Thursday, August 18, 2016
Scapegoating Police in a Battle Between Good and Evil
Department of Justice has released a scathing report accusing the Baltimore Police Department of racial profiling, unconstitutional searches and arrests and excessive use of force against black residents.
The DOJ monitored the department’s policing methods for more than a year after the 2015 death of Freddie Gray. Four officers were acquitted of charges connected to Gray’s death before discredited Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby dropped charges against the remaining two officers involved.
Baltimore and the DOJ have agreed to negotiate a court-enforceable consent decree that will prescribe steps for “reform.” In other words, Attorney General Loretta Lynch will dictate how they police and whom they hire. This is all about federal control and the redistribution of power and wealth. Since the feds started interfering, police are less proactive, and Baltimore’s murder rate has soared to the highest level in decades with 344 murders in 2015! Now, things will get worse.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake – who last year sought to give rioters “space to destroy” – praised the DOJ report. She says it creates a “crucial foundation” for allowing the city to change the police department.
Rawlings-Blake and federal officials are scapegoating police officers for the despair and violence that their failed liberal policies helped create. The DOJ report is rubbish, and it will exacerbate the anger that blacks harbor toward police and whites. Police are not the problem; they’re part of the solution.
Even Martin O’Malley, the former Democrat mayor of Baltimore and former governor of Maryland, was critical of the Justice Department’s report.
As reported by Powerline Blog: As mayor of Baltimore (from late 1999 until early 2007), he [O’Malley] implemented the “zero tolerance” policing that the Justice Department deplores. He did so in response to a major crime wave, which his policies helped reverse.
O’Malley is unapologetic about cracking down on criminals, and defended his record against the DOJ’s report:
“Make no mistake about it – enforcement levels rose when we started closing down the open-air drug markets that had been plaguing our poorest neighborhoods for years. But after peaking in 2003, arrest levels declined as violent crime was driven down.”
Writer and former Baltimore Police Officer Jay Stalien, a black man and father, whose blog is called “Perception from the road less traveled: Through truth, we will unify” was on my show recently and he called the DOJ’s report “ridiculous!”
The DOJ report mentioned that police abuse and profiling was especially bad in the Western District of Baltimore. As reported by the Washington Post:
“[I]n the approximately five and a half years of data we examined, BPD recorded nearly 55,000 pedestrian stops in its smallest police district – the Western District, with a population of a little more than 37,000 people that is 97 percent African American – while making only 21,000 stops in the predominantly white Northern District, with a population of approximately 91,000.”
Based on Stalien’s experience as a Baltimore police officer, the Western District is a crime-ridden, drug-infested part of town. The DOJ report mentions a person being stopped 30 times over a period of a few years, but it doesn’t state what the person was doing or that the section is known as a major hub for drug activity.
The DOJ report also references the Freddie Gray case, but it fails to state that Gray was a known drug dealer.
Baltimore police are not targeting black people just because of their race, but years of misinformation by liberal politicians and community “leaders” have created deep-rooted hatred of police in the black community.
For Stalien and the Baltimore police officers he worked with, being a cop is deeper than just getting a paycheck. He said, “We felt an obligation to go out and to serve and protect the public.”
As for Black Lives Matter and the “leaders” who support it, Stalien is very critical of the rhetoric and false allegations made by these people.
He also said that many black residents in Baltimore view black officers as “Uncle Toms” and traitors, but he believes the public would have greater understanding for what police do if they knew how much intense training they receive concerning when to use deadly force.
When I asked whether he fears for his life, Stalien said, “yes.”
“Between 2011 and 2016, after Black Lives Matter got involved in high-profile police shootings, the respect for law enforcement disappeared. … A black Baton Rouge officer was gunned down, and his life doesn’t matter to Black Lives Matter. We’re much more scared than we were prior to these shootings. It’s had a bad effect on law enforcement. We don’t want to put ourselves in certain situations, or can’t be as pro-active, because at the end of the day, we all want to go home.”
Obama’s Justice Department can’t be trusted. Police officers like Jay Stalien are not our enemy: They’re members of our family, our neighbors and fellow Americans. They’re also our last line of defense between anarchy and a civil society.
This battle is not about blacks versus police; it’s about good versus evil. It’s a fight we must win.
Donald Trump rally in Wisconsin finds support for police
West Bend, Wisconsin: Sixty kilometres north of the unrest in Milwaukee, residents here in West Bend welcomed Donald Trump's visit to the area and his unwavering support of police officers who are once again facing scrutiny for the fatal shooting of a black man.
While Milwaukee grapples with the violence that erupted in the wake of a police shooting on Saturday, most people interviewed in this Republican stronghold said they were far more concerned that the police were being unfairly criticised as racial tension grips the city.
And they said that Trump's rally offered a chance to show support for a law-and-order presidency - and for officers who they feel have been unfairly maligned after the police fatally shot a black man who officials say had a gun.
Trump made good on the offer in his speech, accusing Hillary Clinton of pushing an anti-police "narrative" and saying that violent demonstrations are most harmful to the people in the communities themselves.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in West Bend, Wisconsin.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in West Bend, Wisconsin. Photo: AP
"She is against the police, believe me," Trump said of Clinton, adding that "the problem is not that there are too many police, the problem is that there are not enough police."
"Law and order must be restored," Trump said.
The people of this suburb seemed receptive. "I don't think it is a problem - the whole 'Black Lives Matter' - that only black people are getting killed. That's just not the case," said Lori Griggs, 44, who lives near West Bend. "We should be supporting our police officers. I think that it has blown up every time that, you know, a black individual is killed. It's blown up in the news. But you don't hear about the whites that have been killed."
Trump visited Milwaukee before his rally here but did not hold any public events in the city, choosing instead to meet privately with Milwaukee police officers and attend fundraisers.
Others believe that Trump, who during his campaign has not held any events aimed at black voters in their communities, is purposely choosing to avoid the people of Milwaukee, a city of nearly 600,000 where some 40 per cent of residents are African-American, according to the 2010 census. In contrast, 95 per cent of the people of West Bend are white, and only 1 per cent are black.
In Milwaukee, residents are naturally more sceptical of Trump's visit to the swing state and his focus on the suburbs.
"Donald Trump is running a campaign where he is seeking to be the voice of angry white folks," said Walter Bond, a local activist in Milwaukee and chief of staff for Teach For America Milwaukee. "So Donald Trump is here to sort of speak to those folks."
Faithe Colas, 55, who lives in Sherman Park, the mostly African-American neighborhood in Milwaukee where the unrest exploded, said that in holding his rally in West Bend, Trump was courting a community by which he will be warmly received.
"I don't think Milwaukee is the kind of city that would embrace a visit from Trump at the moment," she said. "Definitely, as a resident of Sherman Park, I wouldn't appreciate the added stressor it could be on our community. I think resolving what's happening in Sherman Park is more important than the presidential election at the moment."
Jim D'Angelo, a 52-year-old Republican who lives in West Bend and works in sales, said he planned to vote for Trump and believed the candidate had been mischaracterised as a racist and a misogynist by his opponents. D'Angelo lived in Milwaukee for five years as a college student and also worked as an engineer in Ferguson, Missouri, where unrest over another police killing also set off widespread violence.
"There's no racial motivation to what he is doing here," D'Angelo said. "He's coming to Washington County, which is a Republican stronghold. Republicans win this county all the time. So he's coming to beef up his base."
He added that the shooting in Milwaukee, as described by the police, seemed justified and that blacks are not the only people who face discrimination.
"I'm sure there has been some unfair treatment of African-Americans but I'm sure there has been unfair treatment of Asians and for that matter Caucasians too, so it happens every day," he said.
When Catholic Democrats betray their own church
There is a conundrum with being a Catholic Democrat candidate for office. Beyond the teachings of such a Democrat’s own church, a significant portion of the electorate — perhaps the “silent majority” — has what could be described as traditional views on social issues such as abortion or same-sex “marriage.” But the loudest part of their constituency, and the ones who most willingly offer up the manna of campaign donations, would prefer that America become the land of the free to marry whomever you wish and do as you will with that baby up until the moment of birth. The anti-Catholic position, if you will.
Leftists love the economic justice rhetoric often uttered by Pope Francis, such as decrying “income inequality” or capitalism. But they cringe when the pope speaks in a manner more reflective of traditional Christian dialogue on issues such as abortion, marriage or his latest remarks on gender.
In a closed-door meeting last week with Polish church leaders, Pope Francis noted, “In Europe, America, Latin America, Africa, and in some countries of Asia, there are genuine forms of ideological colonization taking place. And one of these — I will call it clearly by its name — is [the ideology of] ‘gender.’ Today children — children! — are taught in school that everyone can choose his or her sex. Why are they teaching this? Because the books are provided by the persons and institutions that give you money. These forms of ideological colonization are also supported by influential countries. And this is terrible!”
It was “terrible” enough that the pope went further: “God created man and woman; God created the world in a certain way … and we are doing the exact opposite. God gave us things in a ‘raw’ state, so that we could shape a culture; and then with this culture, we are shaping things that bring us back to the ‘raw’ state!”
To those for whom sin has no meaning, the concept of societal guardrails is a non-starter. Naturally, leadership in the “LGBT community” was also quick to criticize the pope’s remarks.
Because of these strongly held beliefs within the Church, as expressed by its leadership (and, by the way, the Bible), Democrats who try to corner the Catholic vote (or are Catholic themselves) tie themselves into knots on social issues. Space won’t permit a list of all the Catholic Democrats who violate their church’s teaching for political gain, so we’ll focus on two prominent ones.
Joe Biden, who is Catholic, forced his boss’s hand in 2012 by announcing his support for same-sex marriage. With his VP greasing the skids, Barack Obama soon “evolved” into his current endorsement of the practice. But in Obama’s first election in 2008, he said marriage was between a man and a woman. Just this past Monday, Biden did even more for the same-sex marriage cause as the officiant of a same-sex ceremony between two male White House staffers.
Biden’s religion makes him stray from the straight and narrow on other social issues as well. In an interview with a Jesuit publication last year, he said, “I’m prepared to accept that at the moment of conception there’s human life and being, but I’m not prepared to say that to other God-fearing and non-God-fearing people that have a different view.”
“Abortion is always wrong,” Biden continued. But not only did Biden admit he doesn’t always try to live up to his faith, he again professed that he shouldn’t impose his beliefs on others. Yet he was willing to mock a sacred ceremony in the name of “equality,” and his Party wants taxpayers to fund abortions whether they think they’re “always wrong” or not.
Biden’s would-be successor, Senator Tim Kaine, also has issues in reconciling his faith and his politics. A Catholic like Biden, Kaine ran for political office in Virginia as a pro-life Democrat but once he arrived on the national stage his position changed. He now says he is “comfortable” that he would support Hillary Clinton and her radical pro-abortion agenda despite his personal views. Writer Ben Johnson even noted, “Tim Kaine is essentially no different than Joe Biden: a gregarious man of faith whose public votes conflict with his professed theology.” (Worth noting as well: Kaine, too, has also “evolved” on same-sex marriage.)
Johnson warned, “Tim Kaine will be a yes-man who stands inertly by as Hillary Clinton engages in a four- (or eight-) year-long expansion of abortion never seen nor imagined in the history of the United States. As she crushes conscience, he can be counted on to stand by nodding and saluting, occasionally trotted out in front of Catholic groups to assure them that, really, this is what Pope Francis would want.”
But we have an idea of what Pope Francis would want, and we believe that gender disorientation pathology and abortion on demand aren’t among those items; on the other hand, a more Godly society would be high on his list. That part, however, is truly up to each of us.
Australia: PM must reform hate-speech law now, as free speech is no ‘gimme’
In March, the Attorney-General said there were more important issues on the agenda than reforming free speech laws.
Last week George Brandis again ruled out removing “insult” and “offend” from section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act.
A focused government can fix both the budget and free speech. With the Turnbull government floating around with no economic or cultural ballast, reforming section 18c might repair some of the brand damage done to the Liberal Party in the last three years. If not now, when?
Speaking in Adelaide at the annual Sir Samuel Griffith Society conference last Friday, Tony Abbott admitted he was wrong to walk away from a pre-election promise to reform section 18c which prohibits words that are “reasonably likely … to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people” because of their “race, colour or national or ethnic origin”.
Here are five reasons why Turnbull should do what Abbott refused to do as PM. First, the country is crying out for sensible cultural leadership. As Turnbull told The Bolt Report last year, it is entirely sensible to excise “offend” and “insult” from section 18c.
Second, Senator David Leyonhjelm has lodged a complaint against Fairfax journalist Mark Kenny for writing a column that likely breaches section 18c. Kenny described Leyonhjelm as an“angry white male,” a “boorish, supercilious know-it-all”. Why shouldn’t Leyonhjelm claim Kenny’s words are reasonably likely to offend? Or is the law seriously saying white people don’t have feelings?
And that raises the third reason why Turnbull should act. The Federal Circuit Court will soon decide whether a section 18c case against three young students from Queensland University of Technology will go to trial. Three years ago, a few students were evicted from an indigenous computer lab by indigenous woman Cindy Prior for not having the right skin colour. In response, one student wrote on Facebook: “Just got kicked out of unsigned indigenous computer room. QUT stopping segregation with segregation.”
Prior lodged an 18c complaint against the boys because she says her feelings were hurt. Some might find Kenny’s criticisms of Leyonhjelm far more insulting than anything a few students wrote on social media. Yet Prior claims she has been so hurt by their words, even words directed at QUT not her, that she hasn’t been able to work for three years. Leyonhjelm’s section 18c complaint is a useful stunt. But a stunt nonetheless. Prior’s case isn’t a stunt. Hence it provides an even more cogent reason for reforming 18c. Whether it goes to trial or not, everyone is a loser in this case. First and foremost, the students for posting innocuous comments. These young men simply want to study and work and forge a career without being branded bigots. They don’t want to be cultural warriors fighting to defend their right to free speech. But that’s what they have been forced to do, engaging lawyers, spending time and energy on a case that makes no sense.
The second loser is Prior. A law that encourages a person to become a hapless victim by claiming her feelings have been hurt by a few words on Facebook is a law that infantilises that person. It encourages Prior to see herself as weak and vulnerable, incapable of dealing with the most trifling of words.
And the third loser is us. Laws that infantilise Prior also infantilise us by allowing feelings to trump reason. Laws that slap a bigot label on students for a few words posted on Facebook are laws that stand ready to label any of us bigots should we deviate from the stifling orthodoxy of political correctness. Laws that stifle free speech soon strangle debate and then progress is shackled too.
The brouhaha over a cartoon in The Australian by Bill Leak provides the fourth reason why 18c must be reformed. Leak’s cartoon about family dysfunction in indigenous communities should have raised intelligent questions about family dysfunction in indigenous communities. Instead of confronting the real issue, ABC radio’s Jon Faine immediately encouraged offended people to lodge a complaint under section 18c to establish that Leak’s cartoon is prohibited by law.
Curious about Faine’s attempt to stifle free speech, I contacted the Australian Human Rights Commission that same day for comment. What did the new Human Rights Commissioner, Edward Santow, have to say about this uproar that was now raising questions about free speech?
The commission’s media adviser advised me this was a race issue and accordingly the Race Commissioner would comment. Sure enough Race Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said that “Aboriginal Australians who have been racially offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated … can lodge a complaint under the Racial Discrimination Act”.
With calls even from the Race Commissioner for people to complain under section 18c, I suggested to the commission’s media adviser that it was also a free speech matter. I repeated my request for a comment from the Human Rights Commissioner, who is charged with responsibility for the human right to free speech. There was only silence on that front. The Commission decided it was a race issue. End of story.
When claiming money for hurt feelings under section 18c takes precedence at the Australian Human Rights Commission over defending the human right to free speech, it’s clear our culture is being corrupted by the very institution charged with protecting human rights.
The foyer of the commission’s offices in Sydney openly exhibits that corruption. A floor-to-ceiling glass wall adjacent to where visitors sit says: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families.”
Do I really have a human right to demand a certain standard of living from the government? Who determines what that standard of living is? Me? You? Some make-work bureaucrat at the commission trying to justify a sky-high salary? What about my responsibility to create a standard of living for myself?
Speaking at the Sydney Opera House last week, PJ O’Rourke identified the core of this rights corruption. He pointed to the trumping of gimme-rights over get-outta-here rights. Gimme-rights are when you claim you have a human right to get something — like more than $240,000 for having your feelings hurt. The get-outta-here rights mean you have a right to get government out of your life — say a student who expects to be able to freely post a few pointed comments about QUT’s boneheaded segregation without being hauled before a court. Too many politicians are also consumed with gimme-rights. Promising people things under the banner of gimme-rights rather than defending get-outta-here rights gives politicians things to do. When was the last time a politician with real power promised to get out of our lives and deliver on that front?
The new Senate offers Turnbull additional heft to defend free speech. Re-elected senators Bob Day and Leyonhjelm are on board. So are new senators Derryn Hinch, Pauline Hanson and her three One Nation senators. Maybe a decent debate can entice Nick Xenophon and his senators to defend principles rather than pursue populism. Turnbull should make the case for what he called sensible reform of section 18c, not as a sop to conservatives, but because it is the right thing to do in a Western liberal democracy committed to free speech. So let’s ask again, if not now, when?
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.