Recently in Social Factors Category
The administration no-shows were not a failure of optics, or a diplomatic misstep, but were instead the logical result of the president's years-long effort to downgrade the threat of terrorism and move on to other things.
"The analogy we use around [the White House] sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant," Obama told the New Yorker magazine in a January 2014 interview. The president was referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria but was also suggesting in a broader sense that a number of post-9/11 offshoot terrorist organizations aren't worth the sort of war-footing mobilization that took place in the George W. Bush years.
******************************Fast forward to January 2015. The attackers at Charlie Hebdo magazine and the Hyper Cacher kosher market in Paris would undoubtedly qualify as JV-level terrorists under Obama's new classification. But their work was enough to shock Europe and motivate more than a million people to gather behind dozens of heads of state at the unity rally Sunday.
And that is where I get off the ship. America, the "prison state" (when 0.7% of the population is incarcerated, virtually all because of their own greedy or violent choices; 99.3% of the population is not). "Race-baiting" conservatives (when essentially all of the race-baiting and its allied race-based bullying is done by Mr. Osterweil's buddies). "Spy agencies and kangaroo courts" (when spying has next to nothing to do with criminal convictions, and the courts provide process to the point that it's overtaken substance). "The most horrific piece of a fundamentally racist...society" (It's not just that Amerika stinks, it's that it's horrific).
In her first book, The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison in America, historian Naomi Murakawa demonstrates how the American prison state emerged not out of race-baiting states'-rights advocates nor tough-on-crime drug warriors but rather from federal legislation written by liberals working to guarantee racial equality under the law. The prison industry, and its associated police forces, spy agencies and kangaroo courts, is perhaps the most horrific piece of a fundamentally racist and unequal American civil society. More people are under correctional supervision in the United States than were in the Gulag archipelago at the height of the Great Terror; there are more black men in prison, jail or parole than were enslaved in 1850. How did this happen?
Law enforcement fatalities in the United States rose 24 percent in 2014 to 126 and ambush-style attacks were the No. 1 cause of felonious officer deaths for the fifth straight year, according to preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The NLEOMF report said 126 federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty this year, compared to 102 in 2013. The number of officers killed by firearms in 2014 -- 50 -- is up 56 percent from the 32 killed last year.
Fifteen officers nationwide were killed in ambush assaults in 2014, and the recent shooting deaths of New York City Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos have attracted national attention and contributed to tension between police and the city's elected leaders.
The total of 15 ambush assaults matched 2012 for the highest total since 1995.
The hate war against the police is not directly responsible for most, or perhaps any, of this. At the same time, those insisting that hate has no consequences are lying to themselves and to us.
We cannot be simply argued out of our vices, but we can be deterred from indulging in them by the trust and love that develops among neighbors, by deeply established habits of order and peace, and by pride in our community or country. And part of the statesman's difficult charge is keeping this balance together, acting rationally on this understanding of the limits of reason.
[President] Obama and [Attorney General] Holder look for occasions to pontificate in ways that undermine mutual trust and trust in institutions that maintain order. They seized, for example, on the unfortunate but justified killing of a thug who attacked a police officer in Missouri as the pretext for claims that law enforcement in this country is systematically unjust to African-Americans.
Shortly after this, they seized on what appears to have been an unjustified, but non-racially motivated, killing in Staten Island as the basis for pressing their divisive theme. And the mayor of New York chimed in by announcing that he warns his bi-racial son, in effect, that the police may be out to get him because of his color.
My experience as a prosecutor taught me that two things broadly separate criminal thinking from the thinking of law-abiding people: Empathy and self-restraint. These qualities are grounded in confidence in society's right and power to make rules and enforce them fairly. It is Obama's and Holder's dishonest undermining of that confidence, more than anything else, that is the most corrosive component of our present "national conversation."
When Ismaaiyl Abdulah Brinsley brutally executed Officers Ramos and Liu he did so in an atmosphere of permissiveness and anti-police rhetoric unlike any that I have seen in 45 years in law enforcement. The rhetoric this time is not from the usual suspects, but from the Mayor of New York City, the Attorney General of the United States, and even the President. It emboldens criminals and sends a message that every encounter a black person has with a police officer is one to be feared. Nothing could be further from the truth. We will never know what was in the mind of Brinsley when he shot officers Ramos and Liu. However we do know that he has seen nothing but police bashing from some of the highest officials in the land.
Several hours before the shooting, a man believed to be the gunman wrote, "I'm putting wings on pigs today" on his Instagram page, the Post reported. The images showed a silver handgun with a wooden handle and a pair of camouflage pants and blue tennis shoes that appear to match those worn by the suspect as he was circulated by the media that show him being transported to the hospital. The photos use hashtags for Michael Brown and Eric Garner and appear to indicate that the shootings were an act of revenge.
"They Take 1 Of Ours ... Let's Take 2 of Theirs," the post said, before adding, "This May Be My Final Post."
The people who have been waging a non-stop hate campaign against the police will of course disclaim any responsibility. And it appears to be true that the assassin was unbalanced. But we all know there are unbalanced people out there, and that hate can set them off.
I see just now in his news conference that Mayor De Blasio is doing his best to fake mourning, but not quite making it.