Our Votes Are For Sale, And They’re Very Expensive 

August 1, 2017

By Leyland A.King

BlueGadfly.com/

LeylandKing@gmail.com

 

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”.

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Is Trump White House Implosion Telling Us What We Don’t Want To Hear?

I couldn’t believe what Mica Brzezinski just said on MSNBC, Morning Joe. The particular question was about the perception of lies and strife coming out of the White House, and whether there’s precedent for that. She piped that there is, and referenced President Clinton’s lies about his affair (denials during Ken Star’s White Water investigation that ended up with Monica Lewinsky)

The surprise for me was the comparison of Clinton’s peccadilloes to what is so far known about Trump. (No need to bring out the reptiles and muck) Displaying her inability to consider frequency, gravity, and harm of the two situations, she scooped up what was easy and inapplicable.

Mika leaped over the more recent history   -George Bush’s lies that led to the deaths of more than half a million people….and counting. Gave a pass to Ronald Reagan’s Iran-Contra-drugs-hostages that destabilized Central America. Still, on the go she ran past Richard Nixon’s Watergate crimes, too many to mention; L. B. Johnson’s three million dead by lies and you get the picture. No wonder some folks have negative opinions about America’s news-entertainment. Do some reading, Mica.

My Dear U. S Government, Please Stop Trying to Save Me From Myself

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.

Especially Now, Why Trust U.S Government With Capital Punishment

https://bluegadfly.com/2016/02/10/get-rid-of-capital-punishment/

http://Eight%20executions%20in%2011%20days:%20Arkansas%20order%20may%20endanger%20staff’s%20mental%20health

America’s Most Dangerous Place For Black Women 

img_0108 Someone was sufficiently concerned to bring attention to this continuing tragedy: that is, deaths of African-American women who come in contact with the United States Criminal Justice System. The caption above says these five citizens died while in custody in the month of July 2015. In fact, referencing the dates of demise they occurred within just two weeks in July 2015.

I am speaking up for all citizens, even those who would never acknowledge the atrocity and feel that this is necessary for the protection of our morally unblemished population. What hurts and angers me, are two responses, each equally as repulsive. The first is that not one of the subjects had to be incarcerated. Not one! Let’s look closer. Two died as a result of the economic crime of shoplifting. One, Sandra Bland, died for no reason other than activating a traffic turn signal, which she was not even required to do. So it seems that only two of the women might have committed offenses where arrests were necessary. But even so, there is this thing called bond that never gets extended to African-Americans. Innocent until proven guilty never apply to us. The second is Americans refusal to see what the world, including the United Nations, see clearly.

On Native-American females dying in the American Criminal Justice system, it is reportedly worse. Their mistreatment and fatalities are just as unconscionable. The deaths in American institutions would be serial killers’ dreams. The horror is hardly given the media coverage deserved. But, more sickening is the justification offered every time the failure to protect those hauled into custody gets brought to public attention through social media, the American Citizens’ twisted logic centers on this: the person must have done something to deserve their death, for example stealing orange juice.

For African-American, male citizens, the most dangerous place to be in America is related to the street. Whether pedestrian or conveyed. Just breathing can get you arrested and if you protest the injustice, as one should, ten more of arms of justice arrive to ensure that citizen dies or have a near death experience. These are not mistakes. It is not the institution. People are doing this. Individuals with names, with or without badges, judges, state attorneys. All are complicit in this human debasement.

Sadly, this is what is. This is not what will be.

Baiting by Police is Common,Unethical and Harmful to Society

By Leyland  A. King
Monday, July 30, 2016

Nothing impeded traffic-flow on I-4 East bound just after sunset, that late summer’s  Friday. Irving Welles, age twenty-four, college grad, was headed home after work, thinking ordinary thoughts in the midst of routine driving. His family was awaiting his arrival for dinner.  Had there been a traffic back-up, even for twenty minutes, this night might not have been lamentable for Irving. His exit through the off-ramp would have been as mundane as his stop at the traffic red-light, which he had done so often. But this time, his pause was consequential.

The young woman, loitering at the corner was alluring. What would be described as pacing for most women did not seem so. For her, it was more of a strut. Irving could not believe that she smiled, beckoned him to turn the corner,  and soon made a sexual come-on with her mouth. The red lipstick should have warned him just as the traffic light’s red told of danger. The woman approached his car, leaned into the window frame and a chat began. When she suggested what she would for him, he found the talk arousing and liked that. Irving played along, knowing the fantasy would never get real because two dollars and sixty-eight cents was all that he had. Somewhere in the web of chitchat, he might have given the wrong answer, for he could deduce no other reason why he was swarmed by four men who identified themselves as police officers, arrested and whisked him off to jail. Thus began his distress and calamitous social tumble.

His car towed, Irving spent the night in jail, appeared at court the next day and was able to obtain bond through the assistance of relatives. Distraught;  confused; unprepared; he accepted an attorney’s proffered card. Had Irving been an experienced criminal, a product of experience acquired in the criminal justice system, he would not have been so trusting of people purporting to represent his interest. People who facilitate  the court’s conveyor-belt’s smooth operation. Some players well-practiced in manipulation of gullible defendants.

On his counsel’s advice, Irving pleaded no contest, paid initial costs and was put on program that, if completed, reduced fines. He did all that was required. But no one told him about the most damning consequence, that is, the permanent criminal record created. He was shocked when, on the basis of that record of soliciting a lewd act, he was fired from his government career. Thereafter, every time he was honest on his job application, the red lips disallowed him. Soon, he figured that concealing his arrest would get him past the gate keepers. It did, but as certain as day follows night, three to five weeks later, came the familiar summon and  firing. Due to Right to Work State Law, Irving was neither owed nor given a reason for severance .

When last fired he expressed to a kindly manager how relieved he felt that he had been found out. He said that every day of the month that he came in to work, he dreaded discovery. This was also the first time that anyone told him that he might apply to have his criminal record expunged. Sensing a sympathetic ear, he divulged the details of that fateful evening.

It is unknown what became of Irving, but what happened to him, a youth with a previously spotless record, is instructive as to the ethics of police baiting practices.

Our criminal law interprets police behavior of the kind, as entrapment. It asks  the question: ‘Would the defendant have committed the crime without enticement’? Yet, the police knowingly do that with impunity.  Citizens of more vulnerable classes are most impacted, most arrested (in spite of police discretion to use citations) and most abused of their rights, once they enter the court system. The financial hardship and emotional distress brought on innocent families are incalculable. No one seems to care about the fact that something so simple devastates innocent dependents. Nor is thought given to the cost to taxpayers in training another person to replace Irving every time he is fired.
Clarence Darrow, author of Crime: Its Cause and Treatment seriously criticized the perpetual hounding by the system.

Ethical questions might be framed in many different ways for every person or agency that contributed to Irving’s tribulations. When attempting to answer questions of ethical dilemmas, philosophers simplify resolution by looking to the law and social mores. In this case did Irving, of his own volition set out to commit a crime? Emphatically, no! There was no action that he initiated.
Did the overt actions of the decoy cause Irving’s travail? Absolutely! And we shall revisit this later on.
Florida Law as to entrapment, cited herein is unambiguous:

777.201 Entrapment
(1) A law enforcement officer, a person engaged in cooperation with a law enforcement officer, or a person acting as an agent of a law enforcement officer perpetrates an entrapment if, for the purpose of obtaining evidence of the commission of a crime, he or she induces or encourages and, as a direct result, causes another person(2) A person prosecuted for a crime shall be acquitted if the person proves by a preponderance of the evidence that his or her criminal conduct occurred as a result of an entrapment. The issue of entrapment shall be tried by the Trier of fact.
History.—s. 42, ch. 87-243; s. 1196, ch. 97-102.

Of course there are case laws that emerged through challenges. Those intricacies, I defer to legal professionals, but as to the ethics of police conduct of ensnaring innocent persons, as Irvin’s life altering experience shows, there is no ethical dilemma. In deciding the issue of entrapment courts use either ‘subjective’ or ‘objective’ tests. The former focuses on the defendant’s state of mind, his personality and his predisposition to commit a crime. In more progressive and popular examination, objective test, the focus is on police conduct. The question is, whether the police actions would induce a law-abiding individual to criminal behavior. Is the trap for the unwary innocent or the unwary criminal.

Reference  similar actions where a few hapless, some of them homeless, people were unjustly netted.  A team of several police officers leaned an unlocked bicycle beside the pavement, near a bus stop. An open ladies’ handbag with exposed cash hung from the handle. How convenient? How irresistible? How immoral! To tempt anyone, especially that poorer, needy population, is wrong! Creating crimes is not the mission of the police nor the state.

Some may counter that police have to do as they did, to maintain public order and decency; that prostitution harms the serenity of communities by attracting more serious crimes to the area.
That is not true. Sex purveyors tend to follow potential business and fulfill needs. They don’t lead.  Most sale of sex do not take place on street corners. But even if it were so, as police allege, the desired result might be attained by maintaining an uniformed presence in the affected pockets of licentious activity. The agency’s core duties are maintenance of public order, prevention and detection of crime. Not sweeping up the innocent along with the guilty on specious pretensions.

The problem before us seems to be management failure by the police, both in resource allocation and maintaining the agency’s  mission focus. Luring the citizen to do what, ordinarily, he would not have done, impugns the integrity of the organization and deleterious in affect to stakeholder trust.
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Compounding the concern as to the outcome for citizens, is what appears to be a systemic indifference by officers of the court. It has to be said, that they have a duty to the state and citizenry, to reject a plea bargain where on the face of it the prosecutor, or the judge, sees that the defendant is not fully informed or that there seems to be unjust circumstances of the arrest.

Two examples have been presented for the readers’ consideration. It is hoped that they are sufficiently persuasive for the reader to seek more information on the issue. Awareness of improper police behavior, and for whatever reason allowing its continuance, is also unethical. Knowing of the outcomes for citizens and still continue inaction is egregiously unethical and immoral. We must do better.

United States Criminal Justice System, Is In Fact Criminal

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!