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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Are Officer Involved Shootings Exacerbated By Public Gun Access?

Category: Guns
Posted: 07/21/17 13:09

by Dave Mindeman

This chart shows the number of individuals killed by police officers year by year...


As you look at it, consider this:

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) -- officially, the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act -- is a subsection of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a United States federal law that included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms it defined as assault weapons, as well as certain ammunition magazines it defined as "large capacity." The ten-year ban was passed by the U.S. Congress on September 13, 1994, following a close 52-48 vote in the Senate, and signed into law by then President Bill Clinton the same day. The ban only applied to weapons manufactured after the date of the ban's enactment, and it expired on September 13, 2004, in accordance with its sunset provision.

It is hard not to notice the graph. In 1994, there begins to be a precipitous drop in officer involved fatalities. Conversely, in 2004, there is an upward climb in these incidents. In the 10 years in-between which correspond to the tenure of the ban, the graph tends to hold in a range pattern.

Is this just a coincidence?

The job of being a police officer is a very difficult one. And we expect them to be making fast paced life threatening decisions at any moment.

But what about outside influences? What have gun laws in the United States done with the police officer's state of mind?

The prevalence and easy accesibility of guns, forces police officers to assume that anyone they encounter is armed. And with the demise of the assault weapons ban, they may have to assume that they are out gunned in many respects. And arguably have to act faster and with potentially more force.

Couple that with racial bias or rookie officers or hair trigger responses and you have a lot of the ingredients for tragedy.

Too many times we have had to discuss officer involved fatalities. Way too many. And it is time that we have a serious discussion about ALL the factors involved.

Race is obviously a key. Police Chief Jane Harteau first statement on the recent police shooting of Justine Ruszczyk was that "it should not have happened." Very true. But no such statement came from law enforcement on the death of Philando Castile. Which arguably also should not have happened. It seems difficult for police officials to maintain an even depiction of an officer shooting when different races are involved. The police are more willing to admit wrongdoing when a white person is shot and apparently afraid of the racial explanations and implications when a black person is killed.

That should not be.

But let's address the other elephant. Guns. Too many damn guns. It is tragically ironic that this Australian women died at the hands of a gun in the United States. This probably would not have happened in her home country of Australia. The Australian government dealt with their gun issue. They restricted access and got rid of the numbers. This is something that could never happen in the US, but we can, at least, look for common sense ideas that can reduce the outrageous prevalence of firearms in America.

Police officers have to assume that guns are everywhere. And they are. The first action an officer takes is often to draw their weapon. That was not always the norm. In the past, many would have time to assess the situation critically before feeling threatened. But now, the threat level is immediate. And guns are the cause.

The above chart does not definitively prove any kind of relationship involving the assault weapons ban. But it should at least open the conversation.

Frankly, we have to do something about all of this...and soon.
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America Got A "Bad" Deal In Electing Trump

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 07/20/17 10:54

by Dave Mindeman

There is something that Trump supporters should be begin to realize. Donald Trump is a business fraud.

The hyperbole was "I, alone can fix it."...or "I'm the best dealmaker"...or this or that treaty is the "worst deal ever made".

What is becoming pretty clear is that Donald J. Trump is no dealmaker, he is no brilliant businessman, he is the classic huckster.

His business acumen has really been on display for years. He has filed numerous bankruptcies, and has defaulted on so many US bank loans that no one would lend to him anymore.

Which led him into the shady part of the story. His only resource for funds for his grandiose business schemes became Deutsche Bank. And for as long as Trump has been associated with that bank, they have been flaunting international law on money laundering. There isn't any definitive proof that Trump is part of the money laundering conspiracy, but the pieces of the puzzle are not very encouraging in regards to innocence.

The corrupt Russian oligarch government has been funneling money our of Russia ever since Putin centralized his control. The main conduit has been Deutsche Bank. The German bank has already paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and are still being investigated - and we can only assume that Robert Muller is working on any connections this might have to the Russian meddling in the US election.

But let's get back to Trump's businesses. So there are multiple millions of dollars in loans that Trump has defaulted on. And he ends up getting money from a growing money laundering cartel - which automatically puts him in the middle of illegal activities. Since Russia is a major source of this money, it stands to reason that Russian connections would start appearing in the "Trump business model".

Odd real estate deals. Complicated transactions. Suspicious loan agreements. Connections to people who are targets of financial fraud investigations. It is all coming to a head.

Donald Trump is, in essence, a very, very bad negotiator. The leverage on these deals is always on the other side. Trump has isolated himself with terms that are shady at best - completely illegal at worst.

And, since the US electoral college gave Trump his chance to "prove" those hyperbolic business skills as a President, he has been failing in each and every area.

He has NOT hired the best people. He has NOT kept his campaign promises. He has NOT negotiated "deals" legislatively. He has NOT gotten Mexico to pay for a wall. He has NOT made better trade policy.

And that Iran nuclear treaty which he said was the "worst" in history? Well, it turns out US officials have confirmed that Iran is holding to their side of the treaty - and ironically, have complained that the US has not kept to the terms of their side.

Trump supporters, you got duped. And you know who is suffering the most damage from the Trump Presidency? The people who voted for him. The people who assumed he would bring back manufacturing jobs. The people who assumed that Trump would get us "the best health care". The people who were assured that the US standing in the world would be returned to "Make America Great Again".

It was all a bait and switch. A fraud. A snake oil sale. A Madison Avenue falsehood.

The question isn't whether Trump can make America great....the real question is "will America survive a Trump Presidency?"
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Daudt - A Win At All Costs Mentality

Category: GOP House Republicans
Posted: 07/19/17 18:01

by Dave Mindeman

Kurt Daudt thinks he is pretty clever. He risked a government shutdown with a poison pill in the tax bill trying to put Dayton in an impossible position.

Dayton could have vetoed that tax bill and sent us into another round of probable shutdown, but he doesn't play the same kind of game that Daudt does.

Today's court ruling that Dayton's line item veto was unconstitutional was followed immediately by a Kurt Daudt tweet:

"Pretty good day for Minnesotans."

Well, in Daudt's world maybe, but that tax bill is not good for all Minnesotans. It lowers revenue on cigarette taxes (and cigars). Its good for the wealthy once more as estate taxes are cut as well as business property taxes.

Let's just say that it was a good day for Kurt Daudt, because his political ploy worked. What Gov. Dayton did with the line item veto, may be construed as unconstitutional but the reason he did it was that Kurt Daudt put in a poison pill that defunded the Revenue Department if Dayton vetoed the bill.

That was a low minded political gimmick...and frankly should be part of the Constitutional arguments. What Daudt did was to unconstitutionaly take an option away from the executive branch.

So, maybe Daudt won this round via trickery and deceit. (Seems to be a typical Republican tactic these days). But if Daudt runs for Governor, which seems likely, he will be arguing on the other side. He will be looking to protect the executive branch if he would happen to become the governor. And if his past record holds true - he will do so with more gimmicks and political tricks designed to give him every advantage.

That is not a method for gaining consensus. But then Daudt doesn't want consensus and compromise. He is like Trump - win at all costs.

Seems to be the order of the day.
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