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The Chumph Criminal Cartel – “The fish rots from the head”

The number of Chumph appointees and staffers now either indicted, going to be indicted, accused, and under investigation has reached historic proportions.

The Chumph and his acolytes are criminals.

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“The fish rots from the head”: a historian on the unique corruption of Trump’s White House

“Politicians lie, but this is different.” 

“Politicians lie, but this is different,” says a historian who studies presidential history and estimates the Trump administration easily ranks among the most corrupt in American history.

Robert Dallek is a presidential historian and the author of several books, including his latest about FDR titled Franklin Roosevelt: A Political Life. Writing recently for the Guardian, Dallek lamented the “disaster” that is the Trump presidency but also reminded readers that American democracy is surprisingly resilient and has survived far worse.

Despite Trump’s promises to “drain the swamp,” the first year of his administration has been plagued by resignationsinvestigations, and scandals. Dallek estimates that historical examples of corruption, like that of the Warren G. Harding administration, don’t hold a candle to how Trump and his people have conducted themselves in the White House.

History will judge Trump, and it will not be kind.

I spoke with Dallek about the history of corruption in American presidential politics and why he sees the Trump administration as “a low point in our history.” What makes Trump exceptionally dangerous, Dallek argues, is how effortlessly he lies and what kind of tone he has set in this White House.

“The fish rots from the head,” he told me, “and the stench of this administration starts at the very top.”

Our conversation, lightly edited for clarity, appears below.

Sean Illing

You’ve studied a lot of presidents and White Houses. Is the corruption and the lying in this administration unique in your mind?

Robert Dallek

This administration is a low point in our history. We’ve been through scandals before, going as far back as the Grant administration in the 19th century and the Harding administration in the early 20th century. Presidents have been accused of bribery and shady gift-giving. So it’s not entirely unique to see scandals subsume a White House.

But the shamelessness of this administration, the dishonesty, the total indifference to facts, is something I haven’t seen before — at least not this blatant. I think it’s demoralized people and made them even more cynical about politics.

Sean Illing

Is this the most dishonest administration you’ve ever seen or studied?

Robert Dallek

The short answer is yes. Politicians lie, but this is different. I suppose if you wanted to be generous, you might say this is the least effective and trustworthy administration since Warren G. Harding, whose administration was overwhelmed by the Teapot Dome scandal in 1921, in which Harding’s secretary of the interior leased Navy petroleum reserves in Wyoming and California to private oil companies at incredibly low rates without a competitive bidding process. That was a massive scandal, one of the biggest we’ve seen at the level of politics.

There are other examples, of course. Most obviously, there’s Nixon and Watergate, which was a watershed moment in American political history. Ulysses S. Grant’s reputation as a Civil War general was shattered by the Whiskey Ring scandal in 1875, in which Treasury officials basically stole tax dollars from alcohol distillers. Other presidents, like Bill Clinton, have lied shamelessly as well.

Still, I think what we’re seeing right now will, eventually, rise above these examples, with the possible exception of Watergate. But a lot of this depends on the outcome of the Russia investigation. If it goes the way it appears to be going, it will exceed even Watergate.

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Sean Illing

Do administrations tend to pay a political price when they deceive and overstep in this way?

Robert Dallek

Typically they do. Look at Trump’s numbers right now. For a president in the first year of his term to have never achieved 50 percent approval rating is something of a political disaster. I mean, Franklin Roosevelt never saw his approval rating dip below 50 percent during his 12-year presidency. Truman’s popularity slipped to 32 percent near the end of this administration due to the stalemate in Korea. Nixon’s support collapsed and went down to 25 percent during Watergate.

But Trump has been historically unpopular since the day he took office, in part because of how dishonestly he conducted himself during the campaign. What we’re seeing now is very ugly and, I think, very corrupting to our political system.

Sean Illing

How so?

Robert Dallek

Well, our system depends upon something like a consensus, something like majority rule. But now we have a president who outright lies about … everything. He lies about the number of votes he received, about the size of his inauguration crowd, about his own achievements, about Muslims cheering in the streets after 9/11, and so on. He lies about basic observable facts.

I think the cumulative effect of all this lying is to make people deeply cynical about our entire system, and that’s very corrupting.

Sean Illing

What, exactly, is so unique about this administration in terms of the corruption and the graft?

Robert Dallek

Obviously the examples of corruption are numerous: Trump refused to divest from his business interests; there are questions about whether he’s violating the emoluments clause by running Trump International Hotel in DC; there’s the indictment of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort; there’s the looming indictment of his former national security adviser Michael FlynnJared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, failed to disclose $1 billion in loans connected to his real estate company; and of course several of his Cabinet heads are being investigated for profligate travel expenses.

But here’s what I think is unique: Often you see a lot of corruption result from a lack of oversight, but I think this administration is quite different in that Trump really sets the tone for all this. He encourages it, really. The fish rots from the head, and the stench of this administration starts at the very top.

Sean Illing

In what ways does he set the tone?

Robert Dallek

Trump is the head of government, and people know they can get away with things. Look at all the incidents of corruption I just laid out, and that’s not even close to a complete list. Like Nixon, Trump has created a culture in his administration in which people feel comfortable with corruption. Trump himself has shown a complete indifference to democratic norms, to rule of law, and that sends a pretty clear signal to the people beneath him.

Again, Trump’s lying is a big facilitator of all this corruption. This is a guy who will look right into the camera and lie without any hesitation at all. It’s hard to overstate what kind of tone that sets in an administration; it makes everyone more comfortable when they lie, when they deceive, when they cover things up…

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Police Criminality – 3 Officers a Day are Arrested for Crimes

We know from reporting that began by Pew Research, that Police Officers commit on the average of 7-8 crimes a day, although the majority of these are minor. For the first time, a study has been done which tracks serious crimes, requiring a legal response of something beyond just administrative punishment. That study has revealed that the nation’s 765,000 Police Officers commit about 1,100 crimes a year for which they are arrested. The real number is likely an order of magnitude greater, as the likelihood of an officer being arrested by his fellow officers, or convicted by complicit local prosecutors is orders of magnitude lower than the civilian population. Many are allowed to resign, and just move to another jurisdiction. When the case does make it to the arrest stage, the actual conviction rate is higher than for the civilian population. I would suggest that is because of the hesitancy to arrest unless the case is iron clad.

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Study finds police officers arrested 1,100 times per year, or 3 per day, nationwide

So far this month, two New York City police commanders have been arrested on corruption allegations, an officer in Killeen, Tex., was accused of sexually assaulting a female driver, a Philadelphia police officer was charged with extortion of a drug dealer, and an officer in Hono­lulu was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl.

Such sporadic news accounts of police officers being arrested led one group of researchers to a question: How much crime do police officers commit?  No one was keeping track, much as no one was tracking how often police officers shoot and kill civilians, although both may involve use of police power and abuse of public trust.

Now there is an answer: Police officers are arrested about 1,100 times a year, or roughly three officers charged every day, according to a new national study. The most common crimes were simple assault, drunken driving and aggravated assault, and significant numbers of sex crimes were also found. About 72 percent of officers charged are convicted, more than 40 percent of the crimes are committed on duty, and nearly 95 percent of the officers charged are men.

The study is thought to be the first-ever nationwide look at police crime, and was conducted by researchers at Bowling Green State University through a grant from the Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice. The research covered seven years, 2005 to 2011, and sought to quantify not only the prevalence of police officers arrested across the country, but also how law enforcement agencies discipline officers who are arrested and how officer arrests might correlate with other forms of misconduct.policearrest1

For example, the study found that 22 percent of the officers arrested had been named as defendants in a federal civil rights lawsuit at some point in their careers, unrelated to their arrest case. The authors suggest that police agencies analyzing such suits “could potentially lead to new and improved mechanisms to identify and mitigate various forms of police misconduct.”

In the seven years of the study, the researchers compiled 6,724 cases, or about 960 cases per year, involving about 792 officers per year — 674 officers were arrested more than once. But the study has continued beyond 2011, and lead researcher Philip M. Stinson at Bowling Green said the number of cases now averages about 1,100 arrests per year.

“Police crimes are not uncommon,” Stinson concluded. “Our data directly contradicts some of the prevailing assumptions and the proposition that only a small group of rotten apples perpetrate the vast majority of police crime.” Although nearly 60 percent of the crimes “occurred when the officer was technically off-duty,” Stinson wrote, “a significant portion of these so-called off-duty crimes also lies within the context of police work and the perpetrator’s role as a police officer, including instances where off-duty officers flash a badge, an official weapon, or otherwise use their power, authority, and the respect afforded to them as a means to commit crime.”…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Sheriff Blames Police KIlling on “National Rhetoric”

Or “Not wanting to jump to conclusions”, this Sheriff and Prosecutor certainly lay out a lot of “conclusions” not yet borne out by evidence. The assertion that this was about “anti-cop rhetoric” and BlackLivesMatter being the most egregious. As the shooter has not been identified, much less apprehended, we have no idea what motivated him. The fact the Police Department is having a hard time getting witnesses to step up would seem to indicate a disconnect between the Police and the community.

Sheriff links ‘national rhetoric’ to killing of deputy in Houston

Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman described the killing of a deputy sheriff at a gas station as a “cold-blooded assassination” and angrily condemned the “very dangerous national rhetoric” about police officers that he said was out of control.

Deputy Darren Goforth, 47, was fatally shot late Friday while filling his patrol car in northwest Harris County.

The suspect, whose image was caught on surveillance video, approached Goforth from behind and shot him several times in the back. He continued to fire even after the officer had fallen to the ground.

The suspect is shown in photos as a dark-skinned male wearing a white T-shirt and red shorts and apparently driving a red or maroon-colored Ford pickup.

Rickman said an intense manhunt was underway and that officers were speaking to several people in connection with the shooting, but that no arrest had been made yet.

Hickman said the killing was unprovoked and that Goforth was apparently singled out only because he was wearing the uniform of a law enforcement officer. The sheriff made it clear he felt the shooting was tied to a national backlash over several recent killings of unarmed black people by police officers.

“When rhetoric ramps up to the point where cold-blooded assassination has happened, this rhetoric has gotten out of control,” he said. “We heard ‘black lives matter.’ All lives matter. Cops’ lives matter too, so why don’t we drop the qualifier and say all lives matter and take that to the bank.”

“Black Lives Matter” is the phrase of a national activist group aimed at addressing the shootings by police officers.

His remarks echoed comments in the same new conference by Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, who said the criticism of police had gotten out of hand.

“It is time for the silent majority in this country to support law enforcement,” she told reporters at the news conference. “There are a few bad apples in every profession, that does not mean there should be open warfare on law enforcement.”

Earlier, sheriff’s office spokesman Deputy Thomas Gilliland said officials were speaking with a person of interest in connection with the shooting and had obtained a search warrant for the person’s home.

Perhaps the Sheriff’s rhetoric might be based on the publicity involving his department and this DWB stop…

And this one…

Which apparently wasn’t the first Harris County Law Enforcement Officer to be accused, indicted, or convicted of rape. Just a few weeks ago, Harris County Deputies strip searched a woman by the side of the road.

This country appears to have some serious and deep problems…The current Chief being one. It doesn’t seem impossible that the “hundreds of women” raped or coerced into sex by Law Enforcement in the county might just be the cause of the current problems.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2015 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Stacking Juries Against Black Defendants

The American Legal System is stacked against the poor, and persons of color. Whether the case is Civil or Criminal, a minority defendant pays a “Black Tax” on the outcome of the trial proceeding based on the sometimes intentional, and often subconscious bias of the jury. As such a Jury Trial is not the shield for the innocent it is for white defendants.

The process of racial Jury “stacking” has been exposed before, and addressed by the Appellate and Supreme Court. Yet it continues. Perhaps, in addition to the focus on Law Enforcement, BLM and other organizations need to attack the system at it’s very roots – the Judicial.

The Old Jim Crow Jury

Exclusion of Blacks From Juries Raises Renewed Scrutiny

SHREVEPORT, La. — Here are some reasons prosecutors have offered for excluding blacks from juries: They were young or old, single or divorced, religious or not, failed to make eye contact, lived in a poor part of town, had served in the military, had a hyphenated last name, displayed bad posture, were sullen, disrespectful or talkative, had long hair, wore a beard.

The prosecutors had all used peremptory challenges, which generally allow lawyers to dismiss potential jurors without offering an explanation. But the Supreme Court makes an exception: If lawyers are accused of racial discrimination in picking jurors, they must offer a neutral justification.

“Stupid reasons are O.K.,” said Shari S. Diamond, an expert on juries at Northwestern University School of Law. Ones offered in bad faith are not.

In Louisiana’s Caddo Parish, where Shreveport is the parish seat, a study to be released Monday has found that prosecutors used peremptory challenges three times as often to strike black potential jurors as others during the last decade. That is consistent with patterns researchers found earlier in Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina, where prosecutors struck black jurors at double or triple the rates of others. In Georgia, prosecutors excluded every black prospective juror in a death penalty case against a black defendant, which the Supreme Court has agreed to review this fall.

“If you repeatedly see all-white juries convict African-Americans, what does that do to public confidence in the criminal justice system?” asked Elisabeth A. Semel, the director of the death penalty clinic at the law school at the University of California, Berkeley.

As police shootings of unarmed black men across the country have spurred distrust of law enforcement by many African-Americans, the new findings on jury selection bring fresh attention to a question that has long haunted the American justice system: Are criminal juries warped by racism and bias?

Some legal experts said they hoped the Supreme Court would use the Georgia case to tighten the standards for peremptory challenges, which have existed for centuries and were, until a 1986 decision, Batson v. Kentucky, considered completely discretionary. (Judges can also dismiss potential jurors for cause, but that requires a determination that they are unfit to serve.)

But many prosecutors and defense lawyers said peremptory strikes allow them to use instinct and strategy to shape unbiased and receptive juries. “I’m looking for people who will be open, at least, to my arguments,” said Joshua Marquis, the district attorney in Astoria, Ore.

Jeff Adachi, San Francisco’s elected public defender, said peremptory challenges promote fairness. “You’re going to remove people who are biased against your client,” he said, “and the district attorney is going to remove jurors who are biased against police officers or the government.”

Another Courthouse Guarded By a Confederate Memorial

Reprieve Australia, a group that opposes the death penalty and conducted the Caddo Parish study, said the likelihood of an acquittal rose with the number of blacks on the jury. No defendants were acquitted when two or fewer of the dozen jurors were black. When there were at least three black jurors, the acquittal rate was 12 percent. With five or more, the rate rose to 19 percent. Defendants in all three groups were overwhelmingly black.

Excluding black jurors at a disproportionate rate does more than hurt defendants’ prospects and undermine public confidence, said Ursula Noye, a researcher who compiled the data for the report. “Next to voting,” she said, “participating in a jury is perhaps the most important civil right.”

‘It Dashes Your Hopes’

Prospective jurors arriving at the courthouse here walk past a towering monument to the Confederacy, featuring grim likenesses of four Confederate generals.

Carl Staples, a 63-year-old African-American, recalled how the monument made him feel when he reported for jury duty. “It dashes your hopes,” he said, taking a break at the gospel radio station where he works as an announcer. “It has its roots in the ideology of white supremacy.” He said much the same thing during jury selection in a 2009 death penalty case, and that played a part in his dismissal for cause.

‘It Dashes Your Hopes’

Prospective jurors arriving at the courthouse here walk past a towering monument to the Confederacy, featuring grim likenesses of four Confederate generals.

Carl Staples, a 63-year-old African-American, recalled how the monument made him feel when he reported for jury duty. “It dashes your hopes,” he said, taking a break at the gospel radio station where he works as an announcer. “It has its roots in the ideology of white supremacy.” He said much the same thing during jury selection in a 2009 death penalty case, and that played a part in his dismissal for cause….Read the Rest Here

The New Jim Crow – Just Like the Old Jim Crow…Just sneakier

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2015 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Katrina Convictions

More convictions coming down in the murders by New Orleans Police after Katrina…

Jury convicts 3 officers in post-Katrina death

For years after Hurricane Katrina, relatives demanded justice for Henry Glover, who was gunned down outside a strip mall in the storm’s aftermath. His charred remains turned up weeks later in a burned-out car.

At least one of Glover’s family members didn’t find solace Thursday even though a jury convicted three officers in Glover’s death, the burning of his body and in the doctoring of a report to make the shooting appear justified.

Glover’s relatives were also disappointed that two others were acquitted of charges stemming from the alleged cover-up.

“It’s still not behind us,” said Rebecca Glover, Henry Glover’s aunt. “They all should have been guilty. They were all in on it.”

Rebecca Glover also questioned the jury’s decision to find David Warren, a former officer accused of shooting an unarmed Glover in the back, guilty of manslaughter instead of murder.

“It should have been murder, not manslaughter,” sh Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2010 in Domestic terrorism

 

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