engage in the conduct that violated the Constitution and that he did so knowing that it was a wrongful act. Id.

“[A]ll the attendant circumstance[s]” should be considered in determining whether an act was done willfully. Screws, 325 U.S. at 107. Evidence regarding the egregiousness of the conduct, its character and duration, the weapons employed and the provocation, if any, is therefore relevant to this inquiry. Id. Willfulness may be inferred from blatantly wrongful conduct. See id. at 106; see also United States v. Reese, 2 F.3d 870, 881 (9th Cir. 1993) (“Intentionally wrongful conduct, because it contravenes a right definitely established in law, evidences a reckless disregard for that right; such reckless disregard, in turn, is the legal equivalent of willfulness.”); United States v. Dise, 763 F.2d 586, 592 (3d Cir. 1985) (holding that when defendant invades personal liberty of another, knowing that invasion is violation of state law, defendant has demonstrated bad faith and reckless disregard for federal constitutional rights). Mistake, fear, misperception, or even poor judgment do not constitute willful conduct prosecutable under the statute. See United States v. McClean, 528 F.2d 1250, 1255 (2d Cir. 1976) (inadvertence or mistake negates willfulness for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 242)

. As discussed above, Darren Wilson has stated his intent in shooting Michael Brown was in response to a perceived deadly threat. The only possible basis for prosecuting Wilson under section 242 would therefore be if the government could prove that his account is not true – i.e., that Brown never assaulted Wilson at the SUV, never attempted to gain control of Wilson’s gun, and thereafter clearly surrendered in a way that no reasonable officer could have failed to perceive. Given that Wilson’s account is corroborated by physical evidence and that his perception of a threat posed by Brown is corroborated by other eyewitnesses, to include aspects of the testimony of Witness 101, there is no credible evidence that Wilson willfully shot Brown as he was attempting to surrender or was otherwise not posing a threat. Even if Wilson was mistaken in his interpretation of Brown’s conduct, the fact that others interpreted that conduct the same way as Wilson precludes a determination that he acted with a bad purpose to disobey the law. The same is true even if Wilson could be said to have acted with poor judgment in the manner in which he first interacted with Brown, or in pursuing Brown after the incident at the SUV. These are matters of policy and procedure that do not rise to the level of a Constitutional violation and thus cannot support a criminal prosecution. Cf. Gardner v. Howard, 109 F.3d 427, 430–31 (8th Cir. 1997) (violation of internal policies and procedures does not in and of itself rise to violation of Constitution).

Because Wilson did not act with the requisite criminal intent, it cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt to a jury that he violated 18 U.S.C.§ 242 when he fired his weapon at Brown.

Conclusion

For the reasons set forth above, this matter lacks prosecutive merit and should be closed.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Obsidian on Monique's Hollywood Shut Out

We learn of Mo’Nique’s troubles by way of acclaimed director Lee Daniels, who recently stated in an interview that the Oscar-winning actress has been shutout of the movie-making business due to her unwillingness to “play the game” – in other words, to be courteous and pleasant to be around and fairly easy to work with.
Ouchness. Of significance though:
For example, last week I made the case that a major reason why Black women as a group have the lowest net worth of any group of American women, was due to the fact that they are the least partnered group of women – they have the lowest marital rate, the highest divorce rate, the highest rate of breakup and infidelity (both cheating and being cheated on) in relationships, and of course, the highest out of wedlock birthrates – and that this too, was due at least as much to the adherence to “diva culture” among Black women, than anything else. I stated a simple truth: that for most average Americans, a surefire way of upping your economic profile was to get married, stay married and work together with your spouse to build a better life. It’s something that has worked, and continues to work, and if anyone knows this, it’s the White feminists in our time who have successfully implanted the notion into the minds of millions of Black women that “they don’t need no man”. They’ve played a seriously cruel joke on their “sistas” – one that amounts to real dollars and cents lost on the ledger.
I made this same point many years ago:
Page 4 of the report has a chart that shows the net median wealth of people by household type and race. That chart shows that single Black women have a median net wealth of $100 ($5,000 if vehicle is included. I wouldn't). Single Black men have a median net wealth of $7,900 ($12,600 if vehicles are included). A stark difference indeed. The next group is highly instructive though.

Black men and women who are cohabitating or married have a median net wealth of $31,500 ($46,900 if vehicles are included). This is something that I believe ought to be front and center of this discussion. Being married to or cohabitating with a black man raises the median net wealth of black women by 310X.

That. is. HUGE.

By not being married to, or cohabitating with a black man, black women are being deprived of $31,400 in wealth. I cannot fathom how anyone who advocates for black women to "do them" and how they "don't need no man" is even tolerated since it is statistically clear that getting with a black man "medianly" has an extreme economic benefit to black women.