Archive for the ‘Law Enforcement’ Category
This article in the National Journal examines why Gov. John Hickenlooper, (D-CO), is in political trouble. The article is 4,654 words long, which is more than a little excessive. They could’ve skipped the first 3,073 words. They should’ve started with this:
Still, no single issue altered Hickenlooper’s fortunes more than gun control. He grew up in a gun-loving family—he often tells a story about accidentally shooting himself in the shoe as a kid—and in the days after the 2012 movie-theater massacre in Aurora, the governor told reporters he was skeptical that any regulation could have stopped the killer. But by the following winter, Hickenlooper had changed his mind. He settled on universal background checks as his top priority. He was convinced, he says, by the evidence that they worked. Plus, as he told the sheriffs in June, it struck him as the most likely measure to achieve consensus. “After the shootings in Aurora, as I went around the state,” he said, “I kept hearing Republicans, Democrats, everyone, saying, you know, we should not take guns away from anyone, but keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. I didn’t think—this is how bright I am—I didn’t think it was going to be that controversial.”
After championing background checks, Hickenlooper signaled he would not support the many other gun reforms that Democratic lawmakers were floating. When he learned that 30 to 40 percent of fatal shootings of police officers involved high-capacity magazines, however, he got behind a bill to limit them. Gun-rights supporters were so incensed that they recalled two Democratic state senators and forced the resignation of a third. “There was a feeling in urban areas that magazines were associated with Aurora,” says Christine Scanlan, Hickenlooper’s director of legislative affairs at the time. But rural voters, by contrast, associated magazines with hunting. “The governor thought he could reconcile those two views,” Scanlan says, “but it didn’t happen that way.”
More than anything else, Gov. Hickenlooper’s signing of gun control legislation is what’s got him in political hot water. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is capitalizing:
THE GOVERNOR OF COLORADO—or, rather, an actor who bears some resemblance to him from behind—sits in a director’s chair, back to the camera, as two women comb his hair and apply makeup. “John Hickenlooper loves making campaign ads, but he despises making tough decisions,” the voice-over intones. “Being funny on TV is nice, but unfortunately for Hick, governing is serious business.” Released in September, this is the first Republican Governors Association ad of the season in Colorado. On screen, the faux Hick hands a stein of beer to a lackey. “It’s time for a leader,” the spot concludes. “It’s time for Bob Beauprez.”
Beauprez has built his surprisingly strong bid around the growing perception that Hickenlooper is wishy-washy and weak. “A successful campaign against Hickenlooper is, ‘This guy is a good guy, but he’s kind of a joke, and the challenges we face in this state are not a joke,’ ” says Republican operative and former state legislator Josh Penry. Sure enough, Republicans are working this fall to take all the items in the governor’s “pro” column—his agile centrism, his genial frankness, even his beer—and turn them into “cons.”
Simply put, this race is too close to call. It’s trending towards Hickenlooper in the sense that 3 of the 4 latest polls have Hickenlooper leading.
The bad news for Gov. Hickenlooper is that his lead in each of those 3 polls is thin, with 4 points being his biggest lead. People don’t like the Hickenlooper gun grab laws. Policies matter. This time, Gov. Hickenlooper chose partisanship over doing what’s right. That led to this uncomfortable exchange:
“You made a comment about, sometimes to get somebody who disagrees with you to come over to your side, you just have to sit there and listen more, and you find that’s a way to get them to turn to your side,” said Sheriff John Cooke of conservative Weld County, referring to one of the governor’s favorite talking points. “My question is, though, when these gun laws came up, why wouldn’t you listen to the sheriffs? Why wouldn’t, when a couple of sheriffs wanted to meet with you, you wouldn’t listen to them and hear our side of the story?”
Your average politician would have had a well-rehearsed answer to that question; after all, signing the gun-control legislation 15 months earlier had been the most politically unpopular move of Hickenlooper’s career. But Hickenlooper’s stock-in-trade has always been that he’s not your average politician—nothing of the kind—and so, characteristically, he winged it. “You know, I would say in, in the gun stuff that we, uh, certainly could’ve done a better job,” he began, one hand jammed deep into his pocket as he gesticulated limply with the other. “And this is—I’m not defending this—there’s no—I didn’t find out that the sheriffs were trying to talk to me until a week afterwards—10 days afterwards. By that time, all the—whatever was gonna hit the fan had hit it.” He scratched the back of his head. “I think we screwed that up completely, and I think we did a disservice to you and a disservice to ourselves.”
That’s what a politician sounds like when he’s been caught with his hands in the proverbial political cookie jar. That’s why he deserves to lose.
The Baltimore Ravens have terminated Ray Rice’s contract:
DEVELOPING: The Baltimore Ravens fired running back Ray Rice after new video emerged showing the vicious punch he used to drop his then-fiancée in the elevator of an Atlantic City hotel.
The team confirmed the move in a tweet that came hours after video obtained by TMZ showed the 5-foot, 8-inch, 220-pound athlete delivering a left-handed blow to the face of Janay Palmer, appearing to knock her unconscious. The video was shot from inside the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, and is the footage shot before the previously circulated video that showed Rice dragging his unconscious wife-to-be out of the elevator on Feb. 15.
I just saw the unedited video of Rice punching his then-fiance. Saying that it’s a disturbing, emotion-jarring video is understatement.
This afternoon on ESPN, the entire crew of analysts (Louis Riddick, Adam Schefter and Chris Mortenson) expressed outrage at everyone involved in this disaster. Schefter said that law enforcement messed up by not getting the video to the NFL. He said that the prosecutors screwed up by not charging Rice with a felony, instead letting him off the hook with a slap on the wrist. He criticized the Ravens for letting Rice use their facilities to hold a press conference after the incident.
That press conference included testimonial after testimonial about Rice being “a good man.” It included Janay Palmer, now Rice’s wife, apologizing for the part she played in Rice’s violence. (That, by the way, is still the most bizarre part of this horrific incident.)
Riddick said that the league needs to do a better job of doing what’s right rather than doing what it needs to do to promote the sport.
Finally, Mortenson got after Goodell, hinting that it isn’t good enough to say that he “got it wrong.” He said that, while the NFL didn’t have the video, they certainly had the report of what Rice did.
Goodell should be suspended for getting this horrific incident woefully wrong. He should lose a hefty chunk of his alleged $50,000,000 a year salary, too. It looks like he isn’t the impartial arbiter that his job requires him to be. Honestly, I wouldn’t feel bad if he lost his job over this.
This article proves that Lois Lerner is thoroughly corrupt:
In 2007, Lerner responded directly to a complaint that some major labor unions reported completely different amounts of political expenditures when filing with the IRS and the Department of Labor.
At the time of the email, Lerner was the Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS.
Lerner wrote, “We looked at the information you provided regarding organizations that report substantial amounts of political activity and lobbying expenditures on the DOL Form LM-2, but report little to no political expenditures on the Form 990 filed with the IRS.”
“We believe this difference in reporting does not necessarily indicate that the organization has incorrectly reported to either the DOL or the IRS,” Lerner concluded.
Talk about a parsable sentence. Here’s something with a little less spin:
In 2006, the year leading up to Lerner’s email, the national headquarters for the AFL-CIO reported no direct or indirect political expenditures with the IRS on their 990 form, leaving the line 81a blank. That same year, the AFL-CIO reported $29,585,661 in political activities with the Department of Labor.
What’s $30,000,000 in indirect political expenditures amongst political allies, right? It isn’t like $30,000,000 could tip a handful of House and Senate races, right?
Unfortunately, that isn’t the only time Ms. Lerner turned a blind eye towards this type of corruption:
Also in 2006 the Teamsters Union reported no political expenditures with the IRS while at the same time reporting $7,081,965 with the Labor Department.
Again in 2006, Unite-Here reported no political activity with the IRS and $1,451,002 with the Labor Department.
In 2005, the National Education Association also reported no political expenditures with the IRS while at the same time reporting $24,985,250 with the Labor Department.
We’re supposed to believe that all this money was spent on lobbying Congress, not on campaigns? That’s as insulting as it is dishonest.
Lerner is a partisan hack. She should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Unfortunately, that won’t happen because we have an equally corrupt partisan hack as US Attorney General.
Few apolitical people know that the Democratic Party has put in place a system that chills political involvement and that buys elections. I have proof that both statements are true. Starting with buying elections, this story proves that the DFL broke Minnesota’s campaign lawss and bought 11 Senate seats:
The Republican Party of Minnesota began filing complaints in October 2012, charging that DFL campaign materials were wrongfully listed as independent expenditures, but the materials were not because the candidates were actively engaged in photo shoots in producing the print ads, thereby breaching the legal wall between candidates and independent expenditures.
For those that want to argue that this is just Republican sour grapes, I’d ask them to explain this:
The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board Tuesday, Dec. 17, fined the Minnesota DFL Senate Caucus $100,000 for wrongfully working with 13 of its candidates in the 2012 election.
The $100,000 civil penalty is among the biggest in state history.
These sitting senators should be kicked out of the Senate for their actions. Further, they should be fined for their actions, as should the DFL Senate Caucus for their actions. Finally, there should be a special election to replace Democrats that broke the law.
If it’s a financial hardship for these Democrats, good. I’m not interested in making their lives comfortable. I’m interested in making examples of them. They’ve lost the right to be called public servants. They’ve earned the right to be called lawbreakers. These Democrats have earned the right to be considered unethical politicians.
While buying elections is a serious thing, it’s trivial compared with the political witch hunt that’s happening in Wisconsin:
MADISON, Wis. – Conservative targets of a Democrat-launched John Doe investigation have described the secret probe as a witch hunt.
That might not be a big enough descriptor, based on records released Friday by a federal appeals court as part of a massive document dump.
Attorneys for conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth point to subpoenas requested by John Doe prosecutors that sought records from “at least eight phone companies” believed to serve the targets of the investigation. O’Keefe and the club have filed a civil rights lawsuit against John Doe prosecutors, alleging they violated conservatives’ First Amendment rights.
While there’s no doubt Democrats will deny a connection between the IRS-TEA Party scandal and this witch hunt, they’re too similar in intent to ignore. Here’s what John Chisholm, the Milwaukee County prosecutor leading this witch hunt, obtained through his pre-dawn paramilitary raids:
Court documents show the extraordinary breadth of the prosecutors’ subpoena requests.
They sought phone records for a year-and-a-half period, “which happened to be the most contentious period in political politics,” the conservatives note. They note that prosecutors did not pursue the same tactics with left-leaning organizations that pumped tens of millions of dollars into Wisconsin’s recall elections, in what certainly appeared to be a well-coordinated effort.
Among other documents, prosecutors sought “all call detail records including incoming and outgoing calls,” “billing name and information,” “subscriber name and information including any application for service,” according to the conservatives’ court filing.
In other words, these Democrat prosecutors wanted to intimidate people they didn’t agree with. They used tactics third world dictators use to intimidate the citizenry:
Chisholm, a Democrat, launched the dragnet two years ago, and, according to court documents, with the help of the state Government Accountability Board, the probe was expanded to five counties. The John Doe proceeding compelled scores of witnesses to testify, and a gag order compelled them to keep their mouths shut or face jail time. Sources have described predawn “paramilitary-style” raids in which their posessions were rifled through and seized by law enforcement officers.
This isn’t just a fishing expedition. It’s a message from Democrats to Republicans that they’ll use their offices to intimidate their political enemies. It’s a message from Democrats that they’re weaponizing government agencies.
This isn’t just happening in Wisconsin. It’s happened in Texas, too, where a Democrat with a penchant for getting highly intoxicated abused her office to indict Gov. Rick Perry for doing what other governors have done since the founding of their respective states. She indicted him because he vetoed a bill cutting off funding for her office.
It isn’t coincidence that Scott Walker and Rick Perry are considered potential presidential candidates. In fact, I’d argue that Chisholm launched his fishing expedition into Gov. Walker to defeat him so he can’t run for president.
Check back later today for Part II of this series.
Technorati: John Chisholm, John Doe Prosecutors, Political Witch Hunt, Rosemary Lehmberg, Malicious Prosecution, Campaign Coordination, Buying Elections, Censorship, Weaponized Government, Democrats, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Republicans, Election 2014
One of the things that Rick Perry hasn’t gotten credit for is his moving 1,000 National Guardsmen to the Tex-Mex border. It isn’t that people haven’t commented on Gov. Perry’s decision. It’s that there’s been too much second guessing of his decision:
The governor is simply trying to grab headlines, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest replied.
He said the administration hopes “Gov. Perry will not just take these kinds of steps that are generating the kind of headlines I suspect he intended, but will actually take the kinds of steps that will be constructive to solving the problem over the long term.”
Like most of the stuff coming from this administration, Earnest’s comments are BS. It isn’t that Gov. Perry is trying to grab cheesy headlines. It’s that he’s trying to fix a problem created by the federal government that’s spilled into his lap:
Deploying 1,000 Guardsmen “has nothing to do with unaccompanied minors or children crossing the border,” Perry said, because data show “only 20 percent of those apprehended crossing the border illegally are children.”
The Texas Department of Safety found that 203,000 illegal immigrants were arrested and charged with more than 640,000 crimes since 2008, Perry told the Trib. “Of those crimes, 3,000 were homicides and nearly 8,000 were sexual assaults,” he said. “Thousands of lives have been shattered forever, that shouldn’t have (been), if the federal government had done its job.”
Thanks to President Obama’s indifference to protecting Americans, literally thousands of Texans’ lives have been ruined. The Texas Department of Safety’s statistics are irrefutable. The children flooding in are just part of the crisis. The biggest part of the crisis, though, is that thousands of illegal immigrants have committed heinous crimes that’ve ruined people’s lives.
Border Patrol data show that the number of children entering Texas illegally has grown from about 5,000 in 2012 to more than 50,000 this year. “Inaction encourages other minors to place themselves in extremely dangerous situations,” Perry wrote in his letter to the president. “…Every day of delay risks more lives. Every child allowed to remain encourages hundreds more to attempt the journey.”
President Obama doesn’t see this as a humanitarian crisis as much as he sees it as a political opportunity. He wanted tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to flood into the US in the hopes of forcing Republicans to pass “comprehensive immigration reform.” President Obama’s problem is that the crisis got tons of press, which made it look like a) the administration tried manufacturing this crisis and b) this administration and other Democrats don’t care about consistently enforcing the border.
Republicans have repeatedly said that they won’t pass immigration reform until enforcing the border becomes a high priority for this administration. That isn’t something pro-open borders organizations like La Raza or pro-open borders legislators like Luis Guttierez are interested in.
That’s their problem. The overwhelming majority of people polled demand that the border be secured before talking about legalizing the illegal immigrants already in the country.
It’s gotten to the point that Republicans get better grades on immigration than Democrats get. Gov. Perry might run for president in 2016. At this point, he should because he’s getting high marks for taking border security seriously. He’s taking his law enforcement responsibilities seriously, too, which is more than they think about President Obama.
Technorati: Rick Perry, Border Security, National Guard, Texas Department of Public Safety, Republicans, President Obama, Violent Crimes, Border Crisis, Luis Guttierez, Open Borders, Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Democrats
There are few political analysts I trust more than Michael Barone. I trust Mr. Barone because, in addition to being one of the best number crunchers in the business, he’s a superb researcher. That’s why I took note of what he wrote in this article:
A new Washington Post story quotes Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke as favoring “greater emphasis on the interests of these children who are refugees from extreme violence” instead of “an acceleration of the deportation process at the expense of these children.” But the Post reporters note that “O’Rourke added that he has been surprised by the anger he has heard toward the immigrants of many of his El Paso constituents, who ?feel like we can’t take care of everyone, and these children and their families are gaming the system.’” O’Rourke’s district, which includes most of El Paso County, is 79 percent Hispanic.
That’s stunning. When Hispanics are upset with the flood of illegal immigrants, that’s a sign that this issue isn’t hurting Republicans or helping Democrats. Here’s Mr. Barone’s observation on that:
Democrats are trying to blame the situation on House Republicans’ refusal to pass comprehensive immigration legislation. That seems pretty lame: There’s nothing in the bill the Senate passed in June 2013 that addressed this particular situation. As this article in the Hill makes plain, perhaps despite the writer’s intention, this is a troublesome situation for Democrats whose names are on the ballot this fall.
In past elections, Democrats did a good job convincing Hispanics that Republicans were anti-immigration. That led to Democrats winning the Hispanic vote by a wide margin. The border crisis exposed Democrats as not caring about securing the border. That’s hurt Democrats with independent and Hispanic voters.
While the American people generally favor immigration reform in the abstract, they demand fairness and the rule of law. In this influx of illegal immigrants, they’re seeing neither fairness or the rule of law. It’ more than that, though.
As these illegal immigrants get sent to cities across the country, a nasty case of NIMBYism is settling in:
In the other, Lovelace quotes the chief of staff of the mayor of Lynn, Mass., about how many Guatemalan “children” were sent there and placed in public schools. “Some of them have had gray hair and they’re telling you that they’re 17 years old and they have no documentation,” the official is quoted as saying.
Part of this is due to these illegal border crossers not being children. Another part of this is that cities are getting stuck with the bill from an unexpected influx of people. Mostly, though, they juts don’t want to have to deal with the problem. It’s one thing when they’re someone else’s problem. It’s another when they’re your problem.
If Democrats, including President Obama, don’t work towards fixing this crisis, it’ll be high profile proof that they’re incapable of governing. That’s the worst accusation to hit an incumbent with during election season. If people think that politicians aren’t interested in or are incapable of governing, the other things don’t matter.
This is a tipping point moment for Democrats, especially if they’re on the ballot this fall. If they don’t provide real leadership on this issue, they’ll be hurt this fall.
Jay Sekulow’s op-ed mockingly questions how the administration can enforce the Affordable Care Act’s provisions:
Does “ObamaCare” truly exist? Are we actually living with the law that was passed with so much fanfare four years ago?
I had to ask myself that question while reviewing the New York Times list of unilateral ObamaCare changes, a list that chronicles ObamaCare’s utter failure. Some highlights:
- A one year delay to the employer mandate.
- An additional year delay for medium-sized businesses.
- A one year grace period (no, make that three years) for non-compliant plans.
- Partial exemptions from the individual mandate.
The list can (and does) go on, and it doesn’t even include the recent, significant change to the Individual Mandate that the Wall Street Journal says “quietly repeals the individual purchase rules for two more years.”Why should people refer to the ACA as “the law of the land” when President Obama has unilaterally decided (through presidential fiat) the biggest parts of the law won’t be enforced? In fact, it’s entirely proper to ask if the law isn’t just a shadow of the document President Obama signed in March, 2010:
Further, what proof do we have that President Obama, or any other president for that matter, will ever be able to enforce the ACA’s provisions? Why shouldn’t we think that the Affordable Care Act, aka the ACA, is just a phrase that the administration is desparately clinging to as its only ‘accomplishment’? This week, we found out that the administration did what it refuses to let Congress do — gut the ACA:
How? By broadening the “hardship” exemptions significantly and then requiring proof of hardship by documentation only “if possible.” In other words, if you claim hardship, it looks like the Obama administration is planning to take your word for it.
It’s annoying to hear President Obama’s apologists claim that these delays had to be made because Republicans aren’t working with Democrats to fix the bill. Nevermind the fact that the bill isn’t fixable. Nevermind the fact that Democrats haven’t put forth legislation that fixes the ACA.
Here’s a question for the administration that it doesn’t want to be asked. At what point will the entire ACA be enforced? Another cynical question might be ‘will any administration enforce each of the provisions in the ACA?’ I’m betting that the ACA will never be enforced. I’m betting that because I don’t think it’s enforceable.
I’m betting that that’s the dirty little truth that the administration doesn’t want exposed.
Technorati: President Obama, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, Individual Mandate, Employer Mandate, Hardship Provision, Enforcement, Executive Order, Presidential Fiat, Obama Apologists, Democrats, Election 2014
I’m not a lawyer but what I saw in this video is a police officer, moonlighting as a security guard, acting like a thug:
I don’t know the name of the thug with a badge but he overstepped his authority. I’ll come back to that later.
First, it’s insulting that citizens weren’t permitted to speak at a public hearing. Unfortunately, school boards frequently use this tactic. I know because a friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, has gone to school board meetings with the hope of asking questions, only to have the school board not have an open question and answer period.
Whether it’s the school board, the city council, the county commission, the legislature or the president of the United States, the same rule applies: they work for We The People. Clearly, the school board doesn’t think they work for parents. It’s apparent that they want to limit contact with their employers.
That type of dictatorial behavior isn’t acceptable. That’s the type of thug tactics employed by banana dictators. Which brings us back to the thug with a badge. The man speaking was dragged from the room because he dared speak out against Common Core. That’s just the start of it. Here’s some additional information on what happened after he was dragged out of the meeting:
Small also urged other parents to demand answers on Common Core and the curriculum being used to educate their children.
As the Baltimore Sun reports, the officer then “pushed Small and then escorted him into the hall, handcuffed him and had him sit on the curb in front of the school.” Small was charged with second-degree assault of a police officer and faces a $2,500 fine and up to 10 years in prison. He was also charged with disturbing a school operation, which carries an additional $2,500 and up to six months in jail.
The thug with a badge pushes a parent attempting to speak at a public hearing and it’s the parent that’s arrested? Seriously? While it’s true that the parent didn’t go quietly, that isn’t justification for arresting him on charges that he assaulted a police officer.
The thug repeatedly physically jostled the parent, pushing him once and pulling him another time. Adding insult to injury, the man running the meeting insisted that the man not speak. If the man running the meeting accepted public input, which is what’s supposed to happen at a public meeting, this incident wouldn’t have happened.
Still, the thug with a badge acted in a reckless manner. Getting in the face of a person wanting to speak at a public meeting isn’t a reasonable use of force.
There are two villains in this incident. The thug with a badge is a villain for bullying a citizen whose only real crime was speaking at a public hearing. The school board chairman running the meeting is a villain, too, for attempting to stifle debate on an important subject. That’s a tactic public servants wouldn’t approve of. Unfortunately, this autocrat isn’t a public servant. He’s a thug with an agenda. Apparently, he didn’t hesitate in bullying a citizen attempting a high priority on his agenda.
When public servants think that the public is a nuisance instead of thinking of them as their bosses, things are getting close to that infamous slippery slope. The thug’s actions are reprehensible. If the district attorney prosecutes the citizen, then I hope the jury or the judge slaps the DA and the thug down. Hard.
This article is, among other things, an indictment against progressive activist/thugs:
MIDDLEBURY — A memorial on the Middlebury College campus to those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks was vandalized this past Wednesday, shocking many on campus.
A leader of a group that pulled up 2,977 American flags placed in the lawn between Mead Chapel and the Davis Family Library told the Addison Independent in an exclusive interview that she had no regrets for her actions, saying she found the display offensive to Native Americans.
The flag memorial has been a tradition on campus for at least six years. It is coordinated by the college’s Democratic and Republican groups.
Shortly after 2:30 p.m. this past Wednesday, junior Benjamin Harris was leaving class when he observed five people removing the flags from the lawn and placing them in plastic garbage bags. Harris, co-president of the college Republicans, and five other students had spent two hours setting up the memorial the previous evening.
At first, Harris thought the individuals were moving the flags out of the rain, as inclement weather was expected that afternoon. When he realized this was not the case, he confronted them.
Harris asked why they were tearing up the flags. When he told the individuals the memorial was commemorating those who died in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., during the attacks, he said one of them responded, “You’re commemorating the wrong deaths.” The person continued, “This monument stands for American imperialism and we’re confiscating it.”
I don’t hold much hope for this happening but I’d love hearing that these activists/thugs got arrested and thrown in jail for stealing these flags. The flags belonged to the “college’s Democratic and Republican groups.” I’d further recommend that these activists/thugs be fined heavily for stealing these flags. Finally, I’d tell others writing about this theft not to use the word confiscate except when quoting the activists/thugs. Here’s Dictionary.com’s definition of confiscate:
to seize as forfeited to the public domain; appropriate, by way of penalty, for public use.
Here’s their definition for theft:
the act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny.
This was an act of theft, not confiscation. These activists/thugs/thiefs should be punished for stealing other people’s property. In this article, the community organizer/thief, Anna Shireman-Grabowski, offers a non-apology apology:
Today I, along with a group of non-Middlebury students, helped remove around 3,000 American flags from the grass by Mead Chapel. While I was not the only one engaged in this action and the decision was not solely mine, I am the one who will see you in the dining halls and in the classroom, and I want to take accountability for the hurt you may be feeling while clarifying the motivations for this action.
My intention was not to cause pain but to visibilize the necessity of honoring all human life and to help a friend heal from the violence of genocide that she carries with her on a daily basis as an indigenous person. While the American flags on the Middlebury hillside symbolize to some the loss of innocent lives in New York, to others they represent centuries of bloody conquest and mass murder. As a settler on stolen land, I do not have the luxury of grieving without an eye to power. Three thousand flags is a lot, but the campus is not big enough to hold a marker for every life sacrificed in the history of American conquest and colonialism.
TRANSLATION: I’m sorry for causing any pain to you colonialist pigs.
The first rule of holes is to stop digging. Apparently, Ms. Shireman-Grabowski didn’t learn that lesson in Bill Ayers’ PR class. Second, it’s difficult to take this activist/thug/thief seriously when she ‘admits’ that she’s a “settle on stolen land.” She feels bad about it but not bad enough to stop attending the college. Perhaps Ms. Shireman-Grabowski needs to spend more time thinking things through and less time stealing private property. A lengthy jail term would provide her with that ‘opportunity.’
This St. Cloud Times article left me with more questions about the St. Cloud State Police Department than I got answers.
Move-in day at St. Cloud State University this year saw the continuation of a trend of fewer citations issued to St. Cloud State students and fewer issued overall by police.
That’s the good news.
There is another trend that causes trouble for university officials and police: The violence associated with crime on and around the campus is on the rise. That escalation has increased the threat to students’ safety and stands as the main reason the university is paying the city of St. Cloud $240,000 each of the next three years for three police officers dedicated to patrolling the campus and its surrounding areas.
This article attempts to explain why St. Cloud Mayor Kleis and SCSU President Potter signed an agreement in which St. Cloud State, aka SCSU, pays $240,000 per year for the next 3 years. The article didn’t do a good job with that, especially considering the fact that the first St. Cloud Times article, which I wrote about here, was something I’d expect from St. Cloud State’s PR department. Here’s what was said in the Times’ first article:
During the just-completed 2013 move-in weekend, St. Cloud police reported issuing 59 citations, only 11 of which went to university students. That’s a huge drop from last year’s citations, which totaled 161. More importantly, the 11 citations to students last weekend continued a steady decline in the number of university students contributing to any move-in weekend problems.
Look no further than the latest tool to make the campus neighborhood safer — the St. Cloud Police Department’s new Campus Area Police Services officers. Thanks to the university paying salaries and benefits, three city police officers are assigned to the campus area.
Here’s the first red flag in the article:
The agreement between the city and university was years in the making and has resulted in critics from St. Cloud State wondering why the university has to spend $720,000 over the next three years for something they believe the city should already be providing.
Three questions leap to mind from that paragraph. First, why didn’t Mayor Kleis and President Potter issue a statement when they signed the agreement? They didn’t inform the public until after they started taking criticism. Second, if there has been a significant uptick in violent crime in the neighborhoods surrounding St. Cloud State, why didn’t that become a subject addressed during a City Council meeting or a Meet & Confer meeting? If students’ safety is a high priority and the agreement “was years in the making”, why can’t anyone from the City Council or the SCSU Faculty Association remember discussing this pressing problem? Third, where was the St. Cloud Times on this? Each day, they publish a crime log in their newspaper. If there was a significant uptick in violent crimes in the neighborhoods closest to the SCSU campus, shouldn’t they have written a major expose highlighting this? (Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.)
Apparently, the Times is more interested in being President Potter’s cheerleader than they’re interested in doing their jobs as reporters. Either way, they aren’t a newspaper. They’re a media outlet.
Those are just the biggest questions raised by this article. If there has been an uptick in violent crimes near campus, why haven’t students addressed this during the City Council meeting during open forum? If they didn’t do that, they should’ve said something at a student senate meeting.
“This is the right thing to do and yes, it’s money that we have to take out of our budget and yes, it means that the $240,000 a year will not be available for things other people think are important,” he said. “But this is the safety of our students. This is not noise in the neighborhood. This is a life-and-death matter, and I’m perfectly happy to stand up to any critic and say this is a reasonable choice.”
President Potter’s insistence that “it’s money we have to take out of our budget” is BS. The primary function of government, whether local, state or federal, is public safety. Period. The neighborhoods surrounding the campus pay tons of property taxes. The homes to the north of campus along the Mississippi River are older homes but they’re big homes that pay lots of property taxes. The homes to the west of SCSU’s campus are mostly rental properties, meaning they either pay commercial property tax rates or they aren’t homesteaded. Either way, it isn’t like these properties are churches or government buildings.
If this is the crisis that the article says it is, then the Mayor and City Council should adjust their budget to meet their primary responsibility. Let me repeat that important point: Public safety is the city’s primary responsibility. If the city’s budget doesn’t first address that responsibility, then the budget is a failure.
If this agreement was years in the making, doesn’t that suggest that violent crime wasn’t addressed during those years? The city and SCSU can’t have it both ways. Either the agreement was a knee-jerk reaction to a tragic event last November or it’s long been Mayor Kleis’s wish that President Potter pay for expanding the police force for years.
Either way, it’s questionable public policymaking.