Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sessions of the Old South is Poster Boy for the New Slavery

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is a buggy whip in an age of self-driving cars. 

While Sessions’ mentality is circa 1843, he strangely exists in the 21st century and is the poster boy for the New Slavery. 

Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions
While we don’t exactly have Old South slavery for which Sessions clearly pines, we have a New Slavery in which there are shrinking opportunities for advancement, the dismantling of the public education system and mass incarcerations as a trade for corporate profits and political donations.  

Like with slavery, Americans are stuck and cannot get out.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Death of the Republic

Author and prize-winning former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges lays out why getting rid of Trump, as some want, will not fix the fact that democracy is dead.  We are living in a shadow democracy, where we give lip service to constitutional rights from time to time -- even though courts have largely neutered them --  and we have what's left of the trappings of democracy, like periodic access to voting for some.

Police Department Sniper in Ferguson, MO
Just like when narcisistic Roman emperor Commodus was replaced in the year 192, things did not get better for regular citizens.  The Pretorian Guard, counterpart to our over-militarized policing, soon took over Rome and sold the position of emperor to the highest bidder.

There are more of Us, regular citizens who are in the same boat, than Them, a Ruling Class that can operate with unimaginable power, wealth-gathering and impunity. Recommended reading:

'The Death of the Republic' published at Op-Ed News.

Monday, May 15, 2017

'Insulted' Police Oversight Board Fires Back at Police Chief, City Council Rep

Stung by rejection from the police chief and dismissed by their City Council liaison, members of Memphis’ citizen police oversight board dug in their heels and insisted their mission matters.  

At the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board’s monthly meeting today, the board voted to ask City Council Chairman Berlin Boyd to replace councilman Worth Morgan as the liaison from council to CLERB.  They also voted to ask police director Michael Rallings to require police officers to appear and testify when the board hears citizen complaints of police abuses.

“I was insulted.  All of us should have been,” CLERB Chairman Rev. Ralph White said of Rallings’ letters of rejection to four cases in which CLERB said citizens were mistreated and recommended that Rallings discipline officers.
CLERB members applaud after affirming they wanted attorney Bruce Kramer (center) to remain on the board.  Kramer said Mayor Jim Strickland's attorney had asked him to resign, since Kramer is representing plaintiffs in two lawsuits against the city. Kramer told the board he would resign if they felt his presence was a conflict. Board members emphatically said they wanted Kramer to stay. 
Morgan last attended a CLERB meeting June 14, 2016, and at that time he was pushing a new ordinance which would have stripped CLERB of a path to subpoena evidence and testimony.

Morgan recently told the press that he saw no reason for CLERB to exist.  He was appointed CLERB liaison last year by then-council chairman Kemp Conrad, with the apparent intention to cripple CLERB, somewhat like Donald Trump cabinet appointees. 

CLERB can only make recommendations to the police director; the citizen board has no power or authority to require sanctions or even notations in an officer’s personnel file.  Upon hearing how Rallings had rejected CLERB’s findings, some citizens asked if  CLERB is meaningless, anyway, without authority.  However, CLERB can at minimum and with media coverage shine light on how police treat citizens and how MPD brass view citizen complaints.

Rather than slinking away in defeat, CLERB members were defiant after Rallings blew off the board’s months of work.  The board also voted to resubmit the same cases to Rallings with more detailed information outlining how they had arrived at their decisions.  

"We have to convince him.  I think we need to tell the story as we hear it from the person who is talking to us," said CLERB member Casey Bryant, a lawyer.