Mayor Giuliani Responsible For Heckling?

Is former mayor Rudy Giuliani responsible for New York Police Department (NYPD) cadets heckling Mayor Bill de Blasio during his speech to them at their graduation ceremony?  Well, it depends on which standards one chooses to apply.

If you apply the standards for laying blame that former mayor Giuliani used to conclude that Mayor de Blasio somehow shares responsibility for the deaths of two NYPD police officers, he is definitely responsible.  However – if you choose to apply more reasonable standards, laying the responsibility directly at his feet will prove to be more difficult if not impossible.

Mayor Giuliani may not be responsible for these cadets heckling Mayor de Blasio but by conducting himself in the way that he has recently, he certainly isn’t doing anything to help the NYPD, New York or the country to move toward finding a solution so that we can come together and begin to heal.

While Mr. Giuliani has a lot of power and influence that he could and should use to lead and help bring all of the previously mentioned entities together so that reasonable conversations can be had, they would be better off if he remained silent rather than make divisive comments.  As a seasoned politician, he no doubt knows this.

Mr. Giuliani has a right to his perspective and a right to express his opinions and concerns just as does Mayor de Blasio.  But in order for him to help solve the problem he would have to not do exactly what he has accused Mayor de Blasio of doing; give the appearance of taking sides.  He would have to exercise an open mind and side with right or wrong rather than cops or protesters.

If those on both sides of this issue side with right or wrong rather than cops or protesters then we will stand a reasonable chance of finding a solution; even though there is bound to be a dichotomy of what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’  If both sides choose to limit their choice to cops or protesters then the chance of finding a workable solution is greatly reduced and reaching an agreement unlikely.

Upon reviewing this article before posting it I began to feel as if the articles that I post are, to some degree, a repeat of previously posted articles.  At first I felt like; the reason why I feel this way is because they are, and that I would stop posting until different and fresh newsworthy information presented itself.  Upon further evaluation though, I realized that these articles are not repeats of themselves but an expansion on the coverage of what is happening as it continues to evolve.

As a result, I decided to continue posting my thoughts about what I observe as I continue to read articles and watch coverage by various news media on what is happening with these issues.  What I share with you via my posts hopefully will keep you engaged and stimulate your thoughts on current political events.  Then – if you chose to do more research and learn more about them, you can.

That way, you will continue to build a foundation on which you can base your more informed decision-making the next time that you speak to your elected representatives or go to the polls.  Or – it may simply cause you to leave a comment expressing your thoughts, which might generate other comments that will, in conglomerate, culminate in what will have amounted to a healthy discussion.

That would be great because, after all, that is what this site is all about!

Eulus Dennis

NYPD Unions Have Gone Too Far

All of New York and citizens throughout the United States feel the pain that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) feels for its two fallen police officers.  Everyone should be allowed to express those feelings, including Mayor Bill de Blasio.  For NYPD officers to turn their backs on mayor de Blasio at the urging of NYPD unions is shameful.  Not only is it shameful but it seems to me to, at least, border on insubordination.

The killing of these two innocent police officers was committed by someone who apparently had some mental problems.  Under these circumstances, even if the killer did evoke the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, it is ludicrous for anyone to lay the blame for what he did at the feet of peaceful protesters who are protesting against police brutality and unequal justice under the law.

For the NYPD unions to blame protesters and use it as an excuse to encourage NYPD police officers to turn their backs on the mayor does not make sense.  This is not the kind of leadership that those with such a grave responsibility as police officers should have.  They should expect more from their leaders.  New York is not a police state and neither is any other state in America.

Citizens have the right to peacefully protest and mayor de Blasio has a right to be a father and counsel his son as he deems necessary.  His situation with his son is unique because it is on the cusp of black and white.  He must recognize and effectively navigate both sides of this black and white dilemma; literally.  Probably all black parents have had the conversation with their children, especially if they are boys, about how they should conduct themselves with police officers.  I know that I had that conversation with my children.

Even if the NYPD unions feel that Mayor de Blasio does not support them and disagree with what he said about counseling his son to be careful in how he conducts himself if confronted by a police officer, they are still completely out of line to encourage NYPD police officers to turn their backs on the mayor out of disrespect for him because of this.  Even if they did not encourage officers to turn their backs on the mayor, as soon as union leaders became aware that officers had done this, they should have discouraged them from continuing to do it.

Whether this statement was a gaffe by the mayor or was something that he meant to say, he is still the mayor of New York and should be respected as such.  What if every angry citizen turned their backs on police and the heads of police departments every time an unarmed innocent citizen was killed whether accidentally or on purpose?  What kind of a society would we live in?

Mayor de Blasio may not be the direct manager of these NYPD officers who turned their backs on him or of the officers who head these unions but he is no doubt at the top of the NYPD organization chart.  What would happen if any of you reading this article treated your boss, let alone the Chief Executive Officer, the way that these NYPD officers treated the mayor?

The NYPD union leaders need to be more responsible and look at the big picture rather than allowing their anger and frustration to dictate their actions.  And if every manager from the chief of police down to the lowest level supervisor hasn’t addressed this issue with their subordinates and let them know that they do not condone such behavior, now is the time to do so.

Eulus Dennis

Politicians Police and Posturing

Do politicians ever stop posturing?  This is a valid question because as the situation surrounding the protests that began in earnest as a result of the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown continues to fester, some powerful people – including current and former politicians, are seeking to take advantage of the limelight.  The President Obama haters have come out in force.

They are throwing the president into the mix right along with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Reverend Al Sharpton and accusing him of having blood on his hands as a result of the recent deaths of two New York Police Department (NYPD) police officers.

According to a story in The Washington Post, former mayor Rudolph Giuliani made the following statement while on ‘Fox and Friends Weekend.’  “We’ve had four months of propaganda, starting with the president, that everybody should hate the police.  I don’t care how you want to describe it: That’s what those protests are all about.”  The same story said that Patrick Lynch who is the president of the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association said late Saturday “There’s blood on many hands tonight; those that incited violence on the street in the guise of protest, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day.”

This kind of pointed criticism was not leveled only by former mayor Giuliani but also by Representative Peter King, a Republican who currently represents New York, and George Pataki who is a former governor of New York.  Based on this story, also in The Washington Post, these men have blamed Reverend Sharpton for being among those who have created the anti-police environment.  It also said that “former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik said Sharpton and others had ‘blood on their hands.’  The story further said that “conservative commentators posted pictures on Twitter of Sharpton with President Obama to paint the president as a radical on issues of race.”

President Obama is eons away from being a president who is a radical on issues of race.  Although the president was not mentioned directly by these men, the fact that they mentioned ‘anti-police’, and ‘blood on their hands’ seems to not-so-subtly seek to tie the president to this situation as being a part of the problem and not the solution.

It seems that these times would be among those when politicians put the partisan posturing aside and come together to work to resolve a grave problem that America is grappling with.  But it seems that too many of them have forgotten about why they were elected in the first place; to work together for the greater good of America and the American people!  They are not there to become political rock stars, garner the admiration of their constituent fans and gloat about their personal gain and how great they are!  They are there to work; and they certainly have not done much of that over the past few years.

Many of the young protesters are saying that Al Sharpton does not speak for them and that is okay.  They say that he is too tied to the ‘system’ so cannot be effective; he is inextricably tied to the way that our current leaders – civic and elected – do things.  To them, this way of doing things no longer works so they must take a different approach.  Again, that is okay.  They must find their own path.

That notwithstanding, our elected and non-elected leaders must realize that while these young leaders are seeking their own path, they need guidance; even if it is guidance that they are resisting.  They need to be under the auspices of leaders who have been tried and tested in civil and human rights efforts: someone who has the platform and ability to help assure that things remain below the boiling point.  Reverend Al Sharpton is among those people who can do this.

All of those politicians who are busy honing their thespian skills, positioning themselves for reelection, constructing the catapults that will propel them back into office and place them in chairmanships on coveted committees and perhaps someday make them President of the United States should wake up right now.  They should pull their heads out of the sand and step up and do the job that they were elected to do.  They should commit themselves to work for the betterment of America and the American people.

It does not matter whether they like or dislike the president, Al Sharpton or anyone else and disagree with their politics.  What matters right now is that we work to clean up this mess that we find ourselves in before it gets completely out of control.

Eulus Dennis

Cooler Heads Must Prevail

These are very challenging times since the deaths of a number of unarmed Black men and boys by police officers around the country.  This situation has only been made worse with the recent death of two New York police officers by a Black man; especially since he claimed to have killed them in retaliation for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

The anger and frustration harbored by those who support protesters who came together as a result of the killings of unarmed Black people and that by the New York Police Department (NYPD) has now exploded into finger-pointing and unreasonable accusations.

NYPD Police Unions claim that protesters and New York mayor Bill de Blasio are responsible for the current situation and said that the blood of these two police officers is on the hands of the mayor.  They are angry with Mayor de Blasio because – according to an article by Howard Koplowitz in International Business Times – he is “seen as unfriendly to police in part because of his coziness to the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has led protests in support of Brown and Garner, and the mayor’s public statements about the circumstances of Garner’s death.”

I have read a number of recent articles where Mayor de Blasio and the protest leaders have been bombarded with blame by police unions.  While I understand the anger and frustration that is vented in these articles by the leaders of these unions, I think that this is exactly the wrong thing to do.  Their anger also prompted some police officers to turn their backs on the mayor at an appearance he made to talk about the death of the police officers who were killed.  They should not have done this.

Loved ones in both the NYPD and on the civilian side of this challenging issue have been lost.  The death of these two innocent police officers is no more the fault of Mayor de Blasio and the protesters than are the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown the fault of every single police officer in the NYPD and Ferguson Police Department.  Although these union leaders are the official spokespersons for these policemen, it is unlikely that the majority of them share these unions’ opinions.

Now is the time for all of our leaders, from President Obama down to the leaders of the protestors, to speak words of peace and healing and not heated words of anger and frustration.  These leaders include the leaders of the police unions.  Words of anger and frustration from those on either side of this issue do not help.  They only serve to escalate a situation that needs to be deescalated.

It is not hard to understand why both sides are angry and frustrated but what is hard to understand is why leaders on either side would choose to escalate rather than deescalate the problem.  A part of what we expect from our chosen leaders is for them to separate their emotions from their decision-making responsibilities and make well-founded rational decisions.

The likelihood of the masses to make irrational decisions based largely on their emotions is not unusual; but that is why we choose leaders.  The leaders of the police unions need to take a step back from the situation, take a deep breath, reevaluate their responsibilities as leaders and then move forward from there.

If they make a serious evaluation, especially in light of the implications of our current situation – even though they will no doubt still be angry and frustrated, they will take a different path in moving forward from here.  This does not mean that they should change their minds and not continue to stand against the mayor and protesters if they feel it is the right thing to do.  It simply means that they should fully evaluate the situation and find some way to calm things down yet still make their point.  Cooler heads must prevail if we are to make a reasonable effort to solve this problem and effectively mitigate its root cause and eradicate it.

Eulus Dennis

Vigilante Unwanted

If suspect Ismaaiyl Brinsley proves to actually be the person who ambushed and killed New York police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, he is a murderer.  It is as simple as that.  It does not matter if he did it because he sincerely felt that Eric Garner and Michael Brown did not receive justice because the grand juries did not indict the police officers responsible for their deaths or he was a sociopath, psychopath or for any other reason.

To kill two innocent police officers because it was police officers who killed Eric Garner and Michael Brown is to be no better than police officers who would discount the life of someone because of the color of their skin and kill them for no reason other than that.  Therefore, what Mr. Brinsley did is nonsensical because that kind of thing is what the protests are about.

There have been too many Black people and too many white people young and old who have come together and marched peacefully in the streets of many cities around this country in the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown to have those names and efforts besmirched by an act of murder.  I refuse to accept even the thought that the preponderance of white people in this country does not want equal justice for all Americans.

I do not believe that the young Americans who are the catalyst of these peaceful protests and the foundation of race relations for America in the future believe that they should paint a broad-brush view of all white people as a result of what has transpired thus far in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases.  The rainbow of colors of the people participating in the peaceful protests support the fact that people of all colors want equal justice for all people.

There is no doubt that people of color and white people have our differences; but it is because by virtue of the history of our country and the deep-seated biases that we carry as a result of that, that we wear virtual blinders that make it all but impossible for each to see the other’s perspective.

I do not know if under these circumstances it is possible for us to achieve a level playing field but I do know that if we fail to work together and try we will never know the true answer to this thought; it is meant to be a question as well.  Surely at some time or another if this is a thought-provoking question that has not actually been verbalized by our elected leaders, it is far past time that it should be.

In the meantime, all of those who are truly protesting in the name of Eric Garner and Michael Brown should stand up and speak out about the killing of these two innocent police officers.  The killer might have evoked the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown to try to justify what he did but what he did was wrong.  And everyone should call what he did by its true name; murder.

What he did was vigilantism.  He anointed himself judge, jury and executioner and then carried out his sentence.  He was an unwanted vigilante and what he did, did not honor Mr. Garner and Mr. Brown, it dishonored them.

Eulus Dennis

Ferguson Witness #40

Although I have been vigilant I haven’t seen any articles or heard much said in the mainstream media about what a reporter from The Smoking Gun revealed about a witness who testified in the shooting death of Michael Brown.  Mr. Brown was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri after they had a brief scuffle.  I must admit that I expected to read and hear a lot more news on this discovery especially since, based on the story in The Smoking Gun, this witness has proven to be a complete farce.

The witness is Witness No. 40.  This witness played a vital role in the support of Officer Wilson’s version of what happened that fatal day and a key statement made in their version of what happened was quoted repeatedly by Sean Hannity, host of the Fox News Channel show, Hannity.  The problem is that, again based on the story in The Smoking Gun, this witness was not even in Ferguson on the day that the shooting occurred.

This could present a big problem for the prosecutors who presented this case to the grand jury because if they did not know the background of this witness, they should have known it.

According to William Bastone, one of the authors of the article in The Smoking Gun, he was able to find out who this witness is, research their background – which is highly questionable, and write his article in about three days.  He said that since he was able to do this in a matter of days, since the prosecutors had weeks and resources available to them that he did not have, such as subpoena power, they also should have been able to look into this witness’s background.  Had they done this, he said, they would have known that this witness should not have been allowed to testify before the grand jury.

It is not yet clear what this might mean in terms of getting the grand jury’s decision set aside or if Michael Brown’s family will even consider going down that road.  Whatever the family’s decision may be, this case should not be left as is because Michael Brown still has not received justice.  My thoughts are that justice will not have been done until Officer Wilson faces a trial by jury in a court of law and not via a secretive grand jury process.

There are still too many questions left unanswered in this case, especially in light of the dismantling of Witness No. 40, and the race problem that America has and refuses to acknowledge will only be made worse if they are not answered.

What do you think?  I solicit your comments on this and any of the articles on this website.  Remember, this site is meant to bring awareness to us regarding our responsibilities as citizens and voters and to generate reasonable discussion among reasonable people.  We can agree to disagree.

By the way, in the event that you would like to read the story about Witness No. 40 in The Smoking Gun, I provided a link to it immediately following this article.  The title of the story in The Smoking Gun is “Witness 40”: Exposing A Fraud In Ferguson.

Eulus Dennis

The Battle Over Senate Bill 191 Continues

Since there have been so many attention-grabbing issues taking place at the national level lately, most of the articles I have written have been focused on federal politics.  Although a lot of those articles have been focused on the states of Missouri and New York with an occasional mention of Ohio, it is because those states have held the attention of the national media for what, comparatively speaking, is a long period of time.

But there is something that has long simmered and continues to simmer just beneath the surface of the everyday news in Denver, Colorado and its surrounding communities; Senate Bill 191.  The battle over this bill between Denver Teachers and Denver Public Schools (DPS) continues.  It resurfaced early this month when the Colorado Education Association (CEA) and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) followed through on their vow to appeal Denver District Court Judge Michael Martinez’s dismissal of their lawsuit over the bill.

According to a blog by Melanie Asmar on June 9, 2014, Judge Martinez “found that since the law makes no mention of ‘tenure,’ longtime teachers are not ‘entitled’ to a position.”  It was as a result of this finding that the CEA vowed to appeal the decision and they did.  The appeal was filed with the Colorado Court of Appeals on December 12, 2014.

Based on what I read in the ‘Opening Brief for the Plaintiffs – Appellants’ section of this lawsuit by the CEA and DCTA, I can totally understand why they would file this appeal.  I can understand because I know a former DPS teacher who perfectly fits the profile of one of those who was impacted by the abuse of Senate Bill 191.  Although she had a stellar record, was recognized by local and national organizations and received a number of prestigious awards, she passed through the process that resulted from Senate Bill 191.

When she searched for a mutual consent position, not only was she unable to find one, she only received one interview.  Why was this?  When she appealed to DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg and ultimately each DPS school board member to look into the situation, they were slow to respond.  When Superintendent Boasberg finally responded, it was via a surrogate who was reported in the subject teacher’s appeal to him to already be a part of the problem.  No school board member ever responded.

The odd part of the whole situation is that although she is retired and has been receiving retirement checks for nine months already, for some unknown reason – regardless of having contacted them numerous times and telling them she is retired, they insist on keeping her on their ‘inactive’ roll.  That is quite strange because if she was such a bad and unqualified teacher, it seems that they would be eager to wish her good riddance.

This article is not meant to suggest that SB 191 is a terrible bill but to simply suggest that if it is going to be used the way it was used against this teacher and the way that the plaintiffs in the SB 191 lawsuit are suggesting it is being used, then it needs to be revisited, clarified – and if required, amended.

I wrote an article in the Denver Post dated January 14, 2013 that stated that I am not necessarily opposed to SB 191.  Instead the article, entitled ‘Quality teaching in DPS vs. tenure rights, reflected the fact that although this law might be a good one that is needed, if the spirit and intent is allowed to be violated then it renders it unfair and unjust.

Bottom line?  I hope the CEA and DCTA win their appeal and that SB 191 will finally be looked into under transparent and objective circumstances that are not influenced or shaded by politics.  The mutual consent portion of this bill does not yet command the headlines that the Ferguson, New York and Cleveland situations do.  Hopefully if it does reach that level it will be due to positive reasons and because justice prevailed.  Despite the fact that this issue does not command national headlines it does require close monitoring and scrutiny because of its potential to have a major impact on all educators affected by SB 191 and other bills like it.

Eulus Dennis

President Obama and Jamie Dimon

It is hard enough for Democrats to accept the title of this piece let alone the fact of these two men working together to lobby Democrats to vote for the passage of a bill!  What?  President Obama working with Jamie Dimon to get the House to pass a bill that both feel is in the best interest of the American people.  Is this some kind of a sick joke?

No, this is something that actually happened.  If Jamie Dimon is for the passage of this bill, it speaks volumes since he is chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of one of the big four banks in America.  And although House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator Elizabeth Warren came out against the passage of this bill, it passed in the House and is awaiting approval by the Senate.

I love and strongly support President Barack Obama but I must side with House Minority Leader Pelosi and Senator Warren on this issue.  The bill that President Obama is supporting would once again allow Wall Street to flex its political muscle.  Although there are a lot of good things in the bill that President Obama is supporting, the fact that it would reinforce Wall Street’s long unchallenged feeling that it actually is the POTUS is worth the stance taken by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

This bill would do many things to help the majority of American citizens but it would also allow big banks that took America and the world economy to the brink of disaster, until American taxpayers bailed them out, to go right back to the way that they were operating before their bailout in 2008; without being held accountable.

The banks did not lose anything but many average Americans lost everything; their homes, their pensions, their savings and their dreams.  That is why it is so baffling that the President would support the passage of this bill.  It is also why Senator Warren’s question to congress should resonate with the preponderance of Americans; “Who do you work for, Wall Street or the American people?”

The majority of the American people are not strangers to hurting, being ignored and jerked around by politicians.  So to give big banks a second chance at ruining America’s economy and the world economy in order to underpin fledgling programs does not make sense.  It is as if this administration does not recognize the magnitude of what our country and the world narrowly escaped.

I do not want the government to shut down because I am retired and depend on my Social Security payments along with my retirement checks to survive.  But to put our children’s future in jeopardy as a result of putting our country’s economy and the world economy in jeopardy so that big banks in America can hedge their bets against derivatives in the event that they fail in order to protect their bottom lines is ludicrous.

What this amounts to for banks and their foray into derivatives is that if they win they make tons of money to keep for them and if they lose then taxpayers pay and, if anything, get a salute; a one finger salute!  For far too long banks, especially big banks, have been allowed to have their way with us.  They have become accustom to this and now expect everyone to lie down, roll over, and fetch at their command.  And if we don’t, although they have tons of money in reserve, they withhold it from the American people.  Enough already!

There is no doubt that it is going to hurt and be a struggle if we fight back against this kind of unfairness.  Powerful people never tire of raking more onto their plates for fear that other powerful people will have more than they have because they are blinded by their greed.  But all Americans must fight back if we are to save our country.  American greed is already out of control and if average Americans do not stand up to this egregious attack on fairness and the true American way, who knows where we will end up.

Eulus Dennis

Senator Elizabeth Warren Is Right

Senator Elizabeth Warren and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are absolutely right to push back against President Obama for supporting the Continuing Resolution and Omnibus (Cromnibus) bill that the Republicans are trying to pass at the last minute before they head out of town.  Minority Leader Pelosi has been there for President Obama time-and-again in the past when he sought her support.  This time, however, she said that she is disappointed in the White House.

I, too, have always been a strong supporter of President Obama and I remain as such but I agree with Senator Warren and Minority Leader Pelosi that this so called Cromnibus should not pass with the help of the Democrats because it once again throws average Americans under the bus while putting big banks back in a position to take advantage of taxpayers and, potentially, put America at risk again of the need to bail them out just like in 2008.  In the meantime, they will make a lot of money.  I hope that it does not pass at all but if it does, let it be with the sole support of House Republicans.

The Republicans have not been sincere in working with the president via compromise or any other reasonable method since he was first elected so why are they so suddenly interested in doing so now?  They are not.  They are employing the old sleight of hand trick that magicians use.

They are skillfully directing our attention to the meaningless hand while they are just as skillfully manipulating the system with the other.  And when all of the voting is completed something will pop out of the hat…, I mean system as a result of all of the caucusing, meetings, and whip sessions; but I am afraid that it will be something that most Americans won’t like.  Not to worry though, the big banks and Wall Street will love it.  Hold on…  Update!  Cromnibus passed the House with the help of 57 Democrats.

I started this article before the House members gathered for a final vote.  You now know what the outcome of that vote was.  During a test vote earlier during the day, only 2 Democrats supported the bill.  But if what Representative Maxine Waters said during an interview on MSNBC is correct politics indeed make strange bedfellows.  Representative Waters said she was told that both President Obama and Jamie Dimon – chairman, president and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase, were lobbing House members before the vote was taken to vote ‘yes.’

The Senate still has to approve the bill before it goes to the President for his signature.  The House vote, which split 219 to 206 to pass Cromnibus, was close despite lobbying by the White House and other supporters because Senator Elizabeth Warren came out against it and lobbied House members to vote ‘no.’

Although President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell support the bill, since Senator Warren opposes it, it will be interesting to see how things flesh-out over the next day or two.  Another ingredient that should help to make things even more interesting is Senator Ted Cruz.  Showtime!  Or, maybe not.

Eulus Dennis