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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 04:48 PM
Number of posts: 7,651

Journal Archives

ABC News Exclusive: Mary Trump Interview with Stephanopoulos ABC News

Extraordinary, hour-long interview with Trump's niece! She is, unlike her uncle and cousins, very well-spoken and articulate, and what she says rings very true.

I particularly appreciated her reference to her family's embrace of the "toxic positivity" of the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale!

Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Jul 16, 2020, 11:55 AM (12 replies)

No, I do not think we need to "reform" the police . . .

No, I do not think we need to "reform" the police. Allow me to explain.

To speak of policing reform is to suggest that we can address the problem of systemic racism in American policing through a combination of efforts to address the individual racism of some officers, to change certain police methods or tactics, and requiring a few more racial sensitivity workshops. But these efforts have all been tried repeatedly over the years, and none of them have resulted in any significant or lasting changes.

That is because, I believe, the focus of those efforts fails to address the real locus of the problem. The problem lies not with the racism and bigotry of individual officers, although that certainly exists and should be addressed wherever it is found; the real source of the problem is to be found in the history of American policing and the real purpose behind the existence of domestic police forces, both then and now.

Domestic police forces were not founded as part of some effort to fight crime in general, nor were they founded to keep the American public safe from from violent criminals. They were founded, in both the North and the South, as a means of protecting the financial interests of the wealthy from the discontent of those whose labor the wealthy exploited in order to create and maintain their wealth. In the South, police forces originated with slave patrols -- forces that rounded up fugitive slaves and returned them to their owners (to face whatever consequences their owners decided to mete out). In the North police were founded primarily as publicly-financed strike-breaking forces intended for the purpose of quelling labor unrest. Whether they were capturing and returning fugitive slaves or breaking the strikes of workers protesting the conditions in which they were forced to work, police were effectively engaged in the same activity, which was to protect the investments of the very wealthy, be they slave owners or industrialists. And although the role of police has expanded over the years, I submit that its original purpose remains thoroughly intact, and is as operative today as t was n the late 19th C. It is no accident of circumstance that at a time when all other public-sector unions are under assault from the right and have been weakened to the point of ineffectiveness, the police unions have remained as strong and influential as ever.

Once you understand the history of policing in America, you begin to realize that the actions by police that so many have been horrified by in recent weeks are not aberrations, but are, in fact, examples of police doing exactly what they were created to do. And that's the problem.

So, no, I do not think we need to "reform" the police. I think we need to completely rethink the role police play in our society, and then dismantle and rebuild it from the ground up, with an eye towards making policing a service that protects the interests of ALL Americans.
Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Jun 28, 2020, 03:41 PM (27 replies)

For the love of God, can't we come up with better framing than "Defund the Police?"

I am very supportive of the aims of the "Defund the Police" movement. But calling itself by that slogan is a political loser if ever I've seen one.

And it isn't even an accurate description of what is actually being proposed. No one is suggesting that funding for policing services should be eliminated. What they are calling for is the reallocation of some of the vast sums of money that we have been directing towards policing in recent years to social and community services that are needed to address the underlying problems of inequality. The slogan, "Defund the Police" is clearly designed to appeal to the emotions of certain parts of the left, but unfortunately, it is also guaranteed to evoke an instantaneous rejection by at least some folks in the center and on the right, who might be persuaded if it were framed a little better.

"Defund the Police" is a poorly chosen slogan, and ultimately, a self-defeating one.
Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Jun 8, 2020, 08:13 PM (47 replies)

A protest chant that is pure New York!

"We are peaceful; what the fuck are you?!" (The link below will take you to the video on Instagram.)

Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Jun 5, 2020, 03:44 PM (2 replies)

A point many are missing about the use of tear gas

From my college roommate (and first boyfriend):

Despite all the news coverage there is a point that is being missed. Don't be confused, all across our great country police (and military) are using chemical weapons on peaceful citizens.

All lachrymator agents (tear gases) are banned from warfare under the Geneva Protocol: It prohibits the use of "asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices" and "bacteriological methods of warfare".

So, if this were a war, every Mayor, Governor and Police Chief who authorized the use of tear gas could, and most likely would, be brought before the Hague to stand trial. That is a fact and should give us all pause.

These are powerful and dangerous chemicals and the use of them should be greatly limited. The term “tear gas” has a friendly ring to it. However, it is a misleading term. Lachrymator agents and other chemical weapons are not appropriate measures for the streets of the world’s greatest democracy.
Posted by markpkessinger | Wed Jun 3, 2020, 05:51 PM (6 replies)

"Two wrongs don't make a right" is inappropriate for the moment, and is an expression of white privi

That shopworn aphorism, "Two wrongs don't make a right," may be useful when we are talking about interpersonal, tit-for-tat resolution of disputes. But it is wholly inappropriate when applied to something like the situation in Minneapolis.

For starters, it limits the moral universe that is under consideration to a single transaction consisting of an action followed by a reaction.l But the protestors in Minneapolis are not only protesting the killing of George Floyd. They are responding to decades, even centuries, of mistreatment of African Americans at the hands of white law enforcement officers, as death after death continues to occur, and as virtually nothing has been done to solve the problem. At a certain point, when an issue like this is permitted to fester for so long, thugs boil over. And once that happens, all normal rules of rational self-interest get thrown out the window, and what comes out is raw, unmoderated, unmodulated rage -- and once that happens, it is largely beyond the ability of any individual or group of individuals to rein in until it has run its course.

We've seen killing after killing of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement. The African American community has been more patient than anyone ever had any right to expect. They are now out of patience, and are doing what they feel they must in order to get our attention. And it's our fault for allowing the can of police violence against persons of color down the road time and time again.
Posted by markpkessinger | Sat May 30, 2020, 11:19 AM (1 replies)

White America speaks out of both sides of its mouth concerning how AFrican Americans should protest

On the one hand, we tell them that their protest must never be violent or threatening, even as death after death of members of their community occurs at the hands of white police officers., even as nothing changes and virtually nothing is done to address the issue On the other hand, when a Colin Kaepernick manages to find a peaceful way to register his protest against these deaths by respectfully kneeling during the national anthem,he is widely vilified as if he had committed high treason!

What the hell do we expect will happen?
Posted by markpkessinger | Sat May 30, 2020, 08:21 AM (31 replies)

I didn't write this, but I wish I had!

Posted by markpkessinger | Sun May 17, 2020, 05:11 PM (25 replies)

The Waking Nightmare of ICU Delirium for COVID-19 Patients

This is positively terrifying, but I would urge everyone to watch it, just in case someone you know has to be put on a ventilator. According to the video, up to 80% of patients who go on ventilators experience delirium, and it doesn't necessarily end when a patient recovers from the infection. If someone you know is lucky enough to come off a ventilator and recover, you should make sure they get follow-up mental health care!

Posted by markpkessinger | Wed May 13, 2020, 12:13 AM (5 replies)

I am certainly no fan of George W. Bush . . .

. . . and I think his presidency was an unqualified disaster for this country. Nevertheless, I willl applaud him for releasing this ad!

Posted by markpkessinger | Tue May 5, 2020, 06:08 PM (1 replies)
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