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Due to life/family issues I’ve had to travel US 101 to and from the Bay Area often as of late, and I’m a little burned out on the extensive construction.  Seriously, between Marin County and Eureka you’re hard pressed to find a 20 mile stretch where there isn’t a lane closed with reduced speed limits.  Once you hit Mendocino it seems like it’s every ten miles.  I think in total it added about 45 minutes to my last trip, granted about half of it was being stopped at the slide.

I’ve never seen it like this before, and we’ve had much rougher winters.  The necessity for some of them is pretty clear, but I wonder if it’s truly necessary for all of them to be taking place at once.  Knowing that most of the work is contracted out to private outfits, tThe cynical side of my brain wonders if someone in office or power somewhere doesn’t owe his buddies a few too many favors.

In the Mad River Union.

Either the Board passes something or it will be brought to the voters.

All that on Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m.

KMUD

The guy running is a dumbass thief, so let’s just get that out of the way. The discussion here is whether the police beatings and killings we’ve been seeing all over the Internet in recent years are the product of “bad apples” as opposed to flawed law enforcement culture. I had a client once who tried to evade police, was caught, and beaten by his captors. His comment to me was, “I tried to get away, they caught me, and so beat me fair and square.” He was habitually criminal at the time. He’s cleaned up his act though – I’m really happy for him. So a couple of years ago I met him at the Summer Arts Fest and brought up the prior conversation.

I asked, “Did you seriously think it was okay that they beat you up?”

He responded, “I don’t know about okay. It’s just what you expect.”

Cause and effect, as if law enforcement aren’t people who make decisions, but act as if they are forces of nature.

You can see in this video that they are literally climbing over each other and the vehicles to get in their shots in what appears to me to be acts of solidarity – to spread any potential blame around as they must hear the helicopter from where the filming took place.

The letter of the law states that police are only to use force which is necessary to restrain and transport the suspect to prison. They are not empowered by the letter of the law to exact punishment, even when they are the victims. And I would agree that even given the numbers, the police have to be scared in a scenario like this because nobody is certain of what is going to happen. But I don’t agree that this is generated by Adrenalin. It’s a conscious unwritten policy. Part of the police culture. They probably sincerely believe that this is necessary as deterrence for their survival, and maybe there’s some truth to that – I really don’t know. If suspects know they’ll be treated gently, maybe they will figure that they will take their chances every time. Sure, they’ll face longer sentences. But most in the criminal mindset probably don’t think that far ahead. But a beating which is moments away if they try but don’t get away? Maybe they’ll think twice.

On the other hand, we are ostensibly a society of laws not men, and I do mean “men” in most of these cases. Does such an “unwritten policy” lead to abuses which vary from the understanding? Does it disproportionately affect members of marginalized classes who are feared more than others? Would this happen in Iceland? South Korea? Costa Rica? Yes, it would happen in some other countries, and maybe even be worse for the suspect. But in a country which prides itself on it’s liberty and rule of law?

What this video does confirm – these many incidents filmed now that filming technology is available to many of us 24/7 are not about bad apples and degenerates. This is the normal. Maybe even mandatory to the understanding of being a cop.

If we don’t want it that way, what can we do to change it?

 

How did he die?

Has anybody noticed that certain right wing figures lately have abandoned denials of collusion in favor of suggesting that there is nothing wrong with collusion?

The latest. Hardly a left wing source.

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This is not only good news for LGBT equality under the law, but I wonder if Justices Roberts and Kennedy are moving to the left. It has happened before. Justices Brennan and Blackmun were both considered the most liberal Justices when they retired. Both were Republican appointees. As soon as both Marshall and Brennan were gone (they had both opposed the death penalty), Blackmun announced that he had come around to the conclusion that executions inherently violated the 8th Amendment.
 
Justice O’Connor also moved to the left before she left, and essentially apologized for having voted with the majority in Bush v. Gore. And of course Justice Souter was a closeted liberal who revealed himself as such almost immediately.
 
But you have this decision released today, with Gorsuch, Thomas, and Alito dissenting. And you have the “compromise” partial restoration of the Muslim ban order with the same three dissenting as they wanted a complete restoration. The ban as “reinstated” will apply to very few as the “exceptions” far outnumber those covered.
 
Justices are in for life. They are completely independent of political influence. Day in and day out they hear intelligent argument from intelligent people, and if they are not ideologically entrenched, they have been known to succumb to those influences out of either conscience or just personal evolution. I have never heard of a Supreme Court Justice becoming more conservative. It has certainly not happened in my lifetime. Even Scalia, whom my criminal procedure professor said, “never met a car search he didn’t like” became more liberal with regard to search and seizure law – possibly due to the influence of his friendship with Justice Ginsberg. At worst, they don’t budge. Justice Thomas has not budged.
 
 

The Finance Office (202 224 4515) is keeping count of Americans requesting public hearings on the Senate “wealthcare” bill. Call & request that public hearings be held.

Senator David Heller cannot support the gutting of Medicaid.  Apparently ACA has done very well by Nevada with regard to coverage.   The Republicans can only afford two more defects (a 50-50 tie would allow Pence to break it).  Right now they have four conservatives threatening to vote against it because it doesn’t repeal enough.

Basically, the repeal bill would go towards tax cuts in the range of $50,000 for those making a million a year.  To finance these tax cuts the Medicaid fund would be capped and the remaining policies would offer minimal services – gutting preventive medicine and probably then leading to more money spent in the ER later.

Here’s to hoping that California passes single payer, but my understanding is that Governor Brown would veto it.

 

 

Now we know.

So much the media has been missing.  The fact that the CIA head continued to brief classified information with Mike Flynn in the room for three weeks after his own agency declared Flynn a security risk.  And now it turns out the CIA knew that Putin had ordered an operation to get Trump elected last summer, which probably accounts for Obama’s calling a meeting with congressional Republicans in September, at which the latter expressed apathy at best.  Meanwhile, the Intelligence people didn’t want to be accused of “rigging” the election against Trump, so they stayed quiet.  And Obama and the Democrats, I assume Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi were present, were wimps as usual.

So Trump’s relying on outside counsel on a daily basis.  And not everybody wants to go down with the ship.  Pence has lawyered up.

Coats is throwing Trump under the bus.  Trey Gowdy’s response is understandable about the leaks, but tends to confirm the reports.  You got to keep your cool in these matters.  Obviously there are Democrats (presumably) who want the story out in the open, but if your leadership pledges a tight ship you ought to keep it together, at least for awhile.  I mean, at a certain point if there’s a cover-up effort, then I think leaks are justified, as was the case with Watergate.  But Gowdy’s right in that you are less likely to get testimony in closed session with leaks.  But I bet Coats expected the leaks, but asked for closed session so he can shrug and say he did what he could.  But in my view Coats already compromised himself by not standing up to Trump about Flynn’s presence at classified briefings in January.

And yeah, why does Kushner still have security clearance?  That’s a rhetorical question.

This isn’t the first time this has happened, although I won’t say that it’s universal. It may be that the Seattle economy is expanding anyway, and if you’re politically conservative you might argue that it would be expanding more quickly but for the living wage amount.

The problem is that the opposition to minimum wage increases on an economic basis is simplistic. The argument is that businesses will not be able to afford the increase and will lay off workers. And initially, there are some layoffs. But it’s based on a very static analysis of economy.

First of all, the layoffs are never what free marketers project because minimum wage positions tend to be essential to the business, as contra-intuitive that seems. There isn’t a lot of flexibility on the demand/supply curve. The businesses hiring minimum wage workers are generally operating at close to bare minimum. So basically they either retain the workers or they go out of business. And the latter rarely happens because the economies are dynamic.

The consumers at the bottom can’t save. They can’t invest. Maybe they pay off some debt with increased wages, but mostly they spend. If they have more to spend, they spend more. And the economic multipliers (the cycle of spending – you buy a sandwich and then the business buy’s bread, tuna, lettuce, and then those businesses hire workers, etc.) are localized and the increased business ultimately metabolizes the increased labor, and often without significantly increasing prices because the market won’t bear all of the increases. Basically the increased wages generate a Keynesian result by increasing the volume of business.

This isn’t always a good thing. It’s inflationary, but inflation hasn’t been a problem in this country since prior to the Crash. And in an economy like Seattle’s – the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country (and no, I don’t think that’s a good thing), the wages have been increased and have provided some small improvement in the standards of living of those at the bottom of the wage scale. This has happened before, and hopefully will again.

Mind you, I don’t think it’s a panacea. We need a thorough restructuring of the national economy and I’m concerned that Seattle will face the economic cleansing of the SF Bay area. But this experiment represents a ray of light. Call me a socialist.

Seattle experiment pays off for lower income workers.

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