Stacie Gilmore’s Vision of District 11|By Stacie Gilmore

Stacie Gilmore is running for Denver City Council in District 11.  Following is her vision for the District should she be elected:

I love our community! I want us to get what we deserve in District 11, opportunity, education, infrastructure, and the economic development that will ensure we have a high quality of life. I have lived and worked in our community for almost 20 years. We have always been known as the Far Northeast, and while I honor our history, I have come to see District 11 as the Front Door to our City and the Region. Think about how you treat the front door or entry way to your home, you keep it beautiful, inviting, and modern. We deserve to be at the forefront of smart, sustainable economic growth, job creation, infrastructure solutions and educational achievement that serves our children and families. I have lead an educational nonprofit for the past 19 years, and after that time in education it is clear to me that we must do better for our working families. Families are struggling, with employment and the education system. As the next city councilwoman, I will continue my life’s work in being a champion for our working families to ensure they have the training necessary to compete for livable wage jobs, to support their children’s education, and to have the time and space to give back to our community through civic engagement.

We are at a crossroads for our community, for too long it has felt like things are being done to us, instead of with us.  We must have our voice heard, because it truly is “Your Voice, Our Community”!  I have outlined my priorities for the first 100 days in office and then a few long-term priorities as well.  I am accountable to the people who vote me in office, first and foremost, and I want to build community, partnerships and strong working collectives to ensure we are moving together in a strategic and measurable direction to gauge our progress.

Priorities for First 100 Days for District 11

1. Hold monthly town hall meetings;

2. Push District 11 budget priorities for infrastructure improvement;

3. Create an Interactive Development Map on my council website for existing and new development in District 11 so residents know what is happening and can comment;

4. Push small area plans with Community Planning and Development for locations of redevelopment and growth;

5. Create a Community Newsletter to improve communication and engagement in District 11.

Long-term Priorities for District 11

1. Work with Public Works, Community Planning and Development, and area developers to create a strategic workplan to address our transportation issues;

2. Champion the widening of 56th Avenue, the estimated budget for this project is $55M and we must remain diligent that it gets completed in a timely manner, including the undergrounding of the Xcel Energy power lines;

3. Work closely to build partnerships with stakeholders of the 61st and Pena development, including a full list of employment opportunities with Panasonic and other businesses so we can start the skill and education training necessary for our residents to compete for and secure these jobs;

4. Establish a workforce development center in District 11, with an emphasis on jobs leading to livable wage careers to expand our residents (youth and adult) educational and employment readiness baseline.

I am honored to have a wonderful list of endorsements including the strong support of many community members in District 11. They believe in me and my commitment to our neighborhood and I take that support very seriously. I am also honored to have been endorsed by The Denver Post recently.

Please cast your vote this week in support of my candidacy for District 11 City Council. I am number two on the ballot, but first when it comes to experience, commitment and the resolute belief that we can get what we deserve in District 11. If you would like any more information please visit my website at  or check out my Facebook page at Vote for Stacie Gilmore.

Police Are A Gang With Badges?

According to a Reuters article by Ian Simpson dated 4/27/2015 entitled ‘Police: Seven officers injured, one unresponsive in Baltimore riot’, Black Guerrilla Family, Bloods and Crips gangs allegedly threatened to “…’take out’ law enforcement officers.”  Those of you who read my posts in probably recall an article in which I said that a young Black male who had experienced a number of encounters with the police made the statement that “the police are just a gang with badges.”

How would it look and how accurate would it be if the line above instead of reading “Black Guerrilla Family, Bloods and Crips gangs allegedly threatened to… read; Black Guerrilla Family, Bloods, Crips and Police gangs allegedly threatened to…?”  My opinion is that it would look terrible and it would also be either unfairly skewed favoring those who are either anti-police or totally blinded by their anger about how the police treat people of color – in particular Black people, if one assumed that it was accurate or the inverse would apply if one assumed it was inaccurate.  In other words, the skew would favor those who were either simply pro-police no matter how the police conducted themselves or totally blinded by their bias – realized or unrealized – toward people of color, in particular Black people.

Just like all Black people are not the enemy, outlaws, thugs or rabble-rousers simply because they are Black, neither are all police officers ‘gang members with badges.’  But just like some Black people are the enemy, outlaws, thugs or rabble-rousers, some police officers are – in essence, ‘gang members with badges.’

The gang in police departments across the country consists of those dirty police officers who do exactly what gang members do; steal, commit armed robbery, embezzle, bribe, and in other ways bully crooks and other hardworking citizens who many times have done absolutely nothing wrong.  Because regular citizens – in particular Black people (young Black people are still struggling to comprehend and accept this) have figured out how to game the system by subordinating themselves to all police officers (this should not be necessary) and conducting themselves in the manner of a child being addressed by their parents, gang member police officers see this as respect just as all bullies do.  The truth is that this is not respect but raw fear!  How sad a situation this has become for all involved; clean police, dirty police, crooks and everyday innocent hardworking citizens!

Even honest, well-meaning top-level police officials seem to be afraid to even make an effort to correct this problem.  Are they afraid that this type of behavior has gone on for so long that it is so engrained into their police departments that it cannot be removed without totally destroying the departments themselves?  Could they be right?  Does this culture go all the way to the very top and the only way for the country to rid itself of it is to rip it out root and branch and start over?  That’s a bit of an overstatement but I’m sure that you get the gist of what I mean.

As a result of the recent death of Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore police, Baltimore has erupted in flames.  And although at this point the current situation is a long way from being like the riot that occurred there in 1968, the comparison is already being made.  The police and local, state, and national politicians began immediately to pontificate and publicize how the actions of lawless people like those who were looting, destroying property, and attacking the police and innocent citizens would not be tolerated.  Then they immediately took action to back up their rhetoric.

It is a shame that they refuse to show this same kind of determination when it comes to lawless police officers who are doing to citizens what basically amounts to the same thing that these lawless looters are doing.  Because justice is so one-sided in this particular case as a result of the refusal by these officials to address this problem, many people are frustrated and feel that they have no avenues available to them to have their problems and concerns addressed; therefore, they resort to violence.  It is a shame that they have come to believe that this is what it takes to shed the feeling of being invisible; but from their perspective this is when the media’s cameras begin to roll and they are noticed.  I make this observation to neither excuse nor rationalize their behavior but simply to state the reality of the situation.

As long as  the police are so afraid to tackle this problem that many of the police departments around America refuse to even admit that it exists and our elected officials refuse to touch it because it is a political hot potato, then we will continue to have the Florida’s, New York’s, Ferguson’s, Cleveland’s, Oklahoma’s, Alabama’s, South Carolina’s and Baltimore’s.

The list of places immediately above where police have used unwarranted excessive or lethal force is by no means exhaustive.  As American citizens we must continue to keep the pressure on all of the officials who are a part of this problem because they must also be a part of the solution.  They must be a part of the solution even if as a part of that solution includes removing them.

Whether we are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, we must use our voting power to let our elected officials know that we expect equal justice under the law for all people.  Gangs trying to ‘take out’ law enforcement officers are not the answer.  Many gang members are either already outlaws because they have broken the law and if they are not already outlaws, they are well on their way to becoming such.  This includes police officers who are members of the ‘gang with badges’ who under the guise of enforcing the law are greater enemies to it than are those who openly – and some who proudly, claim the title outlaw or crook.

Despite our color identity or any other terms that we use to identify ourselves, as citizens, we have to step up and speak up.  Gangs that evoke the names of those innocent and unarmed Black men who have fallen at the hands of the police and then commit violent acts in retaliation against the police for having killed them amounts to nothing more than breaking the law.  It is not the right thing to do!  They should be held to account and punished if they are identified and caught.

Let’s focus our energy in the right place and take steps in the right direction to fix the problem by pressuring those who have the ability to fix it but refuse to do so for whatever reason.  Among the right places to focus that energy would be efforts to come together and have reasonable discourse on the problems that exist in the justice system in our country.  It is obvious that policing the citizenry is one of those problems and our inability to even agree that this problem exists highlights the fact that it indeed does exist and is demanding a solution.

Eulus Dennis

A Closer Look At Big Money And Education

Let’s take a closer look at big money, which seems to be permeating every facet of our lives as Americans, and the education of our children.  Somewhere between the mid-70s and mid-80s, big money burst upon the scene and took a chokehold upon how we go about educating our children.

It does not matter if its intention was to assure that all children regardless of their economic status received a quality education or if its ulterior motive was really just money if it achieved that desperately sought-after and seemingly cunningly-elusive thing called a ‘quality education for all children;’ but upon until this time, it hasn’t.  I happen to be one of those who believe that there is an ulterior motive and that ulterior motive is without a doubt money.

Big money has always been more interested in its bottom line than anything else and it appears that this is still the case.  It has long been said that if you want to find the answer to questions that you may have, especially when money and/or power is involved, follow the money.  The direction that the education of our children has taken is no exception to that rule.

This does not necessarily mean that all of those who have advocated for programs like the Edison Project, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Race To The Top (RTTT) are all about the money but we must also accept the fact that money was and remains the driving force for big money contributors who are strong supporters of the current direction in which the education of America’s children is headed.

In January 2013, I wrote an article that was published in the Denver Post under ‘Quality teaching in DPS vs. tenure rights’, which was entitled ‘Quality Teaching Is More Than Test Scores.’  I recently read an article in Salon by Susan Engel entitled ‘We’re teaching our kids wrong: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates do not have the answers.’  If I could write an article that would virtually perfectly summarize my thoughts on what is happening with the education of our children, why we should be concerned about it and why we should band together in every local community to do something about it at the grassroots level, it would be a carbon copy of this article by Ms. Engel.

Ms. Engel’s article does not condemn those who support those who are taking the education of our children in its current direction and those who were or remain advocates of this approach to educating them, instead, she points out why this may not be the right direction and also points out reasons as to why we should reconsider this approach and possibly change it.

There was a time back in the 1990s when I was a board member of an organization called Citizens for Quality Schools (CQS).  I believe that this organization had the best interest of Denver K-12 students in mind but, at the time, it was in favor of and pushing for charter schools.  They believed that charter schools would not only give parents greater choice as to which school they would like to send their children to but that charter schools would also be an avenue to improving the quality of education that these students would receive.

Although I was not a proponent of charter schools – because of other elements that CQS espoused like Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) Committees and School Improvement Accountability Committees (SIAC), I felt that CQS truly did have the best interest of Denver K-12 students at heart.  This gave me hope that we would eventually find the best possible solution for all stakeholders.  Now we are in year 2015 and, unfortunately – thus far, big money has continued to prevail.

For a long time now, big money has had its way with respect to how America’s children will be educated and we still have not regained our standing as number one among the nations in the field of Education.  If the current road is not the right one that we should be traveling to provide all children with a top-quality education then we should find the right road now and get on it.

An education that is second to none for all children is extremely important not only to all parents but to America as well if we are to effectively compete on the world stage.  Therefore, I encourage all of those who read this article to click on the above link to Ms. Engel’s article in Salon.  I am sure that you will find that reading it will be worth your time and that it will be a thought-provoking article no matter which side of this education issue that you support.

Eulus Dennis

Trans-Pacific Partnership

I was watching The Ed Show yesterday and Ed Shultz was talking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that President Obama has been pressing Congress to support.  Mr. Shultz said that 85% of the Democrats in Congress are against the TPP and so are all of the labor unions.

The odd thing is that Congressional Republicans, Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce are praising and strongly supporting the President while Democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are not.  Even some Republicans on the far right and extreme right are supporting him.  These are the same folks who worked so hard to prevent him from getting elected in the first place.

I’m talking about Republicans like Representative Paul Ryan, Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Ted Cruise.  That’s scary!  The Republicans in Congress have been trying to bring down President Obama and ruin his legacy since he was first elected President.  They have even voted against legislation that they have always supported or that they themselves introduced once they found that he was in support of it.

Why this sudden drastic change?  Under these circumstances it would not be unreasonable for anyone to assume that there is a skunk in the woodpile.  In other words, something stinks; something is wrong.  It just doesn’t feel right!  At this point very few details on the agreement have been made available to Congress and the public and the White House is being quite coy when they are pressed for details.

In order to gain the support of Washington Democrats and the Party base, President Obama is touting his resume of initiatives put forward in support of middleclass Americans and the accomplishments that he has accumulated thus far in an effort to help reestablish them.  He says that he has always worked on behalf of the middle class and that he would not support the TPP if he did not believe that it is the right thing to do: he is saying ‘trust me.’

Obviously there are a lot of those who are staunch supporters of President Obama but in this case they are balking at giving him their support on this one.  It is just too important of an issue for them to go down the ‘trust me’ path.

It would be hard enough to do it if organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street and virtually every Republican that loathes him wasn’t suddenly praising him and giving him their full support.  With them supporting the TPP, it will be next to impossible to gain the level of support from Democrats that he is seeking without providing full details on the agreement.  Even then there would probably still be a substantial amount of resistance.

There are those who believe that the TPP would give too much power to corporations and give foreign governments an extraordinary amount of control over America’s business affairs.  They also believe that it would put downward pressure on American wages while still bringing about the loss of jobs.

Most Americans do not know much about the technical aspects of the TPP or any of the other trade agreements that America has entered into.  But we do have those that we have elected to represent us and it is at times like these that they should do the job that we elected them to do.  It is up to them to get informed and make sure that America’s best interest and our overall best interest are served.  To do this they will need to be able to have details of the agreement so that they can review them and understand them before they throw their support behind the President.

Although I am an avid supporter of President Obama, I believe that there should be reasonable discourse and debate on the TPP especially if Senators like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders believe that it is giving large corporations even more power while stifling the voice of middleclass Americans and further stripping them of what little power that they have left.  Since he was elected, President Obama has done a lot in an effort to bring back the middle class.  And as he mentioned, he has always worked on their behalf.  He might be right about the TPP; but so might Senators Warren and Sanders.  That’s why there needs to be discourse and debate.

Eulus Dennis

Republicans Leery Of Social Safety Net

Republicans at all levels of government are suspect of public assistance programs like Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANIF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; a.k.a., food stamps) and even the earned-income tax credit.  Some Republican-led legislatures around the country are currently trying to pass laws that will delineate items that recipients of food stamps cannot purchase with those food stamps, which includes tickets to movie theaters and lingerie but – ironically – the list of excluded items does not include guns and ammunition.

Some lawmakers in these legislatures believe that food stamp recipients are using food stamps to purchase foods like expensive fish, crab, lobster and other expensive seafood so they are working to portray them as virtual welfare kings and queens, which – by the way, would serve to bolster Republican talking points whenever they spar with Democrats during the approaching 2016 elections.

Even if this is happening these occurrences are likely rare and they are more than offset by, if we use the same premise, what could be referred to as corporate welfare kings and queens.  However, these kings and queens seemingly go unnoticed and actually operate without even a hint of scrutiny by these concerned public servants.

Both those on public assistance programs and many large corporations are subsidized by taxpayers.  There are many hardworking Americans who work long, hard hours every day, some of whom work two jobs, to support their family and they still must receive public assistance to make ends meet.  These people are taxpayers and so have put something into the pool of funds from which they are benefiting because they have fallen on hard times.

It is likely that these hardworking Americans would not need to be on public assistance if they were paid a livable wage.  Yet and still most of these same lawmakers who are leery of safety net programs are against an increase in the minimum wage.  Most of them are also against equal work for equal pay.  They say that to implement either or both of these things would be ‘job killers’.

Those lawmakers who are pushing to establish laws that would dictate to food stamp recipients what foods that they cannot buy with their food stamps are not unaware that many of those corporations that are paying these low wages are making unparalleled profits.  They are not unaware that many of those multi-billion dollar corporations many times pay less tax annually than many average Americans pay.

So when taxpayers subsidize those needy Americans who are on public assistance programs because they do not earn enough to make ends meet they are in essence subsidizing those corporations that are paying unlivable wages.  And when taxpayers do this, many times these corporations are not among the contributors to this taxpayer pool of cash that the government is dipping into because many times many of them pay zero taxes.

How can Republicans even pretend to stand in support of the middle class when they allow corporations to get away with shenanigans like this and yet cry foul when hardworking Americans reach out for assistance from safety net programs that were specifically put in place to assist them in their times of need?  How can Republicans in good conscience work to destroy these programs while working to lower corporate tax rates?

I invite anyone – whether they are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, who disagrees with me to step up and speak up.  Tell me in your comment on this website why you believe that I am either misinformed and/or in error in what I have stated in this article.

In the meantime, in the event that any reader of this article is interested reading an article that addresses this same subject in more detail; following is a link to an article in The New York Times by Patricia Cohen.  The title of the article is ‘Working, but Needing Public Assistance Anyway’.

Eulus Dennis

Pay Attention And Wise Up

For those of you out there who are not billionaires, millionaires, or at the very least a One Percenter, it is high time that you pay attention and wise up.  Big money has recently been the benefactor and subsequently the beneficiary of a major Supreme Court decision (i.e. Citizens United) and is systematically working to eliminate its competition, which is organized labor.

Unions have slowly but surely been losing members and ground under the relentless attack of corporations and other big money interest.  Although big banks and other corporations have come back strong and thrived since The Great Recession, wages have remained virtually stagnant and in some cases even fallen.

With the Citizens United ruling allowing for unparalleled amounts of dark money to be pumped into elections the only major players capable of operating in that arena have been big money and the labor unions.  Now, a major effort to wipe out unions is underway in many states around the country.  This effort is being led by lawmakers and most of the states involved in this effort are red states.  The majority of the legislatures in these states are either heavily controlled by Republicans or completely controlled by them.

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

The Republican agenda and that of big money are the same and they are working together to totally eliminate the middle class – whether by accident, as a result of collateral damage, or on purpose just as long as they can assure an increase in the bottom line for corporate interest.  It matters not whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent; if you are not among the rich, this agenda will have a negative impact on you.

It is not a coincidence that lawmakers, at the behest of big money, are working so hard to get rid of unions.  Unions have long been the major check and balance against all large corporations and other forms of big money.  We have become accustom to having a livable wage, worthwhile worker benefits and weekends off but we have forgotten why we have all of those things.  It is because of the unions.  Large companies certainly did not grant workers these things out of the goodness of their hearts!

Large corporations and other big money interest are for the greatest part supported by the Republican Party.  After the 2010 midterm elections Republicans said that they would build a larger and more inclusive tent.  So far, that effort has failed.  So instead of focusing on a continuation to build that larger and more inclusive tent, they decided to focus on making it harder for eligible voters to vote.  The obvious assumption is that by reducing the number of those voting they would reduce the ability of those who are opposed to their agenda to have an impact on it.

Republicans and Independent voters who fall into the middle class need to step back and take a serious look at what Republicans in Washington and in many of the red states around the country are doing.  No matter how staunch a Republican or Independent you might be you would likely agree that the middle class is the backbone of America and must not be destroyed.  You would probably also agree that if the middle class is allowed to be destroyed that although there might not be an immediate impact on America the impact will come; and it will be negative.

Even if irreparable damage is not done and the middle class is able to be restored, restoration will likely be a long and hard road to travel and our country will be worse for having allowed this tragedy to occur.  Boilerplate statements like the one RNC spokesman Michael Short made recently about 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton are meaningless when it comes to standing up for the middle class.

Based on an article in the Associated Press by Julie Pace – entitled ‘AP sources: Middle-class economics a focus of Clinton’s bid’, Mr. Short said “All Hillary Clinton is offering is a continuation of the same big government ideas that have grown Washington instead of the middle class.  That’s why voters want fresh leadership and a new direction, not four more years of Obama failed policies.”

Apparently the only support that Republican Senators and Representatives in Washington are willing to offer middle-class Americans is worn-out talking points and lip service.  And one can only hope that the fresh leadership that RNC spokesman Michael Short alluded to is not the kind that these leaders have exemplified since they became the majority governing Party in congress and that the new direction is not that which they are currently flaunting to the world based on how we are handling the Israel, Iran and Cuba situation.

Under the circumstances, responsible middle class Democrats, Republicans and Independents must band together and step up to defeat this irresponsible act by corporations and big money and any of those who stand with them.  What our Republican leaders in Washington are doing right now in openly fostering partisan bickering in congress by purposely attacking the integrity of the Obama administration and trying to destroy this President is doing much more to hurt America than it is to help her.

While it is not understandable to me that they are so eager and willing to take this approach, if it is something that they feel that they must do to save this country from a President whom they obviously deem unworthy to hold the office, then they must find a way or at least make a reasonable effort to do it without tarnishing the Office and the country.  I believe that there are many One Percenters and many in congress who agree with me.  If that is indeed the case then they should use their influence in an effort to help stop this sideshow that we are presenting and the world is currently witnessing.

Eulus Dennis

Police Use Of Deadly Force

Once again an unarmed Black man has died at the hands of a White police officer.  This time the shooting took place in North Charleston, South Carolina after a routine traffic stop.  The unfortunate victim was 50-year-old Walter Scott and the policeman who shot him was 33-year-old Officer Michael Thomas Slager.

Officer Slager fired eight bullets at Mr. Scott as he fled hitting him in the back and killing him.  To make matters worse, Officer Slager – after handcuffing Mr. Scott as he lay dying on the ground, jogged back to the spot where Mr. Scott first broke free of him and picked up an item which he then took and dropped beside Mr. Scott’s body.

At the time, Officer Slager told Dispatch that Mr. Scott grabbed his taser and he shot him.  He later reported that he feared for his life and that is why he shot Mr. Scott.  Those in authority accepted Officer Slager’s version of what occurred as the truth and dealt with the community and press accordingly.  What Officer Slager did not realize was that someone had videotaped the entire incident as it occurred after he chased and caught up with Mr. Scott.

When the video surfaced and revealed that Officer Slager had not told the truth about this encounter, to their credit, the Mayor and Chief of Police withdrew their support of Officer Slager, fired him, charged him with murder and he was arrested.  If convicted he could be sentenced to 30 years – life in prison.  This was a tragedy that left at least two families deeply hurt and grieving for a loved one.

Although for the greatest part African-American males have been the victims of this overly aggressive policing, for the purpose that this article is seeking to accomplish, I encourage the readers not to take sides or get involved in a debate as to which family is hurting the most or make our main focus the fact that it was a White police officer that killed an unarmed Black man.  Those things are obvious.

What we need to do, and can do, without marginalizing the fact that a life was lost and that that lost life – Mr. Walter Scott, was not faceless and nameless and that it left behind a grieving mother along with other family members, is focus on equal justice under the law for all people.

The point of this article is to encourage all of us to do all that we can to begin to restore the trust between the police and the communities that they serve and protect across this entire country.  The police have a lot to do in order to restore that trust but as members of our various communities, so do we.  Clean cops must stop protecting dirty cops due to misguided loyalty or the fear of being left without backup by their fellow officers when they need it because they have been labeled as unworthy because they have violated the ‘blue code’.

This is a tough choice but it is one that the police must make if they are to regain the communities’ trust.  There are many more clean cops than dirty cops and that ‘many’ must determine that they will not continue to be bullied by the few.

As for those of us who live in these communities that police officers risk their lives each day to serve and protect, we must allow them room to use whatever amount of force is truly required to serve and protect us.  We must also realize and accept the fact that the amount of force required to subdue a subject may sometimes involve injury to that person or even death.

This does not preclude the fact that we must always be vigilant and when necessary, scrutinize and question the circumstances surrounding any situation where police attempt to arrest someone and that attempt involves injury or death.  Such scrutiny should not need to be motivated by color but by the desire to assure that there is equal justice under the law for all.  If community members allow police officers the previously mentioned room to exercise their professional judgment and scrutinize and question only those encounters that truly warrant it, this should begin to restore police officers’ trust in communities.

Finally, as a result of what just happened in North Charleston, South Carolina, many have reflected on other situations involving excessive force by police officers throughout the country and asked in the North Charleston situation; what if there was no video?  As I reflect on the many questionable occurrences where a police officer’s version of what happened has outweighed that of the alleged perpetrator along with that of witnesses, it gives me pause.

Police officers have a tremendous amount of power over our lives and can instantly determine whether we live or die.  Yet their word is readily taken almost without question when they make a decision that requires injuring someone or killing them.  This is difficult enough to accept even if police officers throughout America had a stellar record when it comes to truthfulness, which they do not.

Usually when those who are either criminals or have been accused of a crime are judged in a court of law, their past record is taken into consideration in an effort to determine their truthfulness, guilt or innocence and, possibly, even the amount of time they must serve if they are found guilty.  If they have a past criminal record and have been proven to be liars in the past, this would have a major impact on a judge and jury’s decision.  Why shouldn’t this same standard apply to policemen and police departments?

Since too often some police officers have been found to either distort the truth or completely lie and some police departments are subject to look the other way in order to protect the department’s reputation, isn’t it past time to stop automatically giving a police officer’s version of a situation an extraordinary amount of weight versus that of others who either witnessed it or were involved in it?

And isn’t it past time to stop allowing police departments to police themselves in light of the vested interest that they have in protecting the police department?  At least until police departments and their police officers can come to grips with the ‘blue code’ and how to effectively deal with it, our society needs to find a way to better verify and substantiate statements given by police officers involved in arrests; especially those that involve injury or death.

Eulus Dennis

John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and The Republican Led Congress

There is a lot of hoopla going on right now about the potential nuclear agreement deal that President Barack Obama has negotiated with Iran via Secretary of State John Kerry.  Congressional Republicans are pretending to be concerned about the details of the agreement and the need to review them before they can decide whether or not to endorse it.

What a joke.  It is obvious that they have already made up their minds.  Have these Republicans no shame?  Flashback; Republicans tried to torpedo the negotiations before they were even completed!  Remember House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress without notifying congressional Democrats or the White House?  Remember the open letter that was sent to the Iranian leaders – which was signed by 47 Senators including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in an effort to undermine President Obama’s efforts to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran?

How can Republicans now pretend with a straight face that they want to review the details of the deal with Iran to determine whether or not they can support it?  They can’t!  Based on what they did, with the support of House Speaker Boehner, in bypassing congressional Democrats and the White House in inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of congress and what they did, with the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in sending an open letter to Iranian leaders in an effort to undermine their own President, any effort at pretention has already been unmasked and, therefore, rendered ineffective.

To add insult to injury, both Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have traveled to Israel and stood beside Prime Minister Netanyahu and in essence stood with him in denouncing President Obama’s foreign policy initiatives.  According to Israel’s Arutz Sheva, Senator McConnell told Prime Minister Netanyahu that “We’re by Israel’s side.”  There is nothing wrong with this statement except that, under the circumstances, it implies that Senator McConnell and those that he is speaking for are by Israel’s side and against President Obama.

Democrats are not totally without blame.  There are some of them that must be held to account as well.  They can claim that they are simply representing their constituents but the majority of the American people do not want another war.  Though many politicians may be without a heart they are not without a brain.  We did not elect our politicians to function just as robots, instead, we expect them to use all of the information available to them – some of which we may not be privy to – to make their decisions.

It is not hard to understand Prime Minister Netanyahu’s position because, not only is he the Prime Minister of Israel but he is also a politician.  Without a doubt he is working to gain support for his position of the majority of Israeli citizens.  What is hard to understand is why Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – who obviously are Americans, would look to Prime Minister Netanyahu as if he were their leader and openly support him instead of their own President?  At the very least they could support the Prime Minister without purposely seeking out a way to embarrass the President of the United States of America!

There is no excuse for what Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader McConnell have done.  There are those who advocate for Speaker Boehner and say that despite what he has done he still believes that there is only one person who sets foreign policy for the United States of America.  If that is true, he must believe that that one person is himself.  If Speaker Boehner wants to be that person then he should run for President of the United States of America.  With a record like his as Speaker of the House, I am sure that there are an untold number of Americans who would like to see him as President.  After all, he has proven to be such a strong and forceful leader in his position as Speaker of the House when compared to all of those who have gone before him.

My point is that when we look at the things that Republican led legislatures are doing in places like Indiana and Arkansas and consider the things that they have done with respect to their support to gut the Voting Rights Act, their efforts to make voting harder for eligible voters rather than easier and their lack of effort to make their Party inclusive rather than exclusive, it should give us pause.  The leadership of the Republican Party is so focused on bringing down President Obama that they have forgotten about everything else.

Congressional Republicans are so focused on depriving President Obama of a meaningful legacy that they literally cannot see anything beyond that.  Even if the deal with Iran is an unprecedented deal, which future administrations would find to be a daunting task to even aspire to, Republicans are so blinded that they will be unable to comprehend its relevance and place in history.

Republicans will either have to stop pretending to be interested in the details of the potential nuclear deal with Iran and consider it on its true merit or continue to pretend that they are interested and never really comprehend its true potential value.  I suggest that they stop playing politics and consider its true merit because the only other realistic alternative would be war.

I think that too often those who are rich and powerful are too quick and too eager to go to war.  In most cases, it is not their children who are sent off to foreign lands to fight and die for America’s way of life simply by virtue of the fact that they are rich and powerful and can shield their loved ones from this cruel and heartbreaking consequence.  Diplomacy should and must be given a chance for the sake of those who are not rich and powerful.

None of us who have never been there can even begin to imagine what war is truly like; alone in some foreign land: cold and lonely in the darkness in some jungle or in some village not knowing who is friend and who is foe.  So to the rich and powerful who decide on war and peace I say, just imagine if it were your child who was being sent off to fight and possible die in a foreign land.  Would you still be so quick to shun peace and espouse war?  Think about it… Really think about it.

Eulus Dennis