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Moral Compass

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Member since: Thu Apr 30, 2009, 11:22 AM
Number of posts: 882

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Not even entirely competent

Jeb Bush has shown himself over the years to be corrupt, misogynistic, an abuser of power--but ultimately he has shown himself to be essentially incompetent.

The botched roll-out of his campaign for President is in keeping with most of what he has done in his past. He personally promoted a corrupt water pump company in Nigeria. He decided to hitch his wagon to the Schiavo case where a decision that was intensely private was turned into a political football. He promoted a Scarlet Letter law in Florida where women who had babies out of wedlock were publicly shamed by having their names published in the local papers.

But where he really screwed up was in not bringing home the goods during his brother's campaign for President in 2000. He was tasked with purging voter rolls so that his brother could count on Florida. He failed. Utterly. This turned into an incredible cluster fuck and forced the Supreme Court to manufacture case law so that George W. Bush could be anointed President when it was pretty obvious that Al Gore was going to win in the end.

If you are going to elect someone corrupt and completely flawed as President that person should be at the very least competent.

Jeb is not even that.
Posted by Moral Compass | Mon Jun 15, 2015, 07:10 PM (0 replies)

And so, they shot him...

And so, they shot him…

We are all familiar with the way some classic fairy tales end, “And they lived happily ever after.”…

In the real world, in the 21st century, in the United States of America—we are seeing many real stories about citizen interactions with their local police that have a different ending. It goes more like this,“And so, they shot him.”

The stories have certain attributes in common: the person shot is not white or is of immigrant origin; the person is either mentally ill or has ingested something which is causing them to be agitated or unable to fully comprehend whatever instructions are being screamed at them; when they are violently assaulted by the police using fists, feet, Tasers, batons etc. the police perceive them as resisting (even when that resistance is involuntary writhing or thrashing in pain); they are unarmed; at the end of it all they end up dead.

Oh, and one more thing—even when charges are preferred against the officers who admittedly gunned down an unarmed man or woman the officers are either not indicted or are subsequently acquitted (in spite of evidence that would assuredly but you or me in prison for a long, long time). They are then allowed to go forth and protect other victims.

Here are a few links to peruse if you want some concrete examples: http://www.rawstory.com/2015/06/star-student-killed-by-long-beach-police-was-going-to-change-the-world-sister/; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Freddie_Gray;
The sad thing about accumulating these links is multifold: it took no time at all; and since I initially wrote this short piece there have been quite a few more suspect police shootings. I can’t keep up with it. I also found that I forgot to include one of the worst. In this one a police office was quoted as saying, “We don’t have time for this!” right before shooting a mentally ill teenager (in his own home) in the chest during an altercation that involved a screwdriver. Keith Vidal had already been tased but was still resisting. At least in this case the cop has been charged. Link is an update on the progress towards a trial (http://stateportpilot.com/topstory/article_6a739198-9680-11e4-b2d5-f39b55c54548.html).

These incidents are happening in every region of the country. This isn’t something restricted to some cultural backwater.

Here is the answer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_v._Connor. This article is long and technical but, it is utterly meaningful and very, very important. This case is what allowed the incredibly loose and liberal use of force policies that all police forces train to.
The funny thing is that this case only involved your basic police brutality and did not involve any shooting. Yet from this poison branch has fallen some very poisonous fruit.

The get-of-jail-free card that you’ll find in every single one of these cases is the word “feel” or “felt”. If the officer feels that he or she is threatened then it is open season. It matters not that they were very, very wrong. What matters is that they felt threatened.

The notion that a suspect has to be armed to justify a police shooting went right out the proverbial window once the Graham v. Connor decision was rendered.

In and spite of there being no use of a weapon in this case Graham v. Connor established a standard by which all police use of force is measured and judged: if there is a reasonable feeling on the part of the police officer(s) that they are in danger they can use force up to and including deadly force (sic).

I put (sic) there, because that is my distillation of the decision.

This case was the case that opened up a Pandora’s Box of bad policing. Every cop in any U.S. police force serving today is trained to this standard. They are told by their trainers that their number one goal every day is to return home to their families safely and that they are free to use whatever level of force they feel is necessary. So, the standard is purely subjective. The objective requirement that existed in the past that there be a weapon such as a gun or knife involved hasn’t been in place since 1989.
So, we have one case after another where the officer testifies under oath that they felt that their lives were in danger and charges are either dismissed, not brought at all, or the officer in question is acquitted in court. And so, we now have cases like this http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/24/us/michael-brelo-cleveland-police-officer-acquitted-of-manslaughter-in-2012-deaths.html?_r=0; http://time.com/3833489/dallas-screwdriver-police-shooting-grand-jury/;http://www.cbsnews.com/news/video-dallas-police-shoot-kill-mentally-ill-man-with-screwdriver/;http://www.inquisitr.com/2134902/pastor-killed-by-police-during-rescue-gone-wrong-wife-demands-to-see-dashcam-footage/.

The genie is truly out of the bottle on this one. Until we fix this there will be one story after another. Many will be truly egregious, unwarranted uses of deadly force. Often the officer will pay with their job—but in many other cases there will be no repercussions. Occasionally, there will actually be criminal charges that stick.

Until this case is replaced by a new standard nothing will change. It will remain unsafe to call the police if you have a relative that is experiencing a mental illness episode. You cannot safely even argue with the police if they are beating the hell out of you for no discernible reason. We will all have to understand that the police are now an occupying force and you and your safety and security are not a priority.

What changed in 1989 is that no one on any police force has any duty to deescalate any situation. Rather they can go to full violent mode if they feel threatened.

Until there is a case that reestablishes some sort of requirement that there be an actual credible threat nothing will change. There will be the drip, drip, drip of one story after another where the police feeling threatened open fire. They are trained to do this. This standard has turned much of the nation’s police into jumpy, frightened Barney Fifes.

Posted by Moral Compass | Sun Jun 14, 2015, 02:08 PM (3 replies)

Why is Bernie surging?

Why is Bernie surging? The national media is doing everything they can to not give him air time or column inches. He is, after all, screwing up the pre-written narrative of Hillary Clinton’s coronation. The 1st female President triumphantly ascending to the Oval office after the first African-American President. This is just good television. It works, dammit! And this old New York Jew shows up and is creating a hell of a disturbance. Why? Why is anybody listening to him in spite of NPR, the New York Times, the Washington Post, FOX, CNN all doing their best to paint him as a wild-eyed, frothing radical leftist?
Well, for a whole host of reasons. Bernie Sanders is not to the left of Dwight D. Eisenhower or Richard Nixon. He is, however, to the left of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And therein lies the rub.
His ideas resonate. They do not sound either radical or impractical. He believes in many of the same things that the Tea Party believes in. He is not a corporatist.
What he is--is fundamentally honest. He is speaking from a mind informed by his heart. He believes what he is saying. He is a very, very dangerous man. When he talks I have no sense that he is trying to blow smoke up my metaphorical skirt. His message is not calibrated nor is there some democratic equivalent of Frank Lutz standing behind him telling him what words to use. This guy is the real deal and his populist message is being drunk in by the thirsty masses. I have a sense that this is one of those times where the events will get out ahead of the media and they will have to revert to what they should be doing—reporting not editorializing. Rather than defining the narrative they will be left to try and keep up with it.
It is possible that this old man might be the leader that we hoped Barack Obama would be.
Our so very well entrenched power structure (which I assure you is deeply bipartisan) is being made very nervous by this gentleman. He has nothing to lose. He cannot be bought.
The attacks against him will only increase from here on in.
Posted by Moral Compass | Sun Jun 14, 2015, 12:19 PM (1 replies)

The injuries and the subsequent death are themselves evidence of excessive force

The police who are always allowed to investigate themselves will always exonerate themselves.

Until we have citizen staffed boards of inquiry this will go on and on and on... And even then I'm not sure the problem would not remain.

Juries of citizens routinely exonerate the police in the most egregious cases.

The police are trained to instantly escalate when encountering any resistance. Resistance is to be met with overwhelming force.

He resisted. They met this with incapacitating force.

The video starts once they'd cuffed him. What happened before that? He was clearly taken down very, very hard and was already badly injured. There is no video of what happened in the van when he was most likely struggling in his restraints due to his agony. So, they stopped and forcefully further restrained him. I can imagine he might have been screaming so that a nice quick punch to the throat to shut him up might have been in order.

Again, the injuries themselves show that excessive force was used. To contend otherwise is absurd.

Posted by Moral Compass | Tue Apr 21, 2015, 06:43 PM (0 replies)

A molder of young minds?

If I was a parent that had a child that was in this "teachers" class I would be conferencing with school administration about his qualifications to teach a core subject such as social studies. Social studies is one of those courses that offers ample opportunity for plenty of teacher sourced editorial opinion. I can imagine the impact this supposedly mature adult is having on his impressionable young victims (err students).

He shouldn't just be excluded from a campus event, but from the campus.
Posted by Moral Compass | Thu Mar 13, 2014, 10:46 AM (0 replies)


I've lived in a place where drugs were essentially legal. All of them. When I say "essentially" it is because many drugs were technically legal but the laws were unenforced.

The group I ran with did a lot of drugs. It was the 60s and 70s after all.

What I saw is that 1) becoming an addict was really frowned on 2) the group would go through phases where we binged on a specific drug and then would drop it and never come back to it and 3) would figure out very quickly if the drug was a "bad" drug. For example, a guy showed up with pharmaceutical grade PCP. One pinhead snorted would send you to the moon. Problem was, every time we partied on the stuff something bad would happen with someone. I had to keep a girl from jumping off a cliff one night for example. I did too much and ended up comatose for about eight hours. And that was the end of that. No one wanted it any longer.

At the end of this three year experiment the death toll stood at zero. The instances of serious harm stood at zero. Everyone was functional and, for the most part, happy.

I will freely admit that this was risky behavior. But think of the impact that a nice long jail sentence would have had on any of us. Would that have been better?

Of course not.

Here is the truth. People have always done drugs. People will always do drugs. Criminalizing that behavior only creates criminals of people that are not criminals.

Our drug policy is terrible policy and should be shelved immediately. It is counterproductive and extremely harmful to our society.

Yes, all drugs should be legal.
Posted by Moral Compass | Wed Mar 5, 2014, 11:47 AM (1 replies)

Even this report has disinformation contained in it...

I love stories about illegal drugs. There is always something in them that represents the complete hysteria and superstition with which Western society approaches drug policy...

This story, has a calm tone to it and does accurately portray the statements by senior DEA officials as official lunacy.

But it still has a line in it that characterizes Schedule 1 drugs completely wrong.

Schedule 1 drugs are drugs with a very high abuse potential that have no known and accepted medical use. Specifically, a Schedule 1 classification is for drugs that authorities have deemed to be drugs that:

The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

The addictiveness of a drug isn't the main consideration for inclusion in Schedule 1.

LSD and ecstasy are not addictive. In fact, none of the psychedelics have been shown to be addictive.

The DEA should be dissolved. It is peopled with crazed zealots who refuse all facts.
Posted by Moral Compass | Wed Mar 5, 2014, 11:34 AM (1 replies)

The hard 25%

There seems to be a hard percentage of roughly 25% that will vote for the most horrific candidates, support the most noxious policies, and aggressively support actions that will harm their neighbors, friends, and even relatives.

I would argue that the 25% of people that are so ignorant as to not know that the earth revolves around the sun is that 25%.

We, the 75% should do everything we can to settle these folks down, convince them that they are being listened to, and then make sure that nothing they believe is right and proper is made local or national policy.

Too often we let the stupids get in positions of power and influence because many of us cannot be bothered to fill city council, school boards seats, and other important roles that are not all that glamorous--but are very important and, often, very influential.

Here is Texas we have had the spectacle of a Texas Board of Education that are trying to warp Texas textbooks (and by extension the nation's textbooks) to include creationism, a positive spin on slavery, and editorial elimination of any discussion of the harm and injustice of state sponsored racism.

I've seen interviews of the members of this board. I guarantee they still believe that the sun orbits the earth, evolution is a sham, global warming is not real, whites did not oppress the native americans, and that whites are on the verge of becoming an oppressed minority.

This is the Republican base.
Posted by Moral Compass | Sat Feb 15, 2014, 11:45 PM (2 replies)

The original administration explanation turns out to be true

So, apparently Susan Rice was telling the truth immediately after the tragedy.

As others have noted here, this will probably get little play in our news media. Fox, of course, will just ignore the whole thing.

Benghazi will no longer be discussed on the Sunday shows. And, now that the ACA seems to be having its predicted success (not surprising given the magnitude of the need) the MSM will move on to something, anything that can be used to attack the current Democratic administration.

Because, after all, freedom. And November 2014.
Posted by Moral Compass | Sun Dec 29, 2013, 12:23 PM (0 replies)

Bought cheaply

Am I the only one that reads this and is amazed at how cheaply our so called representatives are bought?

As one who used to have the money to invest let me say that the returns these companies are realizing from a few thousand dollars are beyond any imagining.

$5000? $7500? To insert language into law that places a burden on our postal service that is heavier than anything any private or public institution has borne before? This is all it costs?

These men and women are not only whores, but the cheapest whores in all of history...

A country without a functioning postal service can hardly claim to be a country.
Posted by Moral Compass | Fri Dec 27, 2013, 10:49 PM (0 replies)
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