Treasury Secretary: “Pass a tax bill or markets will tank.”

Wait? The same market the President is boasting is the strongest in history? If he sees recession triggers then make them known. This administration is so disjointed. Make up your minds, fam…

A Well Formed Militia

I love the idea of being able to purchase a weapon to defend your family. Go ahead and buy one. Hell, buy a couple.

Though the purchase of ‘several’ should be accompanied with registration as a private militia in your respective state. Militia groups should then have a charter to adhere to both their bylaws AND “reasonable restrictions” set forth by the supreme court.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” ~ 2nd Amendment, Bill of Rights

This is NOT a registration to be used against gun-owners (nor would the Federal government be able to seize these records) but an alliance with a “well-formed militia”. This also encourages some accountability amongst its members to the responsible purchase and use of weapons… and if necessary to remain a free state.

This bolsters the original spirit of the 2nd amendment and exacts effective measures against the abuse of the amendment (example: stockpiling). Let’s stop abusing the amendment by capitalizing loopholes like bump stocks and cross state purchases.

Take a Knee

A portion of the population wants to see (and deserves) much needed action in halting police brutality. Police want to protect citizens and citizens are grateful for those protections. But when we see clear gaps in the bond between our law enforcement officers and the people they’ve sworn to protect WE HAVE TO rally around change.

It’s uncomfortable that those that seek change have been relegated to protesting on their knees at a time when they should want to stand proud. It’s unfortunate that the tears shed by the families of brutalized citizens can’t be seen in these players’ eyes. Let’s not ignore the fact that for every kneeled knee there are “several” American families without their sons and daughters by the hands of police brutality.

Police have a dangerous job. They are often underpaid and not rewarded enough for their continued bravery. Which is why when their honor is compromised by a few officers’ mistakes or a few officers’ biases we have to work swiftly to maintain their honor. Working swiftly means immediate suspensions, fast-tracked investigations conducted by objective bodies and more community oversight into internal affairs. This way the rest of the force can continue with its sworn duties unburdened by a skeptical community in mourning and bolstered by a community partnership.

If you acknowledge the sacrifice of any American troop, then you would also weep when what they’ve fought to defend is in vain. How do systematic injustices against Americans honor our troop sacrifices? How are we honoring the flag outside of game day by turning a blind eye to failed policies.

One freedom that our military continues to fight for –
overseas – is the right to protest injustices and oppression abroad. Surely this is a right we can exercise at home.

Social media and 24-hour news cycles and decades of experience with protests are all worthless in America if it means we still can’t hear each other when we’re clearing crying out for action. Merely “inching” towards a more perfect union when we have all these tools at our disposal is unacceptable.

Yes it’s ugly. Protests are ugly. And we all want the protests to stop – including the players. So which should stop first…? Police brutality or the kneeling?

3 Reasons to Take the CIA’s Election Interference Findings Seriously

3 Reasons Trump needs to STFU (or at least stop dismissing) the CIA’s findings on Russian interference with the 2016 American election…

  1. If a foreign entity can, officially, manipulate our democratic process we need to know about it. We need to understand it in order to prevent it. Hacking into voting machines is no short order and if it’s not only probable but likely it needs to be stopped. Even gerrymandering is no match for a “hacker on the couch” with a chip on their shoulders. Let ‘the adults’ in the room have the real facts to react to and thwart these kinds of attacks moving forward.
  2. In the event a foreign actor may have obtained ‘intelligence’ (Trump, Google ‘intelligence’) that can later be used against the US or anyone of our government officials we need a fervent investigation on the matter. Even if it bares no breach has taken place its worth it to get to the bottom of it. Other states need to understand we do not take these types of instances lightly. The greatest democracy in the world needs to take the strength of our elections seriously.
  3. Both the RNC & DNC breaches did take place. That’s a fact. Russian actors have been implicated in both instances. Also a fact. The information gained from these breaches was publicly proliferated and DID make it onto news outlets; both legitimate and ‘fake’ news. Even Wikileaks benefitted from the debacle; the purveyors in fact. Whether or not there is a Russian correlation is at question. And there lies the need for an investigation.

Remember Trump’s avid, personally funded investigation of sitting president’s citizenship? Remember his adamant re-litigation of email hacking? One should assume the same type of rigorous investigation of RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE WITH A US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

Call me naive but WTF?

To dismiss it, whole-cloth, is not only reckless & feckless. There’s no strength or resolve in looking the other way on this but laying into hard-working union leaders and Broadway cast members.

We don’t spend $50B+ a year on the CIA’s findings to get into the habit of ignoring them. On this matter we need their objective opinion.

Also on this matter, Trump should just focus on getting his cabinet picks confirmed, decoupling his business interests, and for God sakes, read the daily security intel briefings… EVERY morning.

You are, at this point, offering a defiant, petulant and useless opinion on a very serious matter. You’re, once again, forcing us to question your competence.

Looking forward to seeing how this all unfolds.

Make America What Again?

Donald Trump speaks in Gettyburg

Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump, speaking at a campaign rally in Gettysburg, Pa. on Saturday, denied accusations against him of sexual assault, and also outlined a plan to eliminate what he sees as wasteful spending in the government. Photo: AP

I can’t, for the life of me, see why Donald Trump is the Republican Party candidate for President. I mean I can count but still. As someone who considers himself conservative (with the spirit of a progressive) he doesn’t represent any of the tenets of with any sort of substantive conviction. He’s not a politician at all that’s for sure. And as it pertains to public policy he’s but a citizen like you and me… An ornery, classless, hubris character nonetheless but a citizen.

At a very basic level, I don’t even see Trump as even having read the constitution… I have – every word. And to think that he even wants to sign up for a job that’s intended to protect the document itself is absurd. He doesn’t speak like someone who is a student of the constitution – or the federalist papers for that matter – or a student of modern democracy. He doesn’t speak like someone who understands real problems, let alone their solutions. Hell, he doesn’t really act like an adult. I can’t take him seriously as a candidate.

Though, very recently, I can finally take his supporters seriously.

It took all the way until second Presidential debate of this election season but I finally understand their frustration. Trump has shrouded himself in the cloak of the answer to their concerns; as one who speaks truth to power.

I get it now. They want someone of note to finally tell ‘Congress’ they’re incompetent. Not that it’s broken but that they’re absolute ‘losers’ and that Congress is rigged. They want someone to make Washington’s ineptitude a topic and a policy proposal. He is seen as someone who does that.

Do Trump supporters actually think the country’s weak enough to fall victim to what they consider to be 10 solid years of a deaf Washington? Do they think our issues will tip the scales towards national instability without factoring 230 other years of absolute strength. Is it because they’re scared? I have a theory. I don’t think it’s fear. They’re just confused.

Make American Great Again isn’t an ode to the 50s (wink); it’s an ode to an America that wasn’t nuanced by the dense and complicated issues we face today. Today we deal with debt and taxes and immigration and healthcare and terrorism and multi-cultures in a way the country NEVER has before. The large (and loyal) demographic of Trump supporters suggests a culture that simply hasn’t been forced to have these detailed conversations.

It’s all so complicated and hard to process now. We can’t just deport everyone we think is a threat. We can’t torture who we think is a terrorist. We can’t just apply extreme vetting to large swaths of people eager to enter our wonderful country. We can’t just hand everyone a gun. We now have to take a precision knife to dissecting these issues now and not just machete away at them. Not anymore.

Trump supporters are tired of HAVING to think about these complex concepts and equally (if not more) tired of Washington not having any suitable answers. I finally don’t blame them for thinking they want Trump. I do blame them for not seeing the forest for the trees but that, again, is too hard for them.

They won’t admit it but they really just want to Make American Easy Again.

Suing Saudi Arabia

Congress rejects Obama veto of 9/11 bill, in first override of presidency

Congress rejects Obama veto of 9/11 bill, in first override of presidency

So let me get this straight… We want to “sue” Saudi Arabia for 9/11… as in holding a sovereign state culpable for ‘harboring’ participants of the terrorist acts leading to the attacks…?

First off… My LARGEST gripe would be why they haven’t already been awarded sufficient damages. I can not imagine what red tape is standing between these families’ financial healing. Resources should have been made available through the countless funds and trusts set up during the 2000s. And what about the port authority compensations to the families? I’m just surprised that the families haven’t been taken care of. Having to extend the suits overseas seems to be a last result of a long battle with red tape.

Secondly… regarding sovereign immunity, I don’t even know where to start. Again, I am all for 9/11 families being rightly compensated for having lost & endured so much. To that end the United States has been responsible for many deaths abroad. Do we want to field lawsuits from ALL of the collateral damage caused in the drone strikes in Afghanistan…? Or the families in Iraq…? We are absolutely opening ourselves to a tough conversation with several frenemies & foes in the theatre of war. Also a part of this bill it could be said that soldiers could possibly come under legally fire… even personally.

Additionally, see… the our lawsuits are set up… you have to disclose things… LOTS of things. LOTS of state-sponsored secrets. And an immense amount of special forces operations will have to revealed in order to draw the conclusions necessary for culpability. This seems to be prime for compromise our interests abroad. And while solving a problem here at home, we’ll take a huge hit overseas.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a letter 9/27/16 to a senior member of Congress, said he’s sympathetic to the intent of the measure. But the legislation could lead to the public disclosure of American secrets and even undercut counterterrorism efforts by sowing mistrust among U.S. partners and allies, according to Carter.

And we could all do a better job holding Congress accountable. There are eve several First Responder bills pending in Congress that could also help avail the families. I just hate that we’ve been relegated to such an extreme measure.

I can’t speak to the venue of such proceedings but you can bet what’s to come will be unprecedented in scale.

If a president’s veto can be overridden, this FOR SURE has the strength to do it. This will get interesting.

P.S. Saudi Arabia… You know damn well you should have offered some sort of assistance before now.

Tulsa’s Terence Crutcher Problem Grow to Huge Suit

Tulsa's Terence Crutcher Problem Grow to Huge Suit

Tulsa’s Terence Crutcher Problem Grow to Huge Suit

Tulsa Oklahoma Police press statement of Terence Crutcher shooting scant at best. In reviewing it I’m noticing a disturbing trend. – ineptitude.

The officers, again, were inept. I won’t say racist. I won’t even say they were targeting. Hell, I won’t even say she was bias or intimidated any way. I believe these officers to, en masse, be ill equipped to properly serve these communities.

So why does that matter…? Because I feel like a culture of individuals that are consistently being victimized should file suit against these municipalities for untrained officers patrolling our streets.

A Case for Reparations

I think this is easily one of the more interesting legal conversations and certainly, at first glance, the most obvious.

Are African Americans due reparations? 

However, after careful though (and ignoring ignoring Italian television) I was forced to consider a pratical approach to repairing one of our nation’s greatest blemishes.

A grand, top-heavy settlement with seemingly 100% of the African American population simply seemed intangible in today’s political climate. It’s a practical impossibility that’d you’d have a government agency proactively open itself to reparations. So you won’t see any “new” legislation around it; regardless of the continued efforts of Congressman John Conyers (NY).

There are simply not enough votes and certainly too much conservatism to pay any real attention to the “past” in that way. The government isn’t designed for “favors”.

Though it is designed to respond to formal legal claims.

If (and I mean a big IF) some portion of the American population was interested in reparations there is a framework to persue.

Since slavery wasn’t illegal for a significant period of time, you’d need to seek formal damages for acts occurring after abolition – allowing some buffer for the nation to “learn how to pay ex-slaves”. The term reasonable is used frequently in law and it typically assumes even with a duty of care, a defendant gets a reasonable amount of time to correct actions. I believe expecting anything else would be ill advised by any counsel.

Given that buffer, you’d then build a timeline of bad behavior or “Disservice Period”. Damages having occurred during this time would then need to be tied to reckless and wanton conduct by a governing body, like a municipality or a surviving corporation with contractual ties to a municipality.

The thinking here is to challenge these entity’s willful and consistent maneuvering of the new laws of the time rather than acting to rectify in – you guessed it – a reasonable amount of time. Show how that maneuvering was designed to benefit the group in some way.

Now comes the fun part. You’d need to lose that case. Not purposefully of course. But it is highly unlikely, because of statutes oo limitation that you’d lost on first account. You’d need an appeal and to lose again in a higher court.

What you’re looking for is a precedent built on firm cause – serious, actionable and capricious cause. And trust me, that will take some time, there is definitely enough cause.

You could get heard on res ipsa loquitur alone given the evidence we see everyday. But ultimately you’d have to show clear damages, a direct violation of the constitution and an entity of some kind that directly performed both. A municipality (or corporation having ties to a municipality) would be an interesting start since they’re less agile and have public records on collusion.

Now again, here comes the hard part… you’d have to have to stomach to see it all the way through to the supreme court… like 4 or 5 years battles worth of stomach. It would indeed get ugly. It would indeed be polarizing. It would indeed, formally, divide the country.

Then you’re on your way to getting Justice Roberts to issue this statement… 

“Any surviving entity having directly benefitted from violations of the rights of freed men (as set forth in our constitution) must not be allowed to singly benefit from those violations and instead must produce just remunerations to those directly affected. It is not this court’s purpose or intention to bankrupt these entities but to provide the platform to set right these obvious inflictions.”

Justice Roberts of course hasn’t issued this statement but he does have a healthy legal appetite that, on several occasions, has angered both parties. Good for us, bad for convention.

Moderate compensation terms are sufficient. You don’t want to scare the courts into throwing out your case prima fascia. Precedent alone will provide the volume required for collective wins spread across several actions and several years. You want to open narrow doors – only suitable for proven damages – for a steady flow to undebatable restoration.

Funny though, Colin Powell gave practically, the most pointed comment on these types of set backs.

Perform.

It sounded a bit glib at first but honestly there’s nothing like simply out-performing EVERYone around you and achieving in the face of the obstacles in front of us. We hold the keys to judging what success and failure are in our own communities.

Then we rally those spoils. Rinse & repeat. I think we’re closer to another Black Wall Street than we think.

We’ve definitely got some groundwork to lay but the legal instruments above are certainly at our disposal.

This should be interesting.

The $1 Millionaires

The $1 A Day Millionaires

The $1 A Day Millionaires

We tend to misunderstand what it truly takes to build up cultural capital. It takes sacrifice. Period. If one of our businesses launches (one of note) we should be able to funnel finances towards it like VCs do. We should also take interest in these businesses and throw what guidance and advice we can their way.

In the context of business, I’d never used the term “support” because of the stigma – almost as if it’s life support or that the business can’t survive on it’s own merit. But if I look past my own pride and contempt (and that’s definitely what it is) then I can see the value in “supporting” anyway. There is value there. The optics have value. The act has value. It builds confidence in ownership as well as accountability in community. It’s a social experiment – yes – but so is capitalism and democracy.

There is value is pouring into each other’s businesses. Venture Capitalists have created a business of this practice but it takes discipline and a vested interest in (…wait for it…) the success of a business to throw both capital and counsel their way. It means caring about whether a business fails or thrives. That’s the missing piece right now.

Here’s a quickie… We’ll spend $3B today. That means, if we spend just $1 more per day on Black businesses we’ll push $30M back into our own economies… PER DAY! Essentially creating a millionaire a day. #foodforthought

Where did my math come from? I’m glad you asked.

So You Deserve “Slower” and “Lesser” Education?

Scalia: Some black students don't belong at elite colleges

Scalia: Some black students don’t belong at elite colleges

While I understand the need to play devil’s advocate during ruling, I have to think this exploration was rooted in at least some part of you that agreed with your line of questioning. I’m going to assume the words you’ve taken the time to impute into debate are at least similar to your own Justice Scalia.

There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well…

That said, are we to believe that African American students do not even deserve the opportunity to succeed or fail at the best colleges? They probably won’t do well so why try…? They probably won’t do well so why would they attempt to enroll…? Is that the message that a Supreme Court justice uses his unencumbered literary prowess and historical briefs to purvey? Why try?

Surely you know my people better than that by now. We perform… at every level. And that they are somehow not suited to compete is a farce. I’m sorry but pursuing happiness happens to be one of the cornerstones of this nation. To “go after” what inspires you is – believed to be – what makes this country what it is. A justice would have to understand that, in his/her position, those words send staggering ripples throughout communities currently and diligently seeking better academic opportunities.

Gregory Garre Attorney for University of Texas @ Austin

Gregory Garre Attorney for University of Texas @ Austin

If you look at the academic performance of holistic minority admits vs. top 10% admits, over time, they fair better.

 

I can’t imagine spending my evening writing to a Supreme Court justice about the dangers of the sheer notion of calculative separation of a segment of students from the most valuable educations available. I can’t fathom lecturing an Associate Justice of the highest court on the idiocy of merely suggesting African American students have no place at faster-paced schools. It’s even more appalling that any current justice sits on a bench with a Yale education “Black”.

I can’t. I’m too busy trying to make heads or tales of this 2nd amendment confusion in the wake of San Bernardino than to be rehashing Brown v. Board with yo ass. I have neither the time nor the inclination to, again, make the case that separate but equal was not a good fit for a developed nation.

And before the scholarly break out the transcripts, I’m not sure I understand why one wouldn’t see the court’s time better spent lobbying for better education opportunities BEFORE high school so affirmative action would evolve past moot to obsolete.

For those wondering what Justice Thomas' thoughts are on the subject... in his defense... he was sleep during the proceedings.

The calls for Affirmative Action are still debatable but not dead. What I wholly agree with is Affirmative PROaction where there are smaller, targeted mandates that ensure an equal playing field in secondary schools and before. Thereby empowering all students with the same access to learning tools well before higher education is right around the corner. Don’t wait for special provisions to have to be applied. This almost guarantees conflict. Readiness is the key, not just access. Ensure adequate and equal public schooling is available for ALL students well before the time of higher education… well before the point of contention. That makes all Americans competitive for far more than just undergrad – how about the rest of the world is learning at a faster pace than our kids.

This notion that replacing hope for a better future with acquiescing to what someone else thinks you can do is unacceptable. If there are any potential college students reading this, take your asses to The Common Application and apply to a top school right now. Like RIGHT NOW.

And why are we discussing the students that have already been granted admission, who I personally know, have succeeded? Your ridiculous case is an obvious exercise of entitlement; not whether African American students can do the job once admitted.

What say you?

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