Archive for Crime

Trump Doctrine: Olly olly oxen free

Muse for a moment on candidate Donald Trump’s preemptive slurs. Every opponent from any party got a toxic nickname. The overused term irony is apt here. In particular, he repeatedly called his Dem foe corrupt Hillary.

Even before he became POTUS, Trump’s business and legal dealings, ploys and questionable activities made it far too plain who was corrupt here. Smearing another does not absolve him.

Suddenly, as attention-getting as DT’s admitted or accused sexual misdeeds, his stiffing partners and contractors, his blatant self-dealing and conflicts of interest may be the sins of his version of the best and brightest. His cabinet and lower lackeys one after another drop out, are forced out, or operate under clouds worthy of Joe Btfsplk.

Pic Note: From an Al Capp strip via wikipedia. Fair use.

Several dropped out when they were proven dishonorable and liars. A surprising number of candidates seemed to know trouble when it called and did not risk taking a DT job.

Free Passes

More intriguing are the hide-and-see crew. They may hear that kids’ call olly olly oxen free and return without fear of being tagged (or put on trial). The current administration, as you might expect of any corrupt regime, is not shy about giving minions a free pass.

Already called back to base has been Kellyanne Conway. The nominal senior adviser will not face any charges for her egregious shilling of DT’s daughter Ivanka’s clothing line on national TV. The WH Counsel’s Office gave the free pass, claiming her clear violation of federal law was inadvertent.

This indeed is one of the principal definitions of corrupt. Promoting products to benefit the POTUS or his family is illegal for good reason. Doing so is corrupt.

Most recently up in the shame docket is AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. In sworn oral and written testimony to Congress and the FBI, he averred that he had no contact with Russian government officials during DT’s campaign. In fact, we know now that he had multiple meetings with the Russian ambassador and likely several phone conversations with other officials. Now he claims that they didn’t discuss campaign matters.

Do Laws Matter?

Prima facie it appears he violated campaign law, committed perjury several times and perhaps was even treasonous. Can his pro-active (a.k.a. defensive in DT’s case) pardon, like President Gerald Ford’s of disgraced POTUS Richard Milhous Nixon, lag far behind?

Dems in Congress scream for Sessions to resign. Even some Republicans who have any moral and patriotic fibers in their personal covering left are muttering for Sessions to recuse himself from any discussion or action of investigation of DT’s Russian connections.

Here’s betting DT stonewalls this. He’ll claim Sessions is fine and should continue as is. Of course, the rational world then immediately wonders

  • What the hell happened in the election
  • How pervasive and powerful was Russian interference and influence
  • What does Donny hide-my-taxes owe to Russians
  • Was DT blackmailed by Russians
  • Did Sessions act as pimp for DT and Putin politically

If DT calls Sessions home free, that could be a serious error. With the corrupt appointees clinging to free base, all eyes will be on DT. How corrupt was and is he?

The game is afoot, but it’s not as simple as hide and seek.

 

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Four Questions for MA Voters

bwak

MA, thanks to the legislative gods, is not at the head of ballot initiatives. That onerous crown still belongs to CA. There, virtually any crackpot with a loony fetish can get it on the statewide ballot, given enough petition signatures. Here at least, all proposals go through that process, then a stringent screen by the Attorney General for legal stuff like constitutionality, and then legislative action in one or two sessions.

For fun, look at the AG’s filings here and Ballotopedia’s who-made-the-cut table.

Eventually the laggard Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office will mail a booklet to registered voters listing the details of the four questions on November’s sheet. I’m a warden at a Boston polling place and I suspect that 90% or more of voters won’t read the booklet and arrive ignorant.

Pity, there are some goodies that made the cut. I deal with:

Q1: Expanding slot machine gaming.

Q2: Charter School Expansion.

Q3: Conditions for farm animals.

Q4: Legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana.

I give an example or two of what didn’t make the ballot and why.

If you’re like most of my precinct’s voters what you want is the word. I can’t say on election day, but my call, just for you, is N, N, Y and Y.

icon for podpress  2016 MA Ballot Questions [29:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Mass Murder Tipping Points

About a third the way in, a caller interrupted my gun portion of the rant. He was a a registered firearms dealer, and coincidentally Black. He opposes any additional gun laws or regulations. He was of the it’s-not-the-specific-gun side. We each got out our views. I’m glad he called.

Otherwise, I asked whether the Dallas deaths of five police officers by sniper would be a tipping point. Sandy Hook, to many of our surprise, was not. Will Dallas be? Will the many deaths of young Black men this year and last be?

I hold that we need both legal and cultural shifts. Obviously to me the cultural part is much harder. Take policing. Cops are no better than other professionals at prosecuting or judging their peers’ actions. No matter how plain the audio, video and witness testimony, cops almost invariably skate away from what the rest of the world sees as murder.

Likewise, with guns, they should be tools not toys. No what politicians now term common-sense restrictions should be a problem, but they are. Will the assassination of five officers in Dallas be a tipping point for legislation?

 

icon for podpress  Tipping Points [31:00m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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:Hillary’s Email (Eek! Mail) Podcast

No free ride for Hillary Clinton. Yes, the FBI cleared her of criminal wrongdoing in its probe of her use of private email servers. Yet, it deemed that doing so was “extremely careless” and in particular did not follow federal protocols for archiving government records.

Those who hated and slandered her before are not about to start publicly apologizing to her or those in their social-media feeds. Plus, the fast majority of us who have been saying for a year or more that this would be the result also haven’t changed our opinion.

My questions were more along the lines of what does this mean to the third to half of the electorate who hadn’t totally made up their minds? I talk through why I think it will be a wash for her. The moderates and independents are likely to be more open to her. She’ll be a bump from the pending Democratic convention. The Hillary and sick-of-Democrats-in-the-White-House types won’t change their minds at all. I bet she’ll get a very modest bump in the polls when this settles.

 

icon for podpress  Hillary's Eek-mail [22:42m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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It’s a Bloody World After All,

With this weekend’s Orlando horrors, let’s transcend fantasy. While that city is the nation’s dream kingdom, we have to get real.

I had to rant and am beyond impatient. Gun-rights crazies are quick to call for arming everyone with the most powerful weapons. Lefties beg Congress, please, oh pretty please, give us minimal background check laws. All is jive.

What doesn’t work are calls fantasies that because foreign armies haven’t landed here, we are safe. What doesn’t work is pretending that “the other” and “outsiders” are the threats (in reality only 9-11 and a tiny subset of mass murders here were by non-native citizens). What doesn’t work are having guards everywhere and surrendering the liberties that define our nation.

I went into a splash of the mass murders here from 1622, many by government agents and mobs. We are delusional in thinking we are unique and protected. It is our neighbor who is likely to attack us.

I propose some legislation but more mind shifts and social action. We see that gun buy-backs don’t work, that more guards don’t work, that surrendering liberties that define us won’t work. That nativism and isolationism don’t work.

Sure, we need to do the 1934 anti-Tommy gun laws for “assault rifle” weapons and such. We also need to loudly let members of Congress know that the wee donations from gun makers can no longer carry weight — calling out Senators and Reps who accept these bribes. Let’s not tremble from the slippery-slope argument and start immediately to remove semi-automatic rifles from this nation.

I’m not ready to give up my liberties to a Big Brother nor can I accept letting fellow citizens arm to kill me at whim.

icon for podpress  A Blood World After All: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Responsibility?

A current mean is asking whether something is “still a thing.” Let’s consider personal responsibility in that big pile.

Perhaps the most obvious cases are the far too many caught on video and by witnesses where cops kill unarmed, non-threatening civilians and face zero punishment or even charges. “I felt threatened” seems too often to immediately convince prosecutors and internal-affairs sorts that all is right.

It isn’t. We see in other professions as well (think doctors and financial execs) that self-policing and such oversight are risible. Cultural change is necessary.

The ideas and ideals boomers saw and heard everywhere included being held accountable for bad actions. Books, movies and of course parents and clerics taught that if you did something bad, there were consequences.

The norm now is what tricks can you pull to avoid punishment or even accusation. Bad drivers skate with “unfortunate accident” for their most egregious, fatal sins.

Enough with this.

icon for podpress  Responsibility? [20:31m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MA AG on Changing Opioid Culture

Maura Healey, the MA Attorney General, joined me for a quick show on her efforts to reverse the addition and deaths of opioids. She reminded me that she promised this as a priority two years ago when she was running for office. She’s on it.

Last week, I covered the new prescription drug law. You can hear that here.

Listen in as she talks about her office’s multifaceted approach of education and enforcement. This is serious stuff with daily deaths and addition everywhere in the commonwealth. She looks at the US having 5% of the world’s population consuming 80% of the opioids. She has plans and policies to change that.

icon for podpress  MA AG on opioids [16:50m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Healey on Opioids

MA Attorney General Maura Healey joins me Monday, May 2nd at 3 PM Eastern for a quick session on opioids. The crisis is very real, very deadly.

We’ll talk last month’s new law designed to help. The chief law enforcer will tell us what that means and how far it gets us.

I’ll drill down a bit into the role of doctors and pharmacists in this mess.

If you can listen live, catch us then at by clicking here. Otherwise, get her show on demand back here, at that URL or on our iTunes page.

Podcast Eve Note: I shall run an intro show Saturday, April 23 at 1:30 AM (click here to listen live). I intend to discuss my own, non-addicted medically based experience as a foretaste of the Healey show.

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Rep. Liz Malia Dec. 11th

Join us tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 2:30 PM Eastern when MA Rep. Liz Malia is the guest. She is co-chair of the Joint Substance Abuse and Mental Health Committee. We’ll talk her recent big bill on prescription and other drug abuse. She also advocates for mental health parity.

If you can listen in live, go here then. Afterward to can hear the show or download it at that URL, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.

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What Is It About Drivers v. Cyclists?

Want conflict? Just mention urban cyclists! Liveable Street’s blogger Steve Miller joins us to talk safety, the likelihood of jolly coexistence and more. He works for the Harvard School of Public Health and is known in transit as the founder of Hub on Wheels as well as on Boston and Cambridge’s bike advisory boards.

Fair warning: Mike is a cyclist, who often walks and occasional drives, but a cyclist first.

Miller has considerable knowledge in this area. He’ll talk about the turmoil and outlook.

If you can catch the show live, do it Tuesday, October 2nd at 2:30 PM here. Afterward, you can listen to or download the whole show back here, at the show URL or on our iTunes page.

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