So having finally watched the entire interaction between Dubose and Tensing. There are a lot of issues here BEFORE the shooting even occurred. Let me say this first. For 20 years I have driven my car with a custom front plate in a state that requires 2 identical license plates on a personal vehicle. I have done so with the full knowledge that at any time I may be stopped by the police for having such a setup or come back to my vehicle to find a ticket for not having the plate. I repeat: I FULLY understand that my actions will bring the attention of the police. And I have had the attention of the police. I don't act a fool when this happens. I take my warning or ticket, pay it, and move along. If I don't want the attention of the police I put the proper plate on. This is my choice. This leads us to Dubose. In the video he claims that it was legal to have only one plate on his car when in fact it was not. I have lived in states that only require one plate and you know what? They ONLY give you one plate. States that give you TWO plates do so because it is what the law requires. So either Dubose was a total idiot OR he knew full well he was lying to try to get out of a ticket. Why not simply admit you took it off? Instead Dubose lied about having the plate in his glove box. So having established himself as a liar on top of not having the required plate, Officer Tensing probably thought he had a possible car thief. Had the Dubose produced the plate, the interaction would have probably ended there (as mine have) but his lack of product lead to more interaction. Next thing Dubose does is hand the police office a closed bottle of liquor from the driver side floor. Now I don't know the specific laws in Ohio, but I think if you hand a police officer a bottle of gin off the driver side floor of your car, a police officer will think that you were about to do the drinking and driving thing. That's a felony. Now possessing alcohol in your car is not illegal. But I'm going to ask why this bottle was on the driver's side floor. Now Dubose knew full well that he didn't have his license and registration with him yet he lied and said he had it in the glove box. He was asked multiple times to produce his license by Tensing who actually had a right to ask him to produce that. So lets add the suspicious moments up: 1) Driving with a missing front plate.
2) Having a bottle of Gin on the driver's side floor.
3) Failure to produce a current driver's license.
At that point Tensing asks for Dubose to step out of his vehicle. This was a lawful order unlike the situation with Sandra Bland. Sandra bland produced the papers asked for and had complied with all orders up to that point. There was no probable cause to remove Bland from her vehicle. Dubose on the other hand, had no front plate as required by law and was driving without a license. If you're stopped and cannot produce your license expect to be asked to step out of the vehicle especially if there are issues with the vehicle like a missing plate. If you hand the officer a bottle of Gin too, well yeah, expect to be asked to exit the vehicle.
And this is where Dubose really messed up. When he refused to exit the vehicle, even though he KNEW he had no license on him, HE escalated the situation by pulling back on his door. This is one of the things that bothered my about the commentary I read. Someone said that being stopped for not having a front plate "inflames African-Americans." Lets address this bullshit right now. As I said earlier, I have a custom front plate. I cannot be "inflamed" because a police officer decides to enforce the motor vehicles law that I knowingly violated and decide I'm not going to cooperate. Also the statement implies that there are laws that African-Americans don't have to obey simply because they don't like them. That is a very very dangerous concept for any so called leader to advance. African-Americans have to obey the same laws every body else does, whether they like them or not. If they don't like them, they are free to vote in representatives to change those laws.
It is entirely reasonable to say that Tensing thought that perhaps Dubose was more than just a guy missing a front plate once Dubose refused to exit the car and doubled down by pulling closed his door. However, after that Tensing is completely in the wrong. I don't know if he forgot that he had a body cam on him, but his lying about what happened after that was totally unnecessary. Watching the video, he could easily have said that Dubose refused to exit the vehicle after a lawful stop and not having a license and became combative when he was being removed from the vehicle resulting in a shot. It was Tensing's lie that changed the situation. He was not being dragged. he fell as the car took off.
I don't think Tensing will be found guilty of murder. The video from the body cam does not prove malice or forethought. Tensing is definitely guilty of fraud for the statement he made in regards to being dragged. He might even be guilty of criminally negligent homicide because one could argue that pulling his gun and firing was reckless in that situation. However, the fact that we know that Dubose had no license and no front plate and had resisted lawful orders made after those discoveries (because they establish probable cause) will almost certainly lead to an acquittal if this goes to trial.
Friday, July 24, 2015
While situations such as Sandra Bland and Eric Garner get the attention, those of us who have the eyes to see and the ears to hear understand what the number one killer of black people are. And the ones who are doing the killing know it too:
Mark Jones, a former special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and an expert on illegal firearms at the University of Chicago Crime Lab, says interviewees consistently tell him, "We are not afraid of the police. We're afraid of other people in the neighborhood who might try to kill us." [my underlines]
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Sandra Bland was wrongfully arrested for being an Uppity Negro(tm). The dash cam video proves this beyond any doubt whatsoever: [This link is broken] You need to watch the video from the beginning because it is instructive on what was going on in the mind of the officer. The footage starts with him giving a "friendly" warning to a driver he had pulled over. Apparently that person did not have their insurance on them. He's friendly to the driver. It is apparent, later that he EXPECTS that people he pulls over should all be happy about being pulled over. After giving the warning to the driver he pulls a U-turn and heads up the road. He runs up on Sandra's car, which is in the left lane. Sandra seeing the police car running up behind her quickly pulls into the right lane to let the officer pass. She does so without using her signal. A reasonable officer (or any other person for that matter) would have seen the courtesy given to them and moved to pass the slower moving vehicle. This cop uses that courtesy as a pretext to stop Sandra on a technicality. Let me be clear here, under law the officer has a right to pull Sandra over for non indicating a lane change. However, they have discretion as to the enforcement of such an infraction. I would suggest that because Bland had out of state plates, the officer decided to use his "discretion" to "investigate" an out of stater. It happens in parts of Texas often. I will also point out that Bland pulled over immediately which indicates that she was cooperative. Cooperative does not mean "happy to be in the situation". The officer approaches the passenger side of the vehicle (standard procedure) asks for Sandra's documents and asks her if she's OK. Now personally I think the officer was being an ass for asking the person he just inconvenienced whether they are OK. BUt maybe in that part of Texas he expects people to be OK with that. She doesn't say much. He returns to his vehicle to run the plates and whatever else police do in such situations. When he returns to Sandra's vehicle, this time at the driver's side, he asks again if she's OK. She says she isn't and he asks why and she tells him that she didn't appreciate being pulled over after moving over to let him pass. That is reasonable. At that point the entire attitude of the police officer changes and he steps outside the law. It is not resisting an officer to tell him why you're bothered by a stop, particularly after that officer just asked for that information. The old rule applies: don't ask questions you don't want the answers to. Then the officer goes further into abuse of power by telling Sandra to put out her cigarette. Why? What did her smoking have to do with being given a ticket for changing lanes? Sandra was absolutely right to question him on that. When he then takes her refusal to comply with what is CLEARLY an UNLAWFUL order, he orders her out of the vehicle. Although an officer can order a person out of a vehicle, it must be under probable cause. He has none. You cannot give a lawful order to enforce a previous UNLAWFUL order. The officer tries to tell Bland that he was going to do her a favor by giving her a warning. This goes back to the stop at the top of the video. He expects everyone to smile and be thankful that he's only wasted his time demonstrating his authority. This is why I say that it is clear that Bland was arrested for being an "Uppity Negro". Once Bland answered his question as to why she was upset he should have given her the ticket and gone about his business and he knows this. Everything that happened after that was because he was personally offended. This was not law enforcement this was ego enforcement. At this point I cannot say beyond reasonable doubt whether Bland was murdered in the jail cell, but I can say for certain that had the officer at the initial point of contact acted in a professional manner that Bland would be alive today.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Saturday, July 18, 2015
First watch the video: Now read carefully on what the kids said in reference to Facebook and Google:
"Companies like Google and Facebook, they're very powerful," says one of the teens, Isaiah. "And they're also very progressive and liberal companies. But according to demographics, there's only like 2 percent of African-Americans at Google and Facebook."Why?
"I wouldn't be able to get into Facebook, have a programming job or anything if they don't change their percentages in minorities," says another teen, named George.Really? Why? Does this kid think that Facebook has some 2% Negro quota? Ahh the "soft racism of low expectations". Who told George that he couldn't get a job at Facebook assuming he is even QUALIFIED to do so unless for some reason Facebook upped it's numbers? And on what basis did whoever told George this "fact" do they make such an assertion? Did anyone inform George the percentages of African-Americans that have advanced computer science degrees? One of these students said that Google and Facebook NEEDS to increase their diversity if they want to take the next step of being progressive. What kind of bullshit is that? Someone told this kid that Facebook and Google exist to be "progressive". This fellow is in for a rude awakening when he finds out that "progressive" does not pay for electricity or salaries for top flight engineering talent. What is also quite disturbing about this clip is that in the demands for "representation" not a one of these so called up and coming programmers (Lets see them say 8 years from now) had anything to say as to what they offered Facebook or Google that their current staff does not (and please please please do not talk about the "gorilla" incident. That wasn't racism, that was an honest mistake on the part of a computer). Only one kid said anything about working for himself (Bravo!). That should have been the attitude of most of these folks. But the real deal kicker? No one mentioned that Jay Z's music streaming venture Tidal is the creation and is maintained by a company with ZERO black folks. It's kinda sad when the African-American front person of an internet based company cannot even build a company (or find one to use) that has at least the number of black folks as "not diverse enough" Facebook. But we don't wanna have that conversation.
Sunday, July 12, 2015
There's a lot I can say about this piece on women convicted of tax fraud but this recurring theme stood out to me:
Prison itself isn't bad, said Frazier, the mother of four. Outside, she depended on a $625 a month disability check and food stamps. Here she gets three meals a day, a shower, a roof over her head. She just misses the kids. It's an extra penalty paid by parents. "Now that I sit in prison, I say it's not worth it," she said.I'f I'm reading this right, the part that is NOT worth it is the missing the kids, not the loss of freedom. It appears that it costs $21k/year/prisoner for federal lockup. Honest question: which way would money be a better return on investment? $7500 or $21K? Of course since not all people on disability or food stamps are committing these frauds so it's not a one to one investment so that would have to be considered. The second thing is even if the "pay outs" were increased, how many of these individuals would have committed the crime anyway?
Monday, July 06, 2015
The Guardian reports on a discovery about English schools:
The education of white pupils is being hampered by increased school segregation on racial grounds, according to analysis by an influential think tank. A study by Demos pointed out that many schools outside Britain’s big cities are becoming more segregated than the communities they serve.Real quick note here. How does a country in which whites are the native population that is not a "colonial nation of immigrants" have a problem of segregation? And if it does have such a problem, it would seem to me that it is a problem of their own making. It would seem to me that the government ought not have let in so many non-English as to enable such a thing to happen in the first place.
Trevor Phillips, the chairman of Demos’s mapping integration project and former head of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), warned this is dividing society and holding back white children who tend to do better when taught in racially mixed schools.This reminds me of the Brown V Board decision but in reverse. In Brown V. Board it was argued that black children, in the absence of white children failed to perform because their self-esteem and academic performance depended on being in proximity with white students. Anyone who actually believes that also believes that black students (people) are inferior to whites (and others). What is most striking about this report is that it is using the reverse logic. Whites, who heretofore were considered The Master Race now suffers from lack of contact with his "inferiors" who are actually his inferiors. I know..very confusing.
Launching the report on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Phillips said: “To some extent, in London the clever thing for smart middle-class parents to do is to look for schools which have substantial numbers of Indian heritage children, because the statistics say that their child will benefit from sitting in the same class as those motivated kids.”Indians you say?
He claimed that greater racial integration in schools would improve community cohesion and increase the educational attainment of ethnic groups, such as white children, who are currently falling behind.Although studies have actually shown that non-homogenous communities actually have less cohesion. But never mind that. Why are whites (the natives of England) falling behind in education to people who are not natives of the country? I would think that issue would be most alarming.
“White children are the ones who are doing least well. Those white children who are in schools where there are a lot of high-performing minorities tend to do better. There is something about sitting in class with those kids that improves performance ... We are trying to prepare children for a diverse world – schools should reflect that.”Yup. Someone read Brown v. Board. Odd thing about this claim is that in the US where the same claim was made, when you look at the broader data, the levels of academic achievement between groups is consistent regardless of school types. Asians are at the top, followed by whites with blacks usually trailing way behind. It is interesting that there is no mention of black students.
Sunday, July 05, 2015
His statement during his confirmation hearings:
This is not an opportunity to talk about difficult matters privately or in a closed environment. This is a circus. It's a national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.Of course Thomas was referring to the allegations of sexual impropriety towards Anita Hill. But we know that the reason that Anita Hill was even put forth against Thomas was because he was a black conservative. The same black folks, including me at the time, were perfectly fine with seeing Thomas embarrassed publicly and the chance to keep him off the Supreme Court while simultaneously defending Bill "first black president" Clinton for lying about receiving head from an intern (among other events). Bill Clinton was the "right kind of person". Thomas was not. But if we look at Thomas' statement in a more abstract sense we find that he was in fact telling us what was coming down the pipe. As I've discussed before the purpose of public lynchings is to keep order(Please note that my posts from that era were done in a program that failed to honor paragraphs. That's why they look like one big run on sentence. Sorry about that). That is, whites who lynched black people who may or may not have been guilty of a particular crime (or social custom) did so to let the surviving blacks know who was in charge and to what ends those persons in charge are willing to go to maintain control. Once you understand lynching as a tool of a larger purpose, rather than simply as an act of violence then you start to pay attention to the WHY rather than the WHAT. This is of course what Thomas meant when he said:
it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you.The events of the past few years would justify modifying this statement to read:
it is a high-tech lynching for uppity [straight, generally male, generally Christian], who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to [the new] order, this is what will happen to you.Isn't that what happened to the Baker? The Florist? Brandon Eich? The people on the "wrong side" of GamerGate? Tim Hunt? The UVA Fraternity members? Hell Donald Trump (who I have my issues with). If anything, we saw during the entire Ferguson episode that there was an actual lynch mob mentality as in black people actually holding signs asking for a lynching. But worse than that there was an actual attitude that if you wished to get at the facts and the truth that somehow something was wrong with YOU. Just now there have been a bunch of black churches burnt down. Out of 7 so far, only one has been deemed actual arson with an unknown suspect. Yet news [sic] reporters keep showing people talking about how they know it was some white supremacist. Not a single one of these reporters [sic] asked basic questions such as: How do you know? Do you have proof? Tim Hunt was fired from his job due to the tweets of a person who purposely distorted his presentation. What was worse than the random tweet was that the alleged adults that run the university Hunt worked for didn't even have the maturity to look at the entire situation to find out whether Hunt was in fact putting down female scientists or if he was actually noting how backwards his own attitudes towards women were. Hint: it was the latter. Now as soon as someone on twitter makes noise, governments and corporations go into full censorship mode. The government can't legally do it yet, but they can certainly lean on corporations. After all, no corporation wants an EEOC or DOJ investigation as to why x,y or z "hateful" [enter subject matter here] is still available in their stores or why x,y or z employee is still employed after making a,b or c statement that the "right group" has found upsetting. Sometimes I think I'm the only one who remembers the old "does not mean we endorse...." mantra. Now "guilt by association" is the new normal, even if the associate is not guilty of anything! The dictionary defines fascism as:
(sometimes initial capital letter) a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.When I first learned this term, I focused almost entirely on the race angle. At the time, for me it was the central problem of fascism. I could not conceive of fascism divorced from race. Yet if we were to remove the racial angle and the need for a dictator we could easily see that we are in the formative stage (some say "formed") of fascism. If you step out of line on a growing number of ideas you will find yourself in trouble. Your ability to work, even for yourself, will be destroyed with the full cooperation of the business community and a helping from the state. One could argue that there is in fact Democratic Fascism. Instead of having a dictator you simply have a growing state apparatus, with "justice departments" that can swoop down on any individual, company, town or state and inflict a high tech lynching with real time feedback from Twitter. All a Democratic Fascism needs is for the elected representatives to be believers in the institutional line and willing to enforce them to the death (of those who oppose of course). Isn't this all what Clarence Thomas told us would come to pass? Clarence Thomas: Prophet?
Friday, July 03, 2015
For those of us who understood the Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage for what it was, we knew that it effectively nullified the first amendment of the US Constitution. We knew that it was only a matter of time before the state would step in and declare free speech and free exercise to be illegal if such speech and exercise did not meet the approval of certain entities. Though some private companies like newspapers decided to gag their audience, private companies are supposed to be able to regulate what appears in their private property. However, I believe today marks the first time that a state agency has explicitly abridged the first amendment rights of a private citizen:
The Oregon official imposed a gag order on the couple, mandating that they “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.While the state may issue a gag order in such cases like a trial or a settlement case that has a gag provision as a part of it's agreement, the state may not order a private citizens to not discuss their beliefs and activities in public if they so choose. Such activities are explicitly protected by the US Constitution. The order is on pages 42-43 of the decision The flimsy reasoning offered by Oregon:
“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”In actuality the business refused to participate in a wedding which violated their beliefs. They did not refuse service to homosexuals. Homosexuals, as far as I know the case, can still buy items from that place of business. The way the Oregon court thought[sic] about it was that the Oregon Bureau has a mandate to make sure people aren't discriminated against and if it means restricting your first amendment rights to do that then so be it. Prior to last week's ruling I would have said that based on the Hobby Lobby decision, enumerated rights would triumph over these kids of rules. But since then I believe there is no reason to believe that any court in the US will uphold enumerated rights and if any court does, it is only a matter of running to another with the same or slightly modified argument to get what they want. And remember, just last week Justice "I am the law" Kennedy told us that Christians and others who object to SSM on religious principles would be free to speak. Well that was quick wasn't it.
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
On the heels of Facebook's report here goes Twitter:
Twitter employs just 49 black people out of a total US workforce of 2,910. The tiny number of African American staff – 35 men and 14 women – represents just 1.7% of Twitter’s US staff.And what do they do?
The Rev Jesse Jackson, president of the Rainbow/Push Coalition, who has long campaigned for tech companies to be more transparent about their lack of minority employees, told the Guardian that black people are “becoming intolerant” of Facebook and other Silicon Valley companies’ lack of progress in making their offices more diverse.And just what are black people going to do about it? Go to their own twitter? Oh wait. Right. There's a black search engine. How's that project going? Imagine being upset because someone built something themselves, that you voluntarily use.
and as Twitter actively exploits its large number of minority users to bring in more advertising revenue.Twitter be like a slave master yo! Seriously though. Are we to believe that Twitter management is on some "Lets sell these niggas hard on this advertisement auction block!" Are we to believe that Twitter is not interested in leveraging EVERY SINGLE USER that VOLUNTEERS to use it's "service"? I mean really. If black folks being mad about Twitter is like a slave volunteering to stay on a plantation after the Civil War. If you like it so much you don't wanna leave, then don't complain about the beatings.
African Americans account for 13.6% of the US population, according to the 2010 US census, and Pew Center Research shows that black people use Twitter disproportionately more than white people.Black people do a lot of things disproportionate to their population. Do we really want to have a conversation about that?
Twitter’s vice-president of diversity and inclusion, Janet Van Huysse, said: “We are committed to making inclusiveness a cornerstone of our culture.”I would think the most important cornerstone of a business would be say...profitability and hiring the most productive employees (while human employees are needed). Lets be totally real here, how exactly does "inclusiveness" (whatever that's supposed to mean when folks can be subject to mob rule if they have the wrong opinions) affect the profitability of Twitter? And if the results of the VP's work is 49 people, shouldn't this person be dismissed for lack of results?
It showed that 93.8% of employees were white or Asian, with just 180 people out of a total workforce of 2,910 being drawn from other minorities.Interesting. Tell me what two groups are largely responsible for the invention of the computing hardware and software in use around the world?
Twitter’s lack of minority employees contrasts starkly with the rainbow nature of its users. Data from the Pew Research Center shows that 27% of black adults and 25% of Hispanics use Twitter, compared to just 21% of white people.Because all companies should have staff that reflects its users. Before you agree with that...you think really really hard...
“I am very disappointed,” Jackson said. “Black people are greater users of the product and capable of doing the jobs, but there has not been an adequate commitment to hire, train and maintain [black people].That a certain group represents a "greater user" has squat to do with who should be employed by a company. Secondly the issue has never been whether there are black people that can "do the jobs" (and we are assuming these are programming jobs). The actual relevant fact is how many black people there are with the necessary qualifications. We already know that only about 4% of African-American college graduates have a computing degree and that number shrinks dramatically when you move to the level of PhD. Therefore anyone who understands the entire concept of supply and demand as it pertains to skilled labour knows full well that there aren't that many black high level programmers to go around. And really people. just because you can tweet does not mean you can program. And no, just because you set up a WordPress website does not qualify you to program for Twitter or any other high tech company.
“Some people call it ‘Black Twitter’ because we over-index so much, but they still don’t hire more black people. We are becoming intolerant with these numbers, there’s a big gap between their talk and their implementation.”Translation: We waste a disproportionate amount of time tweeting so hire us.
Jackson said Twitter “should set a timetable to make their workforce look like the market place, and a commitment to make the board of directors more diverse”Have a seat Mr. Jackson. How about since black people are 13% of the population, the engineers at Boeing ought to be 13% African-American regardless of qualifications. Think hard on that one.....
He said that at the moment, Twitter is benefitting from black people’s love of its medium – which often leads to black issues trending worldwide – without paying enough back to the community. “They hire people they know, they trust and like,” Jackson said. “We’re not in that the circle.”Twitter owes pay to black communities? Is this that new reparations? I will agree with the latter part of the statement. There is a lot of hiring of buddies and people in certain circles which leads to exclusion. Absolutely. That can be addressed without the untenable comparisons to population demographics.
“It appears that the tech companies seem to treat it as a public relations issue rather than addressing the actual problem. African Americans use social media more than others, the corporations continue to build and profit from that, so it is especially problematic that they do not have an employee base that in any way reflects its users. They have really failed on this.”A problem for WHO? Twitter needs to be profitable. That is all. If it isn't, that's the only problem they have that is important to Twitter. Notice that COC hasn't even addressed that. Color of Change could give a hoot about what Twitter needs. And this is the bottom line that none of the critics can bring themselves to even discuss: If this lack of diversity is so bad for business how the hell did all these companies come to be so successful? It's abundantly clear that the product isn't damaged by the makeup of the employees and management. It's pretty clear that Twitter could be just as successful with 0 non-white employees (and I'm certain at one point it was like that). Furthermore I would make a very large wager that if all the black users of Twitter disappeared tomorrow, it would continue to be successful (I can't say anything about profitability). Why would I make such a statement? Wiebo