Nov 21, 2014

Oops! NYPD Officer Liang Shoots and Kills Unarmed Akai Gurley; White Privilege Is Nothing Compared To Blue Privilege

Commissioner Bill Bratton claims that the tragic death of Akai Gurley was "accidental" and that the victim of the police accident was an innocent. Though all the details have yet to have been made available, some details have been such as the fact that only Officer Peter Liang had unholstered his weapon and his partner was also a rookie officer. Why Peter Liang felt that his life was endangered by merely being in public housing to point his weapon and fire it at the first sight of movement has yet to be explained. What we can surmise from this is that white privilege (of which I am benefactor of) is trumped by blue privilege that the benefit of the doubt will goes towards the police no matter how many times they committed acts that remove any doubt such as the 600,000 incidents of police harassment every year under the guise of "stop-and-frisk."

The deficit of trust that has been caused by the overzealous police force that routinely escalated situations rather than de-escalate; to demonstrate a show of force rather than deliberate enforcement of law; to have sought out an adversarial relationship with the community that the police are tasked to protect. The past actions of the NYPD has done such irreparable harm to the expectation of justice that it begs the question "If the police create more injustice than justice in the city, why keep the police around at all?" I'm not entirely comfortable with a AnarchCapitalism perspective, especially when dealing with crime prevention and civil protection is concerned, but with the barbarism that is provided by the NYPD and police forces nationwide that would rather be violent than just, I am becoming more and more open to the idea of competing police forces or even for-profit community police.

Being a white cisgender man, I am allegedly the benefactor of the white privilege that is buttressed by force of the actions of the NYPD, but it doesn't actual benefit me beyond not being victim to police harassment. I acknowledge that not being harassed by police is nothing to sneeze at, but if I live in a city where tax dollars are being spent to physically and psychologically harm large swaths of my fellow New Yorkers that actually harms me as well since these fellow New Yorkers being treated like criminals as part of some "collective punishment" for being people of color causes moral hazard for those begin to internalize the identity of a criminal. It is akin to the Stanford Prison experiment, where middle-class white kids randomly assigned roles as prisoners and guards within weeks to heart those roles and began to harm each other just as expected between adjudicated prisoners and supposed correctional professionals. Now if we were to carry out the Stanford Prison experiment further onto a larger population say the African-American community of New York, would those that are treated with brutality, disrespect, and as subhumans by public employees going to encourage courteous and civil behavior? If upper class and middle class Stanford students are susceptible to such transformation in a couple of weeks what of it when hundreds of thousands of people are exposed to maltreatment throughout their entire lives? And what of the officers, are they not irreparably harmed to carry out orders that intrinsically dispose of their own humanity and their own compassion that is necessary when dealing with erroneously presumed criminals?

Each police officer would be better off psychologically and spiritually speaking if they carried out their duties with respect towards all New York City residents, and in turn the residents (if the officers were in large part above reproach) would justifiably give every police office the benefit of the doubt as well as participating in a collaborative effort in keeping our city safe. That beneficial transformation has to start on the side of those cashing paychecks not the ones that are paying the salaries from sales taxes and property taxes (albeit indirectly if via rent). If the police are unwilling to restrain themselves from overt dehumanizing policing, then we should as a city seriously look into a alternative means of providing civil protection that does not include the NYPD.

Bratton Press Conference about NYPD killing an unarmed black person in Public Housing Projects of his girlfriend.

Nov 7, 2014

WEP: Newest Fusion Party In NYS

Women's Equality Party garnered 50,876 votes making the party New York State's newest political party. Can't wait to start seeing people enroll in the party. It may very will be a repeat of Connecticut for Lieberman, where liberals take over the party to annoy the governor or even any other corporatist politician.

I wholly reference people enrolling sarcastically and expect only activists seeking to take over

Nov 5, 2014

Klein To Keep "Options Open" When Dust Settles

Jeff Klein will very likely throw away any good will that he may have been entitled to by reneging on the WFP deal that withdrew the WFP ballot line to his primary challenger Oliver Koppel (thereby removing his only viable threat to re-election) when he and his fellow IDC senators rejoin the obstructionists Republicans in January.

But what does one expect when there is no enforceable repercussion to backtracking on a deal with a cockolded WFP.

Cuomo Wins, But Will Immediately Be Tested To Be Untrustworthy

Cuomo got a state senate that is on the cusp of going either direction just as he wanted. The IDC state senators can welch on their commitment that got them WFP to withdraw support for challengers in the general election, by rejoining the Republican conference. 

This is exactly what Andrew Cuomo wanted. He should be wary of getting what he wanted. The WFP, and the unions that pushed Cuomo into the WFP endorsement have painted themselves into a corner that they now have to lash out against corporatist Democrats or lose any credibility with the close to three hundred thousand voters that voted on either WFP or Green party lines which approaches the margin of victory in this election. Red meat will be demanded by the progressive voters that will not find it tolerable to support candidates just because he/she is the presumptive favorite though dismissive of the progressive agenda. Trustworthiness is a quality that in nearly any sector of society is desirable, but in politics it is manna from heaven and Cuomo will either follow through on his commitment that gave him the WFP ballot line or burn that bridge and the possibility of national ambitions in a presidential primary.

It is for certain that he can't have both, no matter how much Governor Cuomo wishes that he didn't have to be accountable to what he previously promised. Andrew Cuomo either will have to govern as a liberal or surrender the possibility of national ambitions and even re-election.

Nov 4, 2014

Prop 3: Tax Payers Subsidy Towards Religious Institutions? Say It Ain't So.

"As the public policy arm of the nation's largest representative Orthodox Jewish organization‚ representing nearly 1,000 congregations nationwide‚ the OU's Institute for Public Affairs works to promote Jewish values and protect Jewish interests in the public square."  -Orthodox Union (Proponent of tax dollars being spent on Yeshivas)

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 1st Amendment of the Constitution

Apparently tax dollars going towards religious institutions, thereby establishing government preferences among religions, should be set to Taylor Swift and not more somber music befitting the crumbling of the wall between church and state. If universally believed that the public schools are lacking in financial support why redirect any portion of the $2 Billion towards tuition supported religious schools? I'm glad I voted No on Prop 3.

Though I expressed my concerns that long term debt shouldn't be used for short term expenditures such as consumer electronics, I now also have concerns that this de facto establishment of religion if not an outright subsidy of religion makes the intended funds raised by the bond issuance to be unconstitutional.

Glad to see the video shot entirely in portrait rather than landscape, and with a recorded response like "what am I suppose do with this" when given a piece of lit. It warms the cockles of my heart to believe that even the proponents of Prop 3 constitutionally questionable financing of explicitly religious institutions may have harmed themselves more than they did good.

Nov 3, 2014

Vote No NYS Prop 3: $2 Billion bond measure for education, so tax cuts can remain and cost for schools are the next guy's problem

This proposal would allow the State to borrow up to two billion dollars ($2,000,000,000). This money would be expended on capital projects related to the design, planning, site acquisition, demolition, construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or acquisition or installation of equipment for the following types of projects:

  1. To acquire learning technology equipment or facilities including, but not limited to,
    1. Interactive whiteboards,
    2. Computer servers, and
    3. Desktop, laptop, and tablet computers;
  2. To install high-speed broadband or wireless internet connectivity for schools and communities;
  3. To construct, enhance, and modernize educational facilities to accommodate pre-kindergarten programs and provide instructional space to replace transportable classroom units; and
  4. To install high-tech security features in school buildings and on school campuses.

The biggest bone of contention I have with this is that if these expenditures were so necessary why don't we raise taxes to pay for them rather than using the state's credit card. I would be more inclined for using borrowed money was the purpose to build new schools, but it is instead supposed to be used to buy consumer/enterprise electronics that have a depreciation life of 5 years. It would be far wiser to spend 2 billion dollars on new schools, and make permanent, some form of revenue to pay the teachers to fill those schools. A good first step would be to make all revenue from lottery and gambling earmarked for the school district that the retail location resides, essentially no longer allowing the NY State Lottery Commission's budget to be fungible with the general budget. 

Vote Yes on NYS Prop 2

Prop 2 is quite straight forward, letting the state legislature go paperless. Unless you're the Dunder-Mifflin that has the paper contract, you should be for this prop.

The purpose of this proposal is to allow electronic distribution of a state legislative bill to satisfy the constitutional requirement that a bill be printed and on the desks of state legislators at least three days before the Legislature votes on it. Under the current provisions of the Constitution, this requirement can only be satisfied by distribution of a physical printed copy.

Vote No on NYS Prop 1: Revising State's Redistricting Procedure

I would describe myself as reform minded, and am aware of the need to drastically change how redistricting occurs in New York every 10 years in response to the Constitutionally required census. The ballot prop 1 is an attempt to reform redistricting that is akin to moving around the chairs of the Titanic, though worse since if it passes it will for the foreseeable future be considered already dealt with. Currently redistricting is approved directly by the state legislature, after the passage of Prop 1 their will be commission that will have vague directives who will propose a redistricting plan that will be required approval of the state legislature's leaders.

Inserting a middleman and unenforceable directives do not make actual reform. The directives are listed below:
  • No district lines may result in the prohibited denial or abridgement of racial or language minority voting rights. Districts cannot be drawn to have the purpose of or result in the denial or abridgement of such rights.
  • To the extent practicable, districts must contain as nearly as may be an equal number of inhabitants. The commission must provide a specific public explanation for any deviation that exists.
  • Each district must consist of contiguous territory and be as compact in form as practicable.
  • Districts cannot be drawn to discourage competition or for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring incumbents or other particular candidates or political parties.
  • Maintenance of cores of existing districts, of pre-existing political subdivisions, and of communities of interest must be considered.

Caveats of "as practicable", "discourage competition" or "favoring or disfavoring" are so subjective to make them entirely unenforceable, even if the legislative leaders wanted them to be enforced. The legislative leaders remaining as the final arbitrators is the core rationale that good government reformers have lambasted Prop 1. The New York Times succinctly described the prop as "This is a phony reform that purports to establish a new system of drawing legislative districts. Legislative leaders would appoint a committee charged with drawing new districts. If the legislators don’t like the first two tries, they can draw the districts themselves. The net result would be to reinforce, not reform, a system that virtually guarantees job security for incumbents and discourages competition."