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Originally posted on Conversations with Dio:

Let me tell you ’bout a man named Jack Kennedy. He was a handsome feller, most smart and humorous and serious all at t’ same time. He had all those qualities that help you become pres’dent of the United States – beautiful wife, too. Shur ’nuff, he did become pres’dent, by a whisker in th’ election of 1960. He whipped that sonofabitch Nixon, he did – whipped him by a margin ’bout as wide as my pinkie finger here. Dick Nixon wan’t so happy ’bout that. He din’t know that three years later, sump’m would happen would make him pres’dent after all. What that sump’m was is the story I want to tell you ’bout.

Y’see, Jack Kennedy was ‘sassinated by his own people in ’63. That’s right, his own people turned on ‘im and said, “Man, we got to fire you.” Only way to fire a pres’dent is to…

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Originally posted on The Jeffersonian:

Did you hear what happened this weekend in New York City? Policemen who came to honor Rafael Ramos at his funeral intentionally dishonored the city’s mayor as he eulogized Ramos. They turned their backs to him as he spoke at Ramos’ funeral. What did the mayor do to provoke such a sign of disrespect? He said that the people who protested Eric Garner’s killing had a legitimate grievance! He indicated sympathy with the #BlackLivesMatter campaign.

Though the apparently automatic, hyper-protective response of police unions and their allies to recent protests mark out any kind of criticism for yet more opprobrium, police ought to rethink this united we stand crouch. It serves them ill. They have carried it too far, for too long, with arguments and actions that contradict their own professions of service. Their responses to the protests serve only themselves, and that appears more obvious with each new gesture.

Having…

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Originally posted on The Jeffersonian:

In all the analysis and discussion of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report, we are missing a key question. Rather, we can easily think about a key question incorrectly. The question is simple: why did we torture prisoners? The answer is equally simple: to obtain information that would keep our country safe. That launches us into discussions about whether these so-called enhanced interrogation techniques yielded information that actually helped our national security apparatus.

That line of reasoning misses the point for two reasons. First, torture is a crime no matter what reason you give for engaging in it. International and domestic laws about torture do not include a self-defense provision. Torturers are criminals, period. More significantly, given the way bureaucracies work, people who authorize or order torture are criminals.

These criminals currently serve in our government. They are rewarded, honored, and promoted for their service. Others have retired from government…

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Originally posted on The Jeffersonian:

The arguments I’m hearing about the Ferguson case are just fantastical. Michael Brown was a big man. He robbed a convenience store. The evidence about what happened on August 9 is contradictory. What distractions!

You don’t gun down an unarmed person in the middle of the street shortly after telling the person to walk on the sidewalk. You just don’t.

Yes, once the case enters the legal system, it’s relevant that the law protects police officers when they use lethal force. Rules of evidence come into play. Definitions of manslaughter do as well. Michael Brown’s death does not have to get tangled in our complicated legal system, however. To argue this case on legal grounds does not address the legitimate grievance that lies at the bottom of this resistance movement: police officers mistreat black people, black men in particular.

Stay focused on what counts here. Everyone wants to argue whether the…

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Originally posted on The Jeffersonian:

I have Reagan set up as a key word in my Google news feed. If a news item appears on the web with that proper name in it, Google News shows it to me. That means I see football scores for Ronald Reagan High School’s latest game, and items about highways, airports, and mountains named after the fortieth president. Republican candidates like to mention him, but the man himself is not in the news so often.

The past week has been an exception. On October 27, 1964, just about a week before the presidential election contest between Barry Goldwater and Lyndon Johnson, Reagan delivered a televised address to explain why voters should support Goldwater. Sometimes known simply as The Speech – he delivered variants of it many times – he called the version he delivered on October 27, A Time for Choosing. That title captured the choice he laid out before the country.

Reagan…

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Originally posted on The Jeffersonian:

The media’s main theme for Ferguson has been racial, but we all know it is more than that. This conflict arrays citizen against state authorities State authorities cannot just shoot you down in the middle of the street because they feel like it, no matter what color the police officer, no matter what color the victim. Remember, leaving Michael Brown’s body in the street for hours was not an accident. The city would have removed a dead stray dog faster than they removed Michael Brown.

Meghan O’Donnell, 29, from St. Louis, prays at the spot where Michael Brown was killed.

Without a doubt, the state has made itself an enemy of the state. Here is what I mean: state authorities, including militarized police, think that because they have all the power of the state behind them, they can do what they like, including shoot people at will. Unarmed citizens comprise…

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Originally posted on The Jeffersonian:

Policemen shoot dogs and people with equal abandon. They don’t shoot horses because horses are docile, and they don’t shoot cats because cats are harder to hit. When a SWAT team attacks a house with weapons drawn, with no care for anyone’s safety but their own, what do they think is going to happen?

The surprise home invasion has unsurprising results: a pet dog dead on the floor, a baby terribly injured from a stun grenade tossed blindly into a room, an elderly man shot in his bed. What is a common mission for these home invasions? To serve a warrant ginned up for a drug search!

No one wants to say the dread word. Tyranny. No one wants to believe that state intimidation has become normal. What was once unimaginable is now justified as necessary. The right to be secure in our homes did not slip away gradually; it shattered…

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