“We may be trying to return a guilty man to the community. No one can really know. But we have reasonable doubt, and this is a safeguard that has enormous value in our system.”
The phrase, ‘it’s better to let ten guilty men go free, than put one innocent man behind bars’, is not some empty platitude. It’s a fundamental principal, one we’ve built into our legal system. First, by requiring unanimous verdicts in criminal cases and, most importantly, by requiring that guilt be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. At times, with specific cases, we may find this frustrating. But overall, this cautious approach protects the liberties of every individual, while strengthening our society as a whole. Indeed, the principle resonates so strongly as to be frequently featured in our literature and cinema, most notably in To Kill A Mockingbird and Twelve Angry Men.
“The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box.”
Closing arguments are being presented today in the trial of Derek Chauvin, accused of criminal responsibility for the death of George Floyd. A verdict may already have been returned by the time you read this. Under our system, the jury, as ‘finders of fact’, are charged with setting aside all preformed opinions, all prejudices and biases, to decide on the merits of the case based only on evidence presented in court. Regarding this, the most publicized and cataclysmic incident in memory, that may prove hard for some of the jurors. No one who viewed that initial video clip of Floyd on the pavement (and all of those empaneled had seen it) was not emotionally troubled. Nor could anyone have missed the Summer of protests and rioting it sparked. The acrimonious debate over alleged police brutality and ‘systemic racism’ dividing our nation surely draws its fault line through this jury box, too.
Still, over the past two weeks, the jury has been presented with a large amount of evidence — eyewitnesses, expert opinion, training manuals, toxicology reports, extended body camera footage of the incident from start to finish and from various angles — that most of the public is unaware of. Some objective legal observers (if anyone can be fully objective in this case) found the state presented a rather weak, scattershot case, while Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, performed exceptionally well, most notably in eliciting statements favorable to the defense from some of the state’s own witnesses.
The prosecution’s case relied primarily on reviving in the jury the emotional response to that viral video of Chauvin leaning atop Floyd, finding excuses to play segments over and over and over, while calling witnesses to share how they felt about it. Expert witnesses were called who attested variously that Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck been a “blood choke” to a single carotid artery, then, that Chauvin’s knee — actually on Floyd’s back — had caused “positional asphyxia”, then shifting yet again to restraining Floyd face down had caused “compression asphyxia.” The state also called several witnesses to testify that Chauvin acted criminally outside of police regulations, for if his actions were lawful, all the rest is moot.
The state also encountered procedural embarrassments. One of its first witnesses’ belligerence toward Nelson earned her a warning from the judge, during which she became sassy toward the judge, earning her a very stern warning. (The jury was sent off before this scolding, but it could surmise something was up when court was adjourned early, with that witness returning the next morning to answer a single question.) Nearly all of the state’s frequent objections were overruled. One prosecutor earned a sidebar for badgering a defense witness on cross, returning noticeably chastised. Then, just as the main cases were wrapping up, the state, by attempting to introduce evidence Judge Cahill had expressly forbidden, came within seconds of triggering a mistrial. Throughout the trial, the state, boasting three main prosecutors, a bevy of assistants, plus the entire resources of Minnesota, swamped Nelson and his lone aid with tens of thousands of pieces of evidence, dropped just days or sometimes hours before introducing them in court. While the jury was not privy to all of these elements, and may not appreciate their significance, it surely didn’t help.
“Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.”
In contrast, Defense counsel Nelson’s performance, barring a couple of stumbles, was outstanding.
As an antipode, and likely intentional antidote, to the emotionally charged prosecution, Nelson remained calm throughout, and courteous to state witnesses, even the sassy one. Only on cross with one expert could noticeable signs of disdain been seen in Nelson’s face and heard in his voice. But to be fair, this witness was pretty much an arrogant prick.
From his opening statement onward, Nelson laid out the foundation of reasonable doubt, building upon it brick by brick. Establishing the lawfulness of Chauvin’s actions in the minds of the jurors may have been the hardest; numerous witnesses testified both that it was and that it wasn’t, allowing any given juror to hear what they want. Nelson also argued that the crowd, growing larger and more openly hostile and threatening over time, both distracted the officers’ attention away from Floyd’s deteriorating physical condition, and necessitated restraining him for longer than anticipated. This was supported in part by the fact that the EMTs, after belatedly arriving, considered the scene too dangerous to render aid on the spot, instead executing a “load and scoot” then driving several blocks away before attending to Floyd.
Far more compelling was the argument that what killed George Floyd was not a knee to the neck, but Floyd’s own choices that day, coupled with his extremely poor health. As attested by tangible evidence and testimony, Floyd:
Had ingested fentanyl prior to his arrest;
To prevent them being found by the police, swallowed pills containing more fentanyl and meth;
Physically and forcefully resisted arrest for about ten minutes;
Complained of being unable to breath long before being restrained on the ground;
Asked to be laid on the ground instead of loaded into the police cruiser;
Exhibited signs of “excited delirium” — violent, random physical movements, mental incoherence and delusions — which, per police training, requires restraining the subject to prevent harm to himself or others.
The autopsy revealed that Floyd suffered, inter alia, from:
A grossly enlarged and weakened heart;
Of his four main arteries to the brain, 75% blockage in three of them, 90% in the fourth;
A rare tumor that can suddenly release large quantities of adrenaline;
and found that on the day he died, Floyd had;
An almost four times fatal overdose of Fentanyl in his blood;
Experienced pulmonary edema — also evidenced by the foaming around his mouth seen well before he was on the ground — which is a typical side effect of fentanyl;
No tissue injuries consistent with physical force required to cause asphyxia.
The alternate scenario, which Defense argues cannot be ruled out beyond a reasonable doubt, is that the adrenaline rush from violently resisting arrest demanded more oxygen for Floyd’s muscles. But because the fentanyl had filled his lungs with fluid, they could not provide it. His weak heart, trying to pump its remaining reserves of oxygen through nearly completely blocked arteries, simply gave out.
“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
In any other trial, that evidence would seem to make a conviction impossible. This case, of course, is like no other. Already, many forms of jury intimidation have occurred. Still, juries can often stun us, and predicting verdicts is a mug’s game. In the crucible of deliberations, all the dynamics of human social interaction come into play. Jurors cajole each other. They reason, plead, pout, intimidate, haggle. Although the presence of at least one obvious BLM-type on the panel may preclude full acquittals, haggling might produce a token conviction on one of the lesser charges only. Also plausible is a hung jury. And as noted, the state’s shenanigans during trial provide strong grounds for an appeal.
Anything but convictions on the more serious charges would shock the public, kept ignorant by the biased media and its own preconceptions. It would also enrage the mob. Maxine Waters stood on the very steps of the courthouse inciting violence if the verdict is ‘not guilty’. Death threats have been made against the jurors. Antifa vandalized the former home of one of the defense witnesses. BLM agitators have vowed to spill the blood of police across the country if Chauvin is not convicted. A mob came for Atticus Finch’ client, too.
“It takes a great deal of courage to stand alone even if you believe in something very strongly.”
If mob rule can determine the outcome of trials, then our legal system is lost and our individual liberties with it. Protesters hold aloft placards bearing the words “Justice For George Floyd.” In that, they get it all wrong. We need this trial to be conducted fairly and objectively according to our laws, free from outside influence. If that occurs, whatever the verdict, then justice will be served. Not for George Floyd, not for Derek Chauvin, but for our system which protects all of us.
If rule of law is to be preserved, and chaos and anarchy averted, we all now need to act like good jurors when reacting to this case, and all similarly volatile ones. So, if you haven’t yet, review the evidence presented in this trial (to get the quickest overview without suffering tedium, consider just watching the cross-exams) as well as analyses that might come from somewhere other than your usual sources. The mob will be aiming to raze our institutions. Whatever ‘verdict’ you’ve arrived at, don’t let them, and certainly don’t join them.
Sheila Jackson Lee (D, TX-18) has a reputation for saying really stupid things in public, and introducing really stupid legislation in Congress. Her latest anti-gun bill is par for the course.
Sheila Jackson Lee, 14-term congresswoman from Houston, is known for many things: her anti-socialbehavior on commercial air flights, her mistreatment of staffers leading to the highest turnover rate on Capitol Hill, and her propensity for embarrassing gaffes. For, despite somehow acquiring a BA from Yale and a JD from UVA, Sheila Jackson Lee is a complete moron.
She asked if the Mars Rover could take photos of where the Astronauts landed.
She thinks North and South Vietnam are still two separate countries.
She believes the US Constitution is 400 years old.
She blamed Wikipedia for WikiLeaks.
Stupid is as stupiddoes.
Jackson Lee’s stupidity extends to guns, which she hates and has for years tried to ban. She once hefted an AR-15, declaring it “as heavy as ten [moving] boxes” and firing .50 caliber rounds. AR-15s weigh about seven pounds and are chambered in .223 / 5.56 mm, Sheila. Regarding gun control, Jackson Lee stated:
“Don’t condemn the gangbangers, they’ve got guns that are trafficked, that are not enforced, that are straw purchased and they come into places even that have strong guns laws. Why? Because we don’t have sensible gun legislation.”
If that made your head hurt, check out Jackson Lee’s latest ‘sensible gun legislation’, H.R. 127, the Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act.
Without explaining the intended purpose, it calls for a Federal database containing the “the make, model, and serial number” of all four hundred million guns in the country, along with “the identity of the owner of the firearm, the date the firearm was acquired by the owner, and where the firearm is or will be stored.” Jackson Lee is apparently unaware that guns are portable.
This is not an AR.
Also to be recorded is “the identity of any person to whom, and any period of time during which, the firearm will be loaned to the person.” So, if you’d like to lend your rifle to your buddy while out hunting, let your friend try out your pistol at the range, or even tell your spouse or house guest to grab your shotgun during a home invasion, you’ll need to let the Feds know well in advance.
But wait — H.R.127 contains even more ‘sensible’ stuff.
A Federal license would be required to possess both firearms and ammunition, issued only after the applicant (that is, all one hundred million gun owners) passes a background check — something they already had to do when purchasing their firearm.
Completing 24 hours of approved training “in the use, safety, and storage of firearms” would also be mandatory, presumably to drastically reduce the c. 400 accidental discharge deaths each year.
Further, every gun owner would need to carry liability insurance for “losses and damages”, oddly issued by the US Attorney General, for an annual fee of $800.
Finally, anyone who wishes to buy a new gun, or just keep the ones they already own, would need undergo a “psychological evaluation conducted by a licensed psychologist approved by the Attorney General”. If that shrink deemed it necessary, interviews would be conducted with spouses, former spouses (you may as well give up now), all other household members, and “at least 2 other persons who are a member of the family of, or an associate of, the individual to further determine the state of the mental, emotional, and relational stability of the individual in relation to firearms.” Fortunately, if you’ve ever been in rehab or previously received a mental health diagnosis for pretty much anything, you get to skip the above process, cuz you’ll never be allowed to own a gun again in your life.
This license, along with all requirements, would need to be renewed every year for the first five years, then every three years thereafter. Violators would face minimum punishment of a $150,000 fine and 15 years in prison.
Additionally, the bill makes illegal the usual scary black guns, labeled “military-style weapons”, with evil stuff like adjustable stocks and pistol grips — that is, features making them easier to aim, thus safer. Also banned would be autoloading shotguns holding more than five shells, and “large capacity” (i.e., standard capacity) magazines holding more than 10 rounds — essentially every magazine in existence outside of CA, MA and NY. And don’t you dare condemn the gangbangers when they forget to turn them in.
NB: The bill is named after Sabika Sheikh, a Pakistani exchange student, one of ten people murdered in the 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting. The killer that day was an underaged fellow student, prohibited from possessing any firearm, who filched his daddy’s 4+1 pump-action shotgun and a snub-nosed, five round revolver. He also brought along a Molotov cocktail. That’s right — our legal eagle named her legislation after the victim of a shooting that involved none of the weaponry her bill seeks to ban.
Ban this military-style weapon!
If you wish to comfort yourself in the thought that H.R. 127 is just a bit of demagoguery that’ll never even get a floor vote, remember that Congress is thick with folks just as moronic as Sheila Jackson Lee when it comes to ’sensible’ (sic) gun control. I’ll tell you who the real fools are, though: anyone who owns a gun and still votes for Democrats.
(c) 2021 by True Liberal Nexus. All rights reserved.
Kamala Harris was forced to drop out of the Democratic primary race months before a single vote was cast. Yet a handful of party insiders anointed her as vice presidential nominee. Now paired with an elderly running mate, Harris could well soon ascend to the Oval Office. Her personal past and professional record reveals how she managed this feat, and portends how she would comport herself as President.
A Pig in a Poke
Tonight, on this 281th day of the surreal anno 2020, Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, will debate sitting VP Mike Pence. Way back on Day 43, it would’ve been inconceivable to imagine that match-up on stage in Utah eight months hence. The New Hampshire primary had just been held, with win, place, and show going to Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and a surging Amy Klobuchar. Joe Biden had finished a distant fifth with only 8%, with pundits issuing Last Rites to his flagging campaign. Harris wasn’t even part of the conversation. She’d ended her run just after Thanksgiving; her grossly mismanaged campaign bankrupt and torn apart by acrimony, her polling sunken below 1%, the result of her caustic demeanor in debates, her serial flip-flopping on issues. And, perhaps, her inability to come across as empathetic, highlighted by her bizarre tic of protracted, cackling laughter at the most inappropriate moments.
There’s no need to detail what followed. The Dems’ backdoor scheming to block Bernie by settling for Biden. The George Floyd incident that indirectly knocked odds-on favorite, Klobuchar, out of the VP slot. The heated struggle among Biden’s handlers to select an African-American woman, one who neither espoused a too-far left agenda nor had a history as a tough police chief or prosecutor. All somehow resulting in the selection of a dark-skinned — though not African-American — former DA and AG with a record of draconian, often sadistic, law enforcement, who’d recently and eagerly embraced everything from open borders, to slave reparations, to gun confiscation, to socialized healthcare.
To give you an idea of the dread Kamala Harris instills in those who know her well, consider this: a large group of California Democratic pols desperately offered Rep. Karen Bass as an alternative. Not only is Bass an unknown with a thin legislative record, she’s an actual communist fellow-traveler. After pulling every string to thwart the socialist Sanders, these Dems were willing to place a Fidel Castro groupie on the ticket, just to keep Kamala off. Biden advisor and party veteran, Chris Dodd, vehemently opposed Harris’ selection on the principle of ‘first, do no harm.’
The American electorate, including the Democrat voters who endured a seemingly interminable primary season, are now asked to endorse a slate comprised of nobody’s first choice and everyone’s last choice. Simply because they aren’t Trump. Further, given Biden’s age and obvious mental decline, the tacit understanding is that Biden is merely a placeholder, with Harris the actual POTUS nominee “ready to step in on Day One”. Tellingly, Biden recently referred to a “Harris/Biden administration,” while Kamala haughtily spoke of a “Harris administration, with Joe Biden.”
If elected, Harris could well serve up to eleven years in the White House. She’s threatened to rule by fiat, ignoring Congress if it fails to pass legislation pleasing to her. Her record is rife with abuses of the powers of her offices, moral flexibility on issues and policy, and a machiavellian approach to anything or anyone standing in her way. Especially as her campaign is actively shielding her from public scrutiny, It would behoove us all to take a long, hard look at Kamala Harris.
Cette Petite Fille? C’était Moi.
Kamala Harris was born in 1964 to Donald Harris and Gopalan Shyamala, immigrants who’d met as grad students at UC Berkeley. As everyone now knows, when the young family lived in Berkeley, CA, little Kamala was bused across town. But the Harris’ were by no means poor or disadvantaged. Both parents were academics — Donald an economist, Gopalan, an endocrinologist. On her father’s side, Kamala is descended from wealthy Jamaican slave owners, while her mother comes from an elite Brahmin clan. With her parents, young Kamala visited relatives across the globe.
When Kamala was seven, her parents divorced. Kamala continued to reside with her mother in Berkeley while spending weekends at her father’s home in the upscale university community of Palo Alto. Five years later, Gopalan accepted a research and teaching position at McGill University in Montréal, where Kamala, now twelve, was enrolled in a private, French-speaking school.
So, whenever Kamala ‘code-switches’ into urban black dialect for the benefit of an african-american audience, recognize that she’s not just pandering, she’s faking.
Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
In 1981, Harris returned to the US to attend college at Howard, a private HBUC where, she claims, she smoked a lot of weed while jamming to Tupac Shakur. Kamala must’ve been a huge Tupac fan, to be listening to the rapper a decade before he’d released any recordings.
Years later, as San Francisco’s District Attorney, the former stoner was unable to muster any empathy as she zealously prosecuted marijuana possession. As Kamala put it at the time, “It is not progressive to be soft on crime.”
Interestingly, Kamala’s life-long passion for hip hop came up again recently, during the candidate’s video appearance at the NCAAP’s streaming convention. When asked her opinion on the best living hip hop artist, Kamala blurted out “Tupac” — who, unfortunately, does not qualify for the honor, having died 24 years ago. When pressed to name a performer among the quick, Kamala demurred, saying “oh, there’s so many to choose from.” A much better response than admitting she was once again faking it.
On The Way Up
Harris attended law school at UC Hastings in San Francisco, gaining admission through the school’s Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP). The program
“offers special consideration in admission to applicants who have been subject to significant adversity that may have prevented them from attaining numeric criteria that fully reflect their motivation, talent, and academic and professional ability.”
In plain English, LEOP is a quota system for poor students with poor grades.
While Kamala, with a renowned cancer researcher and a Stanford professor for parents, likely didn’t meet the program’s financial hardship criterion, she was the daughter of immigrants, and surely played up the “impact on [her] academic performance” from the “bias” she faced as a Jamaican/Indian surrounded first by white Berkeleyites, then Quebecois, then Southern Blacks. She might even have had the temerity to claim that l’anglais was not her first language after those formative years at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges.
After passing the California bar in 1990, Harris was hired by Alameda County as a deputy district attorney, where she made a name for herself as ”an able prosecutor on the way up” by prosecuting child sexual assault cases. It was around this time that Harris first made the acquaintance of fellow up-and-comer, Gavin Newsom, and through him, his aunt, Nancy Pelosi — connections that would later serve Kamala well.
At some point in 1993 or early 1994 (accounts vary), the 29-year-old Harris became romantically involved with Willie Brown, thirty-one years her senior. A notorious philanderer, Brown was then speaker of the State Assembly and head of a very powerful, very corrupt, Democratic machine.
Brown bought his new squeeze a BMW and began sporting her on his arm at the many lavish society functions he frequented. Kamala was thus introduced to California’s political bosses, as well as to the philanthropists — among them Susie Tompkins Buell and Gordon Getty — the business magnates, and Hollywood moguls whose campaign donations sustained them. “I would think it’s fair to say that most of the people in San Francisco met her through Willie,” opined one Democratic bigwig. “It’s a club, and it’s bigger than Brown,” a former Harris backer observed. “It comes instantly with basically the entire business community at your doorstep, so it means you have access to large amounts of campaign money and institutional political support. It’s that simple.”
Brown’s next gifts to his new girlfriend were even more extravagant than a sports car: a seat on the California Medical Assistance Commission, then one on the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, with annual salaries of $72,000 and $97,000 respectively. These two prize patronage plums falling into the lap of a neophyte with no related expertise or experience irked politicos, but Kamala had clearly put in the work.
Shortly after Brown won the 1995 San Francisco mayoral election, he and Harris split up. Accounts conflict as to who dumped who, but Harris’ words a few years later are revealing. Describing Brown as “an albatross hanging around my neck,” Harris sneered, “[h]is career is over; I will be alive and kicking for the next 40 years. I do not owe him a thing … Willie Brown is not going to be around. He’s gone — hello people, move on.”
Brown readily admits he jump-started Kamala’s political career with his favoritism. “I’ve helped lots of people…. The difference is that Harris is the only one who, after I helped her, sent word that I would be indicted if I ‘so much as jaywalked’ while she was D.A.”
In 1998, San Francisco’s district attorney, Terence Hallinan, recruited fellow progressive, Harris, as his assistant DA. Little did he realize at the time he was nursing a viper in his bosom. As she had in Oakland across the Bay, Harris focused on sexual assault cases. But before long, Harris was generating friction within the office. Frequently and publicly clashing with colleagues over policy, Harris became persona non grata. She quit in 2000 to run the City Hall’s Family and Children’s Services Division.
Two years later, it was time for Kamala’s next big career step; only her former boss stood in her way. When Harris entered the 2003 San Francisco District Attorney race, she had nothing close to the name recognition enjoyed by her rivals, the progressive, two-term incumbent, Hallinan, or the moderate challenger, Bill Fazio. What Kamala did have were those establishment relationships she’d forged at Willie Brown’s many soirees, not to mention the sympathy of her pal, Gavin Newsom’s, coterie. Working these connections, she began lining up endorsements — at times resorting to veiled threats. The president of the city police union recalled Harris cornering him at a party: “I didn’t know who she was … and she came up to me and she put her finger in my chest and she said, ‘You better endorse me, you better endorse me. You get it?’”
The endorsement of other unions who recognized their true masters followed. Harris also received a boon from her friends in high places. In an unprecedented move, the state Democratic Committee, led by Diane Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi, declined to endorse any candidate in the race. The donations rolled in, too — hundreds of thousands of dollars, coming in so fast Harris was cited for campaign finance violations. Curiously, among Harris’ largest donors were numerous individuals, groups, and law firms associated with San Francisco’s Roman Catholic archdiocese.
But Kamala’s biggest advantage over her rivals was her own sheer ruthlessness. At the first debate, Harris sprung a carefully-planned ambush that entered Bay Area politics legend. After Hallinan and Fazio gave their opening statements, Harris rose from her seat to stand behind Hallinan. “You know Terence Hallinan has attacked Bill Fazio for being caught in a massage parlor,” she boomed. Then, walking over to stand behind Fazio, Harris noted how he’d ridiculed Hallinan “for people having sex in his office.” Returning to her spot in the middle of the stage, Harris announced: “I want to make a commitment to you that my campaign is not going to be about negative attacks.”
It was a performance worthy of Machiavelli’s prince. Harris had simultaneously slung mud at both opponents while chastising them for the exact same mud-slinging. The audience ate it up. Decades later, Harris reminisced that “San Francisco is hard-knocks politics. They punch the gut.” Hallinan always considered it more of a stab in the back.
In the election, Harris eked past Fazio to force a run-off with Hallinan. Her campaign literature attacked her former boss for his low conviction rates, while contrasting her sex and skin color with his and all the city DAs of the past century. References to her affiliation with Brown were declared sexist. Harris won the run-off handily. In her victory speech, she promised to balance compassion for minor offenders with a hard-nosed pursuit of the most depraved criminals.
Menace II Society
Harris’ eight years as DA were filled with controversy while her decisions disappointed and shocked many of her grassroots supporters.
The mystery behind Kamala’s large haul of Catholic donations was solved soon after she took office. Harris, who’d first made a name for herself as a young prosecutor fighting “sex crimes and child exploitation” and “later touted her record on child sexual abuse cases and prosecuting pedophiles,” quashed Hallinan’s ongoing, exhaustive investigation into sexual abuse of minors by priests. Harris failed to pursue any open cases, while refusing to release any files to the public despite the urging of SNAP and other victims’ advocates. Years later, in response to FOIA requests, the SF DA’s office announced the documents were nowhere to be found.
While Harris significantly increased conviction rates over her predecessor’s, she did so by aggressively prosecuting minor pot busts and by accepting plea bargains on outstanding murder cases, something she’d criticized Hallinan for.
At other times, however, Harris could be draconian. In 2005, the DA’s office brought murder charges against Lashaun Ternice Harris, a paranoid schizophrenic who’d thrown her three small children into the San Francisco Bay by the command of voices in her head. Ternice Harris, who was living in a homeless shelter at the time, had recently gone off her meds in hopes of retaining custody of her children. The judge rejected the guilty verdict, instead committing her to a mental institution. Harris successfully fought to have the murder conviction reinstated.
In 2006, Harris launched a crusade against school truancy, on the questionable theory that, as most violent criminals had been truants, forcing kids to attend class today would reduce crime in future. To add teeth to her program, Harris threatened parents of habitual truants with a $2,500 fine and a year in jail. Although no parents served time, several were prosecuted. When Harris’ own staff brought to her attention the program’s deep unpopularity among the public, she laughed.
Harris ran unopposed for reelection in 2007, her powerful SF machine friends advising any aspirants to stay out of the race if they knew what was good for them.
In 2009, Deborah Madden, a police lab technician who’d frequently testified in court over the years, was arrested for stealing cocaine from the evidence room. It soon came out that Harris’ office had for years been aware of Madden tampering with evidence, among other criminal offenses. Madden’s personnel file even included a folder labeled “Brady Implications.” Under Brady v. Maryland (1963), the DA was required to hand over this potentially exculpatory evidence to any defendant convicted in trials in which Madden had appeared. Harris did not, even though an internal memo had circulated in her office listing over a hundred law enforcement officials with criminal or misconduct issues impacting over 1,000 convictions (600 of which were later vacated.) Harris claimed she never saw the memo.
In 2010, Jamal Trulove was convicted of murder based on a solitary eyewitness. The conviction was overturned when it was revealed that Harris’ office wrongfully withheld from the jury that the witness had been paid $60,000 and given new housing. Trulove was awarded a $13 million settlement.
In 2010, after a judge vacated Caramad Conley’s murder conviction, citing “voluminous” evidence of false testimony, Harris nevertheless attempted to retry Conley. Once Harris left office, the new DA declined to pursue the case.
Still I Rise
The next logical stepping stone in the Rise of Kamala was state attorney general, which she sought in 2010. With a 33.6% plurality against six primary opponents, Harris advanced to the general election, where she garnered 46% of the vote in another crowded field. She easily won reelection in 2014.
As in San Francisco, Harris’ tenure in Sacramento was marred with nearly identical controversies.
One of Harris’ first acts as AG was to block, for two years, the release of Daniel Larsen, whose conviction for illegal weapons possession had been overturned based on exculpatory testimony of nine eyewitnesses, including a policeman. When Larson was finally set free, Harris appealed, claiming he missed a deadline to file paperwork.
Beginning in 2011, and sporadically for the following three years, Harris would attempt to inflict her draconian anti-truancy crusade on the entire state.
2013: Harris recommended that the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board not pay Rafael Madrigal the $282,000 he was owed for a wrongful conviction due to … you guessed it, suppressed exculpatory evidence.
2013: Harris, citing technicalities, declined to prosecute OneWest Bank for “widespread violation” of California foreclosure laws. Many legal observers considered her excuse bogus. Coincidentally, Harris later was the only US Senate candidate to receive a campaign donation from Steven Mnuchin, who’d profited greatly from OneWest’s subprime lending.
2013: Harris certified that “micro-stamping” of handgun shell casings in two locations “is a technology available to more than one [gun] manufacturer unencumbered by any patent restrictions”, despite its defiance of the laws of physics. When the related law was challenged, Harris’ office successfully argued before the Ninth Circuit that impossibility of compliance is no bar to a legal requirement. The net result has been an effective ban on the sale of new handguns in California, even though most new models feature improved safety mechanisms. Harris recently revealed that she herself owns a handgun for personal protection.
2013: Harris declined to prosecute a Pacific Gas and Electric executive for an illegal meeting with a member of the state utilities board.
2014: Harris declined to investigate a widely publicized ‘judge shopping’ scandal surrounding a lawsuit stemming from a PG&E gas explosion that wiped out an entire neighborhood. NB: PG&E is a major campaign donor to several powerful California Democrats, including Kamala’s longtime ally, Gavin Newsom.
2014: state attorneys attempted to block the early release of prisoners, citing the need for inmates’ assistance in fighting wildfires. When this provoked public outrage, Harris denied all knowledge of the effort by her staff.
2015: Harris declined to act on a memo from within her own DA’s office on the urgency of investigating the nutritional supplement manufacturer, Herbalife, for multiple fraudulent marketing practices. Herbalife was represented by the law firm of Kamala’s husband.
2015: Harris brokered a $33 million settlement with Comcast for its release of data of tens of thousands of customers who’d paid for unlisted phone service. Comcast realizes $109 billion in annual revenue. Apparently, the deal resulted in no hard feelings, as five senior Comcast execs donated generously to Kamala’s 2019 presidential campaign.
2015: Harris fought an appeal of a sexual assault conviction by George Gage. A judge ruled that Harris’ prosecutors had withheld exculpatory evidence, but Harris successfully blocked a retrial on a procedural technicality.
2016 : Harris ordered the state DOJ to raid the home of David Daleiden, a pro-life activist who’d recorded undercover video exposing Planned Parenthood’s sale of fetal tissue from abortions in violation of California and Federal law. Daleiden was then charged with violating California’s two-party consent law regarding recorded conversations. This was the first and, to date, only indictment made under this law, despite the regular use of undercover recordings by journalists in exposés.
It later came to light that prior to the raid, Harris had met to strategize and to coordinate her actions with Planned Parenthood executives, including one whose clinic was under investigation by a County DA for illegal sale of fetal tissue. That executive later pleaded guilty, his clinic accepting a $7.8 million plea bargain. Needless to say, Planned Parenthood has been a generous campaign donor over the years to Harris.
2016: Harris opposed the American Bar Association’s request for the retesting of forensic evidence in the case of Kevin Cooper, an inmate on California’s death row who claims his 1983 conviction for murder was the result of evidence-tampering by police. Shortly before launching her presidential run, Harris publicly reversed her stance, saying, “I feel awful about this.”
Just Passing Through
The upwards path opened again for Kamala with the retirement of US Senator, Barbara Boxer. After a brief scuffle with Gavin Newsom over the vacancy, the two pals agreed to divvy up the booty, with Newsom gunning for Governor. In an open Senate primary, Harris breezed past 37 others, then won handily in the general election vs. another democrat under CA’s newly-introduced ‘top-two’ format.
During her brief time in Washington, Harris has not made much of a legislative mark. Co-sponsor to nearly five hundred bills, she is the architect of none of consequence. Her notoriety has come primarily from her performances during televised confirmations and other hearings. Whether it was disparaging three federal district-court nominees for their membership in the Knights of Columbus, badgering the US Attorney General by asking him whether he was “aware of the perception” that his agents were just like the KKK, or her clumsy attempt to bluff Brett Kavanaugh with an allusion to non-existent incriminating evidence, in committee chambers Harris has employed the pit-bull tactics of a prosecutor.
But Harris never intended to forge a legacy for herself as a workhorse on Capitol Hill. It was merely a momentary stop on her lifelong climb to the very pinnacle of power.
The Last Laugh
What to make of someone who, during a tough-on-crime era, is willing to burnish her reputation by suppressing exculpatory evidence, but during a time when policing reform is trending, will preach about how going after crime is “wrongheaded” and we must instead “reimagine public safety?” Who threatened to throw parents of truants in jail, but gave corporate criminals slaps on the wrist? Who billed herself as a warrior against the sexual exploitation of youth, but was fine with letting child raping priests get off if it’d help her win an election? Who traded sexual favors for access to patronage? Who will morph her persona on the fly to pander to this or that group?
There can be but one conclusion: Kamala Harris is a sociopath.
Over the course of her bid to ascend to the Oval Office, Kamala Harris has employed all of the same ruthless machinations seen in her relentless, lifelong quest for power. As one of her former campaign managers warned, “the biggest mistake would be to underestimate her. She will leave no stone unturned in figuring out how to get it done.”
Witness how, when Harris’ most formidable obstacle was Joe Biden, she carefully laid a brutal ambush, tacitly calling him a racist by professing she did not believe he was a racist. Witness her readiness to “believe” Tara Reade’s accusations, only to later throw Reade under the bus. Witness her flip-flopping on policy positions from one week to the next, a brazen attempt to surf the undulating wave of popular sentiment. Or, on controversial issues where she cannot tell which way the wind will blow, her trademark prevarication, “we really need to have a discussion on that.”
When these tactics led to her rejection by Democratic voters, she bitterly accused them of being racist and sexist and “not ready” for her intersectional awesomeness. Whereas any other candidate, whose campaign had crashed and burned as spectacularly as Kamala’s did, would have entered into four years of introspection, Harris merely dusted herself off and unleashed her secret weapon, those insider connections she’d first first cultivated all those years ago as Willie Brown’s arm candy. It was these titans, the party’s shadowy power brokers, the Silicon Valley mega-donors, who strong-armed Team Joe to pick their asset, Kamala.
And when questioned about her sudden volte-face on her now-running mate, she barely hesitated before dismissing any concerns as to whether she possessed any scruples whatsoever, much less a soul. “It’s just politics!” she laughed.
(c) 2020 by True Liberal Nexus. All rights reserved.
Lately, social justice warriors have exhibited considerable agitation and sense of urgency over the rights of transgendered people, who are said to suffer considerable discrimination, harassment, and lack of acceptance. Joe Biden declared discrimination against this minority “the civil rights issue of our time,” while journalists and activists speak excitedly of transgender rights as “the next frontier.”
Just enforcing existing, or passing new, anti-discrimination laws is not enough, we are forewarned. “Cultural protections” for transgendered people, commonly known as trans*, will be erected, and society will be re-educated about how it conceives of sexual identity. “[I]t will need to reevaluate just how necessary it really is to define people according to what’s between their legs. This would clearly help the transgender community, but it might be healthy for the rest of us, too.”
The so-called “gender binary”, where the world is viewed as male and female, is evil and wrong, we are instructed. We must all now embrace the “Gender Spectrum” (“GS”), which better reflects nature and most importantly, is “inclusive.”
But is this novel way of perceiving human sexuality valid? What, if any, scientific evidence exists to support it? And why is changing not just how people treat trans*, but how they think and feel about their own sexuality, so important? We shall see.
“… a range of gender identities between and outside of the categories of male and female…”
which is usually expanded to include Gender Expression, “the ways in which people externally communicate their gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, haircut, voice, and other forms of presentation”, and Gender Role, “the set of roles, activities, expectations and behaviors assigned to females and males by society.”Sexual orientation (gay; straight; bi; asexual) is also frequently placed under the rubric.
In contrast to the “static, binary model”, The Gender Spectrum is presented as a “more nuanced, and ultimately truly authentic model of human gender” that describes the “far more rich texture of biology, gender expression, and gender identity intersect in multidimensional array of possibilities.” The concept has been around for about fifteen years.
Gender itself is a fairly recent coinage that refers to the personal sexual identity of an individual above & beyond their biological sex. People almost always identify as the gender that matches their sex, but trans* either identify as the gender opposite their sex, or, in rare cases, have no clearly defined gender identity. The causes of transgenderism are poorly understood. (A small fraction of the population is intersex — people who, due to genetic or embryological anomalies, have genitalia & other physical sexual traits that are neither completely male or female. Intersex is separate from transgendered.)
When people discuss transgenderism and the GS, they can be maddeningly vague with quantification — ‘not all people conform…’ or ‘many people express…’ or ‘some people display…’ etc. There happens to be a debate raging over the figures generally cited for prevelance of transgenderism. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) gives 1:30,000 among men and 1:100,000 among women, figures that found their way into APA’s DSM V. But these derive from just a handful of forty year-old studies, and Lynn Conway, a mathematician and a trans* zirself, has made a compelling argument that they’re off by several factors.
By adding up sex reassignment surgeries (SRS) performed in the US since the 1960’s, Conway arrives at a minimal transgender prevalence of 1:2,500, or 0.04%. But considering lessening stigma, and that not every person who identifies as trans gets SRS, more trans* are likely out there. Through a series of assumptions & back-of-the-envelope calculations, Conway extrapolates to a final estimate of 1:170, or <0.6%
A careful & comprehensive meta-study by UCLA’s Williams Institute, conducted in 2011, found that ~ 0.3% of US residents identified as trans* — all things considered, within the same ballpark as Conway’s figure. The results of other recent surveys tend to fall within Conway’s base and peak estimates.
Whether trans people constitute 3/10ths or 6/10ths of a percent of the population, describing them as ‘some’ is vague, and as ‘many’ downright misleading. ‘Very few’, ‘a small fraction’ and ‘rare’ are more fitting, as this visualization of the UCLA estimates makes clear:
Now, this is not to say that, just because trans* are a tiny minority, they are not deserving of our respect or equal rights. As Conway observes, the prevalence of blindness and deafness are similarly low, but society takes great pains to accommodate the blind and the deaf.
The Nature of Sex
This may seem pedantic, but a basic review of sexual development & reproduction is in order before examining the validity of the GS.
Homo sapiens reproduce sexually, as have our ancestors for the past 1.2 billion years. By design, each human comes equipped with either exclusively female, or exclusively male sex organs. We are not hermaphroditic, are incapable of parthenogenesis, nor do we self-pollinate.
Sex is determined by the X and Y chromosomes. Get two Xs and you’re female; an X and a Y, and you’re male — it’s either/or. (Specifically, the SRY gene on the Y chromosome determines maleness.) Rarely, something goes wrong when the gametes merge, creating a zygote with a lone X, an XXY, XXYY, or an SRY gene that’s fallen off the Y chromosome or migrated to an X. A meiotic anomaly can create XYY. Individuals born with any of these karyotypes are known as intersex and (except XYY) are infertile.
In the womb, the precisely-timed delivery of precise amounts of hormones is required for the initially amorphous embryo to develop either male or female attributes. This process, too, infrequently goes awry, leading to individuals with genitalia and other physical sex attributes that are neither fully male nor female. They are also intersex and infertile.
It must be stressed that karyotypic and embryological anomalies are errors in the processes — fatal breakdowns, actually, from the perspective of the germ line — and in no way ‘natural’ variants of sex. (It’s noteworthy that intersex pregnancies spontaneously abort at a far higher frequency than average.) This should be an uncontroversial statement of fact, yet there are those who deny it.
“… even if gender is to be restricted to basic biology, a binary concept still fails to capture the rich variation observed. Rather than just two distinct boxes, biological gender occurs across a continuum of possibilities. This spectrum of anatomical variations by itself should be enough to disregard the simplistic notion of only two genders.”
Evidence of this “biological continuum” presumably includes:
5-Alpha-Reductase Deficiency — incidence of births 1:40,000
This is idiotic. The above are all intersex conditions where the natural sex determinant processes have gone awry. Intersex people deserve our compassion and our support in developing their personal gender identity. Their conditions, however, are birth defects, not “rich variations.”
The Nature of Gender
To successfuly reproduce, an individual must: 1) attract members of the opposite sex; 2) be attracted to members of the opposite sex. Mating relies on physical cues and behaviors to achieve these two objectives. These physical traits and behaviors are fixed, phenotypic expressions of the genome.
For humans at least, it’s generally assumed that a gender identity is generated within the mind. To the best of my knowledge, humans are also the only animals who’ve developed elaborate cultural rituals and cues (most notably, hoop earrings, raised pick-up trucks, & line dancing) to augment or supplant instinctual sex behaviors and attributes.
Getting one’s gender identity or sexual attraction wrong is, again from the perspective of the germ line, a fatal mistake. That’s why we don’t find any trans* animals or gay animals. (Homosexual behaviors have been observed in animals, but they are — aside from one known example of male beetles depositing sperm packets on other males’ carapaces, and that an alternate, “piggy-back” strategy for delivering sperm to females — for dominance or other non-sexual social purposes.)
Homosexuals, bisexuals, and trans* are, of course, found among humans. Some hypothetical explanations for a genetic basis to homosexuality have been put forth (based on outlaw genes, kin selection), but no hard evidence exists (i.e., no “gay gene” has been found.) Pre-natal hormonal imbalances have been tentatively linked to lesbianism. Instances like ancient Sparta imply that culture can influence human sexual attraction. And that’s about the extent of what we know at this point.
How gender identity forms is even less clearly understood. A few studies have found that the brains of MtF trans* resemble the brains of normative females in certain ways, but no causation arrow can be attached to this correlation. What can be said is, although gender self-identification can sometimes be mutable in childhood, it nearly always is fixed by puberty.
In all but a tiny fraction of instances, gender identity aligns with anatomical sex. This should be considered the normative, default position. (Please bear in mind that this is not by any means a moral judgment.) Further, in most trans*, it seems that this default position has simply been reversed. Whether that cortex where gender forms developed differently in the womb, or whether the social cues that influence gender went askew, most trans* identify with the sex directly opposite their anatomy. A mere fraction of the fraction of people who are trans* are ambivalent, or “gender fluid”.
As with pretty much everything about us, nature and nurture are likely at play. Research into the mechanics of gender identity is almost non-existent, but the patterns indicate that we are predisposed toward a default ‘cis’ identity, with embryological or environmental anomalies sometimes perturbing it.
Scientific inquiry may thrive on tentative claims that are only as assertive as the evidence merits, but crusades are waged on dogmatic certainty. The social justice crusade to transform society’s attitudes about sex and expression requires that a continuous spectrum of gender identity exist across the entire population. The graphics found in SJW literature give an idea of how they envision the Gender Spectrum:
(Answer three simple questions about your wardrobe to learn where you fall on the Spectrum!)
(Reminder: Intersex is not the same as transgender.)
(As you become more masculine, you eventually turn feminine?)
(Why don’t these people have necks?)
Let’s compare those to a graphic representation of the findings in the UCLA study:
Do you see a spectrum, or a binary?
Ah, but, the SJW replies, you’ve ignored the hidden influence of sexual attraction, gender expression and gender role-playing. So let’s address those, too.
Whether you’re hetero-, homo-, or bi-sexual seems to me a separate issue from your gender identity, and even granting that connection, the raw data does not reveal a spectrum. The UCLA study estimated 3.5% of US adults identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual.
Other studies conducted over the past decade in the US, Canada, Western Europe and Australia, ranged from 1.2% to 3.7%, with one outlier at 5.6%.
Ah, but, comes the retort, as the noted anthropologist, Honey Boo-Boo, observes: “everybody is a little bit gay.” Straight, gay, bi — these are just artificial cubby holes! In fact, in all the surveys UCLA looked at, more people reported having had same-sex attractions than self-identify as gay or bisexual. Taking the highest figure, 11.0% (from that outlier study, the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth,) let’s graph it out:
The 89% of adults who reported having never had a same-sex attraction appear on the far left. For the purpose of this exercise, and lacking precise data, I’ve evenly spread out the other 11% along the ‘gayness’ scale, despite indications that around half of gay people are also decidedly ‘binary’ in their attractions. For the overwhelming majority of people, there is no spectrum.
Gender Expression, Gender Roles
When it suits them, SJWs insist that gender identity is hard-wired, and we so often hear them speak of ‘a girl born in the body of a boy.’ But when it’s time for the Cultural Revolution to begin, gender suddenly becomes mutable:
“Gender expectations and messages bombard us constantly…. Like other social constructs, gender is closely monitored by society. Accepted social gender roles and expectations are so entrenched in our culture that most people cannot imagine any other way.”
Thus, not only does society have no room for trans* expression, it actively suppresses the hidden gender-fluid tendencies inside all of us. This argument, however, is predicated on the alleged disparity between the ‘artificial’ binary and the ‘natural’ spectrum. As shown above, both gender identity and sexual attraction display marked binary properties. Spectrum advocates complain that
“individuals fitting neatly into [social gender role] expectations rarely if ever question what gender really means. They have never had to, because the system has worked for them.”
Could it be that the vast majority of people prefer these standard roles? Not the slightest effort has been made to produce concrete evidence showing otherwise — or to explain, exactly, why safeguarding the rights of a minority requires the majority to alter their private behavior and deepest self-perceptions. So, when Pistol Annies affirm that there’s nothing better than being loved by a workin’ man, who won’t do the dishes or laundry, but who can fix about anything and will keep your car real clean, instead of trying to re-educate those gals, we should take them at their word.
That being said, if, as a society moving toward greater egalitarianism and less gender-based dichotomy of labor, we now choose to relax enforcement of traditional gender roles for those who choose to deviate from them, that’s a good thing. But no half-baked theory is required to explain David Beckham or Steven Tyler. And we can have women astronauts and men nurses, women in suits and men in scarfs, women who chop wood and men who cry during TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, without the need to pretend they aren’t fully women and fully men.
Spectrum advocates assert that “[g]ender diversity is a normal part of human expression documented across cultures and recorded history,” and point to
“[n]on-binary gender diversity … throughout the world, documented by countless historians and anthropologists. Examples of individuals living comfortably outside of typical male/female identities are found in every region of the globe. The calabai, and calalai of Indonesia, two-spirit Native Americans, and the hijra of India all represent more complex understandings of gender than the simplistic model seen in the west.”
It is indeed possible to find scattered examples of cultures tolerant of intersex and transgendered people. (Sadly, they seem the exceptions to the rule.) One might well cite these examples to encourage greater tolerance in our own society. But they simply do not hold up as evidence of a gender spectrum. Just because these pre-modern societies — ignorant of chromosomes, pre-natal development, or orbital frontal cortices — invented third, fourth or fifth “sexes” to explain certain phenomena, doesn’t mean extra sexes exist for real.
Further, for this to serve as proof that our “simplistic” binary model actively suppresses expressions of gender non-conformity, SJWs would need to produce data showing a significantly higher prevalence of gender-queer individuals in these cultures. They haven’t bothered, and likely can’t.
Finally, hirja of the Indian subcontinent traditionally had, and often still have, their penis and testicles chopped off as boys, then are forced into a life of prostitution. This is not a cultural practice we should seek to emulate.
Spectrum proponents say our gender roles are ‘just a social construct.’ But societies and cultures do not appear out of thin air. The origin of human societal culture can be traced back through the group behaviors of our hominid & earlier social animal ancestors, all the way to the mating instincts of the first sexually-reproducing creatures. Our cultural gender constructs are the direct product of, and are designed to facilitate, sexual reproduction. Far from being arbitrary or capricious, our ‘binary’ gender roles and expressions precisely replicate the function of fixed sex displays like plumage or instinctual behaviors. Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a mating dance.
The Insane Charade
We have shown that:
Trans* individuals are extremely rare (~ 0.3%);
Same-sex attraction is rare (~ 3%);
Our species is by design a sexual binary of male and female;
The vast majority of people — cis and trans*, straight and gay — self-identify as either male or female;
Normative cultural gender roles and expressions, albeit sometimes taken to extremes by certain cultures, are consistent with that sexual binary and naturally emanate from it;
A large majority of people are comfortable with standard gender roles and forms of expression. That almost no one conforms to clichéd, exaggerated stereotypes is unremarkable; that a few people deviate widely from standard gender expressions does not equate to a smooth variance across the entire population, much less is proof of the existence of extra sexes.
In spite of all this evidence and logic, SJWs damn anyone who doubts the Gender Spectrum as ignorant and hateful.
Not atypically for SJWs, they conflate two separate arguments. The first, that trans* deserve equal treatment under the law, and don’t deserve ridicule or abuse, is one I heartily agree with, as would any fair-minded person.
Their other argument, over which they have launched a crusade, and against which they are experiencing considerable push-back, is that society must be restructured, our public institutions revamped, our very perceptions altered, to conform to a non-existent gender spectrum. So people are shamed for finding trans* sexually unattractive, or for denying that they themselves secretly harbor homosexual feelings. “He” and “she”, “his” and “hers” are banned as Words of Intolerance™, and we are now expected ask each person what are zir preferred pronouns before addressing qi. Teachers and students receive indoctrination sensitivity training to embrace the legions of spectrum-queer in their midst.
We have SJWs demanding that trans* be allowed to express their gender in any way they see fit, and expect ‘cis folk’ to not just tolerate it, but to find it groovy. Then, without batting an eye, they hector and shame people who desire and enjoy traditional gender roles and expressions.
We have parents now raising their children as gender neutral, afraid to impose arbitrary idenities in case their kid might be ‘two-spirit.’ Worst of all, many SJWs and therapists now actively encourage children as young as 3 years of age to identify as trans*. Considering that, while some amount of gender nonconformity & ambivalence is relatively common among children, nearly all children who experience it sort things out on their own to become ‘cis’ by puberty, this is unconscionable.
All this is stupid and wrong, highly unfair to individuals and disruptive to society. I don’t care how often you berate me, how many times you label me a ‘hater’, a ‘trans-phobe’, or ‘cis scum‘, I will not participate in your insane charade. I’ll gladly stand up for equal rights for trans* people, but I won’t deny the facts: there is no Gender Spectrum.
You all know me as ‘tamerlane’, but my real name is Matt Cavanaugh.
When I first began commenting and blogging online in the Spring of 2008, I followed the common practice of adopting a screen name. I like to engage in serious discussions on politics and religion, two subjects with a power to enrage people like no others. I do so in a venue — the internet — that, like road rage, provides an anonymity that too often encourages people to act like boors or even monsters. With practices like “doxxing” and online stalking, not to mention whatever real-life acts that might result from chance interactions with political or religious fanatics, discretion dictated adopting a pseudonym.
I’m a small businessman dependent on the continued good will of a close-knit community. I doubt that many of my clients, vendors, colleagues or neighbors share my political or religious views. I’m an atheist in a predominantly religious culture that seems to rate our morals as just slightly less depraved than those of child molesters. I wanted to avoid any possibility of my views causing friction in this sphere.
Finally, noms de plume are a long & respected tradition. Having one of my own allowed me to segregate my iconoclastic views & often acerbic style from my overall everyday personality, which is far more mainstream and mellow. Interestingly, my friends and I often discuss my online persona in the third person, as in ‘what did tamerlane write this time?’ or, ‘was that as you or as tamerlane?’
When I first selected a name, I was tempted to use something like “S. Adams” or “Publius”, the pseudonym of the Federalist Papers’ authors. I rejected these as overly pretentious. Instead, I settled on the slightly self-deprecating choice of a 14th century Mongol conqueror. My decision-making process was, I must admit, a fairly hasty one. The primary reason I chose ‘tamerlane’ was simply that, like me, “Timur the Lame” was an horseman with a bum leg.
At first, I was occasionally chided for taking the name of “a brutal conqueror and despot.” (Would you like me better if I’d chosen a gentle conqueror and despot?) Over time, ‘tamerlane’ the commenter and writer became a recognized entity in his own right. When friends who first met me online now call or write, they as often as not address me as ‘Tamer’ or ‘T’. Maybe I should’ve put more thought into the name, but it did the job, and it stuck.
During the past few hours, I’ve been thinking a whole lot about the name I write under. Many of you know that I’m originally from Boston. I’m proud of my hometown and protective of its witty, warm people and its reputation as a great place to visit and to live. I’ve been closely following the news of this week’s bombings. I now live in a rural setting on the other side of the country, and no one I know was injured or killed. Yet I find the attack has upset me on a very personal level. That was my town; those were my people. Don’t you ever fuck with my people.
The news of the hunt for the two bombing suspects has unfolded at a rapid pace over the past night and into this morning. The suspects murdered one policeman and put another in the hospital. While fleeing, they threw bombs out the car window. I didn’t need a map to trace their route; I’ve driven or strolled there many times myself. One bomber is dead, the other is still on the lam. They’re brothers, named Dzhokhar and Tamerlan.
A Legacy of … Nothing
Tamerlane is a popular name in the former Soviet republics of central Asia, where these brother bombers were born (Chechnya) & raised (Kyrgyzstan) before showing up in my hometown. The people there, stifled for centuries by — and now willingly falling back in thrall to — the mind-deadening bullshit of islam, have little to be proud of. No great authors to speak of, no inventors, no magnificent works of art or edifices of grandeur. Even the ugly, little capitals of their ugly, little dictatorships were built by the Soviets. About all they have to instill pride is the faded, misunderstood memory of a 14th century Mongol conqueror named Tamerlane. So they erect equestrian statues in Tamerlane Squares and steer their sputtering Ladas around the potholes of Tamerlane Boulevards. They name their kids ‘Tamerlan’ and dream hazily of the day when they, too, will march under the crescent banner to sack the cities of the infidels.
At least the original Tamerlane had an appreciation for the knowledge and culture he was appropriating. A brilliant strategist, he was
… steadfast in mind … he did not care for jesting or lying; wit and trifling pleased him not; truth, even were it painful, delighted him….
Tamerlane taught himself to speak several languages, had histories and the ancient classics read to him while he dined, and even invented a version of chess. Contemporaries described him as
highly intelligent and very perspicacious, addicted to debate and argument about what he knows and also about what he does not know.
Although nominally a moslem, Tamerlane blended sufism with Mongol shamanism. Religion to him seemed more an useful tool for justifying his actions than guiding them. He established his capital at Samarkand, embellished it with the riches and art he’d plundered, and assembled scholars and craftsman there to transform his barbarian empire into a civilized race. That dream died with him.
Envy and Resentment
Tamerlan the bomber didn’t want to embrace Western civilization, he wanted to smash it. Unlike Boston, international students don’t flock to the great learning institutions of the Caucasus. Unlike Boston, modern Samarkand could never host a sporting event attracting participants from a hundred nations, because no one in their right mind would ever willingly travel to that shithole.
The bomber brothers were welcomed by Boston and its people. They were given a good education there, even a college scholarship. They could have become real Bostonians had they wanted — sang ‘Dirty Water’ with us at Fenway, transposed the ‘r’s at the end of words, watched the fireworks from the Esplanade, even worn green with us on Saint Paddy’s or grabbed a sausage on Saint Anthony’s. They could have partaken of everything our town, built by successive waves of immigrants, had to offer them: the museums, the culture, the music, the history, the learning, the cuisine, and yes, the public traditions and sporting events. They rejected and despised everything Boston had to offer, because they had nothing to offer back.
I’ve got Paul Revere, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Leonard Nimoy and Arthur Fiedler to be proud of. I’ve got Samuel Morse, Donna Summer, Robert Gould Shaw and Yaz. Louisa May Alcott, Winslow Homer, Charles Bulfinch and Helen Keller. The bomber brothers had nothing of value to inspire them, no one worthy to emulate. Not even Timur the Lame. All they had was envy and resentment.
Like “Adolf”, the name “Tamerlan(e)” can never again be seen without negative connotations. Miscreant bombers don’t deserve its historic legacy, but I want in no way for my words and thoughts to be misconstrued with their ignorance and their hate. So it’s time to let ‘tamerlane’ go. I might consider adopting a new pseudonym later, but for now, at least, I’m just me.
As America commemorates the 10th anniversary of the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001, the MSM is filled with stories that tell us what emotions are appropriate, while also urging us scoff at the poor, deluded “9/11 truthers” who, a decade later, still cling to preposterous theories. ‘Enough conspiracy, already!’ we’re told.
I’ll deal with my own emotions, myself, thank you. But, indeed, the truther theories, with planned demolitions, phantom planes, and vast networks of conspirators, are almost exclusively garbage.
All conspiracy nuts suffer under a sense of helplessness in a world they find hard to comprehend. The nut takes comfort in the “knowledge” and certainly of secret forces controlling events behind the scenes. Icons of power — the military, obscure government agencies, pan-global corporations, feature prominently. To provide an explanation suitable for complexities they themselves can’t figure out, the nut’s conspiracies must be massive, elaborate, widespread — an host of confederates; plans perfected to the minutest detail; the gullible public always responding exactly as intended.
While these baroque fantasies make entertaining cinema (cf. THE STING, THE USUAL SUSPECTS, NINE QUEENS), in reality they are impossible … and unnecessary.
Conspiracies and conspirators do exist, but not at all like the nut’s visions. Like the blind pig that occasionally finds an acorn, truthers do rarely stumble across something real. But in their zeal to uncover a clue under every leaf on the forest floor, they only obscure the very thing they hoped to reveal. Sniffing false trails galore, and drawing ridicule on legitimate inquiries, the truther is unwittingly the conspirator’s most diligent accomplice.
Rather than elaborate hoaxes hatched in underground lairs and supported by convoys of black vans, a minute number of people in power, for intents both altruistic and craven, do steer the course of events via subtle, covert nudges. ‘Spark’ moments need not be created out of whole cloth, merely facilitated, or at the very least, exploited with vigor when they fortuitously occur. Just a few examples of “nudges” of serendipitous turning points that dramatically changed the course of History:
1862 — Lincoln seizes on the marginal victory of Antietam to issue his long-contemplated Emancipation Proclamation;
1870 — An unexpected dynastic crisis in Spain allows Bismarck, knowing France will go to war to prevent German unification, to goad the French Emperor into mobilizing his unprepared army;
1898 — Coveting Spanish colonies in the Caribbean, the U.S. uses the sinking of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor (labeled a terrorist attack, it was in fact a chance boiler explosion) as a causus belli;
1933 — The Nazis use a terrorist attack on the Parliament building (Reichstag) as a pretense to declare martial law;
2001- 2003 — The Bush administration uses the 9/11 terrorist attacks to implement surveillance on citizens, then launch wars in oil-producing nations.
Better to label these actors “Manipulators” than “Conspirators”. Whether the sparks were created, facilitated, or simply exploited is besides the point. In every case, the manipulator(s) had an ultimate goal, with a broad but definite plan, well in advance, just waiting an opportune moment to enact.
9/11 — M.O.M.
The classic sleuthing technique is to identify who had the means, the opportunity, and the motive to commit the crime. There was a small cabal in the United States who had a burning desire for a terrorist attack. Known as “The Vulcans” (in honor of the Roman God, not the Star Trek race), they were neo-conservatives, pro Israel-expansionism, capitalist purists with oil connections. All held positions in the Reagan/Papa Bush administrations. Their names are familiar: Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell.
Declaring the USA the last superpower standing, they saw a golden opportunity for our nation to mold, though unopposed military action, the world to our whim. They also entertained the jalousie that capitalism fosters democracy — open up a country to big business, lay a few pipelines, and peace, freedom & coca cola sales will follow. We know this was their plan, because Cheney & Wolfowitz first put it to paper in February, 1992, in what became known as the Wolfowitz doctrine.
With their golden chance to implement their New World Order cut short by Bush’ failed reelection bid, they sullenly awaited a future opportunity. Growing restless, the Vulcans formed the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), and issued periodic calls for overthrowing Saddam Hussein, unilateral strikes to seize oil-producing regions, and fun stuff like that. Yet they lamented that “the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one” to be expedited only by “some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”
Then opportunity knocked again with the 2000 election of Al Gore Baby Bush. Happy as pigs reunited with shit, the Vulcans commandeered the administration:
VP/Puppet Master — Cheney
Secty of State — Powell
Secty of Defense — Rumsfeld
Deputy Secty of Defense — Wolfowitz
National Security Advisor — Rice
They only had to wait a further seven months, 32 days for their catalyzing, Pearl Harbor-like event to occur.
No need to detail here how ruthlessly they exploited that event, only to mention in passing how the complete failure of their New World Order highlighted their hubris.
Indisputable is that their actions & lies following the 9/11 attacks were criminal, deserve punishment and, thanks to Nancy Pelosi, will go unpunished. Yet the unanswered question, which, a decade later still deserves an answer, is: did the Vulcans just exploit a chance event, did they create it from scratch, or did they willingly serve as the event’s mid-wives?
The evidence is compelling to indict Dick Cheney and Condoleeza Rice guilty of conspiring to intentionally allow the 9/11 attacks to occur.
They did so, not by arranging planned demolitions, staged crash sites or faked phone calls, rather simply by preventing any action being taken on overwhelming evidence of imminent terrorist attacks. In other words, Cheney and Rice conspired to ‘let one through’ to get the Second Pearl Harbor they craved.
A few others, like Donald Rumsfeld and Scooter Libby, may have been involved, but for it to work, no one beyond the VP and the NSA were required to be ‘in the know.’
Their many position papers provide Motive;
One month’s advanced notice of a pending terrorist attack provided the Opportunity;
Holding all the necessary key positions in the administration, with the power to direct the actions of the military and security agencies, provided the Means;
It’s plausible, though not required, that the Vulcans knew the exact date and details of the terrorists’ plan, and iced the cake by diverting the Air Force with a “routine” training exercise involving hijacked airliners, having FEMA stage a practice response to a terrorist attack in Manhattan, and sequestering Shrub in a kindergarten in Florida. But sometimes dumb luck happens, too.
The ‘tell’ that 9/11 was more than just a dream-come-true for the Vulcans is the handling of the infamous President’s Daily Brief (PDB) of August 6, 2001. How Rice & Cheney must have squirmed at that morning’s briefing, when Shrub’s brain inexplicably turned on for a moment and with growing alarm scanned the words:
“Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”
“… since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the U.S. …”
“… his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber….”
“… to retaliate in Washington …”
“… patterns of suspicious activity … consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks …”
“… Bin Laden supporters … in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives.”
The suddenly conscious president’s concern, and his suggestion that something be done about all this, where brushed aside by Condi: ‘No need to worry, Mr. President, that’s historical information.’ Thirty-seven days later, that “historical” information became very up-to-date.
Flash forward to Rice’s testimony before the 9/11 Commission, where, like the consummate liar, she diverted scrutiny by focusing on an irrelevant details. In response to criticism of her and the administration’s handling of the crisis, Rice emphasized repeatedly that she’d told the President the PDB was “historical information.” The members of the commission, so intent on posturing and blustering, failed to ask the logical follow-up question:
‘Secretary Rice, seeing as it was made painfully clear that was NOT historical information, what led to you believe it was?’
Which makes Condi Rice either really fucking dumb, or really fucking evil. She’s never struck me as unintelligent.
Keep Seeking, Keep Asking
Ten years after, and no serious questions are asked anymore. We’re encouraged instead to remember, honor, mourn, commemorate, etc., while singing so loudly during the seventh inning stretch as to drown out any voices of doubt inside our heads. We are then shown the deluded 9/11 Truthers as a moral lesson.
That is a false dichotomy. The dead can be remembered while serious, albeit uncomfortable, questions are still asked:
What was the scope of culpability of National Security Advisor Rice in not responding to the PDB warning?
What is the full explanation for Cheney’s actions on 9/11, and the NORAD & FEMA hijacking/terrorism drills scheduled that day?
Why has no one been charged with crimes for willfully lying about Iraq’s WMD program?
By what measure can we evaluate al quaeda’s potency, 2001 v. 2011?
By what measure can we say we are “safer” now than before?
Why do we continue to engage in useless airline travel precautions that add up to nothing more than shamanistic ritual?
Why are we still fighting two hopeless wars that have nothing to do with terrorism?
Why are our constitutional liberties still being violated?
What’s so wrong about seeking the truth?
(c) 2011 by True Liberal Nexus. All rights reserved.
This February 14th, don’t forget to send a Valentine’s Day greeting to America’s favorite sweetheart, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As an activist, First Lady, and US Senator, she’s always worked selflessly to help others. As a candidate for president, she gained more primary votes than anyone in history. Her tenacity, courage and grace under pressure impressed and inspired the entire nation. As Secretary of State, she has won the respect and admiration of foreign leaders, heads of state, and her own political opponents at home.
For all of this, Hillary Clinton deserves an expression of our gratitude. Send a Valentines Day card to:
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Include a note letting Hillary know how much you appreciate everything she’s done. And ask her to pretty-please do us one more favor — run for president in 2012, and then get this country back on track as only she knows how.
If you have to come to TLN to discover this video, you’re definitely not plugged-in, but this speech is so powerful, so heartfelt, and stands in such striking contrast to the insipid demagoguery of lesser figures, it deserves a post.