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Obama Gets It Wrong About Cops and Race

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Is it possible Barack Obama is using the whole Gates “stupid” remark to take some heat off his floundering health care ambitions? Or is this simply a “teachable moment?”

My suspicions were further aroused when he came out, at a specific time on a Friday afternoon at a White House press briefing, to discuss the matter. Neil Cavuto thinks the “stupid” remark is helping to derail health care, but could it be the other way around? The media and punditry discussion over the “stupid” remark is taking health care reform off the front page. Is that good or bad? If we were dealing with the Clinton Administration, I would think my theory is correct. That said:

Barack Obama managed to get it all wrong when it comes to cops and race. There are good cops and bad cops. The problem is Barack Obama appears to view the world through a black and white lens instead of eyes wide open.

For about a five year period I had a stalker. At least once a month, this guy would stand outside my bedroom windows and smoke. There was no more welcome sight than the flashing blue light of the local sheriff’s deputy as he would pull into the yard and try (once again) to figure out who this person was.

In cases like this cops have the habit of not taking the victim seriously, instead, basically accusing the victim, almost always a woman, of being a little bit “off”. This never happened to me. I kept a record of everything, to the point that our local sheriff actually made an appointment and came out to visit, discussing my options. Never once was I treated without total and complete respect.

It may have helped that at the time I was the owner of a very popular local gallery. My connections to the community went back nearly forty years. I was also the chairman of our local county GOP executive committee. I would like to think status had nothing to do with the excellent protection I received.

Oh, the option that worked? I moved clear across the country.

I left South Carolina with an excellent feeling about law enforcement. Cops were good, helpful individuals who had the best interests of the community at heart. This view of law enforcement was further enhanced by the local police department where I now live. They are the second-highest paid cops in New Mexico, which has something to do with the quality of law enforcement we have locally.

Contrast that with the community next to us. They have one of the lowest pay scales in the state, and some very incompetent cops who have (or have had) a penchant for harassing local high school students.

During the few years I worked with local teens, my view of law enforcement officials began to change. The addicted sister of one of the girls who would infrequently attend the youth group I led at church was roughed up by those same cops, to the point where her story appeared on one of the national evening news magazine. There were, and still are, rumors of several million dollars of liability suits pending.

Imagine my shock and dismay when I ran afoul of police harassment. I am Republican, Episcopalian, Caucasian. I fit all the “right” status groups. White women don’t get harassed by white cops, do they? If you’ve been listening to Barack Obama, only African Americans are harassed by cops; by white cops. This is where I think Barack Obama is so very, very wrong. There are bad cops of every race, theology and ideology. Some of them are racist; others are just plain bad. The one who harassed me was just plain bad.

Several years ago I was driving the parents’ Cadillac through a large southwestern city, which I will not name because I still fear the cops there. We were traveling, my mother in the front seat, my father napping on the back seat with the poodle. The back seat was cluttered with things for the puppy and several Louis Vuitton handbags. My father had a bag full of snack food and paperbacks.

I was less than a block from the entrance to the Interstate when a black-and-white pulled up behind me, its siren blasting. I’d done nothing wrong, was in the right lane, had stopped at all the lights. Nothing was wrong with the car. I knew enough not to pull over on the side of the rush-hour road, and drove another half-block to a large truck stop, where I drove into the parking lot in a highly visible location, and parked.

The white cop greeted me with a drawn hand-gun. His partner went to the other side of the car and held one on that side of the car. They demanded the usual license, registration, etc. which were in the pocket of the seat, behind me. They would not allow my eighty-year-old father to reach across the seat for it. Instead, the white cop (the other was Hispanic) held a gun on me while I climbed out of the car and went into the back seat to find the information. He then pushed me back in the car and held his gun on me while I rummaged through my purse for my license.

While he radioed for information on my past criminal activity, which included one stop sign violation in 1978, one speeding warning in 1988, and a speeding ticket the following week from the same highway patrol trooper (I’d just bought a new sports car, it was late at night, on a very straight stretch of back country highway), a warning for speeding in 1986 in Arizona from a very flirty, very cute cop, and a ticket for not having an updated copy of my insurance in 2002. There were also a few miscellaneous parking tickets, and I think there was a ticket from one of the most notorious speed traps in the country (in the top ten) in Clemson, SC. That was in 1985 or so. The parking tickets were also from Clemson.

The cop, obviously aware that he was dealing with a hardened criminal, opened the trunk and rummaged through it. He ordered the other office, a trainee, to go up under the car. He went through this song-and-dance for nearly a half hour, then finally he answered my question as to why we were stopped: I was not wearing my seat belt!

Once the cops left us after issuing a warning, I immediately drove up to the entrance of the truck stop, and parked. The moment I walked into the building, the manager handed me a phone and a phone number for internal affairs. It seems he and several others at the truck stop had been watching the whole incident and knew exactly what was happening.

I immediately called internal affairs and reported the guy. The truck stop manager told me the cop was dirty: local rumor was he was being investigated for stopping women and demanding sexual favors while holding them at gun point. The only thing that saved me was the fact that I was not traveling alone. After leaving the truck stop I called our local police department and asked about state policy on seat belts. I was informed everything the officer did was wrong and a violation of state law.

On my return trip through town, the same cop followed me through most of the city until I reached the town limits. This happened two other times when I was in that city, to the point where I refused to drive that specific car through town. I was terrified of him. Fortunately, he was arrested a few months later.

And that’s the problem with Barack Obama’s approach to Sgt. James Crowley. Clearly Sgt. Crowley’s approach to Dr. Henry Louis Gates was not racist. But, Dr. Gates' reaction to Sgt. Crowley was either racist, or more likely, grandstanding. Barack Obama either does not realize, or does not accept, the fact that African American cops can be racist toward whites, and white cops can be good. He also does not seem to accept the fact that sometimes there are just bad cops who do bad things to people of all races.

The entire incident proves that Barack Obama is basically out of touch with “real” America. If he were tuned into the rest of the country, he would realize that police harassment is not necessarily a racist thing, but a bad cop thing.

I am a white woman who was harassed by a white cop who was subsequently arrested and charged with sexual harassment, rape, and intimidation, dismissed from the force, and sentenced to a term in the state prison.

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About SJ Reidhead

  • pablo

    yawn

  • Arch Conservative

    Cops are a microcosm of society in general, some good, some bad.

    Obama, by assuming that the cop was a racist without knowing any of the facts, proves that he’s no better than that fat race baiting pig Al Sharpton.

  • http://joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    The one sentence that makes the most sense is the our President is out of touch with reality. He’s not alone; the entire Congress and most state governments are in that same boat.

    You’re right. Not all cops are good cops and not all are racists. That said, not all college professors exhibit common sense and some play the name game as well as the race card.

    The President should not have inserted himself when he did when he didn’t have all the facts (admittedly). But since “press conferences” are orchestrated, I have to think he knew the question was coming and had an answer waiting.

  • Bliffle

    Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • http://www.whalertly.com/wordpress Robert M. Barga

    While I must say that this sucks for you, I would simply have sued and won a crapton of money.
    You acted exactly how you should have, and you did it all properly
    That said, this “black scholar” was obviously in the wrong and should not have acted the way he did.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    So Barack made a mistake in his commentary. The stark reality is that Black men in America deal with these things on a daily basis and THAT is the ultimate issue. Perhaps the professor was over the top. Perhaps the Cambridge police responded a bit too aggressively. As one who travels through Cambridge on a daily basis, I find Cambridge police to be more in tune with “serve and protect” than say, Boston cops. To me the Boston police union is more like an organized crime family designed to serve and protect their own and screw the ones who pay their salaries. But I digress…

    We may have an African American President but we haven’t evolved enough to the point where Black males can feel comfortable walking down the street. That’s reality, folks. Perhaps after the professor and the cop have a beer with the Prez, we can move on and have a frank discussion about race and profiling in this country. Let’s see if we can fit that into the national dialog between health care, the economy, the wars on two fronts and, of course, world peace.

  • http://www.whalertly.com/wordpress Robert M. Barga

    Maybe, just maybe, it is the black males fault for this
    As Jessie Jackson himself said “if i am walking down the street at night and see a black male on my side, I will cross to the other”

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Oh please. I’d rather walk down the streets of Dorchester, Massachusetts amidst hundreds of Black males than walk in the streets of Provo Utah where Mormons are Mormons and sheep are frightened.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    What makes me feel that Obama overreacted with regard to this particular case is the photo that most prominently accompanied the story when it broke, showing Gates in handcuffs and in the foreground, a black police sergeant.

    That said, I think Silas pretty much hits the nail full on here; and Robert made a good point too. I suspect that even black officers are more likely to stop and search an African-American than a Caucasian. The meme (sorry, Clav) that black men are more likely to be criminally active is very hard to shake.

  • Nails

    “S okay, Doc, this once :>)

    But, is it a meme?

    Or, is it reality?

    And I would venture that Jesse Jackson said what he did because statistically, as a black man he’s far more at risk on a dark street at night when another black man approaches than a white man would be.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Clav, I agree that there’s more at work here than just prejudice.

    But there’s also the fact that I’ve never been pulled over by a cop whereas my former co-worker, an African-American whose Dad is a criminology professor at the local university, gets stopped quite regularly for the offense (which I have a feeling may not be on the statute books) of being a black man driving a BMW.

  • Clavos

    Doc,

    Yeah, I’m sure that’s true.

    Here we have a concept called DWB, Driving While Black, and it’s unfortunate when it happens to an innocent person, but if all that happens is a stop, and then the individual is allowed to proceed, without harassment, there’s no real harm done.

    I would guess that if the crime statistics were highest for say, indigenous Mexicans, it would be they who would be stopped while driving beemers.

    That it’s largely not a product of racism, I think, is evidenced by the fact that Black cops practice it as well.

  • Ricardovitz

    I’m real tired of hearin ’bout what Black folks think Whitey been wronging them about.

    We all know that this here Gates feller ain’t nobody. Harvard done gave him a job and gave him a house and gave him a class to teach so they can claim that their College is “Racially Diverse”. Somehow, these idiots think being “racially diverse” makes their school more enlightened, progressive, and down right full of geniuses.

    But, I’m here to tell you that it ain’t. Harvard is full of idiots. And, King Idiot is that fella Gates. He’s a whitey-hating racist black man, yessiree, boys and girls.

    I reckon that Harvard needs racist-whitey hating black men spoutin all sorts of nonsense to yer kids, so them idiots can smoke there dope and dream about how enlighted and smarty-smart they are.

    Welcome to Harvard Community College, where any black man can teach any old crap, and any dumb idiot can get a full scolarship if he’s black and can prove that he was a product of inner city gangs.

    Any fool who sends there white kid to Harvard, is one dern stupid fool.

  • http://www.whalertly.com/wordpress Robert M. Barga

    Jackson actually said it when talking about stereotypes, and explained that the way to combat them is to stop the reason that they are happening. Thus, he explained that young black men need to stop comiting so many crimes

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    I reckon that Harvard needs racist-whitey hating black men spoutin all sorts of nonsense to yer kids, so them idiots can smoke there dope and dream about how enlighted and smarty-smart they are.

    Dear God, spoken like an Arkansan redneck. I agree Harvard is populated with idiots but Professor Gates is not one of them. Could he be an angry Black man? Sure. Does he have reason to carry such anger? Absolutely.

    The stark reality is that Black men still suffer some kind of stigma. While one would think after all these years it would go away, the truth is that it does not. Racism may not be expressed on the streets — but it is expressed in the confines of the home.

    Times have changed. We’re at the dawn of a new era in the United States where white males will no longer maintain majority status. It’s a bitch, crackers, deal with it.

    If Nelson Mandela can rise above his own oppression and forge ahead to make his own native land racially diverse, who are we not to imitate his example? Our Christian forefathers did not intend to include “negroes” as “free men” in our Constitution. But they left behind a living document that could adapt to a changing world.

    This piece of paper is our sacred bond as a common people. I don’t take it lightly. It is intended to be the hallmark in our society, governed by the rule of law. Not by God. Not by the Torah. Not by the New Testament. Not by the Koran. And, certainly, not by the Book of Mormon. All these books have their place in society within the confines of organized religion. No verse from any of these books, whether quoted or incorporated by reference, have a place in our Constitution.

    We may not be able to enforce tolerance across our society. That being said, I would hope that we could at least seed the next generation with the notion that it is possible to coexist in a peaceful society.

    If anything, I look at Justice-designate Sotomayor as being in the unique position to cross all barriers when rendering her decisions from the bench. Those decisions could finally resonate across all divides because, you know what? She was right. The perspective of a Latina woman is different from that of say, Justice Scalia. While Justice may be blind, it must never be blind to compassion and empathy. I hope I live long enough to see the day come when she succeeds John Roberts as the Chief Justice.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Obama has definitely gotten it wrong on race – but folks in Jerusalem have Obama’s number and can tell you why he gets it wrong. He is a racist. Nice to see my fellow Israelis finally waking up and calling a spade a spade (pun intended).

  • Jordan Richardson

    Yeah, Ruvy, sounds like a very intelligent group of “folks” there in Jerusalem at those rallies. I especially love the “Let My People Grow” placards.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    sounds like a very intelligent group of “folks” there in Jerusalem at those rallies….

    That’s okay, Jordan. They do not have to answer to what you think is intelligent or not. They, like me, answer to G-d. I’m sure they would think highly of your intelligence too, Jordan – NOT!

  • http://www.whalertly.com/wordpress Robert M. Barga

    um, Ruvy, just a side point, that was very childish

    that said, I agree that Obama is not helping the Jews out as he implied he would, but i dont see why he needs to

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Actually, Robert, Obama is the best thing for us to happen in years. He ripped the mask of “friendship” from the United States government, and now Israelis can just what Jew-haters and self-hating Jews run America.

    The enemy is clear now – and he who bows to him will find himself a target.

  • http://www.whalertly.com/wordpress Robert M. Barga

    Just because we do not support people doesn’t mean that we hate them

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I’m not talking about you or your opinions, Robert. I’m talking about your government and its actions. Maybe you should put that pipe down and let the smoke clear a bit there so you can actually see what I’m writing, chum. Last I recall, you do not make American policy….

    If you’ve been promoted in the Obamacracy of the Obamanation, and you do, my congrats – sorta.

  • http://www.whalertly.com/wordpress Robert M. Barga

    My question to you is why should my government help your government

  • Jordan Richardson

    Robert, Ruvy talks incessantly around here about how he doesn’t want “your government’s” help but then he whines when he doesn’t get a president to reflect a foreign policy that is akin to a blow job.

    Between that and telling Americans they’re all going to die from swine flu/Obama/the economy/drugs/gangster rap, Ruvy’s pretty solid.

    Plus, he tried a “not” joke. So….yeah.

    Ruvy, if the protesters answer to a higher power, that’s super. But you’re bringing them up in this discussion, so their credibility regarding Obama’s “racism” is certainly relevant on a level far beyond (or below) a deistic one.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Just like the makers of the Hebrew Nationals, Jordan. They do answer to a higher authority.

  • Irene Wagner

    There are times when “the Birth Certificate” is almost as refreshing as a genuinely new topic.

  • Clavos

    Jeez, Irene, please don’t start the birth canard on this thread, too.

  • Dan

    “Times have changed. We’re at the dawn of a new era in the United States where white males will no longer maintain majority status. It’s a bitch, crackers, deal with it.” —Silas Kain

    Good God, what is it that we now need to “deal with”? The perpetual bitching and moaning of parasitic grievance mongers? The brazen, phony, contrivances of a rigged system? The double standards? Second class citizenship?

    These ships have all sailed some forty years ago.

    We keep having these “teachable moments” but no one is learning from them.

    The reflexive bigotry of Obamas questioning “what role race played” in the arrest of the out of control professor, is akin to asking what role black criminality played in the arrest of the ranting professor.

    People familiar with reason know that the racial profiling gambit is illusory, how many teachable moments are needed until the rest catch on?

  • Irene Wagner

    #27 was almost refreshing.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’d vote for #28, Irene.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    My question to you is why should my government help your government….

    I could give you a number of reasons why I think is it should. But the point is not that it should or shouldn’t. Nota bene, I’m a believer in G-d, not a believer in the tooth fairy!

    Institutionally, the United States government is against the existence of a Jewish State in the Middle East. This is a fact, one that you can choose to ignore or accept. It makes no difference to me.

    Its policy has been to corrupt and weaken this state from the inside, grooming weak men and fools like Ariel Sharon, Ehud Barak and Benyamin Netanyahu to be “leaders”. This policy has been pursued consistently from the day this nation survived an Arab onslaught in 1973. From the point of view of weakening this country, this has been a very intelligent policy that has paid off well. The other side of this policy has been getting the defense establishment here to rely on the United States for equipment – an effective policy of imperial control that can be disguised as “aid” so that self-righteous Americans will think they have the right to tell us what to do.

    So, as I said up-thread, Obama is the best thing for us to happen in years. He ripped the mask of “friendship” from the United States government, and now Israelis can see for themselves just what Jew-haters and self-hating Jews run America. In the past, that mask of “friendship” has been the effective tool of weakening the Jewish public here and getting it to accept deceit and backstabbing as the normal actions of an “ally”. They aren’t.

    In this atmosphere, the question is not “why should the United States government help the government of Israel?” The question is “what best helps us git rid of the corrupted scum who bow like puppets to the destructive and unfriendly desires of your regime?” Given that you are basically bankrupt and cannot print you way out of the mess your plutocrats have stuck you in, the value of your “help” drops daily.

    Thus the best thing for US, the JEWISH people, is for the United States to fall and lose power altogether. We don’t need false friends like America anymore.

    Until the fall of your country, what we need most is an anti-Israel leader running your regime, so that we can target your puppets here – and get rid of them, thus severing the ties that bind us to your regime, ties that will kill us in a world where your importance is shrinking daily.

    So, now comes the real question, Robert. Where do you and I fit in all this?

    I’m the bearer of bad or good news, depending on how you choose to look at it. The bad news is that all that is familiar to you will go. The good news is that unlike millions of your fellow countrymen, you can pick up and embrace survival elsewhere, and have the right to do so, no questions asked (they do ask questions in Australia)! There will be risks – serious risks. But you still have what someone like Joanne Huspek (a woman whom I admire, by the way) doesn’t – a way out. You can make the accident of your birth a tool of destiny, as I have chosen to do – or you can ignore it, as you have chosen to up until now, and allow time and the tides of History to dictate your fate.

    I made my choice, and now I’m merely the messenger – one you may wish to kill, but a messenger, nevertheless.

    Your choice still lies before you – and the time for you to choose grows short. Have a good morning, and should you choose to fast tomorrow, to mourn the destruction of Jerusalem twice in our history and the choice our own ancestors made – not to have faith in G-d and to reject His Gift – the land of Israel – I wish you an easy fast.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “I’m a believer in G-d, not a believer in the tooth fairy!”

    Psst, Christopher, that’s your cue.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    EB,

    In this convo between Robert and me, Chris is just an atheistic troll chasing “unwanted gods” from his bridge. Whatever he says is meaningless deflection.

    Of course, if, behind all that Spanish on your site is hiding a Jew uncomfortable with the issues I’ve tossed at Robert, deflection may be just what the doctor ordered – for you.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    This thread is amusing or maybe I’m just in a good mood.

    “Times have changed. We’re at the dawn of a new era in the United States where white males will no longer maintain majority status. It’s a bitch, crackers, deal with it.” —Silas Kain

    That is perfect! I love Silas. I hope he shows up to join me some day, when one of his radio shows are on. :-)

    (pssst Irene…here is something you might like. I found it wonderfully uplifting.)

  • Irene Wagner

    In a world with no men…we’d sit around eating “bitch crackers” (chocolate) all day long…yes Silas does have a way with words. But it isn’t a world without men, so I must say goodbye for now, Cindy…

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    roflol ‘bitch crackers’! oh my…wanders off happily…

  • Elvira Black

    I haven’t had time to read the comments section, but really liked the article. From the perspective of a New Yorker, here are my thoughts:

    Firstly, correct me if I’m wrong, but Obama didn’t mention race in his initial statement, did he? It’s sort of an implied thing whenever something like this happens.

    I think it likely that police will generally stand up for each other, whatever their race, as they did here. If they didn’t I’m pretty sure their jobs/pensions would be in jeapordy or otherwise compromised. This is not unique to cops, of course.

    I don’t think race is the real issue, but rather the question of why someone would be arrested on their own property for arguing with an officer. And the charges were subsequently dropped, which seems to back up that assumption.

    As for racial profiling, it’s a two edged sword. In my neighborhood, there are a good many young people who walk around deliberately looking and talking like thugs; in other words, “profiling” themselves. But as the author said, you don’t have to be black to be stopped for no reason. And cops come in all colors, esp in NYC.

    It’s more a question of the fact that someone with a gun, a uniform, and a badge wields a lot of potential power (i.e. the power of life and death, arrest and freedom). Screening cops and making sure they are properly trained seems essential to me, along with sufficient funding and salaries.

    There are frequent news stories here about alleged police brutality/shootings as well as vice versa. Sometimes it seems like the wild west instead of NYC.

    I could go on, but I did enjoy the article. As I said, I think it is more the kneejerk reaction of the press and public as far as racial profiling rather than the reality, at least in some cases, which seems to reflect the underlying racial tensions of our country rather than what the president said or did.

  • http://www.whalertly.com/wordpress Robert M. Barga

    Ruvy, here is the thing, assuming you are correct, then we shouldn’t help you. Assuming you are wrong, we still shouldnt help you
    My government is here for the people of the united states, not the people of Israel

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    …here is the thing, assuming you are correct, then we shouldn’t help you> Assuming you are wrong, we still shouldnt help you.
    My government is here for the people of the united states, not the people of Israel….

    That’s kinda lame, there, Robert. Nobody said to the contrary. Theoretically, of course your government is there for the people of the United States and not Israel. Except, of course, the reality is that it’s not there for the people of the United States either. It’s there for the benefit of the governing elites only – which the “Blessed of Hussein” has managed to join recently as a full ledged member.

    And Obama should not be shafting the kind of people who “protect and serve” – him.

    As for you, you seem to have fully decided your path. Good luck to you on the way down.

  • http://www.whalertly.com/wordpress Robert M. Barga

    My path to hell?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    No, Robert, not your path to hell – the path to desolation that you and most American and European Jews will take for rejecting the Land and committing, yet once again, the Sin of the Spies. How that will happen is not for me to say – that’s above my pay grade. I am reasonably certain that it will happen, though.

    As for “hell”, there seems to be something called “sheol” where the soul that hasn’t sufficient redeeming qualitiies to it goes after the person dies to be punished – but it is not clear if this is permanent or temporary. I do not know know you well enough to speculate where your soul will go after you die.

  • http://www.whalertly.com/wordpress Robert M. Barga

    I was going to say, speaking of Hell isn’t very jewish, good thing your weren’t

    Anyways, why would I go downward for not caring about another country?

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Hey you pols, I think you all deserve a bit of a laugh, so take a gander at this “news report” I just saw on the blog of a new Blogcritics writer, Tom Ippen.

    I laughed out loud so much my wife Ursula came rushing downstairs to see what was so funny and she loved it too. This is why we like America!

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Anyways, why would I go downward for not caring about another country?

    Go re-read comment 31 a few times, Robert. Then look up “Sin of the Spies” in a Jewish religious text. I cannot cure your ignorance of basic Jewish concepts, but I can try to point you in the right direction, and perhaps you can teach yourself.

  • Irene Wagner

    #30 was refreshing as well, Roger Nowosielski. #43 was refreshingly Gatesless, also, in spite of the fact it contained a fairly comprehensive (if you’re an American) news report.

    “Here’s to never reading another line about it again!” *raises a can–or was it a bottle or a Presidential Goblet–of Bud Light*

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I hope everyone has been enjoying the beer garden photo op at the White House during the last hour.

    Obviously this has been blown out of proportion. I cringed when the president said ‘stupidly’ in the news conference, even though I agreed with him.

    But he has been widely praised for his follow-up remarks last Friday in the briefing room, even by Republicans, and rightly so. He knew he had misspoken, and admitted it, and calling the sergeant was pretty classy.

    The made for cable news beer chat today is a mix of the ridiculous and the brilliant [at least in terms of PR]. But it certainly doesn’t support the silly assertions that Obama, in commenting on the case, was revealing some hitherto secret racism.

    His tendency is to try to smooth things over and encourage folks to get along. What “Stupidly” revealed was that he is human, not always on script.

  • Clavos

    ABC’s World News Tonight just reported that it is NOT a friendly gathering…

    Prof. Gates continues to insist on an apology from Sgt. Crowley, who naturally enough, asserts he has done nothing for which to apologize.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    We should all have a beer, Irene, to toast to a teachable moment. I hope you’re doing OK.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I think they are both right [partly] and both wrong, or stubborn. The prof got hot under the collar, but he, um, was in his own house; he’s not a young man, he walks with a cane; were cuffs necessary? And the charges were dropped very quickly. The sergeant didn’t realize how prominent Gates was, and was surprised when fellow officers later told him.

    Gates is by all accounts usually personable and mild-mannered; this really got under his skin [!] in a personal way.

    Perhaps Sgt. Crowley’s reluctance to apologize is less personal, and more about setting a precedent for other arresting officers.

  • Irene Wagner

    OK, Handyguy, given the fact that this thing was above-the-fold nationally for way too long already, I’m glad (I’m hoping?) the whole thing is ending with two grumpy guys glaring at one over brews, while the well-intentioned President (bless his heart) desperately tries to discover a sports team they both like…(I made that last part up.)

    It’s better than the post Rodney King race riots. In light of the memories of that story, both Sgt. Crowley and Prof. Gates conducted themselves in comparatively dignified fashion, though it’s likely they’ll never be in the same bar on purpose again.

    Who knows, maybe the whole thing was scripted (bread and circuses, remember?)– the whole dang thing. If it starts conversations instead of riots, I’ll stop complaining.

  • Irene Wagner

    Two’s my limit, though, Roger. *to teachable moments*

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, the most troublesome aspect of this incident is that Crowley insisted that Gates step out of his own house. Only then I believe handcuffs were employed.

    It’s always perturbing that no one is forthcoming with a crystal clear account of what exactly happened. But police depts, etc, are notorious for not filling these reports unless they’re put against the wall. I believe the pressure is on.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I happen to think that “beer” was only a manner of speech. They’ll need something far more potent to break the ice. My idea would be to serve at least three rounds of Saphire Martinis, extra dry and up, 12 oncers. You’ve got to get them slurring before they kiss and make up.

  • Clavos

    Gates is by all accounts usually personable and mild-mannered…

    I’ve seen comments by former students and colleagues which state that he’s arrogant — which is not surprising, a lot of academics are, especially tenured profs.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    So Crowley is a handsome, telegenic media star now. His press conference indicated that he and Gates will have additional ‘cordial’ discussions. Maybe he will run for mayor or governor!

    I lived in Cambridge for 7 years. Republicans are rather…scarce there. I note that the press conference was ‘made possible by’ the AFL-CIO and that Sgt. Crowley’s union reps were nearby. And with ‘regular white guy’ VP Joe Biden on hand today, it was unlikely the officer was going to embarrass the White House.

  • Clavos
  • Clavos

    IMO, both Gates and Crowley were used by Obama in an effort to rehabilitate himself for having inserted his foot in his mouth “stupidly.”

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Sure. And they used him also. And the media used everybody. What else is new?

  • Clavos

    I’ll give you the media. I don’t see how either Gates or Crowley gained anything out of it, especially Crowley.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Well, there were people that viewed Gates and Crowley negatively, whether fairly or not. The meeting tonight and its generally cozy vibes probably helped smooth that over.

    I was inclined to view Crowley as a bully. He came across tonight [in his press conference] as anything but.

    Gates didn’t make an on-camera statement, but there he was smiling and sharing a beer with Crowley and the prez and VP. And Crowley and Gates are planning further meetings!

    Sorta makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But maybe this is enough already.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    I’ve YET to hear an ACTUAL audio clip of Gates at the scene saying anything loud or belligerant. If somebody can provide me a link, I would be happy to listen to it.

    I HAVE read the

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    My earlier post #61 was cut off. Don’t know how.

    I will say that there are posts here that disturb me as a conscious African-American man who drives tens of thousands of miles a year in his field. The open acceptance of separate and unequal treatment by law enforcement just reinforces the belief system I share with millions of other Blacks about America. The statement by S.J. about “real Americans” in her last page pretty much says it all about the Eurocentric attitude that permeates this land.

    –Cobra

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Hey there Cobra! Nice to see your typing again. :-) I missed you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Same here, and hello. I guess the race issue hadn’t died.

    Cindy, you had better repost the old link to that article concerning the Rev. Wright controversy.

    The inquiring minds want to know, and the dull ones . . . Well, who cares?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Okay Roger. I will look later. Now I have to go to…can you believe this?…my 1974, 35 year, 8th grade class reunion.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I didn’t know they still had those. Happy trip down the nostalgia lane.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Thanks Cindy.

    Just as an aside about the Eurocentric perspective, if you scroll through the comments, you’ll see President Obama accused of being “out of touch” because he sees an arrest that apparently violates the 1st and 4th Amendments as “stupid”. You’ll also see various allusions to Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Jeremiah Wright. That proud, flag-waving, “America-Right or Wrong” White Conservatives have a problem with any of them. Hell, Henry Louis Gates title, “Professor of African-American Studies at Harvard” must set some wigs on fire among that group. It’s not surprising to me at all, or really that unsettling.

    But you’ll also notice that when a certain poster named Ruvy says this:

    “Thus the best thing for US, the JEWISH people, is for the United States to fall and lose power altogether. We don’t need false friends like America anymore.”

    I go on to read…..

    Nothing. Silence. Crickets. The flags stopped waving. No rebuttal.

    All of S.J. Reidhead’s “Real Americans” (ironically, my ancestors got here most likely before most of the folks posting did) who wail in OUTRAGE when any African-American DARES to take issue with what they perceive as inequities in our system of law enforcement, governance or society sat mute, and dumbfounded when Ruvy openly wished for the destruction of the country they claim to love so dearly.

    Now, my point of view?

    1. America is not perfect, but I love my flawed Country.
    2. I have a problem with many AMERICANS of all stripes.
    3. We should work on the flaws we have and the problems we face to form a more perfect union.
    4. Ruvy is not the FIRST person from the middle-east to openly cheer for the downfall of America. I’m just surprised that my usually jingoistic conservative friends haven’t reacted the same way to him, as they did to the others.

    I guess RACE trumps PATRIOTISM in their case, huh?

    –Cobra

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cobra,

    Many of us have given up on responding to Ruvy’s sentiments about USA. What’s the point?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Cobra,

    My comments bother you?

    Good! They should bother you. When someone who once loved your country wishes for its fall, you should be very bothered and disturbed. You should be asking what did America do that an ex-pat wishes for its destruction? Go and re-read the entire comment to Robert Barga, instead of quoting one line out of context, Cobra. It’s from a Jew who sees the evil your country’s government does to a Jew who doesn’t give a damn and who doesn’t want to know.

    My disaffection with America’s government is not born of hatred, it’s born of bitter realization of the evil your government perpetrates. And I’ve been very consistent on this point.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    By the way, Cobra, if you really want to start up with me, you can read the story of a friend of mine, Larry Franklin.

    He states in no uncertain terms that the FBI (read PIG or COP) are filled with Jew haters. He only confirms what most Jews born in America who have any brains in their heads know well already.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Looks like an eagle caught the Cobra in its talons and he’s having problems responding.

    So while he finds his voice, I thought I’d bring you another proof that Obama has it all wrong about race. Equal justice under the law is a concept that Americans like to brag about. For over two centuries a black man could not get equal justice under American law. And this was wrong – and still is. But under the caesarship of a true African-American, black hate groups now get a free pass.

    Gotta love it, folks! Well, I didn’t love it, so I left it.

    Blessings from Samaria
    ISRAEL

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Roger,

    I didn’t aim my statement at you, because you don’t ever give the impression that you’re a jingoistic, right-winged, America-love-it-or-leave-it type.

    My statement was aimed at the conservatives who spent months here screeching about Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s comments on America, Jesse Jackson,and Al Sharpton, but can’t seem to find their keyboards when Ruvy declares the President of the United States as his “enemy”:

    “The enemy is clear now – and he who bows to him will find himself a target.”

    And who cheers for the destruction of America.

    Now, Roger, you’ll also notice I will NO LONGER have a direct discussion with Ruvy here, since he’s declared himself an “enemy” of our Nation’s Leader,and by extension, America. What makes Ruvy any better than other middle-eastern groups who make similiar declarations and statements?

    Any communication with a foreign national who openly calls for the downfall of America might expose me to sanctions prescribed in the Patriot Act.

    Ruvy can have a ball maligning me, our President and America. I know what trigger words and catch phrases start the “monitoring” process, and I refuse to be linked to this guy as an “associate.”

    –Cobra

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’ve never thought of it, Cobra. I, too, had better be careful lest there be a knock on my door: Guilt by association!

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Any communication with a foreign national who openly calls for the downfall of America might expose me to sanctions prescribed in the Patriot Act. Ruvy can have a ball maligning me, our President and America. I know what trigger words and catch phrases start the “monitoring” process, and I refuse to be linked to this guy as an “associate.”

    Gotta love it! Cobra cannot defend himself or have an intelligent conversation here because he fears the long arm of the American law attempting to make him a terrorist! Wow!! Do you all see the toilet your free speech has been flushed down? That’s the Bush administration that has robbed your freedom of speech. But nota bene, the Obama administration has not only not restored that freedom of speech, but extends censorship even further, using different means!

    Cry the beloved country!

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    My statement was aimed at the conservatives who spent months here screeching about Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s comments on America, Jesse Jackson,and Al Sharpton, but can’t seem to find their keyboards when Ruvy declares the President of the United States as his “enemy”:

    The conservatives who ranted about Wright, Jackson and Sharpton seem to be missing altogether, not just neglecting to respond to Ruvy. As for those of us who are here, we mostly just ignore Ruvy as a matter of policy.

    Dave

  • Irene Wagner

    Ruvy left the US because he was making aliyah which is a more of a move toward Israel than one away from the US. There are more than a few who distrust President Obama as much as we distrusted former President Bush. It’s nothing to do with race. Far be it from me to defend everything Ruvy has said on BC, but it doesn’t seem accurate, in light of what he’s said in the past, to call him racist against blacks. Palestinians, now that’s a matter of debate. Blacks, no. And I
    ve got to go.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Irene,

    Answer me two questions:

    1. How do the statements by Ruvy–

    “Thus the best thing for US, the JEWISH people, is for the United States to fall and lose power altogether. We don’t need false friends like America anymore.”

    And this about President Obama:

    “The enemy is clear now – and he who bows to him will find himself a target.”–

    –have ANYTHING to do with the point you’re trying to make in your last post?

    2. What other foreign nationals will you make a statement in defense for when they make the SAME kinds of anti-American statements and declarations?

    As far as I see it, when somebody wants the United States of America to “fall”, they’re not just singling out Black folks like me.

    –Cobra

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Cobra, I’m talking to YOU.

    If you haven’t the cojones to answer me because you fear repressive legislation in your country that chills your freedom of speech, that is your problem, not mine. My country has similar legislation, but you have never seen me hold back in calling for the downfall of the piteous bastards who ruin this nation – bowing in obeisance to the Jew-haters ande self-hating Jews, open and covert, who run and ruin your country. And I’ve been commenting here nigh on four years now, and writing articles here since November, 2005.

    Frankly, I suggest you grow a pair, and take the rights guaranteed you under the constitution of 1787, under the first and fouteenth articles of amendment. They are yours, and you can sue, and if you do not, I have friends who would be happy to sue on your behalf. If you fear “monitoring” from your own government, you exaggerate your own importance. You do not matter that much in anyone’s eyes but your own, and in the eyes of those who love you.

    Which is as it should be. You do not count for that much in the scheme of things and unless I actually do something to back up what I say, neither do I.

    Try quoting in context, like a man, instead of out of context like a coward, and then try answering like a man instead of cowering before your country’s secret police. Your own fear of prosecution is proof of the loss of your liberties, and your own quotes would make a great the basis of a great article on the loss of those liberties. If you succeed in chilling speech here at Blogcritics, you will only spread the loss of the G-d given liberties you have. Again, your problem, not mine.

    As for Dave, he is often a blinkered fool who forgets the knowledge he has gained from living in the Middle East – so he often sounds like an ignoramus from the Muddled West. That is his problem – and his blinkered views are more a loss to this magazine, and his own sites than anything else.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Yep, the blinkers of reason are a heavy cross to bear. Oh to be completely unhinged by religious delusion.

    dave

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    You still sound like an ignoramus from the Muddled West. Your article condemning Ashura was just one example of what I was talking about. You, who grew up in the Middle East, should have had some better comprehension of what the Shi’a do and why. Instead you sounded like some “gee whiz, look at the savages” idiot from National Geographic.

    ….the blinkers of reason are a heavy cross to bear.

    If an atheist like you wishes to bear a cross, at least allow some of the Christians on the site to help you…. Lumber like that can be heavy.

  • Irene Wagner

    Cobra – Ruvy alone must bear the cross of making those statements. What do those statements have to do with singling out blacks? Absolutely nothing.

    The rights of Americans when they’re under arrest was the issue here. The Gates drama, unfortunately, has been presented BY the government TO the citizens, as a “teachable moment” about race relations. It’s taking the focus away from what should be EVERYONE’S concern right now: “the citizens vs. government-stepping-all-over-the-rights-of-EVERYBODY” issue. The citizens need to be sending a message TO the government, not getting one FROM the government at this point in history.

    The intense focus on this story seems like a distraction to me, and not one created by those who, primarily, have the interests of blacks at heart.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Ruvy doesn’t believe in the cross, Irene – only in fire and sword.

    And I think you’re mistaken about the issue being the rights of the citizens at large. That is a separate problem – to be handled perhaps under the rubric of “the war on terror” or the Patriot Act. But the Gates affair surely highlights the prejudiced face of “white justice.” And in Mass, of all places, one of the most “liberal” states of the Union.

    A Englishman’s home is supposed to be his castle. Not even Kings or Queens were supposed to have a right of access. But Gates is black – a different category of a human, and definitely not “an Englishman.” Consequently, the same rights need not apply.

    So you tell me how this isn’t about race!

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Great points, Roger.

    Irene writes:

    “Cobra – Ruvy alone must bear the cross of making those statements. What do those statements have to do with singling out blacks? Absolutely nothing.”

    Then why on Earth did YOU make this statement to me before–

    “It’s nothing to do with race. Far be it from me to defend everything Ruvy has said on BC, but it doesn’t seem accurate, in light of what he’s said in the past, to call him racist against blacks. Palestinians, now that’s a matter of debate. Blacks, no. And I
    ve got to go.”

    I didn’t end all communication with Ruvy because he may or may not have problems with Blacks. Hell, I couldn’t function in life if I stopped talking to all the people I meet who feel that way. Oh no.

    This gentleman is cheering for America to FALL, just like the people we’re currently at war with.

    I don’t consort with individuals like that.

    Irene writes:

    “The Gates drama, unfortunately, has been presented BY the government TO the citizens, as a “teachable moment” about race relations. It’s taking the focus away from what should be EVERYONE’S concern right now: “the citizens vs. government-stepping-all-over-the-rights-of-EVERYBODY” issue. The citizens need to be sending a message TO the government, not getting one FROM the government at this point in history.”

    Which government? The local government of Cambridge, MA DROPPED the charges against Gates like a hot rock. They knew it was a bogus arrest.

    President Obama did NOT hold a press conference about the Gates arrest. He was asked a question about the Gates arrest during a press conference by Chicago reporter Lynn Sweet, and his response was taken by white conservatives and republican activists and used as a wedge issue, focused on the same White, blue-collar males that they’ve been targetting since the 2008 Campaign.

    That’s why there’s so much focus on the Ricci-DeStefano case and Judge Sotomayor.

    That’s why there’s NO focus on the possible infringement of the 1st and 4th Amendments in the Gates Case, and Sgt. Crowley’s apparent LIES in his official report based upon the statements of key witness Lucia Whalen. In America 2009, Irene…you can still be arrested for “Housing While Black”.

    –Cobra

  • Clavos

    He was asked a question about the Gates arrest during a press conference by Chicago reporter Lynn Sweet, and his response was taken by white conservatives and republican activists and used as a wedge issue, focused on the same White, blue-collar males that they’ve been targetting since the 2008 Campaign.

    A question for which, we now know, he was prepped beforehand, so his answer — all of it — was premeditated.

    Sgt. Crowley’s apparent LIES in his official report based upon the statements of key witness Lucia Whalen.

    Care to elaborate and specify those lies, Cobra?

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Clavos,

    You have to prep for a multitude of questions at a press conference. We’re a nation trying to claw out of an economic crisis, and fight two wars simultaneously. Heck, the Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared.”

    The message you really want to get out comes in the opening statement.

    Clavos writes:

    “Care to elaborate and specify those lies, Cobra?”

    Sure.

    From the OFFICIAL CAMBRIDGE POLICE REPORT filed by Sgt. James Crowely:

    “As I reached the door, a female voice called out to me. I turned and looked in the direction of the voice and observed a white female, later identified as Lucia Whalen. Whalen, who was standing on the sidewalk in front of the residence, held a wireless telephone in her hand and told me that it was she who called. She went on to tell me that she had observed two black males with back packs on the porch of …Ware Street. She told me her suspicions became aroused when she observed one of the men wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry. Since I was the only police officer on location, and had my back to the front door as I spoke with her, I asked that she wait for other responding officers while I further investigated.” Smoking Gun

    Statements by Wendy Murphy, Lawyer for Lucia Whalen:

    “Let me be clear: She NEVER HAD A CONVERSATION with Sgt. Crowley at the scene,” Murphy told CNN by phone. “And she never said to any police officer or to anybody ‘two black men.’ She never used the word ‘black.’ Period.” CNN

    Luica Whalen’s Press Conference:

    “The only words I exchanged were [that] I was the 911 caller, and he pointed to me and said, ‘Stay right there,'” she said during a press conference at Danehy Park in Cambridge. “Nothing more than that.”

    Boston.com

    As you can see, Sgt. James Crowely’s signed, Official Police report states that there was a long, specific and detailed conversation at the scene with Lucia Whalen. Lucia Whalen denies any such long, specific and detailed conversation took place, and unless somebody wants to discount everything Crowley writes between “I’m the caller” and “Stay right there” as some sort of “haze in the fog of war,” somebody’s LYING.

    My bet is on Crowley, since the 911 tapes back up what Lucia Whalen claimed about the type of language she used.

    Where’s your bet going?

    –Cobra

  • Lumpy

    I have to point out that the two statements you quote from whalen contradict each other so I wouldn’t rate her credibility too highly.

  • Clavos

    My bet is on Crowley, since the 911 tapes back up what Lucia Whalen claimed about the type of language she used.

    But the conversation in which Whalen allegedly referred to “black men” isn’t part of the 911 tapes. Personally, I would believe the word of a trained observer such as Sgt. Crowley over that of a bystander such as Whalen.

    Oh, and for the record: I don’t drink, smoke or bet. All three activities are for fools.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Lumpy,

    How do they contradict each other?

    Whalen: “I’m the caller”
    Crowley: “Wait right there”

    That’s NOT a “conversation”, and anybody who says it is, is bringing an obvious pro-cop bias to this incident.

    Clavos writes:

    “But the conversation in which Whalen allegedly referred to “black men” isn’t part of the 911 tapes. Personally, I would believe the word of a trained observer such as Sgt. Crowley over that of a bystander such as Whalen.”

    That’s because according to Whalen, who has no reason to lie, she never used those words at any point during the incident. Apparently, the “two black males with backpacks on the porch” narrative was wholly generated by Sgt. Crowley.

    Also, that you would “believe the word of a trained observer such as Sgt. Crowley (which you can substitute any other cops name in a controversial case) is part of the larger issue minorities face in America to start with.

    Not to condemn you for your opinions, mind you. Your personal experience shapes them. My personal experiences, starting from being picked up for “WWB”, (Walking While Black) in Clark, NJ 1982 tells me that NOBODY is beyond question, inspection or review.

    I hear the same types of things everytime an unarmed Black man is beaten, falsely imprisoned, or killed by police.

    It’s 2009, Clavos. It rings hollow, my friend.

    –Cobra

  • Clavos

    That’s because according to Whalen, who has no reason to lie…

    An assumption which you can’t verify.

    She could have any number of reasons.

    By all accounts, Crowley is a model officer, with no prior evidence of racism in his work, and in fact was an instructor teaching other officers how NOT to be biased.

    On the other hand, we know nothing about Whalen other than she lives in a rich, privileged neighborhood and is Gates’ neighbor.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Cobra, your definition of a conversation doesn’t match most peoples. She said things to him, he said things back to her. That’s a conversation.

    Dave

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Clavos writes:

    “By all accounts, Crowley is a model officer, with no prior evidence of racism in his work, and in fact was an instructor teaching other officers how NOT to be biased.”

    “By all accounts”…actually should read– “By all accounts from the Cambridge Police Department.” The Cambridge Police Department has a sordid racial history of its own. Second, one can also say that Officer Justin Barrett of Boston “was a model officer, with no prior evidence of racism in his work…” until he sent the infamous “banana-eating jungle monkey” email about the Gates’ case.
    Boston.com

    You, I, and most of the rest of America outside of Cambridge, MA never HEARD of Sgt. James Crowley before two weeks ago.

    You’re making “assumptions” about this White Police officer, just as you are accusing me of making assumptions about Lucia Whalen.

    –Cobra

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    As Cobra doesn’t quite dare to say, you will rarely go wrong overestimating the racism of the northeastern, democrat-voting working class.

    Dave

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Back at #25 Roger says, Just like the makers of the Hebrew Nationals, Jordan. They do answer to a higher authority.

    My question is what higher authority are we talking about. The Anti-Palestinian Authority? The Hebrew National stockholders? Jews for Jesus? If they were answering to their God, they’d be sharing their food with the masses instead of charging outrageous prices for substandard product.

    Now to Officer Crowley. Living in the area I have to bolster my support for the Cambridge Police. They’re a good department with officers who should be the example of what effective community policing should be.

  • Clavos

    You’re making “assumptions” about this White Police officer, just as you are accusing me of making assumptions about Lucia Whalen.

    Wrong. I’m not “assuming” anything about Crowley. I am accepting his boss’s characterization of him, but it’s not an assumption, it’s what was said about him.

    On the other hand, we know nothing about Whalen other than where she lives and who one of her neighbors is, so anything else you state about her, including whether or not she has a reason to lie, is perforce, an assumption.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I suppose we shouldn’t question the commendations accorded to Crowley. As though a bureaucratic organization, be it a police department or any other institution, were not in the practice of supporting their own, right or wrong. Of course not, because self-preservation and maintaining the established hierarchy were the furthest thing from their mind.

    I suppose the management of BC offers a splendid counterexample to this deeply-ingrained institutional practice. But that’s an exception.

    So yes, let’s take the boss’s commendation at face value, the good, law-abiding citizens that we all are.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Clavos writes:

    “I am accepting his boss’s characterization of him, but it’s not an assumption, it’s what was said about him.”

    Can you name Sgt. Crowley’s “boss” without looking it up in a search engine?

    If you can’t…then you’re ASSUMING that Crowley’s here-to-fore anonymous boss’s characterization is accurate and worth the words that formed it.

    I’m sorry. Perhaps it’s the cultural, racial and societal differences that tells me, having lived my life as a conscious African-American, that I simply cannot BLINDLY TRUST every cop I encounter to be upstanding and above bias and reproach.

    “Well, if they abuse your rights, Cobra…take them to court.” Would be the response, right?

    And what chance would I stand if it was my words against a cop, and the jury is comprised of Clavoses?

    –Cobra

  • Clavos

    Can you name Sgt. Crowley’s “boss” without looking it up in a search engine?

    Actually, I can. His name is Robert Haas. Saw it in the paper, same place I saw Gates’ name and Crowley’s — for that matter, Obama’s.

    And what chance would I stand if it was my words against a cop, and the jury is comprised of Clavoses?

    Well, you see, Cobra, if I were ever to serve on a jury, I would consider the evidence actually presented during the trial, and make my decision accordingly, which is exactly what I’m doing in this discussion: trying to decide by what has been presented.

    Maybe that’s why, though I’ve been called for jury duty a couple of dozen times, I’ve never been chosen; lawyers don’t really want jurors who’ll actually consider the evidence, they want jurors they can bamboozle with a lot of rhetoric.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    I’m goign to share a little story with you about police and their methods of doing business in Massachusetts. This is a true story and those Bay Staters reading are welcome to share it.

    A few weeks ago a state employee was strolling one of our many beautiful beaches. At the end of the day she returned to find her car was missing. In a panic, she contacted the local police and reported the car stolen to the state police.

    A week passes by and still no car. No news. No nothing. So, on the following Sunday, the victim’s daughter is back at the same beach, which she revered (subtle hint). Walking along the sands near the sidewalk, lo and behold! She spots her mother’s car! So, she calls Mom and asks when she got her car back? Mother knows nothing about it. She hasn’t heard a peep from local law enforcement.

    So, Mommy gets a ride to the beach and contacts the cops. They come down. They see that the car had not been tampered with. As a matter of fact, they determine that the car wasn’t stolen to begin with! Hooray! Praise Jesus! The car stayed on the beach for an entire week unscathed!

    Well, it seems that there’s a ONE HOUR PARKING BAN on this particular stretch of parkway. And local law is renowned for enforcing that policy. But there’s a problem. You see the nice state employee lady who misplaced her car has a secret weapon. It’s called a sticker. On the back windshield she has a sticker indicating that she’s a Mass State Police “Booster”. Well, now. Isn’t that nice. So the car has this little sticker and she doesn’t get fined, she doesn’t get towed, she’s free to be like you and me.

    So what’s the moral to the story? If you’re gonna steal a car in Massachusetts, make sure it HAS one of those stickers on the back!

  • Bliffle

    “Obama Gets It Wrong About Cops and Race”, eh?

    I don’t think so.

    I can’t speak to Boston cops, but I can relate my witnessing of Palo Alto police, right here in far-out leftwing touchy-feely ultra-liberal left-coast California.

    One afternoon about ten years ago, looking out from my upscale downtown townhouse kitty-corner from city hall, across the street from the library and the Peninsula Art League, a very good address in a very good neighborhood, I saw two PA policemen stop a young brown man, well-dressed, middleclass student appearance, throw him up against the brick wall, hassle him some more and finally handcuff him and take him off to the station. I thought little of it: probably one of those rich young drug pushers that one hears about, I thought, masquerading as a student to blend in.

    But it was not so. A few months later, just before Stanford graduation, I happened to read an editorial by the student editor of the Stanford Daily who was now graduating. It was he I had seen. It was the student editor who had been so summarily mistreated. For no cause other than Existing While Black. His tone was sad rather than declamatory.

    I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it. But I saw it, and now I am dubious about claims of racial mending among the police. Even in university communities.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Silas:

    So had she simply forgotten where she’d parked, or had the police towed her, seen her sticker and quietly put the car back where they’d towed it from?

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Dread,

    She simply forgot. As a matter of fact I am told the responding officer said, ok the car wasn’t stolen, it was misplaced. Never towed. Plates never run. Officer see sticker, officer drive by.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Clavos writes:

    “Well, you see, Cobra, if I were ever to serve on a jury, I would consider the evidence actually presented during the trial, and make my decision accordingly, which is exactly what I’m doing in this discussion: trying to decide by what has been presented.”

    No, you actually made this statement:

    “Personally, I would believe the word of a trained observer such as Sgt. Crowley over that of a bystander such as Whalen.”

    If you don’t take the word of a bystander over a Cop, I double-darn sure doubt you’d take the word of the person the cop arrested, beat up, or shot either.

    Sure, it’s possible that you might…but that’s NOT what you’ve posted here.

    In fact, I’ve yet to hear any audio evidence that supports Crowley’s account of what Professor Gates allegedly said that amounts to “disorderly conduct” or “tumultuos behavior.” If you could provide me with a link to one, I’ll gladly listen.

    Right now, again…it’s just Crowley’s word.

    –Cobra

  • Clavos

    There’s virtually no contradiction in my two statements, Cobra.

    The Whalen woman is an unknown entity, with no evidence to back up her version of events after the 911 call. Further, she’s basically a bystander, and any trained investigator can tell you that eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable.

    The Sergeant, on the other hand, can point to his sworn, written, official record of the events as he saw them, and he has character witnesses who testify both as to his character and his veracity. If this were an actual trial, and if no further evidence were presented than what we’ve discussed here, under the law, a jury would have no choice but to decide for Sgt. Crowley, which is exactly what I did.

    In fact, I’ve yet to hear any audio evidence that supports Crowley’s account of what Professor Gates allegedly said that amounts to “disorderly conduct” or “tumultuos behavior.” If you could provide me with a link to one, I’ll gladly listen.

    As far as I’ve heard, no such recording exists, but the backup officers called to the scene, one of whom is black, support Crowley’s allegations.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Clavos writes:

    “The Sergeant, on the other hand, can point to his sworn, written, official record of the events as he saw them, and he has character witnesses who testify both as to his character and his veracity. If this were an actual trial, and if no further evidence were presented than what we’ve discussed here, under the law, a jury would have no choice but to decide for Sgt. Crowley, which is exactly what I did.”

    The “evidence” presented of “disorderly conduct” and “tumultuous behavior”, absent audio or video evidence is “he said-he said”. You’re relying totally on the words of Sgt. Crowley, the White cop in question. I, for one, can’t afford to live MY life immersed in the divine, infallable, “I-can’t-imagine-White-Cops-could-act-in-a-discriminatory-way” fantasy.

    That OTHER cops who work with Crowley back up his story means absolutely NOTHING to ME, knowing the history of police/minority relationships in the history of America, and the Blue Wall of Silence that always seems to emerge whenever a controversial case about race happens.

    Because Sgt. Leon Lashley and Officer Kelly King, two Black officers on a predominantly White Cambridge PD were trotted out to the media as window-dressed race flacks means absolutely NOTHING to ME, either. “Go along to get along” is a neccessity for some minorities in predominantly White fields, especially when you have to rely on the same people you would be complaining about down the road.

    This is not meant to be an attack or slight against you, Clavos. You and I OBVIOUSLY come from different perspectives on this issue. But I can see from the perspective you’ve provided here, how easily White cops who brutalize, falsely arrest, taze, shoot or kill minorities unjustly can be set free by juries.

    –Cobra

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    See, Clavos, you’re not taking into consideration the fact that cops are evil and all they do is lie and oppress minorities. That’s why they exist. The PBA is a secret branch of the KKK. The truth is that no black man has ever committed a crime and every one who is in jail is innocent.

    Right, Cobra?

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Kind of over the top, Dave, even for you. I don’t believe anything Cobra had said suggested anything of the kind. So what’s the point?

  • Clavos

    Cobra,

    I was born and raised in Mexico. I am a Mexican citizen with dual citizenship, my second passport is American.

    If Prof. Gates were Prof. Garcia, I would still think the way I do, based on the evidence so far available.

    I don’t take offense at your POV, nor do I perceive it as an attack on me, I simply disagree with you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What evidence? Can you cite one report which accurately charts out the chain of events starting with the initial encounter and leading up to the arrest? What exactly had transpired behind closed doors, when Crawley was inside Gates’s apartment? Do we know? How belligerent was Gates with respect to Crawley to justify the arrest after proper identification was made? We don’t really know. And thus far, we have two contradictory accounts. Wasn’t Gates justified in his outrage? And how much outrage is necessary to warrant his arrest – no longer under the pretense of false identity?

    None of these questions have been sufficiently answered by the police reports. So before you accept those reports at face value, don’t you think they should at least alleviate some of those doubts? And what if Prof. Gates was Prof. Clavos?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    At comment #72 we read, Any communication with a foreign national who openly calls for the downfall of America might expose me to sanctions prescribed in the Patriot Act.

    At comment #83 we read I didn’t end all communication with Ruvy because he may or may not have problems with Blacks….

    This gentleman is cheering for America to FALL, just like the people we’re currently at war with. I don’t consort with individuals like that.

    The first comment is naked fear of the FBI, CIA and the like; the second comment is self-righteous patriotic snobbery.

    How many blacks have I heard scream, “burn baby, burn” about the city and country I once loved. But unlike Cobra, in his self-righteousness, I talked with them if the occasion required.

    It strikes me that Cobra has painted himself into an ugly corner between fawning fear and snooty snobbery.

    Truth: Do I really care if he wants to communicate with me or not?

    No.

    From his comments I’ve seen nothing I could gain from his perspective. He can boycott me all he wishes for whatever excuse he wants to cover his ego with. Obviously, he still does not know how to quote properly – only out of context. That is his problem, and it cripples his arguments, not mine.

    I’ll let him figure out what he has done to himself with his remarks on his own. And getting himself out of the nasty corner he has painted himself into is HIS cross to bear. And dragging crosses is heavy lumber, as I’ve pointed out earlier.

    I wish him luck….

  • Clavos

    And what if Prof. Gates was Prof. Clavos?

    Prof. Clavos would have done what he always does when confronted by police officers: treated them with respect, and cooperated with them.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Except perhaps that you may not have had the long history of suffering from police abuse and differential treatment that many blacks had had, Gates included.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Yeah you’re right roger…the cops never mess with hispanics in this country…WTF are you talking about Clav?

    The part that everyone seems to be missing here is that if Obama had said the right thing when asked, this never would have been the issue that it has become. He should have said, I don’t know enough about the situation, instead, he “acted stupidly”.

  • Clavos

    Except perhaps that you may not have had the long history of suffering from police abuse and differential treatment that many blacks had had, Gates included.

    I don’t.

    But, I’m also smart enough to see the stupidity of treating a man with a gun and the authority of the government behind him arrogantly, disrespectfully and uncooperatively.

    Regardless of your personal history or racial background, that’s just plain dumb.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    What? You mean it might have been Gates taht “acted stupidly”?

    Come on!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Clavos doesn’t exactly cut the figure of an average Hispanic, Andy. By his own admission, he looks more Anglo than I do.

    Sure, Andy, Gates may have acted dumb. But we do have the right to challenge what we may deem as abuse of authority, especially within our four walls.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Maybe we should just all gather at Dave’s for a beer and become BFF’s.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    There’s a right way to challenge authority and a wrong way.

    I suppose we’ll never really know what happened in that house…I’m sure some people completely believe one side or the other side…I believe it’s probably a little of both stories that actually makes up the whole truth…perception and all that…but I have a hard time believing that a cop that’s part of an anti profiling detail would profile and old black guy.

  • Irene Wagner

    “Which government?” Cobra? That’d be the government made up of crooks from the Democrat AND Republican parties who’ve been bought off by banks and corporations and used YOUR retirement money AND MINE to pay them back. That’d be the government which has been fomenting unrest in foreign countries for decades (on behalf of those same corporations) squandering our national treasure and chipping away at the U.S.’ good standing in the world.

    A government like this has the moral authority (and more importantly, the purity of intent) to give us “how to get along with others” lessons? The HYPOCRISY of the thieving media-government liason (the press used to be a watch-dog, not a lap-dog!), trying to stir up anger of blacks and whites toward one another (amplifying their cries of “banana-eater” and “racist cop!” starting “bridge-building conversations” like the MOST helpful one in which we’ve all been participating), redircting that anger away from where it should be directed right now… at ITSELF!

  • Irene Wagner

    We need to “get it together,” gays and straights, liberals and conservatives, Dems and Reps, blacks and whites. We have differences to work out AMONGST ourselves, but there’s so much we can do together. The Continental Congress 2009 may be a good start at a UNITED effort, the only kind that will do any good. It’ll at least do more good than bitching at one another like THIS will.

  • Irene Wagner

    That could happen, handyguy. Liberals are always up for a CHANGE right? OK, please don’t mistake the dearth of future answers to your comments on my comments as cowardice. I just have other stuff to do this week.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You are becoming radicalized, Irene. I don’t remember you expressing yourself this strongly. Is this a recent development?

    Andy, there are rogue cops, appearances notwithstanding. Besides, even a fairly balanced and emotionally stable person can exhibit “out of character” behavior in situations of stress. So the question we should be asking is: Was it out of character?

    I happen to think that Crowley is not such a goody two-shoes as everyone would like to believe – if only for the fact he allowed the situation to deteriorate to the point where he “felt forced” to proceed with the arrest. As an authority figure, he WAS in control, or at least should have been. But if your account of what transpired, or the account you’d like to believe, is to have any credence, Gates’s behavior must have verged on the criminal, as though of a thug. Now, that’s what I find hard to believe.

    Besides, Crowley should be sensitized to the kind of reaction that circumstances of this kind were bound to evoke – if he was trained in the anti-profiling program.

    I don’t know what else to say.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #120,

    Ain’t gonna happen. We’ve lost the sense of togetherness and national commonality. Material values rule, and “every man for himself” has become the overriding philosophy of Everyman.

    What I see, we’re going to hit rock bottom before we can resurface. Only then can we experience a re-birth, out of the Dark Ages.

  • Clavos

    You’ve now got the preview window everyone whined about.

    Use it.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    DWB, Driving While Black, might lead to some things you can read about on these blogs I follow: Electrocuted While Black, Gangsters in Blue and there is a video story on Tasered While Black about police responding to a noise complaint at a Latino family’s children’s Baptism party and tasering the godfather and the pregnant mother in front of all the children.

  • Irene Wagner

    Cindy, want an eyeful? Look at what’s been happening to U.S. CHILDREN of all races. Any of these stories (white school kids tasered on a FIELD TRIP? With no criminal charges pressed? A six year old black child handcuffed?) could have generated more UNIFIED outrage than the Gates/Crowley one. Why weren’t THEIR stories top of the page in the national press for weeks, with the President of the USA smack dab in the middle of the controversy? Because blacks and whites would have been UNITED in their disgust against government abuses, that’s why.

    It’s not a Black vs. White thing. It’s a government against ALL of us thing. So far for the year 2009, the breakdown of the twenty taser-related deaths is: 10 black, 6 Caucasian, 3 Hispanic, 1 unknown. Blacks make up 6 percent of the population? That’s 6 percent of the population the WHITES need on their side when they confront the government about this AND OTHER ABUSES (see #118). That’s 94 percent of the population BLACKS need on their side when they confront the government.

    There are cops who are disgusted about it too. They need the UNITED voice of Americans raising a stink about this, and other abuses by an out-of-control government.

    Accusing one another of racism is fruitless. That’s all this media-government back-scratching fest has done, gotten us accusing one another of racism. Period. The government has taken pre-existing tensions and 1) made them worse 2)deflected what could have been UNITED protests against itself.

    Aren’t you getting tired of the endless and fruitless liberal-conservative debates? Don’t wait 12 hundred years for the Dark Ages to come and go again. Find common ground THIS YEAR! You might not agree with all the issues being addressed by the folks in Continental Congress 2009. Neither were those who worked at the first Continental Congress in 1774.

    Maybe you can make more of a difference there, with people who care about UNITING even in their diversity to confront the government, instead of sending insinuations of racism across the net to strangers.

  • Irene Wagner

    Cindy, I was addressing a generic “you” in the last para. Not Cindy specifically, as I was in the first.

  • Clavos

    Pretty interesting point in 126, Irene.

    I pretty much agree with you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re calling for a spiritual revival, Irene. How do you suppose it’s going to come about? Out of ashes? You need new foundations, and there aren’t any.

  • Irene Wagner

    No spirituality required. Many are agnostics who are involved in this. One of the local leaders involved in the Continental Congress 2009 is BLACK, apparently undeterred by associating with “birthers.” Unless you’re talking about the spirituality of loving and cooperating with your fellow man, even if he is a “Samaritan”, there is no single organized religion that’s running the show here. The Constitution provides the common ground from which people will be working. (Clavos, thanks. One of these days, an article. When the time is right.)

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    I disagree, Roger. Not to sound hokey but I believe that there is a thirst among the masses for the fundamental meaning of life. What’s happened that in the last 100 years we have technologically advanced to a point where we’ve finally come to realize that the majority of what we’ve been taught is biased depending on environment. That doesn’t discount having faith — quite the contrary. We’re at a crossroads in the way we maintain our respective belief systems. As a result, I think you’ll see a major rise in philosophy and spirituality. For what it’s worth, I have complete faith in the existence of a Higher Being. I also believe that we all share the most basic elements of life and energy. In that sharing we all give and take energy from the Universe. Being trapped in these human shells is just a step in our progression which does lead to a higher level of understanding and wisdom. These are the fundamentals of most organized religions with the ultimate truths being revealed behind the editorial commentary. This generation is in the midst of questioning the faiths of their fathers. That bodes well for humanity if it is allowed to prosper.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s why I mean by “spiritual revival,” Silas and Irene. It’d surely be as great a departure from the operating American psyche as one could possibly hope for – something akin to a religious conversion or a catharsis.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And to expect that kind of sentiment to arise in the population of over 200 million – in the subject matter of politics? Give me a break! A Greek polis was a workable entity because it was comprised of mere 5000 of the brightest. And even under those most ideal of circumstances, the Athenian democracy failed.

    What you’re asking for, of a representative democracy, is the same kind of spirit. Well, I’d say than nothing short of “spiritual” movement – such as by Dali Lama or Rev. Moon, or even anti-Christ – in short, nothing other than mass hypnosis is gonna wake these people up. It’s too damn late. The USA, such as it has been and as we know it, had had it. It will go by the wayside such like the empires of old.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sorry, Irene.

    I saw your comment on the other thread and I will abstain therefore from any negativism, especially since you seem to be personally involved. I have no right to dampen your enthusiasm, so forget those remarks.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Irene,

    Great post, Irene. The blog post was devastating. But, unfortunately, typical–if one is paying attention. The world is a much different than its reported to be.

    Police are practically immune from prosecution for blatant assaults, prosecutors are not interested in prosecuting police. Protesters are attacked with impunity. It is clear that govt is interested in preserving and extending its power and authority through militarization of police. That Gene Stephens’ attitude, scary as it is, seems typical.

    And in a society where power is symbolic with success and in a culture of power like the police where machismo is valued, you have those with the most personal inadequacies and something to prove drawn to positions where they can use power over others.

    Cindy, I was addressing a generic “you” in the last para.

    Gotcha! ;-)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Silas,

    I still mean to find that link I wanted to post you, but things got too busy today and it’s time for bed again.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “you have those with the most personal inadequacies and something to prove drawn to positions where they can use power over others.”

    Great point. A matter of ego-compensaztion. Any desire for power (or money) is megalomanical.

  • Irene Wagner

    Roger, you’ve just given me another opportunity to post a link to another slide show about Continental Convention 2009. It may not be “your cup of tea” but it’s something that is getting people involved in politics again at the LOCAL level. Then those who have built bridges there take it to the next level of government—the way change is supposed to take place. (It was sent to me by a woman who does not describe herself as Christian, by the way.)

    Thanks for reading #125 Cindy. I didn’t want to come back to blogcritics this week, but I just couldn’t hold my peace about the need to stop biting one another and start uniting with one another.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m all for it, Irene, on a personal level. But as I said, I’m not going to be negative. Anyways, I haven’t experienced this side of you before.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Irene Jacobs writes:

    “It’s not a Black vs. White thing. It’s a government against ALL of us thing. So far for the year 2009, the breakdown of the twenty taser-related deaths is: 10 black, 6 Caucasian, 3 Hispanic, 1 unknown. Blacks make up 6 percent of the population? That’s 6 percent of the population the WHITES need on their side when they confront the government about this AND OTHER ABUSES (see #118). That’s 94 percent of the population BLACKS need on their side when they confront the government.”

    You’re a little off on your percentages,(Blacks are 12% of the population) but that’s not what I have a problem with in this argument.

    We don’t have “kings” in America. Technically, our government is made OF “the people”, BY “the people” and FOR “the people”, from the local school board and city councilpeople, all the way up to the POTUS. How could “the people” allow such heinous behavior to continue?

    The answer is obvious. There’s a large enough segment of the American population that has absolutely no problem whatsoever with police abuse of power, or the violation of civil rights–especially when it comes to racial and ethnic groups they don’t belong to or identify with.

    The people who attended the first Continental Congress were committing TREASON, and were definitely a minority movement. Most American Colonists were loyal to King George III.

    –Cobra

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Irene Wagner, Cobra, BTW.

    And to add to the above reasoning, those groups who have no problem whatsoever with what others perceive as “abuse of police powers” is simply because they view the police as protecting their property, interests, and position in the society (precisely against the others they consider marginal and on the fringe).

    Why don’t you comment on some other political issues raised on BC? I think your voice would be welcome – at least to counter all those voices which proclaim the doom and gloom and the end of the Republic. Perhaps you can bring a fresh perspective into the discussion. I, for one, would be interested in your vision of future America.