Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Trump's Presidential Campaign Is Mostly About Making Money

I believe that Donald Trump's Presidential Campaign is primarily about him making more money.  Trump is no politician, and has no real interest in politics beyond the bottom line of his corporations.  Sure, maybe he wanted to shake up the Republican Party and politics in general, and he certainly has done so in showing that a rich person can basically *pay* to become a party nominee, if they have the funds.

Even though Trump will very likely lose the general election, his commercial brand will have been revitalized.  And let's face it, he hasn't had many good ideas since he hired a ghost-writer for THE ART OF THE DEAL and coming up with the slogan "You're fired!".

Trump has no interest in wrangling with Congress over legislation, trying to gain the respect of world leaders, or in being a leader himself.  He's mostly interested in business; he worships the dollar, not any other god.  He likes being famous, and he likes "winning" whatever game he's playing -- and politics is the game he's currently playing.

Personally i think he's *afraid* of actually winning the Presidency -- afraid that he'd be assassinated by an true conservative Republican so that Mike Pence would become President -- and so he guarantees his un-electability by systematically insulting and alienating groups, tapping into the sadly still-prevalent prejudices of U.S. citizens (which, with protest votes, ensures that he'll get 40 or 45% of the vote).

Give it four months, and we'll see!  (And i'm betting Trump expands his TV empire by his dalliance in politics.)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Appreciate Police, Yes; But Police Should Apologize For Extra-Judicial Killings

Two messages seem to come out of the spate of tragic killings, both by police and of police:

1)  The police do a really tough job, every day, and with not a lot of thanks.  So yes, everyone should make an effort to express their appreciation of and for police and the important job they do in the United States.  And people should express that appreciation frequently, routinely.

2) At the same time, police departments also need to be held accountable for the actions of their officers.  When there ARE extra-judicial killings -- when suspects are "accidentally" killed during confrontation and/or arrest, then the police department should apologize to the public WHOM THEY WORK FOR, and they should apologize QUICKLY and they should apologize TRANSPARENTLY.  And of course then those crimes should be prosecuted appropriately.

When Philando Castile was brutally killed in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota, there WAS NO such public apology by the police department, despite Governor Mark Dayton's reaction to the killing:

At a press conference Thursday, Dayton called the shooting "totally unacceptable." He said he found both the shooting and the aftermath "absolutely appalling at all levels," noting in particular that no first aid was provided to Castile, while other police officers did attend to the officer who fired the shots. Dayton also criticized the "stark treatment" of [his girlfriend, Diamond] Reynolds by police.

"Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver and the passengers, were white? I don't think it would have."


I heard no publicly broadcast apology by the St Paul police department in the days that followed.

Earlier that same week, white police officers shot and killed a black suspect (Alton Sterling) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana -- his "crime"?  Selling CDs outside a convenience store, where he was a regular.

Did the Baton Rouge police department issue a rapid, heartfelt apology for this outrage?  They did not.


Then came the tragic killings of police in Dallas.  And then the killings of police in Baton Rouge this past weekend.  Inexcusable, but perhaps preventable ... if only the police departments had reached out to their communities and asked for forgiveness for their mistakes.  But they didn't.  They just let the pressure build in the community.

Maybe it's an effect of having powerful guns in the hands of citizens -- instant retaliation for wrongs of the state.  Think of it in the context of 245 years of slavery in the United States; if the backlash takes as long as the offense (i.e., slavery) took, don't expect it to end until the year 2110.

(1865 + 245 = 2110.  But maybe the end of slavery shouldn't be placed in 1865, but closer to 1965 with the Voting Rights Act ( and more the end of Jim Crow laws (, especially in the South.  Then the math is even more discouraging:  1965 + 245 = 2210.  Maybe somewhere in between:  2110 + 2210 / 2 = 2160, which is still ONE HUNDRED FORTY-FOUR YEARS away ! ! !)

Any way you look at it, it's an interesting turn to so-called Second Amendment Rights -- the rights of the oppressed to retaliate against tyranny.  Assault weapons used to retaliate against extra-judicial killings by police.  Hold on for the next 144 years.