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These two This American Life episodes will probably tell you more about the political climate than all the reading in the world – particularly as it pertains to racism against immigrants. They’re not easy listening, but they’ve galvanized my feelings about where I’m going to put my energy right now, and my spare time.
These are the transcripts, but I strongly recommend you click through to the podcasts.
 
 
 
 
In my view every anti-racist progressive should listen to both in their entirety, and very closely.

Kym Kemp has them.

Seriously, looking at these guys – what is going through their heads that lets them think they are entitled to what they are taking?  They don’t look like they’re starving.

 

  1.  Obamacare repeal and replace?
  2.  Beginning the construction of the southern wall with Mexico paying for it?
  3.  Draining the swamp of Goldman Sachs and other finance industry hacks?
  4.  Renegotiating NAFTA?
  5.  Banning all Muslim entry into the US?
  6.  Unifying and leading the Republican Party?
  7.  Grand bipartisan “out of the box” legislation on anything?
  8.  Sending Hillary Clinton to jail?
  9.  Anything besides cranking out a slew of incoherent executive orders the most significant of which don’t hold up in court?

 

1

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?

 

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