August 1, 2017
By Leyland A.King
Thirty-seven strong, our extended family is no electoral powerhouse. Thirty-seven passionate activists squared (1369) are a booming voice defiant. A town hall presence that will not be ignored nor dissuaded.
Progressive Democrats for decades, we are outraged by the spectacle of musical chairs of government administration at federal, state and municipal levels. It’s time to re-evaluate our commitment to an administrative system that has moved politically from neglectfulness to tolerable malfeasance. Erroneously thinking it couldn’t get worse -it did.
Who would have thought that the rot we have in every institutional stratum of public administration, was possible? Therefore we are open to a third party. Even fourth or fifth. We cannot continue voting for the lesser evil. Small, efficient government and lower taxes through progressive gradients, reforming the Department of Justice, law enforcement, and criminal codes, neighborhood schools public and private, religious and un-denominational are good. We vehemently disagree with public funds given to private or charter schools. Separation of Church and State is extremely important to us. Unfortunately, regardless of which party is the majority, even if they control all branches of government, somehow, we can’t rid ourselves misguided, unconscionable, or even immoral laws such as legislated in the war on drugs. So, we compiled a list of our priorities.
Small, efficient government and lower taxes through progressive gradients, reforming the Department of Justice, law enforcement, and criminal codes, neighborhood schools public and private, religious and un-denominational are good. We vehemently disagree with public funds handed to private or charter schools. Separation of Church and State is extremely important to us. Unfortunately, regardless of which party is the majority, even if they control all branches of government, somehow, we can’t rid ourselves misguided, unconscionable, or even immoral laws. So, we compiled a list of our priorities.
Small, efficient government and lower taxes through progressive gradients, reforming the Department of Justice, law enforcement, and criminal codes, neighborhood schools public and private, religious and un-denominational are good. We vehemently disagree with public funds given to private or charter schools. Separation of Church and State is extremely important to us. Unfortunately, regardless of which party is the majority, even if they control all branches of government, somehow, we can’t rid ourselves misguided, unconscionable, or even immoral laws. So, we compiled a list of our priorities and welcome your input.
1. End capital punishment immediately. It is immoral. The very nature of it is cruel and unusual.
2. The right to vote is inalienable. It is incumbent on the state to encourage participation of every citizen over age 18.
3. Abolish private prisons and juvenile detention facilities in every form.
4. Decriminalize drug use and possession. That is a vice, not a crime.
5. Citizens must not be arrested for nonviolent offenses if they have valid identification. Citations are available.
6. No person elected to public office shall serve beyond eight years.
8. Elections publicly financed. Legislation necessary to end lobbying and donations to elected officials.
9. Make gerrymandering a felony. It corrupts the electoral system and undermines public trust.
10. End corporate welfare including tax breaks offered to companies to “bring jobs”.
By Leyland A. King
September 30, 2017
After centuries of arduous work to give me freedom by saving me, I beg of you, please stop. Stop! The fact is, that when there is any rescuing done at all, the beneficiary is only you. For centuries! Heavenly inspired you were, to rescue my body from the heathens in Africa, but then changed the rules for my getting to heaven because you said, God wasn’t yet convinced and comfortable, with the question of whether (1) I had a soul, and (2) whether it was worth saving.
Of course, external threats and domestic terror are exempt. That is your cardinal role, and even that needs rethinking, but it’s not my focus here. What are my focus and consternation are the sweat and treasure needlessly expended; all devoted to saving me from myself. I never made an appeal and I am so aware that even if I did, the remedy you concoct is too often detrimental to me and those similarly entangled in the widening, strengthening, all-consuming tentacled web flung upon me. Me! A person whose greatest vice is a weekend gelato and a pecan sticky bun.
You, having made vices crimes, then turn around and tax the very crimes. I am flabbergasted that you could not have distinguished (1) the difference and (2) the consequence of the crimes you created. Oh, you’re regulating the vices to prevent their proliferation. Sorry. My friend, the neighborhood half-wit, alleged that you, the government, is a pimp. He said that a pimp is defined by what he does to enable and protect, paid sexual intercourse between consenting adults. You tax the product and intellectual property rights of sex workers and producers. Therefore, argues the half-wit, you are the worst kind of pimp and the best at managing it. When business is slow, you send goons to employ various means of entrapping and prosecuting the poor ones. The arrested pay for the meals the judge eats. That’s called fines. The legal name you created for it is “living off the earnings of prostitution.” That the government the kingpin pimp.
My friend, the neighborhood half-wit, alleged that you, the government, are a pimp. He said that a pimp is defined by what he does to enable and protect, paid sexual intercourse between consenting adults. You tax the product and intellectual property rights of sex workers and producers. Therefore, argues the half-wit, you are the worst kind of pimp and the best at managing it. When business is slow, you send goons to employ various means of entrapping and prosecuting the poor ones. The arrested pay for the meals the judge eats. That’s called fines. The legal name you created for it is “living off the earnings of prostitution.” That means the government the kingpin pimp.
Since our institutions follow your lead and adopt your worldview, one cannot be surprised that the sale of two cigarettes might be more important than human life; in your zeal to save me from myself, I pay the price through my insecurity and unceasing surveillance. Thus, I don’t have to actually engage marijuana crime, it is sufficient to lose my personal freedom or life because a cop claimed to have smelled marijuana as he passed my car. Demanding that my constitutional rights and God-given right to own and control my body are respected could bring upon me a swarm of law enforcers to kill me. I’m not exaggerating, this is what you have done to save me from potential vice. Me!
Look, gambling is a vice. You made it a crime. A few retirees and six slot machines in a storefront, bring hell’s coals delivered upon their grey heads, by men in blue carrying sticks, chemicals, and guns.
Secretive sex; having a beer all by myself on my own driveway, could get me manhandled and arrested if a paper bag didn’t cover the bottle. WTF! Masked, armed men could, without warning or warrant, break down my door and enter my home night or day and take me out or take me away, and take my money, because, I suppose, they think I am some sort of a combatant in the war on drugs. Their supposition based on your decision that I am a danger to myself and a corrupter of society. Me? All by myself.
The interesting thing is, despite my plea not to be saved from myself, you’re determined to do it anyway because you are obsessed with what you call law and order -what I hear as control and contain. We ask for jobs, you offer us 10,000 more cops. Four-fifths of them White males. Not to be outdone your Attorney General, who has panic attacks at the mere mention of the word marijuana, called for increased prison time; more private prison space; he decided, based only on his addled notion, that the police need to be unfettered from such inconsequential matters as arbitrary arrests, excessive detention, brutality, and murder. After all, they are there protecting me from social degeneration, that started the day the government decided that something ought to be done about enhancing the flow drugs into my body.
So, as state governments grapple with pressing matters like drug testing the poor, to catch one in a thousand; increasing the rate of executions lest the chemicals expire; to shoot death row criminals because it’s cheaper, unhindered by pesky constitutionality, trips back and forth to the Supreme Court or the innocence of the citizen who invariably, just happens to be poor.
So, my dear rulers, I’m not asking for much, just to be left alone to self-regulate me. Something that only you believe corporations are capable of. Why not me?
Law, Order, Justice and Punishment
I vehemently oppose state sanctioned murder. State torture has already been normalized and extra judicial killings quite acceptable to too many Americans. This does not portend well for human beings but, it is not immutable.
That a sizeable portion of Americans see nothing wrong with the descent to morally primitive humanity troubles me deeply. My effort here is not to judge us, but to offer a pause for contemplation of what we are prepared to live with. I expect many to give token agreement, many to disagree for a variety of religious reasons, but I also expect that in the course of today about a dozen of my fellow citizens tell me that if I don’t like our perceived regression, then I should get out of the country.
No, you won’t find statistical information here. It’s been there for generations, updated continually. There is no paucity of peer reviewed, evidence based literature available for the taking. Neither would this be moralistic preaching. We fall asleep on that. So what’s my goal? It is to remind us of our humanity. To point to absurdity and obfuscation of the issue, that allows public officials’ inanity to prevail.
This is indisputable: murder is the unlawful killing of a human being by another with malice aforethought. These are the keywords -unlawful; killing another; premeditation.
With that in mind, all that one needs to do is re-interpret the word unlawful. There are lots of work- around.
In Oklahoma, state officials are unashamed to relate to citizens that they have to speed up the rate of executions because the drug used for lethality have approaching expiration dates. I am not sure if the proper description is callousness or plain, undiluted stupidity.
In Florida, Governor Rick Scott, in his zeal to get another dozen killings in, perhaps to out-do Oklahoma’s depravity, removed all death penalty cases from elected attorney, Aramis Ayala, because she refused to seek the death penalty in the cases affected. If anyone should know the value of expiation, Scott is he.
Now that the supreme court is in recovery of its conscience, and ruling more often on appeals relative to cruel and unusual punishment, there is dawn apparent. But what do legislators do? They spend tremendous amounts of public founds going back and forth to the courts, fixing what was the technical impediment so that a year or two later they achieve their infamous objective, that is to say, not necessarily justice, but the killing.
The governors seem to have a prediliction for killing. They behave as if the law compels them to kill convicts. It does not. They have the authority to commute death sentences to life in prison. Our governors would have none of that. And that is where one might question their humanity.
The staff of the Innocence Project cannot be commended enough for the work that they do. Earlier this week they were able to free yet another person wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. According to their information, they reckoned that every three days they are able to free an individual.
Any system with an error rate that high, demonstrates deadly incompetence and should no longer exist. Yet, all we hear is talk of reform. Talk! I see no evidence that States’ Governors or President Barack Obama- by their lack of urgency, sometimes complete paralysis- appreciate the magnitude of the problem. I see no willingness to intervene with clemency actions to bring relief to the suffering innocent or the injustice of unconscionably lengthy sentences. It is alarming, yet it tells us more. That is, in the racial profiles of the exonerated. Poor, White, Black and male.
I was working on one similar when this appeared. In that matter, it was the refusal by an Appellate Court to hear an appeal of a man sentenced to life imprisonment for the theft of a hammer from a popular hardware store.
I can’t keep up with the many releases, due to the Innocence Project. So many, so fast. When we say that it’s the Criminal Justice System, that deflects individual contributions and responsibility. It’s like saying the government of Uganda murdered thousands of its citizens; that the state of Michigan poisoned its residents. No, General Idi Amin, President, murdered his citizens. Michigan, the cover-up and denials continue. Not front page anymore. But there too, people were the problem, not lack of information.
To get the link between criminal injustice and the official responsible, we need to clear the bush where the reptiles nest. If these “errors” cluster in the South, then narrow to which states, which judicial districts, which judges and which prosecutors lay most of the eggs. Where perjury or malpractice is present, the official must be dealt with condignly.
People make laws; people enforce laws; people murder under cover of law. So lets stop being shocked. Remove immunity and make people accountable. These are human lives. Some states even have the gall to refuse to pay compensation. Others do, but drag it out for years, hoping the victim dies. So fed-up!
Every few months the Innocence Project is able to find and free, someone on death row. Their work is done, mostly by volunteers. Of those freed, I see Black and White men; not one of them rich. The subject gets more interesting when you learn how long they have to wait to be compensated.
This is where it gets interesting. Anyone with a modicum of decency and compassion would feel empathy and question the system that got these people in jeopardy of their lives. Not us. The majority of us don’t seem to even reflect on what’s evident here: that if the Innocence Project could rescue so many each year, then probability alone would inform us that the state is murdering our citizens right before our eyes. With impunity! Oh, it doesn’t meet the legal definition? The word murder is too strong? Quibble with that as long as you wish. In fact, take your time.
I think that you must have heard this defense of capital punishment: the fact these “mistakes” are found proves that the system works through it’s checks and balances. I’ll leave that alone.
If nothing else convinces you that we are callous, bear with me on this. Have you seen any politician calling for a congressional investigation, or the government examining the issue? The fear of that public servant is that he would be labeled as soft on crime and run out of office. So, what’s a few innocent murders here and there.
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