Once again, Senator Elizabeth Warren Is Right

You are absolutely right, Senator Warren; stand by your principles and do not allow these big banks to bully you around by using threats to withhold their money from the Democratic Party!  They are feeling stronger and bolder since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Ruling and even more assured that their money – along with that of other billionaires and millionaires, can buy them Congress and possibly even the Presidency.  They have quickly forgotten that it was the American taxpayers who saved them from complete collapse.

It is up to us, the American citizens, to support you and show big banks and those billionaire and millionaire cohorts that support them that they do not determine how this country should be run but American voters do.  That is why it is so important that no matter our political affiliation we must successfully navigate all roadblocks that are placed in our path to prevent us from voting and always vote!  There are Democrats, Republicans and Independents who want their voices to be heard and who do not want this country to be run by big banks and big money.

There are many people in America who are rich and wealthy who may like what big banks are able to do for them who do not want these entities to run our country.  They want them to be able to have their say about how it should be run and have their fair share of influence on who will be elected to run it but they do not want them to hold the position of ultimate kingmaker.  How dare these banks to be upset with Senator Warren for defending those who have for so long had no voice in Washington and, as a result, threaten to withhold contributions from the Democrats!

They need to step back from the situation and take a look at what they were allowed to do to consumers for years with respect to credit card interest rates and late fee charges among other things.  Big banks and the rich and wealthy have a right to make a reasonable profit for the risks that they take when financing American citizens personal and business ventures and those business interest of foreign countries; but they also have a responsibility to carry their fair share of the load when it comes to America’s fiscal responsibilities.

American greed has become so prevalent that we sorely need Senator Warren’s help to get our voices heard by those in Washington who are supposedly there to represent us and our interest.  Right now; however, again primarily because of the Citizens United ruling, big banks and big money have become emboldened and even more aggressive about demanding that they have their way when it comes to how America will be run and the direction that she will be taken in.  It appears that they are insisting that their voice be the only one that is heard and if this demand is not voluntarily accepted then they will bully America into accepting it.

We need to let Senator Warren know that we support her and appreciate her efforts to stand up for the average American.  We can do this by forcing our politicians to foster election reform that will – to the greatest extent possible, take money out of the election process.  The way that we can do this is by getting registered and voting; not just in presidential elections but in all elections.

In the meantime, until election reform legislation is passed, we have to be focused like a laser beam on the ballot box.  Since there are those who are focused on making it harder rather than easier for all eligible voters to vote and are determined to place as many roadblocks as possible in their paths, we must be even more determined to do whatever it takes within the legal limits of the law to successfully navigate them and vote.  If we find that we must break the law to achieve our purpose, let us always remain committed to do so in a non-violent way.

Click on the link to read the full article in International Business Times on how US big banks are trying to bully Senator Warren.

Eulus Dennis

Mitch McConnell And John Boehner’s Dream Budget

For all of you voters who constantly and willingly give away your power by not voting, maybe you should take a look at the budget that House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are supporting.  If you are a Billionaire, multimillionaire or even just a millionaire you will probably love it but if you are an average everyday hard-working American, you might find it to be somewhat discouraging.

This is a budget that the Republicans managed to get through the House and the Senate has espoused a similar version of the House budget.  According to an article by Alan Fram in the Associated Press, “Both budgets embody a conservative vision of shrinking projected federal deficits by more than $5 trillion over the coming decade, mostly by cutting health care and other benefit programs and without raising taxes.”

The article also says that “Over the decade, Obama would raise $2 trillion in higher taxes from the wealthy, corporations and smokers while granting tax breaks to low-income and middle-class families.  He would boost spending on domestic programs including road construction, preschools and community colleges and veterans.”

Finally, the article states that “The Senate budget would cut $4.3 trillion from benefit programs over the next 10 years, including annulling Obama’s health care law.”

I don’t know if those Democrats who voted in favor of this budget realize that it provides another avenue for Republicans to continue to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) but it does.  According to an article by Scott Wong in The Hill, “Marring the House blueprint with the Senate’s budget would allow Republicans to use a rare procedural tool to either repeal Obamacare, pass tax reform or raise the debt ceiling with 51 votes rather than the usual 60.

I have said time and time again that whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent you should always vote!  We must always remember that many people suffered severely and some even died so that all people could have this right.  It is too precious to just cast aside as if it is something that has no value.

I have also said that no matter how many hurdles are placed in your path or how convoluted they might be; you must overcome them and vote.  Especially since the U.S. Supreme Court passed Citizens United, voting is the only way that the average American will be able to overcome the power of lobbyist and big money.  If we fail to vote and make our voices heard then billionaires and millionaires will always be able to buy and own the Congress and, in essence, the country will be run by them.

I don’t believe that most Americans would agree with the budget that the Republicans have proposed.  In addition, it has already been shown in poll after poll that most Americans – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – approve of Obamacare and are being helped by it.  Notwithstanding, the Republicans continue in their effort to repeal it even though they have been unsuccessful for the past five years.

The best way and possibly the only way to get any politician to stop ignoring us and favoring big money and corporations is to use the power of our vote.  Then, no matter how much money is spent by those entities to influence them, if we don’t vote for them their money will be spent in vain.  Once that happens, the spigot will be shut off because those entities are always all about the bottom line.

The 2016 Presidential elections is fast approaching so it is important that all eligible voters start now to assure that we will be able to make our voices heard through our vote.  In order to be able to vote we must be registered and that means that prior to that time, we must have successfully navigated any obstacles that were placed in our path.  I must do this and you must do this because you should always remember that your vote is the most important one of all… unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis

Senator John McCain Scolds President Obama?

Did Senator John McCain really reprimand President Obama by telling him to get over his temper tantrum with Israel?  Maybe he would be better served if he looked inside his own Party and told them to get over their obsession with trying to ruin President Obama and his legacy.  They have been trying to do that for more than six years now without success.  During that same period, they have not been able to get beyond their own temper tantrum so they have zero room to advise the President as regards how to get beyond the one that he is allegedly having.

Watch the video; then, read the book. Operation Rubik's Cube
Watch the video; then, read the book.
Operation Rubik’s Cube

For the past five years, the Republicans have also been voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) without success as well.  Despite the fact that their predictions that it has death panels, would be a jobs killer, would cause healthcare costs to skyrocket and on and on has proven to be untrue and instead created jobs and lowered healthcare costs, they continue to work to repeal it.

Recently, in announcing that he will run for President in 2016, Senator Ted Cruise once again vowed to totally repeal Obamacare.  Given these circumstances, Senator McCain should be focusing on his party’s actual 6-year temper tantrum rather than the imaginary one he says that President Obama is having.  But rather than working toward getting the Republican Party back to focusing on sound conservative governance, he has bought into the Party’s politics as usual strategy.

Perhaps before he called President Obama’s reaction to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s actions prior to and during the Israel election a temper tantrum, Senator McCain should have seriously considered the open letter to the Iranian leaders that he signed, along with 46 other Republican Senators.  And he should also have considered the Republicans’ underhanded invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress knowing that the sole purpose of his speech was to undermine the president.  Maybe that would have prevented him from making such an incongruous claim.

Even if President Obama is not seriously concerned about the recent actions taken by this majority governing body Republican Party he should be and has every right to be.  What leader in any capacity, let alone a world leader, could be comfortable in leading when those who are supposed to be advising him and working together with him to establish and implement policy and laws are openly working with other leaders to sabotage them?

Do congressional Republicans really believe that President Obama is having a temper tantrum or is this just politics as usual?  Do they believe that he has legitimate concerns about how Prime Minister Netanyahu comported himself leading up to and during the Israel election yet even with their own record, accuse him of having a temper tantrum and purport to chastise him for it as a ploy?

Are they doing this just to distract the media from covering the real issue?  After all, they did play a significant role in placing America into the tough situation that she has fallen into: do our allies still have full confidence in us and our ability to lead; do our enemies perceive that there is a crack in our armor that they can take advantage of?

I think that the Republican Party needs to get onboard with governing this country and keeping it safe without first insisting on tearing it down back to 2008 and starting all over because they hate this president.  To tear it down and start over risk shaking the confidence that our allies have in us to lead and creating openings for our enemies to try to exploit.

It seems that the previously mentioned Republican Party antics have already helped to further sour the relationship between President Obama and Prime Minster Netanyahu.  Recently they have been more openly hostile to one another in public while masking their dislike for one another with only the minimum amount of obligatory diplomacy.  It has the potential of making Israel a partisan issue and becoming a wedge issue for both Republicans and Democrats alike.

If the Republican Party is bound and determined to be rid of the direction that President Obama is taking the country in then they need to find legitimate and fair ways to accomplish their purpose.  They should not attempt to do it by any means necessary, which right now includes putting the financial credibility of the United States in jeopardy and actively working with foreign leaders to sabotage the policy of their own president.  There has to be a better way for them to achieve their purpose.

Eulus Dennis

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Brazen Arrogance

President Barack Obama is the president of the United States of America.  President Barack Obama is my president.  President Barack Obama is the president of all Americans…  And that is why what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did by agreeing to speak to a joint session of Congress at Speaker John Boehner’s invitation without President Obama’s mutual agreement to that invitation amounts to brazen arrogance on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s part.

To make matters worse, when Prime Minister Netanyahu found himself in a tight race during the Israel election this month, he backtracked on what he had led Israelis and America to believe was his commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: he said that there would not be two states under his watch.  This position is totally opposed to that of the United States and what Prime Minister Netanyahu has, at least, pretended to support in the past.

In this case, the Prime Minister’s political will to survive trumped his statesmanship and willingness to stand by his word.  He decided to play politics and do his personal version of the Washington two-step.  In other words, if he needed to say that there would absolutely not be a two-state solution under his watch in order to garner more votes and remain in power that was okay with him.  He could always walk back this statement after the election was over…and he did.

The United States is and will remain Israel’s most important and closest ally despite the fact that the Prime Minister looked all Americans directly in the eye and insulted us before friend and foe.  Prime Minister Netanyahu knows that Americans hold him in high esteem and that we deeply value our relationship with Israel but yet he was willing to completely disregard that and mortgage the future of Israel so that he could remain in power.  He knows that the American people are not stupid and many were insulted by his actions.  Nevertheless, he is gambling that his popularity and our strong support for Israel will override that and any insult will eventually fade from our memory.

This is not to say that Prime Minister Netanyahu was not overwhelmed with concern about the safety of Israel with respect to Iran and whether or not Iran would gain a path to building a nuclear weapon so felt compelled to appeal to all Americans to discourage President Obama from agreeing to a nuclear deal with Iran.  His great concern is understandable.  Naturally he has a great love for Israel and wants to keep her safe.  The problem is not that he felt that President Obama was pursuing a bad deal; instead, it is how he went about trying to prevent him from making that deal.

When Democrats asked to speak as a caucus to the Prime Minister regarding Speaker Boehner’s invitation to him, he refused to speak with them because he said that he did not want to bring partisan politics into the situation.  This on its face is disingenuous because he had already arranged through Speaker Boehner to speak to the joint session of Congress without the knowledge of congressional Democrats and the White House.  Even if he did not know initially that these groups had not been informed, when he found out that they had not been and that President Obama was against it, he declined to cancel his speech.

During the recent Israel election Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to have taken a page directly out of the Republican Party playbook.  He said some things that were somewhat ambiguous that he could easily explain away as having been misconstrued but yet there was no ambiguity as regards the fact that they were divisive.

During an interview with Andrea Mitchell after the election, he said that he wants to be fair to all Israeli citizens.  Republicans in Congress say this same thing about American citizens yet they persist in using scare tactics as an excuse to continue to make it harder for eligible people to vote.  They use these same scare tactics to continue to resist making it easier for them to vote.

President Obama is the President of the United States and no leader of a foreign government should be welcomed with open arms to come into our country in an effort to undermine him.  That leader should especially not be welcomed by our elected officials to stroll down the very isle that our President tread, be treated like royalty and speak from the very rostrum and from behind the very lectern from which our President spoke during his State of the Union Addresses, while giving Americans and the rest of the world a foreign policy message that directly opposes the message that our President has conveyed and is still continuing to push.

This should not happen no matter how highly esteemed and popular this foreign leader is with the Congress and the American people.  That person is still a foreign leader and it is not appropriate: they are not our leader; president Obama is!  I cannot say too many times that President Obama is the President of the United States of America and, until a new president takes office, he is my president and he is your president whether we like it or not.  As for me, I am proud and privileged to call him my president.

Eulus Dennis

What Microsoft needs to do after Internet Explorer

Microsoft (MSFT) says it plans to retire its storied—and often maligned—Internet Explorer brand in favor of a new Web browser under a different name.

via What Microsoft needs to do after Internet Explorer.

Young techie geeks – and most young people, likely were aware of the information provided in the link above long before this post.  But there are bound to be more vintage folks who read this blog as well who are not yet aware of it.

Since the purpose of this blog is to keep all readers informed, they need to stay informed too; therefore, I decided to go ahead and provide a link to the article.  So if you already are aware of this information, please bear with me.  If you are not already aware of it; click the link immediately above and catch up by reading the full CNBC article by Althea Chang.

Right now, the Republican Party is scary

With all of the things that the Republican Party has done – from causing the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating to continuously manufacturing one self-made crisis after another, since the election of President Obama; the latest two irresponsible dirty tricks go beyond the pale.  The first one was when Speaker John Boehner invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress without notifying the White House and Congressional Democrats.  He did this despite knowing that the Prime Minister would be there to tell Congress and all who would view his speech not to support President Obama in his negotiations with Iran.

The second one was, as if to avoid being outdone, the Senate sent an open letter to the Iranians in an effort to undermine President Obama’s efforts to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran.  This letter was signed by 47 Republican Senators one of which was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  To make matters worse, after the news media, public and their fellow lawmakers began to lambast them for what they did, rather than take responsibility and admit that they made a mistake, they began to manufacture and promulgate a lot of flimsy excuses.

Even Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif – who, by the way, is US-educated and received a PhD in International law and policy from the University of Denver, criticized them in their effort to educate Iranians on the United States Constitution.  According to an article by Max Fisher in Vox.com, Zarif viewed the letter as a “propaganda ploy” and wrote as a part of his response to it; “it seems that the authors not only do not understand international law, but are not fully cognizant of the nuances of their own Constitution when it comes to presidential powers in the conduct of foreign policy.”  Ouch; I’ll bet that hurt!

All of the Senators who signed that letter are really taking a beating; and rightfully so.  They deserve it!  It is hard to imagine, even as I witness it happening, that this once highly respected and revered body has sunk to such a low.  One critic, in an effort to illustrate how low they had fallen, even said that – and I paraphrase here – they signed the letter with all of the seriousness of the consideration given to posting a blog.

I am a blogger and I resent that comparison.  What these Senators did should not be elevated to that level of comparison.  What they did was more like what a baby does in their diaper: the expression on their face shows surprise but pleasure at the initial warmth of what just happened.  But when the reality of what happened sets in and the itching and burning starts, they begin to cry.  That is their way of demanding to have their diaper changed; their way of demanding a fresh start, so to speak.

We expect babies to conduct themselves in the way that babies do and we accept their facial expressions, true surprise and signs of pleasure followed by crying upon the realization that the ultimate result of what they did brings pain.  We don’t expect this sort of thing from members of a lofty body like the Senate.  There is no doubt that these Senators will find that their child-like excuses to avoid accountability by pointing the finger at someone else and saying ‘they made me do it’ is unacceptable.

After the 2014 midterm elections and shortly after the Republicans officially took control of both houses of Congress, newly-elected Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a profound statement.  According to an article by Alex Griswold in the Daily Caller Senate Majority Leader McConnell said; ‘”I don’t want the American people to think that if they add a Republican president to a Republican Congress, that’s going to be a scary outcome,” McConnell said in the interview, which took place before Christmas, but was released Sunday.  “I want the American people to be comfortable with the fact that the Republican House and Senate is a responsible, right-of-center, governing majority.”‘

“‘There would be nothing frightening about adding a Republican president to that governing majority,” McConnell continued.”‘  Newsflash, Majority Leader McConnell, the Republican Party is very frightening!  They despise President Obama so much it seems that they are willing to do anything to shame him and damage his legacy: that includes severely damaging the United States and ruining its credibility in the eyes of both our allies and enemies.

This does not mean that the Republican Party cannot be a cerebral and fair governing majority.  They have been in the past and they can be again.  But right now, based on their past track record and record since they gained control of Congress, they are not ready to do this now and the signs that they will be ready in the future are not encouraging.  At this point, it appears that they want to put America into reverse and floor it!

There is no doubt that there are responsible members of the Republican Party who have great conservative ideas that they would like to see debated and, where possible, implemented.  The problem is that those politicians are too afraid to speak up because they fear that they will offend their base.  They continue to be pulled further and further to the right of center.

Unfortunately – depending on your point of view, the center that used to be, has already been pulled so far to the right that it is no longer in reality ‘the center’ and it, thereby, automatically excludes many conservatives who are laden with worthwhile and workable ideas that would be good for America.  It can remind one so much of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’  Oh if they only had the ‘courage’, ‘heart’, ‘brain’ to speak up.

Until this happens, the Republican Party will remain unready to lead and fairly govern all Americans and the unreadiness by its intimidated statesmen will cause the Party to stagnate and force America to languish in reverse.  There was a time when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was one of these true statesmen.  He was and remains a hard-nosed conservative but then he was willing to compromise and he was fair.  Now; however, he has become so obsessed with bringing down President Obama that he has lost his way.

Things do not have to be and should not be this way; oh, if I only had the ‘courage.’  True conservative elected officials and voters can demand and force change; oh, if I only had the ‘heart.’  In order to bring about the change that is needed to get the Republican Party back on its feet and empower it so that it can once again soar, true conservatives must be willing to challenge their base.  This will probably offend some of them but it will be worth it in the long run; oh, if I only had a ‘brain’… that I would not allow to be trumped by ‘politics as usual.’

Eventually, if ever we are to get back to productive politics that involve meaningful dialogue and debate, America’s elected officials will have to refocus.  They will have to somehow find the courage and heart to do the job that they were elected to do, which is to govern, and stop allowing their brain to be trumped by politics as usual.  Now would be a good time to do that.

Oh, if only…

Eulus Dennis

Republicans shower President Obama, Office of the President with more disrespect

Forty-seven Republicans – led by freshman Republican Senator of Arkansas, Tom Cotton, signed and sent an open letter to the Iranian leaders in what appears to be an effort to torpedo the efforts of the Obama Administration to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was one of the signatories on the letter.

These political antics are unprecedented and demonstrate how much these Senators despise President Obama.  They are willing to totally disrespect the Office of the President, all but consort with the enemy, and take our government apart at the seams just to shame him.  I thought that I had a reasonable idea of how politics work but, if this is an acceptable tactic, it appears that I was wrong.

What these 47 Senators have done might help them to reach their objective to ruin the negotiations and bring about its failure but it could also destroy all confidence that our allies have in us.  If the negotiations fail this could lead to a war with Iran, which appears to be what Republicans want, but it could also impact on our ability to recruit allies and lead in influencing world affairs for decades to come.

This is not how our political leaders should conduct themselves no matter how much they might hate President Obama.  This president is a visionary who is focused on working toward a more perfect union by getting all Americans to look beyond our own personal bias.

He has demonstrated this by remaining focused and continuing to press forward despite all of the vitriol that has been heaped upon him by the overall public and by his fellow elected colleagues: his fellow elected colleagues; this is disgusting and shameful.  Have politicians no shame!  If they do not, then this is also among the things that I must yet learn.  I have long known that many politicians will willingly wallow in the mud in order to advance their careers but I thought that they had limits; this has to be a new low.

President Obama’s adversaries may not be embarrassed but I am certainly embarrassed for them.  If they must employ these kind of methods; methods that embarrass the United States before both our allies and enemies and have the potential to herald the decline of America’s world status, then they are not worthy adversaries but instead a mere laughingstock and poor examples of true American statesmen.  I may have much to learn but if what they are doing is simply politics then the definition of politics is in dire need of an update.

Americans who are not politicians that have a sworn duty to lead our country and do what is in her best interest can afford to get angry and react based on their emotions.  But our elected officials control the levers of power and are duty-bound to keep Americans safe.

They have the ability to impact – negatively or positively – on the path that America takes.  They collectively decide whether it will be a path to a more perfect union and one that will command the respect of America’s allies and enemies or if it will lead to our decline both at home and abroad: they cannot afford to operate based on emotions.

What these Senators did by sending this letter to Iranian leaders neither inspires Americans to aspire to achieve a more perfect union nor does it garner the respect of our allies and enemies.  Instead, it spawns doubt in the minds of our allies and emboldens our enemies.  It is doubtful that they will pay any monetary price or be imprisoned but they should definitely pay a high political price.  I hope that voters will assure that they do.

What American citizens want and what America needs are great partisan ideas and debates, reasonable bipartisan dialogue and outstanding leadership.  Of course we will still complain and disagree with some of the decisions that our elected officials make no matter our political affiliation but that is a part of who we are as Americans.  But we should always come together as a family when it comes to keeping America strong and respected in the eyes of our allies and enemies and keeping her citizens safe.  Our congressmen must know this; how can they not know it?

America should not be subjected to what Speaker John Boehner did when he invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak at a joint session of Congress without informing Democrats or the White House.  Neither should America be subjected to what Senate Majority Leader McConnell condoned and is an intricate of in sending an open letter to a foreign government in what appears to be an effort to undermine the United States President.

Mitch McConnell is the Senate Majority Leader and what he should do is lead.  Tom Cotton is a freshman Senator who has only been in the Senate for a few months: Majority leader McConnell is a seasoned and savvy politician who has been a Senator for decades.  Had he not wanted Senator Cotton out front and leading on this letter, he likely would not have been out there.

If the Senators who signed on to this letter do ultimately pay a political price, Majority Leader McConnell should pay double.  After all, he is the Majority Leader and he was also a signatory on the letter.

Eulus Dennis

Remembering ‘Bloody Sunday’ In Selma, Alabama

Many different feelings are stirred within those who were on Edmund Pettus Bridge on that fateful day – March 7, 1965.  Strong feelings even resonate within many of us who were not there, especially African-Americans, when we think about the price that those who were there paid in their effort to secure the right for all minorities to vote freely and without intimidation or the need to meet conjured up requirements.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed this bill into law in August of 1965.  In June of 2013 the United States Supreme Court under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts struck down Section 4(b), the coverage formula, as unconstitutional.  This stripped the Voting Rights Act of any power to control those states that had already demonstrated a willingness to discriminate against minorities and, in essence, opened the door for any state that decided it would establish voting requirements that would have a desperate impact on minority voters to do so without fear of facing consequences.

It was about two months short of 48 years when the Supreme Court rendered its decision that virtually decimated the Voting Rights Act.  Some of those who suffered through those beatings on Selma ‘Bloody Sunday’ on Edmund Pettus Bridge expressed disappointment in this decision during the ‘Bloody Sunday’ 50th Anniversary Commemoration.  According to an article by Phillip Lucas in the Associated Press, “It’s a slap in the face, an insult to all who have given their lives for righteousness sake, Willie White Harris, 70 of Selma said after crossing the bridge once again Sunday.”

Even if Justice Roberts was comfortable with his decision at the time of the Supreme Court’s ruling, years from now when he looks back down through the annals of history will he still be comfortable with it?   Or will he lament it and look upon it as a stain on his legacy?  Although this decision can be mitigated by Congress, I can’t help but to wonder how he will feel about it being a part of the history of the Supreme Court and a key part of his legacy as Chief Justice.

How will he feel if his picture is displayed in history books alongside former President Johnson’s picture with information stating that then President Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act into law?  Then – after the former president’s role is explained, it states that 48 years later with discrimination still rampant, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts presided over the Court that struck down a key portion of what “according to the U.S. Department of Justice is considered to be the most effective piece of civil rights legislation ever enacted in the country.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justices wield a tremendous amount of power.  They have many hard and, oftentimes, gut-wrenching decisions that they must make.  It is easy for people like me and others to look on from the outside and critique and criticize decisions that we disagree with.  I would not want to sit in their chair.

That notwithstanding, I believe that watchfulness and criticism is an inextricable and necessary component of our democratic system of government.  Our watchfulness and ability to critique and criticize should apply to all of those, from the president of our country down to the lowest-level local official, who possess the power to exercise control over us.

Watching, critiquing, criticizing, disagreeing and even becoming angry with our officials – elected or otherwise – is okay.  How we express those emotions and disagreement is what we must control.  We must always remember that whatever we do should be done in a non-violent way; even if it includes breaking the law.

The best and most powerful way to assure that we can bring about change is through our vote.  Far too many of use fail to exercise this hard-won right.  We allow roadblocks and inconveniences that pale in comparison to what our predecessors passed through to secure the right to vote keep us away from the polls.  This must change and it must change now!

So whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent; determine to get beyond all roadblocks and get out and vote.  And always remember, your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis

The ‘Scandal’ episode on 3/5/2015 made me think ‘Ferguson’

I don’t know how many of you follow the television series ‘Scandal’ on ABC but those of you who do follow it – if you also follow politics, will understand why I say that it reminds me of the current situation in Ferguson, Missouri.  As you might know, the U.S. Department of justice (DOJ) recently released a scathing report on that city and its police department.  As a result of the DOJ’s report, Ferguson is trying to negotiate a settlement with the federal government.

Living Between The Line: watch the video then read the book.
Living Between The Line: watch the video then read the book.

It would not be fair if I did not mention that many Ferguson officials disagree with some parts of this report.  They say that some parts of the report’s findings are “a stretch” by the DOJ and they will not agree to a settlement if the two sides cannot come to an agreement to resolve their differences on this.

Living Between the Line Book Video

But whether or not a settlement can be negotiated is an aside as to why I mentioned the Scandal television series.  I hope that by revealing what I am about to reveal I won’t spoil this episode for those of you who may not have yet watched it.  Having said that; here goes: the policeman in this episode that shot and killed a young Black man and then planted false evidence on him got angry when he was confronted about it by the series star, Olivia Pope, who had been hired to represent the police.  After he became angry he blurted out; and I paraphrase:

For seven years I have kissed my wife and kids good bye and gone deep into these neighborhoods to protect you people and you don’t appreciate it!  The kid that I shot did not respect the badge: he did not respect me!  You don’t respect me! You were hired to represent us; whose side are you on?

I can imagine that this angered any policeman who might have watched this episode of Scandal.  To be honest, I can see why it would have angered them, especially those clean police officers.  It would have angered the dirty cops because they feel that they are the law and therefore can do whatever they choose to do.  And it would have angered the clean cops because they feel that – because of a few bad cops, everyone is painting cops with a broad brush by putting all of them in the same category.

Probably none of us needs to have ‘clean cop’ and ‘dirty cop defined for us.  We all have our idea of what this means.  So since there might be a number of interpretations of these terms out there, allow me to give you mine.

Many of us as civilians might refer to police officers as being good or bad officers.  Many of their fellow police officers refer to them as ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ depending on whether they are doing things within the boundaries of the law or outside of them.  As I think about it, I think that – like their fellow police officers, I would prefer to use the terms clean and dirty.

I think that the terms clean or dirty vs. good or bad can better identify these police officers because there are probably a lot of ‘good’ police officers who make bad decisions.  They do unlawful things in an effort to assure that someone is held accountable for a crime that they have obviously committed but are likely to avoid prosecution for due to things like evidence that, for legal reasons, is not allowed, because of some technicality or employing a highly-paid and highly-skilled lawyer.

Although their intensions might be virtuous, this does not justify what they are doing or make it any less wrong.  My thoughts are these cops are better identified as ‘dirty’ cops than as ‘bad’ cops because the term ‘dirty’ includes all cops who operate outside of the law whether their intentions are good or bad.

Because these cops taint the rest of the police department and destroy the fabric of trust that exists between the police and communities that they serve it is incumbent upon the ‘clean’ cops to help root out the ‘dirty’ ones from top to bottom.  This will not be easy to do because they are a close-knit group that trusts their very lives to one another every day while they are on the job.  To alienate follow officers even if for all of the right reasons is a great risk; but it is one that must be taken if dirty cops are to be effectively dealt with.

The best moniker for this kind of a cop would be “dumb cop.”  But because what they are doing is still wrong; just as wrong – although not as heinous – as a cop who kills an unarmed person and then plants evidence to prove otherwise, they are dirty.  And because they are dirty and just as guilty of breaking the law as the perpetrator that they are trying to get convicted, they must be held accountable.

As hard as this might be for fellow police officers and as much as it might hurt them, they absolutely must come to grips with the fact that this is how things must be if the police and the communities that they serve and protect are ever to again develop respect and trust of one another.  The pain that police officers endure and the pain that the communities that they serve and protect endure will be equally painful to accept; and perhaps this is the way that it should be: in fact, the way that it must be if either side is to be able to move forward and survive!

‘Clean’ cops have to step up and do the right thing.  They can no longer use the ‘blue code’ to protect cops that have broken the law whether they consider the crime they committed to be major or minor.  If they do this it will go a long way in expediting the coming together of the police and communities.

And to community members – especially young people of color, I say, this is not the responsibility of the police departments alone.  Yes, it has already been a long time and you are tired of hearing the same old refrain that ‘it will take time’, but you must also step up to your responsibility.  You, too, must endure the all but impossible to bear pain that it will take to reconcile these two diametrically opposed sides.  Youth leaders and other youth activists must take a courageous step and tell their fellow youth that the effort to reconcile is worth a try.

And finally, I say to our elected officials that you must also be courageous and step up.  You can no longer remain silent when problems like the one that recently occurred with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) arise and ignore them because it would not be politically smart to address them.  Problems like the NYPD problem are occurring in police departments throughout the country and they must be addressed and corrected.

This is not to suggest that police departments should be denied due process and the federal government should go in and force them into submission so that they all precisely fit the same mold.  What it means is that our elected officials must figure out some way to assure that under the law, to the greatest extent possible, there is equal justice for all.

Eulus Dennis

Holder ‘prepared’ to dismantle Ferguson police department



Holder ‘prepared’ to dismantle Ferguson police department

The Hill

David McCabe

13 hrs ago

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via Holder ‘prepared’ to dismantle Ferguson police department.

In the event that any readers would like to read this article on how the Department of Justice is handling the Ferguson situation you can click on the link immediately above and read it in full in ‘The Hill’.