The Watering Hole, Saturday, June 29, 2013: Don’t Weep For the White Man

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s NYPD (the largest and most heavily armed police force in the country; the mayor brags that it’s the seventh largest army in the world) has a stop-question-and-frisk program that has generated not just a lot of heavy criticism from civil libertarians, but lawsuits that cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars. The reason for the controversy is that when police figures on how many such stops made were finally released, they showed that not only were the numbers of stops increasing at an alarming rate every year, but that nearly 90% of those stopped were young black or Latino males. And about 90% of those stopped were completely innocent of any kind of wrongdoing. It has gotten so bad that the Justice Department has joined a lawsuit against the city’s policies.

The debate over stop-and-frisk became a focal point for NYPD critics last May after the New York Civil Liberties Union released statistics showing police stops have risen sharply during Bloomberg’s administration – from 160,851 in 2003 to 685,724 in 2011. About half of the 2011 stops resulted in physical searches.

The analysis also concluded that the policy disproportionately targets minorities, and noted that in 2011, NYPD records showed police conducted more stops of black males between the ages of 14 and 24 than the total number of young black males living in New York City. Just 1.8 percent of searches of minority suspects that year resulted in weapons seizures.

The DoJ supports having a court-appointed monitor look over the program, while the Mayor and NYPD vehemently disagree (of course). Proponents of the program claim (as they often do when they exceed their authority under the Constitution) it is a vital part of how murder rates have fallen to historic lows, but the ends do not justify the means, nor does the logic. The murder rate in NYC was on the decline before stop-and-frisk became the policy, and other major US cities have seen their murder rates drop without the use of any stop-and-frisk policies. Proponents also claim that the program is removing guns from the street, but the NYPD’s own statistics do not support that claim – less than 0.2% of all stops result in the seizure of a gun.

You may wonder how such a program could be Constitutional. You would be smart to do so. The mayor claims the program is permissible based on the Supreme Court decision in Terry v. Ohio. But as I read about that case, one striking difference is that the suspects in that case were actually engaging in behavior that any reasonable person would conclude was suspicious. (They walked back and forth in front a store, peering each time to see inside, then Met at the end of the street to converse before going back to look inside again. I think any reasonable person would have suspected that they were casing the joint in preparation for a robbery, possibly even a murder of someone inside. I’m a liberal libertarian and even I would have said the cop had a right to suspect a crime was about to go down.) In many stop and frisk cases there is no real suspicion that any criminal activity is going on at all. But they do have a form they’re supposed to fill put explaining why they made the stop. They also give quarterly reports to the NYC Council, but those reports do not have the same level of detail that the forms do.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) issued a report in May that suggests, among other things, that the stop and frisk program is less about getting guns off the street and more about making marijuana arrests. While the program got 792 guns off the street, it also resulted in more than 5,000 arrests for possession of pot. In New York State, possession of small amounts of pot not in plain view is a violation punishable by a fine and not a criminal arrest. But cops would insist that detainees empty their pockets, and when a joint or bag of weed comes out, the cops charge them with possessing pot “in plain view.” That is, of course, bullshit, because the pot would never have been visible if the cops hadn’t ordered the detainee to empty his pockets. The cops were, in essence, forcing their detainees to violate the law and then arresting them for it.

So why bring this up now? Because despite all the apparent evidence that minorities are being disproportionately stopped and frisked, Mayor Mike Bloomberg thinks that white people are getting stopped too much and minorities too little. I’m not making that up.

Mayor Bloomberg claimed that people of color should be stopped and frisked more — not less — while whites are stopped too frequently.

“I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. It’s exactly the reverse of what they say,” Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show, in response to the City Council passing two bills aimed at reining in the controversial policing tactic.

His justification for doing the stops is devoid of logic.

To buttress the mayor’s remarks, his office released a set of statistics. The numbers showed that 87% of the people stopped under stop-and-frisk in 2012 were black or Latino, and that 9% were white. That same year, more than 90% of those identified as murder suspects were blacks or Latino; just 7% were white.

Of course, that rationale assumes that every murder or violent crime has a reliable witness. Many crimes don’t have witnesses, which is how the criminals get away. Then there are the crimes that go unreported, which is impossible to measure because you don’t know if a crime has been committed if nobody says anything. Also witnesses do lie. Former Comptroller Bill Thompson, the only black mayoral candidate, said of Mayor Bloomberg, “He basically said that if you’re black or Latino, you’re automatically a murder suspect,” Mr. Thompson said. “It just continues to show how out of touch the mayor is.”

But Bloomberg also ignores the fact that a study found that the white people stopped and frisked were twice as likely to have a gun than minorities. When you couple that with how few stops result in the confiscation of a weapon, where is the justification for Bloomberg’s assertion that white people are getting stopped too much? Too much for whom, the white mayor of New York?

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Stop and Frisk or anything else you wish to discuss. Please, no weapons.

Could this be the REAL cause of #Zimmerman s head injuries? #ZimmermanTrial #J4TM

This is very interesting!

Friends of Harvey

Is anyone else having problems with the cause of the injuries to George Zimmerman’s head? Yep me too. At first glance some of the photos look bad . But when George’s wounds are cleaned up at SPD the next photos show the wounds are really quite small. Even in the cleaned up photos. I’ve shaded what I believe to be the extent of the major wounds to the back of his head below

GEORGE-ZIMMERMAN-BACK-HEAD-big shadGEORGE-ZIMMERMAN-BACK-HEAD-med shad

As a former firefighter the puncture wounds seem inconsistent with being hit against concrete. Scalp wounds have specific  characteristics due to these factors.

  • The skin on the scalp is stretched over the skull.
  • The scalp is well supplied with blood

If Zimmerman had his head repeatedly hit against concrete, to the extent the defense team are purporting, a high degree of bruising would result and  major wounds would likely to have split open.

For anyone who has…

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The Watering Hole; Thursday June 27 2013; “How Would American Indians Teach US History?”

Assume, for the moment, that you are an American, a ‘native’ American, one who is descended from any one of those tribal peoples who first populated this particular continent. Ignore, if you dare, the European invasion, the wars, the subsequent rape of the land and its peoples — your land, your people; ignore your ‘incarceration’, your internment on ‘Reservations;’ ignore all of the horrors that surely are implicit — once hatred and prejudice are the victors, once they became the rule.

SPEAK!

Sun

Tell us . . . we who are remnants, offspring, of those who came uninvited, unannounced . . . those who were filled with fear . . .  fear of . . .

nov06 v-v 5Tell us . . . explain . . . our FEAR . . .

Our fear of . . . well, you know, savages. Etc.

I mean really . . . it is WE that control and OWN the WOrld. Admit it! WE of the WHITEness. The mental superiority. The inventors of . . . guns and bombs and stuff.

Why . . .  ummm . . . shhh . . . why are WE so afraid . . . ???

Petroglyph composite-a

Bruce Lipton and Steve Bhaerman write, “True sanity must face and embrace the insanity of today’s world and, in the process, offer to the temporarily insane anew awareness and a pathway to achieve harmony . . . sanity is about integrating opposites rather than taking refuge in one polarity or the other” (2009, p. 195).

“True sanity” . . . the automatic complete and total dismissal of today’s Wingnuttistanian nonsense; instead, the renewal of ancient, and cosmic, wisdom:

collage-2v petro

Imagine it . . . a world free of fear, of irrational hatreds, of faux  infestations of faux supremacy . . . imagine a world driven by the concept spoken oh, so many years ago:

“It does not require many words to speak the truth.”  ~Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

Or perhaps this?

“Why not teach school children more of the wholesome proverbs and legends of our people?  That we killed game only for food, not for fun . . . Tell your children of the friendly acts of the Indians to the white people who first settled here.  Tell them of our leaders and heroes and their deeds . . . Put in your history books the Indian’s part in the World War. Tell how the Indian fought for a country of which he was not a citizen, for a flag to which he had no claim, and for a people who treated him unjustly.  We ask this, Chief, to keep sacred the memory of our people.”   ~Grand Council Fire of American Indians to the Mayor of Chicago, 1927

Or this???

“Your destiny is a mystery to us.  What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered?  The wild horses tamed? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted by talking wires?  Where will the thicket be?  Gone!  Where will the eagle be?  Gone!  And what is it to say goodbye to the swift pony and the hunt?  The end of living and the beginning of survival.”   ~Attrib. Chief Seattle, in a letter to the US Government in 1852

nov06 v-v 7

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” ~George W. Bush; Nashville, TN, Sept. 17, 2002

.Or, as the Sinagua once ‘said,’

birds-4Sobeit.

Open Thread. Petroglyphs Welcome.

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, 6/26/13: SCOTUS DECLARES MARRIAGE UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!

The Supreme Court of the United States just issued its long-awaited ruling on the gay marriage cases pending before it. In a stunning decision that surprised constitutional law scholars on both sides of the aisle, the Supreme Court struck down marriage as unconstitutional.

In a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Scalia, the high court ruled all marriage laws violate the Constitution. “Nowhere in the Constitution is marriage mentioned.” Scalia’s opinion stated. “As a strict constructionist, if it isn’t in the Constitution, the government has no business regulating it.”

“Our founding fathers knew about marriage, and if they wanted to include marriage in the Constitution, they would have. But the Constitution is silent on the issue. One searches in vain through the Federalist Papers and other correspondence written between the founding fathers for any mention of marriage as a Constitutional right.”

“On the other hand, the pecadillos of Ben Franklin are well-known. And that Thomas Jefferson fathered out-of-wedlock children is indisputable.”

“But the case was made, and the point well taken, that marriage is a sacred institution, ordained by God. That being said, the First Amendment compels but one decision, and one decision only. All laws respecting the institution of marriage impermissibly impinge on the First Amendment’s “wall of separation” between church and state.”

“While prohibiting some people from getting married based solely on their gender may be violative of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection mandates, we do not reach that decision today. For today we must reach a different conclusion. And that conclusion is that all laws respecting the sacred institution of marriage are unconstitutional and are hereby declared null and void.”

Justice Thomas concurred, writing, “What he said.”

THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD, AND WILL REMAIN SO, UNTIL DEATH DO US PART