You are browsing the archive for 2015 August 02.

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How To Be Filmed Murdering a Man, Cover It Up, Be Free On Bail, And Ask For Your Job Back

August 2, 2015 in Blogs

By Shaun King, Daily Kos

Privilege at a whole new level.

How to achieve what's posed in the headline? Be a police officer.

Only in America could a man do what Officer Ray Tensing did—be filmed blowing a man's head off, be filmed telling at least 21 lies about what led to him blowing said man's head off, be charged with murder, strongly condemned by the prosecutor, and then be free in a few hoursto ask for his job back. Yes, he asked for his job back.

That's exactly what has happened in this case.

Because it is incredibly gruesome, the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office chose not to release, at first, the full video of the murder of Sam Dubose by Officer Ray Tensing. I understand that, but by ending the video after the fatal shot was fired, we were all deprived of the opportunity to see something truly heinous—the outrageous fictional story concocted by Ray Tensing to justify a completely avoidable murder. See for yourself below.

It is this video, and this video alone, that caused Officer Ray Tensing to be charged with murder.

He was not caught in the vehicle. He was not dragged. He was not about to be run over.

In the video, Tensing claims these things, over and over and over again, and even feigns injury and pain from the dragging. His two fellow officers can be heard saying that they saw it as well. All lies. Incredibly, the DA decided not to press charges against these two additional officers, claiming that they participated fully in the investigation.

So incredible are Tensing and his union that they are actually claiming, in spite of the glaring video evidence, that he was fired from his job “without cause.”

The grievance said, “Officer Tensing was terminated on 7/29/2015 without just cause for an on-duty fatal shooting. While Officer Tensing was indicted on a charge of murder, the indictment is not a conviction. Officer Tensing was also denied his due process rights of a pre-disciplinary hearing under the contract.”

The grievance asked for Tensing to be reinstated immediately and “is to be made whole for all back pay …read more


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We Have the Left And Right All Wrong: The Real Story Of the Politics Of Nostalgia And Tradition

August 2, 2015 in Blogs

By Corey Robin, Salon

It's no longer the right who wants a return to the past.

Ever since Edmund Burke, founder of the conservative tradition,declared, “The very idea of the fabrication of a new government, is enough to fill us with disgust and horror,” pundits and scholars have divided the political world along the axis of time. The left is the party of the future; the right, the party of the past. Liberals believe in progress and the new; conservatives, in tradition and the old. Hope versus history, morrow versus memory, utopia versus reality: these are the stuff of our great debates.

In “The Reactionary Mind,” I argued that this view of the political divide is incorrect, at least as it pertains to the right. Beginning with Burke, conservatives have been less committed to tradition or the past than to a hierarchical vision of society. In Burke’s case, it was aristocrats over commoners; in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it would be masters over slaves, employers over employees, husbands and men over women and wives. And so it remains: the most consistent feature of contemporary American conservatism is the GOP’s war on reproductive freedom and worker rights.

When it comes to history, conservatives have demonstrated a flexibility about time best captured by an aristocratic character in “The Leopard,” Giuseppe Di Lampedusa’s novel about nineteenth-century Sicily: “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.” In defense of an established order of power, any innovation can be countenanced, any past disposed of. Time, in other words, is not the key.

But if the right’s window does not open onto the past, must the left’s open onto the future? Not necessarily, claim two fascinating new books: Steve Fraser’s “The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power” and Kristin Ross’s “Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune.” When it comes to past and future, they show, the left can be as ambidextrous as the right. What’s more, it may be the left’s ability to look backward while marching forward …read more


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The Evil Behind Cosby And Polanski: Can We Overcome Our Long, Painful History Of Rape And Power?

August 2, 2015 in Blogs

By Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

Can the cycle be broken?

This week’s extraordinary cover story by reporter Noreen Malone and photographer Amanda Demme in New York magazine, in which 35 women come forward to accuse Bill Cosby of rape or sexual assault – in considerable and often wrenching detail — ought to dispel the last shreds of doubt or ambiguity around the legendary comedian. To protect our proprietors and shareholders, journalists are still required to describe the charges against Cosby as unproven allegations, especially since he will almost certainly never face prosecution for any of them. I’m going to abide by those rules for those reasons, although they’re clearly ridiculous. None of the excuses or rationalizations floated over the years by Cosby’s defenders seem remotely sustainable in the face of all that overwhelming first-person testimony.

Given that the known number of Cosby accusers now approaches four dozen (11 more women were interviewed by New York’s reporters but declined to be identified), it requires either prodigious imagination or a prodigiously low opinion of women to suggest that they were all cases of misinterpretation or drunken consensual sex or conspiracy to blackmail or shameless promiscuity or sociopathic distortion of reality. If anyone in this terrible story has a distorted perception of reality, it isn’t the women who have spent years or decades struggling with the fact that they had been shamefully abused by an iconic and beloved celebrity.

But Bill Cosby is just one person, depraved as he may be, and the thorny moral questions posed by the slow and dreadful unraveling of his public persona as America’s dad go well beyond him. This might sound like an antiquated conception, but the whole Cosby story offers an opportunity for tremendous moral education and clarification to everyone in our society, I think, because the whitewashing of Cosby’s alleged crimes was a collective cultural phenomenon. That moment ought to have particular resonance for men and for members of the media, who have long observed a half-conscious code of silence when it came to male public figures, have often viewed the testimony of women as inherently unreliable, and have often …read more


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Joe Biden Aides Discussing Possible 2016 Run With Democratic Leaders, Report Says

August 2, 2015 in Blogs

By Martin Pengelly, The Guardian

New York Times says vice-president’s sons urged him to run.

The dying wish of Vice-President Joe Biden’s son was reportedly that his father run for the White House in 2016, against Hillary Clinton.

Beau Biden, the attorney general of Delaware and a US military veteran who served in Iraq, died in May of brain cancer at the age of 46. The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that after he found out he was not going to live, Beau Biden tried to make his father promise to enter the race for the Democratic nomination.

“Beau was losing his nouns and the right side of his face was partially paralysed,” Dowd wrote. “But he had a mission: he tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.”

Dowd also wrote that Biden’s other son, Hunter, “also pushed his father, telling him, ‘Dad, it’s who you are’”.

Quoting “several people who have spoken to Mr Biden or his closest advisers”,the Times subsequently reported: “Mr Biden’s advisers have started to reach out to Democratic leaders and donors who have not yet committed to Mrs Clinton or who have grown concerned about what they see as her increasingly visible vulnerabilities as a candidate.”

Biden, a long-term US senator from Delaware, ran for president in 1988 and 2008. In the 2008 primaries he trailed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Clinton went on to serve as Obama’s first secretary of state and is now the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 2016.

Clinton has come under sustained criticism from Republicans over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, as well as the September 2012 attack on a US diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya.

A third Biden run has long been rumoured, and the vice-president scores highly in …read more


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How Florida's Racketeer Cops Laundered Drug Money, Lived Lavish Lifestyles

August 2, 2015 in Blogs

By Bethania Palma Markus, Raw Story

Two Sunshine State police departments turned drug law enforcement into a lucrative racket. What a shock.

An investigative report by the Miami Herald published today reveals that two local Florida police agencies engaged in a slick money laundering scheme ripped from a Hollywood movie, reaping a whopping $2.4 million for themselves in drug money.

The Tri-County Task Force, which consisted of officers from two small police agencies, the Glade County Sheriff’s Office and Bal Harbour Police Department, laundered millions of dollars via SunTrust Bank through countries including Panama and China, the Herald found.

Per the Herald:

The Tri-County Task Force turned a money-laundering investigation into a multi-million-dollar enterprise, spending lavishly on travel and dining while picking up suitcases stuffed with drug cash from as far away as Los Angeles and San Juan.

The officers used fake names to set up seven accounts, starting in 2009, with the help of SunTrust official Ivan Morales, laundering millions each month.

The so-called sting operation laundered a total of $71.5 million — but did not result in any arrests. The illegal cash was moved overseas despite U.S. policy that forbids it.

In the course of the operation, officers picked up $152,740 from a woman pushing a baby stroller in Queens. The money was sent to Panama. The next month they did it again, but picked up the money from outside the Blue Bay Diner in Flushing, New York.

“They wanted to pump as much money as possible,” Michael McDonald, a trial consultant and former Internal Revenue Service special agent who supervised money-laundering stings, told the Herald. “It was off the wall.”

The task force has been disbanded, and officials are in the midst of trying to track down its lavish expenses, which include $100,000 laptops, iPads and other electronics. The officers flew first class, stayed at resorts for $350 a night and enjoyed dinners with $1,000 tabs.

“It was an off-the-charts, clandestine pot of money,” Jorge Gonzalez, the Bal Harbour village manager, told the Herald. “It seemed like they had carte blanche to do whatever they wanted to do.”


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