Portland: Protests vs Riots

I watched about an hour’s worth of Portland videos before writing this only to learn that my thoughts two months ago are still valid today.

a) The daytime protests are in line with non-violent protests I have seen for the past 50 years. Regular people wearing regular clothes singing, carrying signs, shouting their cause through megaphones and at the top of their voices. These are the ones who care passionately about reducing police brutality and preventing the death and injury of people being arrested for a crime.

b) Towards dusk and later, the crowds wear black, they don helmets, they hurl objects, and they attack bystanders as well as police and property. If I were to stereotype the Antifa, the violent people, the destroyers of social order, I would say that if they wear gas masks, wear black, shout their hatred towards the police, and taunt the police, these are the ones I would target for arrest as a police officer assigned to maintain social order.

I read with disgust the statements of Mayor Ted Wheeler, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, and the Oregon Governor Kate Brown related to the death of a Trump supporter. They blamed the death of a Trump supporter on …the presence of Trump supporters… who the officials say were there to incite violence.

The Trump supporter was shot dead by someone in a red car. This is not intimidation, it is not Trump-oriented violence. It is an occupant of a red car who shot the man as he was walking in the street. The video is on the internet if you look for it.

When I read and hear what the officials of Portland and state government say, I am reminded of the expressions “Well that’s what she gets for dressing like this” and “well, what did you expect being there at that time of night”.

If any one needs to be “woke”, it’s the Mayor, the County Chair, and the governor. The violence does not stop until they make it stop. It is their job to provide for the safety of everyone. They have failed to do that. They are illegitimate as a government.

Trump may not do anything now, but if this is still happening on November 4th after the election, I expect the US Military to be on the streets of Portland to quell the violence. And I expect they will remain until January 20th if Trump is not elected to a second term… and longer if he is.

It is UnReasonable to permit civil unrest for social injustice to exist this long. The Governor, the Mayor, and the County have had four months to craft a new police policy as a way to stop the riots and they have not done a thing. Shame on their leadership. Shame on them.

Can we have a do-over?

I knew Abraham Lincoln was wrong way back then. Now that we’re getting rid of portraits in Congress and monuments and flags and anything that reminds today’s Americans of their past, well, then maybe we should kick out those Confederate states from the United States of America. They are an embarrassment. Maybe Lincoln should have let them secede.
…and btw, how many of you know that the Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in the South?
“President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”
Despite this expansive wording, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the United States, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy (the Southern secessionist states) that had already come under Northern control. Most important, the freedom it promised depended upon Union (United States) military victory.”

But really, when you think about it, maybe Lincoln got it wrong.

Let’s get Congress to kick out the former Confederate states for their part in slavery! Yeah! That’ll make everyone happy! WooHoo! It’s the only way to purge this nation of the stain of slavery!

Then let’s get rid of Lincoln monuments, too. He’s the idiot whose actions, in 1863 America, perpetuated the stigma of Southern slavery in the United States of America. He should have let them secede.

(Please note the sarcasm in my tone)

(Except for Mississippi…We should keep all the other Confederate states except Mississippi.)

(And maybe Alabama. Maybe we should get rid of Alabama. Football season is coming soon.)

Defund the Police?

Seriously, WTF does that have to do with police brutality?

What kind of hair-brained misdirection is that?

Does anyone think the police are too brutal with domestic violence issues?

So the idiots, who speak before thinking, believe that police are doing too much and, well, they beat people because of their effin’ stress? Give me a break.

The solution to police brutality is three-fold:

  1. Employ a two-strike rule for inappropriate use of force. If a policeman is found using inappropriate force in the arrest and detention of suspects, he is fired for the second offense. I’m not talking excessive force, I’m talking INAPPROPRIATE force. You don’t effin’ handcuff nine year olds. You don’t beat a suspect to give him a fair trial. You subdue people who threaten. You stop violence with violence… but it better be appropriate. A tw0-strike rule that re-sets every five years makes the most sense to me. Everybody has a bad day. Police should have less of them and be accountable when they don’t.
  2. Employ three types of arrest instead of one type: the self-recognizance arrest, the firm arrest, and the hard arrest. Each will have a set of conditions that make it applicable to the violation. Train the public and the police force in the appropriate use of each.
  3. Get rid of the Darth Vader-looking police uniforms and bring back the look of professional law enforcement.
  4. Create a tiered approach to carrying weapons. Not all police officers should carry guns and no police officer under the age of 25 should ever carry a gun. There should be a review of stress situation events faced by the officer before he/she is allowed a gun permit for his/her attained level of police work.

Is that so hard to do?

Yeah, with unions, yeah. But do it any way. The life you save may be your own.

Black Lives Matter

For a fledgling organization, BLM is racking up some impressive results. Perhaps they are benefiting from the times, or perhaps its the leadership, or perhaps the deployment of technology, or perhaps it is simply the sharp focus of the mission, or perhaps all of it.

Largest civil rights gatherings in history…It has become a movement.

I was at the website to learn more.

https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/

The group is focused exclusively on the “state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism”.

The “state-sanctioned violence” (SSV) and the “anti-Black racism” (ABR) are two things we can all wrap our heads around regardless of our race or ethnicity.

The training of police forces must move away from the “one-size-fits-all” arrest and detain methodology. Handcuffing crying children is outrageous. So too, the beating of suspects into submission.

Alternative arrest methodologies should be developed and promoted in police departments everywhere.

It is better that a hundred suspects escape detention and arrest than it is for an innocent man OR woman to be beaten or killed. You don’t have to be Black to understand that.

And yet, we ask our police force to address lawlessness and brutality everyday. We ask our police forces to be the line of defense between gang violence and middle-class America. We also ask our police forces to confront violent behaviors and make the home and the street safe for the non-violent among us.

Black Lives Matter because every one of us should be safe from racism, anarchy, violence, and brutality, regardless of origin but especially from our governments.

A Citizen’s Arrest?

You’ve seen the footage of the Minneapolis police officer with his knee on the head of a detained man. That man died. You’re aware that FOUR police officers present were fired from their jobs as a result and that charges are pending.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/26/us/minneapolis-police-encounter-death-trnd/index.html

The question that came to mind was if I were present could I have acted to prevent this death? Followed by: Would I have acted while a witness with three other police officers present?

We all want to say yes to that question but would we?

There were three times in my life when I stood up for people who were being victimized. Never like this situation but… I was risking physical harm in one instance and personal respect in the other two. In one case it was a civilian woman being harassed by a small group of sailors. Physical harm was possible but it didn’t happen.

One time I made it my business to stand up for a colleague that had been taken advantage by a corrupt taxi driver. That’s a long story that ended with a bunch of taxi drivers asking me if I was going to have the man arrested. I decided not. And another time, I challenged two obnoxious strangers to cut the crap as they made fun of a young shuttle bus driver.

When these things happened, I acted without thinking. I was up on my toes and I was leaning into the action. I was affronted and I acted immediately.

We never know what we will do until it happens but I like to think I would have acted to confront the police officer with his knee on the man’s neck.

Which leads me to wonder, from the safety of my keyboard, what would have been a good approach to intervene and create a different outcome?

A Citizens Arrest may be personally dangerous with three police officers present but it seems as if it would have changed the narrative, the dynamic, just enough to maybe save the man’s life.

Why do I think this way?

  1. The scene was being recorded so there would be evidence of what I did.
  2. If I shouted that the police officer was using excessive force and that is a felony, each of the policemen would have recognized I knew what they were doing was a felony.
  3. If I shouted a second time that this was a felony and if the physical restraint of the man was not modified that I will make a citizens arrest of the police officer as was my right under Minnesota law. This would get their attention, too.
  4. If I shouted a third time that the witnessing police officers are to be charged as accomplices if they do nothing to change the restraint on the man, everyone will know I am serious.
  5. Under the law, I am allowed to take physical action to prevent a felony and then announce they are under arrest.

My hope is that the witnessing police officers would tell their buddy to get his knee off the neck of the man before number 5 happened.

It is likely I’d be arrested in any event. A small price to pay to save a man’s life but one never knows when courage flows in the veins what one will do.

When the heart pounds and the call-to-arms is all you can think of, one never knows how it will end.

I know I would be considered a threat. Up on toes, fingers extended, accusing officers in no uncertain terms that their actions were felonies and the felonies were being recorded, I can feel their eyes on me even now.

I hope I have the knowledge to understand who is being victimized by whom and adjust my behavior accordingly. I hope I have the courage to act in situations like that, too.

I hope we all do…

More Judicial Activism?

The right-wing activist responsible for organizing the “Freedom Rally” in Madison where up to 72 people caught coronavirus is one of 17 plaintiffs in a lawsuit that aims to overturn most remaining stay-home orders in the state and prevent more from ever being issued, even as some are already expired and most of them are set to expire within the next few days.

The suit calls stay-home orders, designed to stop the spread of coronavirus, “irrational and unjustifiable” and claims health officials “lack a compelling, legitimate, or rational interest in the orders’ application.”

So once more there is a push to abandon StayAtHome orders in Wisconsin.

Look, it is one thing to say we have to learn to live with COVID-19 (my point for three months now) instead of ONLY ISOLATING. And it is completely different to say abandon ALL StayAtHome orders.

Who benefits if more people contract COVID-19 and are hospitalized and perhaps die?

FEND FOR YOURSELF has never sounded so ominous as it does now.

It appears there aren’t enough bodies in the street for some people.

Since when has a working policy proved its value so well and yet people are rushing in to trash it so completely?

Wisconsin Republicans and the Law

By now everyone in America is aware that Republican leadership in Wisconsin legislature complained to the Wisconsin Supreme Court that the renewal of the Wisconsin Stay At Home order was unconstitutional.

The first emergency order came from the Governor and it was uncontested by the Republican leadership.

“Evers declared a public health emergency on March 12 using a state law that grants governors the power to address emergencies resulting from “a disaster or the imminent threat of a disaster.” The governor’s declaration authorized DHS to “take all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent and respond to incidents of COVID-19.” The Legislature can revoke the governor’s powers, but even if lawmakers don’t act, they expire after May 11.”

The extension of the original order, however, did not come from the Governor. It came from the Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm. And she came to her job through an appointment. An emergency appointment that was never confirmed by Wisconsin Legislature. The Republican leadership does not like her and has since demanded that she be fired. This led to the complaint to the Wisconsin Supreme Court that an unelected and unconfirmed Cabinet Secretary was using the power of the law to shutter Wisconsin businesses.

“But it was Palm — not Evers — who issued Wisconsin’s initial Safer at Home order on March 24 and then extended the order until May 26 last week. Palm used the authority given to her under a different set of laws designed to manage communicable diseases. Those don’t require the governor’s approval, and they don’t expire with his emergency order.”

Section 252 of Wisconsin statutes grants powers to the DHS related to communicable diseases. Those powers include the ability to shutter businesses.

The conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court have now ruled that DHS order by Cabinet Secretary Andrea Palm is illegal. This is judicial activism at its worst.

In an unusual twist, the Republican leadership requested the ruling but they also requested that the effect of the Supreme Court ruling be delayed one week while working out new rules through the legislative process. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ignored this request and immediately blocked the Wisconsin Stay at Home order issued by Palm.

Which now leaves Wisconsin in limbo with no state-wide rules and each County can enact Public Health rules as they see fit.

This means nobody is going to pay attention to the County Health Departments’ “guidance” as law.

As you can imagine, the bars in northern Wisconsin are full of people drinking and cajoling and breathing infected air. A spike in Wisconsin’s COVID infection may be expected in four to seven days.

The nature of that spike and the deaths related to it is all on the heads of the Wisconsin Republican leadership and the Wisconsin Supreme Court who decided to meddle in Public Health and the powers granted to the Department of Public Health by law.

Politics kills people. We will know soon enough how many and for how long.

 

State of Wisconsin seeks more election control

The movement by professional politicians to control local elections continues its trajectory to perhaps destroy Democracy as we know it.

Both professional political parties have staked out their long term strategies to minimize surprises in elections. For Republicans, this means minimizing the get-out-the-vote efforts that favor Democrats and for Democrats it means resisting any and all efforts to challenge or restrict their voting block.

Just as gerrymandering controls ‘areas’ of voters, this new control over absentee voting limits the hours available to types of voters to cast ballots. What types? The ones that can be motivated just a few weeks before elections to shift the gerrymandered vote to the other side. It also impacts the nursing home voter, the hospitalized voter, those without transportation, and those with unusual work schedules.

Here is one description of how this affects towns in Wisconsin. In case you don’t know, many towns have part-time Town Clerks.It is their responsibility to conduct the voting process. While the law applies to Towns, Villages, and Cities, it is towns with part-time Town Clerks that have this special problem.

Not the best news to report. Apparently, there has been a change in the law and we will no longer be allowed to just list “by appointment” for our part time clerks in the Type E Absentee notice. I’m waiting on specific guidelines from GAB as to if there is a minimum number of hours that have to be listed and any other requirements. Just want to give you heads up. This won’t be an issue for those of you who already list your hours but it does affect the rest of you. You might want to talk with your colleagues to get their take on this…

  Here are some of the options that were listed by Diane at GAB:

  • Allow absentee voting during all office hours
  • Allow absentee voting during specified hours
  • Allow absentee voting during specified hours and by appointment at other times
  • Allow absentee voting by appointment during specified hours

  Here is the statute:

6.86 Methods for Obtaining an Absentee Ballot:

(1) (b) Except as provided in this section, if application is made by mail, the application shall be received no later than 5 p.m. on the 5th day immediately preceding the election. If application is made in person, the application shall be made no earlier than the opening of business on the 3rd Monday preceding the election and no later than 7 p.m. on the Friday preceding the election. No application may be received on a legal holiday. An application made in person may only be received Monday to Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day. A municipality shall specify the hours in the notice under s. 10.01 (2) (e) (which is the Type E Notice).

  In sum, one way or another, you’ll have to lock yourself down on the hours that you’ll be conducting in-person absentee voting, or making appointments, and stick to them, and it must take place during the 10 day in-person absentee voting period sometime between Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., and no more than 45 hours a week.

Towns with part-time Town Clerks had great flexibility to meet a voter at the Town Hall on a weekend or any time that both could agree to be there and take care of this absentee voting. This appears to be gone now. It also appears that Town Clerks that have full time jobs plus part-time Town Clerk responsibilities will be most impacted by this set of changes.

(The Type E notice is for absentee voting. See here.)

Residents who planned to vote before they left town for a month or a week may find themselves limited in their use of the absentee ballot.

In summary, more local controls where none are needed. Another milestone in limiting voting to certain types of voters.

My Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

Constitution Daily had an article that said this:

It actually was a then-new form of technology that both Justices Harlan and Black were dealing with in that 1967 case: Katz v. United States.  The FBI had developed the capacity to install, surreptitiously, a listening device on a public telephone booth, and a suspect who used that booth to place illegal bets – Charles Katz — argued that he had closed the door of the booth behind him, and thus expected to shut out the world when he telephoned.

The Supreme Court agreed (with only Justice Black dissenting), and declared that the Fourth Amendment “protects people, not places.”  From that time until now, the court has relied upon Justice Harlan’s formula about privacy expectations and society’s acceptance (or failure to accept) those expectations as it continues to interpret the Fourth Amendment.

In a 1979 case – the one that Judge Leon, in the quotation above, was discussing — the court ruled that society did not accept as a reasonable form of privacy the records that a telephone company keeps of calls that its customers make  The customers, it decided, voluntarily gave up to the telephone company the information about whom they called.  So, the court said, the police could use that data to track down suspected criminal Michael Lee Smith..

The Supreme Court statement that said the Fourth Amendment “protects people, not places” is asinine on the face of it. Can one separate the person from the place when talking about unreasonable searches and seizures? There is a linkage between the two whether the Supreme Court believes it or not.

People have the right to be anonymous in public places as assuredly as the government has a right to protect its secrets in public committee hearings. To deny the former while embracing the latter is hypocritical and condescending.

My expectations of privacy are:

1. My communication is not monitored, stored, reviewed, nor analyzed by any government person or tool unless one of three conditions are occurring: a) I am conducting my business with the government or its agencies and there is a need to corroborate or give credence to my assertions of fact, b) someone I may know is under investigation and I am a “friend of a friend”. If so, then a fuller and broader review of my actions/knowledge is warranted, c) I am under investigation myself for my actions.

In the first instance, my permission is required, in the second the government’s review cannot exceed 30 days without obtaining a warrant and the third instance always requires a warrant.

In the first instance, information retrieved that is outside the nature of my business is to be destroyed (and unrecoverable by others) within 30 days. In the second, at the end of a 30-day review, all information is destroyed unless a warrant has been issued to investigate me for crimes. In the third instance,  information gleaned that is not presented at trial, or is not directly related to the investigation, is destroyed within two years and is unrecoverable by others.

My expectations for personal privacy include the monitoring cameras in public places like highways, streets, public venues, and business security cameras for open-to-the-public events.I should not be identified and my movements not traced unless as part of an active criminal investigation with John Doe warrants issued. Unless they are registered as part of an active investigation, original videos (and copies of same) of any public place should be destroyed within one year of their creation.

These are reasonable expectations of privacy. I am the person the Fourth Amendment was referring to. Not my home, my car, or my telephone booth. Any place that I am, so is the Fourth Amendment. It is like a force field that repels government intrusion of me, what I am doing, and where I am going. It covers my interactions with the world from telephones and internet usage as well as conversations at the local bakery.

The President of Half Measures

Once again President Obama strives mightily for a Participation Award.

From Free Press.Net:

After months of deliberation, President Obama has announced a proposal to end the NSA’s warrantless collection of millions of phone records.1 Under this proposal, these records would stay with the phone companies, and the NSA would need to get a special court order to collect “metadata” about our calls.

Woo Hoo!  Months of deliberation to determine the phone company actually owns the records it creates of your phone data. How mighty is our President!

But does he Win, Place, or Show? Nah,but he was in the race…

The president’s proposal wouldn’t do anything to address the many other ways the NSA and other agencies spy on millions of people in the U.S. and around the world — by tracking our Web searches, reading our emails, even serving National Security Letters that make it illegal for people to speak out.

And what about all those other bills in Congress that want to wrap up the NSA with plastic wrap? Well, …

The FISA Transparency and Modernization Act — which Reps. Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger introduced this week — bolsters some of the NSA’s worst practices, including the accessing of phone records without a warrant.2 And Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s so-called FISA Improvements Act would “make permanent a loophole permitting the NSA to search for Americans’ identifying information without a warrant.

And what about Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill to “modernize” FISA?

Section 6 of Feinstein’s bill blesses what her committee colleague Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat and civil libertarian, has called the “backdoor search provision,” which the Guardian revealed thanks to a leak by Edward Snowden.

The section permits intelligence agencies to search “the contents of communications” collected primarily overseas for identifying information on US citizens, resident aliens and people inside the US, provided that the “purpose of the query is to obtain foreign intelligence information or information necessary to understand foreign intelligence information or to assess its importance.”

Section 6 bills itself as a “restriction,” but it would not stop the NSA from performing the warrantless search, merely requiring intelligence agencies to log their queries and make them “available for review” to Congress, the Fisa court, the Justice Department and inspectors general inside the executive branch.

Additionally, the report on Section 6 explicitly states that the provision “does not limit the authority of law enforcement agencies to conduct queries of data acquired pursuant to Section 702 of Fisa for law enforcement purposes.”

One thing that we all can agree on is that as soon as Congress puts the word “Modernization” in the title, it is a guarantee that somebody wants to enshrine into law something that is an advantage to him or her.

What will you and I do to protect our privacy?