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The Battle of Ferguson

August 18, 2014


It might not go down in history along with Bunker Hill and Fort Sumter, but little Ferguson, Missouri, has become a surprise flashpoint in America’s seemingly endless race conflict.

By now we all know the story — or at least we think we know it. Yet another unarmed black teenager (almost a cliché by now in mainstream media parlance) was gunned down by a white man with a presumption of authority. Did the black teenager deserve to die? Of course not. Was he a victim of white racism, a casualty of America’s unofficial caste system? Well, that’s where the story gets complicated.

18-year-old Michael Brown had graduated from high school this year.

18-year-old Michael Brown had graduated from high school this year.

Here’s what we know. Michael Brown, a hulking 18-year-old black youth who was two days away from entering a nearby technical college, had been strolling down the middle of the street in broad daylight with his friend Dorian Johnson. Ferguson cop Darren Wilson, a white officer who happened to be cruising by in his patrol car, saw that the guys were blocking traffic and ordered them to move over to the sidewalk. A scuffle broke out at the car door, and the cop sustained some minor facial injuries. “Big Mike” Brown tried to get away, prompting Wilson to step out of his car. Brown turned around; Wilson fired several shots at the youth, who was facing him when the bullets hit. Brown crumpled to the sidewalk, mortally wounded, and his body lay there uncovered for hours while cops and neighbors converged.

The community quickly roused itself to action, Rev. Al Sharpton and the news media arrived on the scene, President Obama denounced the shooting but called for calm, and looting promptly ensued. Ferguson’s white police chief, Tom Jackson, sounding flustered, kept modifying the details of the incident and raised suspicions among skeptics who already wondered why a majority-black town would have only three black cops on its 53-person police force. Captain Ron Johnson, a black state highway patrolman and a former resident of Ferguson, was brought in to help keep the peace. An impressive speaker and commanding authority figure, he worked his magic at first but ultimately watched in despair as the demonstrations spiraled out of control. Tensions escalated after the police chief finally named the officer who shot Brown — and simultaneously released a surveillance video that purportedly showed Brown stealing cigars from a convenience store and shoving a plucky little clerk who tried to stop him.

Here’s what we don’t know.

1. Did Officer Wilson spot the cigars in Mike Brown’s hand and link him to the recent robbery… or was he oblivious to Brown’s crime?

2. Did Brown think he was being stopped because of the robbery and (therefore) in imminent danger of arrest?

3. Did Brown and Wilson exchange angry words at the car door?

4. Did Brown punch Wilson in the face? It’s unlikely that his injuries were self-inflicted, yet in all the media coverage I watched — and I watched plenty — the question never came up. This despite the fact that we knew Wilson had been treated for facial injuries at a local hospital.

5. Did Wilson slam his door against Brown, then try to pull him inside the car, as Dorian Johnson reported, or did Brown reach inside and try to grab Wilson’s gun, as the police insisted?

6. Did Brown run from the car because Wilson fired a shot at him, or was he simply trying to avoid arrest?

7. When Brown swiveled around and moved toward Wilson, was he throwing up his hands to surrender or itching to settle some unfinished business?

8. Did Wilson mistake a gesture of surrender for a gesture of aggression?

9. Finally, did Wilson coldly take aim and shoot to kill, or did he fire at the kid in a haze of stress and adrenaline?

As you can see, Michael Brown’s death is accompanied by a flurry of question marks. Anyone who tries to concoct an unambiguous, ideologically correct script from this sequence of events is just blowing smoke. And there’s been plenty of smoke in the air aside from the tear gas.

While I watched and reacted to the ensuing Battle of Ferguson, the themes that popped into my head were as numerous as the question marks. No doubt these themes reflect my own prejudices (yes, Virginia, a moderate can be prejudiced!), but I’ll let you judge for yourself whether I’m off the mark.

White-on-black killings garner wildly disproportionate media attention. Statistics tell us that blacks are approximately 40 times more likely to kill whites than whites are to kill blacks. Surprised? When young black males shot a white toddler in his stroller, beat an 80-something white veteran to death, and murdered a white female honor student at the University of North Carolina, the killings barely rated a news blip. Contrast that with CNN’s exhaustive coverage of the Michael Brown killing, preceded by solemn funereal music before each segment and equally solemn reflections on race bias in America.

Why the disparity in coverage? No doubt it’s connected to the fact that when blacks are killed by whites, the shooters tend to be white men in positions of authority (or, as in the case of George Zimmerman, mixed-race men in positions of assumed authority). Still, a little more balance in coverage would help us see that black people aren’t the exclusive victims of violence — or even race-based violence — in this country.

Are African American lives less valued than white lives? You’d never know it from the scant media coverage of black-on-white murders in relation to white-on-black killings. But we hear even less about black-on-black murders, an everyday occurrence in our big cities. I suspect that anyone living in poverty, regardless of race, is deemed marginally less important, consciously or not, than people of means. Obviously this is unacceptable. Everyone’s life is sacred, regardless of race or socioeconomic status.

Cops need to use their guns more sparingly. Even a murder suspect is entitled to trial by jury, but too many cops short-circuit the process by acting as spontaneous executioners. They have plenty of non-lethal weapons at their disposal. Unless their lives are in immediate danger, they should avoid using lethal force.

Blacks aren’t the exclusive victims of white cops. Practically nobody heard about the unarmed 20-year-old white parole-breaker in Utah who was shot dead this past week by police because he didn’t hear their command to halt. (He was wearing headphones at the time.) No doubt blacks are targeted for instant execution more frequently than whites, because their neighborhoods are more crime-ridden and therefore more heavily patrolled. But trigger-happy cops who shoot first and ask questions later aren’t averse to bagging white suspects.

American police seem to be morphing into paramilitary commandos. What’s with the camo uniforms and heavy artillery? What’s next, grenade launchers? Tanks rolling down the streets of unruly neighborhoods? It used to be that police kept a community safe from the few predators in its midst. Now it seems that police operate with an adversarial attitude toward their communities — especially black communities. After violence broke out during the otherwise peaceful demonstrations in Ferguson, the authorities rolled in like an army of occupation. Local police aren’t the National Guard, nor should they be.

Granted, police work is dangerous, and these guys have a right to protect themselves against bodily harm. But the display of force needs to be proportional to the perceived threat. An organized protest with a few outbreaks of looting shouldn’t provoke a military-style occupation. Much of the animosity between blacks and police could be defused if the cops actively cultivated better relationships with the communities they’re sworn to protect. If they did, maybe young blacks would stop regarding the law as something alien and oppressive.

Too many blacks reflexively close ranks around their own people, right or wrong. It goes beyond the universal human sympathy for one’s own tribe; it’s more of a defensive refusal to admit, at least in public, that black people can be flawed. When the Ferguson police department released that incriminating video of Michael Brown’s “strong-arm” robbery, nearly every black person interviewed on CNN decried it as character assassination. Yes, the video may or may not have had any bearing on the shooting, the timing was insensitive, and obviously nobody deserves to die for stealing cigars. But the impulse among CNN’s black commentators was to blame the messenger rather than concede that Brown might have been something other than an innocent victim.

No doubt this attitude stems from centuries of being shoved into society’s lowest niche, and it’s understandable up to a point. But more blacks should feel free to speak out against the miscreants who drag their community down. It’s not treason to denounce thugs, crooks and bullies.

Victim, thug or both: store video captures Mike Brown roughing up a clerk after stealing cigars.

Victim, thug or both? Store video captures Mike Brown roughing up a clerk after stealing a fistful of cigars.

The surveillance video was relevant. No, it doesn’t excuse the shooting, but it reveals that Michael Brown felt entitled to break the law and use his physical bulk to intimidate others. If he grabbed and shoved a convenience store clerk who challenged his theft, he was capable of using physical force when confronted by a cop.

Nearly every pernicious stereotype came to life. A big black youth stealing and using physical force, then blocking traffic by walking down the middle of the street. A trigger-happy white cop. A mostly black community using bad news as an excuse to loot local businesses and commit mayhem. Clueless white officials attempting to understand black anger. Black demonstrators screaming about black victimhood. Militarized police tear-gassing, harassing and arresting journalists and peaceful protestors.

Sad commentaries, all of them. I felt immensely relieved when I saw that Dorian Johnson refused to keep the cigars that his friend “Big Mike” handed to him at the convenience store. He reportedly told Brown, “I don’t steal,” and the surveillance video showed him putting the cigars back on the counter before they left. Let’s hear it for the breakers of stereotypes.

Black communities see too many of their kids die violent deaths. That goes without saying. Most killings within the black community are inflicted by other blacks, just as most white murder victims meet their fate at the hands of whites. But the spectre of violent death is a perpetual presence in poor black neighborhoods. No doubt the black underclass becomes sensitized, especially when death comes to their kids at the hands of the reviled police. Among African American families, giving a teenage son “the talk” (i.e., how to avoid getting into hot water with the cops) is a traditional rite of passage.

Officer Wilson could have stopped Brown without killing him. A new eyewitness report asserts that Brown punched Wilson, tried to grab his gun, ran as if to escape, then turned around to taunt him and start rushing at him. This is essentially what Wilson himself reported. If the account is true, Wilson had every right to act with force. But he had to know that Brown was unarmed. He could have crippled Brown with a shot or two to the legs, then knocked him unconscious before clapping him in handcuffs. Instead, he fired four shots into the youth’s right arm, and as Brown continued to charge at him (or stumble toward him), blasted him twice in the head. Maybe Wilson panicked, but a trained police officer needs to keep his poise under pressure.

So was Michael Brown murdered, or was his death the unfortunate result of his own confrontational tendencies? As it often does, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Given the conflicting eyewitness reports, the events are still shrouded in smoke, subjectivity and bias. It’s almost impossible to judge intent on the part of either Brown or Wilson. My own predictably moderate opinion is that Mike Brown deserved to get his comeuppance — but that comeuppance should have taken the form of arrest instead of sudden death, as it should in the vast majority of confrontations with police.

As some commentators have suggested, it might be time for police to wear video cameras on their uniforms. Every confrontation would be recorded so that we’d avoid those maddening “we said, they said” eyewitness discrepancies. Video recordings would also have a restraining influence on both cops and perpetrators, and that can only be a good thing.

Meanwhile, the once-obscure town of Ferguson, Missouri, has taken its place alongside Selma, Birmingham and South Central L.A. as a milestone in the history of American racial strife. More than a week after the killing of Michael Brown, the rage shows no signs of subsiding.

Will the anger and agitation explode into a bloody race war? Will white people be regarded as fair game when they stray into black neighborhoods? Will half a century of civil rights progress sputter out like a flickering torch in the rain? Probably not. But here’s what worries me: if we’re not careful, the Battle of Ferguson could signal a final, irreparable emotional rift between blacks and whites in America. We’d no longer trust one another; we’d shore up our defenses. And that would be a national tragedy. Let’s not let it happen.


Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate.

897 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2014 10:01 pm

    I would like to say that this is the first account I have seen that seems to present all the facts that have come out. And with these facts, I agree with your apparent conclusion: that the policeman was justified in shooting Brown, but should not have shot to kill.

    • August 20, 2014 5:58 pm

      Thanks, Bruce. It’s looking more and more as if Mike Brown was the aggressor. Officer Wilson will still get into hot water, of course, even though he’s nursing a broken eye socket. I still think he could have brought Brown down without killing him, but it’s easy for me to play Monday morning quarterback.

      • August 20, 2014 6:49 pm


        Why do you think that?

      • August 21, 2014 12:13 am

        Presuming brown was charging which seemed likely from what little we received from the autopsies, Ofc. Wilson should not have any difficulty over the shooting itself.

        I am more concerned with the events leading to the shooting.

        Why did a lone officer confront two 18 year olds jaywalking without backup ?

      • Ron P permalink
        August 20, 2014 7:37 pm

        Rick you are falling into the same trap as everyone else that is jumping to conclusions.
        ” I still think he could have brought Brown down without killing him, but it’s easy for me to play Monday morning quarterback.”

        So someone who has been punched in the face hard enough to fracture multiple bones around the eye can still see clearly?

        To take your position and jump to a conclusion, I say anyone hit hard enough to cause this damage most likely would not be able to see out of that eye clearly at all and the other eye would probably be watering due to the pain radiating in the facial cavity to cause clear vision out of that eye to be impaired.

        But to take my previous position, We Do Not Know!!! And we should not be making comments that are judgemental until all the facts are in. If we do, we are no better than Obama with his Trayvon Martin comments or Governor Nixon comments about vigorous prosecution.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 20, 2014 7:39 pm

        Rick. did not finish previous comment. If the officer could not see clearly, then could he fire a gun or defend himself without deadly force?

      • August 20, 2014 9:20 pm

        Ron and JB: I’m not a doctor, but I don’t know if a fractured eye socket alone would impair vision to that extent. As long as the eye itself is intact, he should be able to see. (Of course, the swelling might have closed one eye, as we see in the boxing ring.) We don’t know. My main argument is that someone shouldn’t have to die just for being a thug. Police should have nonlethal weapons that they can use from a distance. Or Wilson just could have aimed low. Do I think Wilson is guilty of murder or even manslaughter? No… if Brown was charging at him, he was justified in using force. I just wish these cops had a ready alternative to LETHAL force.

      • August 20, 2014 9:28 pm

        I suspect that his vision would have been at least impaired enough to preclude careful aiming. But in any case, I must say that, not having known whem I made my earlier posts the extent and nature of the injuries sustained by Officer Wilson, I made some statements that I hereby retract: it is clear to me that in the circumstances, he could not have exercised more control, and those circumstances exonerate him, in my mind, from any culpability.

      • August 20, 2014 9:42 pm

        You are a rigorous thinker, Rick. Well done, my man.

      • August 20, 2014 9:37 pm


        Come see me. I will punch you in the face hard enough to fracture your eye socket. I will punch you in other parts of your face. Then, I will give you an vision test but you have to complete it within a split second. I will also give you a reaction test.

        Get my point?

        Oh, I am also 6ft 4 inches tall and I weigh 298 lbs.

        We are in an alley and you are all alone but I have my peeps.

        Any questions?

        Unless you have been there, you have NO clue.

        Do you want to go home to see your wife and kids tonight?

      • August 20, 2014 11:25 pm

        JB: I didn’t claim to know how well Wilson could see after he was roughed up. I don’t blame him for shooting. All I’m saying is that cops should be trained to knock suspects out and arrest them rather than kill them. (Trial by jury, remember?) Do I think Wilson deserves to be prosecuted? Heck no.

      • August 21, 2014 7:52 am

        I spent many years in martial arts and boxing. I can assure you that if confronted by a guy the size of MB who had already punched me that hard, I would have shot him too. Cops are not supposed to be MA experts and they are not supposed to be attacked and knocked out.

        Sorry old buddy, you are out of your league on this one.

        The cops’s main duty is to kiss his wife and children at the end of his shift.

      • August 21, 2014 10:07 am

        Agreed on the use of lethal force once a confrontation starts.

        The officers desire to return home to his wife and kids is a personal value.
        His main “duty” is to protect and serve.

        He should not be reducing his personal risk by increasing the risk to others.
        This is a big part of why the police are NOT the experts at policing (or teachers the experts at teaching) their main personal objective is NOT perfectly aligned with their job.

        The main “duty” of the police is to achieve OUR objectives – securing OUR rights.
        If they do not like the risks associated with the job – they can work elsewhere.
        No job is a right.

        Police and factory workers are free to chose to take or not take the job.

      • August 21, 2014 9:40 am

        Presuming non-lethal use of force is actually feasible.

        I think shooting to wound is an impossible policy. It requires marksmanship that police do not have – even with perfect eyesight.
        And it pretty much requires a partner – because if non-lethal force fails – the officer is SOL.

        Wilson hit Brown 5 times before stopping him.
        Those 5 shots were all “non-lethal”

        Regardless, my argument is that reducing the probability of violent confrontation is more important than likely ineffective means of mitigating the damage.

        The police had the ability to choose the circumstances of their confrontation with Brown over the theft and Wilson was unaware of that.

        Wilson chose a lone confrontation with two black teens over a minor issue without backup.

        I am not sure that we know exactly what happened from the time Wilson decided to stop through to the moment Brown charged, but I strongly suspect there were numerous opportunies for Wilson to pause stay in hi cruiser, call for backup or almost anything beyond entering a confrontation that if it turned more violent would require lethal force to end.

        Wilson flew into a box canyon.

      • August 21, 2014 10:19 am

        You strongly suspect.


      • August 21, 2014 10:45 pm

        Strongly suspect.

        Most of the analysis and information has focussed on the last few seconds.
        Little attention has been placed on the start of this.

        Outside of the criminal context the standard of proof and possibly the burden of proof changes.

        Ofc. Wilson can have failed at his job without having commited a crime.
        Someone is dead because of risks he took – risks that at this time do not appear justified.

        It is also unclear how we got from Wilson shouting at a couple of jaywalkers to trying to force one of them into his cruiser – arresting him ?

        Why did Ofc. Wilson alone need to do anything about a couple of Jaywalkers ?
        If he felt something needed to be done why didn’t he call for backup ?

        Though this all happened in a few minutes it did not ALL happen in a few seconds.

        At how many points as this progressed should Ofc. Wilson thought “this is getting out of hand, I need help” ?

        This is one flaw in your “the officer is god” thesis.
        Police are NOT omnipotent. No matter how hard they try they can not always excercise total control over the situation.
        Your presumption leads them both to believe otherwise and to blame others when that proves untrue.

        If you give absolute power to a police officer – then you must hold them absolutely responsible for all outcomes.

      • August 22, 2014 6:54 am

        It is amazing how you go on. Officer is God? I don’t think I said nor even implied that.

        And, you still cannot wait for the inquiry to be done. Fascinating.

  2. August 18, 2014 10:07 pm

    Unlike everyone who seems to opine on this issue, I have no idea what happened. I will be fine about waiting until the investigation is completed. I suggest everyone else do the same

    As for the “facts” I would suggest we take everything that has been written and reported with a grain of salt. Most involved have an agenda or bias, at least that is my default setting.

    PS-why is a high school graduation now assumed to confer some special hallowed status? It seems like a fairly marginal accomplishment for anyone in the year 2014.

    • August 18, 2014 10:54 pm

      Amazing – we are in agreement.
      Rick’s recitation of what we purportedly do know is flawed – atleast some of what he claims we know is still uncertain.

    • Ron P permalink
      August 20, 2014 11:46 am

      JB..Your comment about waiting to opine on this issue seems to be one that everyone should follow. I have had access to a number of articles from various websites and ALL are blaming the cop, police tactics and everything but the actions of Brown. John Stossel, a 100% Libertarian on Fox Business wrote an article “Policing a Riot”. Most of it blamed the militarization of the police. Joe Canoson, in “Missouri Burning”, blames all the whites due to Missouri being a hot bed for KKK and CCC activities.

      Right now, innocent until proven guilty has no place in this argument for the police officer. Right now its “vigorous prosecution” for the guilty until proven innocent.

      And there will be no winners in any of this. Brown’s family has lost a loved one, St Louis County and the town of Ferguson will lose as many business will close as we have seen in other areas where race unrest took place, the police officer will never be able to return to work as he will have a target on his back, the justice system, if they find the officer acted in self defense will be accused of protecting a white police officer (even if the grand jury is mostly black which the public will never know) and the feds will have lost for interfering with a state issue in a reactionary mode and not in a proactive mode which needs to happen across this country.

      • August 20, 2014 12:02 pm

        Indeed. I wonder IF we find out that the officer actually was struck hard enough to fracture his eye socket, whether that will matter in any way as to the judgment on how much force the officer used?

        Now, that was reported but quickly forgotten.

        Moreover, I am wondering what the response of the police should have been when looters started to destroy the local stores? Should they have just stood there and watched and if so, would the city compensate the store owners for the cost of all this destruction?

        Ah, details.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 20, 2014 4:26 pm

        JB.. you bring up an interesting point. Much is going to be made concerning the officer “pumping” six bullets and if this was needed. If the officer had been struck hard enough to fracture the orbital bones around the eye socket, could the officer see clearly where he was shooting and that is why Brown kept coming. And then if you are hit hard enough in the face to cause this damage, how clearly can you see anything?

      • August 20, 2014 11:52 pm

        I thought none of us know enough about the circumstance and must reserve judgement ?

        Regardless the 6 bullets does not bother me. Most police are taught to empty their weapon in circumstances similar to this.

        Most weapons experts police or otherwise tell you that if circumstances dictate that you shoot at another human – shoot to kill.
        Halfway measures just get you killed.

        In a perfect world police would be capable marksman.
        But arangements that require perfection to work do not belong in this world.

        Contrary to JB, I presume that we need a system that works with a mix of police,
        skilled unskilled, good, bad, and all kinds of shades inbetween.

      • August 20, 2014 11:54 pm

        If you have been following reports – in all too many instances the police did just stand their and watch as looters destroyed stores.

      • August 21, 2014 8:01 am


      • August 20, 2014 10:28 pm

        It is one thing to withold judgement with respect to Ofc. Wilson’s shooting of Brown.

        I can not see how that has any bearing on the other facets you attacked.

        We do not get to replay history to see how things would have turned out had the Ferguson police handled things differently.

        But we have surprisingly good data on what provokes rioting and looting and how to re-act proactively as well as after the fact to mitigate or avoid them.

        Criticizing the Ferguson police handling of this is no different from criticising Sharpton, Jackson, Holder and Obama for interfering.

        Except for one thing – it is the actual Job of the Ferguson police to get it right.

        So what is your argument ? We should all have witheld judgement until the Ferguson police incarcerated every journalist, grounded every news helicopter and went in with snipers on MRAPs and exterminated anyone they did not like ?

        The debate over the militarization of the police is one we desparately need to have.

        I am aware than my views do not represent the mainstream.
        But the last poll has 40% of people beleiving the Ferguson police have gone too far, and only 28% believing their response is about right.

        I do not think we decide right and wrong by polls.
        But we can decide which of us are the most out of touch with the mainstream oppinion.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 20, 2014 11:00 pm

        Since I do not live in Ferguson nor do I live in Missouri, I can not put myself in their position. I am also not black, so I can not put myself in the position of a black male that is pulled over just because by white cops just to make the day interesting. Only those that live in Ferguson live with that police department and know how they are treated. Everything else is reported by a media that has an agenda, either for the progressives or the conservatives depending on their views. Watch CNN and then watch Fox and it seems like two different crimes. I do live in a community that has a black police chief that has made a concerted effort to increase the presence of the police in the community they are assigned. They have substations throughout the community so they are stationed within that area, just minutes from the scene of crimes instead of long waits. Many officers patrolling on bikes when it is possible so they can stop and talk with those on the sidewalks, shopping centers, etc. So I can not make judgement on policing tactics in Ferguson because I do not accept 100% of the story, no matter what network is reporting..

        I can question if it is right to prejudge the police officer before there is an investigation. I can question if it it right for an elected leader to call for vigorous prosecution if they have not determined if a crime has been committed. I can question the motives of Obama, Holder, Sharpton and Jackson when they pick and choose shootings of black males, but turn their heads when others occur daily across this country at the hands of other blacks, by whites and by other police departments. What makes one shooting different than the other. A black male dead is a black male dead.

        And I can opine that what has happened so far in Ferguson is going to make it very difficult for that community to have some sort of normalcy unless the police officer is found guilty. That officer will never be able to return to work regardless of the outcome and he most likely will have to move or someone will put a bullet in his head or one in his family. It takes years for business to return to areas where previous businesses have been looted and burned. Just the insurance cost precludes that from happening. So now those living in that part of the country will be driving miles more for things they need to live instead of going a shorter distance.

        But most everyone has decided already if the officer is guilty because he should not be shooting to kill, even though that is what all police departments train.

      • August 21, 2014 7:57 am

        And that last statement apparently matters to you.

        That tells us much.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    August 18, 2014 10:23 pm

    Very well done. The news media especially CNN is so slanted in favor of 1 side. CNN is turning the story into something else. An anti Police/Authority thing. They are also making the story about CNN and their reporters being harassed.

    Many of the old time news media are reliving their glory days from the Civil Rights movement. Come to think of it, it seems more related to reliving the 1960s. The good old days so to speak. A reason to protest, to sing, hold signs, get some aggression out of the system.

    Maybe this triggers the whole pre Civil War scenario and Jim Crow.

  4. August 18, 2014 10:26 pm

    My guess is many of the news media see this as an opportunity to relive the 1950s and 1960s. When Civil Rights was a front page story every day. They want to be part of the story. Especially, CNN where the story has become them; especially Mr. Lemon, who has less than zero objectivity.

  5. Priscilla permalink
    August 18, 2014 10:42 pm

    Cops don’t shoot to wound – unlike cops in the movies, they can’t shoot a knife out of someone’s hand or cripple a suspect by shooting him in the kneecaps…..even if an officer is extremely proficient with a pistol, it would still require a Hollywood level of accuracy and luck to be able to shoot someone in the arms or legs in such a way that they would be disabled, but not critically or mortally wounded. Even when shooting to kill, cops often miss. And the unintended consequences of aiming away from the center of a suspect’s body mass would probably include more innocent bystander casualties.

    So, the only fair question is should Wilson have shot at all?

    • August 18, 2014 11:00 pm

      More agreement.

      Further police are not particularly expert marksman. The autopsy information coming out so far suggests Wilson shot somewhat eratically.
      Brown was apparently hit 8 times. But only one was fatal, and the rest were almost superficial.

      It is my understanding that officers are taught to empty their weapons – and that appears to be the case here.
      They are taught to aim for the center of mass. Head shots do not go over well with the public.

      Wilson appears to have raked Brown’s body – probably from bottom to top.
      I beleive it is normal for subsequent shots to strike higher than the last.

      While it is mere speculation the pattern of bullets does not appear to indicate intent or skill.

  6. August 18, 2014 11:08 pm

    The police have already stated that Ofc. Wilson was completely unaware of the robbery at the time of the encounter.

    We can not know what Brown thought – we can not know what any other person ever thought only what they have said.
    Being in imminent danger of arrest is meaningless.
    Brown’s robbery can not justify Wilson’s actions because he did not know about it.
    Brown’s fear of arrest can not justify anything he may have done.
    Increased fear as a result of having committed a crime is not a justification defense to stupid actions.

    I think it have been established that Brown and Wilson exchanged words.

    Wilson’s claim is that Brown charged him.

    Whether Brown was fleeing of attacking is in dispute.

    I think it is highly unlikely Wilson “coldly took aim” if so he was a very poor shot.

  7. August 18, 2014 11:12 pm

    I can rant at the media as much as anyone. I think they are incredibly strongly left biased.

    SO WHAT ?

    The media is free to choose what it wishes to report – and we are free to choose what papers to buy, what sources to listen to.

    Separately even ignoring bias, the media reports on the unusual not the usual.

    Black on Black crime is not unusual. Black on white crime is only a little unusually.
    White on black killings are rare. The media is going to report them.

    If you do not like that – write letters to the editor, and change your media preferences.

  8. August 18, 2014 11:21 pm

    My son is a large 15yr old Asian male.
    We have had “the talk” probably starting since he was 5 and alteast once a month since then.

    I have zero doubt my son will be perceived differently by a police officer than I would have been at his age.

    I have had completely different “talks” with my 18yr old tiny asian daughter.
    She also will likely be treated differently by police.

    He will be perceived as a threat. She will not.

    Life is not fair.

    Get over it.

  9. Ron P permalink
    August 18, 2014 11:34 pm

    I agree with all of the comments that have been made. Very good article that reports all the facts as they are known today, leaving the reader to make a decision as to what they believe may have happened or deciding to wait until all the investigations are completed.

    But I will comment that we have come along way since the LA riots in ’65. Cops today, even with all their riot gear and military type equipment do not react the same as the cops in the 60’s. I lived next door to a LA Sheriff who commented a number of times that when they were patrolling Watts during the riot, they had two men in a car. One driver, one riding shotgun (literally) When they encountered someone looting they fired first and if the situation allowed, they got out of the car and checked on the victim. If the situation was too dangerous, well who knows what happened to those shot as there were 34 dead and over 1000 wounded. Today, flash bombs, smoke bombs and rubber bullets are much different than rifles used in 65.

    Now today Obama comes on TV and comments about Iraq and Ferguson. Not much to it. Then Ann Compton ask him about a program he is supporting “My Brothers Keeper”. He talked for almost 10 minutes about how community, law enforcement, the justice system, the schools, the clergy and a number of others that can help with the black problems encountered in the inner cities. The one thing that he left out during this 10 minute comment seems to be the most important issue that needs to be faced. Parenting, discipline and expectations. Even Hillary, in her “it takes a village” media comments talked about parents and how important their involvement was to raising children. Guess a community organizer does not believe parents are important.

    But then we also see what happens to black people in powerful positions when they talk about black teens. One only needs to look at Bill cosby to see how that goes over.

  10. August 18, 2014 11:39 pm

    Policing is not in the top 10 most dangerous jobs
    10 Construction laborers
    9 Ranchers/farmers
    8 Drivers – truck drivers, salesmen
    7 Electrical line workers
    6 Garbage collectors
    5 Steel workers
    4 Roofers
    3 Pilots/Flight engineers
    2 Fishers
    1 Loggers

    Thus far in 2014 67 police have been killed at work.
    1 died of assault, 27 were shot, 7 were killed by vehicular assault
    The remainder were accidents.

    For each police officer killed, police have killed 10 others.

    Police resort to violence way to easily.
    Whether that is the case in this incident remains to be seen.

    In the past 50 years not a single police officer has been killed by a dog.
    yet every hour and a half in the US a police officer kills a dog.

  11. August 18, 2014 11:50 pm

    Police recording is an excellent idea.

    I my city – one of the most highly surveiled in the US.
    The city wide CATV system has repeatedly resulted in charges being dropped – because the video demonstrated that alleged perpitrator’s were really the victims.

    I have personally had a police officer try to cite me for running a red light – when the cameras were queried – the light was green when I entered the intersection.

    They have altered drunk driving prosecutions. Those pulled over by over zealous officers seeking to make a quota or targeting someone get off. Those soused out of their gourd are easily convicted no matter how good their attorneys are.
    Justice is served.

    Police video is important – but so is audio.
    My local police audio record everything.
    This has proved more troublesome.
    The officers have the ability to turn on an off the audio.
    The results have clearly demonstrated they turn it off when they wish to act eggregiously.
    How do we know ? Because most instances involve multiple officers and they can not coordinate.

    Police audio helps get convictions – and that is good.
    But police should not control what is and is not recorded.

  12. August 19, 2014 12:05 am

    We may have to accept that we may never know all the facts.

    Based on the evidence presented I think the Zimmerman case was correctly decided.
    That does not mean I beleive there is no possibility that Zimmerman was not culpable for Martins death.

    It is increasingly looking like we may see the same outcome here.

    I am troubled by Ofc. Wilson’s actions as I have heard them reported.

    As Rand Paul noted in his time remarks.
    Walking down the middle of a street and mouthing off to a police officer should not end in your death.

    I am willing to give Ofc. Wilson the benefit of most doubts – save one.
    The entire encounter need never have taken place.
    It is not or should not be the job of the police to prevent use from doing stupid things – like walking in the middle of the street.
    It is not the job of the police to confront every angry person who “disrespects” them.

    • August 19, 2014 7:49 am

      Actually, you (nor anyone else) know what happened or why. Yet, it is clear, you judge the officer wrong. How could you know?

      • August 19, 2014 8:17 am

        Because there are multiple standards in play.

        I can not prosecute and convict the officer for murder absent evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. I do not expect to every have sufficient evidence to do so.

        Conversely an unnecessary confrontation occurred over an admittedly minor matter, and an unarmed person ended up killed by those purportedly tasked with protecting us from murderers.
        The MORAL burden is on Ofc. Wilson to prove that outcome was unavoidable. Based on the story the police have offered, it was not.

        Unlike you I do not presume we live in a police state.
        Individual liberty includes the right to do stupid things – like walking in the road.

        Whenever the police attempt to enforce laws that are nothing more than illegitamate infringements on individual liberty the risk of unnecessary and potentially violent confrontation exists.

        If evidence is produced that Ofc. Wilson stopped Brown because of the strong arm robbery that Brown likely committed – that would change my view. But the timeline presented does not support that. No Officer arrived at the robbery scene until AFTER Brown was already dead.

        Past that I am strongly inclined to disbelieve police officers claims with regard to the use of deadly force. Nearly all violent confrontations between police and others involve unarmed people. A large number involve people innocent of any wrong doing, very few involve people alleged to have engaged in violence.

        I do not beleive that speeding. jay walking, selling untaxed cigarettes, or merely “mouthing off” to a police officer is justification for the use of deadly force.

        The police do have a dangerous job – dangerous to US.

      • August 19, 2014 8:27 am

        Once again, you make statements of this type:

        “Unlike you I do not presume we live in a police state.” I never said nor inferred in any way that statement nor that point of view.

        I simply said that you have no direct knowledge of the facts of this case (none of us do) but your point of view is very clear. If anyone “presumes” to know what they don’t know, it is you. You already have a clear bias against the police in the US, complete with of course, “facts and data.” That is very clear.

        That is your right to have that point of view. Don’t accuse others of something you do routinely, but deny.

        Don’t write stupid stuff, you are smarter than this.

      • August 19, 2014 9:43 am

        How would you define a police state ?

        I think that a state in which it is a crime to not to obey the direction of a police officer outside of very narrow circumstances is a police state.

        I think that a state in which you must obey the UNLAWFUL orders of a police officer is a police state.

        I share your disdain for progressives, but neither you nor progressives grasp that government is force. More laws mean more force.
        More force means less freedom, less freedom mean more confrontation.

        I have for the most part confined myself either to facts that are generally agreed on or fairly well established.

        I think that facts that we can ascertain are likely to fall more favorably toward Wilson than Brown.

        But unlike you I grasp this should not have happened.

        I do not care if Brown was walking down the middle of the street.
        I do not care if he was disrespectful to Ofc. Wilson.

        What I see is a two people unwilling to back down, in a confrontation that need not have occured, where one ended up dead.

        Why as an example was Ofc. Wilson “alone”

      • August 19, 2014 12:47 pm

        You brought up the issue of a police state, not me. You can define it anyway you want to. And, you are the one who is all lathered up about it, not me.

        Don’t project your neuroses on me.

      • August 19, 2014 8:40 pm

        You claim we do not live in a police state. I pointed out ways in which your essential liberty has been ceded to police.

        Are you arguing that we do live in a police state – but that does not upset you ?

        Or that a state where it is a crime not to follow even the illegal instructions of a police officer is not a police state.

        The argument is not emotional, it is logic.

      • August 19, 2014 10:05 pm

        I claimed no such thing. You brought up the term and you alone.

        So, how is it that you cannot read at your age?

      • August 20, 2014 10:09 am

        All I can discern from your responses, is that whatever the issue you disagree with me.

        Yes, I raised the argument that we live in a police state.
        You disagreed.

        I presumed that disagreeing means you think we do not live in a police state.

      • August 20, 2014 10:46 am

        Man, you are slow sometimes. You asserted that we live in a police state. It is your argument to make, which you have failed to deliver on.

      • August 20, 2014 9:52 pm

        I made it and you responded as you frequently do with remarks unrelated to the argument.
        You disparaged my remarks without addressing the argument and then later argued that my suggestion that you therefore disagreed was false.

        And then accuse me of being daft.

      • August 19, 2014 10:15 am

        Let me try this a different way.

        Are you going to keep your head stuck in the sand until some white policemen shoots a black mail high school valedictorian about to start harvard, who is universally agreed to have never engaged in any illegal action of any kind ?

        Must we presume that every encounter between a black teen and a white police officer must end in violence ?

        Are we allowed to expect more of our police than we do of black teens ?
        Is our standard of policing “might makes right” ?
        Is our only approach to minority teens obedience or death ?

        Would it have been acceptable for the shop owner to have shot and killed Brown to prevent him from leaving with a box of cigars ?

        If not how is it acceptable for Wilson to kill Brown over jay walking ?

        Police have a difficult job and dangerous job. But they have some ability to control the circumstances of confrontations. Wilson chose to confront two black male teens without backup alone and within 3 minutes one of them ended up dead.

        Once this started Wilson may well have had no choice.

        But he had the choice of not starting this. Or of waiting or asking for backup.

        Further there is a vast difference between my believing Wilson is guilty of a crime – which I think is highly unlikely, and my belief that this need not have happened.

        Zimmerman as an example was properly aquitted of murder.
        He still demonstrated poor judgement.

        Wilson is capable of similar bad judgement. Zimmerman at least claimed to have observed Martin peering into homes.
        Wilson confronted Brown over walking in the middle of the street.

        Is the standard we apply to police they can excercise bad judgement up to the point of murder ?

      • August 19, 2014 12:49 pm

        As usual, you seem to be having this conversation with yourself. You have it all figured out, why do you bother sharing this stuff?

      • Ron P permalink
        August 19, 2014 11:35 am

        What I find interesting is the fact no one has mentioned why the ferguson police do not have stun guns and if they do, why they were not used in this case. With the thousands of dollars of gear and arms they have displayed since the riot, it would seem as though they would have outfitted their police with stun guns that most all metro police departments have. They may not prevent all deaths by cops, but they sure can prevent the largest majority hen they are used in place of bullets.

      • August 19, 2014 8:34 pm

        While non-leathal force is sometimes an option. I am not sure it was in this case.

        By confronting Brown alone, Wilson severely restricted his choices.

        Stun Guns can fail – it took Wilson 6 shots to stop Brown. Miss with a stun gun and the officer may end up being the victim.

        But where there are two or more officers, one officer can attempt a non-leathal option while the other is prepared should that fail.

        Regardless, what was wrong with calling for backup ?

      • August 19, 2014 10:04 pm

        Now you are a law enforcement expert. How wonderful for you.

      • August 20, 2014 10:04 am

        No I am not a law enforcement expert, nor are you, and frankly by education and training nor is the ordinary police officer.

        I am certain as an example that I have more legal, more psychology, more sociology, more medical training and education than the average police officer – likely you do too.

        Further the role of the police is to secure OUR liberties, they are not inherently the experts.
        They MIGHT be the experts at what is best for THEM.

        Again your fetish for experts – one of the many many problems with the use of experts is that it narrows the analysis of matters that are broad.

        BTW most of my arguments related to non-lethal force, backup, even pairing are arguments that the POLICE typically make themselves.

        The impetus for lone patrolmen such as Wilson is budgetary and based on small and badly controlled studies that have concluded than lone patrols are no more dangerous (for the police officers) than paired patrols.

      • August 20, 2014 10:45 am

        I have no fetish for experts, yet expertise does not hurt. My family has had three members who were career officers. Before I started spouting off about police work, I would check in with my brother, who has just a bit more experience than I do.

        You would not understand that point of view but it helps to actually talk to people who have actually done the job. They have their own bias, but that is true of all humans, even you.

        I have never confronted a person who could do me grave bodily harm, so speaking about it conceptually is fairly limited.

      • August 20, 2014 9:38 pm

        I have no family that is in policing, but vast portions of my life are entwined in law enforcement and policing in someway.

        Past that I do not presume that police are the “experts” at correcting policing – if they were those problems would already have been fixed.
        Just as I would not presume teachers have the solutions to the problems of our schools.
        We have given them much of what they wanted for the past 40 years, and the problems are worse.

        Police and Teachers like all of us seek their own self interest. There is NOTHING wrong with that. But there is a great deal wrong with warping the system such that the self interests of a single segment dominate.

        I am not the expert on schools (actually I have a great deal of PROFESSIONAL expertise in certain areas of education). I am the expert on the needs of MY children.
        I am not the expert on policemen. But the purpose of policing is securing MY rights.
        I see no valid reason to defer to a career police officer about the relative value of my rights, when their interest is the relative ease of their job.

        Again one of the things you fail to grasp with respect to experts all the time.
        The consequences of the application of “expertise” almost always fall on someone else.
        Whether in law or healthcare or …. the judgments of “experts” have consequences for you and I.

        One of the reasons for keeping the state camel’s nose out from under the tent, is that expertise in the hands of the state is imposed by force on each of us – based on the assessment of politicians and bureaucrats as to what is in THEIR interests.
        Expertise outside the state is advice to you or I that we chose to follow or not on our own.

        Policing is inside the legitmate role of the state. The application of policing comes at the expense of the rights of individuals. Police have an important contribution to make, but making their views dispositive is dangerous.

      • August 20, 2014 9:43 pm

        It is great to skip over your posts. Keep it up.

    • August 19, 2014 8:13 am

      Of all the stories, this one interests me the most. Imagine the Caucasian progressives who campaign for the victim status of many “groups” being stoned by the very people they are trying to “help!”

      Irony, no?

      • August 19, 2014 9:29 am

        I have no interest in the cult of victimhood.

        But you do not seem to grasp that there is a real problem.

        Yes, minority communities are more prone to violence,
        But you seem not to grasp that across this country there is a building degree of anger at police.

        All to often for minority communities “the police” are mostly white outsiders who patrol their communities in battle cruisers, without ever being part of those communities. Their contact with those communities is always violent.

        We are one bad police encounter from an explosion of violence.

        Read the declaration of independence – when the legitimate means of obtaining redress fail, violent revolution is justified.

        Brown and Martin are poor poster boys for communicating the building anger in those communities.

        I think that these communities fail to grasp that the resolution of their problems lie within not without.
        But the problems are real and many of the causes are external.

        Government polices and programs to help these communities have proven exploitive and destructive.

      • August 19, 2014 9:59 am

        I “grasp” all kinds of things. You just don’t like my point of view. Yes, I get there is anger. Wow, what a flippin surprise. Who would have known?

        You love facts: Overall in the US, police forces are comprised of 12% black americans. This is just about the % of black americans in the US. Of course, this is a gross average.

        That said, there are many urban areas where black police are actually far in excess of the 12%, as is the population. To chalk all of these incidents up to white on black racism is provocative but hardly a slam dunk.

        If it were that easy and simple, this would be a slam dunk. It isn’t You just don’t “grasp” that.

        Then again, it is always tempting to trash a store and loot it, you know, just because you are angry.

      • August 19, 2014 8:10 pm

        Why does the percent of US blacks, or the percent of black police, or the percent of Ferguson police that are black matter.

        You misrepresent and over simplify my arguments.

        What I am arguing is that the police need to be part of the communities they serve.
        Not outsiders regardless of race.

        I am not specifically positing racism, though race is sometimes a factor.

        As I am not making some quota or specifically race based argument, I do not “grasp” how your rebutal of that argument is relevant.

        Nor am I justifying looters. Though they are a common facet of angry protests regardless of ethnicity.

        From King George III’s perspective and probably the british Merchants owning the vessels and their cargo, Sam Adam’s and company were nothing more than lawless looters.

        Regardless, I am not arguing for lawlessness. But I am arguing that responding to protesters with overwhelming force buys you nothing but time, at best.

        They are angry. They are angry for more reason than just because a Black Teen was shot by a white cop. They may not be able to articulate their anger, or they may be wrong in how they articulate it. They may not know what they want, or they may be wrong in what they claim to want. But they are still angry and you are not solving any problems by pretending that the rule of laws is the use of overwhelming force to impose your norms.

      • August 19, 2014 10:02 pm

        Actually, Dave, no one cares what you think. You are on rails, try getting off.

      • August 20, 2014 9:44 am

        Can we dispense with the ad hominem ?

        You are far too intelligent to be resorting to that.

        Past that neither of us are capable of speaking for the world at large – or anyone beyond ourselves.

      • August 20, 2014 10:37 am

        And, yet, you keep doing that. You have made numerous blanket statements about how the “police” are. Can you not see that you do this and then chastise others for the same error?

        Come on man, read your own posts.

      • August 20, 2014 8:05 pm

        How about looking up informal fallacies.

        Ad hominem is the name for avoiding the argument by personal attacks on your opponent
        A blanket statement if false because of breadth would be a compositional fallacy.

        The latter is a relatively normal part of argument.
        Blanket statements about anything are rarely true – but they are still useful particularly outside of formal debate – if they are often or usually true.

        Ad Hominem plays no useful part in any discussion.
        If you wish to blast progressives for constantly playing the race card or the war on women card, then you need to avoid the same ad hominem.

      • August 20, 2014 9:30 pm

        Again, I would suggest that you seek help.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 19, 2014 4:01 pm

        JB.. Stop with the facts. You know Obama, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Eric Holder do not want to hear anything about facts. They want to make up their minds based on a lifetime of trying to convince the inner city blacks that the white man only wants to hold them down, that there are no opportunities to escape poverty and the only thing that is going to help is government handouts. There are no expectations to be placed on personal responsibility.
        But I will add something to this information that you shared that seems to support more of the officers statement. 78 arrest made in Ferguson. 4 had Ferguson addresses. The others came from outside Ferguson.

        If this is a protest about how the citizens of Ferguson feel about there police department, then why were there 74 of the 78 arrest for demonstrators that are not affected by the Ferguson police, even if they are from the St Louis area. St Louis is not Ferguson? And 18 of these were from out of state? What interest do they have in Ferguson?

        You know Jesse, Al and Barack will make no mention of this fact.

      • August 19, 2014 9:17 pm

        There are always outside agitators. Frankly, Al, Jesse etc. are doing blacks a disservice.

        But what happens “the next time” and there will be a next time.
        The stories of this type are fairly frequent. Frankly the Brown story is not the best example of the problem. But that does not make the problem unreal.

      • August 19, 2014 9:12 pm

        I am still trying to grasp your argument.
        I have already ceded that it was likely that at some point in this Wilson had no choices beyond the use of deadly force left, and that likely that use was legitimate.

        Just to be clear, my argument is that if you take EVERY fact as claimed by Wilson,
        we still need to consider what could and should have been done to reach a different outcome. Or is that not acceptable ? Is the only response to an angry black male to kill them ? Are we not allowed to ask whether lone officers should go out of their way to confront groups of jaywalkers ?

        In the Martin/Zimmerman case atleast Zimmerman had reason to beleive Martin was acting potentially dangerously from the begining.
        The only danger Brown presented that Wilson was aware of was to himself.

      • August 19, 2014 9:19 pm

        I suspect that (because he had just committed a robbery, even if Wilson didn’t know that) Brown, upon seeing a policeman, was very nervous and agitated, and acted in an abnormal way — one that may have seemed to Wilson like threatening him. We don’t know exactly how Brown was behaving at that point, but I’m convinced that this was the case.

      • August 20, 2014 9:42 am

        The police love to tell juries that some defendants behavior is consistent with that of criminals. They will even tell juries that a defendants behavior is consistant with criminality because they are “deliberately” trying to act normal.

        The fact is human behavior is unpredicatable.

        There is no such thing as the way innocent people respond to police or the way guilty people do.

        We can not accurately infer from peoples behavior whether they had commited an act,
        or from the fact that they had commited an act how they will subsequently behave.

        There is only one possible valid inference that MIGHT be possible,
        Brown MIGHT respond to a confrontation with a police officer, in the same fashion he responded to the store owner.

        Beyond that it can just as easily be argued that someone who just committed a crime would be unlikely to seek out confrontation with a police officer.

        The fact is all people do not respond the same way.
        To have any hope of predicting or explaining behavior the analysis must be specific to the individual – and even then it is little more than an educated guesss

      • August 20, 2014 10:36 am

        Actually, Dave, you are very predictable.

      • August 19, 2014 10:07 pm

        Dave, no one is arguing with you. No one is paying attention to you either.

  13. Priscilla permalink
    August 19, 2014 8:31 am

    To be clear, the version of events that I have heard so far, leads me to believe that fear and distrust on both sides- Wilson’s and Brown’s – combined with the belated realization on Wilson’s part that he might be dealing with an aggressive, possibly dangerous, robbery suspect, led to a situation in which one or both of these men believed that he was going to be injured and/or killed. If, in fact, Brown was rushing full speed at Wilson, after being told to freeze, and continued to do so after being shot several times, I can see where the officer believed that he had no choice but to continue shooting. If, on the other hand, Brown was running away, and Wilson shot him in the back – even once – then the officer was clearly in the wrong. But we don’t know yet. And, given the current fog of war atmosphere in Ferguson, it may be a very long time before we know, if we ever do.

    I am disturbed by the federal government’s intervention into this case. Obama, as is his habit in these racially charged situations, commented on the situation too soon, I believe. And now, Eric Holder is going to take charge of an ongoing investigation that, other than its wall-to-wall media coverage, should in no way be a federal case. I could see if Holder offered assistance, but that is not what is going on here…..what is going on is the political hijacking of a dangerous situation. Will Holder’s interference help quell the violence? Maybe, and if so, that would be a good result. But, this is not Selma, and it is inappropriate and wrong for the Feds to be involved at this point.

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 19, 2014 9:08 am

      I read some reports this morning about the huge role that the New Black Panthers are playing in the ongoing violence. Many if not most of the leaders of the violence are believed to be from out-of-state, Oakland CA, in particular. Given Eric Holder’s past dealings with the NBP, his involvement here may be an attempt to negotiate with them. I still doubt that much good will come of it.

    • August 19, 2014 9:13 am

      Thus far what evidence we have sugests that Brown was facing Wilson when shot.

      I am more concerned about what started this, rather than what ended it.

      While it is still possible that Ofc. Wilson shot a fleeing jaywalker, it is my expectation that Ofc. Wilson’s use of deadly force in the final act of this drama will prove justified.

      I am more concerned with how did an unecescary confrontation over a trivial matter than is not government’s business in the first place, end up with Brown dead.

      I think it is extremely rare that the police shoot people “in cold blood”,
      But all too many police killings start over inconsequential matters.

      Remember for every person killed, probably 10 are shot, and for everytime a police officer pulls a weapon hundreds of other confrontations occur that result in violence.

      The police “win” nearly all of these confrontations.

      But most should never take place.

      Part of the price we pay for the nanny state, is more violent confrontations with law enforcement.

      Though police exagerate the danger of their job, there is no doubt it is dangerous.
      It is by nature confrontational. Our police need far more skill in managing and avoiding confrontation. SOP for police is to “take control”. Sorry, there is nothing in the social contract about obeying some authority figure. We are obligated to obey the actual law – nothing more.

  14. August 19, 2014 9:19 am

    I am not enamoured by the outside interference of state and federal authorities.

    That said the Fergusson police have been tone deaf, and incompetent thus far.

    Further a large portion of the local community does not trust the local police.
    That is a BIG problem, and that is one the Police must fix.

    As the declaration notes the legitimacy of government rises from the consent of the governed.

    I do not trust my local law enforcement – and I am white and male, and know many of them as freinds.

    I have had several police officers explain to me how they can transform any traffic stop into an aggrevated assault charge if the “target” is “disrespectful”

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 19, 2014 9:32 am

      So, it is “tone-deaf” to refuse to release the results of an ongoing investigation into a police shooting, before the investigation is complete, because mobs are demanding the policeman’s arrest? This is where I lose you. I do agree that, at this point, the local law enforcement has lost control of the situation, so I suppose that the next step is for them to ask the state to come in, and I assume that they have done that. I don’t think that anyone has asked for the Feds at this point – but they are coming anyway.

      • August 19, 2014 10:27 am

        This event resulted in rioting and destruction, and the police moving in as a military force.

        Do you beleive that everyone in ferguson was happy until the day that Brown was killed and then suddenly turned into uncontrolable violent looters, that could only be countered by a paramilitary organization ?

        Again it is the police we expect to have the proper proportionate response to ratchet this down, not up.

        This investigation is not going to be complete for months.

        The police ARE responsible to secure the public trust.
        If they can not do that they have no legitamacy.
        Absent the consent of the governed – we have no police.
        Remember East Germany. When the survival of government rests solely on having bigger guns than protestors – government no longer exists.

        Further people have a right to protest – whether I or the cops like what they are saying. They may not be entitled to have their demands met, but they are entitled to make them.

        It was Ofc. Wilson’s responsibility to avoid having to kill Brown if possible, and that included chosing not to confront him at that moment,

        It was the Ferguson polices responsibility to keep the city safe while allowing protests.

        Both failed.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 19, 2014 10:38 am

        I think that you should contact the authorities ASAP, Dave, since you are apparently in possession of information that shows that Wilson was at fault.

      • August 19, 2014 8:23 pm

        I am trying to get past binary thinking.

        Are there only two choices here ?

        Wilson is a cold blooded murderer or Brown is a violent thug who deserved to die ?

        Nor am I arguing narrowly about specifically this instance – though I think this incident fits my arguments.

        Is it possible for us to consider that the police should not have infinite power ?
        Is it possible to consider that we need better policies and fewer laws to avoid confrontations that often lead to violence ?

        I think under the circumstances most favorable to Wilson he made poor choices that increased the probability of violence.

        To be clear I am not saying he “provoked” violence, but I am saying he chose an approach that left no options alternatives if it went badly.

        There is a rule for pilots – do not fly into box canyons.

      • August 19, 2014 10:03 pm

        Is it possible to reserve judgement? Apparently, for you, no.

      • August 20, 2014 9:56 am

        I have reserved judgement atleast as much as you have.

        It is still possible to examine what we do actually know,
        or to examine everything in the light most favorable to Wilson – or Brown.
        Or to look past the narrow facts of the last few seconds of this killing to the broader circumstances.

        You are offering exactly the binary thinking I am challenging.

        It is entirely possible to decide that Wilson is innocent of murder, and still beleive that we can weigh responsibility by standards other than those of criminal justice,
        and allocate consequences or seek changes.

        An action can be justified from the perspective of criminal law and not as a matter of civil law, or have consequences outside of law.

        Wilson could be disciplined, or terminated,
        The Ferguson PD could impliment new policies and procedures.

        And all of this can be explored without knowing more than we do now.

        Do we want police to be able to kill anyone they can provoke into agression ?
        Do we want police to kill anyone prone towards aggression ?

        Shouldn’t we expect the police to be able to avoid violent confrontation to the greatest extent possible – even when dealing with people likely to resort to violence ?
        Is our solution to MH/MR or drug problems to wait until those people act violently and then kill them ?

      • August 20, 2014 10:40 am

        You don’t actually “know” anything. You have read of accounts of people who MAY be in Ferguson and some who may not be. You may have read statements that are correct, and many, that are in error. You have quoted some data that might be right, wrong, or out of context.

        You (and I) have no direct knowledge of what happened and most who opine have no idea as well. This does not stop them from being totally committed to their point of view.

        And, the band plays on.

      • August 20, 2014 8:43 pm

        “You don’t actually “know” anything.”

        You are correct – I did not personally observe Wilson shoot Brown,
        nor did you.

        All the information each of us has, all the “facts” comes from the same sources – information provided by the media and inferences we make from our own life experiences.

        At the same time you discount those from Ferguson who are rioting – while they may not have personally witnessed this event, many are familiar with Brown and with policing in Ferguson. By your argument we must defer to them because their knowledge is far more direct.

        Regardless, you seem compelled to respond to nearly every post I make – but you do not address any of the arguments I make.

        Ad Hominem is not argument. If I have a statistic wrong, or out of context – demonstrate that.

        But you are not even doing that. You are not saying “You are wrong about X” or “X is out of context”

        Your response is – you may or may not be wrong or out of context, so I can disregard you.

        You are perfectly free to disregard whatever you want. It does not require meaningless editorializing.

        I would be very interested in real intelligent argument from you. When you actually address issues you are intelligent and articulate – even when I disagree with you.

        I do not care whether you like what I have to say. I do not care whether you believe what I have to say. I do not care whether you like me, or what you think about me. None of those matter to me.

        I am interested in your arguments in the increasingly rare instances you make them.
        I refine my own thoughts and ideas by testing them.

        As I have noted before I have a deliberate tendency to make overly broad arguments.
        I want somebody to find the counter example. I want to test whether there is some natural limiting factor to some reductio ad absurdem.

        I believe my principles, values, beliefs and arguments hold up logically and otherwise.
        I test them myself, but testing them against others is an important means of mitigating confirmation bias.

      • August 20, 2014 9:31 pm

        But. clearly, you DO care.

        Reflect on that for a while, if you can.

      • August 19, 2014 12:50 pm

        Jesus Dave, As usual you are all-knowing and all wise.

        We all bow to your powers to know, the unknowable, and see the unseen.

        Sounds like you were in the alley when this happened.

      • August 19, 2014 9:02 pm

        I am trying to look past the the young black alleged fellon charges white cop and is shot to death facet of this.

        Given that Wilson did not know about the robbery, it has no bearing on his actions.
        Given the high probabilty that Brown charged Wilson, Wilson did nothing CRIMINALLY wrong.

        Do we end it there ? Do we all just stick our heads back in the sand until something really aggregious happens ?

        I have zero problems with “racial profiling” muslims males 20-30 flying alone are more likely to be terrorists, than White Grannies.

        Young Black male Teens are far more likely to be violent fellons than old white men.

        At the same time it is ALSO true that the odds of an innocent black male teen being killed by a police officer are far higher than an innocent old white man.
        That a guilty black male teen is far more likely to have a violent and possibly fatal confrontation with police than a guilty white male teen.

        That someone white, black or green that responds angrily to a police officer – regardless of whether the actions of the police are justified, is far more likely to end up dead – regardless of race.

        The police have a dangerous job to do – though less dangerous than they claim.
        But they choose that dangers. In a large number of instances those that encounter them do not, and encounters with police that turn violent result in the other person being killed ten times as often as the police.

        Nor do we have to restrict ourselves to those simple black and whites.

        We have moved huge numbers of people with mental health problems to homelessness.
        Do we need to kill those people when they encounter the police merely because their social skills are far inferior to the rest of ours ?

        Whether you wish to admit it or not we have a police problem.
        The militarization of the police is merely one facet of it.

        The problem is a consequence of the progressive state.
        When power is given to government you must expect that it will often be abused.
        All abuse need not be directed by the president of the united states.
        A DMV clerk in a foul mood can wreak havoc on your life in ways no private party can.

        The police are an absolutely essential part of our society and government.
        They are one of few legitimate functions of government.

        But that legitimacy is not carte blanche to unlimited power.

        Every power we grant government need MULTIPLE checks against abuse.
        What are the real checks against abuse of power by the police ?

      • August 19, 2014 10:06 pm

        Once again, I recommend that you seek professional help.

  15. Ron P permalink
    August 19, 2014 4:08 pm

    There are some Democrats with common sense. This is what Obama should be saying and not the community organizing crap he talked about yesterday for almost 10 minutes

    • August 19, 2014 4:55 pm

      Barry is predictable, I will give him that. When all you have is a hammer ……

  16. August 19, 2014 4:54 pm

    To be clear, I am trying to stick to the facts (if possible). I expect Team Obama to run for glory and schedule a good hanging for this officer, irrespective of whether he deserves it or not.

    This is my prediction.

    • August 19, 2014 5:09 pm

      Based on what we know, there’s probably not enough evidence to convict Wilson… although the three black witnesses paint him as the aggressor. (Still, how do they explain his facial injuries?) Here’s the rub: I’m concerned that if Wilson gets off without a conviction, all hell will break loose across the country. After Zimmerman’s acquittal, nothing less than prison will satisfy black America this time. Wilson might have to be offered up as a sacrifice. Sad but true.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 19, 2014 5:48 pm

        If it comes to pass that we offer up a white cop as a sacrifice to the race-baiting radicals who are running this show in Ferguson, I fear that we will have passed a point of no return in the degradation of race relations in the US.

        And it is sad but true that this appeasement to violence may happen, because facts, seemingly, no longer matter – we are told that “there is not a smidgen of corruption in the IRS,” “Republicans hate black people” And, of course, “we left behind a stable and self-reliant Iraq”….where today, ISIS reportedly beheaded an American journalist, as a warning to the US to stay out.

        We have always been at war with Eastasia, right?

        (not feeling too optimistic today..)

      • August 19, 2014 6:27 pm

        I feel your pessimism, Priscilla. I honestly don’t know what it will take for blacks and whites to regain some semblance of harmony. When I think back to NBHS, we all managed to get along somehow — and this was during the heyday of the civil rights era. Maybe there was a sense of optimism among blacks then, and they hadn’t yet been indoctrinated by the militants.

        I hadn’t heard about the beheading of the American by ISIS. Just dandy. I’m not sure if they’re warning us to keep out or inviting us to “bring it on.” I think Caliph Ibrahim (or whatever al-Baghdadi calls himself now) would love to fight the infidels in a new crusade. What times, eh? Glad we’ve already lived to the brink of old age, but I feel for the next few generations.

      • August 19, 2014 7:07 pm

        I too remember “getting along” with pretty much everyone in HS. Even in the projects, we seemed to get along OK. If there were issues, they didn’t seem to be along racial lines, but more on a personal ” I don’t like that guy” lines.

        This crap is simply annoying and we have professionals like Sharpton leading the charge.

      • August 19, 2014 9:40 pm

        I m not sure when you grew up, but when I grew up the “race riots” made Ferguson look like a love fest. And that was the “heydey” of the civil rights movement.

      • August 19, 2014 10:09 pm

        Well, let’s see Dave. Is remotely possible that there are differences related to location?

        Maybe, just maybe.

      • August 20, 2014 10:14 am

        In 1967 there were 167 “race riots” in the US. If you did not live in a place where the riots were right outside your door, they dominated the ABC, CBS, and NBC news, and papers – the only news sources for most of us.

        I guess it is possible that you could have grown up somewhere in remote alaska with no TV or newspaper and therefore missed this due to location.

        But the assertion that somehow things were better in the past is nearly always false.

      • August 20, 2014 10:49 am

        As Ronald Reagan used to say, “well, there you go again.”

        You could not possibly know where Rick, Priscilla, nor I grew up or what our circumstances. were. We all went to the same HS, same year. Apparently, we have all chosen to fabricate a lie just to fool you Dave.

        And BTW, we were already out of HS when the riots hit and they did not land in our city. Sorry to disappoint you but there are more than 167 cities in the US.

        I would have thought you would have known that.

      • August 20, 2014 9:57 pm

        I have not “fabricated” some lie.

        You argued that race relations were better in the 60’s based on your HS experience.

        You are correct I can not know your HS experience.
        But if you think race relations were one the whole better in the 60’s, you were living in a bubble.
        I can not honestly beleive you are even making such an argument.

        These nostaglic claims of a purer happier past are incredibly tiresome – and I am surprised to be hearing them from you.

      • August 19, 2014 5:57 pm

        Black America? You refer to this as if all 35M or so “blacks” are one monolith. That is exactly what is wrong with this kind of thinking. All blacks or whites are …..

        Wake up, Rick. There is NO such thing.

      • August 19, 2014 6:17 pm

        I don’t believe in monoliths, either; individuals are individuals. The problem is that so many of those individuals think in unison. In this case, I’d guess that the vast majority of black Americans would like to see Officer Wilson behind bars, and that significant numbers would riot if he got off. I hope I’m wrong, but my gut tells me otherwise. The anger has been building for years now, but especially since the Trayvon Martin – George Zimmerman case.

      • August 19, 2014 7:06 pm

        You may be right, but then again, we don’t know. I think that every turn I try to counter this grouping mentality, white, black, brown, yellow, etc.

        All you can do is fight the good fight. This is one way.

      • August 19, 2014 9:38 pm

        Is there any possibility that anyone can see some ground between your position and JB’s ?

        Are the only choices sending Zimmerman and Wilson to jail to appease racial unrest, or celebrating them as heroes ?

        Can there be consequences besides jail ?
        Even absent personal consequences to Wilson, is it possible to contemplate that laws and procedures need scrutiny ?

        Ignoring the actual event can we contemplate what are the most effective means of dealing with angry protestors and outside agitators ? Or does every police department need an MRAP and SWAT team ? Can we consider that if this equipment ends up with the police – it will get used ? If SWAT teams are formed they will also be used. Whether either are justified or not.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 20, 2014 12:05 am

        Rick your comment opens up a vast number of discussions that could take place.
        ” I’d guess that the vast majority of black Americans would like to see Officer Wilson behind bars, and that significant numbers would riot if he got off.”

        This article provides an excellent look at the problem across America.

        What was it about Ferguson that went national while so many others that happen daily do not make a blip on the news?

        Why isn’t Jackson, Sharpton or other black leaders working with local communities in a positive manner instead of fueling racial discourse only when it hits national news?

        But mostly, why is our federal government not doing more to work with local communities in identification of these shootings to determine ways for the police to improve their tactics? Given this has been going on for years, it would seem that the DOJ would require information on all shootings so a database could be established and trends could be identified to begin working on solutions to a problem that may or may not be getting worse.

        I find it interesting that more whites die in the hands of police than blacks (chart in middle of article) but like the author points out, this does not include individuals who die before the arrest. That is the information that needs to be collected and analyzed.

        But here again, who really expects the government to be proactive to head off problems. It has always been reactive after the problem exist and then it is much harder to fix.

      • August 20, 2014 10:36 am

        Race is only one component of this.

        Demographically blacks and hispanics are more violent than whites, and asians are the least violent by far.

        This explains many differances in outcome, and it is reasonable for law enforcement to focus resources where they are needed – it would be nice if they actually did so.

        But there are disparities that go beyond the demographic differences.

        When we normalize for rates of violence or severity of the crime or whatever else you want, we still end up with significant disparities in the prosecution of the law.

        Further while protestors in Ferguson are fixated on race, some of us are arguing beyond that.

        Even if policing were somehow totally blind to race our policing resorts to violence far to easily, and chooses to rush into circumstances where violence ends up being the only option.

        In the last few seconds of Browns life Wilson may have had no choice. But in the minutes before he had increasingly more choices as we go back in time.

        Presuming we decide that Wilson’s killing was justified, does that make all of Wilson’s choices and the Ferguson PD polices leading to that final even also justified ?

        If Brown was a violent addict high on PCP at the time is the only possible outcome Browns death ?

      • August 20, 2014 10:53 am

        Violent people may also be stupider, which might mean they are more likely to be apprehended, given their stupidity. Also, lack of impulse control might make them even dumber.

        It is just a theory.

      • August 20, 2014 10:17 pm

        Police are in general less educated and less intelligent, less ambitious, making them – according to your theory more violent, further they are less likely to catch intelligent criminals and more likely to catch less intelligent criminals.

        Just a theory.

        I am not particularly interested in baseless theories.

        Are you offering your theory as correlating with reality, or just some possibility in some hypothetical world ? I am not interested in hypothetical worlds.

      • August 20, 2014 10:23 pm

        I would not offer you the time of day. You would mis-read this as well.

      • August 19, 2014 9:30 pm

        There should be no “Black america”, views on this should not diverge radically on racial lines – but they do.

    • August 19, 2014 9:20 pm

      Again we can agree.
      Based on past actions I can not see Obama or Holder adding anything positive to this.

      But that does not mean there are not issues that need addressed beyond the simple question “did Ofc Wilson murder Brown” where the answer is increasingly certainly no.

    • Ron P permalink
      August 19, 2014 11:35 pm

      JB..Looks like Holder and Obama will have to stand in line for the good hanging of the officer.

      1/2 way through the governors speech, he states what his expectations are. The second point is “vigorous prosecution”.

      Now he never says who should be prosecuted vigorously, but one has to be completely uninformed if they think it is anyone but the officer.

      • August 20, 2014 6:56 am

        Well, we have plenty of “protesters” that are on camera stealing merchandise and destroying property. Several officers have been shot as well.

        Can they prosecute them “vigorously as well?”

      • August 20, 2014 10:25 am

        No one should be talking about prosecution as a certainty at this point.

  17. August 19, 2014 5:08 pm

    A terrific blog,Rick. Although I think I am properly connected to your system, I only seem to get your new postings, and not any of the comments once I download the original posting. What am I doing wrong? BTW, does anyone actually think that entry into this mess by a black activist organization (the DOJ) will encourage a just resolution?

    • August 20, 2014 9:35 pm

      Thanks, RP. I don’t know if you’d want to receive every comment in your e-mail in-box; they can run into the hundreds. Also, I don’t understand why you’re downloading the site. You can just go online to and see the latest post with all the comments below. (Just click on the the link for “XXX comments” at the bottom of the article.)

      • August 21, 2014 4:05 pm

        Roby L: Given six years of statements and actions by the Attorney General and the President, it is not unreasonable for many of us to reach the conclusion that they are doing a poor job and that they are extremely motivated by ideology. You make the unjustified charge that we think of them as monsters, and that we are engaging in inappropriate “demonization”–that we can’t know what is inside their souls. Your then attempt to demonize us for our comments. Do you recognize a smidge of hypocrisy here?

      • August 21, 2014 5:53 pm

        No, he does not.

  18. August 19, 2014 9:55 pm

    Rick, JB;

    Apparently you grew up on a different planet than I did.

    My High school had two black students – and no students of any other race.
    The only school I attended with significant minorities was 3 years of catholic school, and we were well segregated.

    My school did up the down staircase, and I had to play the black student – rewritten as jewish, because the black students would not take the part.

    One of the black students was on of my few friends in 9th grade.

    We still have alot of racial problems in this country – and I think we are at serious risk of some serious racial violence if we can not get a handle on some of our problems.

    But even if worst came to worst it will not match the 159 race riots of 1967.

    We have come a long way. We have improved many things, but not all.
    The Great Society programs turned out to be practically a form of genocide.

    Urban renewal is Negro Removal
    James Baldwin.

    • August 19, 2014 10:15 pm

      Not a different planet, knot head, a different school. Can you not fathom that there is infinite variety of human makeup and experience occurring at the same time but in a different place? Is it really necessary that every school in the US in say, 1965 HAD to have the same issues, advantages and problems?

      Seriously. are you that limited in your world view? The fact is, there are billions of realities going on at the same time. Some converge, most do not.

      PS-I am not surprised you had only a few friends. Know it all’s often have this problem.

      • August 20, 2014 10:23 am

        I can grasp that different people grew up in different places.

        You apparently grew up in Mayberry. I grew up partly in a typical small american city and partly in a typical rural area outside that city.

        Unlike you, and like most americans I watched the race riots and cities burning on the news each night through the summer of 1967.

        I would also suggest reading I said “Few friends in 9th grade”,
        Most of high school was a pretty good time and over time I developed many friends.

        Trying to psychoanalyze someone over the internet is fraught with error.

      • August 20, 2014 10:50 am

        Gee, again with the reading comprehension. Of course, we saw riots on TV. There were riots 30 miles up the road from us.

        Duh, if you go back and read what Rick and I wrote, it might help.

      • August 20, 2014 10:06 pm

        Which part below is in error.

        You said that things were swell in your HS, and that conflict was between individuals not races.

        I said I did not know where you grew up, but the race riots of the 60’s were far worse than Ferguson.

        You said we live in different places.


        I have no basis to doubt your HS experience.
        I have strong reasons to challenge your generalizing it to the country as a whole at that time.

        Whatever your HS experience may have been Ferguson is not worse than the 60’s. It is not even close.

      • August 20, 2014 10:22 pm

        I didn’t generalize. You made that up.

      • August 21, 2014 1:31 am

        So from totally out of the blue you posted a remenis about a time 40 years past with no meaning of any kind to other discussions here and no hint that experience was in anyway representative of the time ?

      • August 21, 2014 8:09 am

        Once again, you cannot read. The post was an exchange between high school buds. The three of us do that here on Rick’s blog. There was no attempt to generalize what we experienced into some great universal truth.

        Do you have any social relationships at all?

      • August 21, 2014 9:28 pm

        Have you heard of email ? Texting ? Facebook ? Any of myriads of other forms of social networking.

        I think it is pretty reasonable to presume that a comment on a political blog to an article on Ferguson had something to do with Ferguson. Not only is that reasonable. I think it is also true.

        But I guess you are free to dictate that your posts have completely different meanings than ordinary people might perceive. You are even free to use TNM as your own personal social media cite.

      • August 21, 2014 9:36 pm

        Again, you cannot appreciate context. That is a sign of mental illness. Seek help. Not everything that is said here is related to you or your reality.

      • August 24, 2014 1:12 am

        Comments on a political blog regarding the events of Ferguson IS the context.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 20, 2014 10:41 am

        Wow. Well, I can assure you that the city in which JB grew up was not Mayberry. And it saw its share of race rioting in the 60’s and 70’s. I guess I am one of your binary thinkers, Dave, but I would daresay that most riots are started by agitators who stir up mobs already pre-disposed to violence. Do you really believe that Ferguson would be burning right now if Mssrs. Sharpton and Jackson and the Black Panthers weren’t there from out-of-town to tell the good folks of Ferguson what evil racist bastards their police were? And how about the fact that every major media outlet in the nation is now camped out in the city?

        You said in an earlier comment that you have already taught your son not to trust the police, who will judge him by his size and appearance, rather than by his actions. Perhaps you should check out some of your own binary thinking. Police a re sworn t serve and protect – not that they always do so…in fact, too often not….but when they are faced with citizens who expect them to be the enemy, self-fulfilling prophecy can take effect.

        All of that said, we are on the same page when it comes to the militarization of police forces and government agencies (let us not forget the recent standoff in Nevada with the BLM, which drew outside agitators as well).

      • August 20, 2014 9:21 pm

        I am not claiming that JB grew up in Mayberry, I am claiming that his representations of the past are inconsistent with growing up anywhere BUT mayberry.,

        I am not ignorant of the race riots of the 60’s. JB seems to think that the 60’s was a time of racial harmony – atleast where he grew up.

        I beleive we have a developing racial problem in this country – not even close to the scale of the problems in the 60’s.
        I beleive like JB and many here that Blacks are on the wrong side of law enforcement more often because demographically blacks are more violent.
        I do not beleive we should coddle criminals. I have zero problems prosecuting looters caught on video.
        But I am not blind to the fact that searches, arrests, prosecutions, sentences, and myriads of other aspects of law enforcement fall disparately on blacks.

        I reject disparate impact ALONE as the basis of an individual claim of discrimination (I reject the legitimacy of laws against private discrimination).
        At the same time I am not stupid. Disparate impact does not prove that any specific case is an example of racism, but if the disparity is statistically significant and the population size large enough it is proof of institutional racism. And the one institution explicitly barred from applying the law unequally is government.

        Blacks in Ferguson may be inarticulate, and they may even be wrong about this specific instance, but they are not wrong that there is a problem.

        Our public schools suck. But they suck the most if you are black.
        Beyond the demographic differences in rates of violence our justice system is much different for minorities – particularly blacks.
        And more broadly our system of justice is corrupt.

        Until those on the right are prepared to face that these problems, the left will own all attempts to solve them. Sharpton, Jackson, and even our president are completely wrong about how to solve these problems – but they are correct that there is a problem. Until the right is willing to grasp that The left will own the field and that usually possibly always makes problems worse not better.

        Until those on the right are willing to expect those within our justice system to subject themselves to the same rules and constraints they impose on the rest of us, we will continue to live in a police state.

        Today there is a concensus for significant drug law reform. For ending the war on drugs – we lost. For looking for better ways of dealing with drugs. Even some on the right are coming arround.

        The major impediments to drug law reform are those dependant on our drug laws for their jobs. Starting with our police, and moving through courts, prosecutors, and into prisons, prison guards, and the prison industrial complex.

        How in the name of god did we arrive at a point where we must incarcerate people for large portions of their lives for free and voluntary exchange, because otherwise we would have to scale back employment of police and prison guards by 35% ?

        How much more immoral can you get ?

      • August 20, 2014 9:40 pm

        You Dave,. are a moron. I simply related my experience of MY HS days. You seem to feel that you have some special insight into that reality.

        You don’t.

        Seriously, can you NOT read simple English or are you off your meds.

        I never said any of the other stuff you think I said. Whatever happened in the 60s happened. I have no special insight into other realities. You don’t either but you don’t get that.

        Get some help.

      • August 21, 2014 1:26 am

        So which is it you really know nothing outside your limited personal experience or you are free to pontificate on life the universe and everything ?

        Aside from the inarticulate ad hominem and a does of authoritarianism, we are not all that distinguishable.

        You feel free to bless all with your wisdom and insight on everything – except when you are make a pretence of false modesty.

        Atleast I am mostly honest with myself.

        Nearly all of us would like to revisit our high school past. For me that was a very good time and there is alot that I miss. But now is better.

        If I have any special insight into reality, it is a willingness to look critically at the past.
        To grasp that the few things I long for from a simpler time do not make up for the subsequent gains, and to understand that time tends to make the bad memories fade, preserving the good. The past was great, it was wonderful – but not as good as today.

        Nor is that unique to me, but true of nearly all of us.

      • August 21, 2014 8:08 am

        Once again, I would suggest medication and a good course in reading comprehension.

  19. August 19, 2014 10:43 pm

    Ferguson is 2/3 black. 94.6% of is police force is white.

    Blacks are 3x more likely to be stopped by the police, and twice as likely if stopped to have their vehicles searched, yet those searches of white drivers are 57% more likely to result in contraband.

    Vehicles driven by minorities are about 6x more likely nationwide to be pulled over for equipment violations than those driven by whites.

    • August 20, 2014 6:54 am

      Isnt’t Google wonderful!

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 20, 2014 11:55 am

      I once read an article about deaths from motorcycle crashes, comparing blacks to whites. The perplexing detail was that, with or without helmets, black riders were far more likely to die of head injuries from their crashes. The article posited that this might be because police and emergency room workers were racist and gave lesser care to black riders, or that hospitals in black areas did not have adequate emergency services. A follow-up to the article, posted the next month, made a more likely claim – that black motorcyclists were more likely to have been riding “rice-burner” style motorcycles, of the type that pitches the rider forward, head-first in a crash, as opposed to the Harley-style bikes.

      It’s easy to see racism in everything, if that is what you want to see…..

      • August 20, 2014 10:38 pm

        No disagreement that we need to carefully assess the meaning of statistics.

        Arguably minorities are more likely to be driving older less well maintained vehicles – though it would be nice to have evidence of that, and to normalize the data on stops for the age of the vehicles and see how that effects the correlation.

        But how are you going to explain the disparity in searches ?
        Purportedly there is a legal standard that needs met to conduct a search – that is not rooted in the state of repair of the vehicle.

        Past that how do you explain the disparity in outcome ?
        Searches of white vehicles are FAR more likely to produce contraband.
        JB has postulated that criminals are stupider. This would sugest that whites are stupider than minorities.

      • August 21, 2014 7:55 am

        You’r last statement is certainly possible.

      • August 20, 2014 10:48 pm

        I am NOT taking a position on the race vs. motorcycle injury issue.

        But the 2010 study that I suspect was the original study you are refering to.

        Found that after adjusting for other variables similarly injured black motorcyclists were 1.5 times more likely to die of their injuries than whites.

        I do not understand how the type of motorcycle prefered by different races would have any bearing if the study already normalized for the type and severity of the injury.

        Rice burners may produce more head injuries, but comparing equally severe head injuries invalidates that as an explanation.

        There may be some other explanation – and the authors of the study did not assert a clear conclusion that racism was a factor – though factors such as insurance status, and other similar factors that also correlate to race have been found to be factors in other accident studies.

        i.e. Blacks may die more frequently for the same severity of injury because we provide better care to the insured.

      • August 21, 2014 8:00 am

        I don’t understand why we need any researchers out there when Dave has life all figured out, right down to how various races are “treated” in the ER for various injuries.

        Quick Dave, without using Google (no cheating): How many diagnostic codes are there in the new ICDM-10?

        WIthout using Google Dave.


      • August 21, 2014 10:18 am

        So your argument is that we should make uninformed decisions ?

        How is the number of diagnostic codes relevant ?

        As too “googling” the “rice burner” counter claim had all the earmarks of myriads of false rebutals.

        Yes, lots of studies are conducted badly, but most of the time the sound bite critiques are even worse.

        I did not claim the 2010 Race/Injury motorcycle survey is without flaws.
        Only that the “rice burner” counter sounded dubious to begin with.
        And clearly is.

        The author’s of the report did NOT propose that the medical system just let blacks die.
        But it did note a dispartity in outcomes AFTER normalizing for severity.

        The study, the results or the proposed causes may be flawed.
        But not because of choices in motorcycles.

      • August 21, 2014 10:23 am

        So, the short answer is, you do not know anything about the most essential part of ER data analysis.

        thanks for playing.

      • August 21, 2014 11:19 pm

        So your answer is to presume that a study you have not read has failed because I will not play your idiotic medical coding game ?

        Unless either:

        the authors of the referenced papers recoded the injuries on their own without reference to whatever scheme that ER’s we using

        Or ER’s accross the country falsely code the injuries of Blacks less severally than they actually are

        The specifics of the ER coding scheme are irrelevant. All that matters is that the error bars do not reflect some hidden racial factor.

        Again you are too smart for this line of argument.

        I can measure GDP in Dollars,Euro’s or Yen, the trends will be the same.

      • August 22, 2014 6:57 am

        No, I am saying that even if you had read the whole study (which you did not) you aren’t even qualified to determine whether the study design, execution, and conclusions are valid. You are simply not qualified. You lack even the basic knowledge to make any valid judgment.

        Does that do it for you?

      • August 24, 2014 10:15 am

        So you are going with the “rice burner” rebutal.

        That meets the high standards you demand that prohibit anyone other than you from addressing whatever topic you deem yourself expert in ?

      • August 24, 2014 10:21 am

        You can run all you want about any topic. That is your right as an American. It would behoove you to gain a bit of humility. You are not qualified (as near as I can tell) to address the issue of “race-health) disparities, unless you acknowledge your limitations as a rank amateur.

        You wouldn’t even know the right questions to ask let alone make the kinds of assertions you have made here.

      • August 25, 2014 1:23 pm

        And this is precisely where we disagree and your argument is stupid.

        If it is impossible for anyone but “experts” to evaluate studies then any form of society is impossible.

        No one is expert in everything, yet virtually all societal decisions impact many things.

        Virtually all decisions making is performed almost exclusively by NON-EXPERTs.
        CEO’s, Presidents, legislators, business owners, even ordinary people make decisions great and small all the time.

        For the most part “experts” do NOT make decisions, they provide information, that non-experts evaluate.

        That is how things are. That is how things must be. The objective in almost every decision is not to optimize only a single factor, but to find the right balance of many factors.
        It is rare for experts to have the knowledge to do so..

        Your deference to police because they are the “experts” demonstrates precisely this fallacy. They are the experts in optimizing their own best interests.
        But the interest of society and police at best overlap.

        Not only is your argument stupid – but I doubt you would accept in in other fields.
        Are teachers (far better educated and qualified) the appropriate parties to make all decisions with respect to the education of our kids ?
        For the past 40 years they have gotten nearly everything they wanted, we have doubled spending, reduced class sizes, provided more specialized resources.
        The results ? Quality of education has declined.

        The problem – experts are NOT the best people to make large decisions.

        However badly teachers have done – Police are even less qualified.

        You have repeatedly offered yourself as an expert on some aspects of healthcare policy.
        Yet our healthcare system is the consequence of the recomendations of such experts – maybe ones you do not agree with, but still experts.

        How well is that working ?

        Past that I spent more than 20 years in one of the few generalist professions left – Architecture. An architect is responsible for everything associated with the creation of human enviroments, that involves art, psychology, sociology, anthropolnogy, myriads of forms of engineering, materials.
        In the construction of a building only the courts trump the final decisions of architects.
        An architect must field questions from the appropriate electrical loading of circuits, through internet security, the physical and psychological aspects of HVAC systems, the appropriate furnishings, and their layout to best accomplish the use of a space, the appropriate textures and colors, the way the space is perceived three dimensional as you progress through it, the massing of forms, as well as their integration into the environment,
        Septic systems, codes and regulations, and myriads of other things.

        One of the most important things and architect must do it sort the meaningful from the meaningless in the information from “experts”.
        One means is understanding that so long as they are used consistently, differences in units of measure do not alter the meaning of information.

        I would argue that experts are more prone to error in evaluating their own work.
        They are more subject to confirmation bias, they are less likely to be knowledgeable or even care about the consequences beyond their own narrow area.

        We can debate this race/motorcycle study if you wish. There are many possible explanations for the results. There are many possible errors.
        But the results are consistent with related studies – such as automobile accidents.
        Regardless, unless you can demonstrate that regardless of the scoring system used, blacks are much more likely to have the severity of their injuries underscored, your coding argument is dross. The same applies to the types of motorcycles used for much the same reason. These studies were normalized for the types and severity of the injuries.
        Unless you can demonstrate that different choices of motorcycles, or different helmets, will produce injuries that are scored less severely than the actually are, or that the normalization techniques used have errors, then you are stuck with the results.

        The analysis of the means, methods and statistics of a study may require some skill – but not skills specific to the subject matter. There is small variation in the methods and statistics used from one field of expertise to another. Probably the largest issue is that some fields are not easily subject to controlled experiments, and information must be processed from historical data. But again nothing in this process is unique to a given field of expertise. Heath does not use a different form of math or statistics than physics. or economics.

        Let go. Experts do not run the world – and we would not like the results if they did.
        Experts at best inform us – we make our own decisions – or other non-experts make them for us. And experts are as likely to disagree as the rest of us.
        Finally expertise is irrelevant unless you have serious “skin in the game”

        The consequences of “experts” decisions regarding education are paid by me and my children. The consequence of healthcare decisions are paid by those needing healthcare.

        The police atleast have some skin in the game – poor choices on their part can result in their own death.
        What you totally fail to grasp is their own self interests means they are prone to optimze any decisions they control to mitigate any potential harms to them – regardless of the overall consequences.

        Self-interest is absolutely critical to human prosperity.
        But it must be regulated – self regulated, by COMPETING self-interests.
        There are no alternate police forces we can chose from that offer us a different balancing of law enforcement values.
        And you are explictly arguing that the police alone are the expert and therefore the only decision makers. You are creating an unnatural monopoly that results in their self-interests trumping all others.

        And you wonder why you have a police state ?

  20. August 19, 2014 10:49 pm

    If you are involved in shooting someone, the police will use everything in their power – lies, false friendship, fear, coercion to get you to make a statement as quickly as possible.
    This is because they know a hastily made statement immediately after an event is most likely to incriminate you or at the very least severely limit your defense options, and commit you to a version of events that may prove harmful to you later.

    If a police officer is involved in a shooting, other officers, their unions, policy, and often even the law work HARD to delay a police officer making any statement for as long as possible. Allowing the officer to review all other evidence – often requiring them to review all other evidence before making a statement.

  21. August 19, 2014 10:56 pm

    If you are investigated for a crime you name will be available to the press immediately and inextricably and permently linked to that crime. If you subsequently are cleared, your name will still be inextricably tied to the crime.

    If you are a police officer or prosecutor accused of prosecutorial misconduct usually you will not be named publicly – even the Supreme Court of the United States in decisions excoriating the criminal actions of prosecutors – does not name them.
    Even the 9th circuit court of appeals – the most liberal in the country – does not name prosecutors it finds guilty of prosecutor misconduct.

    I ask for one system of justice – that applies to all of us equally.
    Black, White, police or ordinary citizen.

    We are truly equal in only one way – before the law.
    Or atleast that is how it was supposed to be.

  22. August 19, 2014 11:07 pm

    The murder rate of police officers is 3.77/100,000 that is well BELOW the national average. Ordinary citizens are MORE likely to be deliberately killed than police officers.

  23. August 20, 2014 7:27 am

    Great quote:

    “The story is similar in Detroit, which lost half its residents between 1967 and 2000. Civic authority was never restored after the late 1960s riots, which never really ended; they just continued in slow motion. “It got decided a long time ago in Detroit,” explained Adolph Mongo, advisor to the jailed former “hip-hop mayor,” Kwame Kilpatrick, that “the city belongs to the black man. The white man was a convenient target until there were no white men left in Detroit.” The upshot, explained Sam Riddle, an advisor to current congressman John Conyers, first elected in 1965, is that “the only difference between Detroit and the Third World in terms of corruption is that Detroit don’t have no goats in the streets.”

  24. August 20, 2014 7:45 am

    Another great quote. I can recall this to be very true when I was living in the ‘Hood. My biggest fear was clearly NOT having a cop car come down the street.

    “JASON RILEY, WALL STREET JOURNAL: We don’t have all the evidence and I’m hesitant to try and litigate this in the press, but there’s also this false narrative being pushed out there by folks like Michael Eric Dyson and [Al] Sharpton and the rest of the hustlers is that black men live in fear of being shot by cops in these neighborhoods. That too is nonsense. I know something about growing up black and male in the inner city and it’s not that hard to avoid getting shot by a cop. They pull you over, you answer their questions, you are on your way.

    The real difficulty is not getting shot by other black people if you are a young black man in these neighborhoods and again that is something we need to talk more about. Cops are not the problem. Cops are not producing these black bodies in the morgues every weekend in Chicago, in New York and Detroit and so forth. That’s not cops. Those other black people shooting black people.”

    • August 20, 2014 7:37 pm

      I lived in a difficult part of town for 7 years after I got married.

      I was never afraid of police coming down the road.

      They didn’t.

      I recall two occasions where knife fights started int he street in front of my home.
      After dialing 911 the rushed fromt he city police station – 3 blocks away – arriving in force 30min AFTER I called 911.

      On another occasion someone managed to hook the bumper of my car and drag it out of its parking space into the middle of the road. The police – who were never there when we needed them – managed to ticket it.

      There are many contributing factors to these problems.
      The police are one of those.

      Some people are going to be criminals no matter what. That is true whether you are black or white. But our government has worked to destroy minority families. It has worked to make unskilled poorly educated minorities unemployable.

      Some people are going to fail no matter what. But some failure is the creation of progressive governance.

      My children are cyber chartered. nearly have the students in their classes are poor minority kids from failed inner city schools. Those students are doing badly.
      But they are doing FAR better than in their local schools.

      Put simply the fact that inner city students can and do get much better educated outside of inner city schools is an indictment of those schools.
      That is a government failure.
      Nor is it a matter of money – those inner city schools have higher cost per student than elsewhere in the state.

      As to police. Most of the police in my city do not live in the city. They certainly do not live in the less well off parts of the city.

      The city has 150 policemen. 3/4 of the city has only one resident that is a police officer.
      They have a SWAT team, a K9 unit mounted police, foot patrols and bicycle units. Half of the city is only patrolled lightly by squad cars, yet that is where the crime is.

      I have a “friend” who is a drug addict. When he is one drugs he will lie, cheat, steal, pretty much anything. He has stolen substantial amounts from each of my parents over the years. He has ripped off numerous others. He has been charged atleast half a dozen times with a wide variety of different types of thefts. He has been arrested repeatedly,
      My wife is a Public Defender. He looks like most of her clients but for two things. He has yet to be convicted – some deal is always worked out. And he is white.

      The police are not the root cause of the problems in our cities. But they are a contributing factor.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 20, 2014 8:00 pm

        You bring up a multitude of situations, all contributing to the racial unrest and crime that occurs in the country in big cities, small towns and rural America.

        Correct me if I am wrong.The one thing that seems to tie all of this together is the decline of the inner city family structure. Without the family structure, there is no discipline. Without discipline, there are no expectations. Without expectations, there is a decline in schooling and education. Without education, the is a decline in income. Without income, there is poverty. With poverty comes a lack of respect for the individual. The lack of respect leads to a decline in personal self value. A lack of personal self value leads to increase children out of wedlock. Increased OoW kids leads to a breakdown of the family structure.

        Up until the early 70’s, inequality was driven by the white man due to segregation. But there was still a strong family structure for the most part in the black community. What has caused the breakdown of the black family when governmental policies were being put into place to help the black achieve.

        Don’t get me wrong, there have been many blacks that have risen to the middle and upper class that most likely would not have reached the level they are at today had it not been for changes made since the middle 60’s, but there are many other conditions that have been created that have caused a decline in the black community. For every black kid that has the drive to get an education, there are 20 that are making fun of them and telling them they won’t be anything so why try.

        That is where government has gone wrong and black progressive leaders have made excuses and blamed people without giving any solutions to the problems.

      • August 21, 2014 12:44 am

        Actually helping others is incredibly difficult. Charities do an abysmal job.
        Gates blew a billion dollars buying mosquito nets for africa and lost ground fighting malaria.
        Give ten dollars to a homeless man on the streets. Do you know whether it will turn into a hot meal or a liquid one ?

        But charities and individuals can act with discretion. They can make choices, they can try to target their charity where they hope it will be most effective.
        Or they can chose not to – it is their money they can waste it if they want.

        Government should not excercise discretion in anything.
        That is by definition the unequal protection of the law.

        We can discuss OoW or other facetts of minority, particularly black problems.
        But I am ONLY concerned about government actions that have excerbated those problems.

        I accept that some people will make good choices with their lives and some bad.
        I also accept we do not live in a perfect meritocracy.
        Bad things happen to good people and visa versa.

        But overall things mostly work out – when left alone. Or atleast work out better than all other means available to us.

        The harms of great society programs are no secret. The benefits of rolling them back proved far greater than even the most hoped. Why we have reversed on that I have no clue.

        I beleive in individual freedom. That means limited government.
        I do not want government to give you a hand out, or a hand up.
        I want it to get rid of idiotic Minimum wage laws that are guaranteed unemployment for low skilled workers.
        I want it to get rid of all regulations – punish harms after the fact. It requires no new law and is far more effective and far less corrupt.
        But most importantly I want to kill off the occupation and zoning laws that prevent minorities from starting their own businesses.

        The way out of poverty is to produce.
        If no one will hire you – make your own job.
        Myriads of professionals have discovered the benefits of self employment as a result of this recession. I want that option to be available to anyone who can conceive of a way to produce something others value.

        I understand the OoW, family etc arguments and probably accept them.
        But the moment you add government needs to act to fix this you have lost me.
        Government created – or atleast had a huge role in creating these problems.
        It needs out. The unintended consequences of government action are devastating.

        Both parties fell over themselve trying to boost home ownership for the lower classes.
        Now we have more renters than ever – with sucky credit who are decades away from being able to buy a home.

        Whatever else you may beleive about the housing and financial crisis, the very people government sought to help got screwed the most.

        As to segregation – government may not apply the law disparately period.
        The equal protection of the law is the only way in which we are equal.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 21, 2014 11:03 am

        Dave..I agree with much of what you have said. My point in the government being involved in finding solutions is not to devise a program in Washington D.C. and then budget billions to pay out to locals that put those programs in place. But I am also not so far Libertarian or so extreme right GOP that I do not believe that the federal government can play a role in helping communities find solutions to problems either.

        Communication can play a key role. How can the federal government help distribute information to localities that have been used in another part of the country that has helped in some ways to reduce racial tensions? How can the federal government collect information from localities that have programs that have worked and get that communicated? How can the federal government collect data on deaths by police before the suspects were in custody and then turn that data into useful information that criminal experts can analyze and find possible changes to police tactics to reduce these deaths? Much like companies that have faced bankruptcy and survived, many survived because the CEO understood he did not have all the answers, but he had the power to pull in his employees and ask for their input into solutions and those suggestions led to the company prospering.

        I do not anticipate our federal government to act in this manner since most of this would not take billions to develop and most anything it does today requires a new agency, many new FTE’s and many dollars to make it happen. Right now all the feds (as well as states) do is get in the way with new regulations that make life more difficult, not better.

      • August 21, 2014 11:39 pm

        I have no objections to government gathering data on how government has suceeded and failed and trying to analyse how to do better within the confines of the legitimate role of government.

        BTW alot of this data already exists.
        As an example we know that crime goes DOWN when the percent of minority police officers increases.
        We know that the initial response to a riot of potential riot is critical.
        Once things have gone to hell doing the “right thing” is nearly useless.

        Law enforcement is absolutely within the legitimate role of government.

        Though I value many of the benefits of federalism – that is a pragmatic not ideological position. Federalism is a particular structure of government. It is not a philosophy of government.

        While I am deeply skeptical of the ability of government to manage itself – even inside of its legitimate sphere. I am not an anarchist and we must do the best we can inside those that legitimately belong to government.

        I will also note, I do not expect perfection. It is not possible.
        I am rejecting arguments that we either have acheived perfection or something close enough to stop.

        I am not as an example rejecting the argument that we need to defer to police.
        I am rejecting the argument that we need to ABSOLUTELY defer to police.
        Total power means total responsibility – that make Ofc. Wilson a murder regardless of the evidence – If we give Ofc. Wilson total control, we give him total reponsibility.
        Most of us grasp Ofc. Wilson does not have total responsibility. That means he can not have total control.

    • August 20, 2014 7:55 pm

      Your right the police are not producing most of the bodies in the morgue.
      Nor are they doing anything to keep those people alive.

      The only time people in most of the neighborhoods in my city see a police officer is when they are trying to arrest them for something. The “law abiding citizens” do not trust the police, they have never been there when they need them. The police have no clue how the neighborhoods actually work, who the real good guys and real bad guys are. The police have done nothing to earn the trust of these people – and BTW most of them are law abiding citizens, and tax payers who are entitled to be safe in their homes.
      Few if any of them think of the police as being their to protect and serve.

      Further we have watched the operation of the local city police practically from the inside.
      I have numerous friends that are “former” police. The good guys, those that play by the rules – do not get promoted, and tend not to be trusted by the rest.
      Re-read serpico. Nothing has changed. I doubt – or atleast pretend that my local police are not on the take. Still they are corrupt. They are not out their serving the community. They are out their serving themselves. The worst instance of police brutality in our city occured when some guy made the mistake of dating an officers daughter without his permission. Eleven officers broke into his apartment, beat the crap out of him and sicced the police fog on him. The poor schmuck was eventually convicted of assaulting the police dog – you are not allowed to defend yourself.

      You will find that is common in instances of police abuse of power. It is essential to convict the victim of something. Most states have laws that prohibit suing the police as a result of any incident in which you are convicted of anything – no matter how minor.

      The police are not stupid. They know the law – they particularly know how to bend the law to their purposes.

      Do you know that if you shove a police officer, in most states that is “aggrevated assault” ? Do you know ho trivial it is for a police officer to create circumstances where someone must shove them ? Or to invent them if necescary ?

      I have heard those I would have considered the good cops, tell me stories about how they tweaked some guy they thought was an asshole until they were able to provoke him into some mistake sufficient to charge them with something.

      You are safe from the police only because again they are smart. They do not USUALLY apply these techniques to “citizens” ordinary relatively law abiding white folk.
      But piss one off enough because – he has had a bad day, or you have and you could find yourself in jail for aggrevated assault.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 20, 2014 8:11 pm

        And because the federal government does not seem to be interested in working to find solutions to these problems, I would bet there are many instances where the FBI can be accused of the same tactics, but the feds are much better at hiding what they are doing.

        But the one thing that I still find confusing. Most all big cities have a black mayor or a white ultra liberal progressive mayor. Some, like LA has a hispanic mayor. Also very progressive liberal. If these problems exist in the minority communities, are they not hearing these stories and if they are why are they not doing something about it. Thats what those assholes are elected to do.

        Maybe the minorities need to look at who they are electing before trying to fix a problem!!

      • August 20, 2014 9:33 pm

        I think Detroit is an good test case here. If there are NO white folks left to run the government and who live in Detroit and it still fails, can it be attributed to racism?

        Are Africa’s legendary problems due to racism?

        I think this is a valid question.

        Perhaps, segregation IS the answer?

      • August 21, 2014 1:11 am

        Thomas Sowell
        Walter Williams.

      • August 21, 2014 12:51 am

        Another reason we need less federal government.

        Government should not choose winners and losers.
        Not among individuals, not among businesses, not among states, and not among cities.

        One aspect of federalism I likely agree with JB on is competition is good.
        Competiton between companies, states, even cities.

        Failure is actually important. It is how we purge the bad and the inefficient.
        Saving cities, banks, public pensions, states from failure reduces learning and creates a huge moral hazard.

        Most investors will tell you learn when to take your losses.
        Rebuilding is not nearly so hard as we all imagine.
        But trying to refloat a sinking ship is usually a disaster.

      • August 21, 2014 8:04 am


      • August 20, 2014 9:28 pm


        For God’s sakes, get on some medication. It might help.\

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 20, 2014 10:45 pm

        Dave, I am not sure what point you are making here, other than that you really, really don’t like cops. Are you saying that there should be more black cops, that white cops are all racists, that we should not have cops….what?

        So, you have seen a lot of bad cops, so has your wife, and you’ve made sure that your son will consider all cops to be abusive racists. And this should convince the rest of us that…..what?

        You’ve said that you increasingly believe that Darren Wilson may have been forced to shoot at Michael Brown. But that he should never have “confronted” him….like, you mean, he should have let him and his thug buddy walk in the middle of the street and block traffic, so as not to piss off a black kid who doesn’t like cops? Or what?

      • August 21, 2014 2:06 am

        Wow talk about misreading.

        And you accuse me of a binary view of the world.

        I see police as they are and wish to construct a system that will actually work with ordinary fallible human beings.

        I do not presume that police are better or worse than any other group of people.
        But I do grasp that they have been vested with power that is beyond their ability to excercise.

        Power corrupts, it corrupts pretty much everywhere.

        Corruption does not always manifest itself in the same way. t is still corruption.

        Police are an essential aspect of society. They are one of few legitimate excercises of government power.

        But because we have expected too much of them and given them more power than they can honestly wield, they have failed.

        Discrimination is an integral and necessary part of human nature. It is an important part of how we succeed. But it is an anathema in government.

        As to my son. I have told him pretty much exactly what your WaPo officer said,
        mouth off or show the slightest sign of aggression to a police officer and you may spend the night in jail or worse end up dead.

        The only difference is that you and that officer think that is the way the world should be.

        Further you and he fail to grasp that your model only works if the police are angels.
        It is irrelevant whether I have seen more bad cops that you.
        Frankly, all I have seen is that the police are ordinary humans, and respond to power as humans normally do, by abusing it. There are a few really good ones, and a few really bad ones. The overwhelming majority are in between.

        The overwhelming majority are NOT people that you would blindly trust with your life.
        The are NOT the people you would put in charge.
        They are NOT the people you would want making split second life and death decsions about you.

        That does not make most of them vile or evil. It just makes them normal people.

        Where is it you think the police come from ?
        We require substantially more education of those who teach our children.
        Generally they are required not to have a criminal record. That is about it.
        That is slightly higher than the minimum requirements to rent an apartment from me

      • August 21, 2014 8:12 am

        Oh, you see cops “as they really are.” Really, that means that you must be all knowing and all seeing.

        You know, therapists have a word (diagnosis) for this:

      • August 21, 2014 9:38 pm

        The ad homimen is tedious, and honestly reflects poorly on you.

        My mental health is excellent. That you are bothered is YOUR problem, not mine.

        I am not blind to the flaws in our policing, nor idiotic enough to beleive a scheme that starts with presumptions that can not work, is somehow going to.

        You criticise progessive for exactly the idiocy that you are advocating now.

        Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely
        Lord Acton

        If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.
        James Madison

        I do not presume that the police are evil. But I do understand that power will corrupt absent strong restraints and checks.

        Just as the citizens of Ferguson need Law enforcement to avoid anarchy and lawlessness, so do the police need “auxilary precaustions” to avoid abuse of power and corruption.

        You seem to beleive that you can grant police unlimited power and expect they will behave well.

        If that is true of the police why is it not true of HHS or The President ?

      • August 21, 2014 9:59 pm

        Again, I suggest therapy.

      • August 21, 2014 2:14 am

        At the time Wilson encountered Brown all that he knew about him was that he was jaywalking.

        Yes, rather than confront two black teens over jaywalking he should have gone on to something more serious, or called for backup.

        This is part of what is wrong with your WaPo officer.

        You want to fly into a box canyon and then decide it is ok to go nuclear to get yourself out of a problem of your own creation.

        I do not pretend the world is perfect. There will always be instances where problems must be dealt with under less than optimal conditions.

        This was not one of those.

        Lets presume that Ofc. Wilson had received the call that Brown had just robbed a store.
        Should have have approached this in the same way ?

        We all grasp that police will be forced into circumstances where they will need to threaten or actually use force more frequently than most of us.

        That is not a reason to seek out those circumstances.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 21, 2014 11:16 am

        Dave you comment: “At the time Wilson encountered Brown all that he knew about him was that he was jaywalking.

        Yes, rather than confront two black teens over jaywalking he should have gone on to something more serious, or called for backup.”

        I have not seen reported, other than he was walking in the middle of the street, as to the conditions that were being encountered during this “jaywalking”. Since you make the point that all they were doing was jaywalking and should have gone on to something more serious, I take it he was on a side street away from the main drag where the store that he robbed was located and that there was no traffic on that road that was encountering his being in the middle of the road.

        Is that correct? This could make a difference in my thinking about the incident. If he was on a road with traffic, then he was a direct threat to traffic and himself, but if he was in a residential area with no traffic, then what’s the big deal?

      • August 21, 2014 11:29 am

        I think the issue here is the same. Nobody knows this but Brown (dead) the officer (in hiding for safety’s sake) and the witnesses (compromised?).

        That has not stopped Dave from creating a scenario in his mind, which comes right out of his “police state” comment. The media has done same, based on their bias.

        From the start, I think I have been consistent on this point. We don’t know and won’t know for a long time, if at all.

        To me, nothing about this is settled and none of it is “generalizable” to the entire nation.

        OK, Dave, back to you.

      • August 22, 2014 12:06 am

        I will be happy to agree that there are early facts we have in at best sketchy form, but that does not mean we will never have them.

        But even the absence of facts does not make it impossible to analyze.
        In broad strokes there are not alot of possibilities

        The matter was trivial.
        The matter was not trivial, but grew beyond Wilson’s abiltiy to handle alone.
        Brown was obviously dangerous from the start.

        The first and last are obvious errors on the part of Wilson.
        Nor does it matter where you define the borders between 1,2,or 3.

        Only the 2nd is tricky. But the second requires re-assessment at each new step.

        To get to the outcome we have without Wilson making an error, you have to have a situation where every single decision/action on Wilson’s part from the initial conflict until Wilson has lost control and has no choice but defend himself falls into catagory 2.

        We solve problems all the time with incomplete knowledge.
        It is not lack of knowledge that is usually the big problem analyzing problems, it is false assumptions.

      • August 22, 2014 7:05 am

        This is tiresome. If you want to “solve problems” with incomplete knowledge, you are certainly free to do that.

        Not sure what that gets you but you must have a lot of free time on your hands.
        Let us know how that works out for you Dave.

      • August 24, 2014 10:25 am

        There is no such thing as complete knowledge.

      • August 24, 2014 10:33 am

        Never said there was complete knowledge nor even implied it. What we are dealing with now, however, is incomplete and contradictory information from unknown sources. Rumor, innuendo and agenda all shape what is hitting the airwaves. You can find “facts” right now to support any theory you have.

        At some point, the folks who actually are charged with gathering this info will declare that they are “done” and I hope, it will be shared widely and impartially.

        That will have to be “good enough” given the reality of it all.

        I suspect (but don’t know) that will be a bit better info than we have now.

      • August 25, 2014 3:43 pm

        I would sugest becoming more familiar with our criminal justice system and courts,
        The “information” we have right now is about what is normally presented to a jury in court.

        “What we are dealing with now, however, is incomplete and contradictory information from unknown sources. Rumor, innuendo and agenda all shape what is hitting the airwaves. You can find “facts” right now to support any theory you have.”

        That is the norm – it is even true outside of criminal justice in say – science.

        Further there is no such thing as impartiality of agenda free.
        Again a reason you do not give police absolute power or authority, nor limit them merely by subjecting them to friendly over-site.
        If you want a police force that you can trust they need to be answerable to forces they do not trust.

        Ultimately we are going to have to make decisions based on less than perfect information.
        Contrary to your assertions that is not a crime.
        Even a part of the investigation is determining based on the poor information we start with what directions to persue.

        Regardless, the information regarding most of the matters I am interested in is reasonably well established.

        Whether Wilson as an individual officer acted in self defense or not is not particularly interesting to me. And if people were honest. not meaningful to them. At best the bad behavior on the part of Wilson has broader meaning because Wilson was hired.

        Issues concerning the police as a whole, policies, etc. have nothing to do with whether as an individual Wilson was justified in shooting Brown in Self defense.

        Why Ferguson and other Police are serving alone, what circumstances backup is called, how police are expected to handle confrontation are the factors I care about and are effected very little by the details we do not know.

        Do you really care whether Wilson murdered Brown or acted in self defense ?
        How are Wilson’s individual actions of national significance ?

        Presuming Wilson actually murdered Brown – is that really what we care about ?
        Black Teens are murdered every day.

        Even the fact that Wilson is white, and Brown black is still a minor matter.

        This has national attention because of the possibility that the police as a whole are somehow biased against minorities.

        That is what we are fighting over. Though I am more concerned because the over emphasis on the self-interest of the police has driven us to a police state.

        Regardless the important issues have little to do with the events of the last few seconds of Brown’s life os knowing those in greater detail is not particularly interesting to me.

        Whether Wilson is exonerated or executed has little bearing on my life or most anyone else’s.
        Whether the police change their behavior and relation to the community is far important.

      • August 21, 2014 11:55 pm

        While I would agree with you that the less dangerous Brown’s jaywalking was the less reasonable Wilson’s response was lets assume the exact opposite.

        Lets assume that instead of Jaywalking Brown was in the middle of the road with a rifle sniping at cars.

        In that extreme scenario the FIRST thing Wilson should have done was call for backup.

        Beyond that at this time the early parts of this are sketchy.

        There was apparently some exchange of words.
        I beleive I have read that Wilson tried to exit his vehicle and had the door slammed on him by Brown.
        I beleive I have read that Wilson somehow managed to get Brown atleast partway into the back of the cruiser before something happened and Brown escaped.
        But even these “facts” are subject to revision.

        I do not know whether Wilson should have completely ignored Brown and moved on.
        But Wilson chose a middle ground – between ignoring Brown and calling for help.
        Even that might have been plausible initialliy.

        But there are multiple thresholds here
        when is it necescary to call for help,
        When is it best under the circumstances to ignore minor bad behavior,
        and when is it best to back down sufficiently to bring circumstances under control.

        Wilson got into trouble because he beleived his ability to control circumstances was greater than it was. That is an error of judgment

        A major part of my disagreement with JB and JB’s WaPo editorial, is that it drives relentlessly towards exactly that error.

      • August 22, 2014 7:03 am

        Let’s assume.

        “First of all. assume a ladder.”

        I love that joke.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 20, 2014 11:09 pm

        One last question – If Michael Brown had been a 6’4″, 300 lb stoned white kid who robbed a store, assaulted a cop, then charged at the cop, do you believe things would have ended differently?

      • August 21, 2014 9:22 am

        That does not matter much to me.

        I think police officers efforts to be in total control, increase the probability of violent confrontation. I think the internal prejudices of the officer and the person confronted alter the probability.

        To be clear I do not beleive that the majority of police are overtly prejudice, and I do not think we should be attempting to crush the last bits of internal prejudices out of people.

        But I do think we can alter polices, procedure and the law.
        The results will not be perfect. It is possible that more police will die in the line of duty and fewer citizens – right now the ratio is about 1:10.
        Nor am I just concerned about confrontations that end in death.

        Further this is about more than the offs of violence.
        The police are useless if the community they serve does not trust them – worse if they view them as the enemy.

        I have a question regarding Ferguson. At the moment the people of Ferguson have essentially chosen anarchy, rather than a paramilitary police force.
        While I think that is a poor choice – why can’t they choose that ?
        By what right can we impose our conception of policing on a different community ?

        Regardless of whether they want anarchy or not, why can’t the people of Ferguson have the policing they choose ?

        Why is a 2/3 black community ruled by a 95% white police force ?

        We actually know that increasing the minority participation in a police force significantly reduces crime.

        If we must impose police on a community to reduce crime – shouldn’t we impose the police force that is most effective at that ?

  25. Priscilla permalink
    August 20, 2014 9:12 am

    Ron, I’m responding to your comment in a new thread, because the other one was starting to suffer from “narrow WordPress window syndrome”…..

    “But here again, who really expects the government to be proactive to head off problems. It has always been reactive after the problem exist and then it is much harder to fix.”

    I would go a step further, in the case of Ferguson, and say that this government HAS been proactive in Ferguson, but its purpose has been to inflame and divide, for political advantage. I asked in an earlier thread why Eric Holder is now taking charge of the investigation of Officer Wilson……my guess is that the mounting evidence shows that the police officer was justified in using deadly force, because he had good reason to believe that his life was in danger. Holder needs to make sure that this evidence stays suppressed, until additional evidence implicating Wilson in the murder of an innocent is “discovered.”

    I have no illusions about how cops can operate to make sure that their arrests stick. And there are plenty of bad cops, and plenty of lazy cops. And we need to find ways to get rid of them….although PBA unions make that difficult, just as teachers unions protect bad teachers.
    And, certainly, the good cops need to be better trained, especially those who work in inner cities, where the “anti-cop” mentality has helped to contaminate and poison relations between the citizens and the police.

    • August 20, 2014 10:51 am

      Holder, you mean the former Black Panther? What makes you think he would do such a thing?

  26. August 20, 2014 12:04 pm

    Indeed, it is. I can tell you as someone who has ridden both style of bikes, the differences in risk is profound. High-siding (as it is known) is pretty much a ticket to the morgue.

  27. August 20, 2014 12:05 pm

    Here is one of my favorite people and one of his best quotes. This one is for Dave:

    “Facts do not speak for themselves. They speak for or against competing theories. Facts divorced from theories or visions are mere isolated curiosities.”

    Thomas Sowell


    • August 21, 2014 12:05 am

      I have a theory that I test my facts against – The same theory Sowell espouses.

      You have offered a theory but not even committed to believing it.
      You will note I am making less and less presumptions about what you say – I am no longer even presuming you beleive what you say, lest you later accuse me of misrepresenting you.

      • August 21, 2014 8:02 am

        And you still have a problem with reading comprehension. I keep making my posts shorter in hopes you will not misconstrue.

        Alas, that has failed as well,.

      • August 21, 2014 10:20 am

        And your short posts are devoid of anything meaningful.
        They are snark and ad homimen, not argument.

      • August 21, 2014 10:23 am

        And yet, you reply to them, at length. So, what does that say about you that might prove useful in your life?

  28. August 20, 2014 1:48 pm

    Perhaps we should drop copies Amy’s book over Ferguson?

  29. August 20, 2014 3:30 pm

    Hey Dave,

    This guy has a bit more credibility than you do.

    Read and learn:

    • August 20, 2014 11:44 pm

      Your officer makes my case perfectly.

      “if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. ”

      How is it that I I said exactly that to you, a cop or anyone else that I would not immediately be labeled a fascist ?

      Sorry, it is actually his job to deal with all the crap. We do have laws that say you must do precisely what police officers ask – even if it is wrong or illegal.
      Yet we did not accept that at Nuremberg.

      I will not disagree that the wise choice is not to mouth off to a cop.

      But where we part company is that it is not a crime to behave stupidly.

      The police are entitled to use force in defense of themselves and in defense of others.
      That is it. They are not entitled to use force merely because you are uncooperative or verbally abusive.

      Further the officer in question demonstrates his own psychological ignorance.

      Of course it is scary to be stopped by a police officer – it is more than scary – it ramps up all your emotions. That is precisely the circumstances when many, posibly most people are likely to respond in EXACTLY the way this officer is demanding we do not.

      In fact he is doing PRECISELY what he is telling YOU not to do.
      Just like you he is scared. The police officers response to his fear – both a natural and taught one, is to seek to take control – and he openly admits that.

      Any actually smart police officer would grasp that is PRECISELY what many of the people they confront are going to seek to do.

      The greatest risk is when two strong willed and scared individuals confront each other and neither attempts to defuse the situation.

      You attribute “expert” status to the police officer – well if the officer is the “expert” the professional – then the BURDEN is on them to be able to manage the situation without violence. They are supposed to be trained, they are supposed to have more experience.

      They are supposed to be the ones capable of managing a difficult and tense situation without losing control and resorting to violence.

      Then your expert goes on to note their are bully cops. DUH !!

      I am glad he sides with the ACLU. Counting him that makes 1 officer in the country.
      But atleast he grasp that some cops are bullies – you do not even grasp that.

      If you are going to give cops this absolute power you are intent on, then you damn well better purge the bullies. Actually you better restrict police to only angels.

      Then this officer goes on to make exactly the same arguments I have been making – all police should be wearing body camera’s

      Past that he goes into a bunch of assertions that are the state of the law – mostly honored in breach.

      Of course you can refuse a search – and a police officer can lie to you – and they absolutely will.
      There is pretty much no instance in which a pat down search will not be allowed.
      And there are lots of ordinary things that a police officer can find in a pat down that will justify further searching. If you have a weapon – then a search of your vehicle is permitted.
      A weapon can be as little as a ball point pen of finger nail clippers.
      Even absent finding something it takes very little for a police officer to have probable cause to search your care for a weapon – even if you are out of the car, and that pretty much means they can search nearly the entire car.

      Of course an officer must release you if you ask if you are free to go and he has no further basis for detaining you. Next time you are confronted see how well that works.

      As to arguing with police. Sometimes works sometimes does not. Depends on how good your arguments are. I have had several completely bogus traffic stops.
      I wrote about purportedly running the red light above – thank god for the cities surveilance camera’s. I was also pulled over for speeding when I was provably not.
      Instead the officer cited me for a bad taillight made me sit for an hour – and said he was making me sit purely because he would lose if he cited me for speeding but he was going to punish my attitude.

      So apparently my choices were apparently behave docily and pay a huge fine and points for a violation I did not commit – or risk going to court – more time and expense on the chance I can win there, or angrily articulate to the officer who made it clear he did nto want to hear a thing I said, that I was not speeding and could prove it ?

      Do you think that others do nto deal with similar circumstances all the time ?
      Do you think they are all as able to articulate themselves ?
      Do you think that only those who are articluate or can afford expensive lawyers are entitled to justice ?

      Yes, I do not know what is in the police officers mind.
      Nor does he know what is in mine.

      Do you know how many people are assaulted and robbed by fake cops every year ?
      Do you know how easy it is today to impersonate a police officer ?
      Do you know how many people are assaulted by real police officers ?

      There is usually one officer in my county every couple of years convicted of raping teenage girls usually at traffic stops. Usually they get away with this for years until they are caught.

      It is pure idiocy to demand that the public must always subordinate their judgement to a police officer. Particularly when there is no certainty that one is encountering a real cop, or a rogue cop or a cop who has had a shitty day.

      Finally – no there is no entitlement of anyone to the respect of another.
      Tolerance, yes, but respect is something earned, it is not a right.
      It is not mine merely by virtue of citizenship, nor the officers by virtue of his job.

      As to waiting to report bad behavior on the part of the police – good luck with that.
      How often do you think that works out ? That is just a route to even worse trouble and possibly jail.

      You and the officer posting this editorial are incredibly naive.

  30. August 20, 2014 5:21 pm

    Now ABC News reports that Officer Wilson suffered a fractured eye socket moments before he shot Mike Brown. So this wasn’t simply a “scuffle”; Brown assaulted Wilson. I wonder if this news will surface on CNN.

    We still don’t know for sure if Brown was surrendering or attacking when Wilson fired the shots, but this news really makes me question the validity of the three accounts from black eyewitnesses. I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m still disappointed that they’d lie to cover for one of their own. It could be that they genuinely didn’t see Brown hitting Wilson, but I have my doubts.

    Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson seemed like an honest guy; I’m coming to the conclusion that people see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear, especially if it helps them preserve the narrative in their head.

    • August 20, 2014 5:32 pm

      Gee, it looks like (maybe) the media once again, got the narrative all wrong.

      Man, who saw this coming?

      • August 20, 2014 11:31 pm

        Not a word on CNN so far (I’ve watched for several hours today) about Wilson sustaining a broken eye socket at the hands of Brown. It might ruin their narrative. And I still haven’t heard anything in the MSM about Dorian Johnson changing his story. I have to wonder if that was a hoax, but Wilson’s injuries definitely aren’t.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 20, 2014 11:40 pm

        Doing a search now on “dorian johnson recants” provides many resulting links. ALL from conservative publications or blogs.

      • August 21, 2014 9:50 am

        There is also a media story – purportedly based on official statements that Wilson was injured trying to get Brown into the Cruiser, that Brown “escaped” and was fleeing when the first shot was fired, and THEN turned to come after Wilson.

        There is alot of fog and misinformation here. and I am more interested in how this started than how it ended.

        The media will eventually run everything. But they are always likely to run the most inflamitory information first and loudest.

        “If it bleeds it leads” is not some progressive credo. While I think the press deliberately buries stories about the minor mis deeds and mis statements of those on the left while turning the same remarks by someone on the right into clearly racist of mysoginist or …

        Still the media is going to take a collision between two bicycles and play it into the crash of the century if they have nothing bigger to report.

      • August 21, 2014 10:20 am

        We agree once again.

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 20, 2014 11:47 pm

      Talk about the “fog of war”….ain’t nothin’ compared to this. It may be cynical (well, it is cynical), but I’m thinking that keeping the “fog” going for a couple more months may help energize the Democrat base to get out and vote. After all, the only downside is the ruination of a small city.

      • August 21, 2014 9:58 am

        I beleive that democrats have a serious political problem coming.

        Most of those of us who vote – particularly off year, chose to.
        If we sit out an election it is because there is no one worth voting for.
        If we are voting because we are angry it is not manufacturered anger, it is smoldering anger that mostly came from our own values and observations.

        The left has done well in 2008 and 2012 because of circumstances such as the financial crisis, or a charasmatic and historical candidate, or because GOTV operations whipped their base to a fevered pitch. That is not sustainable, and unlikely to last.

        More recent democratic political efforts have focused on fomenting splits in the GOP, or supressing republican votes.

        While I have zero problems with that – if Harry Reid wants to send democratic funds to Tea Party candidates in the hope of splitting the GOP – that is fine with me,
        it still portends a coming problem.

      • August 21, 2014 10:20 am

        I hope you are right. Lesser of two evils.

      • August 21, 2014 11:07 pm

        I did not vote for Romney, but my crystal ball had the election closer than it turned out.

        So I would take my political analysis with a huge grain of salt.

        I think there is a strong sense that the nation is in the midst of some serious political upheaval. This does not happen often.

        There was a great opportunity in 2009 for democrats to shift the electorate their direction for decades – all they needed to do was succeed. They squandered that opportunity.
        Distrust of government is at an all time high.
        It is my sense that progressivism is seen as a failure by the largest portion of the electorate ever.
        McCain’s and Romney’s losses have destabilized the power structure of the GOP.
        Whether it is the ascendance of the Tea Party or libertarian republicans, the power structure of the GOP is changing. Exactly where that will end is indeterminate.
        It is unlikely that a single group or even a small coalition will totally dominate.
        At this time the GOP can not win control of government purely as a libertarian or TP party.
        At the same time there is a dramatic shift.

        Abortion is mostly resolved. Republicans politically have adopted Clintons mantra – legal but rare.
        The fight over gay rights is nearly over. Frankly the right has been eviscerated. They have lost the few fights they should have won. It is now acceptable to demonized people for even holding the view that marraige is between a man and a woman, and to force business owners to violate their views on that issue.
        Drug legalization in some form will come gradually. The fundimental obstacle being how to deal with the distruption to law enforcement.
        Republicans are increasingly the visible party of opposition to crony capitolism.

        These as well as a number of other shifts, move the GOP towards the center.

        At the same time the public is shifting right (except on those issues the GOP is shifting left).

        The response of democrats has not been to adjust their own policies, but in coordination with the media to become ever more shrill and demonizing.
        This has worked better than I would have expected, but it is a horrible long term strategy.

        I do nto know exactly how this all will settle out, but I think we are looking at a political re-arrangement possibly as large as that during the great depression.

    • August 21, 2014 12:08 am

      Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable.
      People need not be lying to be wrong.
      Further the same actions can appear completely different from various vantage points.

      Sometimes it is all we have, but we should be careful how much trust we place in it.

    • August 20, 2014 6:08 pm

      I hope that’s the case, but we need to hear it from a reliable source. (We know Brown hit Wilson; we just won’t know for sure if Dorian Johnson changed his account unless a credible source steps forward.) Also, we still don’t know if Brown was attacking or surrendering when he was shot.

      I really hope it turns out that Brown was charging him; it might (maybe, we can pray) make the protesters — and maybe even the mainstream media — reconsider the “white cop kills innocent black teen” story and cause the protests to wind down.

      Then again, maybe not. The story could become “Why have black youths been forced to turn violent by white society?”

      • August 20, 2014 6:51 pm

        Yes, I predict that whatever actually happened, this will have to in some way be “our” fault. It’s like original sin, but for us, apparently, there is NO redemption no matter what.

        Such is life. I will lose no sleep over it either way.

        We Catholics are looking forward to meeting Jesus anyway.

      • August 21, 2014 12:20 am

        I am curious about the “our fault” reference.

        You expect the minority community in Ferguson to grasp that Brown is not them.
        But you are presuming that if blame falls on Ofc. Wilson it also falls on you.
        I grasp that the left will attempt to foist it on you, but you need not claim it ahead of time.

        Brown’s acts are Brown’s acts, they are not representative of all black’s.
        Wilson’s acts are his own.

        While I grasp better than you and have argued that there is some elements of racism in law enforcement.

        I am more interested in establishing bright lines and rolling back the excessive deference and power we give police.

        I think if we enforce individual rights, we will not need to pretend their are social rights or special group rights.

      • August 20, 2014 9:25 pm

        Sad but true. At least I don’t have to feel guilty, since I’m now a “former white guy.” What a world, eh?

      • August 20, 2014 9:41 pm

        You are not kidding.

  31. Ron P permalink
    August 20, 2014 11:16 pm

    Watching the coverage of the police actions in Ferguson, I find it very interesting that the head of the Missouri HP in that area was brought in to take over control of the community. He wanted the police to stand down and the first night that seemed to work. Now the police are back to their “strong arm tactics” as some call it because their “hugs and kisses” have not worked.

    And that lead officer is BLACK. So now what do they blame policing tactics on???

    And by the way, another black male was shot and killed by police just a few miles from the Ferguson shooting. Wonder if Obama and Holder will investigate that one. They are in the area already. Like I said earlier, a dead black male is a dead black male, no difference.

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 20, 2014 11:30 pm

      Please, Ron. Michael Brown was special, a “gentle giant,” just graduated from HS, ready to start college on Monday. Just stealin’ a box of cigars to make into blunts that he could toke up during his last few days of idyllic summer vacay in the ‘hood. He was not in anyway responsible for his actions when that mean cop told him to get off the sidewalk. I mean, I would have tried to punch the cop’s lights out myself if he had told me that…maybe even have tried to take his gun. I mean, why should cops have guns anyway? They just use them to kill innocent kids…. I totally get why mobs are throwing Molotov cocktails at these cops.

      Well, maybe the St. Louis shooting was bad too, but poor Al Sharpton can only be in one place at a time.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 20, 2014 11:31 pm

        get “on” the sidewalk

    • August 21, 2014 9:28 am

      Once the rioting started it is very hard to bring things back under control.
      As with Wilson’s confrontation with Brown decisions that seemed uncontroversial at the start heavily influenced subsequent events.

      In my community Brown’s “strong robbery” would have been treated as shoplifting and unless the clerk was injured or it was a third offence would not likely have resulted in jail time. Brown would have been hit with fines and costs, and been attending that technical school right now.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 21, 2014 11:39 am

        “Once the rioting started it is very hard to bring things back under control.”
        You reinforce my point. The Ferguson police were chastised for coming down too strong the night the riots broke out, but nothing was said when the Black HP commander used the same tactics later.

        And this is different from the problem that the Ferguson residents may have with their police department. One led to the other, but once it started, why chastise one policeman in charge and not the other?

      • August 22, 2014 12:15 am

        The HP tried to use softer power to defuse things initially, but by that point it was too late.

  32. August 21, 2014 1:02 am

    no reflection necessary. I do not care what you think of me.

    What I care about is the extent to which your intelligent responses can impact my own thought. Unfortunately those are few and far between.

    I do this alot in a number of places. You are not the first person to offer snarky responses.
    Though nearly all those who resort to that tend to be progressives.
    I am still trying to understand you. You make mostly conservative arguments, but you are authoritarian and statist. Not a combination I see much.

    • August 21, 2014 8:06 am

      I care about your approval not one whit. Ditto on the “labelling” of my views.

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 21, 2014 8:16 am

      Dave, I suppose that I have lost the thread of whatever argument you have been trying to make. A little further up, I asked you to identify what that argument was, specific to this Ferguson issue, and commented that I all I could read into your comments was a strong and somewhat irrational antipathy toward police in general, whether they were ‘good or bad.’ And, all of a sudden, you are talking about “my WaPo officer.” Washington Post? That one was lost on me.

      Anyway, I have agreed with you on a few points – most importantly, that the growing militarization of police forces and government agencies (which I added into the mix) is unnecessary and often dangerous. Seeing your local police force in full riot gear, complete with camo-pants and gas masks is not the kind of sight that is going to encourage you to teach your toddler to “ask that nice man in blue to help you cross the street.”

      As far as the “confrontation” that led to the shooting of Michael Brown – my reading of the accounts was that Brown and the other kid, were walking in the street….not crossing the street outside of the crosswalk, which is what I would normally call “jaywalking,” but sauntering out in the part of the street where they could potentially block cars or get hit. I don’t know about you, but I have seen this, when driving through cities….young guys, who fancy themselves to be pretty darn scary, intentionally causing drivers to have to slow way down and give them the road. And, to be honest, if it is late at night (which this was not) and this happens, it actually can be pretty darn scary. So, I guess the fact that Wilson told them to get onto the sidewalk and stop blocking traffic, seemed to me like a reasonable thing for a cop to do. I do not see all cops as authoritarian bad guys, although plenty are.

      As far as whether Wilson knew about the robbery, I think that that fact is in dispute. You say he did not. I have read that the call, along with the description of the suspect, came through as the “jaywalking incident was happening. I guess we have to wait and see. I have also read that Wilson DID call for backup, but, again, I don’t know.

      • August 21, 2014 8:22 am


        Dave knows pretty much everythihg right down to what you and I chatted about in English class. What was the name of that very small English teacher (looked kind of like a bulldog?).

        I can’t remember exactly, but we can consult Dave if we can’t fetch that detail from our memory.

      • August 21, 2014 9:44 pm

        The response refering to “my WaPo” officer was (supposed) to be a reply to the post of JB linking to an article by a police officer in WaPo.

        This is a blog so anyone can read it. But I was not responding to you. I can not tell from the blog threading whether I accidentally replied to you – I try hard to keep my replies straight. If so I appologize.

        I sometimes disgree with points you make, but you respond politely.

        I am not sure what the value of a blog is, if not to debate issues.
        It would be awfully boring if all everyone did was agree.

  33. August 21, 2014 8:39 am

    Dr. Sowell on point, as usual.

    Oh wait, I bet he did not check with Dave on this before submitting.

    • August 21, 2014 9:48 pm

      Dr. Sowell seems to be repeating exactly the same points that nearly everyone here agrees on.

      He does not see to have addressed at all those we disagree on.

      • August 21, 2014 10:02 pm

        I guess he doesn’t read out blog. Too bad, he could help us out.

  34. Roby L permalink
    August 21, 2014 9:27 am

    Well, there is really no place here for a moderate. Call me when the Obama admin is over, though it may take a few more years after that for the swelling to go down and the reflex to see the entire world through the lens of anti-Obama to calm down. Anyhow that is how it went with those with the W Bush denial syndrome.

    What a truly sad year, balkanization everywhere, abroad and at home, always someone else is the culprit for it. Every ideological, racial, religious etc. community should just put up some real or metaphysical snipers to shoot the outsiders.

    On this one I have no sympathy for the dead man or the rioters. I think the officer was scared shitless and had the worst day of his life and the idea that Obama is gong to somehow sacrifice him is laughable, just plain loony actually. I do have a lot of sympathy for the decent people who are in the majority in places like Ferguson watching their town burn down. The inner cities and their environs contain far too many people for anything but a tiny percentage to just move to some decent place. They are trapped, as a group.

    I have no sympathy for the idea that the cops should just let anyone mug people and then walk down the middle of the road, but other than that, while I have not read all the comments, its only Dave here who is making an attempt to be objective in any way. The rest that I have read is just the predictable balkanization of Obamaphobes, and JB making a personal attacks that no one seems to mind.

    We need a new New Moderate for moderates. Yech.

    • August 21, 2014 10:17 am

      Late to the party. I suggest you re-read the posts. Dave is actually the LEAST objective of the posters. He convicted the cops right out of the block. Apparently, Dave lives in a police state.

      As far as personal attacks, I am trying to help Dave. He has serious issues and I am not the only one thinking that I bet.

      • Roby L permalink
        August 21, 2014 10:34 am

        I was not entirely fair, I will admit, the conversation started well with thoughtful and objective comments by all. It then slowly ran of the rails and gathered momentum in the direction of the usual wild suspicions on Obama, which is the most of what I read. So, guilty of oversimplification I am.

        As usual I do not agree with Dave’s overall argument, but he makes many good points on the way. I believe that he has repeatedly said here that Wilson cannot be convicted of any crime, which at this point seems very clear to me. He has dissected the general police tactics, and he has some reasonable points there. You have to take Dave a source of data and interesting ideas and accept that he lives in a different universe regarding the line at which freedom is drawn.

        A lot of the going off the rail seems to involve to entities named CNN and Fox. I don’t know them personally but they seem to be entities that get people wildly angry and at each other in order to generate advertising revenue. What, hypothetically, would it be like if one simply just did not turn predictably use partisan throwers of red meat as a news source and went fishing instead?

        I am also trying to help. I see that people here have decent impulses as a starting point, see the early posts, and then get caught up in the madness provided by partisan outlets. For gods sake, find other pleasurable outlets and stick with your basic human decency.

      • August 21, 2014 11:23 pm

        So articulate a different line limiting freedom.

      • August 21, 2014 10:26 pm

        You accuse me of misreading your posts and then blatantly do the same to mine.

        I have REPEATEDLY said Based on the facts available at this moment it appears that Ofc. Wilson shooting of Brown was justified. Absent some significant change he should not even be charged.

        What I have asked all you you to consider is that this is not binary.
        There is a HUGE difference between Ofc. Wilson is not a killer and Ofc. Wilson and/or the Ferguson police could not have handled this better.

        That view may not be shared by any here – though apparently it is shared by a plurality of people – apparently most people do not think jaywalking – or even aggrevated shoplifting should result in a death sentence.

        You claim that the police are the experts in law enforcement – then it is their job to minimize the necescity of using deadly force. It is their job – even if the other party is has mential health issues, even if …. In this and numerous other instances every day they fail. While I do not expect perfection. I expect a willingness on the part of the police to want to learn how to do better.

        You make this illogial claim that the police are the experts, we must defer to them, and when things turn out badly – it is not their fault.

        With power comes responsibility. Not being guilty of murder is a damn low bar.
        I expect better of police than that.
        And I think if we back away from this idiocy that they are experts that we will get better.

      • August 22, 2014 6:49 am

        Different day, same tune. You have no idea with Officer Wilson did or did not do. Neither do I. Hence, you cannot assert he could have “handled it better.” I can’t assert that he handled it fine. I can assert that you have nothing to go on, just like I have nothing to go on.

        We don’t know, but that doesn’t stop you from running your mouth. My posting the article from the LA cop was to present a point of view that you cannot have since you have never been in any of the situations that the officer mentioned.

        So, you second guess him without having every experienced the situations he has had to face.

        Good for you. God in your world.

        Do you have any advice for airline pilots who crash their planes? After all, while you are not expert, you can do a better job, right?

      • August 24, 2014 9:52 am

        The fact that we do not know all the details of what happened in the middle does NOT mean we can make no observations or conclusions about the whole.

        We have at best little idea about the quantum level mechanics of gravity.
        Yet we understand a great deal about its behavior at a macro level.

        No matter how many facts we ever know – we can not know what was in Brown or Wilson’s (or anyone else’s) minds. Yet we can judge their actions.

        Ultimately making judgements on less than perfect knowledge is not merely possible – it is universal. It is what we do. It would be nice to have perfect information, but ultimately Brown and Wilson’s actions will be judged by humans based on whatever is known.

        Further the need to make judgements based on less than perfect knowledge, not only concerns us at this moment – but Brown and Wilson during their encounter, as well as your WaPo cop post.

        You just as I have already made conclusions. Giving Wilson the benefit of all doubt until you know more – is a conclusion.

        Wow, I have not walked a mile in a police officers shoes. So What ? You are presuming that Law and order have but one facet – that of the police officer.

        You still completely miss the fact that in every encounter with a police officer there are atleast TWO parties. There are TWO people – either of which may not return home to their families. There are TWO people either (or both) of which may be legitimately affraid.
        There are TWO parties either of which may be intent on harming the other.

        The more power you give to one side – they more that side is responsible for the outcome.

        I do not know what it is like to be mentally ill – does that mean I must defer to the mentally ill on how society as a whole or I as an individual must relate to them ?

        I do not know what it is like to live in poverty – must I therefore give the poor whatever they desire as the experts in poverty ?

        I do not know what it is like to be Black – must I therefore defer to blacks on all issues related to race within society ?

        You are making the same idiotic “check your priviledge” argument of progressives.

        Whatever the distinct experiences of police, how the law is enforced is NOT the exclusive domain of police. It is their job to enforce OUR law in the manner WE prescribe.
        They are public servants. We are not the servants of a police state.

      • August 24, 2014 10:03 am

        Dave, you may have noticed that were are not talking theoretical physics here. This is a crime scene. At some point, they will gather the evidence and declare that phase over. If they disclose everything, then it would be productive to chat about it.

        That may take a long time, given there may be a trial.

        So, if you want to speculate, have at it. Simply state it as thus. Your issue is that you move onto positions that harden into conclusions. I am not going there, even if Eric Holder is going to.

        Kind like the ‘jaywalking” statement. We have no idea whether that happened or not.

      • August 24, 2014 9:45 pm

        It is all that “theoretical physics” that tells us what will happen when the primer of the bullet is ignited. It is that gravity thing that we have very little understanding of on the causal level but incredible ability to grasp at the macro level.

        While we should certainly reserve judgement on things where changing knowledge may significantly alter that judgement, we need not avoid issues where changes will not likely alter anything, or where all that needs to be known is known.

        There is nothing we can know with absolute certainty. There is nothing we can know that does not rest on a great deal of unknowns and presumptions.

        Life is about figuring out how to draw conclusions and act based on the evidence we have.

      • August 24, 2014 9:57 pm

        I suggest you hold your conclusions JUST a bit longer. Is that too much to ask? If not, take a glass of wine and CHILL OUT.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 24, 2014 12:32 pm

        “Ultimately making judgements on less than perfect knowledge is not merely possible – it is universal. It is what we do. It would be nice to have perfect information, but ultimately Brown and Wilson’s actions will be judged by humans based on whatever is known.”

        Yes that is what we do, from elementary school to adulthood. Just like two kids on a play ground, one walks up to the other, punches them “just because”and knocks them to the ground, teacher sees the result, decides both are fighting, both suspended and not until a few days later does the principle know the facts. In Ferguson the blacks have jumped to judgement. On this website many have jumped to judgement.

        That does not make it right and maybe someday we will find a way to let the facts come out before making judgements. It has worked in the judicial system for the most part for many years.

      • August 25, 2014 4:58 pm

        The justice system does not work by letting the facts come out.
        Though many of the rules of courts make sense, others have little or nothing to do with the real world.

        As an example in the real world an innocent defendent in a criminal case may have no idea what really occurred, but courts require the defense to commit to a specific theory and refuse to allow them to introduce evidence contradicting that.

        Prosecutors are allowed to make deals and use disreputable and unbeleivable witnesses.
        But attorney’s are not allowed to put witness on the stand and allow them to tell what they know is a lie.

        That creates incentives that act both badly and differently for the defense and prosecution.
        Prosecutors and police stop investigating the moment they beleive they have sufficient evidence to convict. They do not want to introduce additional evidence – even if it might bolster their case because it also might confuse juries. Further prosecutors are required to provide the defense with exculpatory evidence.

        Defense attorney’s nearly always assume their clients are guilty – atleast of something.
        They do not investigate – it may even be considered error for the defense attorney to investigate the actual events if their discoveries narrow the defense they can present.

        The defense virtually never actually investigates a crime until after the defendant has been convicted – hence the reasons for “new evidence”in most appeals.

        Studies over the past couple of decades have been damning.

        Much “expert evidence” is total crap. Even staples such as fingerprints are far less certain than has been claimed. DNA is offered as trillion to one odds – and an exact DNA match iis unbeleivable odds, but DNA tests do not exactly match DNA and the ones typically used by the police are cheap badly done and unreliable. Most people would pay for better if they were testing for paternity.

        bite mark matches are complete junk science, as are hair matches. Exact fiber matches are equally impossible. Blood spatter analysis is crap.
        Matching a bullet to a gun is FAR FAR less certain than is claimed. If the bullet breaks up even getting the caliber correct may be impossible. Land and groove matching provides a probability that a bullet came from a specific gun but far from certainty.

        Even the Vaunted FBI labs – far better than most, was found to violate critical procedures and get results wrong fairly frequently.

        Much of this comes from studies conducted by … The national bureau of standards.

        Studies on eyewitness identification are damning.

        After the Salem Witch Trials the governor of Massachusetts banned “spectral evidence” we need to do much the same.

        Reducing the crap evidence that gets in at a trial would likely have minimal impact on outcomes. The primary effect will only be on those cases that are shaky to begin with.

        In most cases perpitrators are arrested by the police at the scene, or are seen commiting the crime by people who know them well, or are caught with the bloody knife or stolen property, or any of enumerable other means by which guilt is certain. Or where the limits of scientific evidence do not matter.

        Do we as an example need to perfectly match the bullet that killed Brown to ofc. Wilson’s gun ? Of course not, no one is arguing that a different gun killed Wilson.

        The best studies we have indicate that between 2.3% and 5% of all prisoners in the US are actually innocent. If it is only 1% that is 20,000 innocent people.

        More recently DNA has exonerated over 300 people.
        When DNA tests are used more than 25% of the time they exclude a suspect.

        In the past 25 years almost 1500 people have been exonerated.

        The standards for exoneration are extremely high, these are not people getting off on legal technicalities. These are provably innocent people convicted of a crime.

        Criminal Justice is an essential part of society and one of the legitimate functions of government, but it is not some perfect science, and its processes are not all that much better than those of the general public.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 21, 2014 11:46 pm

        Fair enough, Dave- we all expect better of police than we usually get. But you continue to make this about “jaywalking,” which, for what it’s worth, is the verbal equivalent of that picture of Michael Brown from when he was about 13 and looked like a choirboy.

        No, of course, no sane person expects “jaywalking” to result in a death sentence. But, reacting to a cop who tells you to get off the street and onto the sidewalk, by smashing his face in and then charging him is definitely a way to get yourself shot. It’s not like Wilson executed Brown, although that is the narrative that Sharpton are pushing….and, yes, there is probably a strong argument that could be made that Wilson could have handled the situation differently, and better. But who knows? This kid, who was huge, btw, and seemed quite enamored of his physical power, may have been looking for validation of his manhood, no? Is it possible that, even if Wilson had said “pretty please, with sugar on it” the result would have been the same?

        I don’t know and neither do you. Where we differ I think, is in our empathy for the two sides here. You are quick to presume that the cop was an asshole and I am quick to presume that the kid was a punk. ( By the way, I have beloved family members who are not white and a white son who has been arrested in a rather nasty dust-up with a cop, so don’t be too quick to judge my biases).

      • August 22, 2014 7:02 am

        We all have biases. I can tell you that if it were me (me, not a cop) and I had someone that big (black, white, yellow, purple) punch me in the face, I would have shot him too, in a NY minute. That assumes I had a gun, which I don’t. Hmm, I should handle that, no?

        Better to explain to the cops or have them explain to my wife, why I am in the morgue.

      • August 24, 2014 10:23 am

        I would have entirely different expectations of you in a similar confrontation.

        As you are NOT an expert who has to deal with this type of confrontation everyday, I would have lower expecations of you. I would not presume you had the training to defuse things, to avoid the use of deadly force unless absolutely necescary, or ready access to backup.

        Interestingly in many states the current law would hold exactly the opposite.
        In a state without a “stand your ground” law, you would be legally obligated to retreat, and could only use deadly force if you could not do so.

        Get a gun if you want.
        Carrying it openly or concealed
        Without a license
        Without training
        You will not find me in your way.

      • August 24, 2014 10:28 am

        For sure, in many states, I would be in a legal pickle. That said,if confronted with what I would say was life or death (my call made at the moment) I would go with life.

        Life is not fair and in some cases (like this) I might be penalized for acting in self-defense. However, if I have already had my face punched in, well ……

      • August 25, 2014 1:42 pm

        I do not recall arguing for fairness.

        What I do not understand is why you grasp that your own actions would be heavily biased towards your self interests and survival – and not that of others, not the best overall outcome, that you do not grasp that the police are no different.

        We do not grant publicly sanctioned monopolies because we can be assured that those with the monopoly will seek their self-interests, not ours.

        I have ZERO problems with police arguing vigorously for and seeking their own self interests. I expect exactly that from them and they do not disappoint.
        I have major problems with putting the police in a position where their self interests need not compete with that of others.

        When an armed intruder batters down your door shoots your dog and bursts into your bedroom at night – are you free to shoot them ?
        What if they are the local swat team implimenting a no knock warrant on the wrong address ?
        We have been fortunate that this has only happened rarely. – “fortunately ?” most of the time police make such errors, their “victims” are not well armed or sufficiently well prepared to respond as you would naturally, rapidly enough.
        But it happens.

        Why do you expect the police to be more accurate than the rest of government ?

        As mentioned earlier my wife deals with criminal justice warrants and police investigations all the time. Most police work is rife with error. No private business could survive that frequency of error. Fortunately most of the error is “harmless”, its cost is in inefficiency and lost time, but not all. Address confusion is incredibly common.
        Even after the fact the police frequently can not get straight the address at which a crime or arrest took place. In one recent case in 3 different proceedings, multiple officers citing the location of an arrest in a different building each time they testified.
        In this instance it actually was critical – none of the locations that they cited correctly matched important details with respect to the crime.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 25, 2014 1:50 pm

        And many of my friends can not understand why I do not support the death penalty. If the police can’t get their ____ together and not make mistakes, how do we know everyone put to death is really guilty?

      • August 25, 2014 1:58 pm

        We don’t know and never did. That said. how many of the murdered victims were given an option at perfection?

        Life sucks, then you die.

      • August 26, 2014 6:57 pm

        Overall I am pretty happy with my life.

        The imperfection of criminals is not justification for the imperfection of government, particularly when it is executing people.

        I can understand why some people simple need executed – there are some truly horrible humans.

        As a practical matter they are not who we execute, and on the whole the process is pretty bad – worse than one would normally expect with government.

      • August 26, 2014 6:32 pm

        I have noted that my wife is a public defender.

        Once in a blue moon some defendant comes along that it is very hard to argue does not deserve and need execution.

        But usually they are the ones smart enough to figure out how to strike a deal.

        The death penalty is normally imposed in cases where it is not appropriate.

        Though the fact that so many people on death row have been exonerated is scary,
        there are myriads of other factors.

        The death penalty is extremely expensive. Even Death row is ridiculously expensive.

        Read Grishom’s non-fiction “the innocent man” some time. Or Turrow’s ultimate punishment.

        The right likes to claim that it is bleeding heart lefty’s that prevent executions.
        But from the moment a person is sentenced to death the entire system boggs down.
        Purportedly pro death penalty judges stall cases for years – decades even.
        No one wants to sign a death warrant. The prisons do not use death row guards for executions, they rarely use the same people twice. Getting people to fill all the roles of an execution is extremely hard, and executions are hard on the prisions, the prison administration.

        Further our efforts to break the log jamb regarding executions is responsible for nearly as substantial a destruction of our constitutional rights as the war on drugs.

        There is very little positive that can be said for the death penalty – even presuming we could avoid executing the innocent, and only apply it to the most deserving.

        I am not “morally” opposed to the death penalty. Their are crimes and criminals that cry for it. But as a practical matter it is a failure.

      • August 25, 2014 1:55 pm

        Your obsession with the police is concerning. Perhaps, you need to chat with someone who actually cares as passionately as you do about it.

        I don’t.

      • August 26, 2014 6:53 pm

        And I hope that you never need to care.

        But I think you make a poor choice believing that is certain.

      • August 26, 2014 9:36 pm

        You miss the obvious. Did I say, certain? I did not. You added that.
        You often do.

      • August 29, 2014 8:29 am

        It is your presumption that requires certainty.

        What none of the other commenters seem to grasp in this is that in a nation of 300+million people with 1M police officers and myriads of interactions every day, low probability events are going to occur constantly.

        The odds of YOU having to care might be small, they odds that many someones will be the victim of the circumstance you that you consider acceptably rare is absolute certainty.

        What percent of the police force do you think is corrupt, violent, racist, egotistical ?
        You can not make that number small enough to not be a serious problem.

        Something like 3/4 of all Officer Involved shootings involve lone officers.
        If we know that some arrangements increase the likelyhood of deaths, shouldn’t we be openly addressing the costs and benefits ?

        You claim I am taking an extremist position.

        You are not even open to contemplating that the issue exists.

        Your argument is essentially that since the failure cost of your policy of total power and authority to police is unlikely to fall on you personally, that it is acceptable.

      • August 24, 2014 2:19 am

        The point still stands. This started over jaywalking.

        I am not trying to portray Brown as a 14 year old choir boy. I beleive he is 6’4″ and nearly 300lb – all by itself another reason for Wilson to call for backup.

        There is still a great deal of fog between Jaywalking and Brown lying dead on the street.
        It is increasingly likely that at somepoint between Jaywalking and Wilson firing the fatal shot, that Wilson was justified in using deadly force.

        Nor have I argued Brown was “executed”.
        Everyone who thinks there must be some ground between Wilson is a murderer and Wilson did absolutely nothing wrong at all, is not Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, or unfortunately our AG and President.

        Accepting events as you protray them. As a one officer in a crusier that has just had your head bashed in by a 300lb thug, should your next step be to try to single handedly bring him in ? Or maybe get yourself some space and call for backup ?

        I do not know about Ferguson, but atleast in some places in this country – we are RIGHTLY not obligated to back away from a confrontation, but even where we are not legally obligated to we are expected to back away from the use of deadly force where possible.

        Yes, I am being deliberately provocative with “jaywalking”, in this instance we appear to have “aggrevated jaywalking” or “beligerant jaywalking”.

        Essentially Brown was waving a red cape in front of a Bull.

        Which is exactly my point – are our police Bulls who are genertically and irresistably programmed to respond to any challenge with overwhelming force ?

        In arguably Brown was stupid, and asking for it, and he got it.

        I am not arguing for perfection – there are likely circumstances were a lone officer might from start to finish have no choice.
        Nor am I arguing for perfect decision making on the part of Police.
        Absent some evidence I have not thus far heard, I would likely do little more than note that Wilson violated what Should be policy and placed himself and others needlessly in danger.

        What I am more interested in is the Bull metaphor above.
        The WaPo article JB cited essentially says – police officers are Bulls, if you do not kowtow you could end up dead. That the burdern of deference and civility is on you – even if you have engaged in no wrong doing. That their fear of you trumps your fear of them.
        That they are allowed to feel threatened by you – but you may not feel threatened by them.

        Even if you completely discount the possibility that an actual police officer might be dangerous to you, there is no certain means to know when you encounter someone with a badge that they are police
        Police impersonation is common.

        My point – only one of many, is that between fake cops and bad cops there is every reason for anyone in a stop to be afraid and that danger is real.
        That both from the perspective of the actual authority of law and government as it should be, and from the perspective of the real world, the absolute deference to police in a stop that JB and the WaPo officer are demanding is fatally flawed.

        The kowtow to police argument is rooted in the presumption that the life of the officer is more valuable than yours. That your fears are inconsequential and you must assume all the risk, because their fears are purportedly justified.

        Sorry, first that risk comes with their job – one they chose freely. Past that you can not argue for a skilled professional police force and at the same time claim the police can not be expected to have the skills and training needed to deal with difficult confrontations.

        A police officer stops difficult people constantly every day. It is reasonable to assume they have some skill beyond the use of deadly force to manage those confrontations. Ordinary people confront police officers rarely. It is reasonable to presume they do NOT have the skills experience or training to manage that well.

        There is a claim that somehow I hate the police.

        That is wrong. I see them as essential. I am just frequently – not always, not mostly, disappointed by them. And I am particularly disappointed because as with everything else involving government their solution to every issue is to presume that they need more power (and more money),

      • August 24, 2014 8:55 am

        Actually, to be fair. we don’t know at all that this started over “jaywalking.”

        So, again. let us hope the “facts” actually come out before passing on this judgment.

      • August 24, 2014 9:01 pm

        Both the police account and Johnson’s say that the initial response of Wilson was for Jaywalking.

        Absent an official statement from Wilson most anything could change, but atleast for now all sides are in agreement about the reason for the initial contact.

        It is extremely disturbing that Wilson has not been required to make a statement.

        Though it is often standard police procedure – as well as a common Police Union tactic, it is a bad one.

        The police get statements from all parties as quickly as possible.
        One objective is to prevent different witnesses and participants from finding out what others say and hat facts can be established and then concocting their story to fit what is already known.

        At this point a statement from Wilson may be next to meaningless.
        It is no longer his immediate recollection and impressions, but more likely what best fits other evidence and still exhonerates him.

      • August 24, 2014 9:34 pm

        Actually, we don’t know if Wilson made a statement or not.

      • August 25, 2014 7:02 pm

        If you had just killed someone – you would likely have been forced to make a statement immediately, and if would be public quickly.

        That is a standard and legitimate police technique. It applies not just to suspects, but everyone, it is partly about getting the freshest recollection, but it is also about getting people to commit to stories. Witnesses are influenced by the stories of other witnesses,
        perpitrators can not concoct a story that will fit all the evidence when all the evidence is not know.

        Eventually we will get a statement from Ofc. Wilson. I will venture that it will have been taken more than 72 hours after the event, that he will have been kept from talking to anyone in the interim and subsequently.

        Basically Wilson will have followed in excrutiating detail the advise of the best defense attorney’s in the nation. All wonderful – except that he will be doing so at the direction of those who in every other circumstance would have been calling those defense attorney’s crooks and charlitans just looking to get the guilty off. In every other instance exactly the people sheltering Wilson would the the ones twisting everyone else’s arms for immediate statements.

        I found the recommended Police policies for Officer involved shooting quite interesting.
        Everything said was completely true – but once again these are the rights of police officers – they are not the rights we give ordinary citizens.

        A police officer involved in a shooting must have his psyche carefully protected as they have likely experienced a great trauma.
        Do you expect the police to offer you the same courtesy or rights should you shoot someone ?

        All I am asking is that in ALL circumstances the police have the same rights, be subject to the same expectations and receive the same treatment as the rest of us. No more no less.

        I fully expect like everyone else and every other group they will seek more. I have no problem with their seeking the best they can for themselves. And I do nto blame them for that.

        But we should not give them special treatment.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 25, 2014 8:03 pm

        Dave, I’m going to reply to one of your comments down here, because, for the life of me, I can’t even find it in the comment thread, although I read it in my email. Once these threads get so long, it becomes a chore to reply in the right place…..

        Anyway, I believe that you may be incorrect in your assumption that it is Wilson’s defense attorneys not allowing the Ferguson PD to take or release a statement from Darren Wilson. I have read, in more that one place, that the Governor of Missouri and the DOJ have insisted on keeping many of the details of the investigation from the public, until they can get an indictment of Wilson. Almost every news outlet reported that the DOJ was angry that the Ferguson PD released the convenience store robbery pictures of Mike Brown manhandling the half-his-size clerk. And Laura Ingraham, a conservative radio/tv personality, interviewed a woman who claimed to be a friend of the Wilson family – the woman said that Officer Wilson was in hiding due to death threats, and that he wanted his side of the story out, but there was concern “among authorities” that making his statement public would worsen the rioting.

        Now, why would that be? And why would the DOJ launch a civil rights investigation against a police officer against whom there had never been a civil rights complaint and who apparently is claiming that his act of deadly force was in reaction to Brown attacking him?
        When was the last time that an AG of the USA personally took charge of a civil rights investigation in which there is apparently no solid evidence that anyone’s civil rights were violated?

        I don’t claim to have solid information that you are wrong, but, don’t you think that there is the chance that you might be letting your antipathy to police in general influence your belief that the Ferguson PD is the entity that wishes to keep his statement from becoming public? I think it is just as likely that other authorities may have an interest in keeping it suppressed.

      • August 27, 2014 10:04 pm

        By now I would be shocked if Wilson does nto have representation.
        Every lawyer on the planet would have told him to shut up.
        I have zero problem with that.

        My problem is that if Wilson was not a police officer his statement would have been taken there on the spot, and again within hours at the police station, and probably again the next day.

        Maybe the Ferguson PD did so. But I would bet heavily they did not.
        The policy in most forces in the country is to remove the Officer involved from the scene.
        And not to take any statement from them for 72hours, nor without a union rep, and almost certainly a lawyer, and usually not without being allowed to review all other statements, and evidence.

        I think all of those are excellent ideas – if I was the shooter. But that is NOT how we treat ordinary people – for good reasons, like you would almost never get a conviction, and it is not how we should treat police officers.

        I am also sure that if he has a lawyer that lawyer is constantly saying that Wilson wants to get his story out. But do not pretend that what any lawyer says is what they mean.
        Again I have zero problems with lawyers. But it is always a mistake to weigh their words too heavily. Lawyers speak for us, because whatever they say we are not bound to it.
        BTW that is true regardless of what side the lawyer is on. Lawyers are advocates, they are not truth seekers.

        I have major problems with “civil rights violations”. All that is, is a legal trick to circumvent double jeopardy. The local authorities need to handle the case. If they botch it then THEY should be investigated by the next authority up the ladder.
        Government should get one and only one shot at proving someone commited a crime.
        If justice is not done, then the perpitrator goes free. If that is an injustice – the responsible party is the government that failed. And the problem we need to fix is the corrupt government.

        I do nto think the Ferguson PD specifically is protecting Wilson.
        I think that those in blue protect their own. Again I am not that concerned about that.
        I am concerned because WE allow it.

        One of my desputes with JB, is that the police are not (Supposed) to be an autonomous entity. They can demand, beg, plead to do their job in the way they deem best.
        BUT WE decide, not they. It is our government, our law, our society. They are our servants not masters. Because they want something does nto mean we should give it to them.
        Because they claim to be the experts and assure us that with more power they could do an even better job, does nto mean we should giver it to them.

      • August 27, 2014 10:16 pm

        For a guy who has likely never been to this town or met anyone of the principals, you sure know a lot.

        It must be nice, you know, having all this certainty when you have no direct experience to go on.

        Here is a hint: what your wife encounters may not represent all people or all cops.

        Notice how urgent it is for you to be right about all this.

        This is this the sign of pathology.

      • August 29, 2014 11:31 am

        For someone so sure I have no clue about Ferguson because I do nto live their, you seem to be very certain about all kinds of things you clearly know nothing about.

        What would you know about my wifes experiences with the police ?

        Who is likely to have dealt with more police officers – her or you ?

        Are you suggesting that police behavior in court is worse than it is on the street ?
        Otherwise wouldn’t my wifes experiences with police be more favorable rather than less ?

        For someone who hates progressives you resort to their arguments.

        Of course my wife’s experiences with police are not representative – but they are still more informed than yours.

      • August 29, 2014 2:12 pm

        I haven’t said one word about your wife. Does she live in Ferguson? Ever been there?

      • August 29, 2014 9:00 pm

        “I haven’t said one word about your wife.”
        “Here is a hint: what your wife encounters may not represent all people or all cops.”

        I do not really care. My point is you are arguing I can not speak about Ferguson because I do not live there, but you are free to pontificate on myriads of things you know little or nothing about.

        I have never been to the sun’s core – but I know it is hot.

        We should be as best informed as we can, but ultimately all decisions have to be made with less than perfect knowledge and expecting less than perfect outcomes.

        We can accept that and seek to improve results even if we can not acheive perfection,
        Or we can abdicate – in which case others – often far more poorly informed and skilled will make them for us.

        You vascillate between A and B.
        The police are allowed to make choices for you – they are near perfect public servants seeking only what is best for you immune from normal human failings.
        But politicians – particularly progressive politicians must be barred from making what you see as your own choices, not theirs. And progressive politicians and bureaucrats are immune from that near perfect gene than elevated the police above other mortals.

      • August 29, 2014 9:51 pm

        You need serious help.

        I am done with you.

        Rick, if you are listening, get this guy out of here.


      • Ron P permalink
        August 29, 2014 10:20 pm

        My mother always said it took two people to argue. She told me to ignore the other person and they would get tired of arguing with themselves. I have found it works here also.

      • August 29, 2014 10:24 pm

        Your mother was a wise woman, Ron.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 24, 2014 6:52 pm

        Honestly, Dave, this police-state stuff is way over the top, and makes you sound like some SDS dude from the 60’s ranting about the pigs.

        Why, in god’s name, should Wilson have called for back-up just because 2 teenagers were walking down the middle of the street? Because one of them was a big black kid, and he should have known that the kid might go bat shit crazy when asked to get onto the sidewalk by a white cop?

        You can continue to make the argument that the cop caused this incident by not showing sufficient fear and respect to a couple of 18 years olds, but, as far as I can see, you do not have any information that makes case.

        Police stop difficult people every day. Does that confer upon them special powers to know when a simple request or demand that a couple of kids move out of the street and onto a walkway is going to explode into a violent confrontation? Do you know what Wilson said to the two kids? And if you do, please share with the rest of us, because you clearly are blaming this situation on his words and actions.

      • August 24, 2014 10:31 pm

        I have explained this about as well as I can.

        I would note that in most states if not Wilson was not a police officer he would be guilty of a crime. While I do not agree with that, I do agree with the assesment that if you have to opportunity to retreat you are atleast MORALY obligated to take it.

        If Armed John Doe had yelled out his window at Brown to stop Jaywalking, and when Brown failed to listen proceded following the same script as Wilson – whatever that is,
        would you have felt the same about the correctness of their behavior ?

        Wilson had far more options than John Doe.

        As to the police state – what is it when the law requires you to follow the orders of a police officer – even if they are illegal ? What is it when every podunk police station in the country has a swat team and possible an MRAP.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 24, 2014 11:43 pm

        Is it not time to decide to wait for the investigations to be concluded and reports from the St Louis county prosecutor as well as the feds to comment any further as to the guilt or innocence of Officer Wilson? We can continue to argue about what Officer Wilson did or did not do right, but none of us were there.

        Based on many of the comments already posted, there is one thing for certain. If I were officer Wilson I don’t think I would want some who have commented on the grand jury since minds have been made up as to what he did right or wrong, regardless of the situation.

      • August 26, 2014 2:45 pm

        Anyone here actually eligable for Wilson’s grand Jury ?

        I am not, but if Wilson’s attorney’s rejected me they would be making a mistake.

        Regardless, Wilson is entitled to make every possible effort to protect himself.
        I am not opposed to his doing everything he can to delay or avoid making statements,
        The only aspect of the recomended policies on Officer Involved Shootings I liked to, is
        all the same factors that apply to officers that have shot someone apply to must people involved in any death and most people even tangentially suspected of a crime.

        We expect suspects – police or otherwise to use every means at their disposal to protect themselves.

        What I have problems with is the REST of law enforcement treating Officers involved in shootings or any other potential malfeasance differently from how they would anyone else.
        It may be a natural tendency – but it is a wrong one – and it is one that arrises from this idiocy that police are the sole experts on policing and should be defered to on everything.
        That is BULL. Police are providers, it is the citzenry that consumes their service, and it is we that determine what we want and what we are willing to pay for it.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 26, 2014 4:28 pm

        And I said way back when this conversation began that we do not need Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson coming into ferguson making problems. We needed the citizens of Ferguson (and any other city with police relation problems) to form a group with citizens leadership and police leadership to identify specific problems and to work out solutions to those problems one at a time. And then to meet continuously to identify new problems as they arise and find solutions to those before they become bigger problems.

        In a company it is called quality control. If a car company follows those criteria, they produce a quality car. If they do not follow those criteria, we have GM and massive recalls.

        Right now in America, there are many police departments that can be placed in the quality criteria and we have many, like Ferguson, one could call a GM. And many quality departments are led by white Chiefs, and many GM’s are led by black chiefs. It is not a racial thing, it is how there expectations as to how their officers act.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 26, 2014 5:13 pm

        I do think that you have hit on the key issue here. Despite my dispute with Dave over whether Officer Wilson should have called for backup over a couple of teen jaywalkers, there is no doubt that this situation may have been controllable, if there were 2 cops in that squad car, but may towns have stopped having police work together for budgetary reasons. That seems to me to be a bad idea. Also, I have read that Michael Brown’s body lay in the street for 4 hours – regardless of whether or not this was a justified shooting, the idea that any member of a community would be left bleeding on the street is a disgrace. It should never have happened.

        But Sharpton and Jackson don’t care about that. They want to make this about a murder.

      • August 26, 2014 8:15 pm

        Society and government are not companies.

        A company is entirely voluntary.
        Government is not.

        I do not want Sharpton and Jackson either.
        But they wish to be there and alot of Ferguson wants them.
        I think that is a mistake, but it is not my community.

        But just like Iraqis and afghans must ultimately choose their own government,
        the people of Ferguson must ultimately solve this problem themselves.

        But unlike some here I grasp that the relationship between the police and people is strained, and that the ultimate authority of the police comes from the people.
        Anyone arguing otherwise is arguing for the police state they claim does not exist.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 24, 2014 7:03 pm

        And, to be clear, I am not contending that Brown DID go bat shit crazy….but that is the other side of the story, right? Is it your contention that the right way to proceed here was to assume that a big black kid was dangerous, call for back up , and, in the meantime, allow the two kids to continue to block the road? That’s my question. Why should a cop have anticipated the need for backup in dealing with a jaywalker, if that is all he thought this was?

      • August 24, 2014 9:27 pm

        Yes, I assume nothing here. Still waiting for data. I hope others will as well.

      • August 24, 2014 10:15 pm

        Brown may have gone bat shit crazy. We have heard little suggesting that either the strong armed robery or the conflict with Wilson were typical of Brown.

        Maybe they were but so far I have not heard confirmation.

        But I do nto care much if Brown went Crazy.

        I accept that it was reasonable for Wilson to presume he could handle Jay walking himself.

        Purportedly he told Brown and Johnson to get out of the road.

        Is it an absolute requirement that he do more.

        Many years ago I was late for a meeting at old city hall. I could not find a legal parking space. Finally I started backing into an “illegal” one. An officer immediately appeared and chased me out. I went arround the block, found nothing came back parked in the same space. The officer apeared again as I was headed into the building all angry with a full head of steam. I shouted over my shoulder that I was late for a meeting and he could either ticket me or shoot me but I was going in.

        I expected my car to have been towed when I returned. But it was still there, and not even a ticket.

        So again Wilson shouts from his police cruiser to get out of the street.
        If Brown and Johnson do not listen MUST he do more ?
        Presuming they do not listen – shouldn’t that start to raise his concerns that they MIGHT be dangerous and he might need backup ?

        My point is that yes, we should expect and officer to handle a jaywalking incident without backup. But at each step moving forward in this it becomes more and more apparent that Wilson is dealing with more than he can handle alone.

        At whatever point you personally decide that has occured – and you need not share my view. Wilson essentially has a choice – retreat and call for help, or proceed and risk the need for deadly force.
        Unless you beleive that decision point NEVER happened, then Wilson failed.
        Not criminally murdered someone but excercised poor judgement that resulted in having to kill someone to protect himself.

        It appears the primary culpability in this is Browns. I am not looking to exonerate Brown.

        This is not all that much different from Martin/zimmerman.
        Absolutely the jury found correctly. But Zimmerman still got himself into a conflict he could not safely escape without using deadly force. He had other choices.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 24, 2014 9:20 pm

        So, you have read or have heard from a reliable source that absolutely no statement was taken from Officer Wilson after the shooting? If so, I would be very surprised, and it would certainly cause me to wonder why such a breach of policy happened. I looked for a source that said that the officer was not required to give a statement after the shooting, but found none. I did find stories about the DOJ instructing the Ferguson PD not to release the convenience store robbery video, but that was about it. I’m not sure that the fact that a statement has not been released necessarily means that it does not exist, but I am willing to accept that that is a possibility, and it would not be good.

    • Ron P permalink
      August 21, 2014 11:30 am

      Roby, sorry you feel that there are no moderates here. Since most of my comments have been contained to offering data on police tactics and why they shoot to kill, commenting on what the government could do to help, people making rushed decision on guilt and that not being the proper thing to do and that Obama, Jackson, Sharpton and Holder are only involved for personal reasons, I suspect your thoughts about being a moderate is much different than mine. Check out “The Moderate Voice”, it may be more in line with your degree of being moderate. It was far too liberal for me and that is why I have enjoyed the discussion that have taken place on this site.

      • August 21, 2014 11:34 am

        I concur. I believe the only one not being “moderate” here is Dave, who sees a statist and police regime around every corner.

      • August 22, 2014 12:12 am

        Articulate a rule for the limits of police power.

        We do not have a police state in the sense that the police are an unrestrained power serving the state.

        We have a police state in the sense that the police are an unrestrained power – not even the state controls them.

      • Roby L permalink
        August 21, 2014 11:59 am

        Sorry Ron, you have mainly done just as you said here, but the conversation took a wild turn towards the anti-Obama theories, with all joining in and that pushed my buttons. No, Obama is not a Muslim and the Justice department is not run by black panthers, and please don’t get too literal on me, but that was the tenor of the conversation, and that ain’t moderate, that’s just nutty.

        I had a friend, a brilliant man who was a Russian Jewish dissident/political refugee who worked for the US government at Radio Free Europe in Germany for 40 years. His daughter hired me as a translator to help him and his wife get around when he retired to Vermont, that is how I met him. He hates Putin without reservation, to the point where he actually managed to overstate the evil in Putin and the Russian authoritarian system by four or five times, which ain’t easy. There is no bad event in the world that Vadim does not believe was engineered by Putin. My point being that it is possible to overstate the harm in even a bad or incompetent leader. Eventually I questioned one of Vadim’s more ridiculous Putin conspiracy theories and told him that I found his ideas on Putin and Russia to be not based on facts or reason and just too extreme. He had a spectacular week long fit and that ended our friendship, not words he wished to hear.

        I Do Not Like extreme ideas, just as strongly as many or all here do not like Obama. At some point Obama madness it crossed the line into absurdity in this conversation. I value objectivity and rational criticism, that is part of my own definition of moderate. I thought of just giving up and going quietly away from TNM, but I finally gave into the impulse to comment. I don’t regret that.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 21, 2014 12:15 pm

        Roby, From my perspective, I would hope you would not abandoned commenting on this site. The only way to stay moderate is to have moderates comment or it will become like other moderate sites that have been taken over by the liberal voices.

        Now I will accept the fact that I too have made comments about Obama and my thinking he is incompetent in the way he is doing his job. I have also called Bush (43) stupid for decisions he made during his tenure. Not sure if I have commented about Clinton or 41 here or just in conversations with friends, but we need another Bill or George H.W. in office to fix the problems create over the past 14 years. ( I really don’t care about who the president sleeps with or who he has sexual relations with as long as it does not compromise his decisions for the country)

        And I would vote for either party if they ran someone the same as those two. And as a last comment, Hillary is no Bill. So that is why I consider myself somewhat moderate, even with the libertarian streak that runs down my back.

      • August 22, 2014 12:24 am

        I think there was one remark tying Obama to Islam and Holder to the BP.

        While I do not agree, at the same time that is not some vile thought crime.

        At the same time, we have The governor the state, the FBI, the DOJ and the president in what is essentially a local police matter.

        I have made alot of criticism of the Ferguson police – and they deserve it,
        but the investigation of Wilson is their job – and they are doing it under bright lights.

        Absent some major new fact, Wilson appears completely innocent of criminal conduct.

        But the analysis that needs done is with respect to the decisions, policies and procedures that ended up with Wilson having no choice.

        Nobody is likely to look at that. The whitewash is not of a crime, but the presumption this is binary – no crime so we should all go away.

      • August 22, 2014 7:09 am

        We agree on this one: Too many cooks in the kitchen. I assume MO has a state criminal investigation unit. If the local cops can’t be trusted or are have conflict of interest, why do we need Eric Holder and his “team” swarming around. Can’t MO be trusted to check this little ditty out. This is not Kent State, this is one event.

        Do they not do have larger issues to attend to?

      • August 24, 2014 10:31 am

        Again an aspect of “federalism” I am likely to agree with.

        If we do not trust the local police in Ferguson – then the next authority up the ladder should be investigating the police – not Ofc. Wilson.

        We do not want the president of the united states personally involved in anything like this.
        He never should have expressed an oppinion.

        The only justification for DOJ to be involved at all is if there is legitimate grounds to beleive the entire government aparatus of MO is incapable of administering justice.
        And in that situation DOJ should be investigating MO not Ofc. Wilson.

      • August 24, 2014 10:34 am

        We agree completely. What will Roby do?

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 21, 2014 1:42 pm

        Honestly, Roby, I think you overstate the hating Obama thing. Like Ron, I believe Obama is unsuited for and incompetent as a chief executive. And even more so as a military commander-in-chief. It has been my observation, ever since his election, that he uses racial, gender and class divisions to divide the country rather than unite it. Combine that with my objections to his economic and healthcare policies, and most of his foreign policy actions, along with what I view as his unconstitutional abuse of executive authority and the extreme politicization and militarization of federal bureaucracies under his administration (whew!) and there can be no doubt, in my mind, that he is one of the worst presidents ever.

        On the other hand, does that mean that I “hate” him or think he is a Muslim (or care)? Nah. I don’t know the man. I honestly don’t even care about his vacationing with the 1% and his dozens of rounds of golf – I agree with those who say that he is singularly tone deaf about the optics of , say, going out to the golf course immediately after making a rather statement about an American journalist who got his head cut off, but maybe the man needs time on the links to clear his head.

        And, I will say that I think that Eric Holder is a disgrace, but. again, I never said that “the justice department is run by Black Panthers.”

        We’re all political junkies here (actually, not sure about Dave), but we are pretty moderate, as far as I can tell. Not always in our language (yes, I’m looking at you JB 😉 ) but in our points of view.

      • August 21, 2014 2:11 pm

        Yes, my language sucks, what can I say? You know, it is part of my “culture” and therefore, it must be respected as such. What is good for the goose …..

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 21, 2014 1:47 pm

        Actually, come to think of it, my language can occasionally be less than lady like…..

      • August 21, 2014 2:14 pm

        There is nothing wrong per se, with a few expletives now and then. If you cannot curse when confronted with the likes of Obama and Holder, when can one?

        For the record, I HATE the way Obama and Holder purport to do their jobs. I also hate the hypocrisy. Holder has gotten a gilded education throughout his life. Yet, he complains of all the injustices he has suffered.

        I guess I am not seeing it.

        Ditto for Barry. These Ivy League grads whining about how hard their lives were is a bit much.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 21, 2014 6:52 pm

        OH My!!! lets just not tell anyone.

        For a political website, I think most everyone’s comments are well within our acceptable range. It is much tamer than what I see elsewhere. In those instances, I can tell you Liberals do not have an open mind.

      • August 21, 2014 9:28 pm

        Amen. brother.

      • August 22, 2014 9:38 am

        One of the aspects of TNM that is most appealing is that civility.

        While positions are sometimes argued vigorously, even emotionally, and angrily,

        They are not pages on pages of comments like

        Libertard, or repuglican

        What is disturbing about this racism thread is that it is an attempt to make criticism of some forms of racism taboo and racist.

        The President and to an even greater extent AG Holder have imposed racial standards on the enforcement of the law. That is itself racism.

      • August 22, 2014 10:23 am

        Your last statement is indeed, the truth. They are the biggest racists on the block.

    • August 21, 2014 10:13 pm

      There is a difference in beleiving that Ofc. Wilson appears to have legitimately acted in self defense and believing that shoplifting is a capitol offense.

      There is a difference between believing that the police should prosecute shoplifters and beleiving that they should unnecescarily structure their encounters as to increase the likelyhood of violence.

      Absent information not in evidence I would not charge, indict or convict Ofc. Wilson of anything – based on the current facts.

      Whether I would suspend of discipline him would depend on information we do not have.
      But I would expect that the Ferguson policy would review this incident and revise their own policies to decrease the odds of an event like this – rather than seeking to whitewash themselves.

      Thus far the available information – even that provided by the police is that Ofc. Wilson was unaware of the shoplifting incident – while Browns actions are a serious from of shoplifting, “mugging” is something different. Brown took goods that were not his own without using force, he subsequently used force to escape. That is worse than shoplifting and significantly less than “mugging”. The distinctions are important. There is far to great a tendency to transform even the smallest crime into a capitol offense.

      Do you believe that the punishment for jaywalking should be death ?

      It is the JOB of police officers to deal with difficult people. People with mental health problems, criminals, people who are merely angry – sometimes justifiably, and sometimes not. I absolutely agree with JB’s WaPo cop editorial that the job is difficult.
      But I do not agree that the justice is served by killing everyone that does not show a police office respect and deference to their liking.

      I think some of the rest of you are hiding your heads in the sand.
      You are looking for reasons why what happened to Brown can not happen to you or your children. Fortunately for most of you who are white and have white kids – the odds are low. Unfortunately they are not non-existant. A few years ago a white teen was shot in the back while fleeing their vehicle after a traffic stop. No drugs, no weapons, no self defense. Merely fleeing. The shooting was found justified. All that is necessary of for the officer to claim to believe that a felony had been committed.

      Can you cite a single instance in which a police officers use of force resulting in death was not found justified ?

      Do you really beleive the police never make a mistake ?

      • August 22, 2014 6:52 am

        It is funny, you keep promising to go away and then you come back with a mini epistle.

        Round and round you go.

  35. August 21, 2014 10:25 am

    A little ditty for you Dave:

    A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s full! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “This is you,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.”

    The shorter version is this:

    “Nobody likes a no-it-all.”

    • Roby L permalink
      August 21, 2014 10:40 am

      If you replied with this beautiful story in the first place that would have been perfect. No need for more, this says it all. Dave has a tendency to obsessiveness. So do I, and, no harm intended, so do you. Dave trumps us, yes, but we are not far behind. So we can sympathize and not get drawn in too deep?

      • August 21, 2014 11:25 am

        I will try. Dave has such an outsized sense of his own mental powers and I must admit, he can get me off on rails. I work with many brilliant people everyday who manage to keep their egos well in check.

        Dave could learn something from them. Then again, that would require an empty cup.

    • August 21, 2014 11:21 pm

      I am not here to be liked. Nor to learn zen.
      And the cup I am working with is infinitely large. But it does not hold error.

      • Roby L permalink
        August 21, 2014 11:30 pm

        But its so zen! Now that you are not here to be liked, I like you! You are using zen on me, admit it.

      • August 24, 2014 1:38 am

        I was not intentionally using Zen on you, but if I have done so accidentally and it has worked I will be happy to take credit.

      • August 22, 2014 6:58 am

        You ARE pretty high on yourself. I am not seeing it.

  36. Roby L permalink
    August 21, 2014 2:47 pm

    Priscilla, these are a few among many comments that basically lump the Obama admin in with the Black panthers and imply that Obama is inciting a race riot for his own personal purposes. This is absurd, in fact, its disgusting. This is the complete abandonment of rational criticism for the pleasure of throwing red meat. A losing tactic, other than the fact that it stinks.

    “I would go a step further, in the case of Ferguson, and say that this government HAS been proactive in Ferguson, but its purpose has been to inflame and divide, for political advantage. I asked in an earlier thread why Eric Holder is now taking charge of the investigation of Officer Wilson……my guess is that the mounting evidence shows that the police officer was justified in using deadly force, because he had good reason to believe that his life was in danger. Holder needs to make sure that this evidence stays suppressed, until additional evidence implicating Wilson in the murder of an innocent is “discovered.”” Priscilla

    “JB.. Stop with the facts. You know Obama, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Eric Holder do not want to hear anything about facts. They want to make up their minds based on a lifetime of trying to convince the inner city blacks that the white man only wants to hold them down, ” Ron P

    “BTW, does anyone actually think that entry into this mess by a black activist organization (the DOJ) will encourage a just resolution?” RP

    “Holder, you mean the former Black Panther? What makes you think he would do such a thing?” JB

    This is demonization, to me its pretty vile. None of you are mind readers, you do not see Obama’s soul, you simply imagine darkly it with the help of cherry-picked facts from political agitators who are every bit as manipulative as Al Sharpton. Obama is a lousy president, he is not the monster you guys make him out to be. This kind of popular out-of-control conservative invective is a major reason that it is unlikely that I will get my wish that the next or a future president will come from the culture of sensible moderate conservatives such as Ike, Gerry Ford, Bush I, Bob Dole… A large enough portion of the country hears this kind of conservative nonsense and thinks, (as I do) “nuts.” No matter what else happens there are enough voters who hear this kind of talk and say, we are not turning the keys to the WH over to this ideology to be decisive at the presidential election level.

    • August 21, 2014 3:03 pm


      If you think that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton went to Mo to ease tensions, I have a bridge you can buy. They are race hustlers of the finest order.

      If you think Obama has anything on his mind but politics and golf, you are mistaken.

      If you think Eric Holder is an impartial attorney general, you are not paying attention.

      If that is vile invective, I stand guilty.

      Oh, yes, I did forget the “new black panther party.” Yes, they are there to pass out cool aid.

      • Roby L permalink
        August 21, 2014 3:07 pm

        Mindreading, your new profession. My guess is that you are wrong about the motives of everyone but the actual black panthers.

      • August 21, 2014 3:36 pm

        You are entitled to your opinion but I look at past actions as a indicator of the future.

        So, I will stand with my inferences and we can see who is more correct after the dust settles.

      • August 22, 2014 12:59 am

        We do not need to address motives – that is an idiotic progressive game anyway.
        Motives don’t matter much. Only god can know our motives.

        But we can judge actions.
        Priscilla’s list really sucks with respect to their record on effective actions.

        I have harangued the Ferguson PD for their tone deafness – and they deserve it.
        But I can not see any of the other players here as having a better record.

      • August 22, 2014 7:17 am

        Once again, we agree. I need a reality check on aisle 4.

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 21, 2014 3:22 pm

      Roby, you have every right to consider criticism of Obama and Holder “vile,” but I think you are mischaracterizing what is pretty boilerplate criticism….as I tried to clarify in my previous comment, I do not consider Obama to be a “monster” and I still don’t understand how you got there from reading my remarks. And I thought I was pretty clear that my suspicion that Holder is in Ferguson to make sure that the racial aspect of this situation stays front and center was based on his (and Obama’s) political calculation that this would work to their advantage. I suppose that all politicians are vile on some level, because politics can be a vile business.

      But, vileness (is that a word?) aside, I do think that the times demand competence, at the very least. Some leadership and diplomatic skills would be nice too. And, just a little less partying and golf in times of war and general distress. It is a bit unseemly.

      • August 21, 2014 3:37 pm

        I will revert to form. I think Obama and Holder are a couple of grade A assholes.

        Just my opinion.

      • Roby L permalink
        August 21, 2014 3:47 pm

        Priscilla, your accusation that “Holder needs to make sure that this evidence stays suppressed, until additional evidence implicating Wilson in the murder of an innocent is “discovered.” would make Obama a monster if true. Its really a huge accusation with no evidence behind it, don’t you see that?

        Criticizing is our right that I treasure, even more this year than last. Its a long way from criticizing to demonizing.

        Harry Truman gave the order to drop the bomb and then went and slept soundly he said. That always sounded pretty unbelievable to me.

        I’ve spent enough time here and effort to have developed internet affection for all the regulars. I am not meaning to be nasty but the accusations that fly here about Obama and then get amplified are absurd unless you all can read minds. Personally, the only president in my life time whose basic human decency I have ever doubted was Nixon. Obama is not the playing this to divide for his own advantage and I do not even believe you can show me any plausible advantage he would get from that. To me this accusation is about at the same level as the lefty fantasy that “Bush invaded Iraq so all his oil buddies could get richer.” Its a fantasy and a failed attempt to read the soul of the POTUS.

        “But here’s what worries me: if we’re not careful, the Battle of Ferguson could signal a final, irreparable emotional rift between blacks and whites in America. We’d no longer trust one another; we’d shore up our defenses. And that would be a national tragedy. Let’s not let it happen.”

        Blacks and whites both have to do their own part for Rick’s wish to be fruitful. Lumping Obama, who as an inescapable fact is our first black president, in with the new black panthers by some perverted series of leaps of logic is not a step in that direction.

      • August 21, 2014 5:50 pm

        I think you have blinders on regarding Obama and Holder. I don’t think Obama playing fast and loose with the Constitution and the rule of law is a particularly new thing (check his record at the Supreme Court).

        That doesn’t make him a “monster” just a guy who could give as crap about the rule of law. Again, if you cannot see that, I don’t think you are reading the inkies.

        Lastly, I think what he has in store for us regarding immigration will make all the other abuses of this “most transparent administration” look like child’s play.

        Now, I know the attack will be coming. It is fine. As for Nixon, he was a amateur next to Barry and his bunch.

        Is Barry a muslim? I don’t know. He DID recently tell us that Muslims “have built the very fabric of our nation!”

        Really, did he really say that? Ah, yes he did.

        “In the United States,” the statement continued, “Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy. … On behalf of the Administration, we wish Muslims in the United States and around the world a blessed and joyous celebration. Eid Mubarak.”

        Read more:

    • Ron P permalink
      August 21, 2014 7:10 pm

      I stand by my comment. Please demonstrate where I am demonizing anyone. I make this comment based on the fact that you very rarely see those four anywhere in the country making racial news until there is something happens like Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown. Where were they when Sean Bell, a black male had 50 slugs pumped into him by the NYC police while in his car. The officers waived a jury trial and the judge found all three officers not guilty. Very little hit the news and I do not remember anything of these four making much out of it. Jackson and Sharpton did attend a march right after, but what were they doing after the march to find solutions to black males getting killed by cops? That is where the news needs to be made by those individuals, not after when everyone wants someones head. And I do not mean appearing on a MSNBC talk show to air grievances. That’s like Rick Perry appearing on Hannity to talk about his indictment.

      Sorry Roby if you think I am demonizing. To me it is just telling what I see and hear. Maybe I am not hearing or seeing well and if not, please inform me where I am wrong about these individuals.

      • Roby L permalink
        August 21, 2014 8:00 pm

        Please show me that evidence that Obama has “spent a lifetime of trying to convince the inner city blacks that the white man only wants to hold them down.” Its nonsense.

        The idea that Obama is just using race relations for his own gain, in particular in Ferguson is just a baseless and insulting as the Idea that W launched the Iraq war and got tens of thousands killed so his oil buddies could get rich. A baseless adn illogical accusation based on mind reading and a tremendous attack of the character of both men. I’m fuckin sick of both illnesses the Bush and the Obama syndromes.

      • August 22, 2014 9:42 am

        I do not care if you “demonize” someone – so long as you are right.

        And even if you are wrong, I have no problem with an argument that challenges my values or beleifs.

        I take offense only when comments degenrate to vitrole WITHOUT argument.

    • August 22, 2014 12:53 am

      Significant parts of the comments you quote – I agree with.

      More importantly right or wrong they are legitimate.

      Many of us are really really tired of this “hate” rant by the left.
      It has worn thin. The sky is not falling, and the wolf is not at our door.

      The vitriol of the left directed at Bush was far worse.
      Frankly my own criticism of Bush is pretty bad.

      I could care less what the presidents religious views are.

      Every president gets abused regarding his vacations.

      I do not even grasp this “hate” argument.

      The best I can tell it is a progressive dog whistle for everyone who disagrees with Obama is a racist.

      Get over yourself. With incredibly few exceptions we do not care about the race or religion of the president or the AG.

      What you are truly upset about is the we reject and HATE progressivism.

      I have no problem owning that. Can you own your own HATE of other political perpectives ?

      I would likely vote for Herman Caine or Ben Carson, if they were running against Obama.
      I would vote for them over Perry, Christy, Romney, ….

      So am I a racist or is this about ideology ?

      I HATE progressivism. It is a vile and immoral ideology of slavery. It harms those it purports to help and wraps itself in smug moral superiotity while engaging in real harm.
      I am fully prepared to demonize progressivism – it deserves it.

      I think that is the HATE that really bothers you. I also think if you are honest with yourself, you too hate other peoples ideologies.
      And what is your post beyond intolerance and demonization ?

      Get off your high horse and quit pretending this is about race.

      I would also suggest paying some attention to the rest of the country.
      72% of us thing Big Government is the biggest threat to our future.
      79% want government spending reduced.
      2:1 we “hate” PPACA.

      The rest of the country is thinking “nuts” but not about the people you think.

      Get yourself out of the progressive echo chamber.

      • August 22, 2014 7:16 am

        A bit over the top but once again, I have to agree with much of what you have said. I don’t go all the way to hate, but I will concur that progressives are among the most annoying of our species. Whiny little twerps. Roby comes to mind BTW.

        The racism argument is simply silly. If one really hates Obama based solely on his being half-black, then, by definition, one could not embrace Thomas Sowell, for he is 100% black. Wouldn’t that make him twice as unacceptable as Barry? Of course, Tiger Woods is something like 12.5% so he is getting to be pretty OK, based on the race-based theory of life.

        So, this is clearly tied to ideology in my opinion, at least for me it is. I am not interested in skin pigment (although I do go to the tanning salon weekly) I am interested in what someone is intending to do to, and for, me.

        I would like politicians to do less for me and nothing to me. Is that too much to ask?

  37. Roby L permalink
    August 21, 2014 3:04 pm

    Oh, give me a freaking break, So blacks feel injustice, jeez, are they alone? Conservatives, as is quickly seen here, also feel injustice keenly and feel sorely used at times. Every group feels injustice, its in the genes of not just humans but animals in general. Political ideologies are based on uniting subpopulations via real or perceived injustices. We all want fairness… for us. Those others are just hypersensitive whiners. The fact still boggles the mind that conservatives complain bitterly about all the unfair things that happen to them as a group but just cannot begin to wrap their heads around the fact that black Americans, with all the sad history and the present circumstances as well, feel themselves treated badly at times and fear whites or the white majority system and are united in some way by that not totally irrational fear. Not that blacks are some kind of monolith, in general there are both disenfranchised and quite enfranchised black populations and they do not have identical views.

  38. Roby L permalink
    August 21, 2014 4:32 pm

    “it is not unreasonable for many of us to reach the conclusion that they are doing a poor job and that they are extremely motivated by ideology.” Well, that sounds like a respectable criticism, I can’t argue with that.

    “BTW, does anyone actually think that entry into this mess by a black activist organization (the DOJ) will encourage a just resolution.” This is what you said first, and it is something utterly different. You do see the difference? Go to the thousands of long time employees of the DOJ and tell them that they are professional black activists and let me know what you hear back. Its a crude race baiting comment, you know it, I am sure.

    The first paragraph you can say to a general audience, but the second you might want to leave to communications with like-minded people, as others will tend to see you in a poor light. You used your words quite freely the first time and now feel demonized by my reading into them exactly what you meant? Please. You demonized yourself if anyone did.

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 21, 2014 5:41 pm

      Roby, Eric Holder himself has said that he is running an activist DOJ and that he is proud of it. He specified that his activism is specifically within the civil rights division of the DOJ and he famously declined to prosecute the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation, despite video showing them threatening voters at the polls.

      I don’t think it is crude or race-baiting to use the man’s own characterization of himself as a description. I’ll even link to a pro-Holder article about it……

      It is a tragedy for race relations, that Obama and Holder did not come into office seeking to heal the rift between blacks and whites, but rather to put their hands on the scale of justice, to balance past wrongs. Obama sold himself as a uniter, but it was a bait and switch, in my opinion. He has done far more harm than good.

    • August 21, 2014 5:56 pm

      The first thing Holder said when he got to MO:

      “I understand that mistrust. I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man,” Holder said during an appearance at Florissant Valley Community College. “I think about my time in Georgetown — a nice neighborhood of Washington — and I am running to a picture movie at about 8 o’clock at night. I am running with my cousin. Police car comes driving up, flashes his lights, yells ‘where you going? Hold it!’ I say, ‘Whoa, I’m going to a movie.’ ”

      Way to do your job Ahole.

    • August 22, 2014 9:28 am

      Why are you trying to compell everyone who does nto agree with you to self censor while refusing to do so yourself ?

      I am not sure what will help this, but most outside intrusions appear self serving, rather than genuine attempts to bring peace and justice.

      As to characterizing the DOJ as a “black activist organization” – ordinary hyperbole.
      DOJ has been extremely remis at prosecuting real instances of voting fraud and intimidation, while wasting substantial efforts trying to thwart voting laws that 75% of the people support, SCOTUS has already declared constitutional and even a majority of blacks support.

      If thousands of DOJ employees do not like that characterization they should speek up about the bias of those making that claim true.

      You really do not get it.

      The ones engaged in race baiting, are on the LEFT.

      You are after a bizarre standard. You want the advocacy of a narrow interest to be perceived as centrist, while labeling anyone opposed to that narrow interest as racist.

      You are saying it is racist to accuse leftists of racial bias – even though the bias is obvious.

      I beleive possibly more than anyone else here that race is a component in this and that we need to consider that.

      But our laws must be enforced blind to race, religion, gender, affluence, …. If that does not work regardless of why. The problem is with the law.

      Progressives want to “tune” the law to do bring about equality.
      That is impossible and schemes rooted in equality rather than liberty end in blood.

      • August 22, 2014 10:22 am

        You know, now that Roby is back, I am liking your posts more and more. Keep up the good work!

  39. August 21, 2014 6:02 pm

    Remember that rule of law thing, Roby?

    I thought not.

    Click to access 665390.pdf

  40. Roby L permalink
    August 21, 2014 7:52 pm

    Show me where Holder said he is running the DOJ as a black activist organization. That is the difference, that little key word, Black. If he said that he has turned the DOJ into a black activist organization, as RP claimed then you would have a point. If he didn’t, you don’t. its not what he said in your link. I read about the black panther case and I think he did the wrong thing. But that does not make him a black panther!

    Democrats get elected, then they do democratic party value type things with the DOJ and federal depts and visa versa when Republicans get elected, they do conservative type things with the federal agencies. Its not something Obama invented. Many conservatives like to believe that civil rights activism is un-necessary as we are allegedly living in a color blind society. So, conservatives find this particular democratic party value to be a terrible thing. That is not a universal opinion and I am fine with the DOJ pressing civil rights issues actively. Its the most liberal remaining part of me. These are legitimate issues. Conservatives would only be happy if Obama just ignored this issue, by some backwards logic because he is black he is supposed to turn his back on civil rights issues or something and take the conservative position on racial issues. Anythign else is “divisive.” I do not buy that this particular part of the Obama admin is divisive. Holder could be Bobby Kennedy, just he is black so he catches hell. Its a democratic presidency and the DOJ is doing the things you would expect during a dem presidency. Please, please do not tell me that Obama invented this, its completely ordinary.

    When Reagan was the POTUS he ran his departments along conservative ideological lines, which upset a huge number of people and produced numerous scandals, remember the HUD scandal and Silent Sam Pierce? :
    “After leaving office he was investigated by the United States Office of the Independent Counsel and the United States Congress over mismanagement, abuse and political favoritism that took place in the department during his tenure. These investigations found that under Pierce’s stewardship the department engaged in political favoritism and trading of influence. Millions of dollars of federal government money was given to projects as sought by connected politicians of both parties, in violation of rules governing such grants and expenditures. Through the 1990s many of Pierce’s closest aides and confidants at the department were charged and convicted on felony charges related to the political favoritism and inappropriate expenditures that pervaded the department during Pierce’s tenure (Thomas Demery, Phillip Winn, Joseph Strauss and Deborah Gore Dean). ” The idea was that Reagan won an election and had the political capital to follow conservative ideology and dismantle HUD.

    Conservatives ain’t gonna like the things Dems do as President and visa versa and that is life.

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 21, 2014 8:41 pm

      Much of what you say is true. I do think that you give Holder a benefit of the doubt that he does not deserve. Prosecutorial activism is not the appropriate role for an Attorney General, and times are very different now they were in 1961, particularly in the field of civil rights. Then again, activism, whether it be prosecutorial, judicial, or executive, is the way that this administration operates. I guess it is understandable….when a nation elects a man who is most proud of his accomplishments as a community organizer, they are going to get someone who values social justice over the rule of law.

      Anyway, we will not agree on this. We have a DOJ that does not believe that justice should be blind, and I cannot, even if I try, see any good in that. Sacrificing a white cop on the altar of social justice will not stop what is going on in our cities and on our police forces. Who does Eric Holder help by announcing that he is a black man, as if we didn’t know? I’ll leave that as a rhetorical question.

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 21, 2014 9:05 pm

      I should have said, “I agree with much of what you say” as opposed to “much of what you say is true,” which kinda, sorta sounds like I am the arbiter of truth, which, although I’d like to believe I am, is a bit presumptuous.

    • August 22, 2014 9:47 am

      Progressives get elected and they do progressives things – yup entirely agree.
      And some of those progressive things are IMMORAL.

      DOJ has generally been remiss about prosecuting voter intimidation.
      But this administration has been especially remiss about prosecuting blatant voter intimidation.

      Further this administration is repeatedly tyinging up voter ID laws that the overwhelming majority including the majority of blacks support, for racist reasons that SCOTUS rejected long ago.

      Whether that is a campaign promise or not, it is immoral, unethical, unconstitutional and racist.

      • August 22, 2014 10:27 am

        Hey, no fair using facts on a progressive. I think you hurt his feelings, and you know, they are the only ones that have them.

    • August 22, 2014 9:51 am

      Roby L;

      Some things are just WRONG. They are wrong whether republicans do them, or democrats do them. they are wrong whether voters support them or not.

      If you do not grasp that, then Hilter’s genocide was moral. Hitler was voted into office, his platform and rhetoric made clear his extreme animus to jews.

      Democracy is not the bar to tyranny, it is a well paved road to it.
      We impose things like constitutions and the rule of law because the whim of the majority is NOT sufficient to prevent tyranny.

  41. Roby L permalink
    August 21, 2014 9:04 pm

    I will be astounded it anyone sacrifices the white cop. I have nothing but sympathy for him.

    I once wrote to the widow of the Cop, Faulkner I think was his name, who Abdul Jamal killed (she had a website exposing the lies of the Abdul Jamal legal team) with my appreciation for her website, situation and gave her my condolences. She wrote back with a very nice letter. So, I am not anti cop, far from it. I think you are tremendously jumping the gun with your fear of a sacrifice. Should I be wrong I will eat crow.

    But something has to be done about the conditions that millions of inner city people live in, and that is a disproportionately black community. I cannot be color blind, its a race problem. I don’t want to meet or live around the bloods and bros, they are lost and dangerous souls. ( I live in Vermont, we don’t have that. Its not why I moved here, but I will admit its a great thing about being here.) There are many, many decent people of color trapped in terrible circumstances who just want to live happy lives. They have my sympathies, I cannot value color blindness higher than practical acceptance of reality. Any reasonable thing anyone would propose, color blind or not, to rebuild the urban hell and help expand the black middle class would have my support.

    • August 21, 2014 9:33 pm

      Bullshit. I grew up poor and white. The answer is, wait for it, move!

      Move up and move out.

      It really is not that complex, and it is not easy. Tons and years of hard work. Gee, that is too bad, but, we don’t live in nirvana.

      You are a bigot. You feel that white people have to “help” black people. I don’t see black people as in need of help. You do.

      Get a mirror buddy.

      • Roby L permalink
        August 21, 2014 9:38 pm

        Ah, simple answers, always available. Life is really so straightforward.

      • August 21, 2014 10:00 pm

        Actually, it is. Too bad as a liberal, you cannot see that.

      • August 24, 2014 1:26 am

        Simple and easy are not the same.

        Many worthwhile things are simple, few if any are easy.

        What someone receives without paying some price has no value.

        It is extremely rare that charity significantly improves the lot of those who recieve it – because they do not value what they receive sufficiently.

        Self improvement is not the consequence of a moments largess, but continuous effort.

        The laws of thermodynamics are immutable, merely treading water requires continuous effort. Charity can not permanently improve your state unless you change yourself.

    • August 22, 2014 10:05 am

      From what I can tell Ferguson is not the inner city, but actually the suburbs, while not “affluent” it is not an area of abject poverty.

      Sorry we are tired of the “the horrible conditions of poverty” causes crime etc. meme.
      It is false, and progressive efforts to improve anything have only made them worse.

      I think that the riots in Ferguson have some meaning which we need to find and address.
      Meaning that those protesting – even those burning and looting can not articulate.
      But progressives have had their chance are reading that meaning and they have failed.

      I would argue that the anger is more representative of lack of liberty than of poverty.

      I would compare ferguson to pre-revolutionary boston. Tea Parties, riots, tar and feathering. over what ?

      The imposition of pseudo law and order by military force from far away.

      Ferguson needs Law and Order, but it needs to want it, and it needs not to be imposed from the outside by force.

      • August 22, 2014 10:35 am

        I will say this: Moving out of a hell hole ghetto is a wonderful thing. I remember it well and candidly it was not that hard. The fact is, staying there would have been MUCH harder.
        Rome wasn’t built in a day nor without sacrifice.

        So, when you leave, if you have any friends, they are harder to stay in touch with. Ditto family. But, riddle me this?

        If I am a parent living in the typical urban ghetto, do I not owe it to my children to get them the hell out of there before they get gunned down in the street or are subject to all the other issues of that life? Can I really find NO alternative place to live?

        Seriously, I get its hard and I speak from experience. But, is there really any other option? Is the Obama Administration going to fly a magic drone over my ghetto and shower me with sweetness and light? Is the Man going to make it OK for me next week?

        Not really. Let’s face it: there are a lot of defective people in these areas and they are of all skin colors and backgrounds (in my hood, they were mostly white). Drug addled, lazy, and up to no good. And, the good folks are their prey.

        So, I say, get out of Dodge. You can be poor pretty much anywhere but you may live to tell the tale.

  42. Roby L permalink
    August 21, 2014 9:19 pm

    “In the United States,” the statement continued, “Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy. … On behalf of the Administration, we wish Muslims in the United States and around the world a blessed and joyous celebration. Eid Mubarak.””

    Thank you for the quote, its an utterly reasonable and accurate statement, there Are millions of muslims in the US and they do contribute to building our nation. Without any trouble whatsoever you can find the same exact sentiments from W. Bush issued shortly after the Towers came down. Its one of the things I most respect W for, he immediately did the right thing and made it clear that peaceful muslims are a part of America. Nobody suspected that W was secretly muslim. The vast majority of American muslims are peaceful and non radical and have just as much expectation of receiving respect as any other of our subcultures. Not only that but its an utterly wise thing to do, unless you plan to deport or protectively imprison several million muslim citizens after we all insult them and piss them off adn radicalize them by calling them hateful and dangerous radicals a self fulfilling prophesy.

    • August 21, 2014 9:34 pm

      Name one achievement of significance by one muslim.

      Thanks much in advance. This is just pandering to the faithful.

      • Roby L permalink
        August 21, 2014 9:55 pm

        Er, off the top of my head, algebra.

      • August 21, 2014 10:04 pm

        Nice try, no cigar.

        The roots of algebra can be traced to the ancient Babylonians,[7] who developed an advanced arithmetical system with which they were able to do calculations in an algorithmic fashion. The Babylonians developed formulas to calculate solutions for problems typically solved today by using linear equations, quadratic equations, and indeterminate linear equations. By contrast, most Egyptians of this era, as well as Greek and Chinese mathematics in the 1st millennium BC, usually solved such equations by geometric methods, such as those described in the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, Euclid’s Elements, and The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art. The geometric work of the Greeks, typified in the Elements, provided the framework for generalizing formulae beyond the solution of particular problems into more general systems of stating and solving equations, although this would not be realized until mathematics developed in medieval Islam.[8]

        By the time of Plato, Greek mathematics had undergone a drastic change. The Greeks created a geometric algebra where terms were represented by sides of geometric objects, usually lines, that had letters associated with them.[4] Diophantus (3rd century AD) was an Alexandrian Greek mathematician and the author of a series of books called Arithmetica. These texts deal with solving algebraic equations,[9] and have led, in number theory to the modern notion of Diophantine equation.

        Earlier traditions discussed above had a direct influence on Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī (c. 780–850). He later wrote The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing, which established algebra as a mathematical discipline that is independent of geometry and arithmetic.[10]

        The Hellenistic mathematicians Hero of Alexandria and Diophantus [11] as well as Indian mathematicians such as Brahmagupta continued the traditions of Egypt and Babylon, though Diophantus’ Arithmetica and Brahmagupta’s Brahmasphutasiddhanta are on a higher level.[12] For example, the first complete arithmetic solution (including zero and negative solutions) to quadratic equations was described by Brahmagupta in his book Brahmasphutasiddhanta. Later, Arabic and Muslim mathematicians developed algebraic methods to a much higher degree of sophistication. Although Diophantus and the Babylonians used mostly special ad hoc methods to solve equations, Al-Khwarizmi contribution was fundamental. He solved linear and quadratic equations without algebraic symbolism, negative numbers or zero, thus he has to distinguish several types of equations.[13

        If only your dogma was true.

      • August 21, 2014 10:06 pm

        I guess the top of your head is flat?

        History of algebra

        “Italian mathematician Girolamo Cardano published the solutions to the cubic and quartic equations in his 1545 book Ars magna.
        François Viète’s work on new algebra at the close of the 16th century was an important step towards modern algebra. In 1637, René Descartes published La Géométrie, inventing analytic geometry and introducing modern algebraic notation. Another key event in the further development of algebra was the general algebraic solution of the cubic and quartic equations, developed in the mid-16th century. The idea of a determinant was developed by Japanese mathematician Kowa Seki in the 17th century, followed independently by Gottfried Leibniz ten years later, for the purpose of solving systems of simultaneous linear equations using matrices. Gabriel Cramer also did some work on matrices and determinants in the 18th century. Permutations were studied by Joseph-Louis Lagrange in his 1770 paper Réflexions sur la résolution algébrique des équations devoted to solutions of algebraic equations, in which he introduced Lagrange resolvents. Paolo Ruffini was the first person to develop the theory of permutation groups, and like his predecessors, also in the context of solving algebraic equations.

        Abstract algebra was developed in the 19th century, deriving from the interest in solving equations, initially focusing on what is now called Galois theory, and on constructibility issues.[23] George Peacock was the founder of axiomatic thinking in arithmetic and algebra. Augustus De Morgan discovered relation algebra in his Syllabus of a Proposed System of Logic. Josiah Willard Gibbs developed an algebra of vectors in three-dimensional space, and Arthur Cayley developed an algebra of matrices (this is a noncommutative algebra).[24]”

        Not a muslim to be found!

      • August 24, 2014 1:32 am

        “Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra” Omar Khayyam 12th century

        The president is over the top on Islam – which has contributed little in centuries.
        But that is not the same as nothing ever

      • August 24, 2014 1:18 am

        While prone to deliberately making provocative and overly broad assertions myself, I beleive that JB and Obama were both referring to Muslim’s in america.

        I suspect we can find a few of those too. But it is much more than a reach to claim muslims have been an instrumental part of this countries history.

    • August 22, 2014 10:17 am

      Micheal Moore has argued in a well recieved Film that Bush was lin League with the Saudi’s and that the Saudi’s were responsible for 911 – or was that the jews or .. ?

      Yes, there are a handful of loons on the right who think Obama is a secret Mulsim.
      Most americans either do not care or do not beleive.

      Something the left should get a handle on.
      Even Rev Phelps has died and WBC is pretty irrelevant.

      There will always be a few nut cases at the extreme edges of every debate.
      Micheal Moore comes immediately to mind. I find it hard to distinguish him from Rev. Phelps.

      All the different “isms” the left is up in arms over are significantly diminished not worse.
      The hyperbole about extreme racial or gender bias is shrill anoying and increasingly falling on deaf ears.

      We do not live in perfect racial or gender harmony and we need to address the problems we have that remain, and Ferguson speaks to some of that.

      But we do not still live in the 60’s. The problems with our AG and President are that they are incompetent and wrong, not that they are black.

      I look forward to the next Black president – who hopefully will be more competent than the first.

      • August 22, 2014 10:36 am

        Michael Moore apparently has much more money than Rev Phelps had when he died.

      • August 24, 2014 6:40 pm

        I do not think it is about money.

        Progressives are permitted to hate. It is the rest of us who may not.

        Progressives are even allowed to hate us for hating other people, when it is bad ideas that we hate.

  43. August 21, 2014 9:39 pm

    Obama, all broken up about the beheading and all that.

  44. Roby L permalink
    August 21, 2014 10:14 pm

    Till one looks carefully. No one person or culture developed algebra parts of it goes back to the babylonians at least. “The word “algebra” is derived from the Arabic word Al-Jabr, and this comes from the treatise written in 820 by the medieval Persian mathematician, Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, entitled, in Arabic Kitāb al-muḫtaṣar fī ḥisāb al-ğabr wa-l-muqābala, which can be translated as The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing. The treatise provided for the systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations. ”

    The arabs were given credit actually for preserving a great deal of Greek and Roman thought and scientific discoveries during the dark ages.

    Seriously, JB the idea that not one muslim has contributed to the world is primitive even for you. You must be having me on, right?

    • August 22, 2014 6:51 am

      Yeah except that I never said that not one muslim every contributed one thing to the world (show me that statement please). I did refer to Barry’s statement, which was of course, a very different statement.

      Reading, try some.

      • August 24, 2014 9:55 am

        What you said was:

        “Name one achievement of significance by one muslim.”

      • August 24, 2014 10:05 am

        I should have said, in the US during its development. Like for example, Thomas Edison.

        My bad, I should have qualified my statement. That said, do you really in your heart accept Obama’s statement as anything but pandering to his base?

        I don’t.

      • August 24, 2014 9:50 pm

        I find Obama’s statement as offensive as you.

        I am just not looking to attack all muslims for all time.
        I think modern Islam is a more troublingly violent religion than most.
        But its present is not easily distinguishable from say the christian past,
        and all not even most muslim’s are dangerous – though I doubt Roby’s 3% – maybe worldwide, but not in the mideast

  45. Roby L permalink
    August 21, 2014 10:28 pm

    This is an excerpt of what you yourself posted to show me that muslims had nothing to do with algebra! You did not even read it!: You are a bonehead and an ignoramous, squared. A linear equation is insufficient to chart the rate at which you are becoming duller:

    “Later, Arabic and Muslim <— (note the word muslim here its a dead giveaway that they are talking about muslims.) mathematicians developed algebraic methods to a much higher degree of sophistication. Although Diophantus and the Babylonians used mostly special ad hoc methods to solve equations, Al-Khwarizmi contribution was fundamental. He solved linear and quadratic equations without algebraic symbolism, negative numbers or zero, thus he has to distinguish several types of equations.[13"

    As well there were other references to arab mathematicians in what you wrote. I'm going to have to quote Dave: I'm afraid to talk to you any more and find out how little you know….
    . You silly sod, just daft.

    • August 22, 2014 6:42 am

      You, like Dave, apparently, cannot read either. Show me where I said that muslims had nothing to do with the creation of algebra. By inference, your statement suggested that muslims created algebra all by themselves.

      They did not. They had a small part in it assuming this Wiki is accurate.

      So, try to reason a bit better.

      That said, indicating that muslims has a small part in the creation of algebra is quite stretch when suggesting they are an essential part of the “fabric of America.” That statement was simply pandering to part of his (Barry’s base).

      • August 24, 2014 9:26 am

        JB demanded one significant “achievement” of Muslims.
        Roby provided one.

        After that the debate became tedious and incredibly semantic.

        Do we have to debate whether achievement includes invent or create ? I would argue that Algebra is discovered rather than invented or created.

        I can agree that I can not think of a way that to this time Muslims are an essential part of the fabric of this country. I hope and expect that to change.

        Nor do I think being critical of the president’s occasional fawning over Islam – which has accomplished nothing, we are still as hated by muslim’s as ever.

        Our words are important, because they frame the meaning of our actions. Progressives fail to grasp this. Not just with respect to the mid-east but with respect to everything.

        Oddly muslims correctly understand that the words are without substance, while minorities inside this country still fail to gather that promises of free things – even if delivered, will not make their lives better, regardless, the promises are undeliverable. There is only one sustainable route to a higher standard of living – whether as an individual or a nation – produce more that others value highly.

        Nothing else can permanently improve the lives of anyone – rich or poor.

  46. August 22, 2014 6:44 am

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you re-read those sections, you see that muslims and arabs has some part in the events leading up to algebra. The later section referencing the actual development of algebra does not mention them.

    There is that reading thing again.

  47. Roby L permalink
    August 22, 2014 7:34 am

    “You, like Dave, apparently, cannot read either. Show me where I said that muslims had nothing to do with the creation of algebra.”

    “Name one achievement of significance by one muslim.
    Thanks much in advance. ”

    Though I’ll be shocked if you admit it, your implication was that there are not any adn not just in algebra.

    “Not a muslim to be found!”

    where in reality:

    “Al-Khwarizmi contribution was fundamental. He solved linear and quadratic equations without algebraic symbolism, negative numbers or zero, thus he has to distinguish several types of equations.”

    Linear and quadratic equations are no small deal, they are in fact fundamental they make up the bulk of what students learn in algebra I . The word algebra itself is arabic in its etymology.

    From the Faseb Journal (a wonky molecular biology journal)

    The biomedical sciences of the Arabic-Islamic world underwent remarkable development during the 8th to 13th centuries C.E., a flowering of knowledge and intellect that later spread throughout Europe and greatly influenced both medical practice and education. The scientific glory of the Arabic nation originated on the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century C.E., where the preaching of the prophet Mohammed united the Arab tribes and inaugurated the Muslim religion (1)⇓ . The Islamic state was formed in 622 C.E., when the Prophet moved from Mecca to Medina. Within a century after his death (632 C.E.) a large part of the planet, from southern Europe throughout North Africa to Central Asia and on to India, was controlled by and/or influenced by the new Arabic-Muslim Empire (1⇓ , 2)⇓ . In 711 C.E., Arab Muslims invaded southern Spain and a center of flourishing civilization (al-Andalus) was created (1)⇓ . Another center emerged in Baghdad from the Abbasids, who ruled part of the Islamic world during a historic period later characterized as the “Golden Age” (∼750 to 1258 C.E.) (3)⇓ .

    Arguably, many of the achievements of the Islamic-Arabic Golden Age were based on previous initiatives taken by the ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, Persians, Greeks, and Romans (1⇓ , 2⇓ , 4)⇓ . Hence, translators were invited to Baghdad, where scientists and researchers studied the past and created the future. The result of their work was impressive progress in all sectors of science. The rulers of Islamic Spain, in an attempt to surpass Baghdad, recruited scholars who made contributions of paramount importance to science, medicine, technology, philosophy, and art.

    Though you are obviously a fine person in many ways, political beliefs is not one of them, on this topic I would have more intelligent (or at least less ignorant) discussion with a box of rocks.

    • August 22, 2014 7:37 am

      You can find those rocks quickly, strategically placed between your ears.

    • August 22, 2014 7:39 am

      Now, moving on from the 13th Century, about that Fabric of America thing.

      • August 22, 2014 7:50 am

        This is a fruitless discussion. It really doesn’t matter what accomplishments were due to people of any religion. What gets me very upset is people who seem to think that Christians are good, and Muslims bad, in all cases. Muslim Spain was far more tolerant of other religious communities than the Christian Spain that succeeded it; I would rather, as a Jew, live in the former than the latter. Catholic Christianity produced both Mother Teresa and Torquemada; Protestant Christianity produced both Albert Schweitzer and the Salem Witch Trial judges. Generalizing about Muslims is as bad as generalizing about blacks (or any such group defined by race or religion, really.

      • August 22, 2014 8:15 am

        I was simply looking for evidence that muslims have contributed to the “very fabric of America.” We do have plenty of evidence as to what many of today’s muslims are up to, no?

      • August 22, 2014 8:23 am

        Do you know the religion of everyone who is contributing to “the fabric of America”? And if “[w]e do have plenty of evidence as to what many of today’s muslims are up to,” *many* is not *all*. In this area I know of a Muslim group that once a month brings meals to a homeless shelter (or at least did, several years ago; I haven’t kept up with it). The only other group that does the same is a Chinese Buddhist group.

      • August 22, 2014 8:29 am

        Good for you, and for them. I am actually more concerned about the next 911 or how many beheading, kidnappings, mass murders, bombings, and the like that followers of this “religion” are perpetrating.

        Can you blame me?

        You know, it can’t happen here, right?

      • August 22, 2014 11:01 am

        Sure, there are a lot of terrorist Muslims, but that neither implies that all terrorists are Muslims (remember Timothy McVeigh?) nor that all Muslims are terrorists. I can see a good reason for increased surveillance of Muslims because of probabilities, but not for considering anyone automatically a terrorist because he prays in a certain way.

      • August 22, 2014 11:04 am

        Me either.

      • August 24, 2014 7:04 pm

        Someone say all muslims are terrorists ?
        Beat the crap out of that straw man!
        McVeigh was nuts. Most american mass killers are.
        Find some coherent ideology in McVeigh, Kazinsky, Homes, Lanza, ….?

        McVeigh was actually reported to law enforcement by those extremist right wing militias the left fixates on.

        I do not think anyone is expecting all muslims to be considered terrorist suspects.

        Even inside the US it is extremely rare to non-existant to have actual islamic terrorists after they have lived here for a couple of years.

      • August 24, 2014 11:47 am

        My family feeds 150 people at a local homeless shelter 4 times a year.

        If the best you can come up with is that american muslims contribute 3 times as much to the homeless as my family – then you have lost this argument.

        I am not looking to beat the crap out of american muslims. I welcome them to this country – along with anyone else seeking the opportunity to make for themselves a better life.

        But I am under no delusion that at this time they have made a major contribution to the fabric of america. In time maybe. At the moment that is just stupid hyperbole.

      • August 24, 2014 11:25 am

        We can play who was worse games back through to cave men.

        I am not interested in replaying the crusades. Or trying to prove one side or the other superior 7 centuries ago.

        I am interested in today.

        Most muslims today are not vile dangerous people.
        But a significant portion of the violent conflict in the world today – particularly the terrorism, the horrendous treatment of women takes place within Islam.

        As repugnant as the worst christians are today aside from condemening others to hell spewing hate, they are not engaged in actual violence against anyone.

        I have zero desire to defend WestBoro Baptist Church – but they just do not compare to Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Qeda, ISIS, ……

        Do those groups represent the majority of muslims ? Not by a long shot, but they do represent a significant violent cultural element of Islam that has not been civilized.

        We should nto forget the violence of our own past – but it is still PAST.
        We can demand that CURRENT Islam put its violence in the past.

        To a some extent the reverse seems to be true.

        Omar Khayyam is 9 Centuries ago, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is today
        Torquemada was 6 centuries ago. Mother Theresa was yesterday.

        I would probably prefer to be a Jew in the mideast several centuries ago. But not today.
        I am not so sure whether being a spanish Jew in the time of Torquemada was worse than being a Jew in Iraq under ISIS today.

      • August 24, 2014 1:48 pm

        Nicely reasoned.

  48. Roby L permalink
    August 22, 2014 7:56 am

    Race is in fact my last really liberal ideological reserve. I did not post anything on Ricks previous “Former white guy post” exactly because I saw no point in getting into an obsessive nasty food fight with everyone else here. I held off on this post as well, which is clearly about race. Reading the conservative take on race here only reinforces the strength of my liberal convictions on race, this is an area where many conservatives are simply oblivious and tone deaf. It for me is the ugliest corner of conservatism. It was suggested here to set up snipers on the mexican border and have at those dirty disease carrying hispanic men women and children trying to get into the country our ancestors all got into. I heard no objections to that plan on any moral grounds.

    If this is my “high horse” I’m proud to be on it. No so-called “libertarian” is going to succeed in ordering me to get off it.

    Rick did his usual thoughtful writing on this and my favorite part was the conclusion.

    “But here’s what worries me: if we’re not careful, the Battle of Ferguson could signal a final, irreparable emotional rift between blacks and whites in America. We’d no longer trust one another; we’d shore up our defenses. And that would be a national tragedy. Let’s not let it happen.”

    • August 22, 2014 8:23 am

      I see no rift unless the media, the race hustlers, and liberal progressives like you want to make one. We “white folks” who are not progressives know that we are all just knuckle dragging racists. It’s just that you guys keep pointing it out that annoys us. You of course, having acknowledged your sins, will be absolved.

      Remember, as our chief law enforcement officer told us several years back, “we are a nation of cowards when talking about race.” Hmm, this is the guy who rides into MO to deliver objective justice?

      BTW-you added all that nonsense about who comes across the border. My plan was an equal opportunity plan. If Mother Teresa would try to sneak across, she would catch the same bullet. She, equality for all.

      You, of course, can see this remark was made in jest. Ah, no, progressives have no sense of humor. So serious, kind of like a cleric, judging all the time.

      BTW- have you taken in any “refugees” from Bolivia or thereabouts? I thought not.

      • Roby L permalink
        August 22, 2014 9:09 am

        I had a good laugh at your series of jokes on liberal hypocrisy and said you hit the target, remember? If not look it up. Documented proof of my ability to accept criticism. Alas, your plan to shoot the hispanics at the border did not strike my funny bone for some reason. I’m still awaiting your series on the humorous hypocritical faults of conservatives to prove that you have a sense of humor when it comes to your own faults.

        For volunteer work, I taught an immigrant family English. I also volunteer in a nursing home, I’m there at least once a week.

      • August 22, 2014 10:21 am

        Good for you. If that floats your boat, that is a good thing.

        I haven’t had time to gain more knowledge on conservatives. I will work on that.

    • August 24, 2014 11:40 am

      I give you liberty not orders, and demand the same from you.

      I missed the snipers at the borders post. Regardless I have repeatedly argued for open borders and an end to the welfare state as the two are incompatible.

      Rick as usual – and like you has blinders on and can not see the past as it was.

      Ferguson is a clear symptom of growing problems – that far too many here are blind too.

      Regardless of what one beleives regarding the socalled facts, why has a 2/3 black working class community devolved into rioting ? Even if the residents of Ferguson are wrong about every fact, they are not rioting because Ofc. Wilson killed a Black Thug, they are rioting because they beleive that a white police officer from Ferguson could gun down a fleeing black teen over jaywalking.

      Facts do not undermine their sense that in their community something far more egregious is possible.

      But the fact that conservatives appear to be tone deaf does nto make the idiotic rantings of progressives into truth.

      Much of the problems of race today are the result of stupid progressive policies.
      Whatever you may think of conservatives, they did not destroy the black family – you did.
      They did not trap minorities into dependence and poverty you did, They did nto spend trillions on a war on poverty to accomplish nothing – you did.

      Whatever anger I may have at conservatives with respect to issues of race, it is progressives that have created the mess we have today.

      Past that we are not on the cusp of some descent into the abyss.
      Ferguson is not Watts or the burning summer.

      It is something we need to address, it is not the end of the world.

  49. August 22, 2014 8:04 am

    An Attorney General that only a progressive could love:

  50. August 22, 2014 8:06 am

    An objective progressive “journalist” just doing their job:

  51. Roby L permalink
    August 22, 2014 8:58 am

    I was at a biophysics convention in Baltimore 10 years ago. I decided to drive around and see the city. There is a nice waterfront with a great aquarium etc. but you quickly get into the bad area of Baltimore, Baltimore is mostly ghetto. So I was soon in a place i did not want to be. A cop car was parked on the street with a black officer inside so I asked him where I was and how to get back to the waterfront. You in da ghetto, he told me, I’d tell you how to get out but I gotta go, and he put on his siren and blasted off. So I stopped in a convenience store and asked a clerk how to get back to the aquarium area. There was a customer, a black lady in her fifties I’d say and she looked at me with concern and said, You don’t want to be here, I’m going in that direction, you can follow me. And she kindly drove until I could see the tall buildings on the waterfront.

    That lady is my example. She was clearly working, dressed for an office, had a decent car etc. But there she was in the ghetto area of a city with major deterioration of its infrastructure. She knew that I was not safe there, so I’d say that she must doubt that she is safe there either, but there she is. There are millions of people like her in the decayed urban areas, they do work, they are not bums, they just do not have the resources to get to somewhere safer and nicer. There are tens of millions of people in the inner cities and if Baltimore is any measure, the houses are falling down, roofs caved in on one building in ten. It is a national disgrace that we cannot find some way to rebuild those areas, that in America there are huge numbers of people who are trapped in completely soul sucking decayed environments, high unemployment, drugs, dangerous lost children on the street. I don’t know of any simple answer, via government or the private sector, if it were easy it would have been done long ago, but my heart does go out to the people like that woman who helped me who are stuck there. They cannot just all move out, many would if they could, they do not have the resources to leave, find a new job, a new place to live, leave their families and friends and everything they know. They are not all just lazy and unemployed.

    Now here comes the word Bullshit from JB. I say bullshit in advance to your bullshit. not everyone can be a company director or college professor. The “I worked my way to the top story” cannot be universal by definition. The top is the top. For every chief there are many more indians without the money and other resources to get out. Those are the people I feel for in Ferguson. The reporter has got a story there, not the only one, and not one that conservatives want to hear, but its an important story. I have no doubt that that “occupying army” is keeping the law abiding working people safe as well, its just an ugly situation that seems to have no answer. It does not mean we can’t give a shit and observe the sadness of it and ask ourselves again what it would take to fix it.

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 22, 2014 9:39 am

      Roby, you continually state ,in many ways and as fact, that conservatives don’t give a shit, when it is demonstrably untrue. Conservatives give a different kind of shit (hmmm, this language may be getting too scatological) based on the belief that help to the poor should be given in a way that helps them help themselves, rather than in a way that keeps them right where they are, subsisting on public subsidies indefinitely, and , most importantly, voting for the politicians that “give them” these subsidies.

      I know that you know that most government programs aimed at helping people escape poverty have been abject failures, but then you turn around and insist that we must keep trying with those same programs. I get why liberal politicians oppose any kind of reform, but I don’t understand why obviously intelligent people like you oppose it, other than that you are ideologically opposed to any sort of free market reform that takes control of money out of the hands of the “good” government agencies and puts it in the hands of the “bad” business people. I am not talking about pulling the rug out from under those who are currently and essentially wards of the state, by the way. Any reform of our current, impotent War on Poverty-style programs will have to be comprehensive and gradual and include interim transition steps (here is everyone’s cue to tell me that interim programs never end…I know, I know).

      I guess my main point is this- liberal programs have demonstrably not worked- and it’s been decades and generations that they have not worked. But the Democrat party is married to these programs and cannot, will not reform them. And I am under no illusions about Republican party politicians, but they are not bound as tightly to the welfare state. Also, for what it is worth, the media is much more aggressive in monitoring Republicans and would never stand for the level of corruption that they accept from Democrats.

      • August 22, 2014 10:25 am

        Once a federal program is developed, it is almost impossible to kill. Imagine the Ex-Im bank for example.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 22, 2014 10:29 am

        I know, I know. It would be helpful if all legislation requiring funding had to have mandatory sunset provisions.

      • August 22, 2014 10:37 am

        Piggys’ at the trough my dear, Piggy’s at the trough!

      • August 24, 2014 6:37 pm

        All legislation of all kinds – not just funding legislation should regularly sunset.

      • Roby L permalink
        August 22, 2014 10:50 am

        Priscilla, I believe I said above that I have no idea what will work. I am defending no particular liberal program in these posts:

        “I don’t know of any simple answer, via government or the private sector, if it were easy it would have been done long ago”

        There is such contempt for liberals here that I rarely even see the point of defending my few remaining pockets of liberal belief, and then I ask my self well, why be shy, its a blog for gods sake. I am going to stand on this one and make I guess a very liberal sounding lecture because I believe it, while liberals do not have any wonderful plans that would cure the race or poverty issues, at least they see that they Are issues. A very large section of the conservative world simply believes, like JB seems to, that there is no problem and that minorities simply whine too much and liberals are stupid enough to listen. Sorry, I do not see very much of the good side of conservatives on this issue, like climate change the conservative nation as whole prefers to say that there is no problem and the free market will solve this for anyone who works hard. That is clearly not true. And yeah its like 5 conservatives here who will be really pissed to hear my “liberal lecturing”, but tough, I have to listen to a lot of liberal bashing, so this is it. You are not going to shake my opinion from life long observation that this area is a conservative blind spot at best, and at worst its shoot the hispanic invaders, American muslims are scaring me and making no contribution to America, yada yada, whining blacks, resentment towards anyone who looks at inner city people with any sympathy or empathy, and why are those fool liberals always going on about race, that was solved in the 60s. I think that the conservative take on race and poverty is an oblivious disaster, it makes me angry. If the liberal solutions don’t work, then its also true that the conservative ones don’t work.

        This is why I really avoided posting on the subject of race at all.

        Priscilla, in all seriousness, I love ya, but you have been so long in a conservative mindset/news environment that you are not really hearing the implications of what conservative people are saying. Shoot the hispanics, no muslim accomplishments, how are you with all that? Do you think its just JB? It ain’t. For all his talk of sheeple there isn’t an opinion on current events that JB writes that wasn’t in an conservative opinion column yesterday. And he isn’t even one of the Rush dittoheads. The conservative world feels no shame in attacking liberals, in this case I’m gonna attack back. I predict howling will result. I’m not actually looking forward to that, I am now fully obsessed with this discussion and really have a large work list that I am neglecting, WTF am I doing here?

      • August 22, 2014 11:01 am

        For people who live in these areas, it is a BIG problem. How obvious is that? Where is the argument?

        That is pretty much where the agreement ends I think. It is clear that the liberal approach has been a dismal failure. The conservative approach hasn’t been tried, so no data there.

        What might work is if people like you stopped pointing fingers at people like me as if I did something wrong. I am over here doing my thing and taking care of me, my family, and others as best I can. So far, so good.

        So, I did it better than some others. SO WHAT. At the end of the day, I did what I did. Am I supposed to apologize for that?

        Oh, I know, I am supposed to “give back.” Exactly what am I giving back for and to whom?

        What is particularly annoying is to be called a racist because I am either white and/or I am unwilling to “ride to the rescue” because you progressives think that I should.

        Again, you are free to do whatever you want to in this regard. Just don’t ask me to come along. I am busy planning for my retirement where I am happy to report, I will likely not be a burden to anyone, especially you.

        That is my gift to you. I am unlikely to be another problem on the liberal agenda.

      • August 24, 2014 7:08 pm

        If someone wants to ask for my help – that’s fine with me.
        Try guilting me – ok,
        But force me to help screw others over because they are less fortunate, sorry, not interested.

        It is immoral to use force to compel others to act for your favored cause,
        government is force, accomplishing something through government that you are not able to accomplish on your own is nearly always immoral.

      • August 22, 2014 11:03 am

        You are right, I have no issues attacking liberals, or for that matter, you.
        You did call me a name, once.

        Have I mentioned how much fun I am having today?

      • August 24, 2014 6:44 pm

        If you have no idea what will work – then why are you advocating anything at all ?

        Another of those progressive idiocies. Government is most definitely NOT the place we want to conduct societal experiments.

        When you have an idea and evidence that it is certain or atleast highly likely to work, and
        you have cleaned up all the messes you have already made – then we can talk about whether this new idea really is likely to work and worth trying.

      • August 24, 2014 6:46 pm

        Please do not call yourself “liberal”, liberals beleive in individual liberty, you do not.

        I can not apply the term liberal to myself because you have warped its meaning – again a common progressive pattern, but I can ask you not to lie about yourself.

      • August 24, 2014 6:52 pm

        Yes, there is a contempt for progressives, but you have earned it.

        I do nto think you fully grasp they building emnity – not specifically at TNM but throughout much of the country towards progressives. You live in enclaves of people who think like you and supress dissent, and wonder why outside the bell jar we despise you ?

        Name a single progressive accomplishement of consequence ?
        Even Social Security is coming unglued and properly evaluated has been a massive failure reducing our standard of living for decades.

        What have progressives done that has actually worked ?

        Not what laws have you imposed AFTER problems were already well on their way to solving themselves, but what success stories do you have to offer that justifiy the carnage you have done to those you claim to give a damn about ?

        Why should we not loath progressives ?

        What you should really worry about as that someday your victims might get wise.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 22, 2014 11:10 am

        One of the things that gets in the way is the attitude that you display in your comment. A disdain for anyone who thinks that there can be a solution that does not involve redistribution, and a revulsion toward the belief that conservative solutions, of any kind, could possibly work.

        After all the years we have been hanging out here at TNM, I think you know that I was a liberal for most of my life. And not just a mindless liberal; I practiced what I preached, I volunteered, I voted for liberal candidates, I worked on the campaigns of liberal candidates. To this day, I am a registered Democrat, mostly because I am too lazy to switch. I have not voted in a primary for probably 30 years, and really don’t consider myself a primary voter for either party, so why bother, ya know?

        It didn’t kill me to become more conservative, and it provided me with some of the understanding that I had been looking for. Not all, mind you – conservatives are crazy in their own way, just like liberals, but different. And that is why I don’t describe myself as a conservative…we’ve been through this before, but I don’t think labels are helpful. Anyway, get back to work, and we’ll be back here commenting again before long….probably about foreign policy stuff, on which you and I agree more often than not.

    • August 22, 2014 10:19 am

      Good for you. You should go there and help out. Or, to an urban area closer to home. I used to live there and I can assure you, I am not going back.

      I have no issue with that and if it suits your fancy, by all means go.

      I do have an issue with you and your progressive buddies commandeering my resources (taxes) to “help out.” Did it ever occur to you that since the Feds have been really “helping” (since the 1960s) things have gotten worse?

      It is just possible, the helping hasn’t helped? Oh, I know, we need to help more.

      For more on this, see any number of books by Dr. Sowell.

      Oh, that’s right, he doesn’t count. He is at Stanford and has “made it.”

      PS-I have my own pet charities that I support and causes I work for. They are just not the same as yours.

      I am OK with that. Are you?

    • Ron P permalink
      August 22, 2014 11:45 am

      roby, I live in a medium sized city where the population is about 55% white, 30% black and the rest mostly hispanic. This city is much like all the rest, where the homes closest to downtown are the most run down and mostly minority. That was not the case up until the 60’s. Those homes were white middle class.

      But something changed as did in all the other cities throughout America. And it is still happening. We also have a large number of homes “in transition”. Meaning that they are bordering the minority section of town, has been a white neighborhood but the minority home ownership has increased. They are still nice homes, but driving though that section of town shows where the owners are not doing the maintenance and upkeep on some. What that has done is caused most of these homes to have the highest % underwater in their mortgages.

      I say this because these homes ARE in transition. They are moving from a well kept middle class neighborhood to a run down neighborhood like we have downtown. It does not have to be that way, but it is following the same path as most every inner city slum has followed for decades.

      So the question I have is why does this have to happen. Why does that lady that took you out of that neighborhood have to live in the conditions she lives in. It could be she lived there when it was a nicer place to live and it changed around her, trapping her in that situation.

      And does anyone know what any governmental agency has done to determine why neighborhoods go through the transition they do and offer suggestions as to how minorities can maintain their home values when the racial makeup of the neighborhood changes? This would go along way in fighting slums in America.

      • Roby L permalink
        August 22, 2014 12:19 pm

        I expect that the people who have the best information on that did Ph.D theses and that there are Urban renewal conventions where the results are reported, just like the biophysics conventions I went to. The knowledge is likely out there, who is connecting the dots and getting something going is the issue.

        Look, I’m not blind or naive, I realize that things like the maintenance of buildings are linked to issues like education and economic class. Some people just let things go, some groups of people tend to let things deteriorate, in Vermont we have really no rotting urban environments, but we do have, er, how to say it, certain very rundown areas where people let everything rot and collect every car, boat, trailer or barbecue grill they ever owned on their property to rust in the weeds. Some unpleasant and rundown things are just invisible to people from certain backgrounds, or they work so damn hard (farmers, I’ve seen this) that they don’t have the time for maintenance.

        In the case of Baltimore you are definitely correct, the row houses there were once very nice, even luxurious, they were allowed to rot. Rot also happens when the economy in a region declines drastically, Detroit is an example. There is even a corridor in Vermont that you can see when you take Amtrak south down the Connecticut valley, where the economy in a once thriving zone tied to the railroad collapsed many decades ago and everything has gone to seed.

      • August 24, 2014 8:18 pm

        Phd’s – particularly those in the soft areas are notoriously stupid.

        As an actual Licensed Architect – most urban planners are architects, my college had a masters program in urban studies for those who could not hack architecture.
        Something true in myriads of fields. Those who can do, those who can’t teach – usually with a Phd. tacked onto the end of their names to prove they are well educated idiots.

        Anyway, what urban planners have inflicted on this nation is an abomination.

        Some architects and planners are starting to grasp the evil they have done, but thus far too few.

        Central planning does not work – not economic planning, not urban planning, it has not worked in anyform anywhere for any nation.

        So you would not be surprised that I could care less what Phd’s in urban planning have to say.

      • August 24, 2014 9:33 pm

        As a holder of a doctorate, I would object, mildly. Most PhDs have some level of smarts. The issue is (as my man Richard Feynman warned) that they tend to overestimate their abilities outside of their domain.

        This must be watched for.

        Then, their is Obama, who has been told that he is a genius, based on, well. apparently, nothing.

      • August 24, 2014 8:23 pm

        You keep talking about the economy as if it is some independent being.
        “the economy went to hell so people suffered”

        “WE” are the economy. We produce value the economy does well. We don’t it fails.
        The blame for most regional (even national) economic failure rests with government.

        Cars are still made in the US in greater numbers than ever and the auto jobs are better than ever, But they are not in detroit, and that is not an accident. When people decide to kill the goose that is laying the golden eggs or chop down the money tree they should not be surprised when they are less well off.

      • August 24, 2014 7:32 pm

        One of the likely problems in your town, and possibly ferguson is government programs.

        On the way home today I saw a man outside a nice suburban home in a once upper middleclass neighborhood clearing his yard, cutting up fallen limbs, etc.
        The place looked very nice, and the man was black.

        The neighborhood is as nice as it ever was. What was an upper middle class area is not middle class.

        Not because the neigborhood has gone done hill – in fact it is nicer than ever,
        but because the upper middle class families have moved on to bigger, better nicer houses and no middle class – and often minority families are living as the upper middle class did 40 years ago.
        This pattern has repeated for more than a century. And there is nothing wrong with it.

        A more modern disruption has been government programs to move the “least fortunate among us” elsewhere. Section 8 as an example started with excellent intentions.
        I trial program succeeded unbeleiveably.

        The best and brightest social workers, and other public servants picked the most likely to benefit from the worst of circumstances and they moved them to better places.
        And damned if they did not nearly universally succeed.

        This is often true of government programs.
        So we scaled the program to a national scale,
        only now we do not pick the most likely to succeed, nor do we have the best and brightes public servants running the program.

        Worse still the program has evolved from moving poor minorities who will thrive given a chance to middle class white neighborhoods, to moving the causes of inner city problems, the violent, gang members, drug dealers and their families into working class minority neighborhoods. The consequence is not the improvement of those at the bottom but the destruction of those who managed to escape.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 24, 2014 11:28 pm

        So are you saying that the houses that cost 150K are being funded by the section 8 housing program. That’s what this neighborhood is right now, but is slowing loosing value due to the people living there not really taking care of the houses like they were 10-15 years ago.

        If your answer is yes that minorities can get 150K homes through section 8, why the hell are they living in the slums?

      • August 25, 2014 5:13 am

        As we (health) economist types like to posit, many people do not behave like our models of rationality predict.

      • August 26, 2014 1:25 pm

        I am trying to make sense of your remarks.

        Section 8 is a rent assistance program.
        I am certain that Section 8 is paying rents on properties that could sell for 150K.
        One of my buildings cost me more, and is valued at much more – and I have had section 8 tenants.

        But my actual “section 8” argument – based on real world data and studies is that in recent decades section 8 has migrated rural minorities at the bottom into working class suburban minority neighborhoods threatening to destroy the gains those people living in those neighborhoods have made.

        I own one home in a working class neighborhood that I rent.
        Most of the homes in that neighborhood are owned by working class minority families.
        They are openly hostile to rentals. Before I took it over the house I now rent was occupied by drug dealers, as was the rental next door, and the one across the street.

        Do you think that moving a family unable to support themselves, multiply dependent on public assistance, and selling drugs from their apartment into a neighborhood of people working to build a better life for their kids is going to be a good thing for that neighborhood or a bad thing ?

        I thought you were talking about Baltimore ? I am sure there are 150K homes in baltimore, but that is far from the norm. In much of the city you can buy a home nearly for free.
        But no one will.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 26, 2014 4:16 pm

        Thanks for clarification as to what section 8 is. And thanks for clarifying what you do to insure that property values remain as high as possible, regardless of others actions that may drive them down.

        This conversation started with my mention of Ghent in Norfolk and how it had been high class, then low class and then high class. I also mentioned that was happening in my town.

        Now to regress to my previous question, that may not have been so clearly stated, why does a upper middle class or upper class neighborhood decline over the years to become a ghetto, only to be revitalized and become an upper class neighborhood once again?

        To be more blunt, why is it that whites move out of a upper class neighborhood, the minorities move in and the neighborhood decays. One black family or one hispanic family can move into a house and the neighborhood remains upper class. When the majority are minorities it is a good possibility the neighborhood will go to hell in a few years. Why does that have to happen? When a minority pays good money for property, why are the willing to let their investment decline due to not taking care of it?

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 26, 2014 4:40 pm

        Ron, I think that there is more than one answer to your question. Certainly, the phenomenon known as “white flight” is part of it. And, if we are talking about neighborhoods that have declined over the last 5-10 years I would guess that laws like the Community Reinvestment Act and other regulations that forced banks to make risky loans were/are responsible for some of it. There are hundreds of neighborhoods in which every 3rd or 4th house has been foreclosed, and remain empty, uncared for and falling apart. Makes it hard for those who remain to get out, because their home value has declined as the neighborhood has gone downhill. And the minority community, who received a disproportionate share of subprime mortgages, no doubt has been hit harder by the foreclosure crisis.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 26, 2014 4:51 pm

        Priscilla, I can accept this argument about foreclosures, but we were not hit as hard as many areas. Yes, some of the property values did decrease, but not a drastically as in florida, california or Arizona. And today the resale values are back above where they were in 2008-12. And still those areas moving from white middle class to minority owned (not mostly rentals) to a declining neighborhood. I don’t understand it, but it seems to happen when they become majority minority. That;s happening today and it happened when house values exploded.

      • August 26, 2014 7:40 pm

        There are reasonably well known tipping points.

        And they work in all directions.

        Neighborhoods rarely survive long without some group predominating.

        The uber wealthy do not live near the merely super wealthly.

        We can live in mixed racial neighborhoods – so long as one race predominates,
        but closely divided neighborhoods are unstable.

        This has been well known for ages.
        And neighborhoods shift all the time.

        In my town every single quadrant was wealthy at one time. Every neighborhood has also been in poverty.

        Gentrification is nothing more than the rich driving the poor from their neighborhoods, just as the poor did to the working class and so on and so on.

      • August 26, 2014 6:09 pm

        Hard to say. We have a number of “minorities” in our suburban neighborhood. Their houses are as nice or nicer than the others.

        Urban environments might be different. This particular topic is way out of my area of expertise.

      • August 26, 2014 7:34 pm

        You need not be expert to know that generalizations are frequently false.

        I am sure that every leftist claim of evil has happened somewhere at sometime.
        That is not the same as everywhere at all times,
        nor the same as because it was the cause once it is the cause always.

      • August 26, 2014 9:12 pm

        Why do neighborhoods transition ?

        One reason is because standards of living increase.

        Each group moves to better homes of those slightly above them because they are now able to afford to.

        The rich are able to afford whatever they want. They can afford to buy cheap real estate in bad neighborhoods in close proximity to center city resources and construct whatever they want – including providing themselves the security they need until the neighborhood is safe.

        Sometimes the poor destroy where they move up to, sometimes not.

        No matter how much we prosper there will always be some dysfunctional parts of society.

        People with mental health, drug, alcohol issues must live somewhere, and are unlikley to do well just because for the moment the place is better than the last.

        Past that but for CRA and government efforts to advance the poor and working classes into home ownership before they were ready, it is not likely the poor who OWN these homes that are being destroyed.

        Likely these houses were bought by landlords and rented out. That is the norm at the bottom of the market.

        Landlords at the bottom struggle to preserve the value of their properties and recoup there investments. The good news for them is that usually by the time the places are destroyed they have collected sufficient rents to recover their investments, and often the wealthy can be counted on to buy up blighted neighborhoods bulldoze them and build their own fortresses in the city.

        This is but one model for how things work, but things do not make as little sense as you see.

        I can buy houses today in the worst parts of my city for 20-30K,
        How much rent do I need to collect for how long to justify that ?

        I will also note I had occasion to wander through some of the worst parts of my city a few weeks ago. I had not done that in years. I was shocked at how much the homes had been improved. Not by gentrification, but homes that were crap and falling apart a decade or two ago, that were now fixed up and cared for. Not expensive homes. These are bottom of the market homes.

        Outside the totally dysfunctional, the drug addicts etc, the bottom improves over time – even dispite the crap government does to them.

    • August 24, 2014 5:30 pm

      If you come into any community that is outside your culture or experience – you are not safe.

      I have lived in some pretty bad parts of Downtown Atlanta, some even worse parts of Troy NY, and spent the first decade of my marraige in a dangerous part of my own city.

      When you live there, they are less dangerous.

      I would not be safe in Wyoming or Alaska either.

      Baltimore did not go to hell by magic. The people who lived there either made it bad or sat back and watched it be destroyed.

      • August 24, 2014 5:37 pm

        I agree except with that last statement. I am pretty sure that Baltimore was ruined by “the man” on purpose, or out of simple neglect. You know, these are people (mostly on the right and in the libertarian camp) who have no feelings. They are selfish and mean and like to see others suffer.

        I guess you missed that class. Buck up, Dave, the progressives will save the day, someday.

      • August 25, 2014 5:52 pm

        I know almost no one who has little or no compassion for their fellow man.
        We all would like a more prosperous society. We all would like everyone to have what we deem to be the basics. three centuries ago that was enough food and basic shelter and to live until 30.
        Today that is health care, a car, a home, a flat screen, a cell phone, air conditioning, ….

        The contradiction for libertarains is that in our hearts we want to help, the progressive emotional appeal is often compelling, but in the end acting on emotion to help people when you head tells you that it will only make things worse is not compassion.

        There is a site that I frequent occasionally.
        Like Nozick I would be happy to find some way of elevating “the less fortunate among us”
        rather than sitting back and watching as some fail.
        Visiting bleedingheartlibertarians usually cures me of that.

        It is still immoral to harm others even if you do so with good intentions.
        The logic of redistribution never works.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 24, 2014 6:08 pm

        Dave, Baltimore, like so many inner city districts, slowly decayed as those that lived in the homes in those areas slowly let the building decay. I’m not sure why that happens, but it seems to happen everywhere. I lived in Norfolk Va in the late 60’s and early 70’s. There was an area called “Historic Ghent” where the homes, mostly townhouses were built to the highest standards in the early 1900’s. Cherry and walnut staircases and molding, cut glass windows;etc. Over the years it became the ghetto for Norfolk. Then in the 80’s or 90’s, people decided that those homes were worth rebuilding. They came in, restored them with money for redevelopment and it became the center piece of Norfolk once again. Not sure what it is like today, but they were top priced homes at the time. Same thing with my town, great homes downtown, people moved to suburbs, then it finally became ghetto, now redevelopment has taken the homes from being worth nothing to some of the most expensive in the area.

        So unlike many, I do not blame the progressives, the liberals or the conservatives. I blame the people that buy property, don’t give a damn what shape it is in and let it run down, Many are landlords out to make a buck and bleed the renters for every last dollar until the cities come in and condemn the property.

        Yes, sh#* happens even absent of politics.

      • August 24, 2014 6:27 pm

        These things do tend to run in cycles. We have plenty of neighborhoods here in Des Moines that were fine, went to hell and are now coming back.

        Everything old is new again, except sometimes, you may have to move out and wait for the new to arrive.

      • August 25, 2014 6:15 pm

        Ah yes, those evil landlords.

        Remember the diatribe on Minimum wages – it works for apartments.

        If you want to live in a better home – then you need to be able to afford to buy or rent a better home.

        I am one of those evil slumlords. I own 5 units in my city.

        I can confirm the old adage “no one washes a rental car”.

        I provide my tenants with the best housing they can afford.

        I work constantly to improve my apartments – so that I can attract better tenants.
        It is in my tenants interests for the building to decay – not mine. The worse the building gets the harder it is to raise the rent or move the building upscale even a little.

        I want to get to way my tenants are not judgement proof.
        Otherwise I just go through the same cycle over and over.
        Rent to somebody with poor credit who can barely make the rent, watch as they slowly get farther and farther behind, finally when they miss one too many months that I know they will never catchup, have them evicted – which costs money and takes a couple of months during which I will get no rent, on eviction I get a large judgement that is not with 0.01/$.
        Spend a couple of months repairing the damage and trying to improve the apartment to get a better tenant – but by now I have not received any rent for so long I am desparate to get the apartment rents and I make the mistake of renting to someone else who in a year will be 2 months behind.

        Do not get me wrong – I am happy and despite buying in June of 2008 this is still proving a worthwhile investment.
        After taxes and everything else I make enough (sometimes) to take my kids to mcdonalds occasionally.
        But after paying the bills each month the principle balance on the mortgage declines a little more and the place is a tiny bit more mine.
        Further it is sort of a forced savings plan.
        you can chose not to put money into your IRA or savings or …. each year. There is always a good reason for not saving or for postponing it.
        Once you buy an apartment building you have to pay the mortgage.

        Anyway, I have never met these greedy slumlords you speak of.

        Most of the people renting to the bottom of the market are people much like me.
        Big money does not invest in the bottom of the housing market.

        Those people you call slumlords are providing poor tenants with the best apartments they can afford. Often not that good – but not that expensive either.

        If you think there is so much money to be made in renting apartments to poor people.
        But an apartment building. Nothing will make you libertarian faster.

        Besides before you start trying to tell all the rest of us about the least fortunate among us – you should actually rub elbows with them, and get to know them,

      • Ron P permalink
        August 25, 2014 7:56 pm

        Are you saying all landlords are like you and try to keep up the property? If so, come on down to NC and I will show you many areas where people have purchased apartments and homes and did nothing to keep them maintained. Nice places that after 10 years are ready to be torn down. Go to Greenville NC and look at the old homes around East Carolina University that they rent to college kids for an arm and leg and tell me they maintain those houses. If they are not condemned, they are close to it.

        I am sorry you took my comment —–“I blame the people that buy property, don’t give a damn what shape it is in and let it run down, Many are landlords out to make a buck and bleed the renters for every last dollar until the cities come in and condemn the property”—— personally. But can you tell me that there is not a problem with people doing that today?

        But included in that comment are the people who live in homes and do not keep them up. They buy them for 100K to 150K, live there for 5 years, want to sell it and find they can only get 75K to 125K. (The average home in this area cost about 160k) So they are underwater, they break up the house and leave it for the bank to repossess. Now all the other homes in the area that have mortgage around 125K are underwater because the neighborhood is going down hill and many bail out as fast as they can, leaving it to a lower income group which continues the decline.

        Yes being a landlord is anything but profitable. Why anyone would want that headache is beyond my comprehension. But there must be some reason people do it or there would not be landlords.

      • August 27, 2014 9:44 pm

        Of course all landlords are not like me – they are all different – unique.

        Nor is this about whether they will keep up the property.
        They will do what makes sense to them.
        What they will not likely do is allow valuable property to decay if they have a choice.

        I do nto doubt that things are as you claim somewhere – but houses are not allowed to decay just for spite or for the hell of it. That happens either because it makes financial sense or because the owners have little choice.

        The scenario you posit is not impossible, and on rare occasions it may even happen – if you can buy a house cheap enough and rents are high enough it may make sense to let it decay. But that is far from the norm.

        Again there are always people who act contrary to their own self interests – but it is rare, and it is more rare the further up the ladder they climb.

        While I sort of took your comment personally. That is not really the point.
        It does not matter whether you are maligning me. You are certainly maligning people who do not deserve it.

        As too people who own a house and allow it to decay. Again people rarely act significantly contrary to their own interests.

        IF I were to guess the likely scenarios for people who allow a house to decay are:

        They are in over their head to begin with – they are poor or elderly.
        They may have “bought” the home, but they have little or no “skin” in the game, i.e. they have no downpayment to lose and their credit is already crap.
        In a real free market that virtually never happens. Lenders will not allow it.
        But it has happened alot recently, because government thought it was a good idea.

        As to being a Landlord. It is different than I expected, like everything it comes with lots of positives and negatives. Dealing with the city is horrible. But otherwise mostly I like it.
        I wish I had started sooner. It is an excellent means of forcing yourself to invest.
        It also is a way to benefit yourself while providing others something they want too.

        Which is I guess what really annoys me about the “slumlord” thing.

        Lets assume the worst. Is the guy renting out space for 100/month in a dilapidated disater of a building – to drug addicts and others who would otherwise be on the street vile, or is he actually making the world a tiny bit better ?

        However bad conditions are, by definition those renting could not find or afford better.
        Is the solution to the horrible conditions slumlords provide to make people homeless ?

        Whether we are talking about minimum wages or bottom of the market housing.
        You should always consider that the exchange was done freely.
        If a landlord promises something and does not deliver – you should take them to court.
        I have zero problems with that.
        But that is rarely the case.

        Whenever progressives start ranting that people deserve better – they are wrong. People “deserve” nothing but their natural rights, and what they can get through their own effort and voluntary aggreement.

        There is no shelter we are entitled to, no job, no healthcare, no ……

        When government dictates a floor, all that means is those who can not reach the floor get nothing.
        When there are no crappy $100/month places what is left is under a bridge, in the street.
        When your current skills and education are not worth minimum wage, you can NEVER have a job.

        I would personally prefer to be renting further up market. But I am doing what I can afford.
        I am glad I am not renting further down market – but I grasp those landlords are meeting someone else’s need. Maybe people I would prefer not to have to deal with, but people someone must deal with.

    • August 24, 2014 5:59 pm

      Everyone can not be the CEO of a fortune 500 company – but almost everyone can do better than their parents – and most of us do.

      The future is NOT zero sum. That is total crap that idiot progressives believe.
      In fact if everything was zero sum we would be going to hell rapidly.

      Freedom, includes the freedom to fail. And guess what some of us are going to fail.
      The average entrepeneur fails seven times before succeeding.

      Everyone does not work there way to the top, some work their way to near the top, or from the bottom to the middle, or ….

      What is true is that society as a whole, and the vast majority of use as individuals can not be better off if we do not produce value.
      There is no end run arround that. It is not capitolist or free market or libertarian. It is just how it is.

      When you teach people to dependence and victimhood, you steal from them – just are much as those you steal from to pay for their dependence.

      You say there are no jobs – that is crap.

      Get rid of the myriads of stupid laws and I will be happy to hire people.

      Will they be “good jobs” nope. What do you expect if you have no education, no skills, no experience ? But work hard, and dependably and I will pay you more if I can afford to, and give you an excellent reference.

      Regardless the job I have to offer will pay no more than the value you are able to produce for me.

      There is no such thing as a “living wage”. There is only the value you are able to produce.
      You don’t like that ? Neither do I. So what, neither god nor nature give a damn. That is how it is. If you produce less value that is necescary to sustain your life – then someone else must produce more – and have it taken from them or you die.

      I do not “feel” for the people of Ferguson. All I offer them is freedom. Success they have to bring about on their own.

      Yes, I am peeved that in a community that is 2/3 black, the police force is 94.6% white and almost certainly from elsewhere. But I expect the people of Ferguson to fix that on their own. Replace the mayor, replace the local government, like you and unlike JB is see the police in Ferguson as an occupying force. But I do not see the fix as the federal government stepping in.

      Whether it is Ferguson or Iraq, if you want change, you must bring that about yourself.
      No one “owes you” either a l living or good government. All you are “owed” is freedom – including the freedom to fail, or to make poor choices.

      • August 24, 2014 6:25 pm

        You had me all the way to “occupying force.” Yeah, no evidence of that and you couldn’t know enough to express an opinion on that. Me either.

        That said, as you pointed out, if the voters don’t like the police force, who are they electing?
        Seriously, in Detroit, Atlanta, and other forces where there are tons of minority cops. the complaints are still there.

        So, in any event, as we have both said, no one is a prisoner in MO. I have moved many times in my life. It is a pain, but you know, I survived just fine. Family too!

        And kudos on the “living wage” whatever the hell that means.

  52. Roby L permalink
    August 22, 2014 11:24 am

    “One of the things that gets in the way is the attitude that you display in your comment. A disdain for anyone who thinks that there can be a solution that does not involve redistribution, and a revulsion toward the belief that conservative solutions, of any kind, could possibly work.”

    I don’t think that is an accurate account of what I have said at all. I honestly don’t think that I have said redistribution once here or even implied it. I have said that both liberal and conservative solutions don’t work, whereas everyone else here (including you) just says that liberal solutions don’t work. If you can unashamedly state that the liberal solutions don’t work, and I Did Not Even Argue with That and In Fact I Agreed!, then why cannot I state that the conservative solutions don’t work either without it being an attitude problem? I know that liberals seem very touchy to all here, but to me Conservatives seem to yield to no one in the touchiness area. I have just as much bloody right to have at conservative attitudes towards race and poverty as the assembled conservatives here have to have at liberal ideas. I don’t mean to sound peevish, but this is an ordeal actually that I should have avoided if I had any sense.

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 22, 2014 11:30 am

      Not trying to be dense here, but if neither liberal or conservative solutions work, does that mean that you think there are no solutions? Or are you saying that there can be a centrist, moderate set of solutions, in which case, we agree in principle, with the devil arising in the details.

      • August 24, 2014 7:19 pm

        I would respond the same as to Roby,

        If your “solution” is government, then you better have one hell of a good argument why it is a legitmate roll of govenrment and why that solution requires the use of force.

        I do nto care whether you solution leans left, right or dangles in the middle.

        I care how you are planning on implimenting it.

        If you are doing so on your own or in voluntary cooperation with those who agree with you, then why do I care, there is no harm to me, not price in liberty I must pay and maybe you will succeed.

    • August 22, 2014 12:00 pm

      To be fair, how many “conservative” solutions have been tried and found to be wanting in the area of urban decay? As far as I can tell, many (or most) the key hell holes cities in the US have been run by progressive governments for decades. In fact, I posted a good article on this a few days back.

      The progressive agenda seems to be to raise the minimum wage, increase any and all forms of subsidies, pay unionized teachers more, affirmative action, etc. etc.

      This has not seemed to help any way but I don’t see any other solutions being proposed.

      Now that things have actually gotten much worse since the 1960s, I am not sure you can simply turn around and blame conservatives for not having any magic bullets. That is kind of blaming them after the boat has sprung a leak.

    • August 24, 2014 7:14 pm

      I am happy to listen to anything you wish to offer regarding improving the world that I am free to support or not as I determine.

      But that is not what progressives want. You wish to impose your own repeatedly failed values on the rest of us by force.

      Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

      George Washington

      If you wish to use government to accomplish something then it better be something that absolutely requires force, and it better be a legitimate use of force. Otherwise you are acting immoral.

      And yes we are angry about that.

  53. Roby L permalink
    August 22, 2014 11:46 am

    Yes, one of those two. Not all problems have solutions, there will always be poverty and racial tensions. If there is some way to do it, it just starts with everyone being concerned about the problem in the first place. Just as my kids tend to solve their own problems better when they know that someone cares about those problems, the people in those areas will have a better chance if they know that other people actually give a damn. That is a start. Its seems like such a no brainer, the housing is falling apart, people are unemployed, duh, someone somehow should get the ball rolling with having the unemployed learn construction on the job, federal, private, a combination, makes no difference to me, whatever works. I am not an expert on this, obviously if I were I would know why that simple equation so often does not happen. There are places where it has happened though, what was the difference?

    My starting point in this is just that I feel bad for the people there whose lives, unlike mine, are not generally wonderful at all and who are trapped in the crap. That is what Ferguson reminded me of, its not something I constantly think about, mostly I just live my own happy life and solve my own tiny little problems and am happy to have that set of problems and not the ones on the news.

    • August 24, 2014 7:39 pm

      If your house is falling apart – you fix it. Why do we need a federal program for that ?
      Why should the government train and/or pay people to fix their own homes – no one pays me to keep my home up.

      What government training program has ever worked ?
      How well does the government take care of its own property (pretty badly) ?

      There is already a program of sorts for this – Habitat. Works pretty good.
      One reason is they can afford to be selective.
      You have to do an awful lot to get to the point where habitat will help you build and finance a home.

      If solving a problem by putting two things that seem to go together together, was a good idea – it would happen entirely without government.

      Government makes good ideas fail.

    • August 24, 2014 8:08 pm

      I am pretty well off, and I am pretty happy.
      But I have an enormous set of problems of my own – that frankly most poor people could not possibly cope with.

      I have two apartment buildings. I actually mostly like being a landlord – though there is alot to complain about.
      The “least fortunate among us” rent from me. Well actually there is far worse in my town, but still my tenants are mostly lower quintile.
      Some are climbing and some are falling.
      It does not usually take too long to tell which are which.
      No amount of help will change the circumstances of the ones who are failing.
      Those who are climbing the ladder do not need my help – but they would get it if they asked.

      I have lots of problems collecting rent – and that is a really big deal because I can only afford a small amount of loss each year or I can not pay the mortgage, the electric, the taxes, the ….

      So why can’t my tenants pay the rent ?
      1). Fines and Costs. While I think the local government is absolutely nazi’s over fines and costs, still much of this is just idiocy.
      One of the big fines and costs issues is parking tickets.
      I pay my parking tickets immediately – the same day, the same hour if I can.
      I hate them, I go into a tirage at the city, government, statism, but I know that if I do nto pay things get worse.
      A couple of times a year the police come knocking at one of my tenants doors and haul them off to jail for the night – for failing to pay a parking ticket. I you wait long enough they send cops, and the ticket is no longer $5 but $500 – and given a choice between jail and paying the rent – guess which gets paid.

      Another biggy is things.
      My wife is a Public defender. Public interest law does nto pay, but she has been at it for 15 years. She graduated Suma from Penn Law, order of the coif, law review, keaty cup winner, …. clerked for a federal judge alomost clerked for a supreme court feeder judge, had offers 15 years ago that were more than both of us make together today. But that is not what she wanted to do. She does criminal appeals work is very happy at it and quite good, has numerous cases that defined the law in some area.
      I used to be an Architect, I was the managing principle in a $4M 55 person family practice.
      I also ran a couple of businesses on the side.
      I am now an embedded software developer. I do alot of consulting but post 2008 I got an offer of employement that was pretty good, local, and with a good business.
      Our combined income puts us into the 2nd quintile.

      My tenants who are nearly all bottom quintile have newer and usually better cars than I do.
      Their kids have more electronic toys – ipad’s iphones, ipods, etc, than my kids do. Most of my tenants have 64 or 70″ flat screens, plus screens in everyones room.
      I have ONE 27″

      But I have never missed a mortgage or credit card or any other loan payment ever.
      I can walk into my local bank and they will loan me far more money than I am prepared to borrow – merely on my signature – no collateral, at decent interest.

      The last biggy is drugs,
      I am about as straight laced as they come. I drink – only enough to not be a teetotaler.
      I like wine, but it gives me heart burn. So I do not drink much.
      I have never taken an illegal drug in my life. My expeirince with Pot was getting slightly buzzed from inhaling in the mens room is HS, and now inhaling in some of my apartments.
      When Pot is legal I will try it. I have no problem with it. Not until.

      But some of my tenants clearly spend more on getting high each month than their rent.

      My tenants make their own choices in life. I do not begrudge them their drugs, or nice cars or flat screens. But I also do not feel sorry for them. Most of them are happy.
      If they are the least fortunate among us – then living at the bottom is pretty good today.

      So you will have to pardon me if I am not weeping crocodile tears.

  54. August 22, 2014 12:02 pm

    By the way, no one (outside of jail) is trapped. Choice exists but some choices are harder to make and take longer to execute.

    Don’t blame me, I did not design the game.

  55. August 23, 2014 9:51 am

    More interesting and perhaps, germane, news.

  56. Roby L permalink
    August 23, 2014 10:52 am

    My initial sympathies were all with Wilson, based most of all on the video of Brown terrorizing some little store clerk. Up until yesterday the only account I had read of the actual incident was Rick’s (I am not actually a news junkie). Yesterday I read the Wiki article on the shooting, a Fox article, and one from the Christian Science monitor. As well I saw a poll that had belief that Wilson was justified at 9%, I don’t know enough to judge at 65%, and Wilson was not justified at 25%. After my reading yesterday you can move me from that 9% group over to the 65% one. I do not have enough facts to judge, and I doubt I ever will.

    One thing I noted that is telling, as found on Wiki, well I will cut and paste it in:
    “On August 20, Fox News and ABC News reported that, according to an anonymous source, Wilson sustained a serious facial injury during the incident. ABC News said the source is “close to Wilson”,[73] while Fox News characterized the source as “close to the department’s top brass”. According to Fox News, the source said Wilson was beaten nearly unconscious and suffered a fractured eye socket.[74] Fox News quoted the source as saying that Wilson is “traumatized, scared for his life and his family, injured and terrified [that a grand jury will] make some kind of example out of him”.[74] According to, an anonymous source “close to the investigation” told CNN that Wilson did not suffer a fractured eye socket, and that he was treated and released for a swollen face.[75] On August 20, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III told Fox News that he could not confirm the reports that Wilson suffered a fractured eye bone.[76].”

    Wilson either has a fractured eye bone or does not, that is a solidly objective provable fact one way or another. It has a strong bearing on this. I am suspecting he does not, as that would have been easy to back up if true and tend to rather strongly exonerate Wilson. So in one universe, the Fox one, Wilson was beaten up and nearly unconscious and in another (some of the eye-witness testimony) he was a wild aggressor who arrived on the scene out of control. I guess we Are all entitled to our own facts and I guess Americans will pick theirs. But the 65% group is heartening, most people are being thoughtful as of today.

    Wilson may be indicted, I think that is 50/50 now that I have read more, but I would be shocked if he is convicted of murder, there is no truly reliable evidence I have seen to date.

    If Wilson is indicted it will have zero to do with anything other than the facts presented to the grand jury and the people on that jury, there is no sacrifice here, just an investigation according to the law.

    • August 23, 2014 11:16 am

      Another issue here is the “story” of the eyewitness (Brown’s buddy). According to him, the officer was sitting in the squad car, reached out with his left hand, restrained Brown, pulled him to the car window (while Brown was “resisting”) took his right hand and used his gun to shoot Brown 6 times at close range, including one to the face.

      Now, on its face, given the size of Brown, the height of the average squad car, the leverage of a man standing up versus one sitting in a car facing forward, does this seem remotely believable? How strong must this officer be?

      Moreover, if he was shot from up close like that, there would be gun powder all over him and the autopsy would be pretty conclusive.

      If this happened this way, how did the officer earn a trip to the ER and a broken eyes socket?

      Seriously, this is not believable on its face, assuming these are the facts?


      • Roby L permalink
        August 23, 2014 11:36 am

        From wiki the account of Dorian is a bit different:

        “Dorian Johnson, a friend of Brown, was walking with him in the street. Johnson said that Wilson pulled up beside them and said, “Get the fuck on the sidewalk.”[44][45][46][47][48] Johnson said the young men replied that they were “not but a minute away from [their] destination, and [they] would shortly be out of the street”.[48] Johnson stated that Wilson drove forward without saying anything further, only to abruptly back up, positioning his vehicle crosswise in their path, almost hitting the two men. He said, “We were so close, almost inches away, that when he tried to open his door aggressively, the door ricocheted both off me and Big Mike’s body and closed back on the officer.”[41]
        Wilson, still in his car, grabbed Brown through the open window around the neck. Brown tried to pull away, but Wilson continued to pull Brown toward him. Johnson said that Brown “did not reach for the officer’s weapon at all”, insisting that Brown was attempting to get free of Wilson rather than attempting to attack him or take his weapon from him.[49][50][46][51][52] Johnson said Wilson drew his weapon, and “he said, ‘I’ll shoot you’ or ‘I’m going to shoot,'” and almost instantaneously fired his weapon, hitting Brown.
        Following the initial gunshot, Johnson stated that Brown was able to free himself, at which point the two fled. Wilson exited the vehicle, after which he fired a second shot, striking Brown in the back, according to Johnson. At that point, according to Johnson, Brown turned around with his hands in the air and said, “I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting!” Wilson then shot Brown several more times, killing him.[41][53]

        Obviously the accounts of both Wilson and Dorian will tend to be self serving and the only value in either of them is the extent to which they agree with the other accounts of witnesses.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 23, 2014 12:34 pm

        Roby, I want to commend you for taking the position that you do not know what happened. If more people would take this position, then maybe we would not have the problems we have when something like this happens.

        There are two very disturbing issues at play right now. One is the large number of internet websites that state Dorian Johnson has recanted his statement concerning what happened that day. Problem is I can’t find one reliable website that supports this argument. I can only find right wing agenda websites and I suspect they are as reliable as are some far left liberal websites. But then it does have to be true because it is on the internet, right?

        The second issue concerns the multiple investigations going on at the same time. What happens if the grand jury decides there was nothing wrong and the the feds come back an say Brown’s civil rights were violated? I think all hell will break loose again, not just in Ferguson, but across the country. But that is just my thinking. I suspect the federal government will have a hard time finding civil rights violations based on performance evaluations of the officer as well as the criteria that is used for these findings. If the two do come back without charges, then I would hope they release their findings at the same time so one can not jump on the state and then find a couple days later the feds found the same thing.

        What is most disturbing is when this has passed, the national news has left and the black leaders have gone home, the people of Ferguson will be back in the same situation they are in today unless they can bring together interested individuals to fix the problems they have faced. If not, they will be the same a Chicago where this past 4th of July there were 82 wounded and 16 killed from shootings and only Chicago heard that news. Like I said in earlier comments, why is Brown’s death more important than the 16 in chicago over the 4th?

      • August 24, 2014 8:45 pm

        Sorry; but the feds will have no problem coming up with a civil rights violation if they wish.

        Killing someone is a violation of their civil rights. Wilson’s record – whatever it may be merely goes to credibility – much like Johnson’s past.

    • August 24, 2014 8:40 pm

      A prosecutor that wants an indictment can get a ham sandwich indicted.

      Indictments are meaningless.

  57. Roby L permalink
    August 23, 2014 8:20 pm

    “What is most disturbing is when this has passed, the national news has left and the black leaders have gone home, the people of Ferguson will be back in the same situation they are in today unless they can bring together interested individuals to fix the problems they have faced.”

    That is it exactly. Videocameras on all cruisers and cops may protect everyone and be the the up side of this.

    • Ron P permalink
      August 23, 2014 9:26 pm

      “That is it exactly. Videocameras on all cruisers and cops may protect everyone and be the the up side of this.”

      I would say that would be a start so when the next episode happened there would be recorded proof of what really happened.

      But the problems go much deeper than just recording how the police react to a situation. Without going into a complete dissertation as to what they could do, where I would start would be to bring together black leadership (which usually includes many in the churches), white business leadership and police leadership. Around 10-12 individuals so discussions can take place and everyone is not talking over the next person. Develop a list of concerns the blacks in the community have, determine what causes those concerns and then develop solutions to those problems. (You might note I left out political leadership since I doubt they could add much to the conversation, but we all know they need their noses stuck in everything, so the mayor and maybe one of the city alderman or whatever they call them would be included) Probably take 12-24 months to work out most of the problems and then revise anything that does not work.

      This group would have to commit to working beyond the 24 months to look into any new problems or concerns as those would continue to develop and not having a group acceptable to the citizens would just let the situation deteriorate back where it is today.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 24, 2014 9:20 am

        I find it interesting that, with the beheading of James Foley, the potential beheading of another American journalist, and the stories of a potential attack on ISIS in both Syria and Iraq….(not to mention the shooting of an unarmed white kid by a black cop in Salt Lake City this weekend, which, surprisingly! – did not capture any attention from the media), the Ferguson story is still front and center. If we had a functioning national news media – that is, a news media that actually reported the news and not just a narrative of “he said, she said, he said” in a Missouri suburb – this would be a local crime story. But, there is a clear attempt to create the next Rodney King, Tawana Brawley, Trayvon Martin, etc. Not sure if it’s working though, there at least seems to be a faction of reporting that is not buying the pre-packaged narrative, and trying to remind the public that there are 2 sides to this story and that we don’t have enough evidence to make any kind of judgment yet.

      • August 24, 2014 9:31 am

        Why cover Foley’s death (and the fate of the next 20 kidnap victims) when you can divert attention to our own “sins” that cannot be traced to Barry.

        Why ask Barry to his face why is was appropriate to make a brief statement of condolence about Foley and then be photographed having a ball on the golf course within an hour of his statement.

        This guy is either an idiot or one of the most arrogant clods in history. Appearances get in the way of my play time? No way!

      • August 24, 2014 9:31 am

        “I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” Bush said in a White House interview with the Politico. “I feel I owe it to the families to be as — to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”

        Bush said he decided to stop playing golf on Aug. 19, 2003, when a truck bomb in Baghdad killed U.N. special representative Sergio Vieira de Mello and more than a dozen others.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 24, 2014 12:20 pm

        JB.. I am confused. What exactly does playing golf after the foley murder have to do with video cameras and task forces in Ferguson to fix the problems with racial divide. Did this get linked to the wrong comment?

      • August 24, 2014 1:52 pm

        Yes, it did.

      • August 24, 2014 9:09 pm

        I have a lot of criticism’s of Bush, but he took very seriously the deaths of soldiers and others in service to the country. Obama does not.

      • August 24, 2014 9:36 pm

        You bet. Symbolism in leadership matters.

      • August 25, 2014 7:05 pm

        Maybe it was symbolism, but I think not.
        Bush went out of his way to be there as much as he could for those who died for our country. But he also went out of his way NOT to make that a political asset.
        It was nto about symbolism but about what was right.

      • August 25, 2014 7:09 pm

        You can have both. I don’t question GWB’s heart. From all accounts, he is as he seems.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 24, 2014 11:32 pm

        He should have taken them seriously. His stupidity caused them in Iraq.

      • August 26, 2014 1:28 pm

        Is there anyone here defending going into Iraq ?

        There are LOTS of things I would criticise Bush over.
        His handling of the deaths of soldiers is NOT one of those.
        Obama on the other hand has dealt with it callously.

  58. Roby L permalink
    August 24, 2014 9:11 am

    Jeez, the NYT has absurdly long links. Here is an editorial by a moderate muslim about radical salafism as exported by Suadi Arabia. It puts things in perspective pretty well. Having done some more reading last night after I read this I can say that what is not covered in the article is the fact that the Saudi royal family wants to liberalize but fears becoming the next Shah of Iran and losing the country altogether if they try to dislodge their resident salafists, 25% of their population, not an unrealistic fear.

    Radical islam is quite visible but apparently is approximately 3% of Muslims. They are just the ones we hear of. The other 97% are the main target of the 3%, they are infidels of the worst kind to the Islamic radicals.

    In the US there are something on the order of 2.6 muslims. The number of them who make war on the US is obviously tiny. Muslims are less than 1% of Americans and make up 23% of the world’s population, 1.6 billion people.

    What we need to ask is how to stop salafism rather than simply slandering all muslims, the vast majority of whom are not waging holy war and are instead its target.

    • August 24, 2014 9:25 am

      Now we are “slandering” muslims. Hmmm. Well, challenging the POTUS on his statements that muslims helped build the very fabric of the US (without citing any instances thereof) is not exactly slander now is it? The only cite YOU gave me was algebra. Not exactly something that was developed in the US during our history my man.

      That said, 3% is a mighty big number (if that is the number) when you consider that are estimated 1.6 billion muslims in the world.. So if you do the math, there are quite a few murdering bastards to worry about for us peace loving, let’s all get along types.

      Yes, I get that let’s say in Iraq, it is muslims slaughtering muslims. Weird but then again, you have to consider the history of this so-called religion. When you founder was a big time mass murderer, well, the apple and tree thing springs to mind. Convert or die is not much of a basis for any religion, is it?

      Slander? Is there anything in the above statement that is not accurate based on present knowledge?

      Of course, the NY Times has been an apologist for muslims for a long time, so don’t expect anything else from them.

    • August 24, 2014 9:06 pm

      There are multiple forms of muslim terrorism. Salafism is just one.

      The number of radicalized mulsim’s worldwide is likely small – there are as you note 1.6B muslims in the world.

      But the Saudi Royal Family is not afraid of 3% of the population.
      It generally requires a dedicated core of active supporters of atleast 15% of a population with NO significant oposition to take over a country politically.
      The size must be larger if there is organized opposition.

  59. August 24, 2014 9:26 am

    This is off topic but was so good, I could not pass it up.

  60. Roby L permalink
    August 24, 2014 9:32 am

    An excerpt from the wiki article on islam in the US:

    “Education and income[edit]
    Contrary to popular perceptions, the condition of Muslims in the U.S. is very good. Among South Asians in the country, the large Pakistani American community stands out as particularly well educated and prosperous, with education and income levels exceeding those of U.S.-born whites. Many are professionals, especially doctors, scientists, engineers, and financial analysts, and there are also a large number of entrepreneurs. There are more than 15,000 doctors practicing medicine in the USA who are of Pakistani origin alone[98] and the number of Pakistani American millionaires was reported to be in the thousands.Shahid Khan a Pakistani-born American multi billionaire businessmen owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL) making him the first and only ethnic minority member to own one, he also owns English Premier League team Fulham F.C., and automobile parts manufacturer Flex-N-Gate in Urbana, Illinois.[99] 45 percent of immigrant Muslims report annual household income levels of $50,000 or higher. This compares to the national average of 44 percent. Immigrant Muslims are well represented among higher-income earners, with 19 percent claiming annual household incomes of $100,000 or higher (compared to 16 percent for the Muslim population as a whole and 17 percent for the U.S. average). This is likely due to the strong concentration of Muslims in professional, managerial, and technical fields, especially in information technology, education, medicine, law, and the corporate world.[100]”

    • August 24, 2014 9:48 am

      And this means what exactly?

      • Roby L permalink
        August 24, 2014 9:51 am

        That you are losing a competition with a box of rocks. JB, I really see no point in discussing politics with you further, its pointless. I am pretty sure you are smarter than you pretend to be, but you insist on pretending to be an impenetrable wall of ignorance. Find another playmate, Dave will do, he is your equal.

      • August 24, 2014 9:59 am

        Gee, Roby, I am really sorry. I didn’t agree with you on everything and you are really upset about it. Your FEELINGS must be hurt.

        Ah, well, it is time to move on.

    • August 24, 2014 9:20 pm

      I am not getting your point.

      I am not aware of anyone here who has suggested that Muslims within the US are a dangerous fifth column, or that none of them are successful.

      But they are not yet some essential part of american fabric.

      I sponsored a Burmese Muslim family for a bit more than a year.

      That ment piking them up at the airport when they arrived, getting them an apartment, a job, helping them with english, with shopping, with medical issues, with learning how to cope in america.

      They came from a refugee camp in thailand where they had lived their entire lives.
      While scared when they arrived they also had a sense of having stumbled on El Dorado.

      Starting as the poorest of the poor in this country – they had far more from the first day than they ever had in Thailand.
      Within a few months they had really crappy minium wage jobs – who is going to hire someone with nearly no english, maybe a 6th grade education, no useful skills, no training. They quickly started to accumulate things. Within a year they had gotten even better and more high paying jobs.

      So how is it that a destitute muslim family from Burma can within a couple of years raise themselves to working class status, and so many poor americans can’t ?

      • August 24, 2014 9:37 pm

        Point of view? Some feel they must work, some feel they are owed?

  61. Roby L permalink
    August 24, 2014 9:42 am

    Personally, I think its better to be at war with 3% of a 1.6 billion people than all of them. Defeating salafism depends of course on understanding something about them, including that 97% of the larger group, muslims, is terrified of them and under siege by them.

    Jeez would it be so hard to replace your anger and constant negativity towards muslims, which is not actually justified based on facts with anger towards salafism?

    Here lets try this exercise, which is better?

    I hate christians.

    I hate radical fundamentalist christians, e.g the westwhatever baptist church.

    • August 24, 2014 9:58 am

      “Defeating salafism depends of course on understanding something about them, including that 97% of the larger group, muslims, is terrified of them and under siege by them.

      Please substantiate your view here. Both statements (understanding them) and that the 97% are terrified by them. I have not seen anyone contend either of these sentiments.

      If the other 97% are terrified, do they intend to stay terrified or work openly and actively to stamp out these murders (you know the other 3%)? How many muslim-Americans volunteered for active duty post-911, My guess is not many.

      Candidly, you always chalk up my comments on muslims to “hate.” I love it. Maybe you choose to ignore the mass murder being committed in the name of Allah and Islam, but I do not.

      Hate? More like appropriate fear and distrust. I don’t trust any “religion” that contains many of the practices of Islam (I am not talking just about Jihad here). Candidly, this is “religion” rooted in 6th century practices.

      Now, if people want to voluntarily do that fine. If they want to re-shape American culture (Sharia law) well, I am not on board.

      PS-I don’t “hate” the Westboro nut jobs. They are simply crazy. But, if they were committing murder on a daily basis, I would be all for rounding them up for a good ass whipping, followed by a trial.

    • August 24, 2014 9:22 pm

      Why do you think we are constantly angry with Muslim’s ?

      All I heard was accurate corrections of the crap our president was spouting.

      Having real experiences with some real Muslims in america – they are a mixed bag and many seem much like Rev. Phelps and WBC, but there is room in the US for both WBC and muslims.

      • August 24, 2014 9:39 pm

        It fits his narrative. I have a colleague at work that is a muslim. He is wonderful guy, totally.

      • August 25, 2014 7:47 pm

        You can not possibly have a muslim friend you and I are extremist bat shit racist loons and hating hateful haters.

      • August 25, 2014 9:34 pm

        Sorry, I forgot. I hate that guy!

    • August 24, 2014 9:32 pm

      Why are we at war with Salafism ?

      All I wanted in Afghanistan was to remove the Taliban. After that the Afghan’s can make their country work or not on their own – and should they provide protection for terrorists in the future – we can return.

      We had no business in Iraq. After a decade of war the country may be much worse than when we arrived.

      I can not see how we have done much good in Libya.

      Fortunately Egypt and Syria are not our fault – yet.

      It is not our job to defeat some islamic religious sect in another country.

      Even Osama Bin Laden wanted little more from the US than not to station our soldiers on sacred Arab ground.

      While Fringe leaders in foreign nations should not be dictating our actions, at the same time it is not our job to “civilize” other countries, or to police their internal conflicts.

      We now find ourselves trying to figure out how to protect obscure sects that have lived safely in dangerous lands for millenia, that now face genocide because of our feckless intervention.

      While Muslims are the great terrorists of the moment – for the most part their real fights are among themselves – and not our business.

      Our only role in nation building is as an example.

      Read Washington’s farewell address.

  62. Roby L permalink
    August 24, 2014 9:48 am

    On the golf criticism I agree 100% with Bush, (and you). It made me ill to see Obama laughing after speaking with those bereaved parents. Beyond my comprehension. He is an awful president. That said, Truman dropped the bomb and then went to bed and slept soundly. Presidents are not completely human in my understanding of the term, they make the choice to do terrible things calmly, as part of the job. Not making excuses, Obama should give up golf, but its too late, the damage is done.

    • August 24, 2014 9:37 pm

      So if I have problems with Obama’s policies I am a extremists vile racists hating hater,
      but if a progressive thinks he has been an awful president that is alright ?

  63. August 24, 2014 10:13 am

    Only the NT Times could make such a statement and not be embarrassed:

    “It is generally agreed that it is far more difficult to carry out a terrorist attack inside the United States today than it was before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, because of the steps taken since to prevent would-be terrorists from entering the country.”

    How many illegal folks are passing across the Southern Border each day?

    • August 24, 2014 9:57 pm

      It has always been difficult to carry out a terrorist act within the US.
      The logistics are a nightmare.
      Worse the US has a tremendous “corrupting” influence on would be terrorists.

      9/11 was a incredibly lucky and unrepeatable fluke. First they had to find 19 suicidal and reasonably well educated terrorists, get them into the US keep them faithful to the cause remain undiscovered and have nothing go wrong at most any step along the way.

      It is likely the plane that struck the pentagon had targeted the Capitol, but crashed as passengers fought with terrorists, it is certain the Schwenksville plane crashed as terrorists and passengers struggled.

      Post 9/11 every plausible terrorist plot has been brought down by ordinary people – not the CIA or NSA or TSA or …..

      The anal probing we get when we fly is theater and has no practical benefit.

      About the only thing the government did post 9/11 of merit was harden cabin crew doors.

  64. Roby L permalink
    August 24, 2014 11:40 am

    “Not sure if it’s working though, there at least seems to be a faction of reporting that is not buying the pre-packaged narrative, and trying to remind the public that there are 2 sides to this story and that we don’t have enough evidence to make any kind of judgment yet.”

    65% of those polled in a NYT poll stated that they don’t know enough to judge. That is more than a fraction. Where did those people get their news?

    A news item like Ferguson becomes the big story simply because its a story that got big enough to interest a lot of people and thus sell advertising. The news is a business, as we know, duh, anything that pulls in viewers is going to get preferential treatment. It could be any stupid thing. Jim and Tammy Baker, the blade runner murder, OJ Simpson. This sucks, but its just capitalism, not a liberal conspiracy.

    Being repetitive and I know that anyone here could write my shpiel for me and I have said it so many times, I really don’t believe the liberal media idea. There are liberal news outlets and conservative outlets and outlets in the middle so there is free competition in news. Since liberals are at best 20% of the population, and they have news outlets geared to them already, the business rational for ABC, NBC, CBS, Time, the CSM, etc. to be tilting their news to the left is clearly lacking. Yes, studies have said that numerically there is a liberal bias to people in the news business, those polls look at the people at every kind of news outlet, a large number of them are in print news at big city papers.

    I have no doubt that people who enter journalism programs and graduate from them tend to be liberal. But as far as the big business media outlets themselves, the companies, their owners, stockholders, and managers, who are the ones who decide what actually gets on the TV news, a liberal bias is just poison to business, with Fox and the other networks out there wanting your viewers. If you are in the national TV news business, and its it the TV news that really gives the graphic video picture of a story like Ferguson, other than MSNBC and Fox, you are playing it right down the middle, its your business to do that. I think the 65% who are withholding judgment on Ferguson are proof of that.

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 24, 2014 12:09 pm

      I generally agree with you, Roby, at least when it comes to the news business driving the stories, and the majority of liberal reporters not INTENTIONALLY banding together to drive false narratives like, for example, the Duke rape case story, which, like the Tawana Brawley case was an actual flat-out fiction, based on the very sketchiest of claims and evidence. But “not intentional” doesn’t mean the same to me as “not pushing a narrative” or “not at fault.” It just means that most liberal reporters these days have been educated in liberal philosophy, which includes the idea that only whites can be racist, among other shibboleths. And, because they accept and believe these shibboleths, it is impossible for many of them to maintain even the appearance of objectivity.

      I do think that cases like the Duke rape story even the Trayvon Martin story (which lives on in Ferguson, actually, with some protesters looking to avenge Trayvon by prosecuting Darren Wilson, as some sort of whipping boy for George Zimmerman) have had their effect on the public, however, in that not everyone is so quick to believe inflammatory claims based on no real evidence. So, for example, I have read, in more than one mainstream news outlet that the vast majority of arrests in Ferguson have been of people who are not citizens of Ferguson. Knowing that the race baiters like Al Sharpton have a vested interest in agitprop and violence has helped too. And, as you say, the diversification of news media, which no longer just includes the networks and CNN, has forced those outlets to back off of some of their narrative-spinning. So that 65% figure is good news. Maybe the public is wising up….

    • August 25, 2014 4:10 pm

      The story is big because it is interesting to many people – not the other way arround
      The story also “sells”, is “capitolism” because it is what people want to hear about.

      Again the as backwards progressive way of looking at the world.
      You think the media, and businesses force onto people something they do nto want in order to make money.

      Sorry, the market bends over backwards to give you exactly what you want – that is how they make money.

      I have no problem with the media as a whole, but the fact that the media leans significantly left is a pretty well established fact.

      Most TV news is pretty far to the left. Fox is only barely right of center.
      Talk radio is pretty far to the right. Newspaper editorials are pretty far to the left.
      Even ordinary reporters running hard news stories are mostly to the left and mostly manage to get their biases in.

      Yes, the shareholders and owners and sometimes even management of media companies tend towards the right – though there are alot of fairly left leaning media mogols.

      Regardless, with few exceptions owners and managers care about sales and profits not ideology, and have little or no influence on content.

      Even purportedly conservative outlets such as WSJ which has a sort of establishment republican biased editorial staff – has relatively liberal reporters.

      You are somewhat correct that a liberal bias is a dangerous business choice.

      Fox went from non-existant to totally dominant because left wing outlets alienated their viewers. Talk Radio is dominated by conservatives because the demographics of the talk radio market are overwhelmingly conservative.

      Most of the major media outlets are in large urban settings where the population is extremely liberal (and intolerant). Fox serves a more suburban market and must be more balanced.

      If you are “national TV news” your market is not “national” it is “urban”.

      Further markets are shifting.

      Who here even watches TV news at all anymore ? I have not watched more tna an hour of fox in a decade, and little more of anything else. I watch the news in airports or train stations or hotel lobbies. At home I am on the web.

      The media play to their market. That market is not the country.

      • August 25, 2014 5:40 pm

        The worst to me is NPR. So arrogant, so obviously biased and subsidized by you and me.

      • August 27, 2014 5:35 pm

        I yell at NPR on the radio every day.
        But I listen because you don’t want trapped in a echo chamber.
        Further once in a while they actually manage to get something right – usually without grasping it.

        I beleive they had an excellent story on disability about a year ago. They were shocked to discover that most people on disability were not disabled.

      • August 27, 2014 6:44 pm

        Pretty much the same story. It is amazing how they see the world.

        Black and white, no shades of grey for NPR.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 27, 2014 10:16 pm

        In 2009 I consulted at a hospital about an hour from home. Each evenings trip home was radio filled with 30 minutes of PBS (I think “All Things Considered”, not sure) and then the other 30 minutes I turned to Hannity.

        I wanted to be “Fair and Balanced”

  65. Roby L permalink
    August 24, 2014 12:35 pm

    Even if what you say about the reporters is true Priscilla, its their bosses going right up to the top who decide what gets on the air. It is beyond my comprehension that the directors of the companies do not know where the political center of gravity is in America and what offends large groups of those competitively sought viewers, that would be first class incompetence and the network that ignored this reality would be in deep trouble. As well, the advertisers know their demographics, they know their buyers, its their job, they can buy advertising at outlets that do not offend and drive away their target audience. The country seems to be more or less 40% conservative, 40% moderate and 20% liberal. That is how the TV news people plan their programming.

    Now, what ticks me off is exactly those other outlets that deliberately skew their news to partisans, that produces a real mess of misinformation and anger, all of which collects a nice profit for red meat experts.

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 24, 2014 1:29 pm

      I know it ticks you off… doesn’t bother me much, really. I think that most people are more than capable of listening to and reading any number of biased sources, and then deciding for themselves what to believe. No doubt, there are strong biases out there, but even on MSNBC, which doesn’t even claim to present a balanced view, you’ve got Joe Scarborough and, well, maybe just him, but even Chris Matthews, as slavish an Obamaphile as there ever was, has been critical of the POTUS of late. And on Fox, there are plenty of liberal points of view presented……None of the opinion programs are presented as straight news, so I don’t mind them being slanted.

      But a beat reporter…that’s a bit different. If you are sent to Ferguson to report what is happening there, report it for god’s sake…. Report your story with the 5 w’s of journalism, and don’t make shit up. Sure, if you want to interview partisans, that’s fine, but let us know who they are, so that we can make up our own minds as to whether they are credible. And if you are a producer or an editor, don’t selectively delete stuff, because it doesn’t fit your narrative.

      Most people (apparently 65%, if that survey is valid) can sort through this stuff and make up their own minds. Hearing different opinions can be helpful….I’m not going to be “fooled” by Al Sharpton or Sean Hannity, but I’ll listen to what they have to say.

      • Roby L permalink
        August 24, 2014 1:41 pm

        Priscilla, You make good points here that I agree with, but the question is not whether I trust someone as capable as yourself but whether I can see that there are many who are NOT as educated or capable as you and they do get strongly influenced and form a sea of partisan brainwashed madness at times. Now, I realize that its all part of the trade off and the price we pay for freedom and not being Russia or China, but still, everyone has something that pains them and this pains me.

      • August 24, 2014 2:01 pm

        But not you, Roby. The media could never mislead you. Its just the rest of the dummies in the US.

      • August 25, 2014 5:35 pm

        Can we dispense with the partisan brainwashed crap ?

        Who here do you think just buys what is spoon fed to them by some grand high poobah ?

        To the extent I would suggest any – it would be those on the left.

        And if we are going to make politics turn on IQ – then Libertarians dominate.

        Do liberals actually think about the crap they say before spouting nonsense ?

        Has anyone bought your vote recently ? Have you been brainwashed ?
        If big corporate money corrupts politics doesn;t that mean that democrats are more corrupt as they get the largest share of big corporate political donations ?

        Please, god gave you a brain. Turn it on.

        Partisan brainwashing is a meme losers use to explain why they last.

        The press is biased – and I have zero problems with that.
        Few if any voters are brainwashed. Most vote their interests. Money flows to political candidates that ALREADY reflect the interests of those supplying the money.

        CU was a really really big deal and a good thing. It significantly diminished the power of political parties and allowed voices other than politicians and parties to be heard, and that is incredibly important and fights against the purported brainwashing you rant about.

      • August 24, 2014 1:56 pm

        The first rule of science is:

        Don’t fool yourself.

        The second is: Don’t make shit up.

        The third: Don’t take other peoples stuff.

        To be fair, I took the first rule from Richard Feynman. Consider that a cite.

    • August 25, 2014 5:12 pm

      Ah more leftist hogwash.

      The most common reason that a story or information is suppressed is that some government official calls the managment of an outlet and claims national security or some other miscarraige of justice if a story does not run.
      Do you really think reporters that have had their stories quashed by management are silent ? Do you really think management quashes stories that will be profitable regardless of their personal political views ?

      Past Murdock can you name a media mogul that is conservative ?
      I can name half a dozen that are liberal.

      What on TV has offended you so badly you do not watch ?
      We love to watch train wrecks.

      Do you think the audience for “survivor” reflects the countries general demographics ?
      Do you think Fox’s viewership does ? Or MSNBC ? Or NYT or WaPo ?
      Limbaugh has something like 35M listeners, that is over 10% of the country.
      Do you think the demographics of his listeners is 40:40:20 ?

      Advertisers do not divorce themselves from or try to influence popular shows – regardless of the political perspective – until their consumers start calling and bitching.

  66. Roby L permalink
    August 24, 2014 1:32 pm

    I took time today to, for the first time in my life, write to the POTUS:

    Dear President Obama,

    I am a moderate to liberal citizen who has voted for you twice and was very excited when you were elected, among other reasons because of the important message of the US having its first African American President.

    Clearly, you have been the recipient of vitriolic attacks as president. I have been dismayed to hear the tenor of the opposition, which has sunk to absurd lows.

    Due to the nature of your critics and their criticism I was a long time, (too long) in forming my own assessment of the weak points of your presidency.

    Regretfully, I have reached the conclusion, that you are an awful president, every bit as bad as your predecessor.

    What prompts me to write is the pictures of you broadly smiling on the golf course a few minutes after having spoken about the execution of James Foley. It made me ill. You do not have the leadership or human qualities I expect of a US president. I regret voting for you.

    Your unwillingness to reach out to the opposition in Congress, as Olympia Snow described many years ago, was my first huge disappointment with your administration. Reagan did it, you can too. Broadly fantastic pledges and predictions that you have made since your first campaign have proven to be utterly naive as well culminating in “If you like your health insurance you can keep health your insurance.”

    Its been 14 years now that we have had truly incompetent leaders as the POTUS. This is a disaster.

    Giving up golf is advisable, but really, its too late, you have proven yourself unfit for your office.



    • Priscilla permalink
      August 24, 2014 1:40 pm

      Excellent letter, I must say.

      • Roby L permalink
        August 24, 2014 1:42 pm

        I will correct the types prior to snail mailing it, they always get in there.

      • August 24, 2014 2:00 pm

        It mystifies with that progressives love that Barry is our first AA POTUS. Who cares?

        Let’s try competence next time, shall we? Experience wouldn’t hurt either. What about accomplishments prior to running for the CEO chair?

    • August 24, 2014 1:58 pm

      The soft bigotry of low expectations. First, you make excuses for him, then you lower the bar by comparing him to others. “Well, really, you are in “good company.”

      Man, is that you being critical?

      Wanna see my letter to Barry?

      Thought not.

      • Roby L permalink
        August 24, 2014 2:05 pm

        You and Dave are two mosquitoes buzzing in my room. One buzzes, I know Everything, the other buzzes, I know Nothing. Sometimes I suspect you are just one person with two aliases!

      • August 24, 2014 2:14 pm

        I think we might both think you are simply another whiny progressive.

      • August 25, 2014 5:43 pm

        Is there any other kind ?

      • August 25, 2014 5:45 pm


      • August 25, 2014 5:39 pm

        I can assure you that I am NOT JB.
        Though I do post under the alias on progressive blogs

      • August 25, 2014 5:43 pm

        For sure. BTW-Since everything Progressives touch seems to get worse, shouldn’t they find a different name for their silliness?

      • August 27, 2014 5:39 pm

        Better progressive than liberal – liberal is supposed to indicate valuing liberty.
        But I guess progrssive is an oxymoron to. I am just less offended by it.
        The label progressive was disgraced decades ago. I would guess they are using it today because they have short memories and have more recently turned liberal into an insult.
        But I will be happy to allow the left to self identify with idiots of the past.

    • Ron P permalink
      August 24, 2014 5:47 pm

      Roby, Get your papers in order. Get ready for the IRS audit if it gets to his staff.

      Hope his staff reads this and it does not get filtered by an intern.

  67. Roby L permalink
    August 24, 2014 1:43 pm


  68. Roby L permalink
    August 24, 2014 2:10 pm

    I did not know that the third rule of science is “don’t take other peoples stuff.” You may wish to look at your rule number two and see if perhaps you violated it.

    BTW, I am not discussing politics with you, simply exchanging pleasantries.

  69. August 24, 2014 4:09 pm

    I have no idea if this man is speaking the truth. If so, it is kind of a mind blower.

  70. August 24, 2014 9:24 pm

    You always were smart, Miss Priscilla,

  71. Roby L permalink
    August 24, 2014 10:10 pm

    These are some of George W Bush’s quotes on Islam.

    In the President’s Words: Respecting Islam

    The United States is a nation dedicated to religious tolerance and freedom, and President Bush has acted to ensure that the world’s Muslims know that America appreciates and celebrates the traditions of Islam.

    “Here in the United States our Muslim citizens are making many contributions in business, science and law, medicine and education, and in other fields. Muslim members of our Armed Forces and of my administration are serving their fellow Americans with distinction, upholding our nation’s ideals of liberty and justice in a world at peace.”
    Remarks by the President on Eid Al-Fitr
    The Islamic Center of Washington, D.C.
    December 5, 2002

    “Over the past month, Muslims have fasted, taking no food or water during daylight hours, in order to refocus their minds on faith and redirect their hearts to charity. Muslims worldwide have stretched out a hand of mercy to those in need. Charity tables at which the poor can break their fast line the streets of cities and towns. And gifts of food and clothing and money are distributed to ensure that all share in God’s abundance. Muslims often invite members of other families to their evening iftar meals, demonstrating a spirit of tolerance.”
    Remarks by the President on Eid Al-Fitr
    The Islamic Center of Washington, D.C.
    December 5, 2002

    “America treasures the relationship we have with our many Muslim friends, and we respect the vibrant faith of Islam which inspires countless individuals to lead lives of honesty, integrity, and morality. This year, may Eid also be a time in which we recognize the values of progress, pluralism, and acceptance that bind us together as a Nation and a global community. By working together to advance mutual understanding, we point the way to a brighter future for all.”
    Presidential Message Eid al-Fitr
    December 5, 2002

    “Islam brings hope and comfort to millions of people in my country, and to more than a billion people worldwide. Ramadan is also an occasion to remember that Islam gave birth to a rich civilization of learning that has benefited mankind.”
    President’s Eid al-Fitr Greeting to Muslims around the World
    December 4, 2002

    “Some of the comments that have been uttered about Islam do not reflect the sentiments of my government or the sentiments of most Americans. Islam, as practiced by the vast majority of people, is a peaceful religion, a religion that respects others. Ours is a country based upon tolerance and we welcome people of all faiths in America.”
    Remarks by President George W. Bush in a statement to reporters during a meeting with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan
    The Oval Office, Washington, DC
    November 13, 2002

    “We see in Islam a religion that traces its origins back to God’s call on Abraham. We share your belief in God’s justice, and your insistence on man’s moral responsibility. We thank the many Muslim nations who stand with us against terror. Nations that are often victims of terror, themselves.”
    President Hosts Iftaar Dinner
    Remarks by the President at Iftaar Dinner
    State Dining Room

    “Islam is a vibrant faith. Millions of our fellow citizens are Muslim. We respect the faith. We honor its traditions. Our enemy does not. Our enemy doesn’t follow the great traditions of Islam. They’ve hijacked a great religion.”
    Remarks by President George W. Bush on U.S. Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan
    Presidential Hall, Dwight David Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington, D.C.
    October 11, 2002

    “Islam is a faith that brings comfort to people. It inspires them to lead lives based on honesty, and justice, and compassion.”

    • August 24, 2014 10:23 pm

      That is nice.

    • August 26, 2014 1:14 pm

      And I would guess you are unable to distinguish between Bush’s comments and Obama’s ?

      But then I would guess that you buy Obama’s american “unexceptionalism” or “you did nto build that” crap.

      America is exceptional – not because of its resources, but because of its people, and the tolerance and opportunity they give to all.
      American exceptionalism is not “nah, nah, nah, nah, nah – we are superior to you”
      but as an example of how liberty brings prosperity and a challenge to not only learn from us, but even to do better.
      American exceptionalism is our most valuable export. Even small doses of liberty have raised BILLIONS of people from abject 19th century poverty to the bottom of the first world just in the past generation.

      Personally I could care less about Obama’s fawning over Islam, and I wish Bush was truer to his own words.

      I am more interestested in what they have done or not.

      Obama’s “Don’t do stupid stuff” is an excellent paradigm for government.
      Unfortunately he has not followed it.

  72. Ron P permalink
    August 25, 2014 10:59 am

    As we discuss a situation that we know nothing about and make comments, either in supporting officer Wilson or not supporting officer Wilson, we now have a situation that is recorded and documents what is wrong with police today.

    To begin with, these officers are not stupid. they are incompetent and blind. Officers are trained to identify vehicles make and model, identify suspects from descriptions and know colors based on witnesses descriptions.

    So what was wrong in this situation.
    1. The car was identified as a Toyota. They pulled over a Nissan.
    2. The car was identified as beige or tan. The car was burgandy .
    3. The suspects were identified as 4 black males. The car contained a woman driver and four small children.

    Guess what, the only thing they got right was the individuals were BLACK. I believe deep down had this been 4 white guys, and had this woman been white, she would never have been pulled over until better identification of the occupants had been made. (Jumping to conclusions? Yes, but based somewhat on facts)
    And now they will not even apologize!!!! I would not be one to be so understanding as this woman was in the interview after this incident. Apologizing for an error is not a sign of weakness or incompetence. It is recognizing when you have made a mistake, either justified or not, and telling those hurt by your actions you are sorry.

    We whites wonder sometimes why the black community gets so pissed off. One only has to place themselves in this women’s position and then maybe we could understand a little of what they go through. And how will these kids view the police going forward if they do not have positive re-enforcement of a police officer based on the encounter they have just went through?

    Great story after Ferguson, for sure!!!!!

    • Roby L permalink
      August 25, 2014 11:28 am

      Yes, and then there was that ranting insane white racist cop who got suspended in Ferguson. You know, the whole “color blind” idea is nonsense. None of us are color blind.

      I have several serious bones to pick with black culture in America, I can start with the fact (I am assuming its a fact) that a black person is 40 times more likely to kill a white person than visa versa. Or As Jesse Jackson once remarked, if he is walking at night with his wife and hears a groups of kids walking behind him he is relieved if he turns around and see that its white kids. But if I pretend to be color blind I don’t get to talk about that, there are no races, only individuals. Its nonsense. The comment that we are cowards about talking about race in America is right on the money, it takes some guts to break that habit, especially within one’s own group.

      Both whites and blacks (and not just these two “colors”) have real issues, legitimate issues, with each other that need to be talked about and addressed. It starts from being honest about the faults and behaviors of one’s own race. I am not black so I cannot work on the problems of the black race in America, I can hope that if my own race would be more open to considering how we, or some of us, or we as a group, look to black people, then they would be encouraged to do the same. What do we whites have to lose? Only that wretched ratio of a 40:1 disparity of being killed.

      Thank you for being honest and having the guts to start the ball rolling with seeing the other side Ron. Blacks do indeed have real grievances with us as a group and part of my reason for getting upset here several days back was reading a one sided commentary blaming blacks for race baiting as a reaction to Ferguson. We whites often race bait too. Honesty would go a long way.

      • August 25, 2014 11:49 am

        As an individual, all one can do is deal with the person in front of you. If they deserve respect, that is what they should get. If they need a slap on the head, ditto. This is regardless of anything else about the person. It IS about their behavior towards you. Reciprocation is a pretty natural response for most folks.

        Appearances matter. If you look like a gang member (of any color) expect to have most folks avoid you like the plague. If you look like an upstanding citizen, you will be treated differently.

        As to issues of the racial divide, I have no special insight. I will say that there are clearly race hustlers (Sharpton, Jackson) who would be out of business if not for these kinds of issues. I fail to see how they can help in anyway.

        I don’t consider myself as being of the “white race.” That is a silly label which communicates almost nothing about me. I assume many blacks feel the same way.

        Perhaps that is a start.

      • August 26, 2014 4:56 pm

        Race is a diminishing issue.

        I had my father tested by the NatGeo genome project before he died.

        Apparently my family is part Jewish. So some of our family rumours are probably true.
        On the other hand the stories about miscegenation in the welsh mountains appear to be false, no African genes in the last 100,000 years.

        I thought I was Irish – Nat Geo sugests that is through Viking raiders.

        My daughter is Chinese, the kid she is dating is half black. His parents are racists.

        When I was in HS there was 1 black student – the only black person I knew at the time.
        Now I really don’t know very many white people.

        My “boss” is mexican, as are half my coworkers.
        I have black, asian and hispanic friends – nearly all of whom are really mixes. And lots of others who are god only knows what race.

        Few people care much anymore.

      • August 26, 2014 6:24 pm

        On your last statement, you would think that was true. Yet, if you watch the media or if you visit certain websites, you can see that it is ALL they think about. Some of the fringe groups appear to be totally out of their minds.

        Scary stuff.

        And then, there is this interesting race hustler. This clown is coming to my U to speak.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 25, 2014 11:52 am

        “The United States is experiencing a rapid decoupling of race and nationality: Whiteness has less and less to do with being American.

        The Census Bureau forecasts that non-Hispanic whites, now slightly more than 60 percent of the population, will fall below 50 percent in 2043. Within 30 years, there will cease to be a racial majority in the United States. In a narrow political sense, this is bad news for the GOP. But for the country, the disassociation of whiteness and American-ness is to be celebrated. Indeed, it is the key to our survival.” ~Dana Milbank

        So, the assumption here is that “whiteness” is how the GOP defines being American…..and I find that incredibly wrong and biased. Not that I don’t understand it, mind you. As the Democrat Party has more and more sought to define itself as the party of minorities of all kinds, the GOP has been saddled with the flip side of the coin : how to represent the interests of American citizens who see themselves “merely” as American citizens, rather than as an oppressed group of American citizens (well, I suppose you don’t even need to be a citizen to qualify as a group oppressed in America).

        Whether I was a Democrat, Republican or Independent, I never thought being American had anything to do with “Whiteness.” I always thought it had to do with equality of opportunity, the melting pot, and other such antiquated ideas. Of course, Milbank’s statement is offensive to people like me – but, since we non-Hispanic whites need to “check our privilege,” I cannot express offense without seeming whiny and insensitive. Well, at least I am a female. I have been oppressed in that sense. It’s been terrible, just awful, really.

      • August 25, 2014 1:33 pm

        You can always count on Milbank to be wrong. Somehow. that is comforting.

      • August 26, 2014 5:16 pm

        That “all white” GOP is the same party that purportedly could never attract the irish, or the italians or …, and even jews are slowly shifting repoublican.

        Urban residents are incredibly democratic – something like 90%.
        But when the move to the suburbs many of the same people become republican.

        The poor and the rich, the uneducated and the over educated are democrats – most in the middle are not.
        As one climbs from the bottom to the middle and even beyond one becomes more republican (regardless of race).

        Single women are more likely to be democrats, married women more likely to be republicans.
        People with families – more likely republican.
        Older people more likely republican.

        There are myriads of demographic patterns. Unless hispanics break trend and do not climb the ladder over the next few generations one trend or another must break.

        The current millenials still vote democratic, but they are the most disallusioned with democrats cohort in possibly a century. When they articulate their values they are highly libertarian – again no similar cohort has been seen in a century.
        They are only likely to shift more to the right with age.

        It is my view that Pres. Obama was a pivot point in our political history.

        We got a chance to replay the transformation of the great depression only with a newer better educated generation.

        Pres. Obama could have assured democrats total control of the federal government for decades – all he needed to do was – “not do stupid things” and wait for the inevitable strong recovery. At that he failed. Instead of assuring a permanent democratic majority he is close to giving the republicans the opportunity for the same.

        That is my crystal ball forecast for whatever it is worth.

        Demographics is not destiny.

        The nearest urban area to me is only about 90,000 people.

        Yet throughout my life I have no clue of the ethnicity of most of the people I meet.
        The darkest skinned tenant I have had was hispanic named garcia.
        I see people of all shades. My daughter is a Chinese minority looks Polynesian in the winter and almost black in the summer.
        I meet people on the street – mexican ? Greek ? Italian ? Somali ? Persian ? who knows ?

        I am the whitest person I know, and I am the minority in my own world and have been for atleast a decade. And aparently I am part jewish, and we never got to test my mothers genes. Might still be some hope for african american genes.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 25, 2014 12:01 pm

        Watching Dr. Ben Carson and Rev. Jackson on Fox News Sunday really shows how split the black community is along with blacks and whites. Both men have early childhoods that mimic each other with a few minor differences. Dr, Carson said he was an angry black teen and tried to stab another kid, only the knife hit the kids belt buckle. Dr. Carson places the responsibility of improvements of the blacks on themselves, while Rev Jackson places that on the community.

        MLK had a dream. Looking a prominent blacks today, I wonder if this dream would have produced more Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons or if it would have produced more Dr. Carsons, Bill Cosby’s or Herman Cain’s?

        What needs to happen is the political differences need to be put aside and all communities need to begin working to identify how their education systems can be improved so the black kids grow up and be able to move forward. Whites used to have a elementary education, then that changed to HS education and then to many with college educations. Education led to a robust middle class. We need blacks to progress the same and not be put down by others in their community when they want to get an education. And parents need to be made part of this effort. Without education, there will not be work and there will be continued poverty.

      • August 26, 2014 5:27 pm

        A man said to the universe:
        “Sir, I exist!”
        “However,” replied the universe,
        “The fact has not created in me
        A sense of obligation.”

        Dr. Carson is right.

        Black White, whatever, your life is your own.
        Nearly ALL of us have some issues, some hurdles to overcome.

        I have been very fortunate in my life. I have many many things to be thankful for.
        But there is and has been plenty of uninvited hell.

        Whatever does not kill us makes us stronger.
        Please god, I do not need to be any stronger.

        Life is not some perfect meritocracy.
        I can envy what someone I think is stupider, less talented, less hardworking less … than I am has acheived or I can relish what I have and strive for more.
        I can chose to be happy or miserable.
        I can justifiably choose to be a victim of the horrible things that have happened to me.
        But the only person who can make my life better is me. The person who suffers is a wrap myself in victimization is me.

        Struggling to better your life is no guarantee of success – this time.
        But nearly all of us improve our circumstances if we continue to struggle through adversity.

        If the odds of success are 1:10 and you try ten time – you almost certainly will succeed.

      • August 26, 2014 6:28 pm

        Two quotes from my grandfather:

        “Hard work, ain’t easy!”


        “If it were easy, everyone would have done it already!”

        God, I miss that man.

        One from a Clint Eastwood movie:

        “Dynin’ ain’t much of a living, boy!”

      • August 26, 2014 4:38 pm

        While there are undeniably racial aspects to all of this.

        Pretending this is entirely about race destorts this to.

        Do we have a basis to presume that Wilson is overtly racist ?

        I have zero doubt that he was more afraid of a 6-4 300lb black teen than a 4-11 98lb white senior.

        The world is not perfect – and never will be. We are not “equal” and the world would not work if we were. We can never root out “prejudice” and as a practical matter would not truly want to.

        Everytime I hire someone, buy from someone, sell to someone rent an apartment to someone, I have to decide always with less than perfect information how much I trust them. Making choices about other people is called discrimination.

        There is a big policy fight today about permitting employers to factor in criminal convictions in hiring decisions.

        That is idiocy. When you have 100 applicants for 1 job, you need reasons to exclude people. Anyone who has ever had to hire knows there is no such thing as the perfect hire.
        There is no way of knowing who the “best” person for the job is.
        Nor do the people hiring want to interview multiple times 100 people.
        To hire, the applicants must be culled.

        Criminal record – in the trash.
        Poor spelling or grammar – trash it.
        Overtly religious – trash it.
        Too many jobs in the past few years – trash it.
        Too long since last job trash it.
        Whatever ti takes to get down to a handfull of people to actually interview.
        Most of the early culling is just looking for a reason to say no.

        So lets say that we disallow criminal records checks.
        At the very best you are saying a fellon will get a job at the expense of a non-fellon when they would not otherwise.

        Part of the idiocy of the left is the lunacy that barring discrimination on one basis does not force discrimination on another.
        If there are X jobs and Y applicants – Y-X people will be “discriminated” against on some basis. Anti-discrimination laws to not eliminate discrimination, they either make it covert or shift it to a different target.

      • August 26, 2014 6:14 pm

        I have personally hired perhaps 50 people over my years in management. The thought that I would be denied this kind of information is simply crazy. The analogy I use with my graduate students is this:

        Bringing an employee into your company is like injecting something into your veins. Take due care to understand fully everything that you can about what you are injecting. The cost of not getting it right is very high indeed.

        Progressives are wrong on so many things. This is perhaps one of the dumber moves on their part.

      • August 26, 2014 7:32 pm

        I have probably hired about the same number of people.

        Mostly I agree with you.

        But nobody I have ever hired has ever turned out as I expected.
        But most have turned out good enough. That is pretty much the norm.

        I was also sued for employment discrimination for laying someone off once.

        Purportedly I terminated them because of their age, religion, health, … I can no longer remember all the reasons. Pretty much every one you can think of and then some.

        The case ended when it was discovered that I had been paying the Cobra payments for his health insurance after he chose to drop it.

        His wife has a very high risk health problem and I could not live with myself if his insurance was terminated and something happened. We had actually held on to him for an extra year because of his wife’s health problems.

        This is far less unusual than most people think.

        We also had an employee injured badly in an automobile accident while driving for work.
        We had the whole front office to work within minutes of the accident, we found the best surgeon that could get to where he was, we had him airlifted to a good hospital where they could perform surgery – had we not done that he would have lost his right arm. He still never recovered full use. Eventually insurance repaid much of what we had done, but we did it expecting we would have to pay it all.

        While he recovered we paid him his full salary – for almost 18months before he could return to work.

        We did this because it is who we were.
        At the same time everyone working for us was watching and was aware.

        But I would hope that people are never mandated to do these things.

        Contrary to progressive wet dreams employees do nto get treated equally.

        Make yourself more valuable – and you get treated better – not just in terms of money, but, perks, and accomidations.
        Don;t give a shit about the company – don’t expect it to give a shit about you.

        Nor does every employee need the same things.
        Come to me for more money – I may give you a raise.
        The next guy might want extra time off, or more flexible hours or …..
        As an employer I can not give every employee everything any employee might want.
        But I can often give each employee what matters to them.

        Off course then I am constantly being told
        “that’s not fair”

        Nope it is not.

        Don’t care about fair. Every decision is made individually where possible.
        Exchange value for value.
        But we do not all have the same values.

      • August 26, 2014 4:44 pm

        Yes, the race baiting on TNM is unbeleivable.

        Just yesterday JB and I went out and shot a couple of African Americans for lunch.

        The only group fixated on race as the explanation for everything is Progressives.

        Racism still exists, we all make choices – discriminate every day. While we can hope those choices will improve over time, they will never be perfect – get over it.

        Most of us here are old enough to grasp how much worse racism was in the 60’s.

        I remember white people I respected at the time telling me it was a good thing that MLK had been shot, he was just a trouble maker.

        But if all you see today is half the country full of hate and racism – then the problem is with your vision, not the country.

      • August 26, 2014 6:20 pm

        I don’t remember that lunch thing but I am advancing in years, so it is possible that it happened.

        You make a very good point. It is clear to those of us who lived in the 60s how much more overt and covert racism there was. I used to hear things back then that we pretty extreme. You would never hear that kind of stuff today, at least, I don’t.

        Drs. Sowell and Williams make this point all the time. They would know BTW.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 26, 2014 4:47 pm

        “I have zero doubt that he was more afraid of a 6-4 300lb black teen than a 4-11 98lb white senior”

        Well, for one thing, that is not the issue. We don’t know if he was “afraid” of anyone, now, do we?

      • August 26, 2014 7:48 pm

        “Well, for one thing, that is not the issue. We don’t know if he was “afraid” of anyone, now, do we?”

        You are right and wrong.

        We will not and can not know what was in Wilson’s head, only what he says.

        At the same time the justification for the use of deadly force is a reasonable belief.
        Wilson need not wait until Brown had actually killed him before responding.

        I would call a reasonable belief that some bad thing is likely fear.

    • August 26, 2014 3:12 pm


      I actually accept that police are far less than perfect. They are going to make mistakes.

      We are fixating that this car was not a tan Toyota.
      Who says the original report is correct ?

      We live in a far from perfect world.

      The problem is not that the police make mistakes – or that they are sometimes themselves criminals or that criminals sometimes impersonate authorities.

      It is that we increasingly set up our polices and procedures for a perfect world.

      Assure me that when I (or my son) are pulled over, that the officer will be well trained courteous, have had a good day, not be in midst of his own family strife, actually is a real police officer – and we can go with JB and the WaPo officers always defer to police.

      But in the real world that is not the case.

      Take this incident what if Ms. Barbour had an injured child in the car was headed for an ER and was scared angry and uncooperative. What if instead of pulling over she continued on ?

      Can the officers shoot her ? Ram her car ? force her off the road ?

      If we agree that the police can go in shooting had this been the correct vehicle, why should we be surprised if the do so when a honest mistake has been made ?

      The more power you give police the greater burden you place on them to be absolutely right about everything. As in the real world that is not possible, you can not give them that degree of power.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 26, 2014 4:43 pm

        I GIVE UP!!!! First you argue that Officer Wilson should have backed off and not reacted the way he did and now you are arguing that eye witnesses are wrong and police going over the line is fine.

        ” I actually accept that police are far less than perfect. They are going to make mistakes.

        We are fixating that this car was not a tan Toyota.
        Who says the original report is correct ?”

        So it was fine that a woman in a Burgundy Toyota with four children was mistaken for four black males in a tan Nissan and that the police will not say “we are sorry for your inconvenience”. I call Bull Shit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That car was convenient, it was driven by a black driver and bingo, it had to be the one reported!!!!!

        You can’t have it both ways. If someone robs a bank and leaves in a white Chevy Malibu, I sure as hell do not want them stopping and handcuffing my wife driving a black Pontiac G-6, And I suspect you would not want this either.

        Stop arguing out of both sides of your mouth. You sound like a Washington politician.

      • August 26, 2014 6:17 pm

        Oh, that last line was harsh. I thought he was worse than Hitler but what you said was just cruel.

      • August 26, 2014 8:05 pm

        Regarding the car:

        Why is it that you beleive the inital reports had to be correct ?

        In the real world this happens all the time.

        My wife has had cases where a robbery was reported as commited by some guy in a red hoody. Her client was arrested within minutes in a blue hoody.

        Sounds like the cops screwed up. Do they have probably cause to search the guy in the blue hoody ?

        But turns out the guy in the blue hoody actually did it. The report just went out wrong.

        Cops make mistakes. Lots of them. And while we should seek to improve that
        that is not the real issue. We will never be able to eliminate them all.

        But we can look at how the system can be constructed to minimize the bad consequences of those mistakes.

        Ultimately this is all about how many bad guys do you want to get away, or how many police officers are you prepared to trade to reduce the number of innocents who are killed.

        I am prepared to increase the number of bad guys that get away and the number of police that get killed in order to reduce the number of innocents who are killed.

        I am also prepared to confront the fact that that is what we are really debating.
        Until you accept that life is not perfect, nor perfectable, then you are debating unreal hypotheticals.

        I want police with less power and policies and procedures that match my preferences above. I think that is the only moral choice.

      • August 26, 2014 8:09 pm

        Of course the police beleived (wrongly) that car was the one reported.

        The fact that they backed down when they realized it was not is proof.

        If this was just a racist act, why back down ?

        I am arguing for policies and procedures that keep the innocent safe even in a less than perfect world.

        But I accept that the world is not perfect.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 26, 2014 10:32 pm

        OK, so the cops in twp patrol cars are sitting just off the main road. They get a call that a tan Nissan with four black males are showing a gun out the windows. It is reported that the car exited from that off ramp. The next car that passes them is a dark burgundy Toyota with a female driver and four kids. They decide that’s the car they are looking for and pull her over. So I will not question the common sense of the police officers since Tan-Burgundy could be the same thing. A black female could be a black male since to white’s all blacks look the same. And what the heck, those 3 other black males could have been midgets (little people for the PC’s). I sure can see how they could make that mistake.

        What really shows the police are buttheads in this instance is they will not apologize. What this tells me from my profiling is these police are the typical southern bubba cops that think they are god and god does not make mistakes. That seems to be the same thing that is present in Ferguson based on reports from the black community, regardless of the outcome of the brown shooting..

        Just what would it hurt to go to that womans house in the daytime with her kids at home and sit down and say “I’m sorry” and get on the right side of the family. Instead the last I heard they refused to apologize. That to me is wrong. When people in powerful positions can not say “I am sorry” we have a much bigger problem in this country than just cops with poor eyesight.

      • August 29, 2014 9:49 am

        The officers should have apologized,

        But the legalistic culture created by the left concocting ever more causes of action acts against that.

        Businesses as an example have polices concocted with lawyers that are essentially never appologize for anything. It makes you look guilty, and will likely be used against you.

        EEOC recently cited a business for not preventing employees from parking their cars off corporate grounds (other employees could take that as a threat that they had guns in their cars), or preventing employees from wearing confederate flag T shirts.

        Separately they found allowing water cooler conversations that refered to anti-white bias in the context of the Martin-Zimmerman case created a hostile work environment.

        While I do not share JB’s desire for an all powerful police force that gets the benefit of every doubt, I do beleive that people – including the police should be able to appologlize for mistakes causing little harm without risking lawsuits.

        I strongly suspect the best policy is to ignore the risk and apologize anyway.
        But I doubt that is the policy of most police and I am very sympathetic to that.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 29, 2014 9:54 am

        “While I do not share JB’s desire for an all powerful police force that gets the benefit of every doubt,”

        Stop, already.

      • August 29, 2014 10:20 am

        Yes, I don’t recall ever saying those words. Once again, I do think our friend Dave needs helps. Apparently, he is hearing voices and reading things that are not there.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 27, 2014 12:08 am

        I do think that police too often behave as if they are in a war zone. I am not opposed to the argument that they need to be held more accountable for their actions. They are very big boys, and they need to put on their big boy pants, especially when those pants are military camouflage ones. If that were the only argument that Dave were making, I would be in agreement.

        It seems that today’s police believe that they need to act against the bad guys before the bad guys act against them. I get that. Defense attorneys have been able to get criminals acquitted by making the case more about the details of the arrest and investigation than about the details of the crime. Think about the O.J. Simpson trial, which essentially became the trial of Mark Fuhrman.

        And, of course, the same courts that gave lawyers the ability to go after cops, then turned around and gave cops a higher level of immunity from prosecution. So, as is often the case, it was courts, not legislatures that got us into a pickle, and now the courts will decide again who is accountable. It is quite a mess…

        Your problem, Ron, is that you make too much sense. Instead of ranting about a police-state, you rant about butthead cops who have lost sight of who they really work for. We can all agree that police need to be more accountable….and also that they don’t need camo pants. Beyond that, over-the-top rantings about police states tend to fall flat.

      • August 29, 2014 10:44 am

        Despite some of the debate here – much of what I am pushing for is not nearly as controversial as painted.

        There is a great deal of police and best practices for policing that is readily available, accepted and often created by the police themselves, that is not being followed in much of the country.

        Regardless or the issue it is fairly common for police groups, or law enforcement to offer many of the recommendations that I think we need to pursue, an have them be ignored by departments, or officers. Contrary to JB’s assertion law enforcement as a whole does not commonly argue for the unlimited power of police officers.

        What some individual officers want, what police groups want, what prosecutors want, …
        Even what a group says in one context – such as a prosecutor defending a conviction where an officer broke the rules, vs. a prosecutor setting policy and expectations for police officers, are not the same.

        Do you think any prosecutor wants to be in the position of having to decide whether a police shooting should be prosecuted ? Is there a “win” in this for the Ferguson DA ?

        Do you really beleive that the solidarity that prosecutors and courts give police in public is completely congruent to their non-public positions ?

        I would bet the hierarchy in Ferguson right now wishes that Wilson had never noticed Brown walking down the street.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 29, 2014 11:22 am

        Eh, I daresay that most “best practices” recommendations are ignored by a lot of professionals, particularly those in government, justice and law enforcement. Prosecutors tend to be a sketchy bunch in their own right, and they put tremendous pressure on police, as do defense attorneys. The argument that you are trying to have, which is essentially “who is more to blame for why things are FUBAR” is ultimately a pointless one.

      • August 29, 2014 4:58 pm

        I am not so much looking for “who is to blame” when something went FUBAR as what should we do to reduce the odds of things going FUBAR.

        If you are following the Ferguson Town Halls, it is increasingly clear that there has been a very long term disconnect between the community and its leaders and the police.
        Even the whites in Ferguson are complaining.

        Policing a community that does not trust you is incredibly difficult. Probably impossible.
        If you are policing a community this is mistrustful – even teetering on hostile to police, you can blame the community all you wish – even if you were right that will not get you anywhere, nor will it make your job any easier.

        The power of defense attorney’s prosecutors, or the courts over police are quite limited.
        Judge’s and prosecutors are politically dependent on the police and police unions and groups are notoriously self protective. They have only one ideology – what they think is best for police officers. Not left/right or republican/democrat. But you are highly unlikely to get elected as DA or as judge if you have antagonized the police.

        With few exceptions the relationships between PD’s and police are relatively friendly.
        Not drinking buddies – though even that sometimes.

        I think I previously noted that my wife has two clients on the national exonerated list.
        A local detective was instrumental in the investigation that proved the innocence of one of these case. My wife noted that a man arrested almost a decade after the conviction, had the same MO and was in our city at the time of the crimes, and she refered this to that detective who was able to establish that the crime was actually committed by the other guy.

        I would as you, who do you think knows more about the crime in your community ?
        You or a member of the local defense bar ?

        Many people convicted of crimes threaten those they deem responsible for their conviction. At the top of their list – is their defense attorney, Prosecutors, judges and police are further down. Fortunately only a few are serious. Who do you think my family depends on when a particularly dangerous criminal is released ?

      • August 29, 2014 5:23 pm

        According to my brother (Sherriff’s deputy for 30 yrs), everyone in jail is innocent, according to them.

      • August 29, 2014 9:16 pm

        My wife’s clients all claim innocence too. About 1/4 are not guilty of what they are charged with (presuming we ignore the fact that the system ALWAYS over charges), but only a very small percent are truly innocent in the sense of not criminals.
        But those are the worst cases. Our justice system from the police straight through the courts is designed heavily to optimize the handling of the guilty. We all benefit from that including the guilty. But if you are actually innocent you are F’d.
        Of the two people my wife represented that made the national exonerated list, it took a decade to get the first released, and 5 years for the 2nd.

        Worse still the post release circumstances for most of these people are horrible.
        They have spent years treated as criminals, they have had to adapt to life in prison as criminals, they do not know how to get their lives back. Typically their life after exoneration tends to be pretty bad. They are greatly lacking in trust, often their health is ruined, and they have lost whatever skills they might have had dealing in the normal world. They end up dying young, or unable to keep jobs, or becoming drug addicts or alcoholics, or even resorting to crime. And then some idiot says – see they weren’t really innocent.

        I am sure your brother is a wonderful person, but why I do not know why you think that sherriffs are expert on criminals. If the police were half as skilled as they think they are we would have near zero crime. Ordinary criminals are really really stupid.

  73. Roby L permalink
    August 25, 2014 1:23 pm

    While neither Ron nor I mentioned the GOP if it has to get in then I submit that teh GOP did not get saddled with the flip side of the coin : how to represent the interests of American citizens who see themselves “merely” as American citizens, rather than as an oppressed group of American citizens.” From Wiki:

    “In American politics, the Southern strategy refers to a Republican Party strategy of gaining political support for certain candidates in the Southern United States by appealing to racism against African Americans.[1][2][3][4][5]

    Though the “Solid South” had been a longtime Democratic Party stronghold due to the Democratic Party’s defense of slavery before the American Civil War and segregation for a century thereafter, many white Southern Democrats stopped supporting the party following the civil rights plank of the Democratic campaign in 1948 (triggering the Dixiecrats), the African-American Civil Rights Movement, the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, and desegregation.

    The strategy was first adopted under future Republican President Richard Nixon and Republican Senator Barry Goldwater[6][7] in the late 1960s.[8] The strategy was successful in winning 5 formerly Confederate states in both the 1964 and 1968 presidential elections. It contributed to the electoral realignment of some Southern states to the Republican Party, but at the expense of losing more than 90 percent of black voters to the Democratic Party. As the twentieth century came to a close, the Republican Party began attempting to appeal to black voters again, though with little success.[8]…

    … Bob Herbert, a New York Times columnist, reported a 1981 interview with Lee Atwater, published in Southern Politics in the 1990s by Alexander P. Lamis, in which Lee Atwater discussed politics in the South:

    Questioner: But the fact is, isn’t it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

    Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”[38]…

    ….Although the phrase “Southern strategy” is often attributed to Nixon’s political strategist Kevin Phillips, he did not originate it,[11] but merely popularized it.[12] In an interview included in a 1970 New York Times article, he touched on its essence:

    From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that…but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.[2]

    • August 26, 2014 5:56 pm

      God help me the idiotic wolf whistle meme again.

      More republicans voted for the civil rights act than democrats.
      Absolutely republican strategists grasped that democrats were going to lose the south.
      The reasons are far more complex and have very little to do with race.

      Today the south is nearly solidly republican – yet blacks are migrating from norther cities to the south in numbers greater than the migration north generations ago.

      You want to make the complexities of the world

      Goldwater voted for every prior version of the civil rights act.
      He was unable to vote for the one that passed because it extended past the constitutional authority of the federal government – and he was right.
      We still have stupid messes because of those portions of the civil rights act that should have been found unconstitutional.
      Abortion rights
      Goldwater voted for gays in the military,
      Legalizing Marijuana,

      And was a vocal critic of Jerry Falwell and pat robertson

      One of two black senators is republican. Women, blacks, and hispanics are as well if not better represented in positions of power within the GOP than in the democratic party.

      The “southern strategy” is a reflection of the problems of the democratic party then – and today. Democrats are a bizarre coalition of competing special interests, they have no coherent connection.

      Democrats have also nearly lost the blue collar vote which they once dominated – is that because of some racism on the part of republicans ?

      Democrats promise free things to and power to a large collection of special interests to gain power.

      Watch how the vote for the Export-Import bank goes.

      Democrats should be deeply concerned that minorities will eventually grasp that democrats oppose their interests.

      My kids are cyber chartered – more than half of the students in their school are inner city blacks. They are doing badly – but far better than they did. The strongest opposition to charters and cyber charters is on the left.
      The interests of public employee unions are trumping those of children.
      How long do you think that will last.
      Blacks in particular are starting to split over education.
      5 decades of progressive promises have yeilded nothing.

      Smart people do not continue to repeat the same mistakes forever.

  74. Roby L permalink
    August 25, 2014 1:46 pm

    Here is an example that the southern strategy kind of thinking is not entirely dead:

    “A Mecklenburg County affiliate was ordered to take down photos from its Facebook page that depicted photoshopped images of President Barack Obama as a witch doctor, caveman, and a thug in a wife beater. While the photos were removed on Thursday morning, the eye candy for Obama haters had reportedly been up for months before anything was done about it, reports the Los Angeles Times. Mecklenburg County Republican Party chairman Wally Hudson, who posted up the images himself, initially refused to remove the photos, telling the Washington Post, “If that group is sensitive, I’m sorry, they’re just not human. It’s not American. If they’ve got a problem with it, we’re not going to change what we do. We know our regular readers, who are good conservatives, they’re gonna get a kick out of it, said Hudson, 55, a retired airline flight crew member who became chairman in May.
    “The rest of them, if they don’t want to see it, they don’t have to look at it. We don’t consider any of it racist.”

    To be fair:
    “According to what the Washington Post reported Tuesday, even the Republican Party chairman for Virginia has a dim view of this sort of thing.

    “These kinds of images have no place in political discourse — period,” the Post quoted GOP chairman Pat Mullins as saying. “They are offensive, tasteless and should never have been posted anywhere, let alone a local unit’s Facebook page. The Republican Party of Virginia condemns this sort of imagery in the strongest possible terms.”

    Racism is still out there and still tied to politics. It just has to be done more subtly to work these days.

    • August 25, 2014 1:57 pm

      Racism (and other isms) exists in plenty of places. You don’t think that progressives and liberals engage in this behavior? Oh, I know, its only white Southerners.

      Sorry, I forgot the party line.

      • Roby L permalink
        August 25, 2014 2:21 pm

        Once you have admitted there is racism you have admitted there is race. The idea that we can live in a color blind world is far premature and more resembles denial than anything else.

        Deal with he person in front of you. If he isn’t in front of you, feel free to label him a black panther, while complaining about the black race baiters/hustlers.

        I’d like the black community to criticize and throw off their race baiters. To help I as a white have to do the same when the chance presents itself or my wish is hypocrisy.

      • August 25, 2014 2:46 pm

        Wow, you are a genius. There is race and racism. I don’t think I ever denied that there is this thing called “race.” It is a real life category. And, there are people who make judgments about others based solely on their skin color. Wow, again, very big deal. Why, even YOU may do that from time to time, but I bet you feel really badly about when you do it.

        I simply don’t put much stock in a the label called “white.” Tells me nothing of importance about anyone. Ditto, “black.”

        Now, the Black Panthers are another matter. A group, with a credo and a reputation. That is real, earned by their behavior. I feel free to criticize. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, that is your right also.

        I know that you feel morally superior, that is your thing. If you want to run off and solve the “race” issue, feel free. I will work on the so-called problem one person at a time.

        If that offends you, so be it.

      • August 26, 2014 7:04 pm

        The most unhinged and irrational discussion of race here has been from you.

        The “race baiting” is from you.

        Wow you can find a few people who portray Obama vilely.

        Larry Flynt had Jerry Falwell’s mother getting F’d in an outhouse.
        That was far more offensive. Yet he rightly won his case.

        I would likely be offended by some of the posts you are ranting about, an think they reflect badly on anyone associated with them.
        But I laughed at Flynt’s cartoon.
        Being lampooned comes with public office – particularly the president.

        I am sure there are some republican racists. So ?
        Have you found them ? Maybe. Or maybe you just found some who really really do not like the president. Is that racism ? Not to me.

    • August 26, 2014 6:19 pm

      one word


  75. Roby L permalink
    August 25, 2014 3:31 pm

    “And, there are people who make judgments about others based solely on their skin color. Wow, again, very big deal. Why, even YOU may do that from time to time, but I bet you feel really badly about when you do it.”

    Yes, sometimes. I’d do it more often if I lived in NJ or Philadelphia than I do in Vermont.

    Calling a black panther a black panther is fair game. Calling Holder a black panther is race baiting, as he is not a black panther. But he was not in front of you so your rule did not apply. My point being that your “deal with the person in front of you response applies to only a small percent of the political racial situation in America. The rest of it can’t be ignored and you cannot really believe that just dealing with the person in front of you is an answer to the larger perpetual and serious question of the racial divide.

    Its all about seeing things from the point of view of the other side instead of just complaining about them and their whining, rioting, and race baiting. I don’t mean you in particular, I mean the whole group of people who don’t seem to see that there are any real issues for blacks and minorities. Sure, anyone who does see the problem is just being morally superior, its a big ego trip. Whiny progressives care about these silly things.

    • August 25, 2014 3:36 pm

      Whiny progressives do “care” a lot. Then again, it could be argued that it is your programs that got us here in the first place.

      I stand by my comments about Holder. He is a first class asshole. In that he is not alone, not in Wash. DC.

    • August 26, 2014 7:12 pm

      Calling Holder a black panther is politics.
      It is little different from your “southern strategy” crap.

      You specifically mentioned Goldwater. If you think he was a racist you are a bat shit bull moose loon. You need not agree with his choices, but the man voted for every civil rights bill save the one that passed and would have voted for that but for some amendments.

      You have this simplistic view of the world. Get over it. Sometimes our hero’s have clay feet. They still deserve credit for the good they do as well as are anger at their faults.
      MLK was a philanderer. RFK and JFK shared conquests. FDR was an anti-semite.
      LBJ was just plain a thug.

      Far too many of our founders owned slaves and some slept with them.

      Aparently in your world any republican who ever votes against a bill with an appealing sounding name must be excoritated for the rest of his life.
      But a Democrat can sleep with German Spies and become president and god.

  76. August 25, 2014 6:49 pm

    Your Feinemen quotes are excellent.

    No matter how smart we are we must always be concerned about our own inflated sense of our own intelligence and views.

    It is true of all of us.

    One of my purposes in posting is subjecting my views to scrutiny from outside my own head.

    But I am not looking for a popularity contest, but whether they hold up against strong argument.

    When you are not snarking I find your responses very helpful. You are sharp, and often find flaws in arguments, I can then fix them or discard the argument.
    Conversely if you disagree and can not make a good counter, the odds of the validity of the argument increase.

    I have only rarely found progressives intellectually capable enough to improve my arguments.

    • August 25, 2014 7:00 pm

      Sometimes its me. I get tired of long, drawn out debates where nothing will ever change. Then, my snark meter comes out. My bad.

      That said, to be fair, you do go on and you can be very dogmatic, more so, than many a progressive. Yet, we do agree on many issues, especially in the notion that one can be “poor” and yet, well fed, clothed, schooled, and with a smart phone. This does not compute.

      Oh, the concept of a living wage. Quite silly, really.

      I don’t even have a smart phone, although I could if I wanted to. Way too annoying.

      • August 27, 2014 5:59 pm

        My posts are often long and not as well structured as they ought to be.

        These are blog comments – not doctoral disertations.

        As should be apparent they are written quickly.
        I comment for many reasons.
        One of which is to improve my skills at thinking and writing both well and quickly.

        I have arrived at my dogmatic positions quite pragmatically.
        I could live with a social contract less limited than Locke’s.
        But whenever I examine how government has managed something broader all I find is failure.

        The very best example I can think of beyond Locke would be our highway system.
        Which despite all the corruption and crap associated with it has likely increased productivity more than it has cost. Further there are real world examples of successful infrastructure without government.

        But lets skip that.
        Myriads of PRAGMATIC studies throughout the world including surveys of studies by such right wing extremists groups as IMF (for those who are daft, that is sarcasm), have found the Rahn curve peak below 25% of GDP, probably below 19%. We have very little data since the 20th century from about 5% of GDP to 20%, but the 19th century data sugests the optimum is below 10% of GDP probably near 5%.

        In the US we spend between 40-50% of GDP on government depending on the state and locality. We are almost a factor of two from the most progressive optimum.

        We can all argue about whether 5% vs. 25%. The direction we need to move is still smaller and we are not anywhere near close.

        We also know that from 20% up, each additional 10% of GDP that government consumes reduces growth by 1%. A 1% increase in yearly growth over a generation benefits the least well off far more than the entire social safety net.

        Nothing above is dogmatic. It is all pragmatic and routed in thousands of studies over the past 40 years on individual and groups of countries all over the world.

        There is no ideology to it – beyond that big government fails (progressive, conservative does not matter)

  77. August 25, 2014 10:12 pm

    Remember these are the guys that you are giving near total power.

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 25, 2014 10:51 pm

      Oh, for chrissakes, Dave. There are a lot of bad cops, ok? There are a lot of bad laws, unjust laws, that give the police lawful excuse to harass people. Too many cops shoot first and ask questions later. And, yes, there are cops who strong-arm people into giving up their rights and who lie to cover up their own crimes. I agree with you on these points. I used to be a HS teacher, and saw many of my most macho, egotistical students end up as cops. That’s the way it is. Do I want YOU to be a cop and protect me and my property? No. Would you want ME to protect you ? Trust me, you would not.

      You are biased against police, and you refuse to simply acknowledge that bias and admit that it prevents you from discussing this Ferguson situation with any semblance of rational objectivity. I get it, these guys ( some of them women) are the enforcers of unjust laws, and, on top of that, your wife, who does the good work of a public defender, is in a 100% adversarial relationship with the police all of the time. But you appear blind to your own dogmatic boundaries. That’s all. I’m actually tired of debating this, so I don’t think I will anymore…the kind of hard-hearted closed-mindedness that you exhibit exhausts me and makes me depressed. So, judge me wanting in intellect.

      NY Magazine? Really? Why not cite Mother Jones?

      • August 26, 2014 5:09 am

        Let me chime in on the Priscilla’s last point. I too, share that view of you Dave. I simply give up in the face of your unrelenting persistence on positions you are glued to.

        Now, you have said on many occasions that you don’t care what we think of you and we do get that. What you don’t get is the social costs that you create for any of us who want to engage in a bit of intellectual discourse. They are high and at a certain point, few of us are willing to pay them.

        This is not a war. This is supposed to be somewhat enjoyable. As Priscilla can tell you, I like a good mental (and physical) scrap at times. There is, however, a point beyond the scrap is no longer worth the effort.

        You can suck the energy right out of a good debate I doubt you only do it here and I doubt you only do it during debate.

        Put in 60s terms, you are a downer and nobody likes a downer.

        Now, just to show you how I can predict the future, I predict your next post will be a full-on retort.

        It is like playing tennis with a wall. The wall always wins.

      • August 29, 2014 12:18 am

        If you wish to keep your “social costs” down I would suggest not wasting your time with personal attacks.

        As you chose otherwise it is more likely that you benefit.

        Need I note that arguments claiming “social costs” are pure progressive ?

      • August 29, 2014 10:06 am

        You read, yet you do not understand.

      • August 29, 2014 3:58 pm

        Oh, I understand

      • August 27, 2014 10:18 pm

        So we agree that the system is less than perfect.

        So why have we given near absolute power to a group that is not near absolutely perfect ?

        My bias is not the point.

        I grasp the system is not perfect and I am looking to structure it to minimize the consequences of those imperfections. That is how we deal with human imperfection – particularly in government. We impliment myraids of checks and balances.

        We have a police system that can not work absent near perfection in police.
        We have a police system that is what the police including those who are egotistical, corrupt, incompetent, …. regardless of what percent they are would have designed to protect themselves. Does that sound like a good idea to you ?

        My point is that the way our police force should opperate is how WE decide – not how THEY decide.

        And BTW the relationship of Public Defenders with police is not 100% adversarial.
        My wide represents people she hopes end up in jail forever. But it is her job to advocate for their rights as strongly as possible. The good cops grasp that. A police officer actually doing their job properly is only the enemy of criminals. It is only the bad cops that need fear a defense attorney. And there are plenty of bad defense attorneys out their too.

      • August 27, 2014 10:32 pm

        I have one more story to relate though because I am not “anonymous” here I have to omit a few details. Though I may have told it before.

        Before my wife was a public defender, or a lawyer, she was a social worker, and on weekends she was the organist for a church about 4 blocks from our home in the city.

        About 9 months after we were married (30+ years ago) early on a sunday morning she was headed to the church to play for service. About a block away from the church she was accosted at gun point taken to an abandoned building and assaulted for 4 hours.
        For more than a decade after those 4 hours were an almost constant facet of our lives.

        Do you really think I do not think that police have an important job to do ?
        Do you really think I want violent thugs roaming the streets ?
        I hope that you are fortunate enough not have the intimate experience with the consequences of violent criminals that we do.

        And just to be clear, I am not harboring some grudge because of this. The detective and officers we dealt with were all good people, some have become lifelong friends.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 28, 2014 12:36 am

        Whew. Well, I am fortunate enough to have never have to endured anything close to what happened to your wife – and to you. The fact that she continues to serve as a public defender, after having been a victim of such a crime is pretty powerful testimony to her strength and to her commitment to the American justice system. Far stronger and more admirable than I could ever be.

        Here’s the thing, though – you do come off as an ideologue, and you consistently use straw man arguments. When and where did anyone on this thread argue that they wanted to give police near absolute power? I’ll answer that one – no one did, ever. You repeatedly claimed that Officer Wilson was at fault for “confronting” Michael Brown, despite having no evidence of anything other that a cop telling a kid to get onto the sidewalk, which somehow fast-forwarded to the kid being shot dead.

        I know I said that I was done with this thread, and I mostly am. But, honestly, sometimes – most times, actually – you create the disagreement, so that you can make your argument and win it. The rest of us are not playing a zero-sum game.

      • August 28, 2014 8:07 am

        Hammer (P) meets nail (D).

        Nicely done, P!

      • August 29, 2014 11:42 am

        If I am using straw men – call me on it.

      • August 29, 2014 12:57 pm

        What do you see as the purpose of TNM ?

        Is it to hold hands and sing Kumbaya in total harmonious agreement ?

        I am being serious. What is it that you are looking for ?

        My personality is unlikely to change, it is more fixed than even my ideology. It suits me fine. That is true of all of us – though I am not trying to stop you from trying to change if you want.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 29, 2014 1:39 pm

        Ah, Dave. That is what you got from my comment? That I want everyone here to be in total harmonious agreement? Sadly, JB is right- you read, but you don’t understand.

      • August 29, 2014 8:04 pm

        No I did not think from your comment that is what you wanted, the remark was light sarcasm.

        If you want an open and free discussion of ideas, that involves criticism of your by others and others expressing views you do may not like.

        I expect when I post something here, that others may sometimes dislike, disagree, challenge, and even malign my ideas and myself.

        I do not spend a great deal of time with “me too” posts. I try not to echo the views of others.

        You are complaining, so what is it that you want different ?

        I am trying to get you to think about and tell me what it is that is your ideal rather than my trying to guess and attack some straw man.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 29, 2014 1:42 pm

        I have, btw, called you on at least 2 straw men just today. You have simply ignored me.

      • August 29, 2014 8:48 pm

        What I am reading is:

        That I am beating a straw man that someone has argued for absolute police power.

        No I do not beleive you are anyone else wants the police to have absolute power,
        but no one is willing to offer any limitation to police power – so what is the difference ?
        Progressives claim not to want government to have absolute power either but refuse to commit to any limit.
        What you are calling a straw man I would call reductio ad absurdem.
        If you can not define a limit to something you should expect someone to take that then to its logical extreme.

        I have not claimed Ofc. Wilson was at fault for confronting Brown.
        I have claimed that he had other choices and we as a people need to discuss that.
        If Wilson was following set procedure, he is blameless – but that does not mean the procedure can not be scrutinized.

        I think I have made it clear REPEATEDLY, that absent significant new evidence Wilson is criminally blameless, and that I am not particularly interested in Wilson’s non-criminal failures. I am more interested in what we can do as a people to decrease the probability of events such as this.

        Contra the JB, the police are the experts and should decide and control everything crowd,
        it is for us – the citizenry, to decide the general principles of these matters, understanding that the more the police are brought into conflict with citizens over minor matters, the more frequently incidents such as this will occur.

        I am not even saying we decide police should not confront Jay Walkers,
        But I am saying we need to decide knowing that for every X confrontations with Jay Walkers, Y will result in violence that would not have occured otherwise and more rarely Z people will die.

        And returning to the “police state” argument, a “police state” is where the police make those choices. There may be a big difference between East Germany and Ferguson, but increasingly it is merely of degree – well and that in East Germany the state controlled the police, and we are slowing towards the police controlling the state.

        As the ArchCity Defenders paper I linked demonstrated – and I have been arguing previously it is increasingly apparent that Ferguson – even the greater St. Louis area and many other parts of the country, Law Enforcement is a distinct entity disconnected from its community.

        There is a resemblance to pre-revolutionary colonial America. Law dictated by distant people, only marginally related to you, with at best lip service to your consent, and enforced by an occupying force that is not part of your community.

        You don’t like that characterization ? In your community if the police were routinely citing your children for minor offenses and seeking to increase their budgets on you back how long do you think that would last ?

  78. August 26, 2014 5:28 am

    I think Dr. West MIGHT be a racist, but at this point, I am not exactly what that means!

    • August 29, 2014 12:24 am

      More disturbing is that the President illegally negotiated with terrorists to free a soldier who in the best light went AWOL and in the worst was a deserter and traitor, yet claimed it was illegal to do the same for a journalist.

      Worse still Obama fawned over the Bergdahl family – who appears to have encouraged their sons poor choices and served the interests of our enemies, while studiously avoiding any connection to the families of those who died honorably.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 29, 2014 10:33 am

        Dave, not sure why everyone does not find this as disturbing as I do, but you mention many things the president did concerning negotiating with terrorist to get a traitor (your words) back and fawning over the Bergdahl family, but you did not mention the fact that we still have a marine stuck in a prison in Mexico, where he has been since March with no apparent contact between the commander-in-chief and the Mexican president.

        For some reason I find it more important to get a marine back that got lost, told the authorities he had guns because everything he owned was in the truck and had called the California Highway Patrol and told them he was lost than I do negotiating with terrorist to get a questionable serviceman back, but that’s just me. Somehow my priorities have been screwed up.

        Why should we expect our president to get involved with a decorated marine in a Mexico prison for no real reason. No one, even Fox news, Hannity or any other far right mouth seems to be concerned at this time.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 29, 2014 10:40 am

        Ron, I also read that the President did not send a representative to James Foley’s funeral, although he did send 3 delegates to Michael Brown’s service.

        I think that it has gotten to the point where news outlets like Fox, which are willing to report on these things are simply overwhelmed with the number of outrageous and disturbing actions of this administration. I could list them, but we all know what they are. The story of that poor marine in Mexico has simply been buried under the rest, I think.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 29, 2014 11:58 am

        Priscilla, you might be right about the number of outrageous things this president has done, but I also offer that the news is driven by consumers. There was a petition in support of the marine and they were asking for 100,000 people to sign this on line. Last count I saw was somewhere around 140K. Had this been a petition in support of Michael Brown, most likely more than 1M would have signed it even if they were only asking for 100K.

        So Fox news reports the issue, interviews the mother, not much concerns happens in the general public, so Fox, just like the other news outlets forgets about the story and the marine rots in a Mexican prison.

        And to make my point further, I have mentioned this about 3 times in different comments and you are the only one to respond in anyway. This also shows that even less liberal individuals that do not support the president have no interest in that marine south of the border.

        So we can let thousands cross our border illegally, tell them to show up in immigration court that they never return for, stay in this country illegally and our president can’t be bothered to even call the Mexican president. Just another example of the me generation. If it doesn’t impact me, don’t bother to tell me about it.

      • August 29, 2014 4:16 pm

        I expect that we might see more criticism from the media.

        The Foley thing was a debacle. If he could not have done more for the right reasons you would think that he was not so stupid as to fail to contemplate how much this might piss off the press.

      • August 29, 2014 10:58 am

        Agreed and the media (save Fox) has ignored the story. The WH? Who cares seems to be there attitude.

        Perhaps if the Marine was a muslim?

      • August 29, 2014 4:12 pm

        I forgot the Marine in Mexico.

        He too is more important than Bergdahl.

        I am glad Bergdahl is home. I wish him no ill, beyond the natural consequences of his actions.
        But the president should not have violated the law to do so.
        Worse still he made a really big deal out of doing something that if done at all needed done quietly.

        We try to bring our own home – even those deserters, but not to ticker tape parades, and not by breaking the law.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 29, 2014 4:42 pm

        Dave, “We try to bring our own home “…Not in all instances. As of the last reports I have seen, B.O. has made no contact at all concerning this marine. Only Kerry made a remark when I visited Mexico a month or so ago.

        So no, we do not try to bring our own home or he would not still be in a prison south of the border.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 29, 2014 11:59 pm

        Ron, I happened to read this today…it is a petition that was sent to the White House asking Obama to demand the release of our marine. The WH response came today…it is wimpy and infuriating.

      • August 30, 2014 7:38 am

        I don’t know if you caught Obama’s speech to the American Legion the other day. Stone silence from the crowd. I wonder why?

      • Ron P permalink
        August 30, 2014 9:29 am

        Yep, I received this also. And Fox finally mentioned this marine again due to the memo. I did respond in their survey that I found this to be unacceptable since there was no mention of Obama’s being involved. So it’s fine for Obama to make a big deal out of Bergdahl and ignore this guy.

        go figure.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 30, 2014 9:53 am

        By the way, what has become of Bergdahl, does anyone know? Last I read, he had been returned to active duty and the investigation into whether or not he deserted was still “ongoing’ (like I am sure the investigation into Michael Brown’s shooting will be “ongoing,” until at least November). Will he just end up serving out his time, and being discharged, without having to face any sort of military justice? This sort of thing must be so demoralizing to our troops.

      • August 30, 2014 10:00 am

        He is busy applying to colleges and no, I am not making that up.

        Obama is worse than Hitler.

  79. August 26, 2014 5:46 am

    What could possible go wrong here?

    • Priscilla permalink
      August 26, 2014 10:05 am

      Well, yeah, that is exactly the kind of perspective that is needed in these situations. To see Ferguson as some racist police-state is to both exaggerate and grossly over-simplify the situation. Just as to say that Michael Brown’s death was an overreaction by a cop to “jaywalking.”

      Look back to the LA riots over the Rodney King incident….the situation was very dire, and the LAPD did not have sufficient weaponry to beat back the rioters in many cases. I recall something about Korean shop owners literally battling the rioters from the rooftops of their stores, with their own weapons. I’m pretty sure that , it was in the aftermath of that debacle that the LAPD began to arm up with more military style weapons.

      I have a good friend whose life – and the life of her parents and then 4-year-old daughter – was saved by a small town SWAT team. Her crazed, abusive, gun wielding ex-husband held them hostage, as armed police stood on rooftops in her neighborhood and negotiated with him, while simultaneously sneaking into the house and removing her and her family , before storming in and arresting him. No one was shot or injured, although I daresay that the sight of militarized police surrounding the house gave the guy serious pause. Cops, even “militarized” ones are not all bad. Every situation needs to be judged on its own merits….I know that that is not always possible, but it is the gold standard, and ideologues never get that.

      • August 26, 2014 10:08 am

        When I was living in CA, the media routinely reported that Mexican-based gangs in LA has superior firepower vs. the LA cops. I think they have since rectified that situation, as well they should have.

      • August 26, 2014 9:33 pm

        The fact that LA might need a swat team armed with M16’s does not mean the department of education does, or that every podunk town in the country does.

        In my entire life there has been one crime committed in my country were semi-automatic weapons were used. The 2 perps were still heavily outgunned by many traditionally equiped police officers, yet we have atleast one swat team and m16’s which have never been used to any good purpose.

      • August 26, 2014 9:43 pm

        I don’t think that I said, nor implied, what you said.

      • August 29, 2014 8:46 am

        What you have pretty much said, is that since you do not know enough about the details of Wilson’s shooting of Brown you are unwilling to discuss anything regarding general police policies, and that you are happy with a status quo where police have absolute power with negligable responsibilty. Why you trust the police with power I doubt you would give politicians I can not fathom.

        Your argument is that my position is so extreme you are not even willing to have a discussion.

        My position is merely that there is reason to have a discussion. I do not think that is extreme.

        I have problems with the militarization of the police as an example. You attack the straw man that LAPD does not have a legitimate need for a properly trained SWAT team.

        Does the fact that there is a legitimate need to be able to address rare circumstances, mean that every podunk in the country needs a SWAT team ?

        You want to paint this as a left right issue. Well here is John Fund, in National Review Questioning the militarization of policing. I was not aware the Fund was a raging lefty.

        There are almost 200 SWAT team raids in the US every day. In 1980 there were less than 10.

        Today, every federal agency, and nearly every small town police force has a SWAT team.
        Do you really beleive there is a need for that ?

        Nor is this just about SWAT teams. The Warrior cop mentality has become pervasive.
        The police increasingly divide the world into two groups. Cops and everyone else.
        Not good guys and bad guys. If you are not a cop, your not one of the good guys.

      • August 29, 2014 10:12 am

        You are right. I am not willing to engage in speculation into the fact pattern of Ferguson. Nor, am I willing to take a situation with no fact pattern and generalize it outside of Ferguson or to matters