Driving as a metaphor for voting

There was a good man. He did many good deeds and was a friend to many. But, he did not drive (it’s a big city thing). He said, “If I feel like driving I will”. One day, with no forethought, or practice or preparation, he gets behind the wheel. He runs up on the curb, kills a family of 4.

If you don’t think somethings important, if you don’t think that some things require practice, knowledge and skill, if you take actions without considering others, the consequences can be tragic.

Voting is like driving. A lot of people can drive, some of them are dangerous.

There Are None So Blind
As Those Who Will Not See

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John McCain – The Restless Wave

Excerpts

Advice for Voters

Support  candidates who want to get things done:

“Yes, I’d rather have a few more problem solvers than purists in Washington. Their zeal may be commendable, but not, as it usually happens, terribly productive.”

“Paradoxically,” McCain writes, “voters who detest Washington, because all we do is argue and never get anything done frequently vote for candidates who are the most adamant in their assurances that they will never ever compromise with those bastards in the other party.”

“As always, more important than any political reforms is the discernment of voters. Here’s my unsolicited advice to the American voter: If a candidate for Congress pledges to ride his white horse to Washington and lay waste to all the scoundrels living off your taxes, to never work or socialize or compromise with any of them, and then somehow get them to bow to your will and the superiority of your ideas, don’t vote for that guy. It sounds exciting, but it’s an empty boast and a commitment to more gridlock.”

The Decline of Civic Knowledge

A short clip

Former Supreme Court Justice David Souter

Former Supreme Court Justice David Souter being frighteningly prescient about the decline of civic knowledge in America and the effect of that decline on the state of our democracy.

“if something is not done to improve the level of civic knowledge, that is what you should worry about”

The full clip of the show that mentioned the clip.

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/perils-of-eroded-civic-knowledge-forewarned-790540867791?cid=sm_fb_maddow


I need to post this, as a precaution to all of you who sit on the sidelines and let people pollute the public discourse with unsubstantiated nonsense, with outright lies, with hate, with misinformation.  In today’s world, some people are attacking the rights of others, are attacking the environment and the concepts of good government.  We have to fight these people.

Here is a little list that I found for 4 grade students  at :

http://www.sanchezclass.com/goodcitizen.htm

Here’s a list of 10 things you can do right
now to be a better citizen.

  1. Volunteer to be active in your community.

  2. Be honest and trustworthy.

  3. Follow rules and laws.

  4. Respect the rights of others.

  5. Be informed about the world around you.

  6. Respect the property of others.

  7. Be compassionate.

  8. Take responsibility for your actions.

  9. Be a good neighbor.

  10. Protect the environment.

4 is a little troubling.  Taken with 10, I hope you can see the problem.  To protect the environment, you have to confront those who are attacking it.  To fight against racism and sexism and xenophobia, you have to confront those people who practice it.

freespeech

A reason to be afraid of the Boston Police Department

Cops investigating cops.  It’s time for a real Citizens Review Board.

The initial story: video shows an off duty Boston Police Officer roughing up a civilian

Youtube video


The following appeared on BostonGlobe.com:
Evans defends officer in Back Bay pedestrian incident

The Boston Globe Date: Sep 21, 2016

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/09/20/bpd-release-results-investigation-officer-filmed-roughing-pedestrian/e4uSoK4VU5JJZsQYjjSBjP/story.html?s_campaign=8315

If you cannot read the above link, this comment by a person with the tag of Oceanlover617 summarizes the problem.


Imagine you are Mr. Gurin, an unassuming, 64-year-old law-abiding man who has just put in a hard day’s work. Like the rest of us, you are a kind and loving man who supports your family, are loyal to your friends, and love the city in which you live and pay taxes. Sure, you’ve gotten a speeding ticket or two, and there was that parking violation when the parking meter was broken, but those are pretty much the only smudges on your citizenship record. You’re fatigued and walking home and, whether it’s your fault or not, you’re nearly hit by a car in an intersection; “fight or flight” kicks in and, in a nanosecond, you lose your temper and tap on the car’s window with your umbrella. Suddenly, a furious, brawny man in a Red Sox jersey jumps out of his car (which, by the way, is NOT a cop car, so you have no way of knowing he’s a cop) and starts screaming at you. Realizing this man’s fury dwarfs yours after being cut off by his car and, realizing he’s approximately half your age, twice your size and screaming angrily, you run for your life, zigzagging your way through pedestrians on a busy Boston street. You trip and fall, injuring yourself. Instead of rendering aid, this man’s knee is in your back and you are being held down to the ground. “How dare you challenge my power by tapping on my window with an umbrella, don’t you know who I am?” Is this what the officer (or in the eyes of Chief Evans, presumably “soldier,” as you are later referred to as a “civilian”) was thinking? Infuriated and emboldened by the fact that he wears a badge to work, the man starts humiliating you by dragging you down the street by your shirt collar in a makeshift “perp walk” witnessed by dozens, hundreds of people (including one of your co-workers) on one of the busiest streets in Boston. As is proven on cell phone video, you remain calm and respectful the entire time, even when dozens of BPD officers converge on the scene as if you’ve just committed armed robbery. The officers take the cop’s side of the story, not yours, and the cop realizes the window of the personal car he drives as a “civilian” is smudged, not broken or even scratched. You consider this a major event but proceed with caution, filing a complaint against a public servant who behaved inappropriately. You discover this is not the first complaint filed against this officer. One day, the boss of the police department you have trusted to defend and protect you calls a press conference to discuss the “exhaustive investigation” that has occurred. The chief figuratively throws you under the bus (perhaps in the same intersection where the incident began), sullying your name and reputation in order to protect a man who obviously is prone to these types of incidents and outbursts. Remarkably, he produces video to counteract the video shot and posted by a “civilian” who witnessed the incident (perhaps because the “civilian’s” video was viewed more than a million times on social media). You can’t believe your eyes or ears as the leader of your police force almost totally exonerates the actions of a man who clearly is a hothead, not a hero. The chief impugns the integrity of the “civilian” who shot the cell phone video and implies you are somehow to blame for not acting as quickly and impulsively as the off-duty officer did in that intersection. Sadly, when it dawns on you that this “exhaustive search,” that included interviews with other “civilians” who witnessed the event, would never have been conducted if this cell phone video had never surfaced. In that moment, what emotions would you feel? Anger? Sadness? Disappointment? Mistrust? Yesterday afternoon, human empathy transported us into the mind of Mr. Gurin; amazingly, we were let down by the very people we have idolized, trusted and paid to protect us. The chief called a press conference because he could, and local media carried it live because that’s what they do, and an entire region watched as the chief implied this was all your fault. You were hardly the Marathon bomber, yet you were feted with a BPD press conference. Boy, the BPD must have been livid that you would have the nerve to consult an ACLU lawyer and yes, you know they must have felt an extra sense of urgency to defend their own given recent officer-involved incidents around the country.

You were not fooled, and neither were we. This press conference was a classic “CYA” stunt, and this morning, we have a little less respect for Chief Evans and a little more mistrust for the people who report to him. It is sad and disappointing, but it is true. In this case, in this city in which we take so much pride, a city that was a beacon to the world for strength in adversity, the tables have been turned. Boston Wrong.

Thank you Oceanlover617, for taking the time to put this incident into the proper perspective.  IMHO, the BPD does not care what the people of Boston think about them.

To all the officers who work really hard to keep us safe, I thank you.  But, the “Blue Wall” has to come down.  It is not you versus us.  We are all in this together.

A Little Charlestown History

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/dea/pubs/briefing/4_4.htm

Between 1975 and 1992, the small Boston community of Charlestown experienced 49 murders, 33 of them unsolved. Police were frustrated by the unspoken “Code of Silence” that the citizens of Charlestown adopted. Whether fear of retaliation by the criminals, anti-police sentiment, or vigilante justice motivated the town’s citizens, no one would talk to police.

Charlestown was a main distribution center for PCP and cocaine, with several career criminals, known as the “Irish Mob,” in charge of the drug trade. Because drugs were a large part of Charlestown’s crime problem, DEA got involved, joining forces with the Massachusetts State Police, Boston Police Department, and Boston Housing Police Department. A task force was formed to tackle Charlestown’s crime.

DEA agents and local officers worked together to establish a comprehensive case against the criminals. By bringing federal drug laws to bear, the task force was able to develop solid cases. Information was developed that would lead to prosecution on charges of murder to further the drug trade. In addition, special agents of the Department of Housing and Urban Development were able to take action against tenants living illegally in Charlestown housing.

As a result, 40 defendants were indicted on charges that included racketeering, murder, attempted murder, murder for hire, engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, armed robberies, and carrying firearms during the commission of crime of violence. Several of the defendants were subsequently convicted of murder.

Once the violent criminals were taken from the community, the threat of retaliation was removed, and the code of silence was broken. A hot line set up by DEA yielded hundreds of calls from community residents that developed into valuable leads and significant arrests. The seriousness of the federal charges reassured the residents that they no longer had to live in fear.

http://www.nytimes.com/1995/03/26/us/neighborhood-finally-talks-and-loosens-crime-s-grip.html

Published: March 26, 1995

BOSTON, March 25— For decades in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood, witnesses to crimes never breathed a word, either out of loyalty or out of fear.

But on Wednesday, two leaders of a drug ring and their enforcer were convicted in Federal District Court on charges of racketeering, cocaine trafficking, murder and attempted murder, with the help of testimony from about a dozen witnesses.

The two leaders, Michael Fitzgerald and John Houlihan, were charged with running a drug ring, using Joseph Nardone as their enforcer, out of Kerrigan’s Flower Shop in Charlestown, a one-mile-square neighborhood on Boston Harbor that is also the home of Old Ironsides, the frigate Constitution.

The three are to be sentenced on May 18. Prosecutors are recommending that they get life in prison without parole.

Before the convictions, the Irish, working-class neighborhood of 15,000 was well known for its residents’ habit of not talking to the police, its code of silence. The situation left many police officers frustrated.

“Most of the crime committed over there, we know who did it,” said Capt. Edward McNelley of the police homicide unit. “But our knowing doesn’t mean anything. We need a person to come forward and say, ‘I was there and I will testify.’ ”

The authorities managed to crack the code of silence with a three-year investigation in which the Government spent more than $1 million to protect witnesses, including a half-dozen residents who asked to be moved out of the neighborhood for fear of retribution.

About a dozen thieves and drug dealers were granted immunity from prosecution and received new identities under the Federal witness protection program.

“This has been a long time coming, and it has given families some belief in the system again, that the system can work and we don’t have to accept the way things were in the past,” said Sandy King, whose two sons were shot in front of witnesses who would not talk.

Five years ago, she helped found the Charlestown After Murder Program, an organization of women who meet every Sunday in a Catholic church to talk about unsolved homicides that have affected their lives. The police say that of the 50 homicides the group has tracked since 1975, arrests have been made in only about half.

Ms. King said the code of silence was started long ago by Irish immigrants who distrusted authority. A longshoreman, for example, might steal a case of tuna from the docks but give a little of the fish to his neighbors so that when the police inquired about the theft, no one knew anything.

Over time, the silence allowed criminals to thrive.

Charlestown became known by law-enforcement officials nationwide for its small-time hoodlums, thieves, drug dealers and murderers. Crime became so commonplace that arguments normally settled in a fistfight often ended in murder.

Today, the Bunker Hill Monument divides a small group of young professionals who live in renovated brownstones from a far greater number of “townies,” longtime residents who live in row houses and a sprawling housing project. Ninety-six percent of Charlestown is white.

During the trial, one witness told of driving the getaway car for Mr. Nardone and hearing the squat, bull-necked hit man laugh about killing an informer. The witness said he and Mr. Nardone had split a $5,000 fee.

But not everyone is sure that things have changed.

“I got nothing to say about nothing,” said a clerk in a coin-operated laundry who would give her name only as Patty.

The owner of the laundry, who refused to give his name, said he doubted that the code of silence had really been broken.

“You talk about things you’re not supposed to talk about, you get killed,” he said.

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/article/19971223/news/312239965

Posted Dec. 23, 1997 at 12:01 AM
Updated Jan 11, 2011 at 1:34 AM

CONCORD, N.H. — Before yesterday, ratting to police on your neighbors was a good way to get killed in the tough, blue-collar section of Boston known as Charlestown.

But the testimony of their neighbors helped convict five members of a Charlestown-based bank robbery gang yesterday, and the lead prosecutor said the town’s “silent majority” was all for it.

“I don’t think Charlestown is going to be the same. If the code of silence isn’t dead, it’s definitely moribund,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney David Vicinanzo.

“We have received a tremendous outpouring of support from the citizens,” he said. “The silent majority was rooting for us to get rid of these thugs who have been intimidating their town for some time.”

A U.S. District Court jury delivered guilty verdicts on 54 of 55 counts, including ones charging the five in the Aug. 25, 1994, robbery in Hudson in which two armored car guards were shot to death. One defendant, Patrick McGonagle, was found innocent of a carjacking count.

The jury deliberated for 32 hours over seven days. The trial began in September.

Convicted with McGonagle, 58, were Michael O’Halloran, 40, Anthony Shea, 34, Stephen Burke, 41, and Matthew McDonald, 35.

None was indicted for murder because witnesses could not clearly identify the masked robbers in the holdups, which began in 1990 and lasted into 1995.

When the five were charged last year, Charlestown was notorious for its code of silence. But the intensive investigation and a change of heart in the community broke the code, prosecutors said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Connolly said Charlestown residents and criminals alike decided to come forward following the Hudson deaths.

“Numerous career bank robbers threw in the towel and testified in this trial,” Connolly said at a news conference following the verdict. “So many broke the code, shattered the code. Many of them testified that they had grown tired of a life of stealing, of drugs, of broken relationships.”

In one sign that fear of retribution remained, Judge Steven McAuliffe sealed the list of jurors’ names.

Connolly called the verdict a victory for the armored car guards’ families and “a total victory for justice.”

“These men were highly professional, violent and ruthless criminals who took every step not to be identified. Today they were identified,” he said.

Vicinanzo described the men as part of a close group of career criminals, many of whom grew up together.

“There has been a culture in Charlestown that fostered that,” he said. “(But now) the people are changing. I don’t think they’re going to let it happen again.”

Most of the holdups were in Massachusetts, including two in Fall River. The Hudson robbery was one of two in New Hampshire; the others were in Connecticut and Rhode Island in 1991. The indictment also included a 1995 armored car holdup in West Palm Beach, Fla.

A sixth defendant, John Burke, pleaded guilty in October, partway through the trial, and testified against the others, including his brother Stephen. He is to be sentenced next month.

Prosecutors estimated that the gang committed more than 100 armed robberies and made off with millions of dollars during more than 30 years.

Lawyers for the men promised appeals.

“I really thought … there would be more, perhaps different results, rather than just blanket ‘guilties,”‘ said Peter Anderson, Stephen Burke’s lawyer. He said he planned to appeal on the admission of DNA and fingerprint evidence during the trial.

The men will be sentenced April 2. Prosecutors said they will ask for life sentences without parole, prescribed in federal sentencing guidelines, on two of the Hudson robbery counts.

The Robberies

Robberies in the indictment, approximate amount stolen, if known; and the defendants named in each robbery July 28, 1995 Fall River Five-Cent Savings Bank, Fall River, Mass.; Shea, Burke. May 11, 1995 Brinks armored car, West Palm Beach, Fla.; $122,000; Shea, Burke. Aug. 25, 1994 Northeast Armored Transport Inc. armored car, Hudson, N.H.; $500,000; Shea, McDonald, O’Halloran, Burke, McGonagle. March 1994 Wells Fargo armored car, Chestnut Hill, Mass.; Shea, O’Halloran, McDonald, Burke. Jan. 25, 1994 Wells Fargo armored car, Charlestown, Mass.; Shea, O’Halloran, McDonald, Burke. May 4, 1993 Manchester Security Services armored car, Seabrook, N.H.; $280,000; Shea, O’Halloran, Burke. Dec. 22, 1992 Transit Systems Inc. armored car, Lynn, Mass.; $500,000-$600,000; Shea, O’Halloran, Burke. Feb. 27, 1992 Bank of Boston, Newton, Mass.; Shea, McDonald. Late 1991 Banks and armored cars in Fall River, Mass; Shea, McDonald, Burke. Dec. 5, 1991 Pioneer Finance Cooperative Bank, Malden, Mass.; $95,000; Shea, McDonald. 1991 Banks and armored cars in Connecticut and Rhode Island; Shea, McDonald. March 15, 1990 Bank of New England, Charlestown, Mass.; Shea, McDonald.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlestown_Mob

The gang was headed by the McLaughlin brothers (Bernie, Georgie, and Edward “Punchy” McLaughlin) and their associates, brothers Stevie and Connie Hughes from Charlestown. Some of its notorious associates included Will Delaney, Spike O’Toole, Harry Hannon, William Bennett, Edward Bennett, John Shackelford, Frank Murray, Leo Lowry, Ron Dermody and Joe “Rockball” O’Rourke.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlestown_Townies

Townieism accepts that criminal activity exists in Charlestown’s past and present, most notably in the form of bank and pharmacy robberies by Townies as well as narcotic sales and use, and does not pass judgement on this behavior. Townies refer to serving a federal prison sentence as “going to college” and the area experiences a rate of drug-related hospitalizations and deaths 50% higher than the rest of Boston.[3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlestown,_Boston

Throughout the 1960s until the mid-1990s, Charlestown was infamous for its Irish Mob presence. Charlestown’s McLaughlin Brothers were involved in a gang war with neighboring Somerville’s Winter Hill Gang, during the Irish Mob Wars of the 1960s. I

 

The green square mile : story of the Charlestown Irish

The most important movies of 2015 were not in any theater

See this Boston Globe Article

Excerpt from above : By Ty Burr GLOBE STAFF DECEMBER 28, 2015

To me, the most important movie of 2015 was the police car dash-cam video of the July arrest of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old African-American woman, in Prairie View, Texas. Not just the three minutes or so of the altercation with a white police officer that resulted in Bland’s being taken to the local jail, where she allegedly hung herself three days later, but the entire 52-minute expanse of the tape, for reasons I’ll discuss in a moment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuPvDMN73hQ

To me, the Sandra Bland video is the most important movie of 2015 for the segment that comes about 23 minutes in, after Bland has been taken to jail and we hear Texas state trooper Brian Encinia on his police radio, explaining to his supervisor what happened. In his version, a weary, sullen Bland didn’t answer Encinia monosyllabically until he asked her to put out her cigarette and she said no, and he didn’t drag her out of her car while screaming that he was going to “light her up.” In his version, Bland is “flailing, stomping around,” despite his attempts to “de-escalate her.” He was the calming influence, he maintains. She was the instigator.

From

Sandra Bland shows there are different rules for black people

If I had been Sandra Bland, I would have put the cigarette out.

I wouldn’t have liked it, but I would have recognized the trooper was pushing because his badge, gun, and ego always tell him he can.

Here are a few of the links in the article, just in case its pay-walled or moved.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsSeSaZW66U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKQqgVlk0NQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xu3Yp2IdOxY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53UwlS0gjaw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow27I3yTFKc