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Tom Nugent
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Lots of very useful quotes from people around the country about the political divide and how a lot of people who don't fall into the categories usually covered in the news feel about our national situation.

Post has attachment It's interesting that someone in power subscribes to the Howe & Strauss theory of generations (which I've written about many times before, and find to be a very powerful concept which has done a surprising job of predicting the future over the last 20+ years). Bannon takes very different lessons from it than I do, but he does fill the role of "apocalyptic Boomer." There's no doubt that governmental institutions will be radically different a decade from now. Whether or not they'll be "better" remains to be seen.

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Wow, I had no idea child marriage in the US was a problem at all, much less that it was this widespread.

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The concept of forced "quiet time" in an office sounds great. One worker reported, "“Work has become the best place to get things done.” Quite a telling statement!

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"data on the incidence of violence throughout human history ... show that the odds of dying violently are lower now than they’ve ever been."

Keep reminding yourself of that fact whenever you watch the news, because it's easy to get scared by the violence seen in the news when in actual fact your chances of dying (or even being injured) due to violence (of all kinds, not just terrorism) are the lowest they've ever been in history.

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Regardless of your political leaning, we should all be able to agree that policies (and laws) should be tailored to meet their goals, instead of going for a feel-good-only response. This article starts:
"One of the leading authorities on Jihadist terrorism warns that while the travel ban, which was announced by the Trump administration on Friday, has “scant national security justification,” it does have serious negative consequences for U.S. national security..."

Since 9/11, there have only been 12 terrorists perpetrating attacks in the US, and, "All twelve were American citizens or legal residents, and none of them has emigrated from or born into a family which emigrated from one of the seven countries subject to the Trump administration’s travel ban"

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Open offices make it harder to remember things!

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This article is a compelling read about how much police lie, and how they are incentivized to lie in many cases. It's not new, but it is becoming easier to see. The problem is one of police culture that is taking a very long time to change.

"For much of modern American history, police officers were considered, by most judges and jurors, to be the most reliable narrators in a courtroom...Within the last half decade, a new reality has set in for cops, lawyers, and judges: Videos have replaced police reports and testimony as the most credible version of events, proving time and again, with increasing frequency, that police officers lie....BuzzFeed News reviewed 62 examples since 2008... In almost every case, the officers lied ... to retroactively justify their actions.
Lying is 'something that has been endemic in the history of the American police system for the last three or four generations,' said Peter Keane, a former San Francisco police commissioner who now teaches law at Golden Gate University. 'And why do they do it? The main reason they do it, historically and now, is they can get away with it.' "

And it happens in all kinds of situations:
"Cameras prove cops lie, and there are more cameras out in the world today than ever before. While its depth is unknown, the scope of police lying is wide. Officers lie in high-profile cases and little-known cases, and lie by fabrication, omission, and exaggeration.
... Police officers lie when they or one of their colleagues kill... They lie when they beat up people who were not resisting arrest.... They lie when they think no cameras are watching... They lie when witnesses are around... They lie in big cities.... They lie in small towns... They lie by omission... Police officers lie about traffic stops... Some of them keep up the lie even in the face of the video evidence. " [Each of the statements above is followed by a paragraph with examples in the article.]

THIS is why no city or state should ever try to legislate away (or even stand for other attempts to stop) people's rights to videotape officers doing their jobs:
"But the presumption of police honesty has become an antiquated convention. “And,” former police commissioner Keane said, “it’s only starting to change for one reason: video.” Just as the new DNA evidence of the last two decades proved with scientific certainty that cops sometimes coerce suspects into false confessions, video footage in recent years exposed that cops sometimes open fire on people who pose no threat." and "New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, which handles accusations of police misconduct, reported that it found more false police statements in 2014 than in the previous four years combined, largely because of an increase in video footage."

The thing is, this isn't just about innocent people being shot. It's also about people being bullied or harassed. And the reasons are not only just because cops are trying to cover up when they do something wrong (like shoot an innocent person). It also happens because of pressure to get a certain number of convictions:

"Cops feel institutional pressure to make arrests. In many, if not most, police departments, arrests are a primary metric with which to measure an officer’s ability and work ethic. Michael Baysmore, who was a patrolman with the Baltimore Police Department for two years before joining Coppin State University’s force, recalled that the path to promotion within the BPD was through arrests."

Instead of pushing for convictions (leading to lies that violate proper procedures), maybe we should instead have more walk-the-beat policing to help the community get to know their police officers, instead of having cops show up out of nowhere to bust someone and then take them away to jail. Failing that, at least having every officer wear a body camera and having cameras in the police cars that can NOT be erased by the department can be a huge help.

Regarding the theory that the cases of bad police behavior we hear about are due to only a few "bad apples," this quote reminds us that the phrase is "a few bad apples ruin the bunch:"

"If this conclusion is not entirely convincing, it might be because of how deeply embedded the misconduct appears, how normalized, how easy it seems to come to the officers performing rogue acts with minds untethered from consequences. It’s a comfort that suggests institutional acceptance. “It’s not just the rotten apples,” said Geoffrey Alpert, a criminology professor at the University of South Carolina. “It’s the rotten culture that allows the rotten barrel that creates the rotten apples.” "

Finally, the last part of the incentive structure is that there is often little or no punishment for lying:
"Police officers have a long documented history of lying, a thick catalog of proof even without the help of cameras.
Yet the culture of deception, and the courtroom reverence for the official police account, has persisted, largely because, former police commissioner Keane said, the institutions with authority to punish officers usually fail to punish them for lying. "

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"There's a lot of concern about "fake news" lately. That is a real problem, but there's also the opposite problem: true things that aren't being said."
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