Another “Things” Morning

You know how you are on a list that sends you emails of breaking news? Well I am on a lot of them. But here are the the ones I think we should think about instead of Stormy Danielles (who did not know President DFF was a pig?). The first came from a headline from my local paper, The Sacramento Bee, about the shooting of an unarmed black man (Stephon Clark) by police which I blogged about the other day. Here is the headline:

“Black Leaders Demand Criminal Chargers Against Police Officers Who Shot Stephon Clark”

Now I read this and thought, understandable, but counterproductive. In a way almost total pandering bound to go nowhere. The law on this is fairly clear, although wrong-headed. In case-law there are two parts to this, did the police officers fear for their lives and was it reasonable. The cases piling up where outrageous police shootings are acquitted is telling us that it is almost impossible to judge this and benefit of the doubt always goes to the police officers. In other words, charges will not be brought. It is grandstanding by black leaders instead of focusing on the real problem, the law itself and better police training. Maybe this is a several step process, but I can’t help feel that somehow this demand is pandering to the family and black community instead of taking on the real problem.

UPDATE: Erika D, Smith from the Sacramento Bee gave us this today:

What happened to Clark most certainly should be a crime, but it’s probably not one. Not under the straitjacket of two U.S. Supreme Court rulings that make it all but impossible to charge and convict officers for shooting suspects in the line of duty.

Tennessee v. Garner allows that it’s OK to shoot a fleeing suspect when “the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others.” And Graham v. Connor states that “the reasonableness of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.”

These rulings are, in part, why this week Louisiana’s attorney general declined to charge two white officers for shooting Alton Sterling outside a convenience store in 2016 — and why so many other officers in so many other cases haven’t been charged or convicted either.

Complicating matters is California’s own use-of-force statute, which states any “officer who has reasonable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a public offense may use reasonable force to effect an arrest, to prevent escape or to overcome resistance.”

,,,Instead of giving people in Sacramento false hope and raising expectations for Schubert to file charges that likely will never come, why don’t we talk about how to change state law so it’s easier to hold officers accountable for their actions? Because it’s possible.

…None of this will bring Stephon Clark back. And perhaps none of it will ease the pain felt by his brother, Stevante. But protests alone aren’t the answer either. It’s time to channel all that anger.

Next up is this one:

“After Stormy Daniels, Republicans Face a Referendum on Trump’s Conduct”

This one actually makes me laugh. Republicans do not face a referendum on Trump’s conduct, but their own conduct in response to his. Because they won’t act, President DFF will face a referendum in 2020 unless Mr. Mueller drops a bomb, which the Republicans are doing everything they can to defuse it. That defusing along with policies like tax cuts for the wealthy, tariffs, and wild spending without raising taxes is what is going to cause a referendum on Republicans. Conservative ideas don’t really play anymore and when the average American who does not watch what is really going on feels it in their pocket book, they will vote them out. The fact that they fell in line behind Trump, not his conduct, is why they will be given the heave ho.

In the March on gun violence and the continuing discussion of what the problem is, the kids seem to have it figured out. It is too many guns. But one father of a slain young woman is a favorite of the media because he does not want to rock the political boat, just make schools safe. So he does not want to talk about getting rid of military grade weapons, or other gun restriction laws, just what we can do to make our schools safe. It is a fool’s errand. Think about not changing anything with access to guns, and then making schools safe. They would look like prisons with guards armed with AR-15s. And whether a teacher or a trained SWAT police officer is armed, what happens if he gets taken down first and they are all trapped in there?

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens gave us his thoughts here this morning when he gave a short summary of how until the Roberts court, there was not an unfettered access to guns, and suggested the obvious, repeal the 2nd amendment as it has no relevance in our 21st century life. Amen to that. The kids get it. If you want to fix something you go for root causes, not some political white wash that does not solve anything and has its own bad consequences. People love their weapons. They are wrong. It is as simple as that.

Finally, I would like to leave you with some wisdom from Paul Krugman of the NYT. I know I have seemed crazy when I say all Republicans are evil. I am not and Paul has come to the same conclusion demonstrating that they have all been elected with the big con:

…the success of people like Blankenship [a known crook] — or Trump — was an inevitable consequence of the political strategy Republicans have followed for decades. For the simple truth is that ever since Reagan, Republicans have basically played a con game on American voters.

Their sustained, invariant agenda has been upward redistribution of income: cutting taxes on the rich while weakening the social safety net. This agenda is unpopular: Only a small minority of Americans wants to see tax cuts for the wealthy, and an even smaller minority wants cuts to major social programs. Yet Republicans have won elections partly by denying the reality of their policy agenda, but mainly by posing as defenders of traditional social values — above all, that greatest of American traditions, racism.

And this sustained reliance on the big con has, over time, exerted a strong selection effect both on the party’s leadership and on its base. G.O.P. politicians tend disproportionately to be con men (and in some cases, con women), because playing the party’s political game requires both a willingness to and a talent for saying one thing while doing another. And the party’s base consists disproportionately of the easily conned — those who are easily fooled by claims that Those People are the problem and don’t notice how much the true Republican agenda hurts them.

…there will be no redemption from within. Principled, ethical politicians won’t reclaim the party from the likes of Trump, because they’re not what the base wants: The modern G.O.P. is no country for honest men. Con artists will continue to rule until or unless the party loses big, repeatedly, and spends years in the political wilderness.

And he leaves us with they may get thrown out as people wake up, or they are such criminals that they will have no problem rigging the vote through tactics we have already seen. It really is up to Americans to get out and vote.

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