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Archive for February, 2018|Monthly archive page

IF KILLERS HAVE GUNS, LET’S MAKE EVERYONE A POTENTIAL KILLER

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 16, 2018 at 12:03 am

On February 14, Nikolas Cruz found an unforgettable way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

The 19-year-old former student returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and allegedly slaughtered at least 17 people.

As in: “What are all these allegedly dead people doing here?”

The massacre has now become one of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern United States history.

He carried out his massacre with at least one AR-15 assault rifle and multiple magazines.

Although he had posted “I wanna die Fighting killing shit ton of people” he didn’t have the nerve to shoot it out with police SWAT teams. Instead, he concealed himself among the hundreds of students fleeing the school.

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Nikolas Cruz posted this picture of himself on the Internet

Investigators used school security videos to identify Cruz and found him in a nearby neighborhood in Coral Springs, Florida.

Cruz had posted “I am going to kill law enforcement one day they go after the good people.” But he was arrested without incident.

Like so many other mass killers, he didn’t have the courage to shoot it out with armed police. He could only prey on defenseless men, women and children.

According to a CNN law enforcement source, he is now talking with investigators.

As always, most Republican lawmakers believe the answer to halting such future attacks lies in giving everybody a firearm.

That, of course, is the standard mantra of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which lavishly bankrolls the GOP. 

(In 2016, the NRA spent more than $36 million on elections. Donald Trump proved the largest beneficiary—netting more than $21 million.)

But it it true?

On July 7, 2016, five Dallas police officers were shot and killed by a disgruntled ex-Army Reserve Afghan War veteran named Michah Xavier Johnson. Another seven officers and two civilians were wounded before the carnage ended.

The shootings erupted during a Black Lives Matter protest march in downtown Dallas.

Texas has long been an “open carry” state for those who want to brandish rifles without fear of arrest. And about 20 people wearing “ammo gear and protective equipment [had] rifles slung over their shoulder,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

“When the shooting started, at different angles, [the armed protesters] started running,” Rawlings said, adding that open carry only brings confusion to a shooting scene.  What I would do [if I were a police officer] is look for the people with guns,” he said.

“There were a number of armed demonstrators taking part,” said Max Geron, a Dallas police major. “There was confusion about the description of the suspects and whether or not one or more was in custody.”

A 2012 Mother Jones article on “More Guns, More Mass Shootings–Coincidence?” offered a striking finding: After analyzing 62 mass shootings over a 30-year period, the magazine determined: “In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun.”

So much for the ability of gun-toting, untrained amateurs to “stop a bad guy with a gun.”

But even highly-trained shooters—such as those assigned to the United States Secret Service—don’t always respond as expected.

On May 15, 1972, Alabama Governor George C. Wallace was campaigning for President in Laurel, Maryland. He gave a speech behind a bulletproof podium at the Laurel Shopping Center. Then he moved from it to mingle with the crowd.

Since the 1968 assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, all those campaigning for President have been assigned Secret Service bodyguards. And Wallace was surrounded by them as he shook hands with his eager supporters.

Suddenly, Arthur Bremer, a fame-seeking failure in life and romance, pushed his way forward, aimed a .38 revolver at Wallace’s abdomen and opened fire. Before the Secret Service could subdue him, he hit Wallace four times, leaving him paralyzed for the rest of his life.

 Arthur Bremer shoots George Wallace

Nor was he Bremer’s only victim. Three other people present were wounded unintentionally:

  • Alabama State Trooper Captain E C Dothard, Wallace’s personal bodyguard, who was shot in the stomach;
  • Dora Thompson, a campaign volunteer, who was shot in the leg; and
  • Nick Zarvos, a Secret Service agent, who was shot in the neck, severely impairing his speech.

None of Wallace’s bodyguards got off a shot at Bremer—before or after he pulled the trigger.

On October 6, 1981, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was reviewing a military parade in Cairo when a truck apparently broke down directly across from where he was seated.

Anwar Sadat, moments before his assassination

Suddenly, soldiers bolted from the rear of the vehicle, throwing hand grenades and firing assault rifles. They rushed straight at Sadat—who died instantly under a hail of bullets.

Meanwhile, Sadat’s bodyguards—who had been trained by the CIA—panicked and fled.

Sadat had been assassinated by army officers who believed he had betrayed Islam by making peace with Israel in 1977.

The ultimate test of the NRA’s mantra that “there should not be any gun-free zones…anywhere” will come only when one or more heavily-armed gunmen target an NRA convention.

It will then be interesting to see if the surviving NRA members are as quick to blame themselves for being victims as they are to blame the victims of other mass slaughters.

TRUMP: THE ABUSER’S FRIEND: PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Politics, Social commentary on February 15, 2018 at 12:02 am

In one week, two White House staffers were forced to resign after reports surfaced of their brutality toward their wives.

And President Donald Trump’s reaction was to defend the accused wife-beaters and accuse their ex-wives of lying:

“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

What are the lessons to be learned from this?

First, Donald Trump has his own history of abusing women.

At least 22 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct between the 1970s and 2013.  And Trump flat-out denies the accusations–which include ogling, harassment, groping, and rape—while attacking the women as “liars.”

“Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign,” he said during a 2016 campaign rally in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. “Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”

The election ended on November 8, 2016. And Trump has yet to sue any of his accusers.

So it’s not surprising that when similar accusations strike men he has around him, he leaps to their defense.

Second, Trump fires women-abusing staffers only when the news media outs them.

Accused wife-abuser Rob Porter resigned from his staff secretary position at the White House only after his two ex-wives detailed their abuse to CNN.

According to CNN, White House Chief of Staff John Kelley knew for months that Porter faced claims of physically and emotionally abusing these women. But he never conducted an inquiry to find out if the claims were true or false.

It’s safe to assume that Porter would still be on the White House payroll if CNN hadn’t reported the abuses.

Third, don’t expect Trump to show any sympathy for alleged female victims.

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Donald Trump

Trump has repeatedly shown his contempt for women through abusive and humiliating language. For example:

  • During a 1990 Vanity Fair interview, he said of his then-wife, Ivana: “I would never buy Ivana any decent jewels or pictures. Why give her negotiable assets?”
  • In 1992, while watching a group of young girls going up the escalator in Trump Tower, Trump said: “I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?”
  • During a 1991 Esquire interview: “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [they] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
  • In 2006, during an appearance on The View: “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
  • Easily the most infamous example of Trump’s predatory attitude toward women came during his 2005 Access Hollywood interview: “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful–I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Fourth, Trump has often defended men who were charged with abusing women.

  • In March, 2016, his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was charged with misdemeanor battery by Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields. “How do you know those bruises weren’t there before?” asked Trump.
  • When Roger Ailes resigned in July, 2016, as chairman of Fox News, owing to sexual harassment accusations leveled against him, Trump said: “It’s very sad. Because he’s a very good person. I’ve always found him to be just a very, very good person. And by the way, a very, very talented person. Look what he’s done. So I feel very badly.”
  • In October, 2017, the news broke that Bill O’Reilly and Fox News had paid almost $13 million to settle multiple sexual harassment allegations. Trump’s reaction: “I don’t believe Bill did anything wrong. I think he’s a person I know well. He is a good person.”
  • Trump vigorously defended Roy Moore, Alabama’s Republican candidate for United States Senator in 2017, against charges that he had molested a 14-year-old girl: “Well, he denies it. Look, he denies it. He says it didn’t happen. And you know, you have to listen to him also.”

Fifth, any criticism of sexual harassment—or even outright criminality—must come from outside the White House.

Trump’s defense of accused White House staffers Rob Porter and David Sorensen drew fire from prominent Washington officials.

“Women’s lives are upended every day by sexual violence and harassment. I’m going to keep standing with them, and trusting them, even if the President won’t,” tweeted U.S. Democratic Senator Patty Murray.

And Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont tweeted: “As a former prosecutor, I’ve been amazed by the bravery & sacrifice required of victims to come forward. Their lives are forever changed,. Due process is critical, but it can’t be a pretext for not believing women. We don’t need to see photos of bruises to know that.”

Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California tweeted: “Apparently his motto is when they go low, he goes even lower.”

Sixth, in assessing Trump’s character, two essential truths should be constantly remembered:

“Tell me whom you admire, and I will tell you who you are.”

And:

“What is past is prologue.”

TRUMP: THE ABUSER’S FRIEND: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Politics, Social commentary on February 14, 2018 at 2:44 am

As absolute dictator on NBC’s “The Apprentice,” Donald Trump delighted in firing one contestant every week.

As President of the United States, he has delighted in firing such high-ranking government officials as:

  • Acting Attorney General Sally Yates
  • FBI Director James Comey
  • White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci
  • Presidential Chief Strategist Steve Bannon
  • United States Attorney Preet Bharara

But there have been some officials Trump has fought to retain.  Among these:

  • National Security Adviser Michael Flynn
  • White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter
  • White House Speechwriter David Sorensen

MICHAEL FLYNN had fervently supported Trump during his 2016 campaign for President.  He was rewarded with appointment to National Security Adviser on January 20, 2017—the same day Trump became President.

But later in January, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned Trump that Flynn had lied about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak—and that he could be blackmailed by Russian Intelligence.

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Michael Flynn at the Republican convention

In December, 2016, Flynn had spoken to Kislyak about removing the sanctions placed on Russia by the outgoing Obama administration. The sanctions had been placed in retaliation for Russia’s efforts to manipulate the 2016 Presidential election.

Instead of firing Flynn, Trump fired Yates.

On February 13, The Washington Post reported these events.  Flynn was forced to resign that same day—after only 24 days as National Security Adviser.

STAFF SECRETARY ROB PORTER had the task of vetting all the information that reached Trump’s desk. He resigned February 7 after two of his ex-wives accused him of years of physical and emotional abuse.

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Rob Porter

Colbie Holderness, Porter’s first wife, told CNN that the physical abuse began almost immediately after their 2003 wedding.  During their honeymoon trip to the Canary Islands, Porter kicked her thigh during a fight.  

“The thing he would do most frequently is he would throw me down on a bed and he would just put his body weight on me and he’d be yelling at me but as he was yelling he’d me grinding an elbow or knee into my body to emphasize his anger,” she said. He also repeatedly choked her.

While the couple visited Florence, Italy, in the summer of 2005, Porter punched Holderness in the face.

Jennifer Willoughby, Porter’s second wife, married him in 2009. During their honeymoon in Myrtle Beach, he began calling her “a fucking bitch” because he felt she was not having enough sex with him.

In the spring of 2010, Porter came to the home they had previously shared and punched a glass pane in the front door, cutting his hand.

Willoughby called police, who suggested that she take out a temporary restraining order. She did so in June, 2010.

In December, 2010, according to Willoughby, “we were in a fight and I disengaged from the fight after screaming at each other. I took a shower and Rob followed me fairly shortly after and grabbed me from the shower by my shoulders up close to my neck and pulled me out to continue to yell at me.

“He immediately saw the look of shock and terror on my face and released me and apologized and attempted to make things right.”

They divorced in 2013.

SPEECHWRITER DAVID SORENSEN resigned on February 9.  His ex-wife, Jessica Corbett, told the Washington Post that he put out a cigarette on her hand, drove a car over her foot, threw her into a wall and grabbed her by the hair when they were alone on a boat off the Maine coast.

Sorensen denied the allegation in a statement he released to CNN and other news media: “I have never committed violence of any kind against any woman in my entire life.  In fact, I was the victim of repeated physical violence during our marriage, not her.”

He claimed he had spoken with an attorney about suing his ex-wife for defamation.

And how did Trump respond to these revelations?

On February 9, he told reporters that Porter’s departure was “very sad” and that “he did a very good job while he was in the White House.”

Donald Trump

Trump did not express any sympathy for the women Porter allegedly abused.

Instead, he focused on Porter’s claim of innocence: “He says he’s innocent and I think you have to remember that.  He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent but you’ll have to talk to him about that.”

On February 10—the day after Sorensen resigned—Trump took to Twitter to post:

“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

As Chris Cillizza, CNN’s editor-at-large wrote in a February 9 opinion column:

“This is a familiar pattern for Trump. When a series of women came out during the 2016 campaign alleging that he has sexually abused them, he flatly denied it — insisting that all of the women were conspiring to hurt him for political reasons.

“When a series of women came forward and said that Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore had pursued physical relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his mid 30s, Trump defended his endorsement of Moore, saying: ‘He totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen.'”

MORAL COURAGE AND REPUBLICANS DON’T MIX

In Bureaucracy, Entertainment, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 12, 2018 at 12:25 am

I do not know what fate awaits me
I only know I must be brave.
And I must face the man who hates me
Or lie a coward, a craven coward, 
Or lie a coward in my grave.
–Theme song from “High Noon”

 

On August 30, 2017, an article in Salon sought to explain why President Donald Trump was so popular among his supporters. 

Its headline ran: “Most Americans Strongly Dislike Trump, But the Angry Minority That Adores Him Controls Our Politics.” 

It described these voters as representing about one-third of the Republican party:

“These are older and more conservative white people, for the most part, who believe he should not listen to other Republicans and should follow his own instincts….

“They like Trump’s coarse personality, and approve of the fact that he treats women like his personal playthings. They enjoy it when he expresses sympathy for neo-Nazis and neo-Confederate white supremacists.

“They cheer when he declares his love for torture, tells the police to rough up suspects and vows to mandate the death penalty for certain crimes. (Which of course the president cannot do.)

“…This cohort of the Republican party didn’t vote for Trump because of his supposed policies on trade or his threat to withdraw from NATO. They voted for him because he said out loud what they were thinking. A petty, sophomoric, crude bully is apparently what they want as a leader.”

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Donald Trump

According to a Pew Research Center survey, they only comprise 16% of the population. That leaves 65% of Republicans who are revolted by Trump’s personality and behavior.

But they are being advised by GOP political consultants to vigorously support him.

“Your heart tells you that he’s bad for the country,” one anonymous consultant told the Salon reporter. “Your head looks at polling data among Republican primary voters and sees how popular he is.” 

It’s precisely these hard-core Fascists who come out in mid-term elections—and they’re scaring the remaining 65% who make up the GOP establishment.

Their highest priority, after all, is to hold onto their privileged positions in the House and Senate. And anything that might jeopardize that—including what’s best for the country—can go hang.

Perhaps it’s time for Republicans to remember the lesson taught by High Noon, the classic 1952 Western starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly.  

High Noon poster.jpg

Town marshal Will Kane (Cooper) has just marred Amy Fowler (Kelly) a Quaker. It should be the happiest day of his life. But shortly after the ceremony, word comes that Frank Miller—a notorious murderer Kane once sent to prison—has been released.

Even worse, Miller and three other killers are coming into town on the noon train—to kill Kane.

Kane’s first instinct is to flee: He and his wife get into a buggy and dash out of town. But then his sense of duty takes over. He returns to town, intending to recruit a posse.

But this proves impossible—everyone is scared to death of Miller and his gang. And everyone Kane approaches has a reason for not backing him up.  

Even Amy—a fervent believer in non-violence—threatens to leave him if he stands up to Miller. She will be on the noon train leaving town—with or without him.  

When the clock strikes noon, the train arrives, and Kane—alone—faces his enemies. He shoots and kills two of them.  

Then, as he’s pinned down by the third, he gets some unexpected help—from his wife: Amy shoots the would-be killer in the back—only to be taken hostage by Miller himself.  

Miller tells Kane to leave his concealed position or he’ll kill Amy. Kane steps into the open—and Amy claws at Miller’s face, buying Kane the time he needs to shoot Miller down.  

It’s over.  

At that point, the townspeople rush to embrace Kane and congratulate him. But he’s now seen them for the cowards they are and holds them in total contempt. 

Saying nothing, he drops the marshal’s star into the dirt. He and Amy then get into a buggy and leave town.  

Fred Zinnemann, the film’s director, intended the movie as an attack on those frightened into silence by Joseph McCarthy, the infamous Red-baiting Senator from Wisconsin.

Gary Cooper won a Best Actor Academy Award for his performance.

Today’s Republicans would do well to find the same courage as Will Kane—and choose love of country over love of self.  

Human nature being what it is, that is highly unlikely to happen.

MORE SONGS IN THE KEY OF TREASON

In Bureaucracy, History, Humor, Law Enforcement, Military, Politics, Social commentary on February 9, 2018 at 12:28 am

President Donald Trump has accused Democrats of treason. Their crime? Not applauding him during his State of the Union message.

But Article Three of the United States Constitution defines treason as:

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”

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United States Constitution

In short, actions such as colluding with a foreign power hostile to the United States (such as Russia) to subvert America’s democratic election process.

Example #1: The infamous June, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower starring Donald Trump’s son, Donald, Jr.; Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and Trump’s then-campaign manager, Paul Manafort. Its purpose: To obtain from Russian Intelligence agents “dirt” on Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. 

Example #2: On May 9, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey for investigating Russia’s subversion of the 2016 Presidential race.

The next day, he met with Russian Foreign Minister  Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. During that meeting, Trump shared highly classified Israeli Intelligence about an Islamic State plot to turn laptops into bombs.

TRAITORS ON THE RIGHT
(To be sung to the tune of “Strangers in the Night”)

Traitors on the Right
Exchanging glances
Plotting in the night.
What were the chances
They’d love the KGB
And strangle liberty?

Treason for the Right
Was so inviting.
Treason for the Right
Was so exciting.
Something in their hearts
Said, “We’re the G.O.P.”

Traitors on the Right—such evil people.
They were traitors on the Right
Up to the moment when the KGB stepped in
To start their reign of sin.

Bribes from Russia paved their way
To usher in a tyrant’s day.

And….

Ever since that year
They’ve been in power
Filling us with fear.
In love with Commies–
It offers such delight
For traitors on the Right.

* * * * *

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY VLAD
(To be sung to the tune, “With a Little Help From My Friends”)

What would you think if I ripped off some kids?
Would you walk out and not vote for me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll feed you a line
And I’ll try not to laugh cynically.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, I can lie with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, you’re gonna fry with a little help from my Vlad.

What do I do when the bank calls me in?
(Does it worry you to be in debt?)
How do I feel when I need rubles fast?
(Do you worry Vlad might say “Nyet”?)

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No, I get by with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, I can lie with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, you’re gonna fry with a little help from my Vlad.

(Do you need anybody?)
I just need someone named me.
(Could it be anybody?)
As long as it’s me–me–me–me!

(Would you believe in a love at first sight?)
Yes; it happens with a mirror all the time.
(What do you see when you turn out the light?)
It stays on so that my face can shine.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, I can lie with a little help from my Vlad.
Mm, you’re gonna die with a little help from my Vlad.

(Do you need anybody?)
I need a Gestapo that kills.
(Could it be anybody?)
As long as it kills I get thrills.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my Vlad.
With a little help from my Vlad.

* * * * *

COLLUSION
(To be sung to the tune of “Pollution”)

If you visit Washington D.C.
You will find it very pretty.
But two things will really make you jump:
One is the Russians and the other is Trump!

Collusion, collusion!
Red Donald’s passing out secrets with glee.
Pick up a rug
And out fall his pals KGB!

See the FBI busting Trump’s friends
As he worries where it all ends.
He says, “Mike Flynn was really quite a guy.
Till he sold me out to the FBI.”

Collusion, collusion!
There are traitors at work day and night.
Just watch them lie
As they sell us out left and right.

Robert Mueller cannot be bought
That’s why traitors are getting caught.
Fox News keeps churning out lie on lie—
While America waits for traitors to die.

Collusion, collusion!
It’s a “Sell Out America” sale.
But you can cheer
When Donald’s ass lands in jail!  

* * * * *

THE TRUMPY SKUNKY
(To be sung to the tune of “The Hokey Pokey”)
 
Trump lets the Russians in.
He kicks the press corps out.
He slips Vlad secret stuff
And he gives a “Treason!” shout.
He does the Trumpy Skunky
As he sells the U.S. out.
That’s what he’s all about.
 
Trump loves the KGB.
He hates the FBI.
He dares not tell the truth
‘Cause his whole life’s just a lie.
He does the Trumpy Skunky
As he sells the U.S. out.
That’s what he’s all about.

A LESSON FOR THE FBI

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 8, 2018 at 12:19 am

Since taking office as President, Donald Trump has openly waged war on his own Justice Department—and especially its chief investigative agency, the FBI.

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FBI headquarters

As a result, he has:

  • Fired James Comey, the FBI director pursuing an investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 Presidential race to ensure Trump’s election.
  • Threatened to fire Independent Counsel Robert Mueller, who continued that investigation after Trump fired Comey.
  • Repeatedly attacked—verbally and on Twitter—his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from overseeing the Russia investigation.
  • (Sessions did so after the press revealed that, during the 2016 race, he twice met secretly with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.)
  • Repeatedly attacked the integrity of the FBI, raising the possibility of his firing more of its senior leadership for pursuing the Russia investigation.
  • Pressured House Republicans to release a highly partisan memo falsely accusing the FBI of pursuing a vendetta against him.

But the FBI need not meekly accept such assaults.

A February 2 episode of the popular CBS police drama, “Blue Bloods,” offers a vivid lesson on bureaucratic self-defense against tyrants.

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A shootout erupts in a crowded pub between a gunman and NYPD officers. Results: One dead gunman and one wounded bystander.

Problem: The bystander is an aide to New York Governor Martin Mendez.

Mendez visits One Police Plaze, NYPD headquarters, for a private chat with Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck). From the outset, he’s aggressive, rude and threatening.

MENDEZ:  I know you guys like to whitewash officer-involved shootings.

REAGAN: I do not.

MENDEZ: That’s not going to happen here. I want the cop who shot my guy fired and charged.

REAGAN: If the grand jury indicts, my officer could be terminated.

MENDEZ:  We all want to protect our people, but mine come first.

Governor Mendez leaves Commissioner Reagan’s office.  Later, he returns:

MENDEZ:  We’ve got a serious problem.

REAGAN:  Why? The grand jury declined to indict my officer.

MENDEZ: Your cop fired into a crowded room.

REAGAN: She returned fire, took out the shooter and likely saved lives.

MENDEZ: What are you going to do?

REAGAN: Our Internal Affairs investigation supports the grand jury’s finding, so the case is closed.

MENDEZ: Either you fire this cop, or I’ll order the Attorney General to investigate every questionable police shooting in the past 10 years and hold public hearings out loud and lights up.

REAGAN: Everybody loves a circus.

MENDEZ: Except the guy who’s got to shovel up afterwards.

At the end of the episode, a third—and final—meeting occurs in a restaurant between Reagan and Mendez.

MENDEZ: Have you dumped the cop who shot my guy?

REAGAN: No.

MENDEZ: Bad news.

REAGAN: Depends on what you compare it to. It turns out that your aide wasn’t drinking alone the night he was shot.

MENDEZ: So what? He’s single.

REAGAN: He was with a married woman.

MENDEZ: That’s on her, not on him.

REAGAN: Except she is married to his boss, your Chief of Staff.

MENDEZ: Sheesh!

REAGAN: Turns out this has been going on for over a year.

MENDEZ:  So what are we doing?

REAGAN:  If this gets out, the circus comes to Albany [where the governor has his office].

MENDEZ: Who else knows?

REAGAN:  Right now it’s safe in the notebook of my lead detective. Whether or not it finds its way into an arrest report that’s subject to a Freedom of Information Act request—that’s a judgment call.

MENDEZ: Your judgment?

REAGAN: Yes.

MENDEZ: And if my investigation goes away?

REAGAN: Neither of us is shoveling up after the circus.

MENDEZ: I have your word on that?

REAGAN: Yes.

MENDEZ: You have a good evening, Commissioner.

J. Edgar Hoover, the legendary FBI director, used Realpolitik to ensure his reign for 48 years.

As William C. Sullivan, the onetime director of the FBI’s Domestic Intelligence Division, revealed after Hoover’s death in 1972:

“The moment [Hoover] would get something on a senator, he’d send one of the errand boys up and advise the senator that ‘we’re in the course of an investigation, and we by chance happened to come up with this data on your daughter.

“‘But we wanted you to know this. We realize you’d want to know it.’ Well, Jesus, what does that tell the senator? From that time on, the senator’s right in his pocket.”

Donald Trump has long pursued a strategy of intimidation. But when people have refused to be cowed by his threats, he’s backed off.

During the 2016 Presidential campaign, more than a dozen women accused Trump of sexual misconduct, ranging from inappropriate comments to assault.

Trump responded: “The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”

Yet he hasn’t filed a single slander suit.

Similarly, when New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued Trump for running a fraudulent university, Trump initially said he would fight the charge.

Instead, he settled the case by paying $25 million to compensate the 3,700 students Trump University had defrauded.

“You never have to frame anyone,” says Governor Willie Stark in Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1946 novel, All the King’s Men. “Because the truth is always sufficient.”

It’s time the FBI learned—and applied—that same lesson.

HOW COPS PROTECT THEIR OWN: PART FOUR (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 7, 2018 at 12:24 am

The unprecedented manhunt for cop-killer Christopher Dorner has important—and brutal—lessons to teach.

First, above everyone else, police look out for each other.

Robert Daley bluntly revealed this truth in his 1971 bestseller, Target Blue: An Insider’s View of the N.Y.P.D. A police reporter for the New York Times, he served for one year as a deputy police commissioner.

“The murderers of all patrolmen almost invariably were identified at once and caught soon after,” wrote Daley. “Organized crime was too smart to get involved in the type of investigation that followed a cop killing.

“A great many solvable crimes in the city were never solved, because not enough men were assigned to the case, or because those assigned were lazy or hardly cared or got sidetracked.

“But when a cop got killed, no other cop got sidetracked. Detectives worked on the case night and day….Cops were all ears as far as murdered patrolmen were concerned; they heard details all over the city…and fed all this into the detectives who had the case.

“In effect, the citizen who murdered his wife’s lover was sought by a team of detectives, two men.  But he who killed a cop was sought by 32,000.”

Although Dorner targeted only local police officers, the Federal Government quickly poured resources into the manhunt. These included the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and even unmanned military drones.

Second, don’t expect the police to do for you what they’ll do for one another.

The LAPD assigned security and surveillance details to at least 50 threatened officers and their families. A typical detail consists of two to five or more guards. And those guards must be changed every eight to 12 hours.

And those details stayed in place long after Dorner was killed in a firefight on February 12.

But if your bullying neighbor threatens to kill you, don’t expect the police to send a guard detail over. They’ll claim: “We can’t do anything until he does something. If he does, give us a call.”

And if your loved one is murdered, don’t expect the mayor’s office to offer a $1 million reward or the military to deploy drones to find the killer.

Third, the more status and wealth you command, the more likely the police are to address your complaint or solve your case.

Police claim to enforce the law impartially, “without fear or favor.” But that happens only in TV crime shows.

If you’re rich, your complaint will likely get top priority and the best service the agency can provide.

But if you’re poor or even middle-class without high-level political or police connections, your case will almost certainly wind up in “the round file” (a wastebasket).

And it works the other way, too. Anthony Bouza, former chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, notes in his 1990 book, The Police Mystique: “When cops deal with the poor (blacks, Hispanics, the homeless and the street people) the rubber of power meets the road of abuse.”

Fourth, don’t expect your police department to operate with the vigor or efficiency of TV police agencies.

“I want this rock [Hawaii] sealed off,” Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) routinely ordered when pursuing criminals on “Hawaii Five-O.”

Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett

But in San Jose—a city close to bankruputpsy—residents can’t get police to respond to break-ins because the police department is dangerously understaffed.

And neighbors in Oakland, fed up with a slow police response—or none at all—are banding together to protect their properties by hiring private security officers.

In San Francisco, if you’re assaulted and can’t give police “a named suspect,” they won’t assign the case. As far as they’re concerned, the solvability rate is too low.

Fifth, the result of all this can only be increased disrespect for law enforcement from a deservedly–and increasingly–cynical public.

Surveys reveal that those who don’t need to call the police have a higher opinion of their integrity and efficiency than those who are the victims of crime.  Among those reasons:

  • Many police departments lack state-of-the-art crime labs to analyze evidence.
  • Files often get lost or accidentally destroyed.
  • Some officers are lazy, indifferent, incompetent—or corrupt.
  • Police are notoriously competitive, generally refusing to share information with other officers or other police departments—and thus making it easier for criminals to run amok.
  • Even when police “solve” a crime, that simply means making an arrest. The perpetrator may cop to a lesser offense and serve only a token sentence—or none at all. Or he might be found not guilty by a judge or jury.

But it is the witnessing of blatant inequities and hypocrisies such as those displayed in the Christopher Dorner manhunt that most damages public support for police at all levels.

When citizens believe police care only about themselves, and lack the ability—or even the willingness—to protect them or avenge their victimization by arresting the perpetrators, that is a deadly blow to law enforcement.

Police depend on citizens for more than crime tips. They depend upon them to support hiring more cops and  buying state-of-the-art police equipment. When public support vanishes, so does much of that public funding.

The result can only be a return to the days of the lawless West, where citizens looked only to themselves for protection.

HOW COPS PROTECT THEIR OWN: PART THREE (OF FOUR)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 6, 2018 at 1:20 am

Christopher Dorner—33, black, powerfully-built, standing six feet and weighing 270 pounds—seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth.

This despite an unprecedented manhunt by local and Federal law enforcement agencies and the lure of a $1 million reward for information leading to his arrest.

LAPD SWAT team

But Dorner made several major errors in his one-man crusade for vengeance against the agency he blamed for ending his “dream job” police career.

First, shortly before or after he began his murderous rampage, Dorner posted an 11-page “manifesto” of his intentions on his Facebook page.

In this, he spewed contempt for the LAPD and declared his intention to wage war against it.

I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty….You will now live the life of the prey….You have misjudged a sleeping giant.

Dorner’s online rant forewarned police that he intended to put them literally in the cross-hairs of his anger. As a result, his intended targets remained on hair-trigger alert for his attacks.

Second, in that “manifesto,” he specifically named many of the officers he intended to kill.

This allowed the LAPD to rush bodyguards to the homes of those he had threatened. The LAPD would have been at a great disadvantage if it hadn’t known where he might strike next.

Third, Dorner boasted of the weaponry he had available.

In my cache you will find several small arms. In the cache, Bushmaster firearms, Remington precision rifles, and AAC Suppressors (silencers)….As you know I also own Barrett .50′s so your APC are defunct and futile.

A Barrett .50 is a sniper’s rifle whose five-inch bullets can penetrate bulletproof vests, steel and concrete. An APC is military shorthand for Armored Personnel Carrier.

Dorner should have kept this information to himself—and allowed the LAPD to discover the truth only in a firefight. By bragging about it, he allowed his enemies to design strategies and deploy resources (such as unmanned drones) to neutralize his powerful weapons.

Fourth, he posted not simply his biography but his psychology for his enemies to exploit.

He sees himself as all-powerful:

I am here to change and make policy…I am here to correct and calibrate your morale compasses to true north….

I know your TTP’s, (techniques, tactics, and procedures). Any threat assessments you generate will be useless…. I will mitigate any of your attempts at preservation.

Besides assailing the LAPD, he plays political analyst—Wayne La Pierre is “a vile and inhumane piece of shit”—and even movie critic, calling Charlie Sheen “awesome.”

And fashion critic: Off the record, I love your new bangs, Mrs. Obama.

He clearly has a high opinion of himself:

I lived a good life and though not a religious man I always stuck to my own personal code of ethics, ethos and always stuck to my shoreline and true North. I didn’t need the US Navy to instill Honor, Courage, and Commitment in me but I thank them for re-enforcing it. It’s in my DNA.

And he reveals a clear history of anger at what he considers racial animosity directed against him, citing incidents as far back as high school.

No doubt psychologists who design behavioral profiles thoroughly analyzed Dorner’s self-portrait and advised police on the best ways to counter his threats.

Fifth, Dorner, sought refuge in a mountainous, snow-covered tourist resort.

This made it impossible for him—a black—to blend in against an almost totally white population. 

And once his truck broke down, he was at a severe disadvantage. He was temporarily stranded and forced to abandon many of the high-powered weapons and other supplies he had brought.  This gave him less firepower to use in his war on police.

He would have blended in with the majority black population had he fled to South Central Los Angeles. And he might well have found allies there to supply him with tips or equipment. 

More importantly, police would have been hard-pressed during a firefight with him in a congested urban setting: They would have had to worry about civilian casualties. 

And the proximity of the site to local TV stations would have meant far greater media scrutiny of police tactics.

Sixth, Dorner set fire to his Nissan Titan truck when it broke down near snow-covered Big Bear Lake, California, on February 7. 

This quickly attracted the attention of an army of lawmen who were searching for any clue to his whereabouts.

There was no need to burn the vehicle. If Dorner had covered the truck with snow it might well have stayed concealed for days or longer. This would have given him more time to evacuate the area.

Seventh, he took refuge in a cabin when police closed in.

Once he did this, the game was over. Dorner, of all people, should have known how “barricaded suspect” sieges always end: With the death or surrender of the besieged. 

His best bet for at least temporary safety was to stay in the open and on the move. 

If his skills as a marksman had kept police at a distance long enough, the coming of night could have allowed him to escape their dragnet—at least for the moment. 

In the end, however, his death or capture was certain. There were simply too many lawmen determined to hunt him down.

HOW COPS PROTECT THEIR OWN: PART TWO (OF FOUR)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 5, 2018 at 12:15 am

The LAPD’s leadership were terrified after they read Christopher Dorner’s 11-page “manifesto” published on his Facebook page.

Clearly, he intended to take revenge on the agency he blamed for the 2008 termination of his police career.

Christopher Dorner

As a result, the LAPD rushed to provide security and surveillance details to more than 50 endangered police officers and their families.

The agency also declared a “tactical alert,” forcing officers to remain on their shifts as long as needed.

Shortly after 1 a.m. on February 7, in Corona, California, Dorner fired at Los Angeles police officers who had been assigned to protect someone connected to threats he had posted in an online “manifesto.”

One officer was grazed in the head, but the wound was not life-threatening. The officers returned fire, and Dorner fled.

Then, at about 1:35 a.m., Dorner struck again, shooting two Riverside police officers who had stopped at a red light during a routine patrol. One officer was killed and the other wounded. The injured officer was taken to a hospital and was reported to be in stable condition.

Word instantly spread through the police grapevine about the shootings. And officers decided it was better to shoot first and ask questions later.

At 5:30 a.m. on February 7,  LAPD officers were patrolling a Torrance neighborhood to guard yet another target named in Dorner’s manifesto.

They spotted a car they thought was Dorner’s and opened fire, injuring two women.  One suffered a minor bullet wound, and the other was shot twice. Taken to a hospital, the latter was reported to be in stable condition.

Sometime after the Torrance shooting, a passer-by found a wallet with an LAPD badge and a picture ID of Dorner on a street near San Diego International Airport.

This was only a short distance from the naval base motel where he had reportedly checked in on February 7—but had never checked out.

Amid frantic TV news reports that Dorner was barricaded inside, police swarmed the hotel. But the soon learned that he hadn’t been there after all.

The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service, meanwhile, were seeking the public’s help in providing information about Dorner or his whereabouts.

At about noon on February 7, a burning truck was located in the snow-covered woods near Big Bear Lake, 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department later confirmed that the vehicle was Dorner’s Nissan Titan.  No one was in the truck.

SWAT teams from the LAPD, San Bernardino Sheriff’s deputies, FBI agents and deputy U.S. marshals flooded the area. All were heavily armed, carrying assault rifles or machine guns.

A SWAT team

Dorner, in his manifesto, had boasted of owning assault rifles and even a Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle whose bullets can pierce bulletproof vests and even tanks, airplanes and concrete. A marksman with a Barrett could easily hit a target from a mile away.

Police initially searched 400 homes in the area, but found no trace of Dorner.

The manhunt was slowed down by a heavy snowfall, but police, determined to find Dorner, pressed on.

Meanwhile, FBI SWAT teams and local police served a search warrant at a Las Vegas home belonging to Dorner. The lawmen carried out boxes of his possessions. No weapons were found.

After issuing a search warrant, Irvine police combed through the La Pama house belonging to Christopher Dorner’s mother. Investigators removed from the home seven grocery bags of evidence and several electronic items.

On February 9, at a late afternoon press conference, authorities announced the creation of a joint task force to search for Dorner. The task force comprised the Los Angeles, Irvine and Riverside police departments, the FBI and U.S. Marshals, and other affiliated law enforcement agencies.

“We will look under every rock, around every corner, we will search mountain tops for him,” said Riverside Police Assistant Chief Chris Vicino at the press conference.

Underscoring this point, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said: “This is an act–and make no mistake about it–of domestic terrorism. This is a man who has targeted those that we entrust to protect the public. His actions cannot go unanswered.”

Besides manpower and technology, police employed psychology. That same day, the LAPD announced that it would reopen the investigation into Dorner’s firing.

“I do this not to appease a murderer,” LAPD Chief Beck said in a statement. “I do it to reassure the public that their police department is transparent and fair in all the things we do.”

Clearly police hoped this would lead Dorner to back off or even surrender.

On February 10, at 11:46 a.m., Los Angeles County Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Mark Ridley-Thomas announced they were offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Dorner.

Later that day, at 1 p.m., a joint task force offered a $1 million reward for information leading to Dorner’s arrest.

Federal authorities were also relentlessly hunting Dorner—and not only through the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection deployed unmanned drone aircrafts to find him.

As in The Day of the Jackal, despite a widespread dragnet and all-out search, law enforcement’s Number One fugitive had vanished.

HOW COPS PROTECT THEIR OWN: PART ONE (OF FOUR)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 2, 2018 at 12:04 am

The Day of the Jackal is a 1971 thriller by the English writer Frederick Forsyth. Its intricate plot centers on the efforts of a professional assassin to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France.

His motive: A reward of $500,000, paid by the OAS, a right-wing French paramilitary organization determined to that France should retain its Algerian colony.

The actual name of the assassin is never revealed. He is simply known by his code name: The Jackal.

But a great deal else about him is revealed before the novel reaches its shattering climax:

He is calculating, a crack shot, skilled in unarmed combat, quick-witted in emergencies and utterly ruthless in pursuing his goal of eliminating his chosen targets.

In 1973, director Fred Zinnemann (“High Noon”) brought Jackal to the big screen. Edward Fox starred as the assassin, and Michael Lonsdale played Claude Lebel, the police inspector who leads the hunt for him.

The book and movie proved commercial successes.

Then fate lifted the fictional Jackal into the world of real-life international terrorism.

In 1975, Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, the international terrorist now known as “Carlos,” gained notoriety by shooting two French detectives and an informer in Paris.

Barry Woodhams, an Englishman whose girlfriend had once dated Carlos, found a bag of weapons belonging to the terrorist in their London apartment. Not trusting the police, he called The Guardian newspaper, whose reporter Peter Niesewand quickly showed up.

Rummaging through the apartment, Niesewand found a copy of The Day Of The Jackal on a bookshelf, and assumed that Carlos had read it. The next day, in its front-page world scoop, the Guardian dubbed Carlos: “The Jackal.”

Only one thing was wrong: The book didn’t belong to Carlos at all; it belonged to Woodhams. “Carlos The Jackal” had probably never even read the book he was named after.

Nevertheless, the nickname stuck.

(In 1994, the government of Sudan betrayed Carlos—then seeking refuge there—to French intelligence agents. He was flown to France, tried for murder, and given a life sentence.)

But The Jackal was far from dead. In 2013, he took up residence in Los Angeles.

This time his name was known: Christopher Jordan Dorner.

And his target wasn’t the President of France or the leader of any other country. It was the officers of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

It’s an organization Dorner knew well, since he had belonged to it from 2005 to 2008.

In July, 2007, he reported excessive force by a fellow police officer against a handcuffed prisoner.

The LAPD charged that he had slandered the accused policewoman in a falsified report and relieved him of his duties.

Dorner claimed he was the victim of police retaliation for breaking the “code of silence.”

Dorner tried to reclaim his job in 2008, but LAPD’s Board of Rights rejected his appeal. He took the case to court, but a judge ruled against his appeal in October, 2011.

Image result for Images of LAPD logo

That seemed to be the end of Dorner’s association with the LAPD.

Then, on February 3, 2013, Dorner’s long-suppressed rage exploded.

Monica Quan, 27, and her fiancee, Keith Lawrence, were shot dead in Irvine, California, while sitting in their white Kia in the parking lot of their new apartment building.

Quan was the daughter of former LAPD officer Randal Quan, who had represented Dorner at his termination appeal.

At the time, there seemed to be no motive for the murders. But on February 6, police named Dorner a suspect in the Irvine murders.

He had posted an 11-page “manifesto” on his Facebook page, implicating himself in the slayings. He accused  Randal Quan of bungling his termination appeal.

And he repeatedly complained about his treatment in the LAPD.

I lost my position as a Commanding Officer of a Naval Security Forces reserve unit at NAS Fallon because of the LAPD, wrote Dorner.

I’ve lost a relationship with my mother and sister because of the LAPD. I’ve lost a relationship with close friends because of the LAPD.

In essence, I’ve lost everything because the LAPD took my name and new [sic] I was INNOCENT!!!

And he vowed vengeance on those he believed had wronged him:

I will conduct DA operations to destroy, exploit and seize designated targets. If unsuccessful or unable to meet objectives in these initial small scale offensive actions, I will reassess my BDA and re-attack until objectives are met.

I have nothing to lose. My personal casualty means nothing….You can not prevail against an enemy combatant who has no fear of death.

An enemy who embraces death is a lose, lose situation for their enemy combatants.

It wasn’t enough for Dorner to attack police officers. He would target their families as well:

I know your significant others routine, your children’s best friends and recess. I know Your Sancha’s gym hours and routine.

For police generally, it was their worst nightmare come true.

A cop-killer was on the loose. Worse, he had once been one of their own.

He knew their tactics, and now threatened to use that knowledge to murder not only cops but even their families.

For the LAPD, it was a declaration of war. And the department responded accordingly.

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