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”.
This week, more than ever, I saw America’s government. I really hope that I’ve seen the worst of it’s functioning, but a whisper in my ear cautioned me not to bet on that.
The truth, as I saw it, was so much like Gulliver’s tours, except for the shocking deviation, that after leaving Lilliput and all the little people, above whom he towered, he arrived at a place called Future Washington. There, to his dismay, he discovered that the inhabitants were much smaller than the Lilliputians. Gulliver then knew that people could be so much smaller than one could ever imagine, and much more trivial too.
Donald need not worry about draining his swamp. Instead of thoughts of wrestling out huge reptiles, almost larger than himself, a kitchen sieve would do just as well. But really, the greatest danger that infests the swamp are mosquitoes larvae that mimic miniscule politicians, lobbyists and lawyers, while spreading corrupting disease.
By Leyland A. King June 10, 2017
After centuries of arduous work to give me freedom by saving me, I beg of you, please stop. The fact is, that when there is any rescuing done at all, the beneficiary is only you. For centuries!
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.
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 the 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 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!
Gambling is a vice. You made it a crime. A few retirees and six slot machines in a storefront, bring hell’s coals upon them. 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. Masked, armed men could break down my door and enter my home night or day and take me out or take me away because, I suppose, they think I am some sort of a combatant in the war on drugs.
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. 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, detention, brutality, and murder.
So, as state governments grapple with pressing matters like drug testing the poor; increasing the rate of executions lest the chemicals expire; to shoot death row criminals because it’s cheaper, unhindered by pesky constitutionality, and trips back and forth to the Supreme Court. So, my dear rulers, I’m not asking for much, just to be left alone to self-regulate me.
Today, like many Americans, I took the time to witness the Senate Intelligence Committee at work. They did their inquiry as best they could, under the circumstances.
By under the circumstances, I mean their determined efforts to get to the truth of various, potentially criminal matters affecting the Trump Administration, only to be stymied by the four public officers who answer to the American people. It was shameful and appalling. I hope that this nation is still able to function as under previous Administrations. They, the four witnesses appeared to me that they would be prepared to suffer anything to protect what they believe to be their personal property. The Senators be damned…and the citizens too. But of the four lame witnesses, I have to give special attention to Adm. Mike Rodgers, a rude and surly person by demeanor and arrogant with regard to personality. For a member of our armed services, he was the bad kid next door, that our parents warned us never to adopt his behavior. For junior members of the services, Admiral Rodgers is surely no officer and a gentleman.
We can look at what’s happening and fight over which party to blame and make comparisons to excuse wrongdoing for only so long. I believe that if our leaders don’t come to their senses, the fight may not be between Republicans and Democrats, there just might be the third faction.
Just imagine the kind of society where this report was not necessary. But what is done is done.
Let’s now imagine a society where, having acknowledged its wrongs and flaws, actually took the report seriously, and went directly to work with the best of human resources and capital focused on fairness and justice, something like the Marshall Plan. Wow, what would America be like today?
Lastly, imagine such a dark report delivered to small, timid men, whose vision for humanity doesn’t rise beyond the walls and ceilings of their commodious offices; their loftiest dream is date-stamped on a pension, and a job held in trust for them by mysterious lobbyists.
Well, hey, time to get out of bed. Look around, nothing is there to imagine. The smell is that of wounds neglected and the body politic fast headed to mass graves. America chose that option as its destiny.
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.