Sunday Commentary II: Why the Police Killings in Ferguson and Staten Island Have Spawned A Movement


Back in 2011, the Occupy Movement seemed to arise in response to the Tea Party Movement. Across the nation, thousands of young students and radicals protested a wide range of grievances, from the greed of Wall Street to the privatization of the University of California.

In a way I could not really relate to these protesters who almost seemed to be rebels without a cause, or perhaps rebels who were trying to invent a cause. Luckily for them (or at least most of them), the police gave them a cause as they began to overreact to the perceived threat and cracked down on the protests with heavy-handed force.

Nowhere was that more evident than at UC Davis, where a small number of students and recent graduates had encamped on the Quad only to have the university and police attempt to clear the Quad and, when that did not work, seated protesters were ultimately bathed in pepper spray, to the horror of an entire community.

The protesters had their cause – the heavy-handedness of the police and administration in dealing with something that should have been viewed as the cost of doing business at a university.

In contrast to the Occupy Movement, the wave of protests in the face of police bias is reacting to a very real problem. The demonstrations have once again exposed the divide in this country that has really existed in every protest movement. The Civil Rights protesters were both heroes and outside agitators. The Vietnam War protesters were seen as disloyal and dirty hippies by some.

Still, the extent of the divide is fascinating. You have the conservative sports culture and athletes from urban areas who see a clash of culture. And so you see the reaction against the St. Louis Rams players who gave a small tribute to Michael Brown, and the wave of basketball players honoring Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

In other sectors you see Capitol staffers who walk out in Washington in support of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Finding the meaning of it all is a more difficult undertaking.

New York Times contributing op-ed writer Mark Bittman wants to tie it all together. He writes this morning, “THE police killing unarmed civilians. Horrifying income inequality. Rotting infrastructure and an unsafe ‘safety net.’ An inability to respond to climate, public health and environmental threats. A food system that causes disease. An occasionally dysfunctional and even cruel government. A sizable segment of the population excluded from work and subject to near-random incarceration.

“You get it: This is the United States, which, with the incoming Congress, might actually get worse.”

He adds, “This in part explains why we’re seeing spontaneous protests nationwide, protests that, in their scale, racial diversity, anger and largely nonviolent nature, are unusual if not unique. I was in four cities recently — New York, Washington, Berkeley and Oakland — and there were actions every night in each of them. Meanwhile, workers walked off the job in 190 cities on Dec. 4.”

He argues, “The root of the anger is inequality, about which statistics are mind-boggling: From 2009 to 2012 (that’s the most recent data), some 95 percent of new income has gone to the top 1 percent; the Walton family (owners of Walmart) have as much wealth as the bottom 42 percent of the country’s people combined; and “income mobility” now describes how the rich get richer while the poor … actually get poorer.”

We are back to the 1% argument.

On the other hand, Ben Boychuk writes in the Bee this weekend that focusing on racist cops misses the biggest picture. He argues, “If you think the system is inherently racist, you aren’t paying attention. Americans distrust government institutions writ large, and the police are not exempt.”

He notes, “In a Pew Research Center poll published this week, 57 percent of respondents said they thought NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo should have faced manslaughter charges in Garner’s death. Another Pew poll released two weeks after Brown’s death in August found that Americans distrust and largely disapprove of the way police use force, hold misbehaving officers accountable and deal with racial minorities. Not surprisingly, a large majority of blacks distrust the police more than whites.”

At the same time, he notes that our attitudes are a bit contradictory. Much as people like their own schools but believe public schools are terrible, and much as we hate politicians, but vote for our guy, “The cops in Ferguson are obviously racists, but police in our city are generally unbiased.” So while people are concerned about the police, they like their local police.

From a conservative standpoint, he argues, “What’s missing here is a serious discussion – as opposed to street sloganeering – about the limits of police power. For conservatives, this is a challenge. Law and order are crucial elements of a free society. We are ‘a government of laws, and not of men,’ as John Adams declared.”

He contends, “But in the 21st century, we are a government of too many laws and too many bureaucrats.”

Instead, he argues, “We don’t need a police state, and we don’t need an administrative state. We need a strictly limited state. That’s a goal that should unite Americans left and right.”

On Friday, we had a discussion on the racial gap in suspension policies. The question that was immediately raised by our readers is how it was possible that a bunch of liberal Davis educators could be so racist. The answer, I posited, was the notion of the unconscious. After introducing the concept, it was clear I needed to do more research myself because the discussion was not helpful — because people at the core didn’t understand the concept.

I am reminded a bit of the exchange in the movie “A Time To Kill,” where Samuel L. Jackson’s character, accused of murder, explains to his idealistic young white attorney that “you think just like them.” He said, “You’re one of them… When you look at me, you don’t see a man, you see a black man.”

One of the points is that, even with his attorney attempting to free himself of prejudice and fighting for justice, he still suffered from stereotypes.

Caryl Rivers in an LA Times op-ed this morning discusses “confirmation bias” as a way to understand an “internalized fear of black males” which leads to an assumption “that they are up to no good.”

She defines confirmation bias as “the tendency to interpret or remember information in a way that confirms what we already believe, and helps us to ignore new data.” She explains, “It may explain the tension between white cops and black kids — and the public reaction to them — more than outright racism does.”

According to ProPublica, “Young black males in recent years were at 21 times greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts.” It found that in “1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012, blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million,” compared with 1.47 per million white males in that age range.

Ms. Rivers writes, “In Ferguson, Mo., the white officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, described Brown as demon-like. Would he have used such a word if the teenager had been white?

“Confirmation bias undoubtedly helped the defense in the 2013 trial in the death of Trayvon Martin. Lawyers successfully ‘thuggized’ the black teenager, who was walking home carrying candy and a bottle of tea when he was shot by a white neighborhood watch member. Martin had no criminal record, but the defense dug up some minor problems he had in school and made an animated video showing him attacking the white man who shot him. There was no actual evidence that the unarmed teenager started the fight. But jurors clearly bought that narrative.”

Finally, we discussed the possibility of police cameras as the antidote to these interactions. Police cameras are enticing, in part, because they allow both sides comfort. Police advocates can see cameras as a way to exonerate innocent police who have been falsely accused of misconduct. Activists see them as a way to hold the police accountable.

The ACLU is willing to support them as long as there are stipulations to protect privacy and due process rights.

However, Jennifer Dawn Carlson argues in an LA Times op-ed today that body cameras are not the cure for policing. She points out that the video was not enough to convict police who beat Rodney King – although that is debatable, given the civil and federal trials. Moreover, she argued, police already have dash cams, which she says are used at their discretion.

Although again, many departments put recording apparatus tied to siren activation which are then remotely stored, so the officer cannot alter the recording.

Ms. Carlson argues, “As the grand jury decision suggests, surveillance is not the same as transparency, and cameras alone cannot fix the twin problems of police accountability and the legitimate use of force.

“Cameras are not unbiased observers. Often, they are like witnesses whose hazy memories rarely have the power to subvert powerful narratives that reflect mainstream beliefs about police and criminality. In the court of public opinion, videos may contribute to questioning of the legitimacy of police actions. In the court of law, however, such videos are often alibis, not game-changers.”

Research that dates back to the 1980s finds, “Where video is ambiguous (which is more common than often assumed), the best scholarship suggests that it will buttress police accounts rather than undercut them.”

She argues instead, “Outfitting law enforcement with body cameras may also backfire on those it’s meant to protect: people in poor communities, people of color, people in high-crime areas. Privacy may well be a thing of the past, but the erosion of privacy is not distributed equally across society.”

While she argues that the police disproportionately stop and frisk racial minorities, particularly men, “body cameras would also expand police databases, linking police reports, fingerprints and DNA to video that disproportionately features people of color. When police say that they don’t racially profile but stop people ‘based on experience,’ they will now have at their disposal thousands, if not millions, of hours of video to release — probably still at their discretion — to demonstrate their claims with the ‘truth’ of audiovisual evidence.”

She adds, “The availability of police video may well provide an opening for increased regulation of private civilians’ ability to record and disseminate videos of police actions, a long-contentious issue for law enforcement. Why should civilians record police when police can do it themselves? Illinois just days ago moved to make it a felony to record a police officer, even as many officers there have embraced the idea of body cameras for themselves in recent years.”

She concludes, “The conversation must also include broader reforms that seek to enhance community-police relations that create direct ties of accountability between officers and the people they police, involve community members in oversight and disentangle the military mindset from public law enforcement. And as we debate these solutions, we should consider how they might harm as well as help poor communities of color that are already the targets of intense police surveillance.

“There are no quick fixes. For now, we already have the cameras best positioned to enhance police accountability: those in the hands of bystanders such as Ramsey Orta. If they alone aren’t sufficient, how can we expect police body cameras to do better?”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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      1. Barack Palin

        Or maybe this President has divided the country even more through his divisive speeches and actions.  I doubt you’ll have many that see that as a good thing unless of course they’re still drinking the Obama koolaid.

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        Maybe reality is that we beat it to death? President Bill Clinton had a symposium or commission on racism, which was overloaded overwhelmingly with liberals – I think it was 9 or 11 liberals, and one conservative. He beat it to death, including other erroneous comments about injustices that never even happened. (Clinton was quoted as saying he recalled reading about black churches being burned down when he was a boy in a certain area, and a journalist went back and checked, and it never happened. Not they there have never been such occurrences, but what he was trumping up never happened.)

        When Obama became president, he had his world apology tour, which included our sins of racism and/ or colonialism.

        Then we had his infamous comment of “the police acted stupidly”, his commenting on a police action before he even read the report. I would think that the President of the United States would be more circumspect. Instead, I think he just showed us his bias.

        Then he jumped into the Trayvon Martin case (“He could have been my son”), without knowing all the facts.

        I think, frankly, this is a political point which will never be put to bed. The Democrats have to much to lose. Dr. Thomas Sowell mentioned that if African Americans just voted 70% or 65% Democrat (versus 95%), the Democrats would really be hurting.

        This is a never-ending discussion, while the Democratic policies driving the black father out of the home are rarely discussed.

        1. Don Shor

          Interesting to read these two comments in juxtaposition:

          while the Democratic policies driving the black father out of the home are rarely discussed.


          For the same criminal behavior the poor are more likely to be arrested: if arrested more likely to be charged; if charged, more likely to be convicted, more likely to to be sentenced to prison; and if sentenced , more likely to be given longer prison terms.

        2. Tia Will


          When Obama became president, he had his world apology tour, which included our sins of racism and/ or colonialism.”

          I am wondering if you think that the US never displayed any racism or colonialism, or whether you simply believe that we should not admit and/or apologize for those actions ?


        3. TrueBlueDevil

          Slavery was a racist institution as was Jim Crow, and many other misdeeds. But Obama going around the world on an apology tour just seems so weird, I see no strategy or purpose in it, lying prostate to the world. Some kind of liberal self flagellation. Do you think Putin, the Taliban, the Moolahs in Iran, and others saw us as weaker or stronger after this tour?

          Colonialism seems more complicated. We could have taken Guam, the Philippines, Kuwait, and many others, but we didn’t.

          I believe numerous presidents, dignitaries, and senators have repeatedly apologized for our errors. When does it end? Same for racism. Clinton beat it to death, and now Obama. (Obama has given two speeches about the importance of black fathers, but one looked like a clear Sister Soldier political move. Here is an area where he could make an impact, but he doesn’t have the willpower or chops for the fight that would entail.)

          Along with those errors, we helped bail Europe’s behind out of a fire in 2 world wars, and we continually do good deeds across the world. We’re not perfect. But why aren’t Germany, France, Belgium, and Sweden taking on the murderous terrorists in the Middle East? It is quite convenient for them to have us as the world’s policemen, we foot the bill and provide the lives, and then they nitpick how we do it.

          1. Don Shor

            Are you a little unclear on the history of Guam (a US territory) and the Philippines (US governed from 1898 – 1946), or do you mean something different by “could have taken”?
            Also, Germany and France have been our allies on many of our adventures in the Middle East.

    1. Dave Hart

      I would assume race relations would deteriorate under a black President because there are so many unconscious as well as openly conscious white racists who simply cannot stand the idea of a black man in a position of authority.  His very election to office prompted an increase in gun sales in parts of the country that had voted highly Republican.  Obama had nothing to do with that mass behavior.  For every one of those right wing-nut crazies who thought that having a black man merely be elected was justification for increasing their armament stash, there are another nine who are in an emotional agreement but don’t really know why.  No, it doesn’t surprise me at all.


  1. Tia Will


    “Have race relations done well over the last six years under Obama’s presidency? “

    Why would one assume that they would have improved ?  President Obama is one man. Does one honestly believe that his election would change a deeply entrenched series of problems dating back generations with each generation experiencing its own unique set of manifestations of the imbedded inequalities ? You have very eloquently pointed out the error in the thinking of another poster ( Frankly) who frequently makes the claim that the election of a black man to the Presidency proves that racial inequalities are in his words “de minimis” in our country today. It also ignores the fact that race relations have not done well, unless you are privileged to be a member of a non affected group, under any modern President, and all of the rest have been white men. If you are going to judge the occupant of the White House based on race relations, the blame cannot be assigned based on the race of the occupant.

  2. Tia Will

    to demonstrate their claims with the “truth” of audiovisual evidence.”

    This brings up the interesting point of whose “truth” is being portrayed. If the camera is mounted on the uniform of the police officer, the point of view being represented is both factually and metaphorically, that of the police officer. To understand why this might not be a full and accurate depiction of reality, one has to look no further than sports replays.

    We are a football watching household. It is often that a play seen from one point of view is completely different when seen from another. While this leads to some rueful laughing and gnashing of teeth in our household since we do not always support the same team, it has much greater significance if for example we are able to see only the police officers perspective. Can we not imagine that if we see an extended arm on the part of a citizen being arrested we might interpret this as resistance while if we were able to simultaneously see it from the point of view of the detainee, we might observe overtly menacing gestures and needlessly provocative or threatening behavior on the part of the officer.

    My feeling is that the only way that filming of stops could ever be considered truly representative of the event would be if filming from both sides were to be freely accepted and weighed equally.


    1. David Greenwald

      That’s a point I have made – you have a large number of concentrated camera’s on a football field and yet more often than not, the original play stands because of lack of indisputable video evidence. I’ve seen enough surveillance video to understand that often the video only gives you a snap shot without context and often without key information. It is sometimes helpful, but it can go either way at times.

    2. Miwok

      Illinois just days ago moved to make it a felony to record a police officer

      When the States and Guvmint stop making laws like this, we will have no justice, only one view of any incident. Dash cams on police cars should prove that. Laws are for all people, quit exempting anyone from it.

        1. Miwok

          I learned it in the ‘hood, when people were going for the handouts, “gubmint cheese” and such. I use it to describe disdainfully the actual legislative process that is so much fodder for these topics.

          You may not have ever heard people use it, but I have.

          With Respect,



  3. Anon

    “Back in 2011, the Occupy Movement seemed to arise in response to the Tea Party Movement. Across the nation, thousands of young students and radicals protested a wide range of grievances, from the greed of Wall Street to the privatization of the University of California. In a way I could not really relate to these protesters who almost seemed to be rebels without a cause, or perhaps rebels who were trying to invent a cause. ”

    “In contrast to the Occupy Movement, the wave of protests in the face of police bias is reacting to a very real problem.”

    This is where I stopped reading.  The Occupy Movement had more of a justifiable cause than the recent wave of ostensible civil rights protests.  It is very debatable whether Michael Brown was a victim of police brutality or that racism was even remotely involved; it is not clear that Garner’s death had anything to do with racism, but probably had more to do with overzealous police.  However, it was very clear banks were redlining minority neighborhoods, instituting horrible variable rate mortgages to ethnic minority folks that would have qualified for regular fixed rate mortgages.  Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd were architects of the financial meltdown, insisting banks loosen their credit requirements so more minorities could own homes, ignoring the very real dangers to the nation that cockeyed policy posed.  Banks sliced and diced their subprime loans, and sold them off to hedge funds, so the banks were not necessarily responsible when the subprime loans were defaulted on.  The practices that were going on in the banking industry, Wall Street and the U.S. Congress were abominable, disgraceful, and brought this country and other nations to a worldwide recession.  And you want to tell me the mostly peaceful Occupy Movement had no cause; whereas the latest round of violent destructive civil rights protests about two cases that did not necessarily have anything to do with racism are justified?  Good grief, where is the Vanguard’s sense of perspective?  I think the Vanguard needs to take a very deep introspective look at how it views injustice, and try to learn some semblance of objectivity.  Color me infuriated at the Vanguard’s dismissive attitude towards the reasons behind the financial meltdown – it definitely touched a raw nerve in me.  I could say a lot more on this score, but want to remain “Anon”.

    1. Dave Hart

      Maybe Occupy resonated more with white folks because it was centered on malfeasance in the financial industry that had devastating effects on our economy, mortgages, small and medium size businesses.  While people of all ethnic/races/genders/etc., were affected, it had the greatest relative impact on people who were, up to that point, doing okay or even well:  the 99% of us.  Black Lives Matter affects everyone just as deeply, except a lot of white folks don’t feel it, don’t recognize it, or don’t like the implications of it.  It’s too early to tell if this is a new movement.  I’d have given odds that Occupy was going to last longer than it did.

      The one thing I have come to understand about race is that it is a pivotal factor in the creation of the Republic in 1776.  The conscious development of race as a tool for specific objectives was developed in this country and is uniquely an American problem to solve.  As a country we have turned a blind eye and ear to it, pretending that passing some laws fixed everything up and now everything’s just fine and dandy.  When you don’t listen to someone, the only way they can make sure you hear is to get louder and louder.


  4. TrueBlueDevil

    And who created the recent dramatic income inequality statistics? President Barack Obama and his team.

    They extended zero percent loans to Wall Street, and Wall Street can hand them back to the Fed and make 2% interest for taking zero risk. Or, they can gamble the money, because the same President believes that certain companies are “too big to fail”. Many of these Street financial companies also happen to donate millions to his causes, his party, and will help fund his library.

    The Times writer must be smoking something, not knowing the above facts. Illegal immigration has exacerbated income inequality, just as the H1B Visa program has (a UC Davis professor covers this shame and age discrimination in his local blog). Add tens of millions of illegal workers to the system, and the less-educated, and now even educated, feel the immense pressure and consequences. But hey, La Raza is literally in The House. Democrats get the votes and money from programs, corporations get the cheap labor. Another unholy alliance of Left and Right.

    Climate change is unproven, and we have had a “global warming hiatus” for 17 or 18 years (use google). Our food supply is the safest in the world.

    Comparing Michael Brown to the Staten Island travesty (Mr. Garner) is like comparing the Sac State Hornets to the Sacramento Kings.


      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Here is the link that you requested from a blog written by UC Davis professor Norman Matloff. He was a statistics professor, but at some point he transferred over to computer science. He also has been interviewed extensively, from print to radio, on matters regarding the H1B visa program, and I believe immigration. I believe his wife is also a software developer, and he speaks fluent Mandarin.

        I may have commingled my opinions with those of Dr. Matloff in my above comments by mistake. Matloff has written extensively about the supposed dearth of STEM workers, American STEM workers getting bypassed for their younger H1B Visa counterparts, the supposed high quality of H1B Visa workers, and related topics. Recently I have read several of his posts, and they pinpointed a huge age bias by hi tech companies. He has also made the point, which I agree with 100%, that H1B Visa workers effectively become indentured servants.


        1. Miwok

          Thank you, TBD. I liked reading this, and agree. Since my Brother in law is Canadian, his wife had trouble like that when she first was married.

          Having worked with a small bunch of H1B workers in the 90’s and Y2K, I agree with the hidden agenda of this stuff. UCD has links I used to facilitate with the University of Beijing, and they sent people over, and the Professor would rotate them out when they learned enough.

          Indian programmers I worked with in private enterprise were contracted with the government (tia) to write programs for the Counties I consulted with in those years. It seems funny to have people from other countries working on confidential things like law enforcement.

          This violated my training working in the military (I had a Top Secret Clearance in those days) and High Tech Crimes, but I tried to understand. Some of the people I worked with stayed here and brought family, but others went back to arranged marriages or to better job offers in Bangalore, or Mumbai. They made less than we did, and were as you say, indentured.

          The manager of all this owned the company “leasing” these workers to the company I worked for, and solicited State business in an orgy of  duplicitous business dealing that finally caught up with him.

  5. Frankly

    “THE police killing unarmed civilians. Horrifying income inequality. Rotting infrastructure and an unsafe ‘safety net.’ An inability to respond to climate, public health and environmental threats. A food system that causes disease. An occasionally dysfunctional and even cruel government. A sizable segment of the population excluded from work and subject to near-random incarceration.

    Liberals, including most of the NYT writers, are too damn emotional to access their rational cerebral processes… and too damn stubborn to admit when their ideas are wrong.

    It is LIBERAL policies that perpetuate black under-representation in socioeconomic circumstances.  And we have 100%, absolute proof of this after the nation voted for liberal Democrat’s perfect icon of hope and change… and surrounded him with legislative minions to do his bidding.  Remember the election of 2008?  If you were a liberal you cried with happiness.  If you were a conservative you might have experienced a blush in pride in what you already knew… that in this country, the greatest on God’s green earth, a black man could achieve what a white man could achieve… but you started to stress that a true liberal and possibly a staunch socialist was elected in a misinformed over-reaction to the economic crash.

    And it turned out that you, the conservative, were right.

    The policies of the US government have exploded left in support of what liberals have been screaming (literally) they wanted.  Greater taxation and redistribution.  Protect unions.  Protect the flow of illegal immigrants.  Greater environmental regulation.  Greater banking regulation.  Greater business regulation.  Smaller military.  Pull out of global conflicts and stop meddling in the political affairs of other countries.  Just talk to our enemies and distance ourselves from our friends so as to not upset our enemies.

    When have run the experiments and have the clear results.  Liberal policies punish the middle class and create a larger under-class.  And because blacks are already over-represented in the population of under-class, everything liberals demand perpetuates their economic misery.

    In the 1980s late great UCD football coach legend, Jim Sochor, spoke at a company meeting I attended.  He described his coaching philosophy to honor and focus on the process and not worry so much about the results.   He explained that his winning record was simply because the team and individual players repeated the actions and behaviors of a winning team leading up to each of their competitions.  He said that losing was part of the learning process and it only served to help improve the winning process as long as the lessons were incorporated into the practices.

    Black relations are the result of too few blacks moving into the middle and upper economic classes.  That is 100% of the root cause of the unrest we have seen.  The Democrats and the media have launched a campaign to deflect this fact away for political reasons.   They have thrown law enforcement, including the CIA, under the bus to foment anger and social unrest, and knowing full well Republicans and conservatives would defend law enforcement, the knew they would leverage that anger and social unrest.

    Liberal voters don’t like analogy of game and life, but they are wrong to dismiss it.  Politics is just a game.  Politicians compete for limited power.  The economy is also just a game.   Everyone competes for limited economic resources.  And the competition for limited economic resources has gone global.  There is also another liberal drive to push politics global, but that is another topic for another day.

    Civil rights 2.0 is 100% economic.  If blacks as a group would participate in the economy similar to whites and Asians, we could stop this left and media constant drone of white-black racism and bias and move on.  The reason blacks are not experiencing enough economic wins is that too many of blacks and black families are not practicing correctly.  They are not learning correctly from their failures to compete in the economic game.   And it is liberals that perpetuate this with their constant focus and complaint about the results and not the process required to win.

    -We need to take away more money from those that have to give to blacks.
    -We need to provide more healthy food to blacks.
    -We need to reduce sentencing of blacks.
    -We need the police to give less attention to black neighborhoods and blacks in general.
    -We need affirmative action in education and employment.

    All of these demands by liberals are the opposite of what coach Sochor was recommending.

    And liberals also weaken the game and reduce the number of opportunities.  They demand greater taxation and more regulations that tend to reduce the amount of business starts and business growth.

    Liberal idea are clearly to blame for our inability to see blacks reach social and economic parity with whites.  And now they are doubling down on blaming others for their failures.  And as a group blacks will continue to languish as a result.

    1. Tia Will


      They have thrown law enforcement, including the CIA, under the bus to foment anger and social unrest”

      Law enforcement including the actions in Ferguson, New York, Cleveland to name a few and the CIA, did not need any help from liberals. They were very adept at throwing themselves under the bus with use of techniques totally inappropriate to the situations at hand. The only one of these instances that has any potential mitigating circumstances is the Ferguson situation. To me it is irrelevant to this discussion whether or not there is racism involved in addition to the totally unjustifiable use of excessive force and utilization of unconscionable actions still defended by Dick Cheney under color of “doing anything necessary to achieve our objectives”.

      I do not speak for anyone but myself, but I can guarantee you that my goal is not fomentation of anger and social unrest, but rather my desire to denounce what I consider to be brutality and immoral actions regardless of the identity of the perpetrator.

    2. Don Shor

      Black relations are the result of too few blacks moving into the middle and upper economic classes. That is 100% of the root cause of the unrest we have seen.

      That’s funny, I thought it was young black men being shot by police.

      They have thrown law enforcement, including the CIA, under the bus

      The CIA isn’t law enforcement. That’s an important fact. If you have an opinion about the Senate committee’s report on the CIA, perhaps you could post that on the thread devoted to that topic. This offhand comment suggests to me that you don’t want to endorse the CIA actions, because you know they’re indefensible. But if you wish to do that, I’ll provide a convenient link for you here:
      The Senate committed worked on that report for years, so the suggestion that it is a political distraction to “deflect” anything is a weak, preposterous talking point with no merit.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Don, three times as many white folks are shot by the police, a 3-1 ratio, even though the DOJ reports that 53% of murders are committed by African American men.

    3. Miwok

      you might have experienced a blush in pride in what you already knew… that in this country, the greatest on God’s green earth, a black man could achieve what a white man could achieve

      For more than a moment, I thought Candidate Obama was overcoming history’s barriers, with no response to the inevitable racial comments about him. Since he would not articulate the “change” he “hoped” for, I could not see what he really stood for or wanted. Running against a largely disinterested Republican Party, I saw them largely give up supporting their candidate, not running against Democrats.

      I thought Blacks would have more Pride and actions supporting this country, and have more voices in his Administration. But apart from the Chicago bunches of people, I did not see anything different than most presidents do. The endorsements of Pelosi and Feinstein, let alone half-hearted okie dokies from the Clinton bunch only showed me he was just another branch on the tree of Democrats.

      Now he is starting to let it all out. He has no vision for the future, and now is sounding like a man whose teleprompter has been turned off. Now is the time for a leader, and he is not doing it. He sounds paternalistic, not inspirational. He is busy selling his soul for his future, like the “Clinton Foundation”, a tax dodge to live well in the future.

      Because of the critics claiming “he has not done enough” and other Democrats turning against him, I can understand why. He has done a lot. The problem with that, it took years to get accomplished, and implemented. For good or bad, the next guy will take a lot of the credit. The People will live with it for a longer time, in my opinion.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        I think he has been a disaster, and most don’t even comprehend how bad some sectors are. The day interest rates jump (which they will) our debt will finally become a topic of concern to the smartphone generation. Not to mention unfunded pension obligations, a nuclear Iran, an emboldened Putin, or any other number of critical issues.

  6. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > Back in 2011, the Occupy Movement seemed to

    > arise in response to the Tea Party Movement.

    Have you talked to ANY “Occupy” people who said that they started in RESPONSE to the “Tea Party” people?

    Knowing quite a few Tea Party people “and” Occupy people they BOTH tend to be mad at the current bi-partisan Wall Street/Crony Capitalists.

    P.S. Give Bernie Goldsmith a call and ask him how many of his Occupy friends came out in “response” to the Tea Party people (I bet he will tell you that most were mad at Wall Street ripping us all off and not many really cared about rural rednecks who want more open carry laws and lower taxes)…

      1. South of Davis

        David wrote:

        > I think I’ve talked to Bernie, who was an early member

        > of our editorial board, quite a bit.

        You didn’t answer the question… “How many of Bernie’s Occupy friends came out in “response” to the Tea Party people” and bonus question Was it the “Tea Party Movement” that got Bernie (or anyone else you know) to get involved with the “Occupy Movement”?

        1. Miwok

          A friend of mine went to many of the Occupy operations, and after they planted in Sacramento, he spent a bit of time trying to help them. After a couple weeks he quit, said the “organizers” were hired guns. I don’t know from what, but he was out because it was not local people running it.

        2. Miwok

          He could never tell, and he had friends going to Oakland and other places where operatives just appeared and violence would erupt. This one griend I knew also had a UStream going during one of the Oakland marches during Occupy, and as soon as people started burning cars and breaking windows, all the Occupy people left to march other streets, while the PD was concerned keeping the FD safe. My friend quit going after those kinds of things..

          They were not students and they were not transients. They were being paid..

  7. WesC

    As Kareem Abdul-Jabbar put it in his Aug 17, 2014 TIME magazine op-ed article titled The Coming Race Ware Won’t Be About Race:  “This fist-shaking of everyone’s racial agenda distracts from the larger issue that the targets of police overreaction are based less on skin color and more on an even worse Ebola-level affliction: being poor.  Of course to many in America, being a person of color is synonymous  with being poor, and being poor is synonymous with being a criminal.  Ironically, this misperception is true even among the poor.  And that’s how the status quo wants it.”   Or as Warren Buffett put it: “There’s a class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

    Back in 1968 The President’s Crime Commission surveyed households and found the 91% violated laws that could have subjected them to a term of imprisonment.  The report also found that 64% of all males and 27% of all females in New York state had committed felonies. If 91 % of society has admitted to committing crimes that would have required  prison time, why do our correctional facilities resemble  the poor house, and not a cross section of society?

    Public defenders win dismissal or acquittal in 17% of their cases vs 36% for privately held counsel.   The poor are not only found guilty  more often, but were not recommended for probation 27% of the time vs. 16% for the wealthy.  For the same criminal behavior the poor are more likely to be arrested: if arrested more likely to be charged; if charged, more likely to be convicted, more likely to to be sentenced to prison; and if sentenced , more likely to be given longer prison terms.

    For those who work in Wall Street, for every 100 investigated by the SEC, 90 have committed securities violations that carry criminal penalties. Action is taken against 46 of them, 11 receive criminal treatment, 6 are indicted, 5 are convicted, and only 3 sentenced to prison. I would say that these are pretty good odds for making millions in ill-gotten gains and not even getting a slap on the wrist for it.

    If anything these trends have become even more pronounced today.  Overzealous police tactics are merely a symptom of how those who have not are treated much differently than those who have.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an educated man, but his perception of reality is a little off. One of his own sons has harshly critical words for his own father, who was rarely involved in his life. Quite ironic.

      Warren Buffet also comes off like a hypocrite when he chooses to take more of his income in a lower-tax manner. Take your income as ordinary income, Br. Buffet, so we can give more to Uncle Sam!

      Crime Commission: various reasons. One, if you deal drugs on a city corner in broad daylight, yes, you are more likely to go to jail than someone selling $40 of weed to someone in their garage in the suburbs! Common sense.

      In general, yes, I agree being poor sucks, and yes, if you’re poor you may not get the best shake. There are strategies and approaches to take that the poor often don’t know, don’t communicate, or don’t care to follow. If you talk back to a cop, give a cop lip, guess what, you’re odds get dramatically worse. Hang out with gang members, you face poor odds. Stay out late at night, you’re asking for trouble, doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, green or blue. Sure, if you’re on a street corner in Davis at 3 AM, you’re mainly OK. lt; but if you’re on a street corner in Brooklyn at 3 AM, you are asking for trouble. The police have a saying: nothing good happens after midnight.

      1. South of Davis

        TBD wrote:

        > One, if you deal drugs on a city corner in broad daylight, yes,

        > you are more likely to go to jail than someone selling $40 of weed

        > to someone in their garage in the suburbs! Common sense.

        Years ago in SF people were complaining about the “racist” differences in arrests for drug dealing and prostitution in (the mostly rich white) Presidio Heights neighborhood and ( the mostly poor black) Hunters Point neighborhood.

        The SFPD got a black cop to explain that while he knows studies show that both blacks and whites use drugs and prostitutes it is blacks who tend to buy and sell drugs and sex out in the open in front of cops while whites tend to hide illegal activity and make it harder for the cops to arrest them.

        P.S. To anyone that thinks cops are racist, do you think that a black woman dressed like a hooker “walking the street”  in a poor black neighborhood  will get get hassled by the cops more or less than a white woman dressed like a hooker “walking the street” in a rich white neighborhood?


        1. TrueBlueDevil

          SOD, I once had a colleague / mentor / friend at work who wasn’t PC, but he brought up this complaint, and we reached the same conclusion made by your office. (My friend happened to be black.) This was more than 10 years ago.

          We then tried to think of a place where white kids might have / deal low-level drugs, and then we both agreed, our idea was some frat houses might fall into that category. We both agreed 100% that many would be guilty of providing alcohol on a frequent basis. So why don’t the police bust them more often? At about the same time some public figures did raise this same issue in the public sphere, why protect the Greeks? (It may have been the NAACP.) Education, money, privilege? After that pressure and complaints of a racial double standard, in a relevant city, a few fraternities were busted for serving alcohol to minors. I also saw recently that once there was criminal activity at San Luis Obispo (attempted robbery, reports of the frat dealing weed), the police went back a few weeks later and caught a fraternity member with marijuana.

  8. Tia Will


    Warren Buffet also comes off like a hypocrite when he chooses to take more of his income in a lower-tax manner.”

    Being a hypocrite does not make your assessment of the situation erroneous.

    if you’re on a street corner in Davis at 3 AM, you’re mainly OK. lt; but if you’re on a street corner in Brooklyn at 3 AM, you are asking for trouble.”

    Can’t tell from your post whether or not you are entirely comfortable with this disparity. I am not. But I live in Davis, so I guess in your eyes that makes me a hypocrite too ?


    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Warren Buffet being a hypocrite just makes him a little more human and less untouchable, His backing of President Obama may have also been tied to support he gets from the Obama administration in other areas. Status quo, more money for the top .000001 percent.

      Per Brooklyn, I’m agnostic, I am looking at reality, the real world. A woman who goes to a nightclub at midnight faces issues a woman at midnight mass may never face. I am not comfortable or uncomfortable with this, I am just acknowledging reality.

      1. Don Shor

        A woman who goes to a nightclub at midnight faces issues a woman at midnight mass may never face.

        Seems to me the risk depends on what part of town the nightclub and the church are located, not what the gender or activity of the customer is.

  9. Tia Will


    I am just acknowledging reality.”

    It sounds to me as though you are quite comfortable with there being risks for the woman at the bar as opposed to the woman at mass. You disclaim it, but then give a verbal shrug. So in your own chosen example it seems that you do not have any objection to a differential standard for treatment of these two women.

    I believe that those of us who find ourselves in relative positions of comfort and or power have an obligation to attempt to improve upon reality as we find it. I believe that those of us who are aware of inequities have a responsibility to address them when and where we can. Passively acknowledging problems and then not even attempting to address them is a fine line away from tacitly accepting the status quo.


      1. Miwok

        Tee Hee “Hell’s Angles” – That’s the Geometry Bikers, right?

        If you try to walk into that place any time you may be mistreated.. Not exactly a public place..

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      There are risks there for men as well. Combine testosterone, booze, egos, immaturity, the mating ritual and the late night hour, you have trouble. Violence, fights, and at some places, gangs. I tell young people of both genders the same message, nothing good happens after midnight. Don’t drink and drive, and if you go to the club, leave early.

      It’s not about ethnicity or gender, it’s common sense, street smarts, and reality, but I understand their need for excitement and fun.

  10. tribeUSA

    Yes, I agree that we should unite as a common ‘tribe’, all colors, against a trend of increasing use of excessive force by many police/law enforcement departments, and the ever-growing disparities between rich and poor in this country. These issues transcend race, and can help to unite the different races–sometimes I wonder if casting these issues as racial issues helps to work into a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy that effectively de-energizes such movements for social/economic justice.

    I think many in the upper middle class, like most people in Davis and perhaps most who contribute to this blog, might take a smugger viewpoint on the growing financial inequality in this country, because they have largely been insulated from this. My guess is the upper middle class is the next segment to see declining fortunes, starting in the next decade or so, perhaps after the next serious national economic recession; partly because of the continuing decrease in the ability of most americans to be able to pay for professional services (e.g. lawyers, doctors, tax advisors, etc.) or store goods much beyond the bare necessities; and partly because the clever schemers on Wall Street are salivating at the still considerable wealth in the hands of the upper middle class professionals in this country; and will find ways to make sure it starts to shift in their direction (partly thru their influence in congress at continuing to shift laws to work in their interests; and partly thru financial shocks of various kinds that can partially be manipulated; though not likely timed precisely).

    Meanwhile, the bottom line is that a greater and greater proportion of the wealth and assets in this country continue to flow into the hands of a smaller and smaller number of people (you can justify this six ways from Sunday; but this basic observation stands).

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      You make many good points, Tribe. When Bill Clinton was President, I’ve read the numbers were approximately 45% of the growth in income went to the top 1%; under Bush, 65%; and under Obama, 95%. Some of this is due to the Internet, globalization, etc., but over 50% or 60% is troubling. Unfortunately, Obama’s policies of printing money for Wall Street and K Street has only had limited benefits. The economy is moving, but at a record slow recovery rate. We have a record number of people out of the workforce (90 million?), and have added another $6-7 Trillion to our debt load.

      Democrats exploit and manufacture racial and ethnic issues as a way to keep power, and corporate America is more than happy to accept a new wave of compliant (illegal or legal) workers ready to work for $10-15 an hour. And the American lower class and middle class suffers from abandonment.

      There are several issues that may come to rock the boat for middle and upper middle income – places like Davis.

      Housing bubble 2 – some offer that we’re doing it again, same play. Instead of Freddie and Fannie and zero percent down, it’s FHA and 3% down.

      Interest raise hike – we continue to have historically low interest rates, what happens when they go to 7% (or higher)?

      Unfunded pensions – the longer Jerry Brown delays, the tougher it is to solve. Not sure when this will affect our borrowing rate in California.

      Middle East – Obama coddling Iran is a disaster waiting to happen.

      Meanwhile, as I type this, President Obama was just quoted as saying that “I spend most of my time in the morning watching ESPN”. This is the same president who misses most of his daily intelligence briefings.

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